Thursday, February 28, 2013

When is Grain Belt Express Coming to Illinois?...Opposition is Waiting

Has anyone noticed Clean Line Energy (CLE) hasn't applied in Illinois with the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) for the Grain Belt Express (GBE)?

My guess is CLE doesn't want too much opposition in Illinois.  They screwed up big time listing four potential routes through Illinois for the Rock Island Clean Line (RICL).  All that did was tick off four times as many farmers and landowners.  Instead of people on one route encouraging CLE to put RICL on the land of someone else, all the farmers and landowners united and looked deeper into Clean Line Energy.

There’s a powerline going through the pasture behind my house.  It was put in about 2 years ago.  RICL might have even used it as an example in their case before the ICC.  Anyway, the power company announced their intention of running a line from LaSalle to the north end of Ottawa then on to Wedron.  From Wedron, the powerline would come back into the east side of Ottawa into a substation in the center of the town. 

There was probably three or four groups opposing this powerline, but largely all the groups were fighting each other making arguments why it was better to put the powerline somewhere else.  No one questioned the true need for the powerline.  Each group was going out of their way NOT to question the need but point the finger somewhere else.  Actually, it was kind of fascinating for our family to sit in the middle and watch this drama unfold around us.  The power company would win whichever way it went, and our pasture was literally in the middle.  Two of the three proposed routes would have affected us both going to Wedron and leaving Wedron.  Kind of weird how one powerline could affect the same farm twice, but such is the logic of energy transmission.  Anyway, most of the people fighting the power company lost. 
The power company won. The powerline was installed based on a “need” that was there in 2006 before the market crashed and the economy changed.   Much like Clean Line’s model, the projected need isn’t there now.

There is a book on Amazon, Powerline; The First Battle in America’s Energy War.  It was written by the deceased US Senator from Minnesota Paul Wellstone.  The same thing happened there.  Farmers were fighting farmers.  No one questioned the need for the HVDC powerline.  Presidents had public policies promoting coal energy as the “need” was explained.  (Sound familiar?  Only then it was coal energy and today it is wind energy.  What’s it going to be tomorrow?)  So, deals were made and landowners on the secondary route refused to question or oppose the need for the powerline because their silence meant the powerline wouldn’t affect them.

Something special is happening with BLOCKRICL.  We’ve learned.  Farmers aren’t fighting farmers.  Landowners and farmers are recognizing there is no need for this powerline and opposing the billionaires funding this aerial sewer.  Even those who could have been affected by some of the original routes are still opposing RICL!

If Clean Line Energy publishes a primary and alternate route for the Grain Belt Express down by St. Louis and east, there will likely be more opposition in Illinois.  It won’t be Grain Belt Express landowners opposing RICL landowners.  We will all recognize there is no need for these powerlines.  Clean Line Energy would be fighting a war on two fronts in the same state.. Northern Illinois and central Illinois would both be against Clean Line Energy, with Springfield in the middle.  It isn’t surprising CLE is keeping the GBE route through Illinois a secret and it isn't hard to figure out which counties GBE will go through.  Their pitchman leaves a nice trail.  A hound dog could follow that smell across the state.  The challenge is to find the townships and sections GBE is will likely pass through. 

If Illinois denies RICL public utility status or is Iowa decides a different powerline is in the state's best interest, Grain Belt Express is likely dead also.  It’s highly unlikely CLE can make a different argument for a need for Grain Belt Express that they won’t make for RICL.

Opposition to Clean Line Energy is growing in other states, like Kansas, but it appears Clean Line Energy is progressing towards full eminent domain power down there.  Hopefully people keep opposing Clean Line Energy in Kansas.  We can stop this monster if we stay focuses.  If Rock Island Clean Line fails to obtain state approval in Illinois, half of Clean Line Energy's projects are gone.  All the effort in Kansas is wasted.  RICL is indeed a Frontline Battle in America's Energy War.

If you haven't found yet, go there.  The opposition is growing. There is no true need for these powerlines.   

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