Sunday, September 8, 2013

RICL and a Potential "Gap" between Right of Ways

Ok, I have a question.  Suppose a HVDC powerline (RICL) is running parallel to an existing natural gas pipeline (Northern Borders) through parts of northern Iowa and Ilinois to Chanahon.  At some point it looks as though the existing right of way and the proposed RICL right of way will run parallel.  Because of stray voltage issues relating to high voltage direct current powerlines and pipeline corrosion,  the powerline elects to seek a right of way 1000 feet away from the pipeline.  Take the path of more resistance (literally) and move far away as possible from the pipeline.

Sure the powerline only wants to purchase a 200 foot wide right of way but if they move 1,000 feet north of the pipeline, they are effectively recieving a 1,200 foot wide right of way.  That 1,000 feet between the pipeline right of way and powerline right of way is effectively useless.  You can't build on it and develope it.  No other company will seek a right of way between to two right of ways.

If there is a 1,000 foot gap between two right of ways and the HVDC powerline is only buying 200 feed width of right of way, the powerline company is effectively recieving the extra width that is five times larger than the 200 foot right of way for free.

If a powerline company thinks they can get away with this, they better think again.  Powerline executives better ask themselves this simple question; 

What is a local county court going to determine in an eminent domain case?  

I'll give you a hint.  The court is going to say buy the real right of way that is six times larger than the company intends at a FAIR price for a right of way.  The damages to the property value isn't going to be a few poles.  It will be much much wider than 200 feet. 

I am speaking from personal experience, here.  Another farm property of my family has 3 or 4 pipelines next to each other plus a 100,000 volt powerline.  Two of the pipelines and the powerline lie on our property.  The other pipelines are on the neighbors property and come up to a quary pit.  When they start taking up more than their right of way, land gets used up quickly.

There is literally no more room for another right of way.  To the north is a enormous pit mine.  To the south are some massive hills, farm buildings and houses.  The next utility company that thinks they "need" to put a right of way through this corridor is going to have to think again.  The right of ways will have to start piling up on top of each other.  There is no more room.

Now I seriously doubt RICL will change their mind and move the powerline to the south of the Northern Borders pipeline and on to my property. There is a mountain of overburden from a gravel pit a few miles to the west of Prairie Center.  RICL will have to go to the north of that pile and it is unlikely they would the cut back south and affect me directly, but if they did, we wouldn't be talking about a paltry $8,500 per acre for a 200 foot right of way.  We would be starting at $45,000 an acre and the right of way would start at the edge of the Northern Borders pipeline right of way and go however far out into the field desired.  There would be no "gap" between right of ways.

If RICL or Duke or any other powerline company thinks they can just take more land than their allotted right of way, they had better think again.  We've grown tired of this nonsense.  

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