Sunday, February 8, 2015

Clean Line's New Offer to Local Governments to Provide Their Muscle

How much is it worth to a wanna-be "utility" company to buy government muscle?

Remember when the Rock Island Clean Line was making the "generous" offer to Illinois counties for $7,000 per mile for 20 years in Illinois.  Clean Line was so “generous” to make this offer to Illinois counties when in Iowa state law require the company to pay $7,000 per year FOR LIFE of the project and not 20 years. 

Well, it looks like the company is getting a bit more desperate as it realizes they are losing public support.  .  There are reports in Central Illinois the company is offering $7,000 per mile every year for the life of the Grain Belt Clean Line project and not just the 20 years they were offering northern Illinois counties.  Sound better?

Wait until you hear what the company is offering in Oklahoma!

Land owners are being offered a pittance in Oklahoma at around $3,000 per acre for the right of way easement, but Clean Line is telling Oklahoma counties they will pay $20,000 a mile for the life of the project.  Grundy County thought they were getting a good deal negotiating with Clean Line for a huge tax abatement.  Wasn’t there a couple counties in Northern Illinois that settled for the 7K/20 year deal?

Let do the math here.  If a Clean Line project transverses a 30 mile wide Oklahoma county, the company pays $630,000 annually in taxes but in Central Illinois, the company is willing to pay $210,000 a year and in Northern Illinois a county only receives that for 20 years.
To those counties that settled for the 20 year agreement, I have one word to say.

Never take the first offer.

What is even more disturbing Clean Line is offering the counties more income than they are offering the landowners.  Clean Line has done such a horrible job engaging landowners and offending them, a true negotiation is now impossible.  Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma residents are telling Clean Line to pound sand.   Clean Line’s hope is to pay the counties to apply the leverage and muscle on the landowners and townships.  Remember that 3 page agreement RICL had for the counties to sign?   3 lines in the agreement were the company’s obligation and the remainder was the county’s responsibility. 

This is the altruistic values of “clean” energy.   The Department of Energy or state regulators supply the eminent domain hammer Clean Line projects and the counties supply the big stick so Clean Line gets their powerline built.  Modern Organized Crime dirty tactics like this negates any virtues of “clean” energy. 

Is this what we as a society want?  Do we want unregulated and unreliable wind energy delivered on a limited access merchant transmission powerlines? Do we want infrastructure models where the government supplies the National Guard muscle to build a powerline so they can get paid $630,000 a year? That is the direction Clean Line is taking this “negotiation” with landowners. 

Secretary Moniz, it’s time to end this.  Plains & Eastern is not the transmission line America needs.  This is not the time to build transmission for wind energy.  Demand is declinging.  Clean Line is not the company the federal government, state or even county should align themselves with.  Look at the pushback the nation is giving to these for-profit infrastructure projects.  It’s time to cut loose these unnecessary projects.  Now is not the time to go down the road of forcing wind energy on America.

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