In addition to the active and vocal BlockRICL opposition that has been giving the Rock Island Clean Line headaches in the states of Illinois and Iowa, now citizens of other Midwestern states, like Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri, are questioning the Grain Belt Express and Plains & Eastern Clean Line projects and beginning to organize to oppose those projects.
Silly Clean Line, you can't build a transmission line without opposition. It's not about whether the transmission line is transporting "clean" or "dirty" energy, it's about need for the transmission line. Affected landowners will always question the determination of need for a new transmission line. And what does Clean Line have? "Wind" energy must be transported to east coast states so that wind developers in Kansas, Oklahoma and Iowa can get rich? Its not about farmers or landowners cashing in, it's all about private, for-profit corporations and their investors making a whole bunch of money off the backs of what they arrogantly consider to be uneducated rube farmers and environmentally conscious but sadly oblivious east coast consumers who are easily fooled by the green-washing Midwest "wind" scheme.
Let's examine some of the propaganda and empty promises Clean Line is utilizing in a rather sad, transparent attempt to build false advocacy for its project with the hope that it will be enough to influence state siting approvals.
1. Hold "open houses" for local businesses and "collect their information" and tell them they will be notified to bid on project supplies and labor when the time comes. By making these kinds of empty promises to local businesses, Clean Line buys their support and advocacy for free! By the time these local businesses realize that there's no role for them in building one of these "clean" lines, it's too late. The Texas shysters will already have their state approval to take property by eminent domain and build their money-making transmission line with imported labor and supplies. The fact is that building high voltage transmission is a highly specialized industry and labor will be imported for the duration. The only "local" jobs may be a few fast food servers or motel housekeepers to serve these professional transmission builders for a few weeks while temporarily housed in your locality building the line. Supplies and components will be contracted from a handful of large corporations, many of them manufactured in other countries. If you don't believe me that Clean Line's promises to local businesses are empty, try getting Clean Line to sign a supply or labor contract with your local company today.
2. Holding "open houses" for landowners and pretending that Clean Line is interested in answering questions and receiving information from affected landowners. This is a ruse used by the company to evaluate the possibility of opposition and give the appearance of community consultation. It is also set up to divide and conquer landowners individually by suggesting that cooperation could push the line over onto a neighbor's property *wink, nod.* Landowners come away with more questions than answers, but most likely the magic has already happened, despite Clean Line's best obfuscating efforts. The ones who will lead the opposition to the project have already self-selected and made important contacts with like-minded individuals over plates of free Clean Line ham.
"One landowner came with a plastic sack and took about a two-inch width of slices of ham. I looked at him and he said, 'I've got cats,' " Nelson said. "Everybody else was saying, 'We might as well eat. That might be all we get.' "
3. Pretending that the transmission lines will carry 100% renewable energy desperately wanted and needed in east coast states and that the cost of the lines will not be end up in local electric bills. These "clean" lines will also carry electricity generated by fossil fuels because the maximum capacity for a variable resource like wind is somewhere around 35%. Also, federal regulations prohibit Clean Line from banning fossil-fuel generators from buying capacity on the line. While Clean Line is telling the public that it is a merchant, or privately-financed, enterprise, Clean Line has asked federal regulators to approve broad socialization of merchant lines to those who do not consume the renewable electricity, claiming that new transmission lines create regional "reliability" benefits simply by existing. If Clean Line and other "renewable" energy benefactors are successful in socializing the cost of their projects across entire regions, we're all going to be paying to transport renewable energy from coast to coast, whether we consume any of it or not.
4. Bullying of landowners, consumers, citizens and government agencies by Clean Line personnel. The prospect of a huge profit can make corporate lackeys do despicable things. Compare this photo of Clean Line President Michael Smelly (in the cast - let's not even think about how that might have happened) "observing" the interaction between the public and federal environmental impact statement personnel during a public scoping meeting with these photos of PATH Transmission personnel "observing" the interaction between the public and federal environmental impact statement personnel during a public scoping meeting. "Observation" easily degenerates into intimidation when things aren't going to the transmission line company's liking. Don't be intimidated!
It's time for Texas-based, Wall Street-financed, Clean Line Energy Partners to quit denying its opposition, and come "clean" with the public. Fact is, Clean Line is applying to states for the right to condemn right of way for its private, for-profit, project through eminent domain. But, Clean Line hopes you rubes will be good sports and allow yourselves to be taken advantage of by its hired, professional land sharks, err, I mean "land agents," and sell your land early and cheaply. Don't be foolish, always seek your own legal counsel before signing any agreements. Your attorney will tell you that the longer you resist land sharks, oops, I mean "agents," the higher the price of your land climbs. Land owners who resist eminent domain grabs receive, on average, 5 to 6 times the original offer by holding out and settling on the court house steps just before a hearing.
And while you're holding out, you might as well explore whether organized and intelligent opposition can halt the transmission project in its entirety. Yes, it can. We killed the PATH project.
Don't get me wrong, I like clean energy as much as the next guy. However, I'm not expecting Midwest farmers and other electric consumers to sacrifice their land and their money to allow me the privilege of believing that I'm somehow helping the environment when I turn on my centrally generated "green" electricity. Clean Line is nonsense. If you want to help the environment, how about making your own personal sacrifice to supply your own, locally-generated renewable power, such as installing solar panels on your own roof? It is not sustainable to destroy prime farmland to meet your own personal renewable goals.
The east coast doesn't want or need Clean Line's overpriced "wind" power. Just say no to Clean Line.
So, if you're asking yourself -- do we really need these "clean" lines for renewable energy (no!); is there other opposition to these projects that I can join (yes!); and can opposition cancel one of these projects (yes!!), you've come to the right place.
Get in touch with the folks at BlockRICL, or email us for more information.