The chairman of a House committee is touting legislation that would end the project to build a 500-mile-long electric transmission line through Iowa.
Representative Bobby Kaufmann, a Republican from Wilton, says the “Rock Island Clean Line” is “stagnant” because property owners are resisting having the line on their land.
“Out of 1600 affected people, less than 150 have signed on and that number hasn’t changed in a year, so they shouldn’t be able to just sit here in pause mode,” Kaufmann says, “so the bill would put an expiration date on dormant applications.”
Developers must apply to the Iowa Utilities Board for permission to proceed with the project. Kaufmann’s bill would revoke applications for energy transmission line projects like the “Clean Line” after two years.
“You shouldn’t be able to hang these landowners into perpetuity,” Kaufmann says, “so it puts an expiration date on dormant applications, of which the ‘Clean Line’ would qualify.”
The proposed transmission line would take wind energy generated in northern Iowa and ship it to the Chicago metro. Developers have pledged to have the transmission line towers built in Sioux City and Iowa Economic Development Authority director Debi Durham has called it “an important project that needs to occur.”
Kaufmann says that’s “dead wrong” because 87 percent of landowners have refused to voluntarily sign “easements” that allow construction through their property.
“It’ll be over my cold, dead political corpse that there is an 8700 acre condemnation for economic development,” Kaufmann says.
A spokeswoman for the Rock Island Clean Line says the bill would stop development of needed infrastructure, halt job creation and withdraw millions of dollars of private investment in Iowa. Kaufmann’s bill has cleared a three-member subcommittee and will next be considered by the House Government Oversight Committee. Kaufmann is chairman of that committee.