The IUB explains its actions are the result of recent new law in Iowa that sets a strict time standard for merchant transmission applications.
On May 27, 2016, House File 2459 was signed into law, adding § 478.6A “Merchant line franchises – requirements – limitations” to the Iowa Code. This newly- enacted statute creates a new class of electric transmission lines, called “merchant lines,” and sets time limits for processing franchise petitions for merchant lines. Clean Line’s proposed electric transmission line is a merchant line as defined in the new statute. Going forward, all petitions for a franchise for a merchant line that involves the taking of property under eminent domain will be subject to § 478.6A, which establishes a three-year deadline for Board action on those petitions. If that deadline is not met then the petition shall be rejected and the petitioner may not file a petition for the same or similar project within sixty months following the date of rejection.
Section 39 of House File 2459 sets out slightly different time requirements for merchant line petitions filed on or after November 1, 2014, that have not yet been approved by the Board as of May 27, 2016. The three-year approval period is not applicable to these petitions; instead, the Board must act on these petitions within two years. The Clean Line petitions fall into this classification and therefore a decision on these petitions must be issued by the Board no later than May 27, 2018.
Clean Line can no longer hold Iowa landowners hostage by refusing to move its applications forward. The company has failed to complete its applications by submitting what is known as "Exhibit E" material. Instead, Clean Line has repeatedly attempted to bifurcate the permitting process to avoid submitting Exhibit E. Exhibit E is a package of materials particular to each property upon which the applicant expects to exercise eminent domain, if granted. Because Clean Line has been so ridiculously ineffective in obtaining easements in Iowa, Exhibit E's will be required for up to 80 - 85% of properties crossed.
Clean Line has repeatedly whined that creating Exhibit E material is too time consuming and too expensive. Its whining has fallen on deaf ears. Now it's time to put up or shut up. The clock is ticking.
Could this be the end of the Rock Island Clean Line project? Check mate!