Clean Line Energy Partners went into panic mode when dozens of landowners stormed the Capitol in Des Moines this week.  While legislation proposed to protect landowner rights under threat of eminent domain takings for the company's Rock Island Clean Line project passed out of committee, it failed to advance because Mother Nature intervened and turned the legislature dysfunctional at a crucial time.

However, all is not lost.  As Clean Line's snarky editorial tells us, " could come back as an amendment tacked onto another bill that's still alive."

And what's up with the name-calling in that editorial?  NIMBY?  Is that the best Clean Line could do to lobby for its project? 
But some people don't like the project, which is why the bill came forward. Landowners who are wary of eminent domain powers are speaking up against the project. In large part it has become an issue pitting pro-business groups and legislators against people who carry the NIMBY, or Not in My Backyard, mindframe.
Name-calling is one of the cheapest propaganda devices.  By placing opponents into unacceptable groups, the propagandist attempts to remove them from the argument before their positions can be logically considered.
Propagandists use the name-calling technique to incite fears or arouse positive prejudices with the intent that invoked fear (based on fearmongering tactics) or trust will encourage those that read, see or hear propaganda to construct a negative opinion, in respect to the former, or a positive opinion, with respect to the latter, about a person, group, or set of beliefs or ideas that the propagandist would wish the recipients to believe. The method is intended to provoke conclusions and actions about a matter apart from an impartial examinations of the facts of the matter. When this tactic is used instead of an argument, name-calling is thus a substitute for rational, fact-based arguments against an idea or belief, based upon its own merits, and becomes an argumentum ad hominem.
Clean Line is so frightened by the righteous concerns of landowners being asked to make a sacrifice for the pecuniary aspirations of a company from Texas, that they have resorted to cheap party tricks like "NIMBY."

News Flash:  Use of the "NIMBY" name in transmission battles is passe and ineffective.  The Alliance has already overcome that stereotype quite effectively.

And why shouldn't landowners be concerned or, as the editorial puts it, "not like the project."  The project is asking them to sacrifice their property, their business, their peace of mind and their physical well-being for the needs of some phantom others in "states farther east."  Who wouldn't resist it?  Would you resist a similar attack on your own home, income and way of life?

In addition, the "project" isn't even needed for reliability or economic reasons.  It's a scheme to make a lot of money supplanting existing generation in "states farther east" that have no desire for the power in the first place. 

While the financial windfalls may be shared with a handful of politically-connected landowners in NW Iowa who voluntarily host turbines, the buck stops there.  The Alliance landowners are being forced to take a one-time "market value" payment, not share in the wealth.  Their contribution to the effort is not being fairly recognized or compensated. 

While Clean Line's lobbyists hyperventilate that the legislation will "shut down this project as well as kill jobs,” the proposed legislation merely removed the company's threat of eminent domain against landowners who refused to go along.  As the Illinois Farm Bureau said in its Illinois Commerce Commission brief:
"In addition, if granted § 8-503 relief, what Rock Island characterizes as “voluntary” easement negotiations with farmers will actually sound something like “Rock Island has been directed by the Commission to construct a transmission line on an approve[d] route, which crosses your land.” Characterizing the easement negotiations as voluntary under these facts is kind of like giving someone the option of jumping off of a cliff before you push them."
If RICL is a viable and economic project, it shouldn't have any trouble compensating landowners to their satisfaction, and would not need the threat of eminent domain.  The use of eminent domain for private gain is the issue here, not jobs or economic development.  At what point does a person's right to own and enjoy property become less than another individual's desire to confiscate that property for his or her own pecuniary goals?  If you believe this is okay, as long as it's in someone else's back yard and you're sharing in the wealth, you're heading down a very slippery slope.  Because if you think it's okay in someone else's back yard, you are also saying it's okay in your own, and some day, the chickens are going to come home to roost and then you will be the "NIMBY." 

Why is Clean Line so scared? 
Think about it.


02/22/2014 11:39am

First you have to examine what NIMBY stands for.

These folks aren't pushing the project into the back yards of others. They are saying that the project isn't needed in anyone's back yard. Therefore the NIMBY name fails.

02/22/2014 7:50pm

Thhis is the issue: Emminent domain is for PUBLIC use. Other utils. do it because their line is needed to make sure we have lights. RICL is not for that, it is so Clen Line gets filthy rich. Dirty money! No Emminent domain for private gain!

02/24/2014 12:05am

Next time you hear a "Clean" Line rep saying "They're not applying for eminent domain AT THIS TIME," ..........
.................... remember this that came out UNDER OATH:

ComEd on RICL’s desire for Eminent Domain

"Second, RICL seeks an order under Section 8-503 to use as leverage in negotiations with private landowners whose land RI will need to acquire for the Project. Should its voluntary negotiations with the landowners fail, RI will use its 8-503 order as the legal precursor for exercising the power of eminent domain to involuntarily acquire the property rights necessary for the speculative Project." Page 37.

"RICL’s Primary Objective in Seeking an Order Under Section 8-503 Is To Facilitate Its Ability To Acquire Eminent Domain Authority And Initiate Condemnation Lawsuits To Obtain The Property Interests It Requires.

RICL recognizes that negotiating easement transactions with several dozen landowners could be time consuming and acrimonious, and having a Section 8-503 order in hand will strengthen its negotiating position with landowners and add credibility to RI’s claim that it can acquire the necessary property one way or the other." Page 40.

"Similarly, when voluntary negotiations with landowners reach an impasse, having a Section 8-503 order will streamline RI’s ability to obtain eminent domain authority and pursue condemnation actions to acquire the property interests that the Project requires." Page 40.

"In light of the record in this case, filled as it is with various contingencies that will delay or even prevent construction of the Project, the Commission should not take the extraordinary, precedent-setting step of arming RI with an order that will permanently impact private property rights, whether used as leverage in easement negotiations or as the legal predicate to allowing RI to take private property in condemnation proceedings." Page 40.


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