Opposition to its Rock Island Clean Line, Grain Belt Express, and Plains & Eastern Clean Line projects continues to grow at explosive rates. This isn't just a handful of NIMBYs in an isolated tool shed, but an active, educated, cohesive, movement numbering in the thousands and stretching across eight states (and beyond!)
Clean Line's biggest problem is its desire to wield the power granted to entities acting in the public interest by the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation
Whether granted by a state, or by the federal government through Sec. 1222 of the Energy Policy Act, giving eminent domain authority to Clean Line is just wrong. And the people will continue to loudly protest until the threat is removed.
Clean Line is failing in the all-important court of public opinion, which powers the legislative stance that drives approval or rejection of Clean Line's state regulatory applications. Clean Line hates it when the voters connect with their elected representatives because Clean Line has spent lots of time and money wooing your legislators to support its project with inflated claims about jobs and economic development. Clean Line has also been busy trying to slant the news coverage of its projects by meeting privately with editors and reporters in order to present them with a one-sided set of "facts" that support the project. News sources practicing ethical journalism seem to be immune, but every once in a while Clean Line hits the mark with an editor motivated by politics or good ol' boy business glad handing.
Yesterday, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch posted one such editorial, so full of political pandering that it probably didn't require the additional lies that it printed. The Editorial Board went wandering off about repeal of state renewable portfolio standards, the Koch brothers, foreign oil, commercial hog farms, Keystone XL, and oil subsidies. None of these topics have anything to do with Clean Line, but the paper tried to use these political topics to paint the opposition it knows nothing about as unacceptable and therefore not worthy of being heard. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch also quotes Grain Belt Express project manager Mark Lawlor as claiming he has purchased all the land he needs in Kansas:
Mr. Lawlor has been through this before, in Kansas, where he says the company has completed buying the land it needs for that portion of the line.
The editorial was so bad that it has inspired more than 80 comments, almost all of them from real people knowledgeable about transmission and opposed to Clean Line. Go ahead, read the comments, and see the people educate Clean Line's sparse supporters in Missouri.
And if you think that editorial is bad, check out this article in the Cherokee Chronicle Times where reporter Loren G. Flaugh tosses journalistic ethics out the window to openly insult one of Clean Line's opponents in Iowa. The reporter inserts personal opinion into the story, calling Preservation of Rural Iowa Alliance board member Jerry Crew "befuddled," "mistaken," and says his group "doesn't understand" the project's business model. And the reporter bases his inexpert understanding on talking points from Clean Line. I wonder, would that hold up in court?
Crew wanted elected officials to tell him what was on the line when the wind doesn't blow. No one could give him a correct or logical answer. The reporter concludes that when the wind doesn't blow, the line will be de-energized. I think the reporter is the one "befuddled" by Clean Line's bullsh*t. If wind farms are contracted to purchase a certain amount of capacity on the line, and they aren't producing anything, they will most likely re-sell their capacity in the secondary market to try to recover some of their cost. Who would buy it? Any generator who wants to connect into the series of regional feeder lines supplying Rock Island Clean Line's starting point converter station, that's who. And it could be ANY kind of generator -- coal, oil, gas, solar, wind. Clean Line cannot guarantee that its line will be... "clean."
Jerry Crew is absolutely correct, and the reporter is misinformed.
My, my, my, how desperate Clean Line has become as it stoops to new lows in the media. A viable project wouldn't require tossing journalistic ethics out the window. Clean Line is more closely imitating the death throes of a bad project. Surrender, Clean Line.