PRIA recently announced:
Today is a day to celebrate!! It is a historic day for property rights!
Governor Branstad signed a bill into law forbidding merchant high voltage transmission lines such as RICL from having condemnation power to take private property by eminent domain. Click here to read Senate File 516: an Act relating to state and local finances by making appropriations providing for legal and regulatory responsibilities, concerning taxation, and providing for other properly related matters, and including effective date and retroactive applicability provisions. This bill passed the Iowa House on April 21, 55-39 and the Iowa Senate on April 21, 27-13. Read the lanquage related to merchant transmission lines beginning on page 18 of the bill.
This means that even if RICL decides to try and come back into Iowa they CANNOT take your property by use of eminent domain. This is a huge win.
A very dedicated and amazing board of directors donated their time, energy and talents to continue this mission for nearly 4 years.
Many people across Iowa and outside the state spent endless volunteer hours and contributed money to assist PRIA legislators in making this possible.
We need to also remember the leaders in private property rights in other states who provided leadership and guidance as they continue their fight!
Third time was not the charm for RICL though. The company has tried multiple times to get the Iowa Utilities Board to grant it public utility status and eminent domain authority ahead of any actual application for the project. The IUB stood firm, however, and refused to allow a birfucation of its transmission application process that would coerce landowners to grant easements before the project application was even filed. RICL tried to do this because filing requirements in Iowa require the company to produce a packet of information at the time of filing for each property it may take via eminent domain. RICL complained that was too expensive, and too difficult, and wanted eminent domain authority to wield against landowners so that they would grant easements before application, saving RICL the trouble of creating the information packet for the majority of the properties.
Iowans refused to make it that easy for RICL. They did something amazing instead... they stood together and refused to negotiate easements with RICL. To stand together against a company waving their checkbook around is something that doesn't happen every time. Iowans demonstrated the power of community by sticking together. And they demonstrated backbone by continuing their fight, both at the IUB and in the legislature. RICL was never about providing electricity to Iowa. It was a one-way highway to ship electricity out of state for private profit. That's not something that should be granted eminent domain authority.
And this is precisely the argument heard by the Illinois Supreme Court this week. Why RICL continued trying to reverse the appeals court's decision to vacate their permit granted by the Illinois Commerce Commission, even after they were shut out of Iowa where their project was planned to begin, is anyone's guess. Pretty pointless, but so is everything Clean Line does anymore.
A while ago, I compared Clean Line's permitting debacle to a game of whack-a-mole. Every time the company wacked a mole and received a permit, more moles popped up as impediments to its projects. And everyone knows how a game of whack-a-mole speeds up at the end, where it's impossible to whack all the moles that pop up, and then you lose. Clean Line's whack-a-mole game is running double time. Clean Line was shut out of Iowa before Illinois even heard its appeal. What now, Clean Line? What now? RICL needs to be re-routed to another state, or abandoned altogether. The project is dead. Please just admit that.
Congratulations to PRIA and the Iowans who came together and fought so hard to protect their communities from out-of-state profiteers! They are an example to emulate in other transmission battles.