On Monday, Clean Line thought it had whacked the Iowa mole for its RICL project when the IUB issued an Order setting a procedural schedule. With a permit for RICL from Illinois in hand, the only thing Clean Line needed to build RICL was a permit from Iowa.
But on Wednesday, the Illinois mole popped back up, not easily whacked and disposed of.
And if RICL cannot be an Illinois utility, neither can Clean Line's Grain Belt Express project, whose permit mole is currently on appeal in another Illinois district. Meanwhile, Clean Line is busily engaged in trying to whack the GBE mole in Missouri, and is expected to file another application for a permit at the end of this month.
Why bother spending time and money whacking moles in Iowa and Missouri, when the Illinois moles refuse to stay whacked? Clean Line cannot build any project unless it has whacked all that particular project's moles, and they actually stay whacked.
So, let's add this up:
- State permitting process in Iowa underway which will require quick deployment of land agents and expensive exhibits, in addition to legal and expert fees. The IUB also added engineering consultant fees to Clean Line's bill in order to evaluate the project according to Clean Line's foot-dragging schedule.
- RICL appeal process in Illinois. Lots of legal fees.
- State permitting process in Missouri soon to be underway, which will require legal and expert fees, along with various SWAG paid to garner political support for its project.
- GBE appeal process in Illinois, with very little chance for success. Lots of legal fees.
- Trying to engineer, site, and acquire land in three other states for its Plains & Eastern project.
- Other projects in western states Clean Line is currently trying to "develop."
Clean Line created a bigger mole field than it could handle when it decided it needed to "develop" multiple projects at the same time. A smart company may have concentrated on just one project to begin with, to see how viable the Clean Line business model actually was. But not Clean Line... it was so certain of its success, that it began dumping investor money into multiple projects at the same time. And now, 7 years later, they're still whacking an increasing amount of moles, and need an increasing amount of cash to do so. Will the company tighten its belt and start abandoning the least likely projects, in order to concentrate its resources on the most likely? What if none of the Clean Line projects are very likely at all? What if the investors finally acknowledge just how hopeless Clean Line actually is?