Power line opposition updates volunteers ahead of meeting

Public meeting slated tonight

Recently Block Rock Island Clean Line volunteers met to plan the informational meeting being held in Ottawa this evening, Tuesday, April 30.

Members representing farmer land, impacted homeowners and concerned taxpaying citizens plan to disseminate updates to the community and others impacted by the high-voltage DC power lines during the meeting.

The gathering, which is open to the public, will be held at 6:30 p.m. at Pitstick Pavilion, north of Ottawa on Illinois 23.

Discussion of farmers potentially being in the fields planting was considered, but those is attendance determined plans for the date needed to go forward as it was anticipated many people planning to attend aren’t in the agriculture business and ample volunteers are available on that date, even if fields are fit for planting.

Paul Marshal spoke about the potential impact on farm land and farming practices, as well as the intervention opposing the project as filed by the Illinois Farm Bureau.

He also told of State’s Attorney Lisa Madigan’s filing of an intervention on behalf of her clients, the Illinois Department of Agriculture. 

Carol Wilson spoke on home and business value depreciation and effects on taxpayers within counties when land, home and businesses are depreciated and other taxpayers must make up the revenue through higher taxes. Jeanette Carother’s and Wilson had also been working on updating form letters and representatives lists for the April event.

Scott Thorson shared information he had researched as to the other side of the company Clean Line. Clean Line is owned by private investors from New York and Texas: billionaires who made the Forbes Magazine‘s Top 100 wealthiest people in the U.S.

This private capitalist venture proposes the RICL project, as well as Grain Belt Express, and Plains and Eastern transmission lines; targeting transporting wind energy from Western states to East Coast states. He informed the group of the Company’s Enron ties and complex structure, as well as the past jobs some of the company’s employees held.

Mary Auchstetter presented information on the Eastern governor’s stand against importing wind energy from the west and the options they are developing to meet renewable portfolios by the 2025 deadline. Further research into clean energy alternatives, including off-shore wind harnessing and turbines place under the Atlantic Ocean using tide waters for generating electricity, are being completed.

Auchstetter also shared information as to Clean Line’s presentation at the renewable energy webinar at the U of I campus in Champaign. The PowerPoint presentation given by Clean Line’s Hans Detweiller’s is on line, but she has been unable to find the recorded webinar on line.

Susan Sack spoke on updates with ally groups also asking the Illinois Commerce Commission to support a “Notice of Inquiry” into all proposed transmission line projects in Illinois. Many of these Illinois groups have requested the ICC study ALL proposed projects in context of each other.

She noted two State Representatives, Brown and Rosenthal, have proposed House Bill 103, and State Senator Chapin Rose has proposed Senate Bill 1874 in response to transmission line issues and are asking no fast tracking of projects be allowed and a moratorium be place on projects  until the ICC can evaluate and determine necessity and benefits to Illinois. The group was informed of outreach contact with groups opposing Clean Line transmission projects in Tennessee, Arkansas, Kansas, Iowa, and Indiana.

Patricia Rod spoke out as a taxpaying citizen who owns land along one of the alternative routes not selected in RICL’s ICC application for public utility status. She expressed concern that if the company were granted public utility status, it could use the power of eminent domain and again move the proposed route.

She noted that landowners are not out of danger of having their lands seized and easements for perpetuity run across them. Rod shared she was volunteering with Block RICL to help make sure the Clean Line proposed transmission line project and the other seven proposed projects don’t become “bridges to nowhere” saddling taxpayers and landowners with higher taxes and a mess.

Alice Cary reported on the updates to the Block RICL database and Jeff Stevenson  presented  information on new updated yard signs and merchandise that contain the group’s web site www.BlockRICL.com. He stated they would be available for the April 30 meeting.

Sara Landers  guided the group on the advertising of the event and layout of information stations on the dance floor level of the Pitsticks meeting hall. It was also decided information about the Illinois Land Owner’s Alliance will be presented by the ILA directors in a separate area.

It was determined volunteers running stations for the event should be at set up at 4 p.m., while additional volunteers are asked to be at Pitsticks at 5 p.m. for training at their tasks. A large crowd is anticipated and Ed Pistick was uplifted as donating the use of the facility in support of the dissemination of information.

The public is invited to Pitsticks Pavillion for the BlockRICL informational meeting. Information about the Clean Line proposed project as well as updates as to the many recent happenings will be presented. Call (815) 910-9064 for further information.