The gathering was to show their support for legislation that might give farmers a new pathway to fight the project. Carolyn Sheridan, a farmer from Greenville is a spokeswoman for the group against the Rock Island Clean Line project.
Sheridan says eminent domain authority will be used to seize a path for the power lines to pass through farm fields.
Eminent domain authority cannot be used for the placement of wind turbines, but it can be used for power lines and a bill under consideration in the Iowa House would set up a new appeal process with the Iowa Utilities Board for high-voltage transmission lines that stretch for 200 or more miles. Sheridan says the group hasn’t found “good answers” about whether the high-voltage line may cause health problems in humans and livestock nearby.
On Monday a Sioux City-based company announced it will build the towers for the high-voltage lines and will nearly double its workforce because of the deal. Governor Terry Branstad’s economic development director was at the announcement, calling the transmission line “an important infrastructure project that needs to occur” because wind energy has the potential to be a growing Iowa export. Sheridan and her group were surprised by that.