O’Brien County, Iowa — The Iowa House has passed a bill that would likely doom the proposed Rock Island Clean Line project, a project to build a 500-mile-long electric transmission line through Iowa, starting in O’Brien County to ship wind power generated in Iowa to Illinois. If the bill becomes law, developers of electric transmission line projects would have three years to get agreements with 75 percent of affected property owners before Iowa regulators could give developers eminent domain authority to seize the rest of the properties.
Representative Bobby Kaufmann, a Republican from Wilton, is the bill’s chief sponsor.
Critics like Democratic Representative Mary Wolfe of Clinton say the bill “changes the rules” for the project “in the middle of the game.”
Representative Bruce Hunter, a Democrat from Des Moines, says the bill sends the wrong message.
The bill faces an uncertain future in the Iowa Senate. Opponents say it not only would derail the $2-billion construction project, but another $7-billion worth of wind turbines in Iowa. The proposed Rock Island Clean Line would stretch through 16 counties and cover about 500 miles in Iowa.