Clean Line Energy project draws criticism from those in the middle
A billion dollar project that promises to let Siouxlanders cash in on the wind is facing backlash from land owners in other parts of the midwest.
Clean Line Energy wants to put a converter station in O'Brien County, Iowa.
That part of the project alone represents a $250-million investment by the Texas company.
The wind energy captured by turbines dotting Northwest Iowa could power more than a million homes in Chicago and beyond.
But, to get the power there they have to put transmission lines on private property, like Ed Simpson's century farm near Rock Island, Illinois.
"If someone else wants it fine, but I don't. It couldn't hit us any worse, in terms of location," said Simpson.
Siouxland stands to profit from the project, and could see several wind related business blow into town.
Not to mention the work related to the construction of the converter station and transmission lines. Clean Line says that's 5,000 jobs alone.
Those in Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois are still trying to figure out what's in it for them.
"In general we're talking tens of millions to Illinois landowners, won't really be many Illinois jobs, and investors will be at opposite ends of the line and we just happen to be in the middle," said Rep. Rich Morthland, a Republican from Cordova, Illinois.
The company plans to pay $150,000 to $200,000 for every miles of land used for the transmission line. They say there would be no harmful effects from the lines to the land or livestock because they are using direct current, which leaves a smaller foot print.