To the Editor:
As an Iowan and as a Wind Energy student, I understand how vital agriculture is to Iowa's economy and hundreds of families. There are individuals who oppose the Rock Island Clean Line project because they fear that Iowa farmers will lose their land and livelihoods due to this project, but actually that's not true.
Wind energy companies in Iowa are committed to minimizing agricultural impacts. The Clean Line project was created to responsibly avoid drainage tile interference, soil compaction disruption, damage to soil conservation practices, and crop damage. In addition, this project will take up only one percent of farmland. The economic and environmental benefits to Iowa as a result of this project far outweigh the small cost.
The land that will be used in the Clean Line project will be made up of easements, 145 to 200 feet-wide pieces of land that Clean Line will use to maintain and operate the transmission line. These easements are not owned by Clean Line, and allow landowners to farm in the easement area. The landowners negotiate with Clean Line for agreements on voluntary easements and the landowners are compensated for the land used.
Wind energy is the fastest-growing source of electricity production in the world, and is a thriving industry in Iowa. This clean energy generates no emissions, uses no water inputs, and displaces CO2 and other greenhouse gases that would otherwise be emitted by fossil fuel-fired electric generation. In 2012, wind power projects invested $25 billion dollars in Iowa.
Fear of change should not halt innovation. Iowa has an incredible opportunity to grow its economy and make a positive environmental impact on our whole country. Please join me in supporting this important project to benefit one of Iowa's most important industries.