I have no objection to companies who want to invest in Illinois’ electrical grid improvement or wind/solar energy projects that benefit Illinois residents. Clean Line Energy Partners’ projects (headquarters in Texas, not Illinois); however, serve only theirs and their global and investment partners’ benefit and bypass/undermine our state’s efforts to produce clean energy.
Key members of their executive staff held positions which established the standards that regulate this industry. Other key executives previously owned or worked for Horizon Wind Energy (Texas), sold out to EDP Renewables (a global energy giant) through Goldman Sachs in 2007, allowing them to collect over $440 million from green energy stimulus over the past three years. Do we really want a public utility that may sell out once their routes are established and send our tax money straight out of the country giving power over our utilities to a foreign country?
Rock Island Clean Line doesn’t want to use existing roadway easements because it would cost more and would rather go through prime farmland causing additional hardship to farmers heavily impacted by this year’s drought. Over the past 30 years we have lost 45 million rural acres to development with over 23 million acres being prime farmland. This is a non-renewable resource, and the damage by these projects cannot be undone. We cannot afford to allow our prime farmland to be destroyed/taken by eminent domain by companies who serve only themselves and global power brokers.
There are not thousands of new jobs as touted in the press, only a few hundred jobs from existing business connections as shown in their testimony submitted to the ICC. Most of the work is already contracted through companies outside Illinois. RICL, one of Clean Line’s four projects nationwide, has withdrawn their request to the ICC under Docket 10-0579 to obtain public utility status to remove the objections/intervenes previously filed. The objectors have requested that previous objections be attached to RICL’s current filing submitted Oct. 10, under Docket 12-0560.
I do not object to clean energy projects that benefit Illinois constituents. I object to Clean Line/RICL’s misleading practices that benefit only their executives with possible connections outside the United States. These executives helped establish standards regulating this industry while serving in government positions and/or sponsoring studies which justify their findings, and now work in the private sector to make monumental profits.
Since 2009, Clean Line has paid at least $190,000 to Washington lobbying firms. This green energy gold rush has allowed companies to cash in on billions of dollars designated for clean energy being pushed by Congress. RICL was forced by the ICC to have an established route submission, and only then did they contact the landowners affected. They spent their time marketing this project to power brokers/investment bankers rather than inform the landowners of their true intentions. I respectfully ask the public to contact the ICC requesting they deny Rock Island Clean Line under Docket 12-0560 public utility status and the ability to use eminent domain to take private landowners’ property for their own personal gain. RICL’s project does not benefit the constituents of Illinois.