Let me tell you about our dot…
Pasture, ready for a milk cow…
Installing a frame for solar panels…
A summer of preserving the bounty of our land…
It’s hard to describe the sickening feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you look at that map. It’s so awful to stare at your home on a screen with their big black line cutting right across your property and right next to your house. They’ve assigned you a number, or maybe even a combination of letters and numbers – that’s what we got. All you are is just another piece of land that’s in the way.
It’s an aerial map. As I’m looking at it I can clearly see my house, my barn, the shed, our small gravel road leading up to the other barn, and more. Was I in my house when they took that picture? Am I out in the field somewhere too small to see? It’s creepy and feels violating. It’s trespassing. You want to say, “Hey! Who told you you could come take a picture of my house?” but there’s no one to listen.
Again and again you see their canned statement about being “committed to working with landowners” and “the benefits to the state” but you know it’s not true. One neighbor called over and over and never got through. Another finally got through only to be told that “no, we can’t move it a few feet over so it’s not across your pond” or “yes, we see you plan on building a barn in the path – but that wouldn’t be possible. It would be in our way.”
We wanted to know what the benefits were of the substations they lied about bringing to each county they plan to cut the line through. They quietly told us those were simply “typos.” Not lies — “typos.”
They carelessly drew a fat black line across a map while dreaming of their own profits. That line would mean my neighbors have to move. That line would mean my land isn’t really mine anymore. That line would mean that everything my family has worked for and invested in could just go to someone else simply because they want it and we’re “in the way.”
“We passed House File 603, a bill to protect private property rights. For several years House Republicans, led by Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, have been attempting to pass legislation that protects the rights of farmers and other landowners. In past years these efforts were blocked in the Democrat controlled Senate. This bill was in part a response to the attempt to build a Direct Current electrical transmission line known as the Rock Island Clean Line which would have passed through the northern portion of my district in Black Hawk County. This project was solely a private enterprise, would not have been accessible to Iowans, and was not part of the regional transmission line plan. The company sought to take farmers land for its towers using eminent domain as a private company, not as a true public utility. The project has been struck down after years of intense work by the landowners. This bill takes steps to prevent such a project from threatening landowners in the future with similar projects. The bill also makes restrictions on the use of eminent domain in taking land for a lake, ensuring that the land taken is truly needed for legitimate drinking water sources instead of recreational uses. One final aspect of the bill will ensure that farmers and business owners are fairly compensated in the event that their land is condemned using eminent domain.”
A few Neighbors United members have noticed the Bat Study crews out again already this spring. You have every right to tell them to get off your property. Make sure to let your neighbors know, too! If they’re asked to leave your property, chances are they’ll try your neighbors or someone close by. Please help us spread the word to be watching out for them.
CONTRACT LAND STAFF
We’re also expecting to see Contract Land Staff or others out and about trying to get more easements signed. Our tip was that they could be out as early as this month. This fight is a long way from over and we’re in a better position if we all hold out together! Please feel free to inform them that they’re trespassing and let them know where to go and how, for their convenience.
If someone is trespassing on your land, photographic evidence makes it easier for the Sheriff or other law enforcement to help keep us all safe.
We worked hard and bought our land in July 1972 with the plan to retire here. We invested in remodeling our home and settled into our new life living outside of town. This is where we raised our daughter and where our grandchildren now like to come and play. Part of our land has been set aside for hunting, where the trees and brush attract deer. The potential transmission line would plow through this wildlife refuge that has taken half of a lifetime to build. After almost 45 years in our home that we love, we are invested here and really cannot move. Instead of enjoying our retirement, though, we are faced with fiercely protecting our land and our future. Our life has been put on hold for 2-1/2 years while we have been fighting this fight. The potential line is situated such that we would see it across the road as a reminder of the destruction every time we look out our window. We would be negatively impacted by it when it crosses our land. We also question the safety of the line as it is proposed to run near our steel storage shed. And, even if we wanted to move, we could not. Since the potential line would be cutting through our property, the value of our land will be considerably less, stripping us of the opportunity to find another place equal to the current value.
Halls Hall is in the old Ben Franklin Store. It is one half block south of the court house on west side of Maine street. If coming down Hwy 61, Turn at Hardees and go to Maine street. Would be the first stop sign. Court house is at that intersection, turn left and go 1 and one half blocks. Look for our tables set up on side walk on the west side. If coming down on 168 to Palmyra go to first stop sign,(Maine Street) and turn left and go about 5 blocks. See you there!! AND THANKS!
We testified in support of Bart Korman‘s HB 991 in Jefferson City yesterday. This bill will increase compensation for land taken by eminent domain on farms which have been in families for 100+ years and will allow landowners to argue future land use during compensation negotiations.
We like the bill for the following reasons:
for more pictures click here
We recently learned that in some other states, upgrading existing infrastructure is a requirement before building additional redundant power lines. From an agricultural, environmental, and common sense standpoint – this seems to make sense. Nevertheless………
Take a look at a map outlining the Mark Twain Transmission Project with an existing area 161KV line superimposed:
Interesting…. they seem to be coming from an going to almost the exact same location… At the hearing on April 5th, 2017 on HB640 & HB79, legislators were bewildered that viable farmland in the state is currently at risk despite this clear fact.
We are, too.