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Group still fighting against high-voltage transmission line

A plan to put a high-voltage electricity transmission line across parts of Eastern Iowa has landowners coming together to fight the plan.

It’s called the Rock Island Clean Line, and is supposed to generate wind energy for about 1.5 million homes a year.

Alan Karkosh’s grandparents bought their farm in Black Hawk and Grundy County in the 1940s.

He’s the fourth generation to farm the land and hopes to pass it off to his son, Shane.

“Well being the next in line, the fifth-generation farmer I really don’t want to be a let down at all so I’d like to have as high yields as I can and having a line going right through my field kind of puts a damper on that,” said Shane Karkosh.

The proposed line is going to be roughly 300 feet from the Karkosh’s front door and run two miles through their farmland.

“Doesn’t necessarily prevent us from farming it. It will restrict some things like aerial applications and things like that but who knows five and 10 years or 20 years down the road what kind of cropping options or opportunities we’ll have that you can’t predict,” said Alan Karkosh.

Sunday, hundreds of people packed the Grundy Center Community Center for a meeting sponsored by a group against the project.

Some landowners say they are finding the plan hard to support since the energy produced in Iowa, will not stay in Iowa. Rock Island Clean Line says a lot of power used in this state isn’t necessarily produced here.

“We’re already a net exporter of power so we understand that have an abundant resource and we understand we have a strong market and we want to connect those 2 these things up just like we do with our other commodities in the state,” said Beth Conley, Clean Line Energy.

But others, including Karkosh, are concerned about the company’s plan to use eminent domain. That’s the right of the government to come in and use private property for public use, with payment or compensation.

“There’s going to argue that it’s For public use, well you know I could argue to that my farmland is for public use. I’m producing food for the public so is their public use better than my public use?” said Karkosh.

Representative Pat Grassley was at Sunday’s meeting. He says there will soon be a bill in the Iowa House proposing 25% of the energy stays in Iowa.

Rock Island Clean Line wants to start construction by 2015 and have the line completed by 2017.

It still has to get the approval of the Iowa Utilities Board, which will hold a public hearing before it makes any decision.