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Landowners get short end of stick
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Dear Editor,
Your opinion column on Clean Line Energy (posted September 30, 2013) needs a fact check. Grain Belt Express is not a wind company. They have publicly stated there will be dirty energy flowing through the lines as well as energy from wind. Clean Line Energy is, at best, a phantom company looking to make big profits jumping on the green energy train through federal subsidies, tax abatements, and other loopholes, all at the expense of Kansans and citizens along the entire route. Just a little research will show this in an unscrupulous company. In addition, Clean Line does not have any buyers lined up to purchase this energy heading to the east coast; in fact the east has stated they do not want this energy. So before you state we should all just get along, lets just think about what landowners have to lose.
Property values will be drastically affected. As a landowner that will be directly impacted if these monstrosities (200 ft. towers with 28 x 28 ft.  footprint bisecting our farm) are allowed to come through, Real Estate agents have confirmed our land would take a serious loss and selling would be tough with industrial towers marring our landscape.
Insurance will not cover these towers and the landowner is held liable if the towers incur damage. Kansas Farm Bureau has warned landowners that they should not sign any easement agreement with Grain Belt/Clean Line due to the sheer lack of landowner rights.
Land loss will occur. Landowners will lose valuable crop and grazing land due to the towers. The 250 ft. easement will not enable any buildings to be built, will limit aerial spraying, will not enable GPS equipped farm machinery to work as designed, oil and gas will not be drilled anywhere on this 250 ft. swath that cuts across the state.
Taxes will not be paid to the counties for 10 years, meanwhile there are no provisions to reimburse counties for the damage Grain Belts equipment will do to the roads. Landowners have no recourse if the land on their property is not returned to its original state after the cement trucks, bulldozers, and semi-trucks tear up our pasture and cropland.
Income loss by landowners is a given. Land leases will have to be put on hold during construction; there are no provisions for CRP or other farm program losses. The affected landowners already have one or more easements through their land from an actual public utility. We have three easements; a fourth would be detrimental to our farm. The gas easement on our land is 1000 ft. Grain Belt would have to move the line away from this easement, in essence getting a much larger easement for free. Grain Belt flashes money in front of landowners, but that is small compensation compared to windmills and cell phone towers. These are voluntary, Grain Belt is not. They are a private company taking our land through eminent domain.
I could go on about the dangers of electromagnetic fields on humans and livestock, the importance of the short grass prairie ecosystem, etc., but you get the picture. So I respectfully ask you, what is at stake for Grain Belt? It is the landowners that are getting the very short end of this stick.
Erin Renard
Landowner, Russell County