Morthland and Smiddy duel over Smart Grid


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Posted Online: Nov. 02, 2012, 11:15 pm
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By Eric Timmons etimmons@qconline.com
State Rep. Rich Morthland, R-Cordova, says he's the subject of false attacks from his opponent, Democrat Mike Smiddy, involving smart grid legislation and the Rock Island County Clean Line, two contentious issues.

A mailer sent by Mr. Smiddy, of Hillsdale, to residents of state representative district 71 said Rep. Morthland voted "for a deal with a utility company that put a taxpayer financed electric grid on his property and cash into his pockets."

Rep. Morthland did vote in favor of the smart grid, which allows utility companies to increase rates in Illinois in return for improving the electrical grid.But Rep. Morthland, who farms near Cordova, lives in a part of the state covered by MidAmerican, which was not part of the smart grid agreement.

Rep. Morthland said the mailer also could be interpreted as referring to the Rock Island Clean Line, a proposed 500-mile high-voltage transmission line to bring energy from wind farms to areas with heavier population.

The clean line could pass through Rep. Morthland's land but he has not received any money from the project, which also will not be funded with tax dollars.Legislation that eased the regulatory burden for projects like the clean line was passed before Rep. Morthland was elected.

"Mike Smiddy's attacks are nothing but lies and distortionsof the facts," he said. "It's time to set the record straight so voters can make an informed choice on election day."

Mr. Smiddy has accused Rep. Morthland of flip-flopping on the Clean Line project.

Rep. Morthland initially supported the project but now opposes it because the Illinois Farm Bureau is against it. The farm bureau does not want the Clean Line be pushed through using eminent domain laws, Rep. Morthland said.

"Rep. Morthland has shown a serious lapse in leadership on issues vital to the people of this district," Mr. Smiddy said. "Our next legislator needs to say what he means and mean what he says."

Mr. Smiddy also opposes the Clean Line if it's route is secured through eminent domain, a law that allows government or its agents to seize private property after paying compensation.

Rock Island Clean Line officials say they plan to get access to land for their project by negotiating with farmers and would only apply for eminent domain from the state if those efforts fail.

Some farmers could benefit financially from the Rock Island Clean Line, which would pay them for easements and also between $6,000 and $18,000 to erect support structures for the proposed transmission line.






















 



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  Today is Wednesday, April 23, the 113th day of 2014. There are 252 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: Some persons are negotiating for 80 feet of ground on Illinois Street with a view of erecting four stores thereon. It would serve a better purpose if the money was invested in neat tenement houses.
1889 — 125 years ago: The Central station, car house and stables of the Moline-Rock Island Horse Railway line of the Holmes syndicate, together with 15 cars and 42 head of horses, were destroyed by fire. The loss was at $15,000.
1914 — 100 years ago: Vera Cruz, Mexico, after a day and night of resistance to American forces, gradually ceased opposition. The American forces took complete control of the city.
1939 — 75 years ago: Dr. R. Bruce Collins was reelected for a second term as president of the Lower Rock Island County Tuberculosis Association.
1964 — 50 years ago: Work is scheduled to begin this summer on construction of a new men's residence complex and an addition to the dining facilities at Westerlin Hall at Augustana College.
1989 — 25 years ago: Special Olympics competitors were triple winners at Rock Island High School Saturday. The participants vanquished the rain that fell during the competition, and some won their events; but most important, they triumphed over their own disabilities.




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