Rock Island Clean Line project on hold as court decides its fate in Illinois

The 500 mile route would deliver wind energy to 14 states.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Clean Line Energy Partners is withdrawing its Iowa application to build a power transmission line across part of the state as it awaits resolution of an Illinois court challenge.

The project has drawn both praise and criticism, with proponents claiming it will create jobs and promote alternative energy use while opponents worry it will negatively impact wildlife and farming operations. The chief complaint from opponents is the company’s use of eminent domain to take possession of property along the route.

Officials for Houston-based Clean Line said Thursday their decision was informed by the timing of the Illinois case and a schedule set by the Iowa Utilities Board.

Clean Line wants to build a 500-mile line from northwest Iowa across into Illinois, delivering 3,500 megawatts of power to Illinois and states farther east.

Illinois regulators approved the project in 2014, but a state appellate court reversed that decision in August and the Illinois Supreme Court has agreed to review the case. Clean Line said it will decide on renewing its Iowa filing after the Illinois high court rules.