Missouri Blocks Grain Belt Express for a Second Time
Regulators in Missouri Wednesday rejected Clean Line Energy Partner’s proposed power line, the “Grain Belt Express,” that would carry wind power via high-voltage power lines across the state. This is the second time in just over two years that the Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC) has blocked the line. Many farmers in the state were concerned about Clean Line’s potential use of eminent domain.
According to the “Block Grain Belt Express-Missouri” web page, a group who opposes the power line, the project would affect nearly 600 landowners in its 200 mile path in Missouri, requiring more than 5,000 acres. Many of these acres are used in for ag production.
AP reports all other states along its route have approved the project. Missouri first rejected the project in 2015 and some Missouri farmers count this second rejection as a victory.
“We support the PSC’s decision denying Clean Line Energy the use of eminent domain power for its Grain Belt Express power line project,” says Blake Hurst, Missouri Farm Bureau President. “Missouri Farm Bureau will seek to strengthen protections restricting the use of eminent domain power.”
“Approval of the line would set a very dangerous precedent as other private companies will likely ask for the power of eminent domain for their business venture,” says Block Grain Belt Express-Missouri’s website.
The proposed $2.3 billion power line would span 780 miles from southwest Kansas to Indiana. Clean Line Energy Partners says they are weighing their options for the Grain Belt Express. “Unfortunately, the message that we’re getting from Missouri is that investments of these kind might be better spent in other places,” says Mark Lawlor, development director for Grain Belt Express, according to AP.
AP also reports Missouri’s regulatory panel said they wanted to approve of the power line, but didn’t because of a recent ruling stating utilities must first get consent of counties to string a power line across roads before the state can approve the project. Clear Line lacks approval in many Missouri counties as residents oppose the project.