BLOCK GBE Missouri Calls “All Hands On Deck” for Public Hearing! We’re calling on our members, and all Missourians, to speak out about the Grain Belt Express transmission project at important Public Service Commission hearings slated to begin the second week of December.
“We really cannot over-emphasize how crucial these public hearings are to preventing the precedent of an out-of-state company receiving the state’s power of eminent domain to take private property for its speculative, for-profit venture,” said Jennifer Gatrel, spokeswoman for Block GBE. “We must stand together as a community to protect our property rights!” Click for public hearings dates and locations.
Our Mission is to inform and educate the public about the proposed Grain Belt Express high voltage transmission line for the purpose of advocating its denial by regulators.
What is Grain Belt Express?
The Grain Belt Express is a massive 4000 megawatt direct current electricity transmission line proposed by Clean Line Energy Partners LLC, a startup company from Houston, Texas. If completed, the line would originate in southwest Kansas near Dodge City, and would span 780 miles to the east and terminate in Indiana, where it would connect with the PJM grid that services the heavily populated northeast states.
The company claims the line would carry only wind generated power. However, Federal Law prohibits any transmission line from discriminating against any source of power. The northeast states, where the power would be transported, are home to some of this country’s very best wind resources just off their shores, according to the U. S. Department of Energy.
Grain Belt Express would impact upwards of 600 landowners in its 220 mile path across Missouri alone and would require over 5000 acres for the easement. Only a handful of landowners voluntarily signed an easement agreement prior to the first application.
Therefore, the project would constitute one of the largest condemnations of private land in Missouri history.
The company skipped the normal Regional Transmission Operator (RTO) planning process because it claims that it simply does not feel it should have to participate. The project was announced to potentially impacted landowners in the summer of 2013. In spring of 2014, Clean Line filed an application for a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity from the Missouri Public Service Commission (MPSC), the state bureau that regulates utilities and transmission line operators. If approved, it would have given the company the authority of eminent domain and the power to condemn private land for the easements it needs for the line. After enormous public outcry and legal interventions from four organizations (Missouri Landowners Alliance, Show Me Concerned Citizens, Missouri Farm Bureau and United for Missouri), the application was denied in July of 2015. The Commission stated that the company did not demonstrate that the line would improve the grid, would not benefit ratepayers and, therefore, does not justify the burden placed on the landowners.
Clean Line Energy Partners has recently announced in the media that it intends to re-apply for the Certificate of Convenience and Necessity from the MPSC again.
If approved, the use of eminent domain for a project with little or no benefit to our state would be a violation of property rights. The transmission line would place an enormous burden on landowners, as it would greatly decrease property values and farm productivity, while negatively impacting the quality of our lives and potentially affecting our health, safety and environment.
Finally, the 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 ventures with or without any benefit to the state of Missouri.
We at Block Grain Belt Express-Missouri are committed to stopping the Grain Belt Express transmission line from ever being approved. With your support, we can achieve that.