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BLOCK Grain Belt Express-Mo Update

10/22/16

Public Hearing Schedule Announced

Wednesday, the Missouri Public Service Commission announced the schedule for its public hearings. Prior to the announcement, both of our legal groups, Missouri Landowners Alliance (MLA) and Eastern Missouri Landowners Alliance (EMLA) argued for a hearing in each of the impacted counties to be held very close to the path of the Grain Belt line on evenings and Saturdays starting in January.

The PSC has scheduled the hearings in each impacted county that we argued for. Unfortunately, four of the hearings are in the afternoon and five of them are not on the path of the line. They will all be held in December. It is not ideal for us but we dealt with many of the same locations and earlier times in 2014 and yet we showed up in large numbers.

The large public turnout in 2014 made a very big impression on the Commissioners and a huge difference in the last case. It is absolutely imperative that we have a very large attendance at each of the hearings in December. Please plan to attend one or more and to testify. We also ask that you help us pack the hearings with opposition. It is not often that any governmental body comes to our counties to ask our opinions, so let’s take advantage of the opportunity.

We will include the hearing rules and our suggestions for testifying in our next Update.

The Schedule
December 7, 2016—Monroe City. Knights of Columbus Hall, 424 South Locust.
The local public hearing will begin at 12:00 p.m.*

December 7, 2016—Hannibal. Theater Auditorium, Hannibal-LaGrange University, 2800 Palmyra Road.
The local public hearing will begin at 6:00 p.m.

December 8, 2016—Marceline. Walsworth Community Center, 124 East Ritchie.
The local public hearing will begin at 12:00 p.m.*

December 8, 2016—Moberly. Moberly Municipal Auditorium, 201 West Rollins.
The local public hearing will begin at 6:00 p.m.

December 13, 2016—Cameron. Cameron Community Center, 915 Ashland Avenue.
The local public hearing will begin at 12:00 p.m.*

December 13, 2016—Faucett. Mid-Buchanan High School, Multipurpose Room, 3221 SE Route H.
The local public hearing will begin at 6:00 p.m.

December 14, 2016—Polo. Community Center at Stagecoach Park, 1010 Main Street.
The local public hearing will begin at 12:00 p.m.*

December 14, 2016—Carrollton. Rupe Community Center, 710 Harvest Hills Drive.
The local public hearing will begin at 6:00 p.m.

November 8th

The Caldwell County Commissioner race is extremely important and could turn out to be critical in our effort to block Grain Belt Express. The Caldwell County Commission strongly supported MLA in its successful case to have the county’s original franchise with Grain Belt invalidated. It has also supported all of our other efforts to block the unnecessary transmission line. So, therefore, we are proud to endorse both Donnie Cox and Gerald McBrayer for re-election to the Commission and ask Caldwell County residents to get out and vote for them.

Commissioner Larry King of Clinton County is another good friend and very strong supporter of Block Grain Belt Express who is up for re-election. Mr. King has worked tirelessly and boldly on behalf of landowners and has been willing to do whatever necessary to help stop the senseless Grain Belt transmission line. We are proud to endorse Mr. King for re-election and ask Clinton County residents to vote for him.

Legal Interventions

Attorneys for both Missouri Landowners Alliance (MLA) and Eastern Missouri Landowners Alliance (EMLA) along with Mo. Farm Bureau are busy preparing their cases for the legal proceedings in Jefferson City which are now scheduled to proceed on a faster pace than the last case. Because of that, the funds needed to prepare and present the cases are needed sooner than anticipated.

In our last round of meetings, we raised approximately $11,000 for MLA and it is approaching its goal. We appreciate all of your contributions.

EMLA, however, must still raise a considerable amount of funds to cover the legal expenses and expert witness fees it needs to present a strong case.

Having multiple organizations intervening in opposition at the PSC is critical and having them was in instrumental to our success in the last case. Therefore, we strongly urge you to send a generous financial contribution to EMLA.

With a widespread group effort in each of the original 14 counties threatened by GBE, we should have no problem raising the funds needed to defeat the GBE line. Whether your land is on or near the selected path or if you are one of the very fortunate landowners that are not near the path that was selected, the massive line and the dangerous precedent it would set will affect you.

Your financial contributions are vital to our success. It takes a considerable amount of money to present a strong legal case. Neither organization, MLA or EMLA receive any funding from any other source. Both rely solely on contributions from individuals like yourself that are opposed to a private company obtaining the power of eminent domain for an obtrusive project that was already denied once because it is not needed and would not benefit Missouri. Please consider a contribution to help defeat the Grain Belt line.

Please send your contribution to…

EMLA

17234 Route M

Madison, MO 65263

Thank you. With your support, we will defeat Grain Belt Express.

Russ Pisciotta
Block Grain Belt Express Missouri
P.O. Box 61
Kingston, MO 64650
816-803-9001

BLOCK Grain Belt Express-Mo Update 8/29/16

The Rematch is On:

Grain Belt Express was required to give 60 day notice prior to filing yet another application to the Public Service Commission for the Certificate of Convenience and Necessity which would give it the power to condemn up to 5000 acres of private land it needs for the line. That 60 day period is over today and the company is likely to file without further delay.

We believe that with one more organized group effort, we can kill this senseless and dangerous precedent setting private transmission line to the east. After all, our efforts were vital in the denial of the first application just 14 months ago. Another denial would make it highly unlikely that Clean Line will receive any additional capital from investors.

Preparing for the Fight:

We have scheduled another round of meetings to provide you with all the latest news and information you will need. We are hoping to finish all of the meetings before harvesting begins.

We will have sample letters to the PSC, written notices to Grain Belt to stay off of your property and more. We also will have yard signs, 4’X8’ banners along with 4 different custom embroidered BLOCK Grain Belt Express caps that all look great and you will be proud to wear.

Fall Mtg. Schedule:

Braymer Tuesday Sept. 13th 6:30 pm at the Lion’s Club on County Rd. A

Polo Friday Sept. 16th 6:30 pm at the Christian Church on Hwy 13 across from Casey’s

New London Saturday Sept. 17th 10 am at the Forget Me Not Senior Center

Moberly Saturday Sept. 17th 2:00 at Moberly Area Community College Blue Room

Brunswick Saturday Sept. 17th 7:00 pm at the Knights of Columbus Hall

Faucett Sunday Sept. 18th 1:00 pm at the Lion’s Club

Lathrop Sunday Sept. 18th 4:00 pm at the American Legion

These meetings are extremely important as they will be our last ones during Grain Belt’s application process and before the public hearings. So, we sure hope to see you all at one of the meetings. Again, please encourage all of your friends, neighbors, relatives and acquaintances to join us at the meetings because the precedent that would be set if the line were approved would impact all property owners.
More Signatures Needed:

You will find a petition form attached to this message. Please print out some copies and take them to everyone you know or do business with who may sign them. They will be out nothing and signing it will greatly help us defeat Grain Belt Express.

With a group effort, we will fight and defeat Grain Belt again!

Thank you.

Russ Pisciotta
Block Grain Belt Express Missouri
P.O. Box 61
Kingston, MO 64650
816-803-9001

BLOCK Grain Belt Express-Mo Update

8/11/16

Very Good News

The 3rd Appellate Court of Illinois issued a decision today on the Rock Island Clean Line case that basically makes it illegal for the line to be granted Public Utility Status and the power of eminent domain in Illinois.  The ruling came from a three judge panel.  Clean Line may ask to have the entire appellate panel of Judges to rule on the case.  Then, if the full panel does not overturn today’s ruling, CL could appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court. Or, Clean Line could also start over completely and attempt to land a utility company to purchase some power from the line in hopes of satisfying the court. These would all be very time consuming and expensive.  We believe that they are also unlikely to yield a better result for Clean Line.

This is not only incredibly good news for opponents of the Rock Island Clean Line, the news is just as good for us.  Grain Belt is also under appeal by opposition organizations in the 5th Appellate Court of Illinois.  Today’s ruling should make the opposition’s case, which was already a very good case, now even better.

 

This is a major victory for all of us opposing Clean Line’s proposed lines.  However, it is not over yet.  Clean Line has a few options.  We’ll have to wait and see which ones it chooses and how they play out.  In the meantime, we will continue to prepare for the upcoming Grain Belt application at the PSC.

Very Good News

The 3rd Appellate Court of Illinois issued a decision today on the Rock Island Clean Line case that basically makes it illegal for the line to be granted Public Utility Status and the power of eminent domain in Illinois.  The ruling came from a three judge panel.  Clean Line may ask to have the entire appellate panel of Judges to rule on the case.  Then, if the full panel does not overturn today’s ruling, CL could appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court. Or, Clean Line could also start over completely and attempt to land a utility company to purchase some power from the line in hopes of satisfying the court. These would all be very time consuming and expensive.  We believe that they are also unlikely to yield a better result for Clean Line.

This is not only incredibly good news for opponents of the Rock Island Clean Line, the news is just as good for us.  Grain Belt is also under appeal by opposition organizations in the 5th Appellate Court of Illinois.  Today’s ruling should make the opposition’s case, which was already a very good case, now even better.

This is a major victory for all of us opposing Clean Line’s proposed lines.  However, it is not over yet.  Clean Line has a few options.  We’ll have to wait and see which ones it chooses and how they play out.  In the meantime, we will continue to prepare for the upcoming Grain Belt application at the PSC.

 

State Fair

The Fair starts today and runs through the 21st.  It would be very helpful if several Block GBE supporters attended the fair each day, wearing our green Block GBE T-shirts and gathering petition signatures. If you can go, we suggest everyone also visits the booth of each agri- business and organization and talk with them about Grain Belt.  If we do so, we will not only gather huge numbers of signatures but we would also greatly increase awareness about the threat we are all up against if the private, unnecessary Grain Belt Express transmission line obtains the power of eminent domain.

 

Mo. Farm Bureau 

If you do attend the fair, be sure to stop in the Farm Bureau building on the fairgrounds and thank them for their strong support for us in our fight against Grain Belt Express.  FB will once again intervene in opposition to the Grain Belt Express at the Public Service Commission.  FB President Blake Hurst has also recently wrote an excellent opinion piece in opposition to Grain Belt.  http://www.mycaldwellcounty.com/news/statement-missouri-farm-bureau-president-blake-hurst  And, FB will have an informational display about Grain Belt in their building at the fair and will even be helping us get petitions signed there.

So with all of this support for us in opposition to GBE, it would be very nice if those of our supporters who are not already Farm Bureau members would join to show our appreciation.

Hope to see you at the fair,

Thank you,

 

Russ Pisciotta

Block Grain Belt Express Missouri

P.O. Box 61

Kingston, MO 64650

816-803-9001

www.BlockGBEmo.com

 

BLOCK Grain Belt Express-Mo Update

 8/1/16

Third Grain Belt Application to PSC Coming Soon

Grain Belt is now able to re-file its third application on or after August 29th.  This comes after the Public Service Commission denied Grain Belt’s second application which was filed on the 29th of June.  The ruling to deny was the result of a motion filed by the Missouri Landowners Alliance on the grounds that GBE did not give the required 60 day notice prior to filing.

If Grain Belt fails to obtain regulatory approval this time, it is highly un-likely the project will ever receive any additional investment or survive.

Petitions

We desperately need each and every one of us who would like to defeat the unnecessary Grain Belt Express transmission line to help with getting petition signatures.  The last time we submitted over 7100 comments and petition signatures altogether. We believe we may need many more than that this time to be successful because GBE will likely gather many more this time than it did the last time.

You will find our petition attached below this message.  Please print out several copies and take them with you whenever you go somewhere sympathetic people may be.  Fairs, festivals, tractor pulls, auctions, farm co-ops, tractor dealers, family gatherings, and churches are all great places to gather signatures.  This is what Donald Davies, an impacted farmer in Carroll County is doing.  He has personally collected over 280 signatures to date and has signed-up  over 140 new members to Missouri Landowners Alliance, many of whom have also contributed money.  He is an inspiration to all of us.

Volunteers Needed

Along with submitting comments to the PSC, we must raise funds for the Missouri Landowners Alliance if we are to defeat Grain Belt again.  Therefore, we are seeking volunteers across the eight impacted counties to help us raise funds.  Volunteers are now most needed in Randolph and Clinton Counties.  The funds raised will be used for legal expenses in the upcoming proceedings at the Public Service Commission.  So please, if you can spare any time at all, please call us at 816-803-9001 or reply to this message to get started.

 

Upcoming Informational Meeting

Show-me Concerned Landowners and Block Grain Belt Express will host an informational meeting in Monroe County this Wednesday August 3rd at 7:00 P.M. in the Paris High School Ag Building.  We hope to see all of you that live in or near Monroe County there.  Please see the attached flier.

Working together, we can defeat the unnecessary Grain Belt Express proposal

Thank you for your ongoing support.

 

Russ Pisciotta
Block Grain Belt Express Missouri
P.O. Box 61
Kingston, MO 64650
816-803-9001
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BLOCK Grain Belt Express-Mo

Update

7/2/16

 

GBE Filed without Notice
As you all have surely read, Grain Belt filed its application Thursday without the 60 days notice required.  The PSC is now requiring Grain Belt to show why it should not have to give the 60 days notice required in the regulations. Missouri Landowners Alliance attorney has also filed a motion to dismiss the application due to the failure to give the notice.

Nixon Endorses GBE
The Governor announced his support of the proposal earlier this week.  He is quoting GBE’s purported benefits like they are gospel ignoring the findings of the experts at the PSC.  He also claims to have made provisions supposedly to benefit landowners, which they do not.  And, he did so without even including any landowners or Farm Bureau in the discussion.

Although it is not good news that the Governor endorsed GBE, it is also not a show stopper.  It is unlikely that the Gov. will ask any Commissioner to resign.  He cannot remove any of them.  He will likely not have much influence on them as time goes on and he becomes more of a lame duck.  His endorsement already does not carry much weight with the majority of Missourians. By the time the commission rules, he will be out of office.  If a Republican is elected, he/she would likely make one of the republicans the Chairman and Hall would go back to being just be a Commissioner.  Otherwise, the Commission will likely not change.  The five current Commissioners are likely to remain until our next case is settled. Remember, the same three that voted in our favor are still on the Commission.  So, no reason to get discouraged.

“Is it not a sad day when Gov. Nixon signs on with a company that wants to take our land by force on the very weekend we are celebrating our Independence from an oppressive totalitarian government.  Even more so that one of the major owners of GBE is from England”.  Wiley Hibbard Presiding Commissioner of Ralls Co.
Click on the link below to read our friend Keryn Newman’s excellent blog about the Governor’s endorsement

http://stoppathwv.com/stoppath-wv-blog.html

Our Stance

Block Grain Belt Express and Missouri Landowners Alliance are committed to this fight to protect all of our land from this unnecessary transmission line that is designed primarily to transport power to other states that also have renewable energy resources but are unwilling to harness them.The transmission line would place an enormous burden on landowners as it would decrease property values, farm productivity and limit future land use options while negatively impacting the quality of our lives and potentially affecting our health, safety and environment.  We feel strongly that if approved, the use of eminent domain for a project with no benefit to our state would be a violation of our property rights.  And, the approval of the line would set a very dangerous precedent when other private companies ask for the power of eminent domain for projects with no benefit to Missouri.  Therefore, we cannot afford to allow it to be approved.

We have proven that if we all work together, we can successfully defend ourselves against Grain Belt Express receiving regulatory approval.  We are sorry the first denial did not end the threat.  However, we have every hope that this round will be the last.

The Missouri Landowners Alliance stands ready to intervene once again before the PSC in opposition to Grain Belt Express. Despite the enormous generosity of our attorney who contributes his services free of legal fees, the cost of presenting a strong legal case before the Missouri PSC is substantial.  Based on projected expenses including expert witness fees, attorney’s expenses, studies and advertising, Missouri Landowners Alliance’s goal is to raise $120,000.

The only way we can present a case at the PSC and protect your land, your property rights and your landscape from this unnecessary massive transmission line is with contributions from you and others like you. We receive no other funding from any other sources. Your contributions are vital.

Crunch Time
Since GBE has filed and the PSC may not give us the 60 days notice prior to filing the application that we are owed,  we may now have less than 30 days to raise the remaining funds needed for the legal intervention.  We are now at just 30% of our goal of $120,000.  There is no time to procrastinate.  If you have been putting off writing a check, please do so now.

We won the last case at the Public Service Commission.  With your help, we can win again.  So, please consider joining and making a generous contribution to the Missouri Landowners Alliance in order to protect all of our land, our operations, our health, our property values and our property rights from the Grain Belt Express line.

Please make checks payable to…

Missouri Landowners Alliance

P.O. Box   98

Cameron, Missouri, 64429

Or go to www.MissouriLandownersAlliance.org to join and contribute.

Public Meetings

We have scheduled a series of public meetings across the state.  We have only two remaining.  We think you will find them very informative and we hope you can attend.  Bring a friend or neighbor, as well.  Everyone is welcome.  See the schedule on the next page for the meeting nearest you.

Tuesday July 5th

Tina, Mo. in Carroll Co. at the Tina Community Center starting at 6:30 p.m.

Saturday July 9th

Gower, Mo. in Clinton Co. at the American Legion at 10:30 a.m.

Please forward to anyone who may be interested.  Replies with any questions or feedback are welcome.

Thank you all for your ongoing support.  Together, we can block the unnecessary Grain Belt Express transmission line proposal and protect all of our land and property rights.

Have a great Fourth of July weekend!

 

Donald Lowenstein                                                                         Russell Pisciotta

President                                                                                         President

Missouri Landowners Alliance                                                        Block Grain Belt Express-Mo.

Block Grain Belt Express Missouri

P.O. Box 61

Kingston, MO 64650

816-803-9001

www.BlockGBEmo.com