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Missouri Rejects Wind-Powered Electricity Line

Utility regulators in Missouri have said ‘no’ to Clean Line Energy Partners and its plan to build one of the nation’s longest transmission lines carrying wind powered electricity from Kansas to Indiana and markets eastward.

It was the second Missouri state rejection for Clean Line Energy which wants to send wind-powered electricity in Kansas along the Grain Belt Express, a 780-mile line. The Public Service Commission also rejected the application in 2015.

Clean Line said similar to trains which carried grain harvested in the Midwest to markets farther east, the Grain Belt Express would move renewable energy. But it would cross 8 counties in Missouri.

All five commissioners on the Public Service Commission voted to deny the application for a certificate of right of convenience or necessity. Such a permit would allow Grain Belt Express to use eminent domain. Other states involved in the proposed transmission line have granted approval.

In rejecting the application, the commissioners pointed to a recent state appeals court ruling that indicated utilities had to get approval from affected counties before the state could give its okay.

Supporters were upset.

“Obviously we’re disappointed in the decision,” said James Owen, executive director of Renew Missouri, an organization that pushes for renewable energy. “This is a project that was gonna create jobs, lower utility bills (and) help a lot of industry leaders with their commitments to renewable energy.”

But activists and land owners who oppose the project celebrated.

“This is a huge victory for local control and property rights,” said Russ Piscott, president of the organization Block Grain Belt Express-Missouri.