Missouri Clean Line Transmission Project Hits Another Potential Snag

By on April 22, 2019

From Electric Light & Power:  The Missouri House passed legislation Thursday that could effectively block one of the nation’s largest wind energy projects by prohibiting its developers from using eminent domain to run a high-voltage power line across the Midwest.

The House vote targets a $2.3 billion project that would carry electricity generated by Kansas windmills on a 780-mile path across rural Missouri and Illinois before hooking into a power grid in Indiana serving eastern states.

The project’s private developers say it has the potential to bring affordable, renewable energy to millions of homes. But the long-delayed power line has faced opposition from some property owners in its path and trouble clearing some regulatory requirements.

It appeared to overcome a major hurdle last month when Missouri utility regulators reversed previous denials and granted their approval — a step that could allow developers to pursue condemnation cases to acquire easements from unwilling sellers.

But legislation intended to block that passed the House 115-35 and now heads to the Senate. On Thursday, Republican Gov. Mike Parson appeared to show support for the legislation.

“I am a firm believer in protecting individual freedom and rights of private property owners, especially our farmers and ranchers,” Parson said in a written statement to The Associated Press. “We will continue to stay engaged with the legislature to ensure that we are equipped to protect all Missourians from potential threats of government overreach for private gain.”

Former Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, had backed the project and, after leaving office in 2017, successfully argued a case before the Missouri Supreme Court that overturned a prior regulatory rejection of it.

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