Public hearings were set last week by state regulators after Clean Line Energy Partners announced its proposed route for construction of a new high-voltage transmission line across northeast Kansas.
The company had three possible routes under consideration for its Grain Belt Express Clean Line earlier this year and filed an application on Monday with the Kansas Corporation Commission to build it along the middle route, which parallels an existing Westar Energy transmission line.
“The major factor (in the decision) was that it parallels existing transmission, which is a very common routing concept,” said Mark Lawlor, Clean Line director of development. “There’s already a linear infrastructure.”
The KCC has 120 days after the application to decide whether to approve the route.
Lawlor said notices had been sent to landowners. The east-west, direct-current line would go through Marshall County, just south of Marysville, and bordering counties on its route on across Missouri and into Illinois and Indiana to deliver 3,500 megawatts of power to eastern urban areas. The 700-mile line is to start in southwest Kansas and receive electricity generated by wind farms in the Ford County area.
An interactive map of the proposed route is at grainbeltexpresscleanline.com.
The KCC is holding a series of four public hearings along the route in August to gather comments on the line and its route before an official decision is made on the proposal.
The first hearing begins at 6 p.m. Aug. 12 in Seneca’s Community Building; a second will be at 6 p.m. Aug. 14 in Beloit; a third will be at 6 p.m. Aug. 20 in Russell; and the final public hearing will be at 6 p.m. Aug. 22 at Kinsley.
The KCC will continue to accept public written comments until 5 p.m. Aug. 28. The agency is also accepting comments from its regulatory staff and intervenors in the agency’s case regarding the proposal. The company’s rebuttal to staff and/or intervenor testimony will be due on Aug. 27, and its response to public hearing and written comments will be due on Sept. 10.
The line has proven controversial in Marshall County, where some landowners are protesting the Houston-based company’s plan. Opponents say it will slice up farmland, reduce land values, affect livestock and human health and make farming more difficult for operators, among other concerns. The company has countered that it will pay landowners for their trouble.
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