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Hundreds of landowners attend Grain Belt Express meetings  

Credit:  The Caldwell County News | Tuesday, June 17, 2014 | www.mycaldwellcounty.com ~~

Since February, more than 525 people have attended one of 22 public meetings hosted by Clean Line Energy, the company working to construct a 750-mile direct current transmission line to bring wind energy from western Kanas to Missouri. Landowners were notified of the proposed route for the Grain Belt Express this spring.

“We’ve had productive meetings with Missouri landowners who have attended office hours and met with us to discuss the project and our easement agreements,” said Mark Lawlor with Clean Line Energy. “We are committed to continuing open lines of communication as the project progresses and we encourage people to drop by our open office hours or contact us via our toll-free number if they have any questions.”

According to Clean Line, there are two primary components to its compensation package: an easement payment and a structure payment.

• Easement compensation is based on the area of the easement, calculated in acres. Clean Line pays landowners 100% of the fair market value of the easement area.

• Structure payments are calculated based on the type of structure selected by Grain Belt Express and the number of structures located on a specific property. Landowners may elect to receive a one-time payment or annual payments. Annual payments will be made as long as a structure is on the property and will increase by 2% each year.

Based on that formula, a 150-foot easement, one half-mile in length, on property valued at $5,000 per acre, would result in a one-time easement payment of $45,500. With two lattice structures on the property, a landowner would receive an additional $36,000 if they chose the one-time payment. However, if the landowner chose to receive annual structure payments, he or she would receive $3,000 for the two structures the first year, and each year the structure payments would increase by 2%. Clean Line would also compensate landowners for any possible crop damage.

According to the company, 99 percent of the land in the easement area can still be used for farming and other agricultural activities.

During meetings with Clean Line, landowners have expressed concerns about the size of the proposed transmission line, potential impacts to the performance of GPS equipment and difficulty in farming around structures. Clean Line posts answers to these frequently asked questions on its website and works to address concerns through conversations with landowners.

Lawlor said the questions people ask about the company’s $500 million investment in Missouri are important and help generate the robust discussion needed for planning new infrastructure projects.

“There are other direct current transmission lines like the Grain Belt Express that have been operating across the United States for decades, but this is new for Missouri,” said Lawlor. “We realize this is a significant development in the area, and we want to encourage dialogue between landowners and representatives from our company, which is why we’re continuing to hold open office hours across the project area.”

Clean Line has three land agents across northern Missouri who are available to meet with the public regarding the project. For more information, call 855-665-3438 or visit www.grainbeltexpresscleanline.com.

Source:  The Caldwell County News | Tuesday, June 17, 2014 | www.mycaldwellcounty.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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