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Energy company files rehearing on Grain Belt Express decision  

Credit:  Eric Dundon, Hannibal Courier-Post managing editor | Jul. 30, 2015 | www.hannibal.net ~~

Despite a major blow earlier this month, it’s not over for a Houston-based energy company seeking to build a transmission line to carry wind energy through Missouri and over land in Ralls County.

In light of a 3-2 decision by the Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC) to deny a crucial certificate to Clean Line Energy to construct the Grain Belt Express, the company filed an application for a rehearing on the matter Wednesday, July 29.

The rehearing would take a look at the commission’s report and order issued July 1, which takes effect July 31. The decision denied the multi-state wind-power project a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity on the grounds that the company did not demonstrate the need for the project in Missouri, that it promotes public interest and that it is economically feasible. Without the certificate, the line can not be built.

The company outlined seven points in which it feels the PSC erred in its decision.

A statement from the company said the PSC failed “to recognize the substantial, credible and often uncontroverted evidence of the clear public benefits that the Grain Belt Express project will bring to Missouri.”

Beyond that, the rehearing application alleges the PSC discriminated against the project because it spans several states.

“It is clear that the Commission’s decision in this case was not even-handed,” the rehearing application document concludes.

The request for a rehearing did not come as a surprise to several groups opposed to the Grain Belt Express.

“We continue to be disappointed by the lack of respect shown by Clean Line to the impacted landowners, citizens, and decision makers of Missouri,” Block Grain Belt Express said in a statement provided by Vice President Jennifer Gatrel. “They have been told no in every way possible and yet they persist in attempting to override the clear will of the people and the decision by our commissioners.”

The Missouri Landowner’s Alliance (MLA) – a group founded in 2014 with the primary purpose to oppose the Grain Belt Express – also filed a request for a rehearing. The request from the MLA is a preventative measure in case Clean Line Energy appeals the PSC decision to the Court of Appeals.

“It’s only filed so that I can preserve those arguments,” MLA attorney Paul Agathen said.

The PSC could decide if it will rehear the case as early as Wednesday, Aug. 5, according to PSC spokesman Kevin Kelly. If the PSC does not grant a rehearing, Clean Line Energy could appeal the denial of the certificate to the Missouri Court of Appeals.

The project has split affected landowners in the proposed path, with some seeing the project as a necessary step to secure renewable energy in the state and others seeing potentially dangerous consequences with the use of eminent domain.

The project would include a converter station just west of Center in Ralls County. The converter location is the only one along the proposed path in Missouri.

Grain Belt Express has received the required certifications in Kansas and Indiana, and is at the beginning of the process in Illinois.

Source:  Eric Dundon, Hannibal Courier-Post managing editor | Jul. 30, 2015 | www.hannibal.net

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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