One of the biggest wind energy power lines in the United States is being held up in the State of Missouri’s General Assembly. Yesterday, a Missouri House Committee advanced legislation targeting the proposed Grain Belt Express project that is proposed to stretch across southern Pike, northern Greene, and northern Macoupin counties in Illinois.
The Missouri legislation would bar the use of eminent domain to acquire easements for construction of the line in that state. The proposed 750-mile transmission line would carry wind power from Kansas across Missouri and Illinois into Indiana, where it would hook into a grid serving eastern states. The $2.3 billion project has been repeatedly delayed by regulations and lawsuits, according to the Associated Press. The project has been in the works since 2010, and this is the second time within two years that Missouri has fought against the line’s construction due to Grain Belt not being a public utility.
The State of Illinois rejected the project on similar grounds in 2017, but Grain Belt’s owner Clean Line is changing ownership to Invenergy, a renewable developer based in Chicago, to curtail the public utility requirement.
Missouri Landowners Alliance lobbied the Missouri General Assembly last year that the right of eminent domain should not be given to private entities for projects. The Missouri Senate filibustered the bill to allow the project last year so that it couldn’t move forward.