Proposed Power Lines Spark Debate Across Mid-Missouri

2 years 11 months 14 hours ago February 20, 2014 Feb 20, 2014 Thursday, February 20 2014 Thursday, February 20, 2014 11:46:00 PM CST in News
By: Meg McLeod, KOMU 8 Reporter
Embed Code Copied

MONROE COUNTY - A proposed $2 billion energy project is electrifying conversation across rural mid-Missouri towns. Though the initiative could bring an assortment of infrastructure to the state, some mid-Missourians say that infrastructure is at the expense of landowners.

Clean Line Energy Partners is proposing to build a 750-mile long power line linking the rich windpower in Kansas to states further east via its "Grain Belt Express." A direct current transmission line would carry 3,500 megawatts of renewable energy from the plains near Dodge City, Kan. through Missouri before reaching Sullivan, Ind. The power would then be dispersed to 12 other states.

Mark Lawlor, director of development for Clean Line Energy Partners' Grain Belt Express project, said it's a cost-effective method of moving cheap, clean energy to states in need, "It's a really efficient way to move a large amount of power."

Clean Line is currently working to identify the best possible course for the Grain Belt Express from its network of mapped routes.

Several hundred miles of the transmission line could run directly through countless Missouri farms, including Long Farms in Monroe County.

"I actually think if Missourians understood what we now know after studying the issue, most Missourians wouldn't want it to go through not only their property, but even the state of Missouri," said Laura Long, co-owner of Long Farms.

For more than 17 years, the Long family has farmed its 160-acre plot of land. However, Clean Line Energy's latest project could change the farm's skyline.

One of the Grain Belt Express' potential routes would run through the southern edge of the Long's land, something Long said would hamper the family's ability to farm.

"It's difficult for our equipment to get into the field to do a good job planting. We try to use ground application as much as possible, but sometimes we're forced to use aerial application where planes comes in to try to rescue a crop from a disease or from insects and it would almost make it impossible for an aerial applicator to get into the field."

The towers used to carry the transmission line would measure 110 to 150-feet tall, with an additional 15 to 50-foot deep foundation rooted in the soil. The structures would speckle the mid-Missouri landscape at an estimate of three to six towers per mile.

For Long, it would not only change the landscape of her farm, but of her dreams as well.

"I'm a big believer that, if you're going to farm, you need to try to build the land and leave it a little bit better than how you found it. And I suppose my biggest concern personally is that if we sit back and allow these power lines to go through the southern edge of the farm, then we haven't really fulfilled that obligation."

If Clean Line Energy chooses and is approved to build on Long Farms, Long estimates the Grain Belt Express would require at least a 200-foot easement on her property. This easement would be at least four times larger than the one for the public utility line currently running through the farm.

Long is not the only landowner voicing opposition, though. Hundreds of Missouri landowners have banded together to form "Block Grain Belt Express- Missouri." The group is dedicated to educating landowners about what it sees as the pitfalls of the project.

Despite this opposition, Lawlor said the project would benefit thousands of Missourians. Lawlor pointed out there are short-term and long-term benefits for both the state and mid-Missouri region.

Those temporary benefits include jobs created for construction. Lawlor said construction jobs would involve contractors and companies located in and around the project area.

Lawlor added there are also several long-term benefits, "For each mile of line in a county, you're going to have tens of thousands of dollars of tax revenue coming in. So, in many instances, each county will receive a significant six-figure type of income and that goes toward schools and hospitals and fire departments and all of the taxing districts in the area."

In addition, several Missouri companies would be contracted by Clean Line Energy. Hubbell Power Systems in Centralia, General Cable in Sedalia, ABB in Jefferson City and St. Louis as well as Noranda in New Madrid would all produce materials and/or labor for the Grain Belt Express.

Bill Tolley, president of Hubbell Power Systems, said its partnership with Clean Line Energy Partners is beneficial for mid-Missourians, "In our case, it's 65 local jobs in Centralia, which is a pretty big impact for a small town of 2,500 people."

The Grain Belt Express prides itself on delivering clean, low-cost energy. The state of Missouri would receive about 500 of the line's 3,500 megawatts of power, around a 14-percent share, which is enough to power approximately 196,000 homes based on average electricity consumption. The rest of the power would be dispersed to states further east.

Lawlor estimates the potential route should be selected by March. Following the route selection, Clean Line Energy Partners will present its Grain Belt Express project to the Missouri Public Service Commission for approval.

 

More News

Grid
List
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Thousands of protesters, mostly women, gathered in Missouri's two biggest cities and Kansas' capital city in... More >>
1 hour ago January 21, 2017 Jan 21, 2017 Saturday, January 21 2017 Saturday, January 21, 2017 7:44:00 PM CST in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A central Missouri technical college plans to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate the school's... More >>
1 hour ago January 21, 2017 Jan 21, 2017 Saturday, January 21 2017 Saturday, January 21, 2017 7:37:52 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is making a school choice measure called education savings accounts a priority... More >>
2 hours ago January 21, 2017 Jan 21, 2017 Saturday, January 21 2017 Saturday, January 21, 2017 7:32:26 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA — The Mid-Missouri Solidarity March was organized by area organization to support the Women’s March on Washington, D.C. on... More >>
3 hours ago January 21, 2017 Jan 21, 2017 Saturday, January 21 2017 Saturday, January 21, 2017 6:00:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA — Counselors helped Columbia residents sign up for health care insurance Saturday, amid rising concern over the repeal of... More >>
4 hours ago January 21, 2017 Jan 21, 2017 Saturday, January 21 2017 Saturday, January 21, 2017 5:02:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA — Stephens College hosted its first "Fallopian Fest" Saturday. Stephens College student and one of the directors of... More >>
5 hours ago January 21, 2017 Jan 21, 2017 Saturday, January 21 2017 Saturday, January 21, 2017 3:54:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA — "The Mindfulness-Based Eating Solution" author, Dr. Lynn Rossy, spoke at the Boone County Historical Museum Saturday. The... More >>
9 hours ago January 21, 2017 Jan 21, 2017 Saturday, January 21 2017 Saturday, January 21, 2017 11:51:00 AM CST in News
BOONVILLE — Several Missouri National Guard Specialists are preparing to leave for their final segment of training before departing for... More >>
9 hours ago January 21, 2017 Jan 21, 2017 Saturday, January 21 2017 Saturday, January 21, 2017 11:39:00 AM CST in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Prosecutors have charged a man in connection with a shooting death last summer in Kansas City,... More >>
10 hours ago January 21, 2017 Jan 21, 2017 Saturday, January 21 2017 Saturday, January 21, 2017 11:19:00 AM CST in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Police and court records said a man accused of fatally shooting a St. Louis apartment complex's... More >>
10 hours ago January 21, 2017 Jan 21, 2017 Saturday, January 21 2017 Saturday, January 21, 2017 11:16:04 AM CST in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — A southwestern Missouri woman faces up to 23 years in federal prison after admitting in court that... More >>
10 hours ago January 21, 2017 Jan 21, 2017 Saturday, January 21 2017 Saturday, January 21, 2017 11:10:00 AM CST in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A man has been ordered to spend two decades in prison after admitting in court that... More >>
11 hours ago January 21, 2017 Jan 21, 2017 Saturday, January 21 2017 Saturday, January 21, 2017 10:31:15 AM CST in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A St. Louis 18-year-old has been jailed on $250,000 bond after being accused of wounding her... More >>
11 hours ago January 21, 2017 Jan 21, 2017 Saturday, January 21 2017 Saturday, January 21, 2017 10:13:19 AM CST in News
COLUMBIA – Missouri is the only state without a prescription drug-monitoring program in place, but officials in Columbia are hoping... More >>
1 day ago January 20, 2017 Jan 20, 2017 Friday, January 20 2017 Friday, January 20, 2017 6:34:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA — At their Jan. 10 Court en Banc meeting, the judges of the 13th Judicial Circuit elected their new... More >>
1 day ago January 20, 2017 Jan 20, 2017 Friday, January 20 2017 Friday, January 20, 2017 5:39:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA — A Columbia man has pled guilty Friday to three counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, one count... More >>
1 day ago January 20, 2017 Jan 20, 2017 Friday, January 20 2017 Friday, January 20, 2017 4:43:00 PM CST in Top Stories
FRANKLIN COUNTY (AP) — Franklin County Sheriff's Office charged a man Friday after Authorities say he killed his ex-girlfriend in... More >>
1 day ago January 20, 2017 Jan 20, 2017 Friday, January 20 2017 Friday, January 20, 2017 3:55:00 PM CST in Top Stories
COLUMBIA — All across the country televisions were set to the presidential inauguration to see Donald Trump take office. Craig... More >>
1 day ago January 20, 2017 Jan 20, 2017 Friday, January 20 2017 Friday, January 20, 2017 3:20:00 PM CST in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 53°
10pm 47°
11pm 46°
12am 45°
1am 44°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

7:00p
Figure Skating
10:00p
KOMU 8 News @ 10
10:29p
Saturday Night Live
9:30p
Seinfeld
10:00p
Rules of Engagement
10:30p
Rules of Engagement

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
Figure Skating
7:00p
Family Guy
7:30p
Family Guy
8:00p
Bob's Burgers
8:30p
Bob's Burgers
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld