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Mo. bill against eminent domain for Grain Belt Express line fails


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Mo. bill against eminent domain for Grain Belt Express line fails

Legislation in Missouri targeting the Grain Belt Express transmission line has failed.

Missouri lawmakers wrapped up their session May 17 without taking final action on a proposal to bar the project's developers from using eminent domain to acquire easements for the proposed high-voltage, direct-current transmission line.

The state House of Representatives in April overwhelmingly approved House Bill 1062, which said private entities such as project developer Clean Line Energy Partners LLC do not have the power of eminent domain to build aboveground merchant transmission lines. The bill from Rep. Jim Hansen, a Republican, defined a private entity as a utility company that "does not provide service to end-use customers or provide retail service in Missouri."

The proposal stalled in the Senate, and on May 15, Hansen successfully added the bill's language to a different Senate bill the House was considering. That proposal, SB 330, dealt with special license plates for the Association of Missouri Electrical Cooperatives and the Missouri Association of Municipal Utilities. The Senate did not sign off the changes to the bill before the session ended May 17.

Hansen was not immediately available to comment May 20.

The Grain Belt Express project is proposed to run roughly 780 miles from western Kansas through Missouri and Illinois and into Indiana, delivering 500 MW of wind-generated power to customers in Missouri and another 3,500 MW to states farther east. About 206 miles of the transmission line is to run through Missouri.

The Missouri Public Service Commission approved the project in March, finding that it has economic, environmental and other benefits for the entire state.

Invenergy LLC is planning to buy the project from Clean Line through its Invenergy Transmission LLC affiliate. The proposed acquisition is continuing through the review process at the commission, Invenergy spokesperson Beth Conley said. (Missouri PSC Case No. EM-2019-0150)