A long-stalled proposal for a multi-state electric transmission line was thrown a lifeline Tuesday, when the Missouri Supreme Court unanimously ruled that state regulators erred in rejecting the project based on a controversial legal precedent.
Library filed under Legal from Missouri
Missouri is no longer the lone holdout to approve a high-voltage transmission project scheduled to span four states, bringing wind energy from western Kansas through Northeast Missouri further east.
With the proposed multi-state wind energy transmission line, Grain Belt Express, held up over controversial interpretations of Missouri law, prospective developers of the project have pushed for the case to go before the state Supreme Court.
In issuing the order, commission members said in part that the company had failed to prove that it had first obtained all necessary consent from counties along the project’s proposed route for road crossings. The PSC cited a Missouri Western District Court of Appeals decision in a separate, but recent, case pertaining to a proposed transmission line in northeast Missouri with regard to obtaining county-level permission.
Most members of Missouri’s regulatory panel said they, too, wanted to approve the high-profile project but felt compelled to vote against it because of a recent state appeals court ruling. The judges in that case said utilities must first get the consent of counties to string a power line across roads before state approval can be granted.
NextEra and the other companies said they received a special use permit six years ago to develop the project. That agreement, however, has since been terminated by the zoning panel, the document added. The firms said they have continued efforts to obtain leases for the construction, and that a subsequent application also was rejected.
Changes to the landscape are inevitable. But farmers shouldn’t be conscripted to serve a climate-change agenda. States should think twice before granting the power of eminent domain to developers of renewable-energy projects, who should have to negotiate with individual landowners like everybody else.