Missouri regulators are on the verge of a difficult decision pitting property rights against the renewable energy that could help turn the tide in the fight against climate change. Three members of the five-person Missouri Public Service Commission signaled earlier this month they may vote against the Grain Belt Express transmission line, which would carry wind energy from Kansas to cities in the east.
Houston-based Clean Line Energy Partners, the company behind the project, says it needs the right to use eminent domain to keep the project from being undermined by one landowner unwilling to sell an easement.
Indiana and Kansas have both approved the 780-mile line, and Illinois has given preliminary approval to another Clean Line project. Regulators in Missouri, meanwhile, appear to be heeding the vocal opposition of farmers who don’t want the line running across — and, presumably, hurting the value of — their land.