Former Gov. Nixon leads legal challenge over denied wind transmission project

Led by former Gov. Jay Nixon, a St. Louis-based legal team representing developers of the Grain Belt Express transmission line have filed a brief challenging the multistate project’s recent denial by Missouri regulators.

Clean Line Energy, the Houston-based company behind the project, had signaled after its latest rejection that an appeal would be imminent. Briefs outlining the company’s arguments were filed Tuesday in the Eastern District of the Missouri Court of Appeals, with Nixon, now a partner at the Clayton law firm Dowd Bennett, spearheading the case.

The stalled infrastructure project would span four states, bringing wind energy from Kansas to Missouri, Illinois and Indiana, and into the grid beyond. Every state along its path has long since granted approval, except Missouri.

Though out of elected office, the state’s 55th governor sees the proposed 780-mile transmission line as an opportunity to remain involved with an issue of statewide — or even broader — importance.

The brief filed in the case lays out several arguments claiming that “the PSC erred in denying Grain Belt Express’ application,” focusing criticism on the commission’s deference to a controversial court ruling from the Western District of the Missouri Court of Appeals.

Oral arguments in the case are set to be heard in February. That process could be bypassed, however, if the case is taken up by the state Supreme Court, as Clean Line has requested.

Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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