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Anti-Grain Belt Express Legislation dies in Missouri Senate

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Peter Key's picture
Freelance Writer, Editor, Consultant Self-employed

I've been a business journalist since 1985 when I received an MBA from Penn State. I covered energy, technology, and venture capital for The Philadelphia Business Journal from 1998 through 2013....

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  • May 28, 2021
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Invenergy’s Grain Belt Express has survived another Missouri legislative session.

Two bills that would have restricted the eminent domain process in a way that would prevent Invenergy from getting the land it needs for the transmission project in Missouri not only failed to get approval from the state Senate, they failed to reach the Senate floor.

By the last week of the 2021 legislative session, the bill sponsored by Sen. Jason Bean, R-Holcomb, was considered to be doomed. Senate Bill 141, however, was given a chance of succeeding, with Sen. Doug Beck, who represents St. Louis, telling the Missouri Independent that he expected a long debate on it.

Instead, the bill never reached the floor, according to the Missouri Ruralist, which classified that as a “legislative letdown” based on the opinions of representatives of the Missouri Farm Bureau, Missouri Soybean Association, Missouri Corn Growers Association and Missouri Cattlemen’s Association. Casey Wassler, the Missouri Soybean Association’s policy director, said eminent domain could be the subject of a special legislative session.

The Grain Belt Express would be a high-voltage, direct current transmission line that would bring up to 4,000 megawatts of wind power roughly 800 miles from western Kansas through Missouri and Illinois to the Land of Lincoln's border with Indiana.

Invenergy has gotten the project approved in Kansas and Missouri and is still evaluating options for the project in Illinois. Opponents of the project are working to stop Invenergy from getting the necessary land for it, through efforts such as the bills that didn’t get out of the Missouri Senate.

Still, Invenergy spokeswoman Beth Conley told Missourinet that more than 40 percent of the landowners in Missouri and Kansas through whose properties the project would pass have voluntarily signed easement agreements and received upfront payments exceeding $5 million.

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