Grain Belt Express claims it is "committed to engaging with local communities throughout the project area. We believe that our outreach process must be methodical, responsible and transparent. We will continue to engage interested parties and seek feedback throughout the routing process."
Except when the local communities actually produce feedback... then it's time for armed guards, physical violence and verbal abuse. That's what happened when Amy attended a Grain Belt Express Open House in her community recently.
I looked up some European studies and copied them off in order to take them with me to the Grain Belt Express Open House the evening of July 17, 2013 in Cameron, Missouri, at the Cameron Community Center.
When my husband and I entered the meeting it was immediately apparent that this was NOT an "open" house. My training as an ad designer had taught me a few lessons in different styles of propaganda and Grain Belt Express was clearly exercising the manipulation tactic called "The Delphi Technique." I had spent the night before with little sleep because of my concern over these lines and seeing this farce being perpetrated on my fellow townspeople didn't put me in a very good mood. I only wanted to know where I could protest. Since these slick Grain Belt con artists are trained to detect dissonance, my husband and I were immediately pulled aside to have our feathers unruffled.
I handed one of my sheets of articles about the health and safety hazards of HVDC power lines to our "helper" and with only a cursory glance at my papers, he immediately began to start telling us the wonders of this line and that there are no risks, blah, blah, blah... Understanding that I would get NOWHERE with this talking mannequin, I left his little group in his mid-sentence and began handing out my printed literature to the other small groups in the room, and asking them to ask their facilitators about the information within the studies.
When I got to the back of the room, an armed man, wearing Grain Belt clothes, identified himself to my husband as a Cameron police officer. He grabbed my arm HARD and asked me what I was doing. I told him that he was holding me too hard and that he was hurting me. He released his grip slightly and asked me again what I was doing, to which I responded that I was sharing information with others about HVDC lines and their health effects. He told me that I was to stop doing that, to which I told him that I would not and that I was exercising my right to free speech. He then explained to me that that was not allowed here and I needed to leave immediately. When I argued with him he began dragging me out of the meeting. As he was doing this I shouted, "My free speech rights are being violated and if you want to know about the hazards of HVDC towers then READ THIS!" and I threw the papers across the room and onto the floor. (You should have seen the people scramble to read them.)
When this Grain Belt rent-a-cop got me outside he began verbally abusing me and telling me that I had NO FREE SPEECH RIGHTS HERE, and that if I did not leave by the time he counted to 5, then he would take me to the station for disorderly conduct. I left on his count of 4, but several people in the group came out of the meeting to argue with the cop. Free speech is supposed to be protected by our Constitution, according to folks here in the Midwest. Besides, I thought this was an informational meeting between landowners and Grain Belt Express. Not a Grain Belt infomercial.
Is this really about "clean" energy, or is it about financial profit? Only money could cause a company to stoop to this kind of bullying of a community that refuses to cheerfully accept its own demise.
Clean Line is spinning out of control in its desperation to regain control over a project that's not going as planned. These arrogant Clean Line fools actually thought they were so much smarter than "a bunch of farmers" that community acceptance would be a snap. Reality has been a cruel master and now the company is resorting to physical violence and threats of jail to get its way. Give up, Clean Line, you've already lost.
Check back soon to read more of Amy's story (or as she's more commonly known in "Clean" circles by her mark of the beast, "Number 95735.")