As you may recall, notice to affected parties was carried out in a rather haphazard fashion at the last minute, the Kansas Corporation Commission staff misinformed the public about their rights to participate in the legal process, and Clean Line was beating the KCC like a rented mule.
At a public meeting early this week, the Commissioners discussed the outstanding petitions to intervene from pro se individuals, a landowners' group, local government and an electric co-op.
The KCC voted to allow all of those wishing to intervene to do so but directed its staff to draft a letter explaining to the interveners that they would have to articulate a specific interest that is affected by the case and asking them to clarify what they want the KCC to do. If the interveners fail to do that, the KCC could elect not to allow them to speak at the relevant hearing in October.
Normally, landowners are represented by an attorney who is familiar with KCC procedures, but this case is unusual in that some landowners are choosing to represent themselves, KCC spokesman Jesse Borjon said, adding the letter would provide landowners some guidance about how to pursue their part in the case.
KCC Chairman Mark Sievers said some of those who asked to intervene had used “boilerplate” language that didn’t clearly explain how their rights would be affected by the proposed siting.
Sievers also suggested the KCC adopt a procedural order to calm proceedings where members of the public were noisy, applauded and created a “circus atmosphere.” The order cited regulations requiring people presenting to the KCC to follow the same rules of decorum as attorneys in courtrooms, and said people who failed to do so could be denied the opportunity to speak.
The KCC also had concerns about:
Sievers also said parties “trying their case in the press” had become a problem, but Commissioner Thomas Wright raised the point that rules against discussing a case in the media exist to prevent potential jurors from developing prejudices in cases they could be called on to decide. The commissioners determined talking to media therefore wasn’t likely to be misconduct in its cases.
Grain Belt Express has been routed through someone's oil field interests. Notice was not given to this business. This could cost GBE millions!
So, what does Grain Belt Express do? They have a big tantrum and demand that the KCC reconsider its decision to allow the parties to intervene. They accuse the KCC of not ordering what was discussed at the public meeting. Not too smart.
Clean Line Energy Partners' actions are getting pretty desperate, and their public and legal dialogue is increasingly shrill. That's what happens right before a badly conceived transmission project dies. Adios.