In the matter of Rock Island Clean Line's petition for an Order granting it a CPCN and authorizing and directing it to construct a transmission line, the dust has settled for now and it's up to ALJ Larry Jones to consider and decide if or how to modify his original Proposed Order.
You can read the briefs linked on the ICC Docket here.
I haven't read them all yet, but the few I have sampled are chock full of reality. I think my favorite bit of snark so far is found in ComEd's brief:
"Generic statements that transmission reinforcement is desirable do not amount to establishment of need."
Clean Line wants the public and the environmental community to believe that its project is "clean" and "needed." But it doesn't look like Clean Line's aspirational propaganda monologue held up to regulatory scrutiny in Illinois. And it's not holding up in the public dialogue either.
The tide is turning and Clean Line's continued insistence that, if it is only allowed to take land from thousands of families and businesses across nine midwestern states to build its project, it will be a "needed" and "clean" success is falling on deaf ears. Regulators are starting to explore these generic claims and seem to be finding nothing of substance to back them up. Need can only be definitively determined through participation in an established process for doing so. It cannot be manufactured out of thin air, hopes and dreams.
In all the states where Clean Line intends to do business for its Rock Island, Grain Belt and Plains & Eastern projects, there is already a thorough, federally-regulated process by which new transmission projects are proposed, vetted and approved. Clean Line chose to operate OUTSIDE this process and instead substitute generic claims of "need." It appears that Clean Line's claims just can't stand up to any real scrutiny. Organizations that continue to parrot these baseless claims and support Clean Line are buying a piece of pie in the sky, and ruining their own credibility with the public.
The public opinion verdict is in, and the message is simple.