In a 3-2 discussion and vote, the Missouri Public Service Commission DENIED Clean Line's application for its Grain Belt Express project this morning!
Some commissioners expressed concern Tuesday that it would be a more expensive form of energy. Commissioner Bill Kenney, who said he plans to vote against construction, cast doubts on the economic impact it would have in the state.
“I do not see the benefit to Missourians,” Kenney said.
“We’re thrilled,” said Jennifer Gatrel, who heads the group Block Grain Belt Express. “We think this is a great win for representative democracy, grass-roots activism and landowner rights.”
If the PSC does reject the project, Lawlor said Clean Line won’t give up. It could pursue federal eminent domain authority through the Energy Department, an approach it is pursuing in Arkansas after the state declined to approve another of its routes.
The issue is bigger than Missouri or the Grain Belt project in particular, said Mark Lawlor, Clean Line’s director of development. The country is trying to figure out how to reduce carbon pollution linked to climate change under new federal regulations, which many say will require a large buildout of transmission infrastructure.
“How do we get stuff built?” Lawlor said. “If the ‘no’ was because people didn’t like it, landowners didn’t like it, then how are we going to build transmission? It kind of goes beyond this one project.”
“These projects are too valuable and too much in demand (to walk away from),” Lawlor said. “We remain confident in their value and we’ll look at everything we can.”
"We" don't get stuff built.... Clean Line is not part of the "we" of real transmission developers. Clean Line wanted no part of the regional planning process the rest of the industry participates in, remember? You're not going to be building anything, Mark Lawlor... because the landowners said "no." It's just that simple! I guess you should have spent more time trying to develop relationships with landowners, and less time schmoozing it up with the legislature, right?
But it does go "beyond this one project." Clean Line has awoken the sleeping giant, and filled him with a terrible resolve. Grassroots opposition has perfected the art of stopping useless transmission projects like Clean Line, and as we move forward more transmission projects are going to fail.
There's no demand for Clean Line's projects. No utilities have expressed interest in buying imported wind (because that 50mw from the Texas co-op can only be considered a joke).
Clean Line isn't very valuable though. I wouldn't give a tinker's damn for it. Unfortunately, Clean Line has pissed away around $140M of its super-rich investors' money on it. No wonder Lawlor can't walk away. He's tied to this wheel-less wagon and being whipped like a rented mule.
Job well done!