Don't lick this lollipop!
Grain Belt Express's application was denied. Done. Finished. Not approved. Case over.
But then the PSC did something unfortunate. It issued what can only be dubbed a useless opinion on the case it had just denied. The denial is the only thing with any legal effect. It doesn't matter if they might have approved it, or whether they think it was worthwhile, because it's denied and the useless opinions in the "concurrence" have no authority or effect. The project is denied.
Of course, Clean Line begged for this favorable opinion separate and apart from a denial, and the Commission spread it on pretty thick. An actual approval couldn't have been so biased and one-sided. During oral arguments, Clean Line's attorney said it would use the useless opinion to convince county commissions to assent to its project. But it looks like Clean Line has used it for everything but.
Clean Line has used the useless opinion to try to shield itself in the media so it doesn't have to utter the word denial.
Clean Line has used the useless opinion to beat up on the PSC and the State of Missouri in the media.
Clean Line has used the useless opinion to make its former customers think their contract is still binding and convince them to sit around like good little sheep and fail to pursue replacements for supply contracts that expire in 4 years.
Clean Line has used the useless opinion as the proposed basis for future legal action.
Clean Line has used the useless opinion to pretend it would make a good platform for federal usurpation of the Missouri PSC's authority. The Commission whined in its concurrence that the courts had overstepped onto Commission authority. If they think the Missouri court system stuck its nose where it didn't belong, then the Commission ain't seen nothing yet if the Feds get involved.
Lastly, did Clean Line use that useless opinion to unlock the investor money vault and give its investors false hope that the opinion had some value and effect? I wonder how the Missouri PSC might have ill-advisedly overstepped by producing knowingly ineffective and overly complimentary opinions that give investors false hope for a project that has failed? At least one Commissioner had the good sense not to sign that thing.
The Missouri Public Service Commission's "Concurrence" is a powerless, feel-good, useless opinion that does not matter. It does nothing. It has no legal force or effect. It's just a piece of paper.
The only thing that matters from yesterday is the Order denying Grain Belt's Application. Grain Belt Express was denied by the PSC. It cannot be built in Missouri. That isn't some easily scaled "hurdle," it's a 16-story brick wall. Missouri said no. End of story.
The Missouri Landowners Alliance's attorney told the AP everything they needed to know yesterday.
"They're done at this point. We won. They can't build the line," said Paul Agathen, an attorney for the Missouri Landowners Alliance. "So it's up to them as to what steps, if any, they take."
Next... what happens when a Clean Line employee consumes too much sugar? Stay tuned...