Missouri Supreme Court Hears Wind Power Line Case - KOAM TV 7

Missouri Supreme Court Hears Wind Power Line Case


     Missouri's former governor, now arguing as a private attorney, urged the state's highest court on Tuesday to overturn a decision blocking a proposed 780-mile power line that would carry wind energy across the Midwest.
    Former Governor Jay Nixon, who backed the project before his term ended in January 2017, led a team of lawyers arguing before the Missouri Supreme Court on behalf Clean Line Energy Partners. The Houston-based renewable energy firm wants to build a $2.3 billion transmission line from western Kansas across Missouri and Illinois to an Indiana power grid serving eastern states.
    It's one of the longest transmission lines proposed in the U.S. But it was rejected last year by Missouri utility commissioners whom Nixon appointed. The state Public Service Commission cited a state appeals court ruling in a separate case that determined a utility first must get approval from local governments to string power lines across roads before the state regulatory commission can grant permission.
    Nixon argued that was an "erroneous interpretation" that ran contrary to more than 70 years or precedent.
    Nixon said told the judges that interpretation would lead to a "myriad of other permissions making it impossible" to build a power line.
    Attorney Paul Agathan, representing landowners opposed to the power line, argued that Clean Line essentially was seeking franchise permission from counties and should need their pre-approval. Some landowners have opposed the project because of it could be an eyesore and hurt their property values.
    Nixon and Agathan both have said they see no conflict of interest with Nixon arguing before judges he appointed.
    The proposed power line would carry about 4,000 megawatts of power. About 500 megawatts would be available to sell in Missouri, and a coalition of Missouri municipal utilities already has agreed to purchase some of that. Attorneys for the coalition said that if the case is not resolved in about a year, they may have to look for alternative sources of power.

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