- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 17, 2014

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri Chapter of the Sierra Club has endorsed the construction of a proposed high-voltage wind energy transmission line that would stretch across a section of the state, saying it would reduce the state’s reliance on coal.

The Grain Belt Express high-voltage transmission line would run along 286 miles across Buchanan, Clinton, Caldwell, Carroll, Chariton, Randolph, Monroe and Ralls counties in Missouri, with a converter station in Ralls County. The total 750-mile project stretches from western Kansas to Indiana.

Grain Belt Express, owned by Houston-based Clean Energy Line Partners, is seeking a certificate of convenience, which would give it the right to use eminent domain to obtain property for the line.

Property owners along the route have filled public hearings, mostly voicing strong objections to the project. They contend that it would damage their property values, health and quality of life, The Columbia Daily Tribune reported (https://bit.ly/1u10O8x ).

Jim Turner, executive committee chairman of the Missouri Chapter, said in a news release Monday that the Grain Belt project would transfer 3,500 megawatts of power from wind farms in Kansas and would help get Missouri closer to meeting a mandate requiring its utilities to generate at least 15 percent renewable energy by 2021.

Only 14 percent of the 3,500 megawatts would be used in Missouri. Supporters say the project would deliver enough power to for about 200,000 homes per year in Missouri.

Public Service Commission spokesman Kevin Kelly said evidentiary hearings are scheduled for Nov. 10, Nov. 12 to 14 and Nov. 21 in Jefferson City. He said he didn’t know when the commission will rule on the proposal.

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Information from: Columbia Daily Tribune, https://www.columbiatribune.com

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