Missouri regulators deny Clean Line rehearing for Grain Belt Express

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The Missouri Public Service Commission on Aug. 12 denied Clean Line Energy Partners’ request for rehearing of the PSC’s July 1 order denying a certificate of convenience and necessity for the 206-mile Missouri portion of the Grain Belt Express Clean Line project.

In the same order, the PSC also denied a request for rehearing submitted by the Missouri Landowners Alliance. Clean Line and the MLA on July 30 submitted separate requests for rehearing.

The PSC said in the order denying rehearing that neither Clean Line nor the MLA showed sufficient reason to rehear the matter.

In an Aug. 12 statement, Clean Line said that it remains committed to the Grain Belt Express project.

“[Clean Line] believes the project is too important to Missouri, Illinois and our nation’s energy future not to pursue,” the company said. “While proceeding with the pending application to build, own and operate the Grain Belt Express project in Illinois, Clean Line will evaluate all available options to move the project forward in Missouri.”

Clean Line last March submitted an application to the PSC seeking permission to build the proposed $2.2 billion, 750-mile ±600-kV HVDC Grain Belt Express transmission line, which would originate in Spearville, Kan., and terminate in St. Francois, Mo. The company on April 10 filed an application with the Illinois Commerce Commission to build the Illinois portion of the project. The Kansas Corporation Commission approved the project in December 2011.

The MLA on Aug. 12 filed with the PSC a notice of appeal of the PSC’s July 1 order. According to the notice, the appeal was taken to the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District.

The MLA said it would argue that the PSC erred during the course of the evidentiary hearings in receiving certain evidence into the record, over the objection of the MLA.

The MLA said it will raise up to four issues pertaining to evidence submitted into the record. In up to three of those instances, MLA added, the group will argue that the receipt of certain evidence denied the MLA of its due process rights to a fair hearing. Another issue would address potential violations of the Missouri Administrative Procedure Act, the MLA said.

According to the notice, the MLA’s appeal is contingent on Clean Line also appealing the PSC’s July 1 order.

As TransmissionHub reported, Clean Line CEO Michael Skelly in Aug. 7 testimony to the ICC said that the company has “multiple options it can pursue to move forward” with the Missouri portion of the project. Skelly said that those options include appealing the order if a request for rehearing is unsuccessful; filing a new application for a CCN with the PSC that addresses the concerns expressed by the PSC in its order; and pursuing federal siting authority.

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