Power line project raising concerns across Missouri
Sun, 23 Feb 2014 04:33:43 GMT —
A plan to transport wind energy from Kansas to the east coast is raising concerns with farmers and landowners across three states.
The group is working to prevent that project from going forward saying that the plan would set a dangerous precedent.
Madison, Missouri's Marilyn O'Bannon joined other concerned landowners in Monroe City on Saturday to raise awareness about a proposed cross country powerline called "
The Grainbelt Express"
"Really we have no idea what kind of health concerns there could be because there's nothing like this in the United States," O'Bannon said. "There is no data. There is no scientific investigation to say whether there is a health concern or not. But do you want to be a guinea pig?"
Clean Line Energy Partners out of Houston Texas has proposed building a 750 mile long transmission line from western Kansas across Missouri, Illinois and Indiana. It would carry wind energy to the east coast where it is in high demand.
But O'Bannon and others have joined a grass roots effort called
Block Grain Belt Express
to stop the project.
The vice president of the group, Jennifer Gatrel says that health is just one of the concerns the group has about the project.
"As a group, we are more concerned about the devaluation of our property and land owners rights," Gatrel said. "Most of us are food producers, we produce food. And we think that we are meeting a public need by producing food and this would negatively impact our operations."
The dark orange lines on the map above indicate the potential routes the transmission line could take across Missouri.
Thousands of acres across the state could be impacted by this plan.
One of the groups biggest concerns is that landowners could have their land taken from them.
"We want to prevent the precedent from happening in Missouri that a private, for profit company can just come in and have eminent domain and just take their land so that they can make money. It's just un-American and wrong," Gatrel said.
As the group works to get the word out they are finding that many people, who could be impacted by the project don't know a thing about it.
"Clean Line has not done a very good job of contacting landowners, keeping them involved. So that we know what's going on with the project," O'Bannon said.
"As a group we've gone through seven states (Gatrel later corrected this to say "counties") now and over and over again we're hearing maybe 50 percent of the people don't even know that their land is in jeopardy. And we find that completely despicable," Gatrel said.
Block Grain Belt Express Missouri
is working with a separate group called the Missouri Landowners alliance to handle the legal matters surrounding this project.
The group will hold another informational meeting at the Bowling Green Community Center on Saturday, March 1 at 11 a.m.