Renew Missouri’s Statement on the Grain Belt Express Decision

Renew Missouri’s Statement on the Grain Belt Express Decision
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Today, the Missouri Public Service Commission (“PSC”) voted unanimously to deny the Grain Belt Express transmission line, a multi-billion dollar project spanning four states that would bring cheap wind power from Kansas to Missouri and the Great Lakes. In its order denying the project, a majority of the PSC found that the project was in the public interest, would save Missouri ratepayers millions, and had met all the relevant criteria for approval. Chairman Daniel Hall acknowledged that there is a “worldwide comprehensive trend toward […] wind because it’s cheap, clean, reliable, and safe.”

Renew Missouri, a statewide group based in Columbia formed to advance renewable energy and energy efficiency policy, issued a statement regarding the decision to deny the Grain Belt Express transmission line handed down this morning. From Renew Missouri’s Executive Director James Owen:

“For the past six months, Governor Eric Greitens has promised to drain Jefferson City of job-killing regulations and to declare Missouri open for business. Governor Greitens’ silence on the Grain Belt Express shows that this was nothing but talk. Clean Line’s proposed Grain Belt Express transmission line would provide clean, affordable energy to thousands of Missouri residents and save Missourians millions every year. It is also a shovel-ready project that would create jobs immediately in a rural part of the state crying out for opportunities. Governor Greitens’ administration heard these cries and chose to ignore them.

Instead, Governor Greitens’ administration turned down a chance for lower utility bills and more jobs based on a misreading of the law. The Western District’s opinion now says that a few county commissioners have absolute veto power over the regulatory decisions of the federal and state government. This multibillion-dollar project spanning four states is now stalled due to a baseless objection from a single Missouri county. No matter what a person’s opinion is of the state and federal government, the idea that one county can senselessly and arbitrarily vote this down is simply madness and upends the very notion of how civilized government is supposed to work. In the face of this absurd result, Governor Greitens’ silence is deafening.

Jobs. Prosperity. Lower household costs. This was the promise of Governor Greitens when he was running for office. Now that he’s there, his administration has passed on an easy opportunity to improve the day-to-day lives of thousands of Missouri ratepayers and to lower the stress on household budgets by millions of dollars. To compound the damage, Missouri companies have even less ability to lower their energy costs and to meet their own renewable energy goals; in addition, out-of-state companies with renewable energy needs will look at Missouri and see a very clear ‘Closed for Business’ sign on our state borders.

You may remember Governor Greitens had to call a special session to address lowering utility bills to attract companies to the Bootheel back in May. This call was so urgent it simply could not wait. The bill passed and was signed, but now we don’t hear a peep about whether it will bring one single job back to Missouri.

Between that special session and the decision on the Grain Belt Express today shows our new Governor’s administration isn’t serious about economic development and household budgets as promised. Just more talk with no action.”

For more information, contact Renew Missouri’s James Owen at 417-496-1924.