We will begin surveying in the spring,” a neighbor was told by a Grain Belt Express (GBE) land agent. GBE land agents continue to give the impression they will receive a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity (CCN).
How can they be so sure? Is it because the owners are politically connected or, perhaps, they are trusting in their unlimited financial resources.
Attending the evidentiary hearings has raised many issues and convinced me this is far from a “done deal.” There is tremendous opposition and very compelling reasons to not grant the CCN. Public Service Commission Staff witness, Daniel I. Beck, testified, “It is Staff’s opinion that Grain Belt Express has not met the five Tartan criteria and, therefore, the evidence in this case will not establish that the high-voltage direct current transmission line and converter station are necessary or convenient for the public service." (emphasis added) In the event the PSC Commission does grant a CCN, Staff has recommended terms be added to the easement agreement to protect landowners.
GBE land agents continue to meet with landowners but “buyer beware!” I would encourage all to look beyond the “packaging” of this project, examine the content of the easement agreement, and seek legal council before signing. The easement is not the “fair and equitable treatment,” Grain Belt Express has promised.
The most prudent step is to wait for the Public Service Commission to make their decision regarding the (CCN) before entering into any kind of legally binding agreement.
Tina Reichert, Brunswick, MO
Editor's note: For Mrs. Reichert's op ed regarding this issue, go here.