Feds planning mammoth electric line corridor through Kansas, Missouri, Illinois; are residents informed enough to oppose it?

The Biden administration is taking public comments on a proposed five-mile-wide electric transmission corridor crossing half of Kansas and all of Missouri – but do residents even have enough information to comment?

Not at all, says Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, who calls it an unconstitutional “huge land grab.”

“On May 8, 2024,” explains one website, “the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released a preliminary list of potential National Interest Electric Transmission Corridors (NIETCs), representing another step forward in DOE’s efforts to effectuate statutory powers designed to accelerate the development of electric transmission infrastructure across the country.”

Those electric transmission corridors include the “Midwest-Plains potential NIETC” that, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, would span “an approximately 5-mile-wide, 780-milelong east-west geographic area that includes parts of Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana.”

A DOE map indicates the Midwest-Plains corridor would reach from southeast of Dodge City, across northeast Kansas and all the way across northern Missouri and all the way through Illinois.

The goals include the “need for increased interregional transfer capacity to maintain and improve reliability and resilience, lower congestion and consumer costs, meet future generation and demand growth, and increase clean energy integration.”

Residents have until 4 p.m. CDT on June 24 to comment, including registering opposition to the plan.

But in an exclusive interview with The Heartlander, Hawley says that timeline is completely unrealistic – noting in a Wednesday letter to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm that a “guidance document provided by the Department of Energy does not specify the exact area covered by the corridor. It only provides an image of the line across the state and explains that the proposed corridor is five miles wide.

“How are landowners expected to comment on the proposal if they don’t know if it will be on their land?”

Hawley requests the public comment period be extended by “at least another 45 days. Farmers and landowners should not live in fear that their land may be subject to a federal takeover. I urge you to listen to them.”

Is this massive an electric corridor normal, especially at the federal level?

“No, it’s a huge land grab,” Hawley argues. “This corridor that they’ve designated, it is right across the heart of our state. It goes east to west, crisscrosses the entire state. And you talk about a precedent: the government can just say, ‘Oh, Missouri, yeah, you’re a national transmission corridor. We’re just gonna come in and take your stuff.’ 

“I think it is blatantly unconstitutional. It is an incredible trampling on the rights of our farmers and landowners. 

“And by the way, we’re not talking about corporate farms. We’re talking here about family farmers who are out there working the land for their living. We’re talking about people who live out in the country or live in small towns. Those are the people, the government’s coming in and saying, ‘We’re going to take your stuff, we want it. We’ll just take it.’ 

“And the worst part is, it goes over state law. So, you can’t go to state commissions. You can’t go to the state legislature. The federal government just comes in and does it. This is wrong.”

Hawley detects the scent of the Green New Deal in all this.

Indeed, while the Biden Department of Energy points to the fact that “generator retirements in the Midwest region are anticipated to result in near-term capacity shortfalls,” it doesn’t mention the federal government’s role in that – through the administration’s opposition to dominant means of energy production.

“Number one,” Hawley says, “we need to be developing American energy, not this green energy nonsense. Number two, Missouri is not just there to be used and taken as a land grab by the federal government. Missouri farmers have rights. Missouri rural folks have rights. You can’t just come in and take their land and use it to put up your ‘clean energy’ wires all over the place, and that’s what they’re trying to do. 

“And I tell you what, I will not vote for any person, any nominee who supports it. I won’t vote for any law that makes it easier, and I’m going to do everything in my power to try to reverse it.”


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