Jeff Becker


The Grain Belt Express, a proposed wind energy transmission line that will span across much of the Midwest,[1] has been stalled for the past five years due to the legal battles it has faced in Missouri[2] over whether the company can be properly granted the authority to exercise eminent domain power over landowners in the state who oppose the project.[3] This Note provides a comprehensive analysis of the issues surrounding the Grain Belt Express in Missouri in order to argue that the project is in the state’s public interest—as correctly decided by Missouri’s Public Service Commission in granting Grain Belt eminent domain authority[4]—and to advocate against legislation specifically aimed at blocking the project in Missouri.[5] This Note proceeds by first providing an overview of the project and the issue, next presenting the arguments on both sides of the issue, then providing the legal and regulatory background, followed by a summary of Grain Belt’s legal journey in Missouri to date, and finally concluding with arguments against the Missouri legislation targeted at the Grain Belt Express.

[1]. Route Overview, Grain Belt Express, https://grainbeltexpress.com/overview.html (last visited Sept. 19, 2021).

[2]. See Paul Henry, Missouri’s Grain Belt Express HVDC Transmission Line Project (Easements and Eminent Domain), Owners’ Counsel Am. (Sept. 17, 2020), https://www.owners counsel.com/missouris-grain-belt-express-hvdc-transmission-line-project-easements-and-eminent-domain/.

[3]. Adrienne Spiller, The Show-Me State’s Fight Against Grain Belt Express Clean Line: Will Administrative Proceedings, Legislation, or the Takings Clause Provide Protection for Private Land?, J. Env’t & Sustainability L. 311, 312–13 (2016).

[4]. See In re Application of Grain Belt Express Clean Line LLC for a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity, File No. EA-2016-0358, 2019 WL 1354055, at *29, *31, *47 (Mo. P.S.C. Mar. 20, 2019) (Report and Order).

[5]. See Protect Wind Energy, Protect Missouri Jobs, Oppose House Bill 527, Sierra Club, https://www.sierraclub.org/sites/www.sierraclub.org/files/sce-authors/u2061/HB%20527%20-%20Support%20Grainbelt%20Express.pdf (last visited Feb. 7, 2021); H.B. 527, 101st Gen. Assemb., 1st Reg. Sess. (Mo. 2021); H.B. 1027, 98th Gen. Assemb., 1st Reg. Sess. (Mo. 2015); H.B. 1062, 100th Gen. Assemb., 1st Reg. Sess. (Mo. 2019); H.B. 2033, 100th Gen. Assemb., 2d Reg. Sess. (Mo. 2020); Kurt Erickson, After misfire last year, Missouri lawmakers again trying to stop Grain Belt Express, St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Jan. 13, 2020), https://www.stltoday.com/ news/local/govt-and-politics/after-misfire-last-year-missouri-lawmakers-again-trying-to-stop-grain-belt-express/article_06ecb601-6ca7-5cc6-ba11-28516fb5abb4.html.

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