Grain Belt Express approached each of the eight counties crossed by its project in 2011, long before affected landowners learned about the project. Clean Line's Skelly has said that going to local governments for support before landowners find out about his projects is a strategic move, because the first place upset landowners go is to their local governments. Skelly believes that if he has already gained local government support, these upset landowners will have nowhere to go with their opposition. It really doesn't work that way. When local voters approach local governments, the interests of some foreign corporation don't hold up, and actions taken in their favor may be rescinded. That's what's happened in Missouri.
Randolph County has gone from supporter to neutral.
The withdrawal of official support also comes not long after John Hobbs was voted in as a commissioner for Randolph County. Hobbs has been a vocal opponent of the Grain Belt Express.
Hobbs confirmed that the commission had rescinded the letter of support but declined to comment further on the matter.
Truesdell clarified that, although the commission has rescinded its official support for the wind energy transmission line, the attitude hasn't changed. The commission assumed a neutral stance on the matter around two years ago.
"The only thing that prompted action is that our legal counsel said that, if we wanted to be truly neutral, we should draft a letter to rescind the prior document," Truesdell said.
The move was meant to solidify the neutral stance of the commission, setting aside personal views the commissioners might hold, Truesdell said.
The Moberly Monitor reports:
Randolph County Commissioner Wayne Wilcox said he was not present for the commission's vote to rescind the letter of support for the Grain Belt Express.
The MO PSC Staff's report stated
As was its position in Case No. EA-2015-0146, it is still Staff Counsel’s position that, not only must Grain Belt have the consent from each of the Missouri county commissions for its transmission line to cross the public roads and highways in their respective county before a Commission certificate for the line is effective, Grain Belt must have those consents before the Commission can lawfully issue the certificate, i.e., those consents are prerequisites to the certificate.
And since I didn't see anything about Hannibal's draft power purchase agreement in surrebuttal, I guess I'm going to have to pop my corn for the cross examination of another witness, now that Bob won't get his chance at 15 minutes of fame in the witness chair. Clean Line's counsel might have to snap their "Expert Twitness Shock Collar" on someone else.