Something stinks here...
Governor Nixon's "protections" are nothing more than smoke and mirrors. They don't protect you. Let's take a look:
Specifically, Clean Line has agreed to:
Offer the option of binding arbitration to resolve any compensation disputes.
Establish a Missouri Agriculture Protocol. Clean Line will follow strict guidelines to avoid, minimize and mitigate any impacts to agricultural fields or activities. The Missouri Agriculture Protocol should implement utility best practices and establishes an Agriculture Inspector to monitor construction activities. The Agriculture Inspector has the power to immediately stop construction when best practices are not being followed or when contractors are in violation of any negotiated obligation with landowners.
Establishment of a fund to decommission the project when it is determined to be near the end of its useful life.
Have a local firm update land value assessments. In the event land values have decreased since the last assessment because of commodity prices or any other reason, the Grain Belt Express will honor the higher of the values. Also, compensation will not be reduced after an Order has been issued approving the project by the Missouri Public Service Commission.
As well, financial compensation may be the least of a landowner's worries when presented with an easement agreement written by Clean Line's lawyers. Who's representing the landowner's interests in this situation? Not Clean Line. Not the arbitrator, he only wants to talk about land value. It's up to the landowner to retain his own counsel to review any easement agreement.
Missouri Agriculture Protocol? How many actual farmers were consulted to develop this "protocol," and why does the Missouri Farm Bureau still oppose the project if this "protocol" ameliorates agricultural concerns? Buyer beware on this one! Ya know the best way to avoid impacts to agricultural activities? Don't build the project.
Establishment of a decommissioning fund? How much will that be? Since Clean Line has the idea that the scrap value of the project's physical components will be more than enough to pay for its decommissioning, this "fund" might contain nothing more than pocket change and a couple of gum wrappers. Where's the guarantee? Where's the oversight? Where's the money?
Update land value assessments? When was the last "land value assessment" performed, and where can landowners access this information? Will landowners be able to access the information in the new assessment, or are they just supposed to take Clean Line's word for it? A transmission company never reveals any professional assessment of what your land is worth before approaching you to sign an easement or purchase agreement. That's because your property is represented by a range of values that comes from land sales data in your county or region. It's all very generic and created by some company in another state that never visits your property. Because it's a range of general value, the company will start by offering you the lowest amount in range. As you negotiate, the offer will increase within the pre-designated range. Get to the top of the range, and suddenly any offers need to be approved by supervisors and managers. How IS a landowner supposed to know whether their "land value assessment" increased or decreased under Governor Nixon's "protections?" Is he going to come to your house to help in the negotiations and "protect" you? Of course not.
Compensation will not be reduced after approval? Again, who is going to police that? Are you just supposed to trust Clean Line to honor this, when their profits are directly tied to the amount of money they must pay for your easement? This is another worthless "protection."
So, what is going on here? Political gamesmanship. Clean Line and the Governor have now turned this into a political process. They hope that the Missouri Public Service Commission can be politically influenced to approve the project the second time around, since Clean Line's first attempt was rejected on its technical merits.
Public Service Commission decisions are supposed to "provide an efficient regulatory process that is responsive to all parties, and perform our duties ethically and professionally." They are not supposed to be politically motivated. Commissioners are supposed to be free from political influence so that they may make independent decisions based on the law. They're supposed to be ethical. They're supposed to have integrity. Will the Commissioners be brave enough to remain true to their own personal code of ethics when making their decision, or will they fall before political pressure from lame duck Governor Nixon? And what good is Nixon's political pressure, when he'll be long gone before any decision is made? Be careful who you vote for, Missouri! Your Governor is not protecting you. In fact, he's giving your private property rights to an out-of-state company to use for their own profit. With a leader like that, nobody's property in Missouri is safe. It's all for sale to the highest bidder.