Bourne Disappointed with ICC Approval of Grain Belt Express

Litchfield, IL – State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) expressed her disappointment with Thursday’s decision by the Illinois Commerce Commission to approve Grain Belt Express Clean Line’s application for a high voltage electric transmission line.

The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) approved the construction of the 780-mile transmission line that will span from Kansas to Indiana. The proposed line spans much of south-central Illinois, including right-of-way in Pike, Scott, Greene, Macoupin, Montgomery, Christian, Shelby, Cumberland, and Clark Counties. The project will provide direct access for high capacity wind generation to the electricity markets.

While the ICC has authorized the project to move forward, Representative Bourne expects a lengthy appeal process to follow which will continue the discussion concerning the necessity of the project and the rights of local landowners.

"After hearing from landowners and concerned citizens throughout the district, I filed a resolution asking the ICC to oppose the Grain Belt Express," stated Rep. Bourne. "Today's decision is disappointing. There are still landowners and farmers whose questions have not been addressed. I will continue to work to protect landowners and their rights in the 95th District. Today's decision is not final though, as I expect there to be a rigorous appeals process."

The ICC’s order requires that Grain Belt Clean Line secure funds to cover total project costs before construction commences, prohibits project expansion without Commission approval, and requires further Commission approval prior to recovery of any project costs from Illinois retail ratepayers through regional cost allocation.

The ICC also directed Grain Belt Clean Line to take specific actions to address landowner concerns that included potential impacts from the construction of the line on irrigation operations, soil compaction and erosion, wetland areas, and timber land.

All documents related to the case, including the Commission’s Final Order, can be viewed under docket number 15-0277 via the ICC’s e-docket system at www.icc.illinois.gov. Other questions or concerns can be directed to Rep. Bourne’s office at 217-324-5200 or at bourne@ilhousegop.org.