I would like the opportunity to address some of the concerns raised in Erin Renard’s letter to the editor dated Oct. 7 and reiterate Clean Line Energy’s commitment to developing the Grain Belt Express project in a collaborative, methodical and transparent manner.
The Grain Belt Express Clean Line is a direct current transmission line that will allow Kansas access to new markets with its tremendous wind energy resource and bring billions of dollars of investment to our state. Kansas has more than 80 times the wind generation capacity than is needed to serve Kansas consumers but there is insufficient transmission to export this resource. If we were unable to export our grain and cattle and were limited to only producing what we consume within our borders, the Kansas we know and love would not exist. As we move into the 21st century, a new resource has become part of our economy limited only by our ability to export it.
We are certain the Grain Belt Express Clean Line will provide significant long-term benefits through property taxes and more immediate benefits from increased economic activities during construction and use of local businesses. We have informed all the counties involved that we will enter into Road Agreements in each county prior to construction ensuring any damage to roads would be repaired or payments would be made to the county for such repairs. In addition to the Road Agreements, we are offering a Construction Mitigation Payment to offset the potential costs of additional county services required during construction. This will be a one-time payment of $7,500 per mile.
Grain Belt Express is committed to conducting transmission line easement negotiations in a manner that is fair and respectful to the private property rights of the landowners. We are seeking 150- to 200-foot wide easements for the transmission line and will compensate landowners for the easement area as well as provide an additional payment for structures on the property. Additional compensation will be made for any damages to crops, should they occur during construction. Total compensation to a landowner with structures on their property will exceed 100% of fair market value of the easement area. Furthermore, Grain Belt Express has used input received from landowners and landowner groups such as the Kansas Farm Bureau to develop easement agreement language that protects the landowner from liability concerns associated with farming.
Grain Belt Express is committed to working with landowners on siting issues. For example, our team is working directly with landowners and mineral rights owners to make necessary adjustments to the proposed route to avoid affecting the production and operation of existing oil wells.
We strive to be responsive to all stakeholders and to be transparent throughout the process of developing this project. We are available to answer questions and address concerns, and we have local representatives available to meet with landowners in counties along the proposed route. For more information on the Grain Belt Express Clean Line, please visit www.grainbeltexpresscleanline.com or call 855-665-3438.
Director of Development
Clean Line Energy Overland Park, Kansas