Last week, the Kansas Corporation Commission approved granted a permit to Grain Belt Express Clean Line LLC to construct the Kansas portion of a high voltage transmission line and related facilities.
The line begins in Ford County, crosses 13 Kansas counties (including Barton and Pawnee) to the Kansas-Missouri border and deliver the wind-generated power to Indiana. The Kansas portion of the line is approximately 370 miles.
A portion of the project, being developed by Houston, Texas,-based Clean Line Energy Partners, passes through Pawnee and Barton Counties.
This issue has not been without controversy. Several area landowners remain leery of the developer’s intentions to work with them and the potential harm they might see to their oil leases.
The transmission lines will run through private property, and land owners will be asked to sign legally binding agreements.
Although purely a symbolic gesture, the Barton County Commission in October approved sending a letter to the KCC requesting it take into consideration the impact of the proposed Grain Belt Express transmission line on oil production in the county. The action came despite assurances from Clean Line that the line would not interfere with existing oil properties.
All parties that will be impacted by this route need to have their voices heard. They deserve to have their concerns addressed and no one wants to see land that has been in families for generations trampled on by an outside company.
None the less, change never comes easy. Surely, there were similar complaints when train tracks first crisscrossed the nation, oil became king many years ago and the Interstate system was developed.
We must keep an open mind to what the future holds.