Appellate court reverses PSC decision, sends Clean Line case to Missouri Supreme Court


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – It seems that the efforts to push forward with a more than $2 billion Grain Belt Express transmission line has won a major victory in its mission to build across Missouri.

The Missouri Court of Appeals’ Eastern District issued a ruling on Tuesday reversing a Missouri Public Service Commission finding that the commission believed would prevent them from issuing a line CCN to the company.

The court stated that the PSC had erred in their findings, which the commission had ruled on, citing the decision regarding the ATXI case.

We would reverse the Commission’s order denying Grain Belt’s application for a line CCN under Section 393.170.1 and remand to the Commission for further proceedings consistent with this opinion,” the court stated in its issued opinion. “However, because of the general interest or importance of the question involved in the present case, we order this case transferred to the Missouri Supreme Court pursuant to Rule 83.02.6.”

It marks a significant victory for Clean Line Energy, as well as former Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, who had argued the case before the panel of state appellate judges.

The case, which disagrees with the Western Court of Appeals decision regarding the ATXI case, will now head to the Missouri Supreme Court.

Following the decision, Clean Line Energy President Michael Skelly released the following statement:

Clean Line Energy President Michael Skelly in Ralls County on May 11, 2015

“Today’s ruling is a significant victory for the Missouri economy and for dozens of Missouri cities that could save more than $10 million annually from the delivery of low-cost clean energy by the Grain Belt Express Clean Line. After a thorough case that lasted for several months and involved testimony submitted by expert witnesses, the Missouri Public Service Commission determined the Grain Belt Express was in the public’s best interest. We are pleased that the Eastern District Court of Appeals reaffirmed the Commission’s authority in permitting and overseeing Missouri’s vital energy infrastructure projects.

“The Grain Belt Express will benefit Missourians by providing low-cost clean energy, new jobs, and millions in tax revenues to local communities across the state into perpetuity. Every day that these benefits are delayed sets Missouri back as it strives to compete in this global economy.  It is our hope that the Missouri Supreme Court will hear this critical case in an expedited manner. To that end, we will be asking the court to schedule arguments in this case at the earliest possible moment.  

“We thank Governor Nixon, Jamie Rehmann and the rest of the Dowd Bennett legal team for their expert legal advocacy in this case, as well as the other groups that have supported these legal arguments. Clean Line Energy is committed to building this transformational project in Missouri and looks forward to working with the Missouri PSC, the counties and other interested parties to create a cleaner energy future for Missourians.”

Read the full court decision below:

Benjamin Peters is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine, and also produces the #MoLeg Podcast. He joined the Missouri Times in 2016 after working as a sports editor and TV news producer in mid-Missouri. Benjamin is a graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield. To contact Benjamin, email or follow him on Twitter @BenjaminDPeters.