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Grain Belt Express gets support from unlikely sources

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A number of businesses and groups have thrown their hats into the ring in support of the Grain Belt Express Clean Line.

The organizations, which have opposed big energy projects in the past, filed testimony with the Missouri Public Service Commission, citing millions of dollars in lower energy costs for Missourians.

Among those filing in support of the project was the Missouri Industrial Energy Consumers, the Consumer Council of Missouri, and Wal-Mart.

The Missouri Joint Municipal Electric Utility Commission, a group of 68 municipal utilities, also expressed their support this week for the new infrastructure project.

The Department of Economic Development also supports the project, saying the Grain Belt Express could help diversify the state’s energy resources, increase investment, enhance economic activity, and create jobs and additional tax revenues.

“The Grain Belt Express is a free-market solution to the energy demands of Missouri’s largest employers,” Diana Vuylsteke said. She represents the Missouri Industrial Energy Consumers (MIEC). “Businesses thrive when they have access to low-cost energy. The Grain Belt Express will save Missouri businesses and families millions and strengthen Missouri’s economy.”

“Too many Missouri families are struggling to make ends meet. And typically energy bills are just going up and up and up. The Grain Belt Express is a rare opportunity to help lower energy costs to Missourians. We hope it receives the needed regulatory approvals to move forward,” Cara Spencer, the Executive Director of the Consumers Council, added.

“Missouri municipalities, Wal-Mart, Missouri consumer organizations, and others’ involvement in our application affirms the tremendous long-term public benefits the Grain Belt Express will provide if Missouri regulators allow it to proceed,” Michael Skelly, President of Clean Line Energy, said. “We are encouraged by the national conversation around American infrastructure projects because we know that critical infrastructure projects like the Grain Belt Express create American jobs, provide energy security, and modernize our nation’s antiquated electric grid.”

Clean Line says the Grain Belt Express would provide enough power for 1.6 million homes and provide 1,500 jobs.

Kansas, Illinois, and Indiana have approved the project. Missouri is the last state where regulatory approval is needed.

The Missouri Public Service Commission just finished holding public hearings on the matter in December, but it’s unclear when a decision on the project will be made.