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President of Grain Belt Express Clean Line talks with Mid-Missouri residents

A controversial power line project carrying wind energy across Missouri counties continues to find opposition in Mid-Missouri counties.

Tuesday, the president of the company building the Grain Belt Express Clean Line offered answers.

The 750 mile long, high voltage transmission line would run through Chariton, Randolph and Monroe counties as it travels from Kansas to Indiana.

Last week ABC 17 News was at the Randolph County Commissioner meeting where several residents spoke out about their concerns with the Grain Belt Express Line.

Tuesday the company and its president were back in Mid-Missouri to talk with residents.

ABC 17 News also asked questions unanswered from last week.

Michael Skelly is the Grain Belt Express Clean President.

Tuesday the company held an open house to talk one on one with Randolph County residents about the project.

Resident’s like Laurie Smith.

She opposes the Grain Belt Line because it directly affects her property, but that is just one of many reason she is against it.

“There are no jobs for local people and that is what is being promised and enticing people who aren’t familiar with all the issues,” said Smith.

ABC 17 News asked Skelly if Randolph County would see jobs.

“Yeah for sure. This is a big construction project and we will need a lot of people working whether they are from here or somewhere else they’ll be staying here going to restaurants and using good and services,” said Skelly.

Farmer told ABC 17 News they are worried the lines would limit their options to crop dust and irrigation.

Skelly said irrigation won’t be affected, and those who use aerial spraying are accustomed to power lines.

ABC 17 News asked if this would be an added obstacle to farmers.

“This is an additional power line,”said Skelly.

Smith wasn’t alone when asking about high voltage and it’s affects.

“There are health concerns we don’t know the long term risks with this,” said Smith.

“There is no known health affects of a power line like this,” said Skelly.

He told ABC 17 News that several studies have been done and none of them show any health risks.

As for property value concerns, Skelly told ABC 17 News he has not seen a decline in value, but residents say potential buyers are already stepping away.

Tuesday ABC 17 News was told the Randolph County Commissioners were still in favor of the Grain Belt Express Clean Line.

Smith and a group of those against the project told ABC 17 News they plan on sending the petition with more than 450 signatures on it to the Missouri Public Service Commission as well as the governor.

The Missouri Public Service Commission will decide if the Grain Belt Express Clean Line is in the public interest of Missourians.

Kansas and Indiana have both approved the line to go through their states.

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