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Missouri House backs landowners fighting Grain Belt line

The Missouri House has passed legislation that could block the developers of one of the nation’s largest wind energy projects from using eminent domain to string a high-voltage power line across the Midwest.

The vote Thursday by the House targets a $2.3 billion project that would carry electricity 780 miles from Kansas windmills across Missouri and Illinois before hooking into a power grid in Indiana serving eastern states. Plans call for the line to go through Randolph and Chariton counties.

The project won approval last month from Missouri utility regulators. That decision could allow developers to use condemnation to acquire easement rights from landowners unwilling to sell.

The bill blocking that now goes to the Missouri Senate.

The Grain Belt Express power line was proposed by Houston-based Clean Line Energy Partners. It’s in the process of being acquired by Chicago-based Invenergy.

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