With the fate of the Mark Twain Transmission Project now in the hands of the Missouri Public Service Commission, members of Neighbors United Against Ameren brought their arguments and concerns before a supportive audience on Monday, March 21 — the Marion County Commission.

With the fate of the Mark Twain Transmission Project now in the hands of the Missouri Public Service Commission, members of Neighbors United Against Ameren brought their arguments and concerns before a supportive audience on Monday, March 21 — the Marion County Commission.

Approximately 15 members of the grassroots group, which opposes the proposed high voltage connector route that Ameren Transmission Company of Illinois wants to use if the project is given the green light by the PSC, spoke to the commissioners during their meeting at the county courthouse in Palmyra.

C.D. Keller, who reported he was headed back to work in his farm fields after speaking before the Commission, expressed concern over the condition that soil would be left in if Ameren is allowed to bring heavy equipment into fields.

“You will not be able to grow crops on that land for many, many years,” he said. “Our fields are as dear to us as your yards are to you.”

Keller reminded the commissioners of how important local support is.

“This is how we make our living. We don’t want them coming through,” he said. “You’ve got to take care of your local people.”

Presiding Commissioner Lyndon Bode reminded those in attendance that the commissioners are already on record as opposing the project. Bode presented a statement, dated Nov. 24, 2014, that stated the commissioners — Bode, Larry Welch and Randy Spratt — opposed the Mark Twain Transmission Project because it “negatively impacts citizens in Marion County.”

While Laddie Denish expressed appreciation for the Commission’s support, he questioned how much weight local opposition will carry in Jefferson City.

“I do know there is a lot of money involved and with politicians, if they helped get them elected, they’re going to try and help them all they can,” he said.

It was reported that March 18 was the last day that anything regarding Ameren’s proposed project could be submitted to the PSC by any of the parties. A woman in the audience speculated that a ruling on Ameren’s request could now come at “any time.”

It was reported multiple times that Ameren representatives have been contacting residents in the project’s proposed path seeking easements or permission onto property.

“They’re very assertive about a project that has yet to be approved,” said Cathy Page. “Obviously they feel it’s going to go forward. That’s a concern.”

Reach reporter Danny Henley at danny.henley@courierpost.com