The Grain Belt Express, a proposed power line which would transport wing energy from the Kansas through Northeast Missouri, continues to run into opposition in Ralls County following a week of hearings for the case in front of the Missouri Public Service Commission. It was the dominant topic of discussion at the Ralls County Commission meeting Thursday, March 30.

The Grain Belt Express, a proposed power line which would transport wing energy from the Kansas through Northeast Missouri, continues to run into opposition in Ralls County following a week of hearings for the case in front of the Missouri Public Service Commission. It was the dominant topic of discussion at the Ralls County Commission meeting Thursday, March 30.

Presiding Commissioner Wiley Hibbard announced that he would travel to Caldwell County, another Missouri county opposing the power line, on Monday, April 3, to thank the county’s commissioners for their efforts.

The controversy behind Grain Belt’s project, according to Hibbard, is similar to that which surrounds the construction of Ameren’s Mark Twain Power Line. In an appeal filed in the western district of the Missouri Court of Appeals, it is stated that Ameren did not receive assent (permission to use county roads for construction) from the commissioners of the affected Missouri counties when preparing to construct that power line. The commissioners of Shelby, Knox, Marion, and Adair counties did not grant Ameren access to county roads for construction of the line, even though the Ameren project was green-lighted by the (PSC). This week, the Court of Appeals overturned the PSC’s decision (see story, page A1), saying that county assent was needed before granting a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity.

In the case of Grain Belt Express’s project, of the eight counties through which the line would run, two have given Grain Belt the proper assent. The rest, including Ralls County, have refused to grant the permission.

In one of two motions filed March 28 and 29 with the PSC by the Missouri Landowners Alliance, it is stated that the PSC must have county permission before it can issue a CCN. It says also in the motion that Grain Belt has not yet received such permission from the Missouri counties it will be affecting and has made no visible effort to do so.

“I’ve been on the Ralls County Commission; this is going into my third year,” Hibbard said, “and Grain Belt officials have never set foot in this room to talk to me about it.”

Both motions were sent to the state level for review, requesting that Grain Belt’s current application be denied. As of the March 30 Ralls County Commission meeting, no response had yet been passed down.

In other business:

• Alan Mehrer of the Army Corps of Engineers reported on what the Corps could contribute to the circle drive project at Madden Road. Mehrer said that, since the county has the shape of the circle drive determined and the needed equipment on hand, the Corps, the Back Country Horsemen, and the Mark Twain Forest Council would be able to supply the gravel needed to fill in the drive. The project will cost the county approximately $1,600.

• The commission is proposing making a deal with the county’s calcium supplier to test the level of wear on Scott’s Road to determine how much repair work, if at all, will be needed.

• County Clerk Sandy Lanier announced that the Ralls County Health Department will be doing public blood pressure checks for citizens in the main hallway of the county courthouse once every month.

• Road and Bridge supervisor Danny Clark reported that there are currently 23 bridges and crossings in Ralls County, weight limited and not, that have been deemed structurally deficient and/or can be closed. Clark said these bridges are due for eventual repair.