Letter to the Editor: Do students realize the implications of Clean Line’s project?

The opposition to the project is against eminent domain for private gain.

I'm writing in response to the article titled "Grain Belt Express garners Coal Free Mizzou support" written by Covey Eonyak Son and published on March 18, 2014. Do the students understand that the majority of energy that would transmitted on the proposed line would be coal-produced? Do they realize that there is no way to monitor, regulate or control whether any wind energy is transmitted at all? Do they know that supporting Clean Line Energy is supporting eminent domain for private gain? Do they know that demand for the lines has not been proven and that no costs are figured into Clean Line's unsupported economic impact promises?

My family and thousands of others would be impacted by this project should it be approved. I have learned a lot about Clean Line's failure to be transparent and forthcoming. The studies and reports they refer to were done by them with their best interest in mind, and they cherry pick studies that have been done by other companies with similar interests while ignoring independent studies that conflict. When asking for details about the studies or have other concerns, the questions they do answer they refuse to put in print, sometimes give two different answers to the same question, ignore questions that aren't positive for their project, or simply ignore the property owner altogether.

Do the students realize that this would be the largest transmission line ever built in the U.S.? That Clean Line Energy does not own or operate any utility infrastructure anywhere in the world, yet think they deserve open access to do whatever they want on others' property? That the private domestic and foreign investors who stand to make billions won't consider compensating property owners for their loss of land value, how it inhibits farming practices or future plans of the property owner? That the foreign investors hold the option to purchase the easements from Clean Line at any time? That families with homes within 300 feet of the proposed 110-200 feet tall structures that carry 600,000+ volts would have no choice as to where the line is positioned? That the medical community's empirical evidence shows that lines of even smaller size cause several types and forms of cancer? That the royalties Clean Line offered to pay years ago when the project was trying to gain support are no longer on the table? That the compensation Clean Line does offer is well below market value and the only way to argue it is to hire an attorney and go to court?

Consider just the last sentence in the article: "Clean Line also has an online petition, which already has 37 percent of the signatures the firm hopes to collect." Makes one wonder what the goal of signatures is and why it isn't handled by an independent site. Is it 100 signers, meaning they have 37 signatures? Clean Line probably wants to be able to change their goal at any point, which is typical for how they operate. They like to censor opposition, as they did when they had an active social media presence, Mr. Lawlor admitted as much. Does the reporter get to decide what "already" means, that the amount of time is short or long, or is any indication about the level or strength of support? I saw that same 37% on Clean Line's site weeks ago and this project has been in the works for several years, though Clean Line fails to notify landowners until the latest possible date, or not at all. And in regard to numbers, the thousands of Kansas public comments and petitions showed over 97% opposition to the project, those were dismissed as simply "numbers" by the KCC, the entity that is supposed to represent its citizens.

Property owners aren't against renewable energy, that's not what this project is about. This project is about politics and money. The opposition to the project is against eminent domain for private gain. If the students want a coal-free environment, they should support what the property owners support, decentralized energy production (household and regional wind and solar) and the development of storing that power for use when it's needed and not wasted.

Thank you of the opportunity to share the other side of the story.

Matthew Stallbaumer, matthewstallbaumer@yahoo.com

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