Residents fighting arrival of huge power line towers
MOBERLY, MO (KCTV) -
There's controversy over a major construction project called the Grain Belt Express.
It would transmit electricity from Kansas to other parts of the country via a high-voltage line, starting in Dodge City, KS, and running 750 miles to Sullivan, IN.
But some people in Kansas and Missouri are not happy with what's planned for their backyards.
Imagine a power line tower nearly the size of the Statue of Liberty in your back yard just 100 feet away from your barn and there's nothing you can do about it. That's something residents in Caldwell County, MO, are dealing with.
Jennifer Gatrel is a farm-girl through and through, and she hates the idea of the massive power line overtaking her country view.
"It would take out every single tree of this whole tree line," she said.
The idea of a 200-foot, 3,500 megawatt voltage line just steps from her back door terrifies her.
"We're very concerned about the impact on agriculture. It would make aerial spraying almost impossible," Gatrel said. "We're about reduced lactation in cows, cows impact strangely to electricity."
Gatrel adds one of her biggest concerns, other than the safely hazard, is what it will do to the value of her home.
"Good ol' country common sense will tell you that if you put a 200-foot structure carrying a high-voltage line out here in pristine rural America next to people's houses, there's going to be significant property devaluation," she said.
It's the same story for life-long rancher Shannon Christopher. If built, the tower will run straight through his property.
"This is my land. This is my choice to buy here and those lines were not here when I chose to buy here, and I do not want them and why should I have to take them because a group of investors want to make money?" he said.
Christopher, like others, wonder why the company doesn't just put the lines underground.
"The technology is not really there to build the line of this voyage and rating underground. The cost is absolutely a reason it would cost about ten times as expensive if the technology were available today," said Diana Rivera, a spokesperson for Clean Line Energy Partners in a phone interview.
The company went on to say the project will supply energy to about 200,000 Missouri homes a year and create more than 1,000 new jobs.
But these residents aren't buying it.
"This is essentially a 750-mile long extension cord so that rich people can get energy from one place and ship it to the place they can make the most profit," Gatrel said.
There are more than 1,200 residents in Missouri against the new power line towers. Their next meeting is April 4 in Faucett, MO.
If constructed, there will be five to seven towers every mile along the route, most ranging from 100 to 115 feet high.