Plans continue with Clean Line Energy Partners to develop a high voltage electric transmission line that would transport power from southwest Kansas wind farms to customers in eastern urban areas. The 700 mile route would begin near Dodge City, coming north past Great Bend, continuing through central Kansas near Beloit and Concordia. The proposed “middle route” would then continue into the southwest corner of Washington County passing just south of Washington, Marysville, Seneca, and Hiawatha before continuing through Missouri, Illinois and Indiana. The route was among three being considered, and was announced with the application filing with the Kansas Corporation Commission on Monday. It parallels an existing Westar line locally.
A series of four public hearings in August will allow for public comment. The first in Seneca at the Community Building will be August 12, then in Beloit August 14, Russell August 20, and Kinsley August 22. The meetings begin at 6 pm. Written comments will also be accepted by the K.C.C. through August 28. An overview map of the route is available online at grainbeltexpresscleanline.com.
The project has drawn criticism from landowners and farmers who contend that the additional lines would limit their ability to work their land, could reduce land values, and how the electricity might affect livestock. Concerns have also been raised regarding a ten year tax abatement on the line, which was imposed by the Kansas Legislature previously. Officials counter that landowners would be compensated for land leased, and farming operations would not be adversely affected. On the tax abatement, they point to the out years after the ten year exemption, when they would pay a 33% tax rate.
The K.C.C. has 120 days from the application filing this past Monday to decide whether to approve the route.