The Energy Transaction Act (PA 102-0662) was signed into law in September 2021. This granted Grain Belt Express the ability to construct high voltage direct current power transmission lines in Illinois. This is, unfortunately, with the use of the right of eminent domain.
The proposed project has plans to build overhead transmission lines. They are unsightly to the citizens. They are disruptive to the farmers and to wildlife/animal migration patterns. Additionally, these lines are inherently subject to routine maintenance and weather-related issues. Moreover, there are alternatives available.
One alternative is to build and bury the transmission lines along the right of way of public highways. U.S. Highway 36, which crosses Illinois from east to west, is one such possibility. The State would then receive any payments that the company intended to pay related to this project. The payments would help reduce the State’s outstanding debt.
Another alternative is to bury the transmission lines along the proposed routes. In fact, Invenergy, the ultimate parent of Grain Belt, is engaging in such a project in the State of New York: Clean Path NY.
There is another proposed HVDC project in Northern Illinois, Soo Green RR, which outlines their plans to bury their transmission lines next to railroad lines.
The law requires that Grain Belt Express hold three meetings in each county affected. Public comments concerning the project will begin in February.
We urge you to let Grain Belt Express know that you favor alternative options.
President, Block Grain Belt Express Illinois