Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Grain Belt Express Clean Line, LLC v. Public Service Commission

Supreme Court of Missouri, En Banc

July 17, 2018

GRAIN BELT EXPRESS CLEAN LINE, LLC; MISSOURI JOINT MUNICIPAL ELECTRIC UTILITY COMMISSION; and MISSOURI LANDOWNERS ALLIANCE, Appellants,
v.
PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION, Respondent IN THE MATTER OF GRAIN BELT EXPRESS CLEAN LINE, LLC FOR A CERTIFICATE OF CONVENIENCEANDNECESSITY AUTHORIZING IT TO CONSTRUCT, OWN, OPERATE, CONTROL, MANAGE, AND MAINTAIN A HIGH VOLTAGE, DIRECT CURRENT TRANSMISSION LINE AND AN ASSOCIATED CONVERTER STATION PROVIDING AN INTERCONNECTION ON THE MAYWOOD-MONTGOMERY 345 KV TRANSMISSION LINE.

          APPEAL FROM THE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION

          PER CURIAM.

         Grain Belt Express Clean Line, LLC ("Grain Belt"), seeks to construct a complex, interstate electrical transmission line and associated facilities. It applied to the Missouri Public Service Commission ("Commission") for a line certificate of convenience and necessity ("CCN") pursuant to section 393.170.1.[1] The Commission denied the application for a line CCN, relying on In re Ameren Transmission Co. of Illinois (ATXI), 523 S.W.3d 21 (Mo. App. 2017), which purports to require prior consent from each county affected by the proposed construction. The question to be resolved in this case is whether consent is required from would-be affected counties before the Commission can issue a line CCN.

         The statute governing line CCNs, section 393.170.1, does not require prior consent from affected counties. Consent is required, however, from affected counties when the utility applies for an area CCN under section 393.170.2. That subsection sets out the procedure for area CCN applications when a utility is seeking to provide retail service. Because Grain Belt has applied for a line CCN rather than an area CCN, it does not need to obtain prior county consent.

         In addition, when publicly owned county roads are impacted, assent is also required under section 229.100 from those counties before construction may begin. Although the provisions in that section are not relevant to the Commission's decision in issuing a line CCN, Grain Belt acknowledges it will be required to obtain county assent pursuant to section 229.100 if it intends to construct utilities impacting publicly owned roads.

         The Commission's reliance on ATXI was error. To the extent ATXI suggests consent from every would-be affected county is required before the Commission can grant a line CCN, it should not be followed. Accordingly, the Commission's order denying Grain Belt's application for a line CCN pursuant to section 393.170.1 is reversed, and the case is remanded to the Commission to determine whether Grain Belt's proposed utility project is necessary or convenient for the public service.

         Factual and Procedural Background

         Grain Belt filed an application for a line CCN with the Commission pursuant to section 393.170.1, 4 CSR 240-2.060, and 4 CSR 240-3.105(1)(B). The application sought the Commission's approval of Grain Belt's proposed construction of an interstate electrical transmission line, which would move wind-generated energy from western Kansas to Missouri and other states farther east. The overhead, multi-terminal line would cross 206 miles through the following eight Missouri counties: Buchanan, Caldwell, Carroll, Chariton, Clinton, Monroe, Randolph, and Ralls.

         The Commission's report and order denied Grain Belt's application for a line CCN, concluding it was bound by the court of appeals decision in ATXI. Because ATXI had held that the Commission could not lawfully grant a CCN without consent from each county affected by a project pursuant to section 393.170.2 and section 229.100, the Commission concluded it could not lawfully grant a CCN to Grain Belt until it submitted evidence of county assent pursuant to section 229.100. Four of the five commissioners joined in a concurring opinion, stating they disagreed with ATXI and would have voted otherwise to grant Grain Belt's application, but they believed they were bound by its holding.

         Grain Belt and the Missouri Joint Municipal Electric Utility Commission ("MJMEUC") appeal the Commission's report and order. Although the Missouri Landowner's Alliance ("MLA") prevailed before the Commission, it files a separate appeal. After issuing an opinion, the court of appeals transferred the case to this Court on its own motion under Rule 83.02 due to the general interest and importance of the issue presented. This Court has jurisdiction pursuant to article V, section 10 of the Missouri Constitution.

         Standard of Review

         Pursuant to section 386.510, appellate review of an order by the Commission is two-pronged: "first, the reviewing court must determine whether the [Commission's] order is lawful; and second, the court must determine whether the order is reasonable." State ex rel. AG Processing, Inc. v. Pub. Serv. Comm'n of State, 120 S.W.3d 732, 734 (Mo. banc 2003). The Commission's order is presumed valid, and the burden of showing the order is unlawful or unreasonable rests with the appellant. In re Mo.-Am. Water Co., 516 S.W.3d 823, 827 (Mo. banc 2017). All questions of law are reviewed de novo. Id.

         Analysis

         I. The Legislature Has ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.