Landowners Oppose 'Grain Belt Express' Energy Lines

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Pana - From point "A" to point "B," power lines get electricity to your home.

They not only conduct electricity, but they spark economy for the state.

"What you want is people competing to bring the lowest costing energy to the state and this will help do that," said Clean Line Energy's development director, Mark Lawlor.

Lawlor also said that the line will transport wind energy from Kansas to the East Coast, while providing cheaper energy for people in Illinois.

"In the first five years of this line being in operation it will reduce wholesale rates by $750M.  In five years," said Lawlor.

That could come at a cost that some land owners and farmers say they're not willing to pay.

Shelby County landowner Clint Richter said that, "it's not that we're not for renewable energy, but we're against a private company coming in and taking land that's ours for their own private gain and I think that's what is really happening here."

WAND-TV's Ed Cross asked, "why is that such a concern?"

"Well it's a concern because I think all of us know what it's like to work hard to save up money to buy land to something that's special and important to you and to have someone come in and basically say 'hey I want that, I'm going to take that land, and I'm going to make some money off it,' I don't think that sits well with a lot of people," added Richter.

Some say they're for the new line.

"To bring Illinois forward in clean energy, we need dedicated direct current lines here in our state," said Taylorville's Patty Rykhus.

The Illinois Commerce Commission will continue to take comments from the public before a decision is made.

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