Half-True

Power lines for the Grain Belt Express would be up to 200 feet tall, higher than the Statue of Liberty.

—Block Grain Belt Express - Missouri

April 4, 2019, Facebook post

The Grain Belt Express is a proposed system of power lines that would bring wind energy from western Kansas to Missouri and other states further east. Clean Line Energy, a company based in Houston, Texas, is the parent company of Grain Belt Express.

Rep. Jim Hansen, R- Frankford, sponsored House Bill 1062, which will keep private entities, like Clean Line Energy, from using eminent domain to construct above-ground utility lines. If passed, this bill will keep Grain Belt Express or similar projects from coming to Missouri.

The group Block Grain Belt Express – Missouri opposes the project and its use of “eminent domain for private gain.”

Wiley Hibbard, a member of the group, says the groups’ primary concern is the use of eminent domain and how power structures will devalue surrounding property, especially for neighbors who are not financially compensated for the land but will live in close proximity to it. Hibbard says he had never seen or heard of power lines as tall as the ones being proposed for the Grain Belt Express.

A Facebook post from Block Grain Belt Express - Missouri says the power structures will be up to 200 feet tall, almost 50 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty.

Facebook post about the height of power lines for the Grain Belt Express

Will there be power structures taller than the Statue of Liberty built across Missouri if Grain Belt Express comes to the state? We found the post is pretty misleading.

What is the Grain Belt Express?

The Grain Belt Express will be a 780-mile system of power lines that will deliver wind energy harnessed in western Kansas to Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and neighboring states, according to its website. The Grain Belt Express will use direct current transmission lines to transport high voltages of electricity.

Clean Line Energy would use 150- to 200-feet wide land easements across the state to build and maintain the power lines. Clean Line says landowners can continue to farm the land within the easement, and they will be financially compensated. However, Russ Pisciotta, president of Block Grain Belt Express – Missouri, says land would not be as useful as it is without the power structures.

Not quite that tall

The Grain Belt Express will use three different types of power structures: traditional self-supporting lattice structures, tubular steel “monopole” structures, and self-supporting lattice mast structures.

We found that the construction plan for Grain Belt Express, filed with the Missouri Public Service Commission in June 2016, said that lattice structures and guyed structures up to 200 feet will be used. Other project dimensions filed with the PSC at the same time said that the maximum height of the structures would be 150 feet.

The construction plan continues to say “preliminary engineering indicates that, when using lattice, most structures would be less than 160 feet and when using monopole structures tend to be less than 140 feet.”

Jack Cardetti, spokesperson for Clean Line Energy, said the Grain Belt Express “plans to use 120-150 foot structures throughout this project, per the testimony that was filed at the PSC.”

The Grain Belt Express, however, will need to use much taller structures while crossing the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. These structures could reach 350 feet.

According to the Statue of Liberty – Ellis Island Foundation, Lady Liberty is 151 feet, 11 inches tall from base to torch. However, the post does not measure from the foundation of the pedestal to the torch. By that measure, the statue reaches 305 feet, 6 inches tall.

Our ruling

The Facebook post from Block Grain Belt Express – Missouri says the power structures for Grain Belt Express will be 200 feet tall, and compares that height to the Statue of Liberty.

Most of the power structures will range from 110 feet to 150 feet in height. The structures at river crossings could reach up to 350 feet. Lady Liberty herself is 151 feet tall, but she sits on a base that is also about 150 feet tall.

Most of the Grain Belt Express power structures would be a maximum of 150 feet tall, which is smaller than Lady Liberty on her base. At river crossings, the height could reach 350 feet, taller than the full Statue of Liberty.

We rate this claim Half True.

  • State government and PolitiFact Missouri reporter, spring 2019. Studying Convergence Journalism and Political Science. Reach me at sidneysteele@mail.mizzou.edu.

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