Missouri’s municipal electric utilities are encouraged by the outcome of the 2020 General Assembly, which ended today. Among the favorable outcomes was the reconsideration and defeat of parts of SB 782 by the Missouri Senate. Senators found a ‘hidden’ House amendment in the bill that was an attempt to kill the Grain Belt Express transmission line project (GBX). The project will benefit Missourians who receive their electricity from community-owned, non-profit local municipal utilities. The amendment, inserted into the bill under a cloak of deception, was added to the omnibus transportation bill in the eleventh hour of the legislative session.
Ewell Lawson, MPUA Vice President & COO for Government Affairs, stated, “The pros and cons of this misguided effort to kill Grain Belt had been debated exhaustively for weeks. Fortunately, the Senate’s thorough and deliberative nature prevailed. For the 39 community-owned utilities across our state that serve more than 350,000 Missourians, MPUA appreciates our elected official’s deliberations and decision to allow this infrastructure investment to move forward and bring lower electric costs to our consumer-owners.”
MPUA and their members let lawmakers know on countless occasions this session that the project represents more than $12.8 million in estimated annual savings for their utilities and the customers they serve. With a clear path forward, the GBX project expects to bring more than 1,500 jobs and $500 million in infrastructure investment to the state, all while asking for no state subsidies.