The Joint Energy Committee of the Arkansas legislature, at the urging of Sen. Bryan B. King of Green Forest and Reps. Charlotte Douglas of Alma and Richard Beck of Morrilton, voted unanimously to request the federal Department of Energy to formally terminate its agreement with Clean Line for a transmission line across Arkansas.
Officially terminating the agreement would help protect Arkansas landowners who have signed easements with Clean Line and waived homestead rights on the easements. Clean Line has withdrawn from the project after the failure of agreements with its two largest power customers. It is questionable whether all property owners will receive full compensation from Clean Line for the easements.
“In my opinion they would not receive full compensation unless the Department of Energy terminates the agreement,” King said.
Property owners along the proposed route of the failed project, if they try to sell their land, are legally obliged to report an encumbrance on the title because the Clean Line project has not been formally terminated.
At the urging of King and Douglas and after spirited discussion, the entire Joint Energy Committee has requested that the federal Department of Energy officially terminate the Plains and Eastern Clean Line project.
Clean Line has withdrawn from the regional transmission system responsible for directing power through the proposed project. Also, Clean Line has sold off large parts of its transmission line in Oklahoma. The Arkansas Congressional delegation has requested that the Energy Department terminate the agreement.
“It’s plainly evident that Clean Line has abandoned all efforts to complete the transmission project, but that doesn’t absolve the company from its duty to remove any and all encumbrances on their titles,” King said.
“Clean Line withdrew in the face of strong opposition from landowners and elected officials. I’m extremely grateful to Rep. Charlotte Douglas and Rep. Richard Beck for the role they played in successfully ending this ill-advised project,” King said.
The Arkansas Energy Committee alerted federal officials in a letter that Arkansas property owners are “left with easements leading nowhere and are unable to sell their properties due to the shadow still cast by the nearly dead Clean Line project.”
“In this instance, nearly dead is not good enough for Arkansas property owners,” King said. “We’re asking the Energy Department to completely finish off this project.”