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Letter causing tension between Neighbors United, ATXI

Neighbors United members say the letter sent out is deceiving on ATXI's part. (KTVO File)

Northeast Missouri residents and Ameren Transmission Company of Illinois (ATXI) officials are continuing to butt heads. This time, over a letter that many are saying is misleading.

The utility giant hoping to build the high-power Mark Twain Transmission Line sent out letters to affected landowners on May 20. The first sentence of that letter reads: "On April 27, the Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC), by a vote of 5-0, approved ATXI's application seeking a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity (CCN) to construct the Mark Twain Transmission Project in northeast Missouri."

While the PSC says it does believe the project is necessary, it was approved on a conditional permit, which Schuyler County resident and Neighbors United member John Leunen says is a major factor in the future of the line.

"They have to get county assent from all five counties, which they have not gotten from any county at all. It's actually not a valid permit until they get the consent from all the counties."

Neighbors United members are hoping commissioners from those five counties will continue to stand their ground in opposition to the project. ATXI officials however, do not believe the information sent out to landowners was misleading in the least.

Senior Project Manager Jim Jontry said via email that in addition to the letter, the full order from the Missouri Public Service Commission was also included. Comments from the PSC over the need of county assent is not mentioned until page 38, which Neighbors United members say is deceiving on ATXI's part, because it should have been included with the main letter.

Neighbors United members hope that due to not having county approval, ATXI will look at other options to generate power.

"They are building a line through territory that they don't need to build it through. They have an existing line on the west side of the county that they can upgrade just like they did in Iowa."

When it comes to the future of the line, ATXI says it will continue to do its part to make sure the construction process moves forward; whether that is receiving county approval, or taking the measure back to the courtroom to fight the ruling from the PSC.

ATXI says it's looking forward to working with all property owners, county officials, local communities and other stakeholders involved with the project as it continues to develop. While Neighbors United members say at this time they are uncertain of ATXI's next step, one thing is for sure; they're going to continue their fight to protect their land.

"We are waiting to see what ATXI is going to do and go from there. We are not quitting. We are going on until the end."

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