Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Missouri lawyer Doug Healy, who threatened mother of his child after she refused abortion demand, backs Grain Belt Express, a $2.5-billion project to transmit wind energy to population centers in the Northeast

Grain Belt Express route through Missouri

A Republican lawyer in Missouri, who pressured a female acquaintance to abort his son and referred to the boy (now age 4) as a "bastard child in Poplar Bluff," is a central figure in a $2.5-billion project that could transmit wind energy across Midwest states to heavily populated areas in the Northeast.

Douglas L. Healy is the proprietor of Healy Law Offices LLC, which has locations in Springfield and Jefferson City, Missouri, and Little Rock, Arkansas. The Healy office specializes in work with utility companies and regulatory agencies and has become a major supporter of the Grain Belt Express.

What is the Grain Belt Express (GBE)? Here is a description from a February 2019 article at Energy News Network:

After twice rejecting a 780-mile transmission project to move wind energy from Kansas to the eastern United States, Missouri regulators are signaling they’re ready to approve the $2.5 billion project.

The Missouri Public Service Commission hasn’t formally voted on the Grain Belt Express line, but during a discussion yesterday and last week, members agreed the project satisfied all the criteria for approval and indicated they’ll vote to approve it despite push back from landowners.

The PSC also indicated it would attach conditions to its approval of the project, including a requirement for the developer to establish a decommissioning fund to pay for removal of the line when it’s no longer being used.

Missouri regulators approved the GBE in March, but the project still faces opposition in the state legislature. (More on that in an upcoming post.) Here are details on GBE from Energy News:

Originally proposed by Clean Line Energy Partners in 2010, the Grain Belt Express would deliver wind energy from southwest Kansas to Indiana to serve cities in the East. The line would have 4,000 megawatts of capacity, with 3,500 MW sent to the PJM Interconnection grid and 500 MW delivered to eastern Missouri, part of the Midcontinent Independent System Operator’s grid.

The high-voltage, direct-current transmission project is representative of the challenge of building large interstate merchant lines connecting regional power grids — something many experts agree is necessary to achieve high penetrations of renewable energy (Energywire, Feb. 25).

The PSC rejected the Grain Belt Express project in 2016 and 2017 following challenges by landowner groups that oppose giving developers eminent domain authority.

How is Doug Healy connected to a multi-billion project that would send wind energy swooping into population hubs on the U.S. East Coast. Healy has been heavily involved in litigation that is part of seeking regulatory approval for GBE, which Energy News helps explain:

The commission’s most recent order denying approval was based on the fact that Clean Line had yet to obtain approvals from each of the eight counties the project would cross. However, four of five PSC members determined the project was in the public interest under Missouri law.

The Missouri Supreme Court last year overturned the PSC’s 2017 order and remanded the case to the commission. Clean Line was represented in its appeal by former two-term Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat (Energywire, July 18).

In a November filing asking the PSC for expedited reconsideration, Houston-based Clean Line announced that it had agreed to sell the project to Chicago-based renewable energy developer Invenergy LLC for an undisclosed sum.

Jay Nixon, former governor of Missouri, is lead attorney for Green Belt Express, but the entity next in line pushing for the project appears to be the Missouri Joint Municipal Electric Utility Commission (MJMEUC) -- and it is represented by Doug Healy, Peggy Whipple, and Penny Speake, of Healy Law Offices. From an article about arguments before the Missouri Supreme Court:

Doug Healy, the general counsel, to the Missouri Joint Municipal Electric Utility Commission said they are currently getting their power from coal plants in Illinois and the contract expires in 2020.

Healy said Grain Belt Express is a much better offer, "this meets what our customers want in rural areas, when we can provide citizens renewable energy, there's no costs or risk of fuel, no emissions, it just makes a lot of sense, business-wise as well as for the environment."

Property owners along the route said it would hurt their land value and farms.

Does Doug Healy care one iota about the farms and land values of property owners along the Grain Belt Express route. From his paternity case in Butler County, Missouri, we've learned that Healy has a tendency to bully and hurl threats at the mother of his son -- plus his ability to skip out on three years' worth of child-support payments -- suggest he doesn't care much for the rights of anyone, beyond himself. (See email embedded at the end of this post.)

How ugly has Healy's communications been with the mother of his child? Consider this from an email not long after she became pregnant, well before the child was born:

As terrible as your decision has been, and as uncomfortable as your decision making has made me, I have respected you and your decision and not said anything to you or any third person to date aside from my girlfriend. I wish you would offer me the same courtesy and respect. You seem happy by this pregnancy; it makes me sick at my stomach to think about having a bastard child in Poplar Bluff when I'm finally with the person I was meant to be with. I'm not leaving her for you. Period. If I could change one thing in my life right now, it would be that we never went past texting in July. I really can't imagine anything worse at the moment than what is happening. Your plan on how to handle this is making a bad spot in life much worse. I don't want to be associated with your decision in any manner.

Doug Healy
We will take a closer look at Doug Healy's ethics (or lack thereof), as revealed in his paternity case, and what that could mean for proponents (and opponents) of the Grain Belt Express. For now, the project has crossed a major hurdle with approval from the Missouri PSC, plus sale of the project from Texas-based Clean Line Energy to Chicago-Based Invenergy. From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

The Missouri Public Service Commission’s decision to approve the sale was a necessary step for Invenergy to buy the rights to construct the proposed line, which will carry electric power generated by wind farms in Kansas to eastern consumers.

Clean Line Energy Partners announced in November that it would sell rights to the transmission line to Invenergy.

The line, which will go through eight northern Missouri counties, would also deliver power to at least 350,000 Missourians and unlock energy savings of $12.8 million per year, based on contracts already reached with municipal utilities around the state.

“Following today’s unanimous acquisition decision by the Missouri Public Service Commission, Grain Belt Express now has all the necessary approvals from state regulators to proceed with project development,” Invenergy spokeswoman Beth Conley said in a statement. . . .

The company has said that its structures will take up less than 10 acres of land throughout Missouri, not including land underneath transmission wires.

“Land in the easement can maintain its existing use, and landowners will be compensated fairly for the easement and any damages,” the company said in literature distributed to lawmakers.

After the PSC approved construction of the line earlier this year, the Republican-led Missouri House in April approved legislation forbidding the company from using eminent domain for the project.

“This is just another attempt by a private companies and a government commission to eliminate our personal liberties,” said Rep. Jim Hansen, R-Frankford.

He said he wasn’t opposed to clean energy but was “opposed to a private company saying, ‘I’m gonna do this and you’re gonna like it — or else.’”

Previously in series:

(1) Doug Healy got female acquaintance pregnant and pushed for an abortion -- 6/18/19 

(2) Doug Healy threatens mother of his "bastard child in Poplar Bluff" -- 6/20/19

(To be continued)


Anonymous said...

A $2.5-billion (with a "B") project? Wow. With cost overruns, that probably will wind up in the $3 to $4 billion range.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget to factor in politician payola on those cost overruns.

Anonymous said...

Wait! If Healy is a Republican, that means he's probably a climate-change denier, so why is he involved in a wind-energy project.

legalschnauzer said...

@10:09 --

Great point. I imagine the climate-change denial goes out the window when there is money to be made off wind energy. Just like "pro life" principles go out the window when an unwanted pregnancy is staring him in the face.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your reporting on this, LS. I had not heard about the Grain Belt Express. Sounds lik it's an important project, if done properly. We need renewable energy.

Anonymous said...

I'm conflicted about this. We need renewable energy, but I don't like the idea of property owners being bullied to cough up their land.

Anonymous said...

@10:09 --

Mr. Healy is just a good old-fashioned opportunist, made in the USA.

Anonymous said...

This is one of those NIMBY (Not in My Back Yard) deals.

legalschnauzer said...

@11:23 --

Yep, these kinds of projects always seem more appealing when the transmission lines are going across someone else's property.

Gotta admit, the project sounds appealing to me. Would I want the lines on my land? Nope.

Anonymous said...

I suggest the transmission lines be run through Doug Healy's back yard or maybe Jay Nixon's front yard.

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't a right-winger like Healy be pushing for coal plants?

Anonymous said...

How many palms have been greased in the Missouri Legislature and PSC re: the Grain Belt Express? Someone probably will need to build several new wind farms to power the machinery that will move all that grease around.

legalschnauzer said...

What do wind-energy transmission lines look like? Do they look like typical unsightly electricity power lines?

legalschnauzer said...

@4:07 --

I had that question myself, and I'm not sure about the answer. Many of the articles I've seen on wind energy show photos of transmission lines that look very much like your standard power lines, so I think the answer to your question is yes, they are not a lovely sight. Since they are transmitting electricity (which happens to be generated by wind) it makes since they would look like standard power lines. Here is URL to one article:


Anonymous said...

I was going to build a wind farm, but the site gets flooded all the time from climate change.

e.a.f. said...

it is not environmental to build power lines such as those proposed, especially if they are to go through populated areas. If the North West or East needs power there are huge power dams in Canada on both coasts with a fair amount of excessive power.

Power lines going through populated areas can negatively impact people and animals living in the area. There are a number of studies on the subject. Would appear this "thug" has another method of making money. anyhow every one knows the republicans don't care about the environment. they don't even care about humans. Some one is going to be making a shit load of money out of this. the news was reporting the trumpits wanted to take grey wolves off of the endangered list. They rolled back any number of environmental laws, opened sacred First Nations land to mining, etc. so suddenly some one is worried about electricity and wants to build a power line for renewable electricity. I smell a big load of horse shit.

Anonymous said...

That guy’s email to the mother of his child... Man, what a piece of shit. He demands termination yet threatens her with taking the child away and terminating her parental rights so that the child can be raised in a “normal” home? I’m sure he would be a loving dad. Good grief. That email is exhibit one in any action he brings against her.