Legislation is now headed to the Senate that would prevent the use of eminent domain for a power line that would carry wind energy across Missouri. House members approved the bill to stop the Grain Belt Express power line from acquiring easement rights through the use of eminent domain.
The Grain Belt Express transmission line that would carry power generated by wind turbines in Kansas across Missouri and Illinois and then connect to a power grid in Indiana that serves eastern states. The 780-mile line would run across eight northern Missouri counties - Buchanan, Clinton, Caldwell, Carroll, Chariton, Randolph, Monroe and Ralls – and would deliver a portion of the power it transmits to utilities and customers in Missouri.
Both the Public Service Commission and the courts have ruled in favor of allowing the project to utilize eminent domain. The decisions prompted lawmakers to file legislation to protect the private property rights of Missourians.
The bill’s sponsor said, “This bill is to protect personal property rights against eminent domain by an entity that brings no benefit to help our renewable energy standards. In this state we are meeting our renewable energy standards.”
As I stated on the House Floor during the debate this bill is not about wind energy, but rather about the protection of personal property. I cannot be in favor of allowing a private company to use eminent domain to force a “for-profit” project to be built on landowner’s private property….simply for the profitable gain of the private company. Eminent Domain should be restricted to “public” projects and used extremely sparingly.
The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.
As always, it is an honor to represent you!
Representative Allen Andrews, District 1, Missouri State Capitol, Room 407, 201 West Capitol Avenue, Jefferson City, MO 65101
Allen Andrews is the First District State Representative.