The Missouri House of Representatives has given initial approval to eminent domain legislation for utility purposes. Lawmakers have been working for years to pass a plan like this due to a high-voltage power transmission line project planned across eight northern Missouri counties.
Under the bill, in eminent domain proceedings, just compensation for agriculture or horticulture land would be 150-percent of fair market value, which would be determined by the court. Bill sponsor, state Representative Mike Haffner, of western Missouri’s Pleasant Hill, says the legislation is about leveling the playing field for the state’s agriculture industry.
On the opposing side, State Representative Michael Burton, a Democrat from St. Louis County, says the Grain Belt Express Line will help Missouri to be more energy independent. One more vote in favor of the plan would send the measure to the Senate.
Burton says he opposes the effort.
Under the bill, any electrical utility that proposes building a transmission line must provide a minimum of 50-percent of its electrical load to Missouri consumers to be allowed to condemn property.