Missouri farmers and landowners lobby in support of eminent domain legislation

Missouri state capitol

Missouri farmers and landowners lobbied the State Capitol on Wednesday in support of proposed eminent domain legislation that would give landowners extra protection.

House Bills 640 and 795 were proposed by Rep. Nate Walker, R-Kirksville, in response to concerns from his constituents over the Mark Twain Transmission Project run by Ameren.

The project was approved unanimously by the Missouri Public Service Commission for eminent domain.

The project would run an electrical transmission line from Palmyra to Kirksville and north to the Iowa border.

Walker explained his constituents were frustrated by their lack of rights in the process of determining where Ameren built.

If passed, the legislation would:

  • Ask utility companies to use existing project routes when building on private property
  • Require all future routing to take place along boundary or section lines
  • Require all projects to avoid impeding irrigation and use agricultural machinery
  • Require 60% of all land acquired in eminent domain to be given voluntarily
  • Provide tougher restrictions on how the utility company can use the land
  • Limit the amount of pounds per square inch the company can put on the land
  • Limit the number of times a utility company can apply to the Missouri Public Service Commission in pursuing eminent domain

The Mark Twain Transmission Project construction has yet to begin due to continued litigation. 

Walter Spilker, a farmer from Shelby County, joined the lobbyists and voiced his concerns over the impact utility projects have on farms including his belief that utility projects of this type would damage yields, hurting the bottom line. 

Both bills are waiting to be assigned to committee.  Walker was joined by Representatives Jim Hansen of Frankford, and Jim Neely of Cameron in addressing the group in support of the two bills. 

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