MO lawmakers applaud eminent domain reform

Missouri lawmakers applauded the passage of private property rights legislation this week.

Members of the state Senate and House of Representatives met Thursday to officially announce the passage of state eminent domain reform. House Bill 2005 sponsor Mike Haffner…

“We embrace economic development; we embrace it as a state, especially when it comes to improving our electric grid,” Haffner said. “But we will not do it on the backs of Missouri farmers, ranchers and the Missouri agricultural industry.”

The bill limits eminent domain use by private companies to acquire land. 

But Missouri Cattlemen’s Executive Vice President Mike Deering tells Brownfield the ‘needed’ legislation isn’t perfect.

“It is not retroactive, so that’s very unfortunate, when you look at the Grain Belt Express project,” Deering said. “But moving forward, the reforms of this bill will dramatically raise the bar for high voltage transmission lines to receive approval to use eminent domain.”

Deering said a retroactive bill wouldn’t pass the Senate. He credits the momentum behind the legislation to northern Missouri landowners who lost property by eminent domain use for the Grain Belt Express project.

Nicole Luckey, Senior Vice President of energy tech company Invenergy who is operating the Grain Belt Express project, says the bill is a ‘win-win for Missourians as the Grain Belt Express project will continue. She says the project will save Missourians at least $12 million in annual energy costs.

The legislation stipulates land acquired using eminent domain in the state must be purchased at 150 percent market value. Deering said it also ensures future energy projects within Missouri send at least an equal proportion of the power produced in the state to Missourians.

“For example, if 50 percent of the line is in Missouri – 50 percent or more of that power must go to Missourians,” he said. “Or that project will not be able to use the power of eminent domain.”

The bill was approved after a version of it was before the Missouri legislature for eight years.

The bill was carried in the Senate by Jason Bean and now goes to Governor Mike Parson to be signed.

Rep. Mike Haffner on Eminent Domain
Mike Deering Interview

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