Eminent domain for pipelines, power lines

May 7, 2015

Last week, the House and Senate held a joint subcommittee on House Study Bill 249 and Senate File 506(previously Senate Study Bill 1276) that would limit eminent domain usage for the Rock Island Clean Line project and the Bakken Pipeline. The bill would require these projects to attain at least 75 percent voluntary easements before eminent domain could be authorized. The bill passed subcommittee with all but one senator signing the report.

On Tuesday, the Senate Government Oversight Committee met to consider the bill. Sen. Julian Garrett (R-Warren) was the only senator to speak against the bill. He expressed concern over the constitutionality in respect to interfering with interstate commerce. Sen. Rob Hogg (D-Linn) said the bill was not intended to stop projects, but add additional protection for property owners. The bill passed the Senate Government Oversight Committee by voice vote and is now ready for debate on the Senate floor. The House Government Oversight Committee is expected to take up the bill soon.