Not so in Iowa and Missouri, where legislators are working hard to protect the interests of the ones who elected them.
A bipartisan Iowa House yesterday passed HF 2448, an act relating to the construction, erection, maintenance and operation, or sale of specified electric transmission lines. The bill:
- Prohibits bifurcation.
- The sale or transfer of a merchant line shall not carry with it the transfer of the franchise (permit).
- A company has 3 years from the first informational meeting (required as part of the application process) or its application shall be rejected. A company shall not file another application for the same, or a substantially similar project, for 60 months.
- The IUB shall not grant a petition that involves the taking of property by eminent domain unless 75% of the necessary easements have been obtained voluntarily.
- In an application that involves eminent domain, "public" shall be interpreted to be limited to the consumers located in Iowa.
The bill's sponsor, Representative Bobby Kaufmann, said, “Every day I, in this body, am going to be loyal to the landowners rather than the pocketbooks of the Rock Island Clean Line.”
Opponents of the bill said it wasn't "fair" to Texas-based Rock Island Clean Line.
Kaufmann said Rock Island Clean Line developers have kept property owners hanging for too long.
“Whose fairness right are we going to choose: property owners or an out-of-state corporation?” Kaufmann asked.
Read more about the remarkable grassroots efforts in Iowa on the website of the Preservation of Rural Iowa Alliance.
And in Missouri, a House committee hearing was held on HB 2418, a bill modifying provisions related to eminent domain power of utilities. The bill adds the following provisions:
(1) Such project is proposed and built outside a regulated regional transmission planning process;
(2) Such project is not eligible for recovery of costs under a regional transmission operator or independent system operator tariff for transmission service it provides;
(3) Such project is constructed entirely with private funds and users of the line pay for the transmission line;
(4) Such project primarily involves construction of a high-voltage direct current transmission line.
5. Subsection 4 of this section shall not apply to a transmission line, wire, or cable that primarily provides electricity through alternating current and is used by:
(1) Rate-regulated electric utilities, municipal electric utilities, or rural electric cooperatives; or
(2) Electric transmission owners to provide electric service, for compensation, to the public or any entity described under subdivision (1) of this subsection.
Block GBE Missouri reports that the hearing went well, with six witnesses testifying in favor of the bill.
Now that's representation of the people!