Lawmakers hear plan to roll back eminent domain
GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) -- Montana lawmakers are considering a bill that would
remove some eminent domain powers granted by the 2011 Legislature.
Senate Bill 180 would repeal the authority of a public utility or developer
to condemn private property to build pipelines or power lines. Lawmakers passed
that bill after a judge ruled in 2010 the Montana Alberta Tie Line developer did
not have the right to use eminent domain.
Bill sponsor Sen. Debby Barrett says nothing is more important in Montana than
private property rights. The Dillon Republican asked the Senate Energy and
Telecommunications Committee to approve her bill.
NorthWestern Energy spokesman John Fitzpatrick says eminent domain is needed
to build lines to get electricity or gas to customers.
The Great Falls Tribune reports (http://gftrib.com/WOLk5Y) the committee did
not take immediate action.