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Eminent Domain for Utility Purposes

December 1, 2020
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WRITTEN BY Eleni Bickell

HB 2033 (2020) restricts eminent domain for transmission line projects by allowing only rural electric cooperatives and some other electric corporations to use eminent domain for above-ground power line projects.

The proposed legislation is the latest of several steps that regulators within the state have taken since 2014 over the use of eminent domain to acquire property and the authority to build the transmission lines for private companies such as the Grain Belt Express.

The power of eminent domain authorizes the government to take private property for public use if there is an associated direct or indirect public benefit. Eminent domain has been used by private interests if the primary objective of the taking leads to a scheme that will eventually promote economic development, public welfare, or advantage.

More recently, Missouri has used eminent domain by private entities more narrowly and economic development alone is not sufficient for land acquisitions.

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