House joint hearing on HF 1182

Filed under:Laws & Rules,Uncategorized — posted by admin on November 9, 2009 @ 7:33 am

It’s a little confusing, because we’re inbetween, the House isn’t in session, but last Wednesday was the House Energy and Civil Justice committees hearing on HF 1182 and morphs of it since, and anticipate future morphs too.  In essence,  a free ranging discussion of utilities’ exemption from eminent domain laws under Minn. Stat. 117.189.

THIS WILL BE AN ISSUE IN THE UPCOMING LEGISLATIVE SESSION.  It will go to both of these committees, so to get a head start, let’s make sure everyone on the committee knows that utilities are not special!  Utilities should not be exempted from eminent domain landowner protections:

http://www.commissions.leg.state.mn.us/lec/members.htm
Here’s Senate member info:
http://www.senate.leg.state.mn.us/members/index.php?ls=#header
Here’s House member info:
http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/members/hmem.asp

Once more with feeling, thanks to Rep. David Bly for being ON this, persevering to support CapX affected landowners in 25B and throughout Minnesota.

Here’s 117.189 with links to see what all perks utilities get:

117.189 PUBLIC
SERVICE CORPORATION EXCEPTIONS.

Sections 117.031; 117.036; 117.055, subdivision 2, paragraph (b); 117.186;
117.187; 117.188; and 117.52,  subdivisions 1a and 4, do not apply to public service corporations. For purposes of an award of appraisal fees under section 117.085,
the fees awarded may not exceed $1,500 for all types of property except for a
public service corporation’s use of eminent domain for a high-voltage
transmission line, where the award may not exceed $3,000.

Those appraisal award limits were raised, but as Joyce Osborn, United Citizens Action Network, testified, her appraisal for the pipeline was more than twice that ceiling, so that still needs work.

The appraiser’s testimony was best, direct hard hitting front-lines view, that the utilities do not need this exemption, and that the exemption is a subsidy for utilities.  That’s clear, simple, and it’s the truth.  Why this was allowed… well, think about it.  It was a time, 2006, when they supposedly were trying to reinforce the state’s eminent domain landowner protections after the Kelo decision.  But these utility exemptions — there was no explanation of why, but it would seem to me that, given the Kelo focus on “public purpose,” utilities would be awfully skittish about taking land for something like CapX 2020, which is private purpose, PROFIT, and not at all necessary for their charge as public service corporations.

Then there’s the “party line” from ???  Rep. Mike Beard is parroting it, that the utilities can be exempted, should be exempted, because they have to go through the PUC process.  SAY WHAT!!!???!!!  The Certificate of Need process has nothing whatsoever to do with eminent domain.  A Certificate of Need is a basis for “need” claim for eminent domain, but it’s not true that, as he said, that utilities can’t get land without a Certificate of Need.  It’s very possible, either it’s a project that falls below the CoN threshold, or it’s one that goes under Local Review.

And Rep. Steve Drazkowski was flailing and he deserves one of these — do his constituents know how he behaves?

horsesassawardHere’s the flyer we sent that he was waving around as if it were some terrorist manifesto:

NoCapX 2020 & United Citizens Action Network Newsletter

Let’s see … notice of public meetings, the Nov. 4 hearing, info on Buy the Farm and questions landowners should ask… sounds pretty radical to me!!!

And speaking of public meetings, it’s time to gear up for the Brookings EIS “meetings” (whatever happened to public HEARINGS?):

PUBLIC INFORMATION MEETING DATES & LOCATIONS

November 12, 2009 (Thursday)

November 13, 2009
(Friday)

November 16, 2009 (Monday)

1:00 P.M. – 4:00 P.M.
&
5:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M.

Lonsdale American Legion
115 2nd Avenue Southwest
Lonsdale, MN

1:00 P.M. – 4:00 P.M.
&
5:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M.

Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites
20800 Kenrick Avenue
Lakeville, MN

1:00 P.M. – 4:00 P.M.

Prairie’s Edge Casino & Resort
5616 Prairie’s Edge Lane
Granite Falls, MN 56241

November 17, 2009
(Tuesday)

November 18, 2009 (Wednesday)

November 19, 2009 (Thursday)

1:00 P.M. – 4:00 P.M.
&
5:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M.

Best Western
1500 East College Drive
Marshall, MN

1:00 P.M. – 4:00 P.M.
&
5:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M.

Jackpot Junction Casino Hotel
39375 County Highway 24
Morton, MN

5:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M.

Brass Top Hall/Hog Wild Saloon
514 Main Street
Henderson, MN

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