MOFB says eminent domain still a concern in energy project
The president of Missouri Farm Bureau is asking the Missouri Public Service Commission to respect the property rights of private landowners as they consider updates to a transmission line distribution project in mid-Missouri.
Invenergy, a Chicago-based energy company, wants to build a 40-mile-long high voltage transmission line into central Missouri called the Tiger Connector. The Tiger Connector would send out power locally from the Grain Belt Express. The GBE is transmission lines that will move energy from wind farms in northern Missouri and Kansas to Illinois and Indiana.
Invenergy is asking the Missouri Public Service Commission to change a 2019 certificate allowing them to update the location of a current station and alternating current connector lines. If approved by the commission, the PSC says the connector lines would start in Monroe County, go through Audrian County and end in Callaway County.
Garrett Hawkins testified in a hearing on the project in early June and says several Missouri landowners aren’t in favor of the Tiger Connector electric transmission line, because of eminent domain.
“This is a project landowners don’t want and they’re forced to sell land they don’t want to sell to an entity they don’t want to work with for a purpose they don’t believe in.”
In 2022, Missouri’s State Legislature passed a bill to reform to limit eminent domain use by private companies, but agriculture groups said the bill wasn’t perfect.
Hawkins says Farm Bureau will continue to look at policies to balance energy security with private property rights.
“We need to start with the recognition the grid we enjoy today has been built on the backs of landowners for decades.”
And he says it is unclear when Missouri’s Public Service Commission will decide on project updates.