by jhwygirl

What could get me wanting to try and throw out a few words? A bill seeking to repeal last session’s eminent domain debacle, HB198.

I won’t go into the past gory details on the 2011 eminent domain bill – you can click that link above for that – what I will do is offer a heartfelt THANKS to Sen. Debby Barrett, a Republican out Dillon.

Sen. Barrett has proposed SB180 which is a straight all-out repeal of HB198, which handed eminent domain powers straight to the utility corporations, and eliminating any role of assuring that the taking of private property was for public gain, yet alone fair compensation.

In other words, big business who’s priority is only bigger profits, and not necessarily Montana’s best interests, could crisscross this Montana with whatever form of transmission infrastructure they choose, to deliver their energy from..say…Canada to Colorado…and little old property owner in Dillon Montana is left to deal with the barrage of lawyers from big business.

Thank you? You have to wonder what the hell the people who voted for HB198 were thinking and you can’t really paint the Democrats with the lack of respect for private property rights – plenty of Republicans voted for this crappy bill, including Republicans Sen. Dave Lewis and Reps. Janna Taylor, Wendy Warburton and Duane Ankney.

For the Missoula people that care about private property rights, know that only Sen. Dave Wanzenried and Rep. Ellie Hill voted NO to that bill. Occasional commentor (from way-back) Rep. Mike Miller – a self-described Libertarian, I believe – also voted NO to this bill.

Last week, Sens. Wanzenried, Augare, and Windy Boy signed on as co-sponsors to Sen. Barrett’s bill. I’ll be watching this one closely.

Let’s see who respects private property rights, and who wants to let private corporations do what they will, with only the promise of “fair compensation” from their army of lawyers knocking on our Montana neighbor’s doors.

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  1. Craig Moore

    Thank you for posting this. This is one issue where you and I agree.

  2. Clap-clap-clap-clap-clap

  3. larry kurtz

    j-girl: what would this repeal mean for KXL?

  4. Is KXL fall under PSC regulation? I know Schweitzer got the state an “on ramp” which may make it “common carrier” status. But even if it is a “common carrier” is does have to be regulated by the PSC

    See requirements for use of eminent domain: http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/mca/69/13/69-13-104.htm
    Eminent domain: http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/mca/70/30/70-30-102.htm

    OTOH, was it being permitted under the Major Facilities Siting Act? http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/mca/75/20/75-20-113.htm Because if it was – and it wasn’t regulated by the PSC – then it would be affected.

    MSTI and MATL, though, would be. But one of those is dead already.

    LET ME CLARIFY: Repeal of the eminent domain bill wouldn’t necessarily kill anything. It would require the project to lean a little bit on the realities of the “free market.” They would be left to negotiate a price directly with the landowners to buy their way through – with no threat of eminent domain and “fair market value” and tons of litigation.

    And I say “lean a little bit” because any one of those projects is getting huge tax incentives. We all know Exxon paid no taxes last year, right?

    • UPDATE: Got this from a friend (THANKS!!) Pipelines are subject to commission regulations

      Pipeline carriers have the power of eminent domain delegated to them by the legislature under 69-13-104. Under section 102 of that code section the owner of the pipeline is subject to commission regulation.

      http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/mca/69/13/69-13-101.htm

  5. BlackBart

    Private property rights are one of those “core principles” of the Republican party that are thrown out the window when corporations come calling for legislation. As we see with Keystone, the concerns of conservative farmers and ranchers mean nothing in the face of a transnational oil company that wants to invade their land for private gain with no assurance of any public good.

    • Ranchers get crapped on year after year.

      I listened to a conservation easement bill yesterday & the first testimony -a rancher, Denny Iverson – got up and said “These are my private property rights & I’m getting a little sick & tired of having to come up here every 2 years up defend them. Please vote no.”

      Embarrassing, especially here in red state Montana.

      ~ jhwygirl

      Remember to be kind, for everyone is fighting a great battle.

  6. Turner

    I disagree strongly with Debby Barrett on nearly everything — especially the personhood bills she’s so fond of. But I’m grateful to her for introducing this bill. I hope legislators, especially Democrats, who voted for HB 198 will see the error of their ways.

  7. John Vincent

    HB 198 gave us a clear distinction between corporate Republicans and Private Property Rights Republicans. $’s trump Rights. Democrats? Ask Mr. Schweitzer.

    I opposed it as a Public Service Commissioner and will strongly support Senator Barrett’s SB180 this time around. HB198, now in law, is an insult to Montanan’s on multiple counts. Wanz knows!

    The truth of the matter is that 198 gives the right of eminent domain to a single elected official, the governor. This is because the siting process at DEQ is not a scientific, fact driven process. It is, at base, a political process.

    If the governor, any governor, wants a project, the DEQ Director (who is appointed by the governor at serves at the pleasure of the governor) will make sure the project gets approved. Hasn’t worked any other way for over 30 years.

    Missoula and Missoula County? Get ready, because what primarily concerned 5 counties with the MSTI project is coming to your area soon.

    Call your Representatives and Senators. Support SB180.

    John Vincent (D)
    Former Public Service Commissioner
    Gallatin Gateway




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