In the race to the Missouri Legislature’s finish line is a bill that would block companies from using eminent domain to seize private property to build wind and solar farms. The state House has passed a bill that would limit the use of eminent domain to “essential public utilities and infrastructure.”

Rep. Peter Merideth, D-St. Louis, questioned the bill sponsor, Rep. Mike Haffner, R-Pleasant Hill.

“If eminent domain is okay to be used for transmission lines, why it wouldn’t be okay for different types of expansion including the generation,” asked Merideth.

“Well, because the technologies have changed. Whereas in the past, you had generation facilities that were going to be in a specific area, but they weren’t encompassing thousands and thousands of acres as we see today,” said Haffner.

Merideth claimed the real purpose of the bill is to fight with wind and solar energy companies.

“I don’t feel comfortable, as we’ve talked about before, singling out wind and solar and treating them differently than any other generation of energy in our state, and actually making it harder for them to grow. If we’re saying, ‘we’re going to allow property owners to extort them if they need to grow,’ I would prefer we treated them all the same,” said Merideth.

Rep. Kent Haden, R-Mexico, said he understands why there needs to be restrictions on wind and solar projects.

“Wind and solar have much larger footprints than any of our other sources of energy – much larger. So, we’re having a massive impact on these rural areas because of the footprint it takes up for these types of energy compared to nuclear,” said Haden.

With two weeks left to go in the Missouri Legislature’s session, the bill heads to the Senate for an uphill battle, where Republican infighting has slowed business many times this year.

For more information on House Bill 1750, click here.

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