Farmer mural in Missouri State Capitol

A mural depicts farming in Missouri State Capitol.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)

The Missouri Farm Bureau said Thursday that an eminent domain bill now on the governor's desk would benefit farmers affected by the Grain Belt Express power line by ensuring their land is not taken away without their consent.

Eminent domain is a law that allows companies working on projects deemed to be in the public good to use privately owned land. Eminent domain has been a concern for Mid-Missouri farmers for a while since a Chicago-based energy company, Invenergy, announced its plans to build an electric line from wind farms Kansas to Illinois, cutting through Missouri.

The energy company and the Farm Bureau reached a compromise to make this year's bill possible after failures in previous years. Garrett Hawkins with the Missouri Farm Bureau said probably 25% of the calls he gets are about eminent domain.

"This legislation is a bold step to at least say that Missouri is no longer wide open and fully exposed to essentially the use of eminent domain for private gain," Hawkins said.

House Bill 2005 requires a company using eminent domain to build electrical lines in Missouri to give landowners 150% of the fair market price for use of their land. It also requires Missouri to get an amount of energy from the line that is proportional to the amount of the line running through Missouri.

The Grain Belt would be routed through Chariton, Randolph and Monroe counties in Mid-Missouri.

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