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Utility Companies Speak Out Against Farmland Protection

April 2, 2003
By: Matt Talhelm
State Capital Bureau

One Missouri utility company says a proposed bill could make it more difficult to bring power to the state.

The proposed bill would require the state government and public utility companies to first explore alternative land choices before using farmland to build power lines.

Missouri Public Utilities Alliance Director Gerald Feller represents the eighty-eight municipal utility systems in the state.

He says the companies he represents fear the bill will mean higher construction costs and more time.

Actuality:
RunTime: 14
OutCue: "...our electrical supply."
Contents: "We get very concerned when we see anything that might cause it to be more difficult or expensive to build transmission lines because it's extremely important to our electrical supply."

Feller says the current infrastructure across Missouri isn't enough to keep up with future growth. New power lines are needed and the bill would make that construction more expensive.


Utility companies across the state oppose the protection of Missouri private farmland from being taken for public use. Matt Talhelm explains from the Capital.

Ameren UE and other Missouri utility companies expressed their opposition to a bill that would make them consider all other land options first - before taking farmland for construction.

The bill would also give land owners five years to claim damages caused by public construction on their land.

Jeff Douglas, a Real Estate Supervisor for Ameren UE Utilities, says his company already balances land owners' concerns with public needs.

Actuality:
RunTime: 10
OutCue: "..public project."
Contents: We feel the bill is unnecessary and that property owners have adequate protection under the existing eminent domain laws, and this bill would just increase the cost and time to complete a public project.

Douglas also says land owners have enough protection without this bill.