Windmill developers tend to favor owners upon whose land windmills themselves are located. Property owners in the path of proposed transmission lines for these projects react negatively to this disparate treatment. Meanwhile, the Wyoming legislature continues to work out a solution with little progress.
The likely legislative result will be that before using eminent domain power, agencies must acquire a certain percentage of easements through voluntary agreements with landowners. This is the only sensible approach when owners in the path of proposed transmission lines perceive that the developers are treating them differently. Have concerned citizens figured this out yet?
A proposed two-year extension of Wyoming’s moratorium on wind developers’ eminent domain powers advanced in the state House on Thursday.
By a voice vote, state representatives passed House Bill 230 on first reading; the legislation must pass two more House votes before it would head to the Senate for consideration.
State Rep. Kermit Brown, the Laramie Republican sponsoring the bill, said allowing the current one-year moratorium to expire on July 1 would raise landowners’ wariness of eminent domain when dealing with wind developers on land leases to build collector lines.
Brown said landowners want more time to develop a plan for legislators’ consideration that would either ban or restrict wind companies’ use of eminent domain.
But other lawmakers questioned why the state should prohibit wind developers from using eminent domain when other industries are still allowed to employ such powers.
State Rep. Tim Stubson, R-Casper, speaking against the bill, said lack of transmission lines makes it extremely unlikely that any collector lines will be built in the next two years.