Bush Would Allow Eminent Domain Seizures for Power Lines
- Bush Would Allow Eminent Domain Seizures for Power Lines
By Scott Lindlaw Associated Press Writer
Published: May 8, 2001
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush's energy task force plans to propose legislation allowing the seizure of private property to accelerate the construction of electrical power lines, three administration officials said Tuesday.
The recommendation is contained in the final draft of a broad energy blueprint to be unveiled by President Bush next week, the officials said. The "eminent domain" authority allows the government to appropriate private property for public use; the property owners are usually compensated.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission already has eminent domain authority over the siting of natural gas pipelines, but has no such power over long-distance electricity transmission lines. The lack of authority often requires electrical companies to get approval from several states and numerous local jurisdictions.
Federal authority to locate transmission lines would quicken the approval process, supporters of the provision contend. The shortage of transmission lines has been cited by officials as one reason for bottlenecks in the electric grids and a shortage of power in areas of high demand.
New lines also are needed to connect new power plants to the grid.
Vice President Dick Cheney said on CNN Tuesday that the energy task force he heads will include a recommendation on eminent domain for power lines.
"The issue is whether or not we should have the same authority on electrical transmission lines" as the government has on gas lines, Cheney said. "That's never been granted previously."
Utilities, not the government, would own the property, one official said.
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