Legislation making it more difficult for private utilities to acquire access to private property through condemnation cleared two Iowa subcommittees.  Subcommittees in both the Iowa House and Senate approved Senate Study Bill 1276 to change the process for private companies to build underground pipelines and overhead transmission lines. The bill, according to House Government Oversight Committee Chairman Bobby Kaufmann, R-Wilton, would require projects be recommended in the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s annual energy report and that proponents pay attorney fees for landowners who cannot afford their own attorney. It would prohibit companies from telling landowners that unless they sign voluntary easements their land will be condemned and they will be paid less for their land.  In addition, SSB 1276 would require companies to get voluntary easements from 75 percent of the landowners in the path of their projects before the Iowa Utilities Board would consider a request for condemnation.

The Bill now moves to the full House and Senate.