Hat Tip: Rachel Roberts
Concerned Citizens Montana ACTION – Voices for Honest Energy
Senate Legislative Hearing
OPPOSE – HB198- Eminent Domain Bill
SUPPORT SB 391 – Private Property Protection Related to Merchant Transmission
OPPOSE – HB198 – Generally Revise Eminent Domain – Sponsor Rep. Ken Peterson (R) email@example.com – Hearing Senate Energy and Telecommunications Room 317, 3:00 PM 3/3/2011
This bill expands eminent domain to allow public utilities and out-of-state, out-of-country, private corporations to exercise the right to condemn private property for corporate profit. Public utilities include NorthWestern Energy that proposes their 500 kV merchant line Mountain States Transmission Intertie (MSTI) and Montana Dakota Utility (MDU). Private foreign corporations include Toronto-based Tonebridge Power working on the Montana Alberta Tie-Line (MATL). MATL impacts 250 landowners in Montana and 113 landowners in Alberta . TransCanada would like eminent domain to pave the way for their 500 – 850 kV merchant transmission line, Chinock. The Chinock will follow along the path of MSTI.
SUPPORT – SB 391 – Establishing private property protection program related to energy transmission – Sponsor Senator Art Wittich (R) firstname.lastname@example.org
Hearing Senate Energy and Telecommunications Room 317, 3:00 PM 3/3/2011
Since merchant lines are new to the state, this new law will provide a private property protection board to establish a 1) private property protection special revenue account (there is a private property protection account in the state special revenue fund), 2) private property protection program (to compensate private property owners for damage caused by the development of a merchant transmission line), and 3) private property protection license fee (an owner or operator of a merchant line shall pay a license fee, that is deposited as follows; 50% in the private property protection account, 50% in the state general fund. And, an owner or operator of a merchant line shall pay a license fee of 2% of the taxable value of the merchant line if, prior to construction, the owner or operator of the merchant line had not obtained voluntary right-of-way agreements or options for a right-of-way from more that 90% of private property owners who collectively own more than 90% of the property along the right-of-way and made all reasonable efforts to site the merchant line on public land.
In-Person – There is strength in numbers and it’s encouraging to anticipate hundreds of people at the State Capitol to attend the legislative hearing. You can 1) prepare and read a couple of talking points and testify before the Senate Energy & Telecommunications committee. Provide a copy of your testimony for the Senate Energy & Telecommunications secretary when you are done speaking. (a prepared 2 -3 minute speech allows others a chance to speak) 2) If you are uncomfortable with speaking, you can still state your name and say I oppose House Bill 198. 3) come support those who are speaking and watch the legislative hearing. Legislators need to take heed of an overwhelming audience concerned about our private property rights. (A few more tips about legislative hearing protocol at the end of this e-mail)
Note: With e-mail letters or personal testimony before the committee, be polite, brief and stay on the topic of the bill regarding private property rights. The bill is not about wind energy.
Legislative Bills can be reviewed online at: www.leg.mt.gov
Call Capitol Switchboard – 406-444-4800 – [leave message for Senate Energy and Telecommunications committee]
Or email web form – http://leg.mt.gov/css/sessions/62nd/legwebmessage.asp – [send message to Senate Energy and Telecommunications committee]
E-mail – Send separate e-mails for each bill. In the Subject line of your e-mail, title each e-mail , OPPOSE HB198 and title, SUPPORT SB391. That way if legislators do not open and read e-mails, they will see the titles when they scroll through their e-mails. Senate Energy & Telecommunications committee: Alan Olsen, Chair, Verdell Jackson, V-Chair, Shannon Augare, Ron Erickson, Jeff Essmann, Bob Lake, Lynda Moss, Jason Priest, Mitch Tropila, Kendall Van Dyk, Chas Vincent, Ed Walker
email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Testifying before a legislative committee~ turn off cell phone~ sign sheet at the entrance of legislative room ~ Opening – “Good afternoon Chair Olson and members of the committee. For the record I’m Joe Smith, S-M-I-T-H (Spell out your last name)It’s permissible to read a testimony. When you are finished speaking, give a copy to the committee secretary. She will later provide copies for everyone on the committee.~ Testimony copy should provide, for example:Thursday, March 3Senate Energy & Telecommunications CommitteeHouse Bill 198Joe Smith, (profession/optional)(phone/e-mail/city/optional)Body of testimony~ Note: After proponents and opponents speak, you may be asked a question by a committee member, for example:Senator Doe – “Mr. Smith, What do you think about”…?Joe Smith – “Senator Olson and Senator Doe, I think”…Always address the chair and the Senator that asked you the question before commenting.