• Brass-Tacks
  • Eminent Domain Bills Taking Legislators' Time

    Eminent Domain Bills Taking Legislators' Time

    There’s been a flurry of legislative efforts around the policies surrounding eminent domain. This hot topic has garnered a lot of attention because the process is a necessary evil. Eminent domain refers to the process of acquiring property and converting use from private owners. This is not a power grab or a willy-nilly greed seize, this process is only done through necessity when land acquisition is required to advance projects that are public serving.
    Common uses of eminent domain have occurred due to roads, water management, utilities, rail, airport, or pipeline. This practice opens the community for specific services or enhanced safety. North Dakota has one of the most stringent, well-laid out process in the nation through statute and the constitution. The transparent process ensures fair-market value.
    GNDC understands that eminent domain has a role in infrastructure development and business practices. We’ve been engaging in the legislation created to alter our current eminent domain processes. The consequences of these legislative alterations could impact our state’s future success. These bills would stall out negotiations, potentially pit progress against possession, and inflate all costs connected with project development which unintentionally hurts consumers/citizens of North Dakota.
    Here’s the pack of legislative pieces connected to attacking the current eminent domain processes:

    (*denotes that it has failed in the chamber of origin)
    Insider's Peek: Testimony on these bills

    HB 1384
    "Our members support a business-friendly regulatory environment that is consistent and further promotes investment in infrastructure. There are already many hurdles at the federal level that hinder infrastructure development. Our concern is that HB 1384 will create a roadblock at the state level by incentivizing property owners to forego negotiations with developers in order to receive a 33% increase on the assessment."
    We also testified on SB 2313

    SB 2313
    Josh Teigen, ND Dept of Commerce, Commissioner
    "ND prides itself on a being a business-friendly state. A state with a favorable regulatory environment, low taxes, and an approach that innovation trumps regulation. This bill directly flies in the face of the principles that we have used to build our state as a great place to invest and do business."
    SB 2314*
    Ron Ness, ND Petroleum Council, President
    "The use of eminent domain is rare and is typically considered as a last option available for a project. A project first needs to complete the extensive siting process through the PSC to obtain approval for the specific route and corridor. The restrictions under SB 2314 on the use of eminent domain by having an additional process through the PSC for review and approval of the use of eminent domain, and then a requirement for 85% or more voluntary consent with a carbon dioxide common carrier pipeline could negatively impact and ultimately result in a pipeline project not being completed even though the pipeline was sited through the PSC process and designated as a common carrier for the public."
    SB 2212*
    Dave Burns, Red Trail Energy, Regulatory and Compliance Manager
    "Bills such as SB 2212 and 2228 would inhibit future expansion for Red Trail and the other regional ethanol plants by inhibiting implementation of new technologies; and could have consequences on existing projects. These bills will not only affect Red Trail but will dramatically affect the ethanol industry in the state. The proposed policy would be detrimental to any ethanol plant looking to get into lower carbon fuel markets and will put North Dakota’s commodities at a disadvantage on a national level."