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Republican Bill White sides with Democrats on Grain Belt Express easement bill

Your Republican State Senator Bill White believes private companies have the right to take your land away for the use of a public utility.

Senators were unable to come to a vote late Wednesday on a bill prohibiting the use of eminent domain to acquire easement rights for the Grain Belt Express power line. Democratic senators who support the project slowed debate on the bill.

One person who has sided with the Democrats is Sen. White.

“You have to run a power line somewhere,” he told Newstalk KZRG a few weeks ago. “It’s kind of like our reservoir down down here, you have to build it somewhere.”

“If you [are] transmitting power from point A to point B, you’ve got to go from point A to B,” he continued. “Ideally, you find a place where you can make an equitable agreement with everybody along the way so you don’t have the eminent domain process but if that’s not the case, you have eminent domain proceedings.”

White says the the company is regulated by the PSC which he says makes it a utility.

The high-voltage power line is to carry wind energy from Kansas across Missouri and Illinois before hooking into a power grid in Indiana that serves eastern states.

Missouri utility regulators granted approval earlier this year, which could let developers pursue condemnation if landowners won’t sell easements.

The House has passed several bills that would bar eminent domain for the project. Those bills will die if senators don’t pass them by May 17.

Newstalk KZRG reached out to Bill White after the measure stalled to learn more about his position on the bill near the end of the session.

He declined to comment.

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