Committee Vote on Buy the Farm amendments expected March 20

My Bill, HF 338, amends Minnesota’s Buy the Farm law to capture the original intent of the law and further protect farmers when utilities acquire land to build high voltage transmission lines. According to an article in the Pioneer Press, the need for the changes arose out of complaints from farmers who claim that energy companies are “dragging their feet and refusing to follow the law in hopes of waiting out the farmers and making them take lesser offers.” For more, see the Bluestem Prairie blog on the subject.

To mitigate the conflict, HF 338 ties the Buy the Farm law to the current Eminent Domain law passed in 2010 which requires public utilities to compensate landowners for attorney’s fees, loss of on-going business, relocation, appraisals, and fees for petitions and notifications. If the utility is planning on contesting the landowner’s election to Buy the Farm, that must be done within 60 days and a court hearing must be scheduled within 90 days.

The bill has had an informational hearing in the Energy Policy Committee, was forwarded to the Government Operations Committee and will be considered on March 20.

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