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RNP Press Release
May 10, 2011

Advocates Applaud Montana Legislators for Support on Eminent Domain Bill

Amidst an antidevelopment backdrop, Montana legislators reestablished the conditions allowing for the legitimate exercise of eminent domain. Renewable Northwest – a non-profit regional advocacy group – applauded the outcome.

Following a long and rigorous debate in the Montana legislature, House Bill 198 became law today without the Governor’s signature. As a result, utilities with projects that meet the definition of a “public use” under existing law and receive a facility-siting permit will be able to use the power of eminent domain to construct their projects.

Leaders of both parties came together in the best interest of Montana to provide a predictable regulatory environment for future linear facility projects, such as transmission lines, opening the door for the responsible development of Montana's renewable resources to meet the nation's energy and economic development needs.

"We owe our thanks to a bipartisan majority of Montana legislators interested in effectively governing for the appropriate development of Montana’s energy resources," said John Audley, deputy director at Renewable Northwest. "Once again, Montana is open for business in renewable energy.”

The bill should pave the way for the Montana Alberta Tie Line transmission project to complete construction. “This sends a strong signal to investors that Montana's impressive wind resources are capable of making it to market,” Audley added.

As illustrated by the Governor’s declined effort to amend the bill, further examination of the process and compensation structures surrounding Montana’s eminent domain are necessary.

“No one wants to see or promote the use of eminent domain. It is a measure of last resort that derives its power from both the U.S. and Montana Constitutions,” said Jeff Fox, Montana policy advocate with Renewable Northwest. “Along with our partners, we are committed to the fair and honest use of eminent domain and stand ready to engage in revising compensation structures and procedures to ensure maximum fairness to landowners.”

Renewable Northwest is a regional nonprofit advocacy organization promoting responsible development of renewable energy resources in the Northwest. For more information, visit


For more information contact:

Erin Greeson, communications manager
(503) 223-4544

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