Arkansas congressmen introduce legislation to give states right to decide on federal transmission projects

Published on March 08, 2017 by Daily Energy Insider Reports

An Arkansas delegation introduced a bill last week to return the right to accept or reject federal electricity transmission projects on state or tribal lands to the affected state or tribal governments.

The Assuring Private Property Rights Over Vast Access to Lands (APPROVAL) Act would require the Department of Energy to acquire the approval of the governor and public service commission prior to using the federal power of eminent domain to obtain property for Section 1222 transmission projects. For projects on tribal lands, DOE would need the approval of impacted tribal governments.

U.S. Sens. John Boozman (R-AR) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) and U.S. Reps. Rick Crawford (R-AR), French Hill (R-AR), Steve Womack (R-AR), and Bruce Westerman (R-AR) introduced the legislation.

“In 1792, President James Madison wrote that ‘government is instituted to protect property of every sort,’ and nearly 225 years later, the concept of private property is still integral to who we are as a nation,” Womack said. “I am proud to once again be the House original sponsor of the APPROVAL Act, which will grant American landowners and their states a voice before the federal government takes their land using eminent domain. Too many Arkansans risk losing their land and livelihood to Section 1222 projects, and I will always do what I can to preserve individual property rights and power in the people.”

The bill would also require approved projects to be located on federal lands, as opposed to private lands, to the greatest extent possible.