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House Committee Takes up Eminent Domain

NHPR Staff Photo


The House judiciary committee heard testimony today about three bills that would make it more difficult for a private utility to use eminent domain to acquire land. 

Opponents of the Northern Pass project sponsor the bills, saying the planned electric transmission lines would not benefit to the state.

Republican representative Baldasaro from Londonderry gave testimony in favor of tightening up eminent domain rules.

Baldasaro who had land of his own taken by eminent domain for the new access road to Manchester Airport, says he believes eminent domain is only justified "if it’s for a road, if it’s for a bridge, but for a public utilities... that’s wrong, to go in and take people’s dreams away that bought that land for a reason."

The chairman of the Judiciary committee says legislators will advance carefully on this issue, as there are seven different bills that have been put before various committees, that would reconfigure the eminent domain rules in different ways.

Opponents to the tighter rules argue they could impact future energy projects, like the construction of wind-mills. 

The senate has announced that it will vote on a similar bill at the end of January.