eminent domain

The Wyoming House has passed a pair of bills that ag and landowner groups say will level the playing field when it comes to energy development. 

Under one bill, entities that are seeking to use eminent domain to condemn private property will have to pay court fees if the court determines that they didn’t offer a fair price for the land.  The other bill would raise the damage bond for seismic companies from two-thousand to five-thousand dollars. 

Bill Bensel of the Powder River Basin Resource Council says the bills should help protect landowners.

The Wyoming House continues to support a bill that would strengthen the state’s eminent domain laws. 

It would require that all legal requirements for condemning land must be met before a case can be taken to a court.  If a company fails, or if a landowner is not given fair market value for his property, the landowner would be able to sue. 

Groups supporting the bill say it will limit abuses in eminent domain discussions. 

Casper Representative Tim Stubson failed in his attempts to amend the bill, saying that it’s leaning too heavily in favor of landowners. 

A proposed bill by Sen. Charles Scott of Natrona County would give state agencies more power to acquire private lands in Wyoming for public use, including by eminent domain.