Landowner Rights | VideoJennifer Joas | 2/15/2013
Bob Ferebee is a landowner in Halliday. He feels Basin Electric should be making him a better offer for a 200 mile transmission line through his farm between Beulah to Tioga.
"We agree with it 100 percent but we want to be compensated fairly for it. Not just a one time, `Hey thanks. Here it is, we`re going across.` That is totally unfair," he said.
Public Service Commissioner Brian Kalk says it`s common for companies to have a handful of landowners that don`t agree with the proposed easements and compensation. "The biggest issue we see with power lines is that we need the power lines to make sure we have reliable, affordable energy, but no one wants a power line in their back yard."
Kalk says the first thing landowners should do is come to the hearings the PSC holds along the proposed route. "If we can get people to come to the hearings, we get to hear their thoughts early before we make the decision. It`s on the record. If we don`t hear about it until after we`ve approved the route, there`s not much we can do."
If the PSC still issues a citing certificate, the company could claim eminent domain. Since 2004, Basin has had to initiate eminent domain twice, but it never went through the whole court proceedings.
Ferebee says he doesn`t want to take it to court, but he may have no choice. "I`ll talk to whoever I have to. My land`s an important thing to me. If they have to do that, it`s a bad deal because nobody wins. We want this to be a win-win situation."
Basin Electric still has to submit the application to the PSC for the transmission line across Ferebee`s land.
So far, Basin Electric has secured 50 percent of the easements for the transmission line in the Halliday area.