HELENA — The Montana House has given an initial endorsement to a pro-industry eminent domain bill which supporters of the high-voltage Montana Alberta Tie Line say is needed to rescue the stalled project.
The issue pits property rights against economic development. A court ruled late last year that utility lines like MATL don't have eminent domain authority.
The House endorsed the plan Friday on a 56-44 initial vote.
Supporters say it is needed to make sure the MATL project doesn't get shut down after millions of dollars have been invested.
Opponents, such as ranching groups and other landowners, argue it will give utilities far too much power.
Legislative leaders say they are also trying to push another bill that would give landowners more power in eminent domain negotiations.