National Eminent Domain Blog

Montana Alberta Tie Line Files Brief

Apparently, Montana Alberta Tie Line is seeking to have the Montana Supreme Court act as a legislature. There has been no delegation allowing the utility to condemn under the Montana Major Facility Siting Act. Despite this, MATL wants the Montana Supreme Court to find a delegation of authority to condemn even though no such permission exists under present Montana legislation.

Choteau Acantha

The power line first broke ground in Glacier County to connect with proposed wind energy developments, but MATL is still negotiating portions of the right-of-way south of Conrad. According to MATL, Salois is the only person, among 70 people along the northern portion near Cut Bank, who could not reach a right-of-way agreement.

McKinnon’s order last December has effectively stopped any new condemnation filings that MATL might be contemplating for its state sanctioned, permitted right-of-way.

The project has raised a firestorm in the Montana Legislature where a flurry of bills aim either to strengthen private property rights or to settle once and for all that public utilities and certain other parties have eminent domain authority. The latter parties would be entities that receive a certificate of compliance from the Department of Environmental Quality under the Major Facility Siting Act.

In its Supreme Court appeal, MATL asks the court to reverse the lower court’s ruling and remand the condemnation suit back to the district court on an expedited basis.


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