Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Boozman Voted for Bill that Enables Power Line To Snatch Arkansan's Land

The so-called "Clean Line" is a planned string of giant electrical towers that will run from Crawford County all the way across the state to Mississippi County (suspiciously close to where the "Big River Steel" state-sponsored manufacturing facility is setting up). Here is an interactive map of the proposed route. The lines will take electricity generated by windmills in Texas and Oklahoma and deliver it to points east.

Landowners in the twelve affected counties are concerned. Especially since the people behind the power line have just gotten federal authority to use eminent domain to take right of way on which to place their giant, sometimes dangerous, and always ugly towers. That means they can take the land for a price decided in court even if the landowner does not want to sell. Originally the folks pushing this line sought state authority for eminent domain, but were refused. The granting of eminent domain was given by the Federal Department of Energy under the authority of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. This is the first time the authority given to the Department of Energy under that act has been used to grant eminent domain power to a private company.

When a project steps on that many toes, politicians step up and promise to help. Even the usually still and quiet John Boozman is making some noise on this one, and trying to get out in front as a champion of the oppressed landowners.  In this case, as in so many others, politicians try to take credit for their attempts to solve problems which they themselves helped create. That's right, as a Congressman John Boozman voted for the very legislation that Talk Business says has enabled the power grab. That would be the aforementioned "Energy Policy Act of 2005". Boozman voted for the bill whose actual implementation he now shows such indignation over. Here is the link showing his vote on the bill.

Not that Talk Business is calling him out on it. Nope. They are doing what the Establishment Media always does- protect the establishment of which Senator Boozman is certainly a member. That's why you have to find out about it from a guy who blogs as a hobby. Its why bloggers are the real media now.

No, Talk Business spent a good deal of space assuring its readers that Boozman and Congressman Steve Womack were fighting this dreaded abuse of power without mentioning that Boozman was one of those who authorized the law that made it possible. The Talk Business article repeated their trumpeting that they were "pushing"  for the "Assuring Private Property Rights Over Vast Access to Land (APPROVAL) Act (S. 485/H.R. 3062)". This act would require the approval of a state's Governor before the DOE could grant eminent domain for electrical lines under the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Yea, they are "pushing" to make it right!

Here is a link tracking the progress of that bill. No action has been taken on the bill since October of last year! Talk Business is telling you that Boozman and Womack are "pushing" the bill. Let me ask you, if your boss asked you about a project that was important to him and you emphasized that you were "pushing" it, but then he later found out that no action had been taken on it since October of the previous year would your boss be satisfied? No. Then neither should you be satisfied with Boozman and Womack if you care about this issue. Especially Boozman.

Boozman is opposed by me-too Democrat Connor Eldrige (the Democrats in the Arkansas delegation voted for the Energy Policy Act of 2005 by a 3-2 margin) and Libertarian Frank Gilbert. In your heart, you know that there is only one of those three who might stand up for individual property rights in the face of big business demands for special favors. The only question left is if you have had enough so that you are finally ready to vote for them?


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