Missouri Property Owners Seek to Intervene in Ameren Lawsuit Against the Public Service Commission Concerning Eminent Domain and the Mark Twain Transmission Project

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Five Missouri families represented by eminent domain lawyer Paul G. Henry filed to intervene in a lawsuit initiated by Ameren Transmission Company of Illinois against the Missouri Public Service Commission concerning the use eminent domain in conjunction with the Mark Twain Transmission Project and the Illinois Rivers Transmission Project in Missouri.

The position of the property owners is that any questions regarding eminent domain should be decided in litigation involving property owners in the county in which the properties to be acquired are located.

On October 6, 2014, five families from Adair County, Missouri, filed to intervene in a lawsuit initiated by Ameren Transmission Company of Illinois ("Ameren") against the Missouri Public Service Commission. Ameren sued the Missouri Public Service Commission (the "PSC") in Cole County Circuit Court seeking to obtain a declaration from the court that Ameren is not subject to PSC jurisdiction and that Ameren may use eminent domain powers in conjunction with the construction of the Mark Twain Transmission Project and the Illinois Rivers Transmission Project in Missouri. The case is Ameren Transmission Company of Illinois vs. Public Service Commission of Missouri, Cause No. 12AC-CC00499, in the Circuit Court of Cole County, Missouri (the "Ameren lawsuit").

The five families seeking to intervene in the Ameren lawsuit are represented by Paul G. Henry, a partner in the law firm of Denlow & Henry, which focuses its practice upon the representation of Missouri property owners in eminent domain and related property rights litigation. The families, who own property in Adair County, Missouri, are asking the Cole County Circuit Court to allow them to intervene in the Ameren lawsuit in order to contest Ameren’s claim that it has the power of eminent domain without first obtaining authority from the Missouri Public Service Commission. Ameren has alleged in its court filings that the company is not subject to Missouri Public Service Commission oversight because Ameren does not provide power to Missouri customers. In this same lawsuit, Ameren seeks to confirm the company's ability to use the power of eminent domain to take private property from Missouri property owners for the construction of high-voltage transmission lines.

At the center of the Ameren lawsuit is Ameren's proposed Mark Twain Transmission Project. According to Ameren's website, the Mark Twain Transmission Project is proposed to be a 345,000-volt transmission line running from Palmyra, Missouri to Kirksville, Missouri, and then north to the Iowa border. According to Ameren's website concerning the proposed Illinois Rivers Transmission Project, Ameren plans to construct new 345 kilovolt transmission lines that will interconnect Missouri, Illinois and Indiana. The Illinois Rivers Project will extend from a new substation in near Palmyra, Missouri across the Mississippi River to Illinois and east to Kansas and across the Indiana border to Sugar Creek.

Property owners who may be affected by the power lines have organized a group entitled “Neighbors United Against Ameren’s Power Line” (on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/no.ameren.power.line/). From that organization, five families owning property in Adair County volunteered to intervene in the Ameren lawsuit in Cole County to fight Ameren’s attempt to obtain eminent domain authority without property owners involved in it.

On behalf of these five property owners, Mr. Henry has filed a Motion to Intervene requesting the Court's permission to become involved in the Ameren lawsuit as well as a Motion to Dismiss relating to Count II of Ameren's lawsuit. If the Court grants permission to intervene, the owners will ask the Court to dismiss the second count of the Ameren lawsuit which seeks a declaratory judgment that the Missouri Public Service Commission does not have siting authority over Ameren's construction of interstate transmission lines and therefore can not require the company to seek PSC approval before it employs eminent domain to take their private properties. (See Ameren's "First Amended Petition for Declaratory Judgment," pages 10-12, filed in Ameren Transmission Company of Illinois vs. Public Service Commission of Missouri, Cause No. 12AC-CC00499, in the Circuit Court of Cole County, Missouri.)

"The position of the property owners is that any questions regarding eminent domain should be decided in litigation involving property owners in the county in which the properties to be acquired are located," explained Mr. Henry. "The property owners were never notified of the current Ameren lawsuit and were only notified of the proposed power line projects in July of this year."

A hearing on the landowners' Motion to Intervene in the Ameren lawsuit is scheduled for October 20, 2014, at 1:30 p.m. in the Cole County Circuit Court.

Denlow & Henry is the only Missouri law firm practicing solely in eminent domain law and focusing only on the representation of property owners in condemnation proceedings. For more than 35 years, the firm has diligently protected the constitutional property rights of Missouri property owners and strived to obtain full compensation for the taking of their property. For more information or to review our record of past results, visit http://www.denlow.com.

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Catherine Newman

Paul G. Henry
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