DES MOINES, Iowa – Today, Senators Waylon Brown, R-Osage, Zach Whiting, R-Spirit Lake, and Mark Costello, R-Imogene, members of the Administrative Rules Committee, announced their opposition to rules proposed in Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) Docket Nos. RMU-2020-0028 and RMU-2019-0024, which were released for comment on May 22, 2020.
“I have a number of concerns about these proposed rules from the Iowa Utilities Board,” Whiting said. “My principal concern is the dramatic expansion of eminent domain authority the IUB appears to give itself. Private property is one of the fundamental aspects of our republic. Eroding those rights through administrative rule-making conflicts with the founding principles of our state and nation. My fellow Republican senators and I look forward to working with the other members of the Administrative Rules Review Committee members to implement a session delay should these rules continue to advance.”
“I applaud the leadership of my colleagues on the Administrative Rules Review Committee to address this administrative overreach,” said Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver, R-Ankeny. “I look forward to working with the House of Representatives and governor next session to make sure Iowans’ private property rights are protected.”
The proposed rules include three noteworthy changes for counties and landowners. The first change would expand the IUB jurisdiction over the siting and construction of renewable electric generation facilities through the process of certification under Code chapter 476A. The second change would expand the Board’s authority to preempt county and other zoning ordinances and permitting requirements for the construction of wind turbines and certain other renewable generation facilities. Finally, the rules would expand the ability of a developer, upon certification of a project by the Board, to use the power of eminent domain to condemn private property for the construction of facilities.