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H.R. 1433, The Private Property Rights Protection Act Of 2012

Rep. Earl Blumenauer

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Mr. Speaker, I strongly oppose H.R. 1433, the ``Private Property Rights Protection Act of 2012.'' This bill is a solution in search of a problem. Its sweeping prohibition against the use of eminent domain for economic development that would cripple community efforts at a time when they're needed more than ever.

There are time honored principles for the exercise of eminent domain by State and local governments. I support the Constitutional protections already in place to prevent taking of private property without fair compensation. Governments should certainly exercise great care in using eminent domain.

Many major economic and ecological initiatives would be difficult, if not impossible, without eminent domain. I believe economic development is a legitimate use of this tool; my community has used it for a number of critical developments, including key high tech projects that have laid the foundation for decades of prosperity.

I would support action to prevent abuse and capricious use of eminent domain. But this bill would make it nearly impossible for communities to use it. This bill is too restrictive and will become an impediment to economic development. Its financial penalties could bankrupt communities and even the risk of potential future violation of the law could affect a jurisdiction's borrowing power today.

I urge my colleagues to reject this bill.