September 1, 2005
STOP! In the name of land
RICHMONDMoved to action by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Kelo v. The City of New London, Conn., the American Farm Bureau Federation is determined to establish a STOP-ing point for eminent domain abuse.
The Supreme Court earlier this summer ruled in the Kelo case that land can be confiscated for economic benefit. Because agricultural land is extremely vulnerable to condemnation by government entities under the guise of economic development, AFBF has rolled out its Stop Taking Our Property initiative.
Testifying before an Oklahoma state senate task force, AFBF President Bob Stallman said, “By holding that the U.S. Constitution does not forbid the use of eminent domain to take private property and give it to another party for its own private economic gain, the Supreme Court has essentially put all of our property up to the highest bidder.”
Agricultural lands, especially those in expanding urban areas, provide a ready source for potential shopping malls, industrial parks and housing complexes. Condemnation results in farmland that has been in a family for several generations simply being taken away, Stallman said.
“Our members have been disproportionately involved in condemnation cases because of the amount of land required for their farming operations,” said Susan Rubin, assistant director of governmental relations for Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. “We support all efforts that increase the rights of property owners and look forward to participating in additional eminent domain reforms.”
In the Supreme Court ruling, the court said that states can enact laws disallowing the taking of private property for economic benefit.
“Protection of private property rights has been a plank of Farm Bureau policy since the early years of the organization,” Stallman said. “Farm Bureau is a leader to maintain those rights. We can consolidate both rural and urban voters to push for new state legislation to outlaw private development as an approved use of eminent domain.”
Contact Rubin at 804-233-1019 or Tracy Taylor Grondine at AFBF, 202-406-3642.