House property rights caucus to target abuse of landowners

Rural and urban property owners are under assault from Washington

tomreedCiting mounting threats to the livelihoods of landowners from out-of-control government regulations, Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY) has established the U.S. House Private Property Rights Caucus.

“We are hearing not only from New Yorkers but from Americans across the country about how important it is to defend the rights of property owners from an overreaching federal government,” Reed said.  “The Private Property Rights Caucus will provide a platform to educate Members of Congress on the egregious actions that government at all levels imposes on property owners and how we can protect property owners’ Constitutional rights as granted by the Fifth Amendment.”

Seeking just compensation

In January, Reed introduced the “Defense of Property Rights Act” to provide property owners with an opportunity to seek just compensation in federal court when government action significantly impairs the value of their land.  “We care about the Constitutional rights given to all Americans and future generations,” Reed declared.  “This is an issue that affects all Americans from rural communities to urban centers across the nation.  We need fairness and respect for private property.  We also need government at all levels to carefully consider the impact that regulatory actions have on property rights and property values.”

The Private Property Rights Caucus was launched in late April with a 90-minute roundtable meeting between Reed and leaders in property rights community, including a representative from CFACT.  All agreed that property owners are under assault from multiple directions, including the Endangered Species Act (ESA), proposed EPA wetlands regulations (Waters of the United States, or WOTUS), conservation easements on rural properties, as well as rigid zoning restrictions in urban and suburban areas.

Original members of the Private Property Rights Caucus include 14 representatives from Maine to California, with more expected to join in the weeks and months to come.

Property rights denied

Reed represents New York’s 23rd congressional district, which includes the Empire State’s energy- frackcityrich Southern Tier, with its huge deposits of natural gas and even oil in the Marcellus and Utica  shale formations.   But unlike landowners across the state line in Pennsylvania (photo: Pennsylvania frack site), who collect sizeable royalties from natural gas companies drilling on their land, farmers in the Southern Tier are denied their mineral rights thanks to a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in New York.  In December, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) extended the moratorium indefinitely.

Cuomo’s move dashed the hopes of the Southern Tier’s landowners, who saw benefitting from the shale revolution as a way for them to escape the region’s dire poverty and declining population.  Vowing to fight for his constituents, and to protect the rights of all property owners, Reed is intent on building a broad-based coalition that will restore Constitutional rights and enable property owners to provide for themselves and their families.

Categories

About the Author: Bonner Cohen, Ph. D.

Bonner Cohen, Ph. D.

Bonner R. Cohen, Ph. D., is a senior policy analyst with CFACT.