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Public Statements

Careful and Deliberate Action Best on Eminent Domain Reforms

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Date:
Location: Washington DC


CAREFUL AND DELIBERATE ACTION BEST ON EMINENT DOMAIN REFORMS -- (Extensions of Remarks - July 29, 2005)

SPEECH OF
HON. MARK UDALL
OF COLORADO
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
FRIDAY, JULY 29, 2005

Mr. UDALL of Colorado. Mr. Speaker, many of us have serious concerns about the recent decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Kelo v. New London and the potential effects on private property owners from local governments' exercise of the power of eminent domain.

Because of those concerns, I joined in voting for H. Res. 340, expressing disapproval of that decision, which was passed by the House last month.

However, as I said then, although I agreed with the resolution's statement that Congress could seek to ``address through legislation any abuses of eminent domain by State and local government;'' I think we should be reluctant to take actions to curb what some--perhaps even a temporary majority--in Congress might consider improper actions by a State or local government.

The States, through their legislatures or in some cases by direct popular vote, can put limits on the use of eminent domain by their agencies or local governments. I think this would be the best way to address potential abuses, and I think we in Congress should consider taking action to impose our ideas of proper limits only as a last resort.

So, I am glad to note that in Colorado discussion is already underway regarding possible changes to our laws that would modify the scope of eminent domain authority available to local governments.

A good example of that discussion is a recent editorial in Grand Junction's Daily Sentinel, which notes with approval a proposal for an amendment to the Colorado constitution but points out that its proponents should be cautious in their approach.

I think the editorial's points are well taken. I attach its full text and commend it to the attention of all our colleagues. [From Grand Junction (CO) Daily Sentinel, July 21, 2005]

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