Amendment puts restrictions on eminent domain: Joplin (MO) Independent, 10/20/05

The [US] Senate yesterday approved an amendment introduced by Senator Kit Bond that would restrict the use of federal funds on private development projects that seek to use the power of eminent domain.

"People should not be forced out their homes at the will of any private development," said Bond, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Transportation, Treasury and HUD Appropriations. "This amendment seeks to put some guidelines in place when it comes to the use of federal funds on projects where eminent domain is used. We need to take a closer look at how the use of eminent domain is effecting our communities."

Bond's amendment to the Treasury, Transportation and HUD appropriations bill specifically states that no funds provided in the bill may be used to support any federal, state or local projects that seek to use the power of eminent domain, unless eminent domain is employed only for a public use.

Bond drafted the measure in the wake of the Supreme Court decision on eminent domain and a local Missouri case in the St. Louis County town of Sunset Hills where homeowners are being forced from their homes after the developer of a proposed shopping center was granted eminent domain powers.

The amendment allows the use of federal funds for public projects involving highways, mass transit, airports, utilities and similar projects which benefit or serve the general public.

Bond's amendment also requires a study on the nationwide use of eminent domain conducted by the Government Accountability Office in consultation with organizations representing state and local governments and property rights organizations.

Joplin Independent: www.joplinindependent.com