Bishop's provision for parks passes: Salt Lake City UT Tribune, 6/28/07

Feds won't be allowed to use public funds for eminent domain

By Thomas Burr

The U.S. House on Wednesday approved a provision pushed by Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, to prevent federal agencies from condemning private land near public parks and monuments.

The amendment to the Interior Appropriations bill prohibits federal agencies from using any public funds to use eminent domain to take parcels from a property owner living near federal lands.

"While there are legitimate uses for eminent domain, the Department of the Interior too often uses the threat of condemnation to persuade landowners into becoming 'willing sellers,'" Bishop said in a statement. "This amendment removes that threat and protects our constituents."

Bishop cited the 2005 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Kelo v. The City of New London, that allowed a government to condemn private land to build commercial enterprises and other recent "abuses" of eminent domain as the reason for the amendment.

Bishop failed in two other amendments he pushed. One would have shifted some $32 million in the spending bill to boost border security on federal lands.

Another amendment that failed would have prohibited funding in the bill from being given to nonprofit groups that are suing the agency from which they are seeking the funds.

Salt Lake City UT Tribune: http://www.sltrib.com