ACWA Votes to Oppose Eminent Domain Proposal: Daily Business News, Sacramento CA, 10/1/07

The Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) today voted to oppose a proposed initiative on eminent domain that could derail needed groundwater and surface water storage projects around the state.

The initiative, known as the California Property Owners and Farmland Protection Act, purports to protect the rights of property owners by prohibiting public agencies from taking property from one private owner and giving it to another, while preserving government’s ability to utilize eminent domain under specific conditions.

Authors of the measure include the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, California Farm Bureau Federation and the California Alliance to Protect Private Property Rights.

ACWA members expressed concern that the initiative’s language could be interpreted to block acquisition of land for water storage and other projects. An analysis by three ACWA policy committees found there is considerable ambiguity in the language, and noted that ambiguity could pose problems for water agencies pursuing needed projects.

In addition, the initiative as drafted conflicts with several policy principles adopted by ACWA’s Board of Directors last year. The principles, which are intended to guide ACWA’s position on legislative or initiative proposals concerning eminent domain, state that the association will oppose any proposal that limits a water agency’s right to make use of property acquired by eminent domain or that adds to the costs or burdens imposed on water agencies in the condemnation process.

Daily Business News, Sacramento CA: http://sacramento.dbusinessnews.com

ACWA: http://www.acwa.com