From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 6, Number 15 - July 6, 2006
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Bush enacts property rights order

by Cat Urbigkit

Last week, President George W. Bush issued an executive order designed to protect the property rights of the American people.

The order institutes an official policy for the national government: “It is the policy of the United States to protect the rights of Americans to their private property, including by limiting the taking of private property by the federal government to situations in which the taking is for public use, with just compensation, and for the purpose of benefiting the general public and not merely for the purpose of advancing the economic interest of private parties to be given ownership or use of the property taken.

The executive order directs the U.S. Attorney General to issue instructions to all departments and agencies to implement the policy and monitor all takings by federal departments for compliance with the policy.

The order does not prohibit takings that comply with law for the purpose of:

• public ownership or exclusive use of the property by the public, such as for a public medical facility, roadway, park, forest, governmental office building or military reservation;

• projects designated for public, common carrier, public transportation or public utility use, including those for which a fee is assessed, that serve the general public and are subject to regulation by a governmental entity;

• conveying the property to a nongovernmental entity, such as a telecommunications or transportation common carrier, that makes the property available for use by the general public as of right;

• preventing or mitigating a harmful use of land that constitutes a threat to public health, safety or the environment;

• acquiring abandoned property;

• quieting title to real property;

• acquiring ownership or use by a public utility;

• facilitating the disposal or exchange of Federal property;or

• meeting military, law enforcement, public safety, public transportation or public health emergencies.

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