Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Bill by Oregon's DeFazio targets pipeline use of eminent domain

WASHINGTON - Legislation aimed at protecting private property from the use of eminent domain in building a pipeline designed to export liquefied natural gas has been introduced in Congress.

In introducing the bill on Feb. 9, U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., noted the U.S. Constitution limits the use of eminent domain to actions necessary for "public use" but said that pipelines such as the one proposed from Malin, Ore., to a proposed LNG terminal in Coos Bay, Ore., fails that test. Instead, it would boost corporate profits while increasing domestic energy costs, he said.

"The Constitution is quite clear: The government can only authorize the use of eminent domain if the action serves the public," DeFazio said in a prepared statement.

"Landowners should not be forced to give up their property so private companies and foreign manufacturers can ship low-cost natural gas overseas and spike energy prices here at home," he added.

"My bill simply strengthens our constitutional property rights and gives property owners a level playing field in negotiating access to their land."

The proposed Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline would stretch 234 miles from a proposed Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas terminal near Coos Bay through Coos, Douglas, Jackson and Klamath counties to Malin.

DeFazio stressed that the legislation does not stop LNG exports. It only ensures private property owners will not be forced to sell their land for the exports.

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