What I am about to say may or may not happen. We The People.. may or may not hear about it. During the mitigation process land needs to be acquired, to fulfill all the requirements. All environmental impact must be met prior to permits for building are approved. In many cases mitigation cannot be completed unless land is physically acquired. If an out right purchase cannot take place then the eminent domain process takes place.
Eminent domain has been used in the media often in the last 15 years. This process has been very abused.
One thing every one must know is “THEY CAN USE IT, AND THEY WILL USE IT” .
For many years the eminent domain process was used for utilities and railroads, highways and sewer lines, etc. the American people would potentially agree that this is a need for all people. The problem with today’s Eminent Domain process is that it is being very broadly interpreted and very much abused. The abuse is not for The People it is being used to line the pockets of the few.
One broad interpretation of eminent domain is: “public use” or “public utility”. These two terms seems to be descriptive enough to protect property rights, yet the statement that gets the broadest interpretation is “for the sole purpose of increasing municipal revenues.” This interpretation has opened a flood gate of eminent domain cases all across the country. We as Americans are having our land taken away with out any outcry from the left or right politician. The political arena (our government) think this is “A OKAY”. After all if they can get revenue coming into their state, by any means, they think they will look like the hero. They have all the power which the politician crave and as a bonus more money in their pocket. Not a one of these politicians would admit to this desire for prestige and power. This insidious behavior is not easily defined. The American people are always told what they want to hear and then the behavior of the politician is opposite of what he/she says.
The eminent domain issue is just that insidiously being abused to further the politician. A revenue could be earned by some plant 100 miles away. The mitigation plan calls for the exact property with the exact environment, then it will be sought and acquired by eminent domain (at all cost and means). Harassment, threat and coercion is not out of the question.
The second requirement for eminent domain is compensation. “American courts have held that the preferred measure of “just compensation” is “fair market value,” i.e., the price that a willing” (eminent domain compensation) buyer to a willing seller. This is not a pressured deal. It is given without any coercion, tension, browbeating, bullying or intimidation. Unlike the Bundy case there has been lots of bullying.
In the past only government organizations can take land through the eminent domain vehicle. This is written in our constitution 5th amendment takings clause. “Just compensation” is defined as “highest and best possible use compensation. So if the land is perfect for development is should be appraised as such. If there is timber on the property it should be appraised as such.
The difference between what should happen and what is happening is abusive. The land can be taken by a 3rd party that is approved by the government. If there is land being used for mitigation. A corporation fulfilling their mitigation plan may need to “take” land in order to acquire the permit to build. Non-governmental organizations have been given the power to eminent domain in order to meet a mitigation requirement. These NGO’s are organizations like The Nature Conservancy, Trout Unlimited, The Tortoise Group etc., etc. These groups are given money through grants to mitigate and acquire land for conservation and mitigation.
In many cases multiple projects will mitigate the same land. In the case of ENN Energy the mitigation is approximately $26 million. There are 2 more projects in Nevada and the mitigation plan looks the same, approximately $26 million. Plus the corporation gets credited for mitigating their carbon footprint.
Just Compensation is not being given for the taking of land. If land can be taken without just compensation they will do it and they do.