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Eminent Domain bill passes committee

Posted February 6, 2013

— State and local governments would not be able to condemn land for economic development purposes under a bill that cleared the House Judiciary B Committee Wednesday.

The bill contains both legislative language and a constitutional amendment that limits the use of eminent domain powers, under which governments can force landowners to sell their property. 

"When you take someone's property, it's the only time the government sues somebody without alleging they did anything wrong," said Rep. Paul "Skip" Stam, R-Wake, who has tried to get a similar measure passed in five prior legislative sessions.

In the 2011-12 session, House lawmakers passed the eminent domain bill, but it stalled in the Senate. 

During committee discussion, the bill was not controversial. Democrats, including Rep. Mickey Michaux, D-Durham, said they would back the bill.

Committee members had a short discussion over how the measure might affect natural gas drilling. Stam said that, if it does affect the practice of using horizontal drilling to explore for natural gas, it would mainly limit the ability of governments to access land, not increase it.

In one example, Stam said, a local government might be able to use eminent domain to build a road to a hydraulic fracturing drilling site, but under this bill, a government would not be able to condemn property so it could be drilled.

The measure next goes to the House floor. 

4 Comments

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  • peterpepper Feb 10, 9:16 a.m.

    This is one part that should be taken out, It's NOT FAIR TO Landowners who don’t want anything pertaining to fracking on their property , especially where they actually LIVE and don’t want INDUSTRIAL OPERATIONS right in their yards surrounding their homes !

    SECTION 4.(a) G.S. 40A-3(1) and the prefatory language of G.S. 40A‑3(a) read as rewritten:
    Private Condemnors.- For the public use, the persons or organizations listed below shall have the power of eminent domain and may acquire by purchase or condemnation property for the stated purposes and other works which are authorized by law.....Corporations, bodies politic or persons have the power of eminent domain for the construction of .....
    “ and pipelines or mains originating in North Carolina for the transportation of petroleum products, coal, gas, limestone or minerals. “ Land condemned for any liquid pipelines shall:
    a. Not be less than 50 feet nor more than 100 feet in width; and
    b. Comply with the provisions

  • lolasandvik Feb 7, 2:05 p.m.

    Actually, it is a very real problem... Unless you don't mind private industry hijacking your property just because it is good for our State's economy. Check out this case--Piedmont Triad Airport Authority v. Urbine 2001

  • hp277 Feb 6, 1:45 p.m.

    Why is this needed? When has a NC government taken propery that wasn't for a public purpose such as a road, school, or sewer line?

    Looks like just another solution for a non-existent problem.

  • handbasket Feb 6, 1:43 p.m.

    This bill is LONG OVERDUE.