Friday, March 30, 2007

The Union Pacific's Power of Eminent Domain?

Huh?
The Senate Natural Resources and Rural Affairs Committee voted 6-0 Wednesday for a previously unrelated bill that the panel rewrote to require that railroads obtain approval from the state Corporation Commission to use existing eminent-domain authority to compel land sales.
I thought the power of eminent domain was a power granted to government. Why in the world would any one ever think a private business should be given the "authority" to use eminent domain?

Surely the land taken in situations like this will not be put into public use. Or is the Union Pacific going to pay some government in Arizona to lease the land it puts its rails on and runs its trains on?

Also notice the reference to "compel land sales." The power of eminent domain is not really the power to compel sales. It is the power to take with compensation determined by some government entity. A sale should, by definition, be associated with voluntary exchange between a buyer and a seller.

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