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Rep. Hurt co-sponsors property rights bill

Wednesday, Jul. 1 | By News release
Rep. Robert Hurt, who represents Fauquier County in Congress, recently introduced the Supporting Home Owners Rights Enforcement (SHORE) Act, H.R. 2929, along with Rep. G.K. Butterfield, Democrat,1st District, North Carolina; Rep. Bob Goodlatte, Republican, Virginia 6th District; Rep. Morgan Griffith, Republican, Virginia 9th District; and Rep. Markwayne Mullin, Republican, 2nd District, Oklahoma.

The legislation would amend the Federal Power Act to ensure that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) considers private property ownership rights when issuing a license or enforcement action over hydropower projects at Smith Mountain Lake and other similar areas throughout the country.

“The input I receive from Fifth District Virginians is my single greatest resource as a member of Congress," Hurt said. "A group of citizens in the Smith Mountain Lake area came to me to express concerns about the unnecessary burdens and costs to residents caused by FERC regulations that are significantly impeding their private property rights. FERC requires hydropower licensees to file and abide by Shoreline Management Plans. These plans regulate activities that are not related to hydroelectric power production which can result in the removal of docks and other private recreational facilities. As it stands now, FERC is not required to even consider private property owners’ rights when issuing a license or enforcement action. The SHORE Act is a direct response to FERC's absence of consideration of private property rights in the licenses for hydro-power projects in the Fifth District and other areas of the country. Property owners deserve a say in this process given that it can have such a significant and direct impact on them.

“Excessive federal overreach continues to contribute to our stalled economic recovery, holding us back from the job growth we so desperately need. The SHORE Act will help protect the private property ownership rights of individuals and small businesses so that overreaching federal regulations will not impede their ability to enjoy their private property, expand their businesses, and create jobs at a time when far too many Fifth District Virginians are out of work."

Co-sponsor Butterfield said, “Property owners’ rights and concerns must be given sufficient weight in regulating docks, dredging, shoreline stabilization and other projects along waterfront properties near hydropower dams. Amending the Federal Power Act, through this bill, will ensure that. This legislation will benefit North Carolinians who live along Kerr Lake and Lake Gaston.”

Goodlatte said, “If you like your dock, you should be able to keep it. I applaud Congressman Hurt for introducing the SHORE Act. This common sense bill protects the rights of property owners in the Commonwealth and throughout the nation in a practical manner from the harmful impact of federal regulations.”

Griffith added, “Under Virginia common law, the laws regarding real property which lays underwater can be complex and confusing. Not only do I believe that FERC regulations on the shores of our lakes are sometimes arbitrary and capricious, but their actions may also be an unlawful taking without just compensation depending on the status of the title of the real estate involved.”


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