Lapas attēli





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THURSDAY, APRIL 6, 1996 Prepared statement of the American Homeowners Foundation



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MONDAY, JULY 3, 1996
Letters to Senator Orrin G. Hatch from:

Green Spring Enterprises, Inc., dated July 10, 1995
Harvey L. Hutchinson, dated June 29, 1996
Steven L. Hernandez, attorney at law, dated June 28, 1995
Ronald K. Christensen, American Fork, UT, dated June 28, 1995
National Audubon Society, dated July 10, 1995

Exhibit #1: The Key to Protection: Private Lands
Exhibit #2: The Problem: Loss of Utah's Valuable Wetlands, dated

July 11, 1991
Exhibit #3: An article: The Takings Issue
Exhibit #4: National Wetlands Newsletter, Volume 17, No. 2, dated

March-April 1993

Exhibit #5: Prepared statement of the National Audubon Society
Ralph Y. McClure, city manager, Washington, UT, dated July 10, 1995 ...
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, region VIII, dated Dec. 19, 1994 ..
Springville City Corporation, Springville, UT, dated July 7, 1995
The University of Utah, college of law, dated July 10, 1995

Dell and Jo Ann H. Walker, Orem, UT, dated June 28, 1996
Prepared statement of:

Benjamin Slough with various attachments, dated July 6, 1995
Central Utah Water Conservancy District
Robert C. Fillerup
Lon Henderson

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Prepared statements of:

Senator Dianne Feinstein
Senator Conrad Burns
Brian Bishop of Ri Wiseuse
Robert J. Cynkar and F. Edwin Froelich
Michael L. Davis, chief, Regulatory Branch, U.S. Army Corps of Engi.

neers .........
Gary S. Guzy, deputy general counsel, U.S. Environmental Protection

Alice M. Rivlin, director, Office of Management and Budget
John R. Schmidt, Associate Attorney General, Criminal Division of the

Department of Justice
Rev. Robert A. Sirico, CSP, the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion

and Liberty
American Homeowners Foundation
American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers and the Ap-

praisal Institute The Heritage Foundation The National Association of Realtors ®

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The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:02 a.m., in room
SD-226, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Hon. Orrin Hatch (chair-
man of the committee), presiding.

Also present: Senators Thurmond, Grassley, Kyl, Biden, Leahy, and Feinstein.


SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF UTAH The CHAIRMAN. We will call the committee to order. Our first witness this morning is going to be Ms. Nellie Edwards, of Provo, UT. So, Ms. Edwards, if you would care to take the front chair, we are sorry to jump you ahead of some other witnesses, but we think this is the way we will do it.

The fifth amendment to the Constitution of the United States guarantees that private property shall not, “be taken for public use without just compensation. This is not a suggestion. This is not a preference. This is not a recommendation. It is a constitutional command.

So important is the right to property that the Framers saw fit to place its protection alongside such fundamental rights as due process, the right against self-incrimination, and protection against double jeopardy. Thus, when we speak today about defending the right to private property, it is vital that we always keep in mind that it stands as one of the greatest of American freedoms.

In spite of the overwhelming importance of property rights, in recent years the Federal Government has trampled on those rights. A well-intentioned desire on the part of the Federal regulators to protect a wide variety of interests has led to a dramatic increase in the amount of property that is being taken away from rightful owners by the Federal Government.

We will hear one of the thousands of examples of such Federal encroachments today from Ms. Nellie Edwards. She suffered the double hit of having her property declared a wetland by the Army Corps of Engineers and then having it condemned by the city of Provo, UT. Thanks to the wetland designation, the city was able to pay a mere $600 per acre for her land, land which was worth at least $7,500 per acre way back in 1973.

The Omnibus Property Rights Act contains several features which combine to protect private property in a responsible and rea


sonable manner which is in keeping and faithful to existing Supreme Court rulings. The bill codifies and clarifies the area of takings law and court jurisdiction to enable the property owner to vindicate his rights; requires that all Federal agencies examine proposed regulations to assess the takings impact of those regulations; creates a streamlined administrative remedy for claims arising under the much maligned Endangered Species Act and the wetlands provision of the Clean Water Act; explicitly provides for arbitration, which will also serve to avoid expensive litigation costs; and provides that all awards or settlements for takings claims will be paid out of agency budgets.

All these provisions will combine to achieve remarkable results. Not only will private property owners be equipped to defend themselves, but the Federal Government will benefit from this bill as well. By forcing the agencies to consider the costs of their takings, the agencies will steer away from unnecessary takings.

The clarifications in the law will permit both the agency and the property owner to more accurately determine what will be considered a taking before the matter goes to court. Finally, by imposing the cost of the agency's action on the agency itself and not on innocent individual property owners, the agency will be certain to achieve its statutory goals with as little taking of private property as possible.

Now, there have been a lot of exaggerated arguments made by the opponents of this bill. These arguments are absolutely unfounded and absurd. Listening to them, you will begin to think the sun will explode if we pass this bill. Today, we will address those exaggerations so we can get beyond them and concentrate on the real issues.

This bill simply protects the rights guaranteed to all Americans by the fifth amendment. It does so fairly, reasonably, and in a way that allows us to protect the environment as well as public health and safety. Those who call this bill flawed should understand that they are, in essence, calling a part of the Bill of Rights flawed in the same breath. It is our purpose to enact this legislation and restore the fundamental right to property that this Nation is founded upon. Senator Thurmond, do you have any opening remarks?

Senator THURMOND. No. We are glad to have you here and glad to have you speak out and tell us exactly what happened. I think that would be of very much benefit to the public. Again, we thank you for coming.

The CHAIRMAN. We are hopeful that Senator Dole and Senator Gramm will be here within the near future, but we will begin our hearing by calling upon Ms. Nellie Edwards.

We are delighted to have you here as my fellow Utah constituent. We appreciate your making the efforts to be here and we think your testimony is very important in the overall consideration of this matter. So, Ms. Edwards, we will be delighted to listen to you.

STATEMENT OF NELLIE EDWARDS, PROVO, UT Ms. EDWARDS. May I say to you how grateful I am to be here, and for the few minutes that you will spend with me, I am truly grateful.

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