Congressman Robert Hurt (R-Virginia) released the following statement after introducing H.R. 4976, the Supporting Home Owners Rights Enforcement (SHORE) Act, along with Congressman G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), which requires that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) take into consideration private property ownership rights when exercising its authority over hydro-power projects at Smith Mountain Lake and other similar areas throughout the country:
“The feedback and input I receive from my constituents is my single greatest resource as a member of Congress. 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 – one of the core foundations of our Constitution and system of government. The SHORE Act is a direct response to FERC’s current disregard of private property rights in the licenses for hydro-power projects that it issues in the Fifth District and other areas of the country.
“Excessive federal overreach is undoubtedly contributing significantly to our stalled economic recovery. Unnecessary red tape keeps small businesses from being able to hire and expand, holding us back from the job growth we need. The SHORE Act will help protect the private property ownership rights of small businesses and families 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.”
Bob Camicia, a citizen from Hardy who has been active in developing both the license and shoreline management plans for the Smith Mountain Project in conjunction with FERC and Appalachian Power said, “After having worked with FERC in both relicensing and Shoreline Management Plan development, I truly feel that FERC does not give local property rights much consideration, and does not guide their licensees to give the property rights of local citizens due consideration. They just bulldoze their way through and leave it to litigation to straighten out. Local citizens do not have the means to litigate these issues in federal courts in many cases, so the citizen just stands aside and lets the bulldozer roll through. The SHORE Act will compel FERC to properly consider property rights in the management of Smith Mountain Lake moving forward.”
- The SHORE Act will amend the Federal Power Act to require that when issuing a license or enforcement action, FERC must take into consideration private property ownership and the private use of land.
- It will also require that licensees consider the benefit of private landownership to investment and increased tourism when developing recreation resources within a project boundary.