The conversations I have with constituents throughout the Fifth District are undoubtedly my best resources as I serve you in Washington. One great example of this involves several engaged citizens from Bedford, Franklin, and Pittsylvania counties who live and work at Smith Mountain Lake who shared with me their concerns about how regulations at hydro-power projects, like Smith Mountain Lake, were causing unnecessary costs to residents and diminished property values in surrounding areas of the projects.
After these conversations, I introduced the bipartisan Supporting Home Owners Rights Enforcement (SHORE) Act with Congressman G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) in direct response to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) current disregard of private property rights, a core foundation of our Constitution, as it issues and enforces licenses for hydro-power projects in the Fifth District and across the country. The lack of private property rights protections has led to increased costs and complications for landowners when attempting to build docks or other structures on their land and also impacts property values.
The SHORE Act addresses this problem by requiring that FERC take into consideration the private property ownership rights when exercising its authority to license the use of Smith Mountain Lake and other federally regulated hydro-power projects. By amending the Federal Power Act, it will also require licensees to consider the benefit of private landownership to investment and increased tourism when developing recreation resources within a project boundary. Ultimately, the SHORE Act will help protect the private property ownership rights of Fifth District individuals, families, and small businesses.
Excessive federal overreach has become all too common. Rapidly expanding federal government regulations, like this example, are contributing to our stagnant economic recovery. This is exactly the kind of unnecessary bureaucratic red tape that prevents small businesses from growing and hiring new employees. The SHORE Act is just one small step toward the goal of removing the government as a barrier to economic recovery and job creation, but it will help protect the private property ownership rights of small businesses, allowing them to expand their businesses at a time when far too many in the Fifth District are out of work.
I thank the citizens from Smith Mountain Lake, Bedford, Franklin, and Pittsylvania counties who brought their concerns to my attention. It is input like this that allows me to best represent the constituents of Virginia’s Fifth District. I look forward to working with the SHORE Act’s cosponsor, Congressman G.K. Butterfield, and my colleagues in the House and the Senate to address this issue and ensure that private property ownership rights are protected.
If you need any additional information about the SHORE Act or any other issues, please visit my website at hurt.house.gov or call my Washington office: (202) 225-4711, Charlottesville office: (434) 973-9631, Danville office: (434) 791-2596, or Farmville office: (434) 395-0120.