Robert Hurt introduces bill to give private property owners a voice in shoreline development

Robert_HurtCongressman Robert Hurt (R-Virginia) recently introduced the Supporting Home Owners Rights Enforcement (SHORE) Act, H.R. 2929, along with Congressman G.K. Butterfield (D-North Carolina), Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia), Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-Virginia), and Congressman Markwayne Mullin (R-Oklahoma). This 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 hydro-power projects at Smith Mountain Lake and other similar areas throughout the country. Congressman Hurt said:

“The input I receive from Fifth District Virginians 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.  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.  I thank Congressmen Butterfield, Goodlatte, Griffith, and Mullin for their support as we work to move this bill through the legislative process and ensure that FERC considers private property rights when licensing hydro-power projects.”

Congressman G.K. Butterfield (D-North Carolina  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.”

Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia) stated, “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.”

Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-Virginia) said, “Under Virginia common law, the laws regarding real property which lays under water 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.”

Congressman Markwayne Mullin (R-Oklahoma) added, “The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is an agency that was meant to regulate the interstate transmission of electricity, natural gas and oil and the licensing of hydropower.  But, the agency now regulates well beyond what federal law and statute had intended.  The SHORE Act is the type of common sense legislation I came to Washington to fight for, and I applaud Representative Hurt for taking the lead on this important bill that would put power back into the hands private property owners and local economies.”



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