- The ruling concerns conservation groups, who question whether the decision might allow communities to take private agricultural land and open space through eminent domain for development projects. "With so much farmland on the urban edge and near cities still in steep decline, ex-urban towns could be tempted by this ruling to make farmland available for subdivisions," said American Farmland Trust President Ralph Grossi.
Critics of the ruling are already at work on legislation to hinder the use of eminent domain takings for economic development projects. On June 30, the House voted 231 to 189 to approve a measure that would deny federal funds to any city or state project that used eminent domain to seize private property to make way for profit-generating projects, such as hotels or malls. The measure, an amendment to an appropriations bill, would apply to funds administered by the departments of Transportation, Treasury, and Housing and Urban Development. Key members of the House and Senate have vowed to take even broader steps soon, and various states may also take action to impose stricter standards on eminent domain takings.
"Farmers concerned about the potential use of eminent domain in their areas should attend local government meetings and get involved in the relevant planning process," said Bob Wagner, AFT's managing director for field programs.
Eminent Domain: Threat to Conservation?
As a further testament to the widespread (and cross-ideological) opposition to the Supreme Court's decision in the Kelo vs. New London, the American Farmland Trust issued a statement this week raising concerns about the possibility of agricultural land and open space being taken for economic development purposes: