WASHINGTON – Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, is taking on Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s fracking ban by proposing a federal law that would make it easier for property owners to sue the state for compensation for the money they’ve lost by not being able to cash in on the natural gas beneath their feet.
Under Reed’s “Defense of Property Rights Act,” property owners would be able to bring such lawsuits in U.S. District Court or the Court of Claims. They would be entitled to compensation from any government that takes an action that diminishes the value of their property by 20 percent or at least $20,000.
That would mean that Southern Tier property owners would have a better chance at being able to sue the state for their losses now that they can’t capitalize on their natural gas mineral rights. Under current law, Reed said, property owners generally wouldn’t have a case unless a government action rendered their property useless.
Reed’s bill would affect all sorts of government actions, and not just New York’s fracking ban.
“Far too often private property owners are left on the sidelines while local, state and federal governments’ make decisions for them on what they can and cannot do with their property,” Reed said. “This is not right; it is not fair; and it is not the American way.”