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Environmental Regulations Are Not Takings

There has been discussion around the nation regarding compensation of land owners affected by government regulation. This idea is completely ludicrous and has been rejected the Supreme Court. Laws such as the Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act are exactly like local zoning codes.

Zoning laws regulating land use were determined by Euclid v. Ambler Realty Co., 1926, to be a legitimate police power, not a taking of property, needed to regulate what each community considers to be nuisances. Justice Sutherland said for the Court's majority that such regulations are needed to address contemporary urban problems and the Court's views must evolve to meet such circumstances (272 US 386).

The regulation placed upon a property owner must "substantially advance" a "legitimate state interest" being infringed upon by the property owner's project (Nolan v. California Coastal Commission, 483 US 834; 1987). An action is considered a regulatory taking, so compensation required, only if the government moves beyond such police powers.

It's time, yet again, for the Republicans to step off.


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Last updated: 4 April 1999