Date of this Version
Op-Ed from ENSC 230. Energy and the Environment: Economics and Policy, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Department of Agricultural Economics, Fall 2023.
Perhaps the most important undertaking of our time is the ubiquity of sustainable energy vital for the continuation and improvement of living conditions worldwide. The utmost care must be taken with the means used to achieve this feat. The fossil fuel industry has used and abused eminent domain since its inception. Ironically, environmental advocates now propose the same means to a cleaner, greener end. The taking of private land for private development, regardless of intent, is unconstitutional, unjust, and unnecessary. The Fifth Amendment states: “…nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”
As stated by the Supreme Court, laws must be interpreted under original legislative intent. Our courts have ruled “just compensation” as fair market value at the highest, best use of property, failing to restore the landowner to their position prior to acquisition. Incurred incidental losses of relocation are excluded. Fair market value neglects just compensation, rendering such acquisitions unconstitutional.