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Congressman Introduces Bill to Allow Landowners to Sue New York Over Hydraulic Fracturing Ban

U.S. Representative Tom Reed (R-NY) recently introduced into Congress the Defense of Property Rights Act (H.R. 510), which would allow landowners affected by New York’s hydraulic fracturing ban to sue the government over agency action that “unreasonably impedes the use of property or the exercise of property interests or significantly interferes with investment-backed expectations.”  The bill was introduced in response to the December 17, 2014 announcement by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo of a statewide ban on hydraulic fracturing.  Representative Reed stated in a press release that “these actions by government entities often leave our neighbors and friends with property that is worth much less, hurting their families and leaving them little choice but to accept the lower value.”  Under the proposed legislation, property owners could receive compensation if the agency action diminishes the fair market value of their property by at least 20 percent or $20,000.  The bill has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.