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Monday, June 19, 2006

GOP to defend organic farmers?

Posted by: Hammer / 3:46 PM

Remember the brouhaha about the Kelo case, which allowed local governments to exercise eminent domain power to take property from one private party and give it to another for economic development purposes? Republicans decried the ruling. Now that a proposed oil pipeline cuts across a Minnesota organic farm, will those same Republicans stand up for the organic farmer or the oil industry? Hmm?

To be fair, the pipeline case is one which more thoughtful conservatives have previously described as entirely appropriate for eminent domain purposes. In general, conservatives want the market to decide the value of property, which means the government should negotiate purchases like any other entity. However, where 1 private property owner would have far too much bargaining power (the last holdout in a pipeline route), some conservatives see eminent domain as an appropriate alternative to the free market.

I say hogwash, at least in this case. Unless there's only one possible route for the pipeline, then there's no unfair bargaining power. The organic farm happens to be situated in the middle of the preferred pipeline route. Unless there are no alternative routes, then the pipeline company should pay what the market requires.


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