Governor vetoes eminent domain protection

Olympia, WA – 5/9/07

On May 8, 2007, Governor Christine Gregoire vetoed sections of a bill which contained protections to farmland from eminent domain. In her letter to the legislature, she began: "I am returning, without my approval as to Sections 6 and 7, Substitute Senate Bill 5108 entitled: "AN ACT Relating to farmland preservation."
"This bill creates the Office of Farmland Preservation. Sections 6 and 7 are overly broad and do not appear to be related to the underlying bill, as it prohibits the use of eminent domain by governmental entities for wetland mitigation purposes on agricultural land. Furthermore, if enacted, Sections 6 and 7 create unintended and undesirable consequences to numerous transportation and development projects across the state, including the ability to meet state and federal permit requirements to continue dredging of the lower Columbia River.

"I understand that the Army Corp of Engineers, state agencies, Port officials, local legislators and Southwest Washington families are meeting to explore alternatives to condemnation for mitigation related to the Columbia Deepening Project. This is a much more productive avenue than the provisions Sections 6 and 7 provide.

With the exception of Sections 6 and 7, Substitute Senate Bill No. 5108 is approved.

Respectfully submitted,
Christine O. Gregoire

Read the bill here:
NEW SECTION. Sec. 6. A new section is added to chapter 90.84 RCW to read as follows: Agricultural land shall not be acquired by a governmental entity for wetland mitigation purposes through eminent domain.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 7. Section 6 of this act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and takes effect immediately.


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