1994 Scorecard Vote
Rep. Billy Tauzin (D-LA) introduced the Private Property Owners Bill of Rights (H.R. 3875), which would require taxpayers to pay landowners whenever wetlands or endangered species laws were judged to reduce the potential value of the "affected portion of the property" by 50 percent. This proposal -- which exemplifies the radical attack on environmental laws by those claiming to speak for landowners -- would force taxpayers to pay landowners to obey public health and environmental laws even where no property has been "taken" under the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution. Under this law, landowners would be free to pollute and destroy wetlands and endangered species habitat if taxpayers could not afford to pay. Moreover, the proposal ignores the fact that -- over more than two centuries of American history -- courts have developed adequate protections for people who have land "taken" by government.
While H.R. 3875 has been assigned to committee for study and deliberation, Rep. Tauzin has filed a "discharge petition" -- if 218 House lawmakers sign the petition, the bill will be released directly to the House for a floor vote. This would preclude the careful analysis and opportunity for comment that such a complex -- and far reaching -- proposal demands.
The League of Conservation Voters considers cosponsoring H.R. 3875, and signing the discharge petition for the bill, to be anti-environmental actions. So far, 162 lawmakers have cosponsored H.R. 3875 and 146 lawmakers have signed the discharge petition.