Parkhurst takes step to limit use of eminent domain
Rep. Lindsay Parkhurst (R-Kankakee) said she recently introduced legislation that would amend eminent domain laws to ensure they are used only to serve public purposes.
The legislation, House Bill 4150, stems from the recent Great Lakes Basin Railway application, which, according to the Kankakee Daily Journal, has been denied by the federal Surface Transportation Board, Parkhurst said in a release. The rail line project, designed to bypass notoriously congested Chicago, would have consumed approximately 15,720 acres in Kankakee County, and the Kankakee County Farm Bureau estimated that this would lead to $68.9 million in lost farm revenue each year.
“Eminent domain should be used only in appropriate circumstances truly necessary for public use,” Parkhurst said in the release. “We must not allow our government to take private property for private gain. This bill is intended to strengthen private property rights and prevent the taking of private land for private gain such as the attempt by the Great Lakes Basin Railway.”
HB4150 would remove language related to freight railroads in the current eminent domain act and strengthen the law so that public domain is not used for private gain.