Sunday, January 18, 2015

When Hypocrites Write Their Hypocrisy Into Law: House Bill H3

Chuck McGrady
The "title" of a bill stamped as "introduced" in the NC House on January 4 by Rep. Chuck McGrady of Hendersonville: "AN ACT TO AMEND THE NORTH CAROLINA CONSTITUTION TO PROHIBIT CONDEMNATION OF PRIVATE PROPERTY EXCEPT FOR A PUBLIC USE...."

The NC Constitution used to say "except for a public good." That's just the beginning of the trouble.

What else: Sec. 4(a)(1), which grants the power of condemnation for certain uses. It's proposed to amend it this way: "Corporations, bodies politic or persons have the power of eminent domain for the construction of ... [etc. etc.] ...  facilities related to the distribution of natural gas [language added], and pipelines or mains originating in North Carolina for the transportation of petroleum products, coal, natural gas [language added], limestone or minerals.

The North Carolina constitution is being rewritten by Rep. McGrady (Rep. Jonathan Jordan is a co-sponsor) for the benefit of big gas corporations, which is to say in this day and age, frackers. Got that? Republicans are all for private property rights, except that they're even more for smoothing the way for certain corporate prospectors, who want our natural resources.

Republicans propose writing their allegiance to the One Percent directly into the Constitution: big gas companies will have the right of condemnation. What could possibly go wrong with this picture?

And there's also this, in the language of H3: 
SECTION 5. G.S. 40A-3 is amended by adding a new subsection to read: Connection of Customers. – For the public use, private condemnors, local public
condemnors, and other public condemnors in subsections (a), (b), (b1), and (c) of this section shall possess the power of eminent domain and may acquire by purchase, gift, or condemnation any property for the connection of any customer or customers."
Is it becoming clear to you yet? Do you get the drift here?

It's not just hypocrisy to talk big about private property rights while giving the right of condemnation away for somebody's private big bucks. It's the corruption of the public process itself. 


[Incidentally, Rep. McGrady is sometimes known as "Doesn't-Look-Like-a-Collaborative-Effort" McGrady and has some great protective coating: He's a former national Sierra Club president.]

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