June 26, 2006 – President Bush formally instructed federal agencies Friday that the US government should only take private property for projects that help the â€œgeneral public, and not merely for the purpose of advancing the economic interest of private parties.â€�
The executive order came on the one-year anniversary of a controversial US Supreme Court ruling that said governments can force people to sell their homes or businesses and then turn the property over to corporations for the purpose of stimulating the economy or increasing a townâ€™s tax base.
Bushâ€™s order states that the federal governmentâ€™s policy is to only use eminent domain for development projects like public utilities or for â€œmeeting military, law enforcement, public safety, public transportation or public health emergencies.â€�
Since the high courtâ€™s ruling last year, many states have passed laws similar to Bushâ€™s order, and the House of Representatives voted last year to implement eminent-domain restrictions on a national basis. Companion legislation has stalled in the Senate.