Eminent Domain Under the Federal Power Act: Use by Private Developers to Acquire Small Sites

by Michael Pill, New England Energy Development, Systems Inc, Amherst, MA, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Waterpower '85


From the first reported case in 1922 (Alabama Power Co. v. Gulf Power Co. , 283 F. 606 (D. Ala. 1922)), through 1982 (Greenup County By and Through Ousley v. Utilities Comm'n of City of Vanceburg, Ky. , 632 S. W. 2d 463 (Ky. Ct. App. 1982)), virtually every reported decision interpreting the Federal Power Act involved projects of at least several megawatts. Beginning in 1983 (Jordan v. Randloph Mills, Inc. , 716 F. 2d 1053 (4th Cir. 1983)), eminent domain cases are being brought by private developers acting solely under authority of federal law to condemn sites as small as 600 kilowatts of installed capacity. This paper reviews the reported cases. The focus is on two unreported cases. In Winooski Hydroelectric Co. v. 5 Acres of Land, No. 84-181 (D. Vt. Dec. 20, 1984), a private developer succeeded in condemning a site owned by the local utility company. A Notice of Appeal in this case was filed by the defendant utility company on January 16, 1985. The defendant abandoned the site years ago, but the dam and impoundment are still intact. The other unreported case is East Coast Engineering v. 17. 3 Acres of Land, No. C-84-326-L (D. N. H. filed May 8, 1984). It involves a private developer and the private owner of an abandoned mill building and dam.

Subject Headings: Federal government | Energy consumption | Power plants | Hydro power | Utilities | Dams | Case studies | Project management | Alabama | United States | Jordan | Middle East | Asia

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