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E-M:/ Urban Sprawl & Takings collide!

Enviro-Mich message from Michael Boyce <birder@voyager.net>

Court Rejects "Right to Farm" Law

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court on Monday handed farmers a sharp defeat
in their growing battle against "urban sprawl" in rural areas. The
decision, stemming from an Iowa Supreme Court ruling, effectively
invalidates the "right to farm" laws that are on the books in all 50
states. The laws protect farmers from being sued by neighbors for the
odors, noise or dust they produce. The justices let stand the Iowa
ruling, which said the law diminishes the value of neighboring land by
prohibiting lawsuits.

Is this another misguided "takings" ruling?  Doesn't this ruling suggest
that "Right to Farm" laws amount to the government "taking" the farmers
neighbors' land without paying them for it, thus declaring such laws
unconstitutional?  Are the courts going to stand for potential reduction
in property values as a basis for "takings?"  I would certainly hope

While it may (or may not?) be difficult for anyone to win a lawsuit
brought against a farmer whose farm and farming practices were well
established long before neighbors moved close, the burden of time and
money necessary for farmers to defend their (rights?) activities against
such seemingly frivolous lawsuits will undoubtedly hasten the extinction
of the family farm.

Something must be done - but what?  anyone have any good ideas?

Michael Boyce
Baker Sanctuary Resident Manager
Michigan Audubon Society

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