Delegation of the Federal Power of Eminent Domain to Nonfederal Entities [May 20, 2008]   [open pdf - 70KB]

This CRS report discusses the process by which Congress delegates power of eminent domain. "Among executive branch agencies engaged in condemnation most frequently in recent times are the Department of Homeland Security, in connection with construction of the U.S.-Mexico border fence, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and General Services Administration." "Congress has on several occasions delegated its power of eminent domain to entities outside the federal government -- public and private corporations, interstate compact agencies, state and local governments, and even individuals. The constitutionality of such delegation, and of the exercise of such power by even private delegatees, is today beyond dispute. However, among delegatees with both federal and private characteristics, there is some subjectivity to deciding which to list in a report limited to 'nonfederal entities.' For delegatees of federal eminent domain power listed here, delegations since 1920 have primarily been to Amtrak, hydroelectric facilities (for dams and reservoirs), and entities engaged in the movement of electricity, gas, and petroleum (the last one expired), and for interstate bridges."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RS22884
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