To compensate owners of private property for the effect of certain
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the 'Private Property Protection Act of
SEC. 2. FEDERAL POLICY AND DIRECTION.
(a) General Policy: It is the policy of the Federal Government that
no law or agency action should limit the use of privately owned
property so as to diminish its value.
(b) Application to Federal Agency Action: Each Federal agency,
officer, and employee should exercise Federal authority to ensure
that agency action will not limit the use of privately owned property
so as to diminish its value.
SEC. 3. RIGHT TO COMPENSATION.
(a) In General: The Federal Government shall compensate an owner of
property whose use of any portion of that property has been limited
by an agency action, under a specified regulatory law, that
diminishes the fair market value of that portion by 20 percent or
more. The amount of the compensation shall equal the diminution in
value that resulted from the agency action. If the diminution in
value of a portion of that property is greater than 50 percent, at
the option of the owner, the Federal Government shall buy that
portion of the property for its fair market value.
(b) Duration of Limitation on Use: Property with respect to which
compensation has been paid under this Act shall not thereafter be
used contrary to the limitation imposed by the agency action, even if
that action is later rescinded or otherwise vitiated. However, if
that action is later rescinded or otherwise vitiated, and the owner
elects to refund the amount of the compensation, adjusted for
inflation, to the Treasury of the United States, the property may be
SEC. 4. EFFECT OF STATE LAW.
If a use is a nuisance as defined by the law of a State or is already
prohibited under a local zoning ordinance, no compensation shall be
made under this Act with respect to a limitation on that use.
SEC. 5. EXCEPTIONS.
(a) Prevention of Hazard to Health or Safety or Damage to Specific
Property: No compensation shall be made under this Act with respect
to an agency action the primary purpose of which is to prevent an
(1) hazard to public health or safety; or
(2) damage to specific property other than the property whose use is
(b) Navigation Servitude: No compensation shall be made under this
Act with respect to an agency action pursuant to the Federal
navigation servitude, as defined by the courts of the United States,
except to the extent such servitude is interpreted to apply to
SEC. 6. PROCEDURE.
(a) Request of Owner: An owner seeking compensation under this Act
shall make a written request for compensation to the agency whose
agency action resulted in the limitation. No such request may be made
later than 180 days after the owner receives actual notice of that
(b) Negotiations: The agency may bargain with that owner to establish
the amount of the compensation. If the agency and the owner agree to
such an amount, the agency shall promptly pay the owner the amount
(c) Choice of Remedies: If, not later than 180 days after the written
request is made, the parties do not come to an agreement as to the
right to and amount of compensation, the owner may choose to take the
matter to binding arbitration or seek compensation in a civil action.
(d) Arbitration: The procedures that govern the arbitration shall, as
nearly as practicable, be those established under title 9, United
States Code, for arbitration proceedings to which that title applies.
An award made in such arbitration shall include a reasonable
attorney's fee and other arbitration costs (including appraisal
fees). The agency shall promptly pay any award made to the owner.
(e) Civil Action: An owner who does not choose arbitration, or who
does not receive prompt payment when required by this section, may
obtain appropriate relief in a civil action against the agency. An
owner who prevails in a civil action under this section shall be
entitled to, and the agency shall be liable for, a reasonable
attorney's fee and other litigation costs (including appraisal fees).
The court shall award interest on the amount of any compensation from
the time of the limitation.
(f) Source of Payments: Any payment made under this section to an
owner, and any judgment obtained by an owner in a civil action under
this section shall, notwithstanding any other provision of law, be
made from the annual appropriation of the agency whose action
occasioned the payment or judgment. If the agency action resulted
from a requirement imposed by another agency, then the agency making
the payment or satisfying the judgment may seek partial or complete
reimbursement from the appropriated funds of the other agency. For
this purpose the head of the agency concerned may transfer or
reprogram any appropriated funds available to the agency. If
insufficient funds exist for the payment or to satisfy the judgment,
it shall be the duty of the head of the agency to seek the
appropriation of such funds for the next fiscal year.
SEC. 7. LIMITATION.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any obligation of the
United States to make any payment under this Act shall be subject to
the availability of appropriations.
SEC. 8. DUTY OF NOTICE TO OWNERS.
Whenever an agency takes an agency action limiting the use of private
property, the agency shall give appropriate notice to the owners of
that property explaining their rights under this Act and the
procedures directly affected for obtaining any compensation that may
be due to them under this Act.
SEC. 9. RULES OF CONSTRUCTION.
(a) Effect on Constitutional Right to Compensation: Nothing in this
Act shall be construed to limit any right to compensation that exists
under the Constitution or under other laws of the United States.
(b) Effect of Payment: Payment of compensation under this Act (other
than when the property is bought by the Federal Government at the
option of the owner) shall not confer any rights on the Federal
Government other than the limitation on use resulting from the agency
SEC. 9. DEFINITIONS.
For the purposes of this Act--
(1) the term 'property' means land and includes the right to use or
(2) a use of property is limited by an agency action if a particular
legal right to use that property no longer exists because of the
(3) the term 'agency action' has the meaning given that term in
section 551 of title 5, United States Code, but also includes the
making of a grant to a public authority conditioned upon an action by
the recipient that would constitute a limitation if done directly by
(4) the term 'agency' has the meaning given that term in section 551
of title 5, United States Code;
(5) the term 'specified regulatory law' means--
(A) section 404 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C.
(B) the Endangered Species Act of 1979 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.);
(C) title XII of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3821 et
(D) with respect to an owner's right to use or receive water only--
(i) the Act of June 17, 1902, and all Acts amendatory thereof or
supplementary thereto, popularly called the 'Reclamation Acts' (43
U.S.C. 371 et seq.);
(ii) the Federal Land Policy Management Act (43 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.);
(iii) section 6 of the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources
Planning Act of 1974 (16 U.S.C. 1604);
(6) the term 'fair market value' means the most probable price at
which property would change hands, in a competitive and open market
under all conditions requisite to a fair sale, between a willing
buyer and a willing seller, neither being under any compulsion to buy
or sell and both having reasonable knowledge of relevant facts, at
the time the agency action occurs;
(7) the term 'State' includes the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico,
and any other territory or possession of the United States; and
(8) the term 'law of the State' includes the law of a political
subdivision of a State.
Passed the House of Representatives March 3, 1995.
104th CONGRESS 1st Session
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