URGENT *** Support Congressman Robert Hurt's SHORE Act by Contacting Elected Officials *** URGENT

    The SHORE Act, when passed, will cause the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to stop its assault on your property rights.  Rather than blindly accept the word of its licensee that the licensee has "sufficient control" of the project lands to operate the project, FERC will be forced to verify its licensee's assertions " ... minimizing infringement on the useful exercise and enjoyment of property rights held by nonlicensees.’’

    It also will require the licensee to consider PRIVATE LANDOWNERSHIP.—In developing any recreational resource within the project boundary, the licensee shall consider private landownership as a means to encourage and facilitate:
    ‘‘(1) private investment; and
    ‘‘(2) increased tourism and recreational use.’’

Write Senators Warner and Kaine and ask them to introduce similar legislation is the US Senate.

The Honorable Mark R. Warner
475 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Tim Kaine
388 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Write Governor McAullife and ask him to support the SHORE Act and to fights FERC's intrusion into Virginia State Rights.

The Honorable Terry McAuliffe
P.O. Box 1475
Richmond, Va. 23218

Copy Congressman Hurt on your letters to other elected officials:

The Honorable Robert Hurt
125 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-4711

Hurt bill seeks to boost Smith Mountain Lake homeowners' rights

Create a hardcopy of this page
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Congressman Robert Hurt

Posted: Saturday, June 28, 2014 5:30 pm

Alicia Petska

Congressman Robert Hurt, R-5th, has reintroduced a bill aimed at giving Smith Mountain Lake homeowners a bigger voice in the regulatory decisions made about the lake.

The Supporting Home Owners Rights Enforcement – or SHORE – Act was first introduced by Hurt in December 2011 but never made it out of committee.

This time, Hurt’s office said it’s coming back as a bipartisan measure with a Democratic co-sponsor, Congressman G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina. The bill is HR4976.

The bill is an attempt to address complaints about how the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Appalachian Power govern decisions about docks, shoreline development and other issues surrounding the 20,600-acre lake, which is a reservoir in a larger system used to generate electricity.

Appalachian Power’s operations at the lake are licensed through FERC, and the company is required to manage activity along the water’s more than 500 miles of shoreline. This currently includes regulating docks, dredging, shoreline stabilization and other projects lake property owners may undertake.

But some landowners have clashed with Appalachian Power over the restrictions and contend their rights and concerns are not given enough weight in the process.

Bill Brush, a lake homeowner who formed the advocacy group Cut Unnecessary Regulatory Burden Inc., argues the restrictions exceed the terms agreed to when the lake was created in the 1960s and end up requiring owners to sign away their property rights if they want to build a dock.

“It’s government overreach,” Brush said, adding FERC refuses to intervene when complaints are made. “… The FERC basically says it’s not our problem; it’s between you and AEP. Then AEP comes back and says we have a federal license that requires us to do this.”

APCo spokesman John Shepelwich said the power company is fulfilling the obligations of its federal license and striving to balance the needs of individual property owners with the larger interests of the lake community and environment.

The company’s latest shoreline management plan was approved in January following a multi-year process that included numerous public input meetings.

Shepelwich said Friday the company was not aware the SHORE Act had been reintroduced and couldn’t comment until it had an opportunity to read the bill.

The SHORE Act would require private-property rights and land use be considered by FERC when making regulatory decisions. It also would require license holders like Appalachian Power to consider the benefit to landowners and tourism when developing recreational amenities.

The current process doesn’t give adequate weight to those factors, Hurt’s office said. Hurt said he drafted this legislation in response to concerns from Smith Mountain Lake constituents. He’s scheduled to be in Moneta on Tuesday to meet with lake residents.

In a news release, Hurt said the SHORE Act is intended to put a check on “excessive federal outreach” that drives up costs for property owners and depresses the local economy.

“Unnecessary red tape keeps small businesses from being able to hire and expand, holding us back from the job growth we need,” he said.

“The SHORE Act will help protect the private property ownership rights of small businesses and families so that overreaching federal regulations will not impede their ability to enjoy their private property, expand their businesses, and create jobs at a time when far too many Fifth District Virginians are out of work.”

Contact Alicia Petska at (434) 385-5542 or apetska@newsadvance.com. Follow her on Twitter: @AliciaPetska

Reference Links