Regulatory Takings: Implementation of Executive Order on Government Actions Affecting Private Property Use

GAO-03-1015 Published: Sep 19, 2003. Publicly Released: Oct 09, 2003.
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Each year federal agencies issue numerous proposed or final rules or take other regulatory actions that may potentially affect the use of private property. Some of these actions may result in the property owner being owed just compensation under the Fifth Amendment. In 1988 the President issued Executive Order 12630 on property rights to ensure that government actions affecting the use of private property are undertaken on a well-reasoned basis with due regard for the potential financial impacts imposed on the government. GAO was asked to provide information on the compliance of the Department of Justice and four agencies--the Department of Agriculture, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of the Interior--with the executive order. Specifically, GAO examined the extent to which (1) Justice has updated its guidelines for the order to reflect changes in case law and issued supplemental guidelines for the four agencies, (2) the four agencies have complied with the specific provisions of the executive order, and (3) just compensation awards have been assessed against the four agencies in recent years. We provided the agencies with a draft of this report for comment. They provided technical and editorial suggestions that we incorporated as appropriate.

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