The Supreme Court's ruling in an obscure Wyoming land dispute Monday could result in the loss of thousands of miles of bicycle trails or cost the government millions of dollars in compensation.A big win for private property rights.
The justices ruled 8-1 that government easements used for railroad beds over public and private land in the West expired once the railroads went out of business, and the land must revert to its owners.
Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the majority, said the case was decided based on an 1875 act of Congress and a 1942 Supreme Court decision involving the Great Northern Railway Co.
That ruling confirmed that the government merely had received easements without any long-term land rights, he said. The establishment in 1983 of the federal "rails to trails" program didn't change the court's interpretation for easements that expired earlier.
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
U.S. Supreme Court Hands Property Owners A Big Victory: Court ruling in land dispute could threaten bike trails
The Statesman Journal reports:
Posted by Steve Bartin at 10:14 AM