Rep. Cullie Tarleton (D-Watauga) is the sponsor of this week’s bad bill, HB972, an act to create the Uwharrie Regional Resources Commission. The Commission established in the bill serves as the potential vehicle through which the state might purchase four hydroelectric dams owned by Alcoa in the Uwharrie Region. These dams produce power that Alcoa, a private company, sells for consumption. Governor Perdue desires that the state acquires the dams from Alcoa and has taken legal action to ensure that Alcoa is not granted a license to continue dam operation.
This legislation grants broad authority to the Commission that it creates. It allows the Commission to own and lease property, file suit and to “execute all instruments necessary or appropriate to achieve the purposes of the Commission.” In other words, the provisions in the bill allow for all necessary legal action needed to acquire the dams. That the legislature would provide this vehicle for Governor Perdue to pursue acquiring Alcoa’s property at her whim denotes the statist belief that the government can, and should be able, to acquire any private property that it deems necessary. The case for eminent domain in this issue is weak because Alcoa already provides the public good, hydroelectric power, which the state would produce.
The potential consequences and, likely the actual purpose for this bill – which is to expand government and acquire private property – are why HB972 is this week’s Bad Bill of the Week.