by J.D. Davidson


Property owners in southern Ohio continue to receive support in their ongoing legal fight to keep the Ohio Power Company from taking land through eminent domain.

The Buckeye Institute, a Columbus-based policy group, filed an amicus brief with the Ohio Supreme Court in support of the landowners, who have been fighting the power company’s plan to take property for power lines.

“The framers of the Fifth Amendment and the drafters of Ohio’s Constitution both recognized that the government’s appetite is vast, and nowhere is this appetite more gluttonous than when it comes to the use of eminent domain,” said Jay R. Carson, senior litigator at The Buckeye Institute. “Thankfully, the courts have held that there are limits on eminent domain and The Buckeye Institute urges the Ohio Supreme Court to affirm those limits and protect the property rights of Ohioans.”

The brief asks the court to use its power of judicial review to say the permanent easements wanted by Ohio Power are unnecessary.

The Ohio Fourth Appellate District sided with the property owners, and Ohio Power filed its notice to appeal to the Supreme Court in September 2021, saying the cause raises questions of public and great general interest.

FirstEnergy Co., along with Ohio Gas Association and other energy groups doing business in the state, all filed briefs in support of Ohio Power. JobsOhio and government industry development groups from around the state all supported Ohio Power.

The Ohio Farm Bureau, last week, joined with property owners in a brief to uphold the appellate court’s ruling.

“Given the misbalance of power that typically occurs in cases of appropriation, it is a rare chance to have these important issues before this Court for review. Ohio Farm Bureau continues to advocate both here and at the legislature, to ensure private Ohio citizens are protected from the abuse and overreach that can be rife within eminent domain situations,” The Farm Bureau’s brief said.

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An Ohio native, J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher. Davidson is a regional editor for The Center Square.