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Toting signs that read "Eminent Domain Equals Federal Land Grab" and "Save the Rainville Family Farm," about 150 people packed Franklin Town Hall, with about 18 standing up to speak - none in favor. One by one, they criticized the plan as wasteful, misdirected, an abuse of eminent domain or all three.
RANKLIN, Vt. (AP) -- Outraged by plans to seize land from a Vermont dairy farm to expand a little-used U.S.-Canada border station, dozens of people turned out Saturday to berate U.S. Customs and Border Protection representatives, many suggesting that the port be closed instead.
"If this goes forward, it'll be Vermont's `bridge to nowhere," said Pat Crocker, 48, of Essex. "And it'll be disgraceful."
The Department of Homeland Security, which got $420 million from the federal bailout to modernize land ports like this, wants to spend about $5 million to renovate and expand.
To upgrade it, federal officials have proposed taking an adjoining 4.9-acre parcel now used to grow hay and corn, offering the family $39,500 for it. The family, which says it needs the land to grow feed for its dairy cows, doesn't want to sell.