Proprietary Power Law and Legal Definition

In the U.S., proprietary power refers to the unlimited authority vested in Congress by the Property Clause of the Constitution to control the use of Federal public lands. This power is the foundation for the 1902 Reclamation Act and provides the authority to sell power generated at Federal dams.

In Okeson v. City of Seattle, 159 Wn.2d 436 (Wash. 2007), the court observed that “A municipal corporation acts within its implied proprietary powers if (1) the act is an exercise of a proprietary power; (2) the act is within the purpose and object of the enabling statute; (3) the act is not contrary to express statutory or constitutional limitations; and (4) the act is not arbitrary, capricious, or unreasonable.”