Diane Brower: Amendment 74 is confusing on purpose | SteamboatToday.com

Diane Brower: Amendment 74 is confusing on purpose

At least a couple of ballot measures this election cycle are designed to confuse. Amendment 74 is one of those. 

Follow a trail of funders of Amendment 74, and you’ll find the oil and gas industry. Amendment 74 is a constitutional amendment that would require government compensation to landowners who see a decrease in property value due to government regulation. 

It’s no coincidence that Proposition 112, which would increase setbacks for new oil and gas development, would be totally negated if Amendment 74 passes. Proposition 112 requires increases in setbacks for oil and gas development from 500 feet to 2,500 feet in order to protect public health. 

Amendment 74 would allow property owners to sue city and county governments for changes to land use policy that protect public health.

One of the fallacies in the opposition to Proposition 112 is that it will prevent further oil and gas development in Colorado by limiting the land where drill rigs can be built. However, the much-heralded technique of horizontal drilling can allow oil and gas drilling from much greater distances, although it is more expensive. Isn’t public health worth that impingement on oil and gas profits?

In 2004, the voters of Oregon passed a law similar to Amendment 74. A few years later voters repealed the law due to the avalanche of claims by property owners who believed their ability to make profits on their land was being limited.  Such a law can bankrupt local and state governments because even unsuccessful lawsuits against local governments cut into their budgets.

Vote “yes” for Proposition 112 and “no” for Amendment 74.  

Diane Brower

Steamboat Springs 

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