Letter: Amendment 74 and Proposition 112 too extreme
The “Blue Book” issued by the State of Colorado provides a credible and balanced description of issues on the ballot of the current election. One such issue is Constitutional Amendment 74, which would require the state or a local government to compensate a property owner for practically any loss of value resulting from a law or regulation. Considering that practically any action taken by government can be construed to reduce the value of certain properties — however slightly — this would create a nightmarish barrage of legal claims that would virtually freeze the ability of elected officials to enact new laws or regulations or even repeal existing ones.
Then, there is Proposition 112, which would require new oil and gas wells to be set back 2,500 feet from dwellings and “vulnerable areas” including “intermittent streams.” Given the fact that runoff from practically every acre in Colorado drains to an “intermittent stream” on its way to a larger stream or reservoir, that provision alone could be applied by extremists to shut down all new oil and gas production. Aside from the enormous impacts on tax revenue described in the Blue Book, the fundamental lunacy of this is its failure to recognize the nation’s dependence on oil for transportation and natural gas for heating buildings and generating electricity. The last I heard, Colorado is still part of the United States, and with its cold climate needs natural gas to warm our homes and other buildings in winter.
But what would happen if Amendment 74 and Proposition 112 both passed? Colorado would suffer a perfect storm of drastically reduced tax revenue, at the same time that the owners of rights to untapped oil and gas reserves would be demanding compensation for the billions of dollars in value taken from them by Proposition 112!
As a political centrist, I support both the concepts of compensation for taking of property, and regulation of resource extraction activities. But these particular ballot measures are so extreme that the passage of either or both will have disastrous consequences for most Colorado citizens.
Carl Ted Stude
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