Big Oil’s plot to conquer Colorado

“Below the headline races on the Colorado ballot this year lurks an unassuming yet spectacularly dangerous initiative to amend the state constitution. Called Amendment 74, it would badly undermine democracy in the Centennial State — handing over a great deal of its sovereign power to oil and gas companies.

Here’s how it would work.

Let’s start with the goofy political theory behind this thing. It’s a classic piece of self-contradictory libertarian dogma called “regulatory takings.” The idea is that whenever the state alters regulations in a way that infringes on profits, property owners deserve compensation based on how the market value changes.

Thus the language of the Colorado initiative would add a phrase to the state constitution dealing with eminent domain, saying that private property shall not be “reduced in fair market value by government law or regulation” without compensation.

This is a moral argument that property owners — specifically oil and gas companies, who drafted the amendment and are paying for a big agitprop campaign on its behalf — have a right to the current market value of whatever they happen to own. To many Americans, that no doubt sounds pretty fair — indeed, the Colorado constitution already stipulates that the state must pay “just compensation” whenever it takes someone’s property outright.

But it’s profoundly disingenuous.”
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Cooper, Ryan. The Week 2 November 2018.