COLORADO- Current Colorado law allows property owners to go after state and local governments in a few different situations.
The first is known as eminent domain, where the government takes a private property and uses it for public use.
The second deals with the government damaging a property, whether it’s intentional or not.
Additionally, a property owner could go after the government if there’s a law or regulation change that impacts their property.
Still, when it comes to economic damage, the Colorado Farm Bureau says more needs to be done.
‘Courts have taken a very narrow view on what taken or damaged means,’ said Chad Vorthmann, Executive Vice President of the Colorado Farm Bureau.
The Colorado Farm Bureau played a major role in getting Amendment 74 on the ballot, and is the primary supporter for the issue.
Vorthmann says, it’s an issue many Coloradans agree on, ‘If an action is taken against a property holder for the good of everyone, then everyone should be chipping in to compensate that person who’s property was devalued,’ said Vorthmann.
The group collected more than 200,000 signatures to get the question on the ballot.
With the support to get the question out there, it’s being met with opposition on both sides of the aisle.
‘Like so many ballot issues we see sounds really good on the surface, but it’s really a disaster waiting to happen, in Colorado Springs, Mayor John Suthers says it’s not the answer.
According to Suthers, the ballot question is in response to Proposition 112, which would create Oil & Gas Setbacks at 2,500 feet.
Prop 112, causing concern for mineral rights owners and how those setbacks could impact them.
Still, Mayor Suthers says it’s going to be expensive for governments.
‘As a practical matter, it would be nothing but constant litigation, and you have to remember that we’re talking about public dollars here,’ said Suthers.
Vorthmann with the Colorado Farm Bureau says it won’t be that simple.
‘Taking these cases are very difficult to bring forward, and that’s not going to change,’ said Vorthmann.