Update on Regulatory Takings Initiatives

As we detailed a few weeks ago, rightwing developers are using the cover of "fixing" eminent domain to push radical anti-environment initiatives on ballots across the country. Opponents ranging from outdoor sports organizations to labor unions have been mobilizing in response. A few highlights:

Montana -- Trout Unlimited slammed the proposed I-154 in a letter to the editor in Headwaters News as "a Trojan horse" designed to make it easier for Wal-Mart or a gravel pit to open right next to peoples' homes. The states' largest employee union, MEA-MFT, which represents 16,000 public employees, came out in opposition and its President Eric Feaver, called the initiative "an anarchist's dream." Activists continue to challenge the legality of the signatures that qualified the initiative based on signature gatherers giving deceptive information to the public.

California -- The San Francisco Chronicle has a podcast of its interview with High Country News's Ray Ring, which accompanies a Sunday article by Ring, which highlights the $1.5 million in contributions from developer Howie Rich which is bankrolling these initiatives across the country.

Washington -- At an event in Everett, Gov. Chris Gregoire restated her opposition to I-933, saying the law would lead to endless lawsuits against local governments. Sightline Institute highlighted a study arguing that many of the land regulations that supposed reduce property values can actually increase their value.

Nevada -- The Review Journal became one of the first major state publications to make the connection between the PISTOL initiative and Howard Rich. The state Supreme Court will be deciding whether the initiative violated the state's single subject rule.

Arizona -- The League of Arizona Cities and Towns has filed a lawsuit against Proposition 207, citing the state rule that ballot measures must identify a source of funding for any costs.

Idaho -- A number of communities are rushing through local environmental and energy conservation ordinances, since the proposed Proposition 2 would only undermine future regulations.

Oregon -- In the state whose Measure 37 is the model for the other states, the town of Beaverton is worried that their rejection of Wal-Mart's plan to build a store that would have disrupted local transit plans will lead to a Measure 37 lawsuit against the town. Proposed "stream buffers" to put a moratorium on building along the city's main waterways have been dropped after property owners threatened lawsuits under Measure 37.

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