Colorado Fight for Eminent Domain Delegation to Oil Pipelines Continues


Colorado oil delegation fight continues by simply changing one comma in a statute to allegedly "rectify" a mistake, property rights have given rise to a serious debate in Colorado. How much delegation is there to be given to oil and gas companies? Clearly, the delegation was not there before. Despite the initial support for the expansion of eminent domain, oil and gas companies may now see the kick back by the community.

In the House, Senate Bill 13-191 picked up another sponsor this month: Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg (R-Sterling). Sterling and co-sponsor Rep. Angela Williams (D-Denver) told the transportation committee that the bill was just a technical correction to a long-ago statute, and would put back into law common practice of allowing oil pipeline companies the rights of eminent domain.

The bill has continued to pick up opposition during its three-month long trip through the General Assembly. The first was from the plaintiffs in a Colorado Supreme Court decision that SB 191 was designed to overturn. Then it was representatives of irrigation ditch companies in northeastern Colorado that feared the oil companies would run roughshod over their ability to decide when and where ditch crossings would take place. Thursday, major opposition surfaced from Colorado Counties, Inc. (CCI), which represents the state’s county commissioners. According to Weld County Commissioner Barbara Kirkmeyer, who testified on their behalf, the bill would grant oil companies eminent domain rights, and "that’s what we’re afraid of."