This punitive measure is terrible policy and wrong for Colorado.

As an advocate for the rural county I live in, and for fostering quality-of-place, I have invested a lot of my time in promoting land conservation, a place-based economy, and strengthening local community.

That brought me to help found the Colorado Farm & Food Alliance in order to connect Colorado’s local farm and food stakeholders with opportunities to engage on sustainability, climate, and conservation issues.

It has also brought me to oppose Amendment 74 on the Colorado ballot this year, and to urge all voters here to do the same. Despite backing from a major agricultural lobby, this policy would not benefit Colorado agriculture or the rural communities that sustain it.

Amendment 74 would change our state constitution in a way that weakens the ability of our state, towns, communities, and neighborhoods to protect our public health and safety, water supplies, agricultural and open lands, parks, public lands, unique character, and any other feature, community use, or public benefit.

Amendment 74 would force local and state governments to choose between protecting those things or getting sued. Where a similar measure was tried in Oregon, taxpayers were forced to pay out $8 billion on nearly $20 billion in claims filed within just the first three years, until voters–who had clearly learned a painful lesson–voted to rescind it.

We don’t need to learn that painful, costly lesson here. VOTE NO on 74.

Amendment 74 is so bad that it has united a broad range of groups, governments, and editorial boards often on all the various, even opposing, sides of every other issue. Support for Amendment 74 is narrow and limited. It includes its most visible, and nominal, proponent, the Colorado Farm Bureau. The other highly notable supporter is its primary funder: The oil and gas industry. This has led many observers to see it as a type of mean-spirited “pay back” for local communities that challenge this industry’s sense of supremacy.

Despite the near unanimous opposition to this real stinker of a ballot measure, the corporate money and institutional muscle behind it make Amendment 74 a real threat.

Mark your ballot No 74 and urge your friends and families to do the same.