You see a lovely vista, Boulder sees property it hasn’t condemned yet.

While we joke around here about Boulder being a socialist outpost, we never thought the city would actually start seizing property. But, Boulder, perhaps emboldened by its moratorium ban on fracking is throwing property rights by the wayside in its attempt to seize part of Xcel Energy’s distribution system.  This is all a part of Boulder’s grand plan to establish a city power utility.

Boldly, the city defended it’s action like the kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar who looks up innocently and says, “What? I’m not doing anything wrong.” From the Denver Business Journal:

“The move is a significant step toward achieving the Boulder community’s goal of accessing an energy supply that is cleaner, reliable and competitively priced,” the city said in an announcement. “In addition, a local electric utility would not be responsible to shareholders seeking profits, enabling customers to have a more significant voice in decision-making.”

According to the article, Boulder wants to acquire “some or all” of nine Xcel substations serving Boulder as well as a 115kV transmission loop and its accessories.  Apparently, the city council voted to create this utility and negotiations directly with Xcel failed.  Last month, Xcel sued Boulder for overstepping its bounds in the process.

Boulder is claiming the right under the state constitution to condemn property with just compensation for the public good. TRANSLATION: Boulder wants Xcel’s property to set up a competitor organization, so it will use condemnation to get it.  There are so many issues with this, we don’t even know where to start.

  • Why is the government competing against private corporations?
  • Why is the government wasting taxpayer dollars to drive a business it wants to take over out of its city limits?
  • Is this a preview of “local control” that fractivists are so fond of?

If this is what local control looks like, it’s scary.  If we weren’t against the inappropriately-named local control push, we are now.