The Maine Legislature is considering a bill that could lead to an explosion in lawsuits with huge costs to Maine taxpayers, create an unworkable patchwork of land-use laws, have major unintended consequences, and result in countless speculative development schemes.

If passed, L.D. 1810, “An Act To Implement Recommendations of the Committee to Review Issues Dealing with Regulatory Takings,” would be a disaster in Maine.

L.D. 1810 would allow property owners to seek compensation from the state (taxpayers) by claiming that any new state law or regulation had reduced the value of their property by 50 percent. The property owner would be allowed to ignore Maine law if the state did not pay. I believe this bill would lead to an intolerable financial burden on the state.

The state has a responsibility to protect, for the benefit of its citizens, the natural resources on which we all depend. We count on state regulations to protect public health and safety, our water resources, wildlife, the special character of our communities and the property rights of our neighbors.

In 2004, a takings bill was passed in Oregon. In 2007, it had to be repealed because it resulted in thousands of claims for compensation totaling nearly $20 billion as well as 400 lawsuits. That’s why states across the country have continually rejected takings bills.

Maine defeated takings bills in 1994, 1995, 2000, 2003 and 2011.

Maine already has a system for dealing with takings claims, the Land Use Mediation Process, created by the Maine Legislature in 1996. Furthermore, an effective body of judicial principals guides Constitutional law with regard to “takings” law.

I urge the members of the Judiciary Committee to vote “ought not to pass” on L.D. 1810.

Steven McAllister