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City of Boulder prepares for business dispute against Xcel

The city of Boulder, Colorado, is seeking a legal order to condemn certain sections of an electric system that is owned by area provider Xcel Energy. The city is looking to claim those parts of the electric system through eminent domain laws, as the jurisdiction wants to create a local electric utility. Boulder had previously filed a notice of intent earlier in the year, indicating that it would pursue Xcel's assets. The business litigation stems from Boulder's plan to establish a renewable energy system to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

The city has filed a massive condemnation petition against the company, demonstrating intent to take over nine substations that serve residents of Boulder. In addition, the city is looking to seize other facilities, lines and equipment including an electricity transmission loop. The city of Boulder is still required to obtain permission from leaders at the Colorado Public Utilities Commission to take over the resources.

Xcel has already filed a suit against the city, arguing the Boulder took steps to illegally create light and power utility systems. The city is looking to have that suit dismissed, but it appears to still be active in the courts. The city of Boulder wants to condemn property that is located outside and inside of the city limits; officials say that the Constitution supports such an endeavor. Since Boulder has attempted to conduct negotiations in good faith with the energy company, it argues, it should have the right to seize the property after those negotiations broke down.

This business litigation dispute has arisen because of failed negotiation between the municipality and energy company. Still, businesses should have the right to operate without worrying about unfair government interference, no matter the product they provide. Businesses have the right to fight back against corporate disputes that threaten their privately held resources.

Source: Boulder County Business Report, "Boulder files to condemn Xcel's assets" Steve Lynn, Jul. 17, 2014

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