Jerry Howard of the home builders' lobby criticized a Sept. 29 editorial for concluding that the federal "takings" bill would undermine local authority over land-use issues [letters, Oct. 13].
In fact the editorial was spot-on. The purpose of the bill is to allow developers to bypass local land-use procedures and state courts so they can sue local governments in federal court far earlier in the planning process. The bill also would greatly expand the legal standards for liability to make it easier for developers to win.
That's why Mr. Howard called an earlier version of the bill a "hammer to the head" of local officials. It would allow big developers to use the threat of expensive federal litigation as leverage in negotiations so they can avoid permit conditions that reduce traffic congestion, preserve natural resources and protect neighborhoods.
Our nation's mayors, counties, state attorneys general and chief justices, environmental groups, and many others strongly oppose the bill because it violates basic principles of federalism and threatens community protections across the board.
TIMOTHY J. DOWLING
Community Rights Counsel