Witness the return of Frackenlooper!Governor: Oil, gas rules must protect mineral owners’ rights
DENVER — Any attempt to give local governments more control over oil and gas drilling in Colorado must protect the rights of people who own underground mineral rights, Gov. John Hickenlooper said Friday.
Some people have owned or leased those rights for decades, long before Colorado’s growing cities spread onto land above rich oil and gas deposits, Hickenlooper said in an interview with The Associated Press.
“What right does government have to take that person’s lease away from them?” he said. “Through no fault of their own, the march of suburbanization, suddenly their lease is worth less than it was.”
In other words, you should not have built your house on top of their oil and gas. Perhaps local governments should prohibit further residential development on top of oil & gas leased lands.
The problem in Colorado is not the devaluation of mineral leases. I don’t think there’s ever been a case of a company’s mineral leases being devalued because they were underneatha residential subdivision. What a ridiculous notion!
The problem in Colorado — and Texas and Pennsylvania and North Dakota — is the devaluation of private property because of oil & gas development: Fracking With Your Health and Your Home
Surface owners’ property rights should also be protected, Hickenlooper said, adding that energy companies are required to pay for damage. Noise, dust and other effects should also be taken into account, he said.
Asked if he would support stronger compensation rules for surface owners, the governor said he would want to see the specifics. “I certainly wouldn’t go there without having something in front of me and making sure it’s fair to all concerned,” he said.
Hickenlooper spoke on the same day that his oil and gas task force submitted nine recommendations for easing tension created by the oil and gas industry in the state, often when wells are drilled near homes and schools …
Note that Frackenlooper doesn’t mention “property rights.” In fact if you own property (homes and lands) in Colorado you are required to follow all local zoning and land use laws and regulations. Your property rights are limited when it comes to development. For example, my house on a lot in Silt would be a lot more valuable if I could tear down the house and build a gas station. But Silt zoning laws and regulations don’t allow for that. However if I owned the mineral rights below my lot, I could lease them to the highest bidder, tear down my house and put up a rig, as long as it’s 500 feet from the neighbors’ houses.
According to Frackenlooper, only those with mineral rights have property rights in Colorado.
… Other states are struggling with how to regulate oil and gas as fracking spreads. New York banned fracking last year, but Hickenlooper has said a ban wouldn’t work in Colorado because it would hurt a valuable industry and leave the state vulnerable to lawsuits alleging an improper “taking” of energy companies’ property …
… In New York, fracking would have occurred relatively close to aquifers, natural underground water reservoirs, Hickenlooper said. Fracking wells in Colorado are a mile away from aquifers, he said.
There have been no instances where the fracking process itself has contaminated water, only cases in which the lining of a well has failed or when chemicals were spilled above ground, he said.
There he goes again. What difference does it make whether the contamination was caused before, during, or after fracking? Contamination is contamination. We’re really sick of that stupid argument.
The state has come down hard on energy companies for those kinds of incidents, Hickenlooper said. “In those cases, we are very, very rigorous,” he said.
Oh. Yeah. Right. Williams was never fined for the Parachute Creek spill.
In 2014, there were 712 spills reported in Colorado. Those were just the ones reported. The COGCC collected about $1.4 million in fines from oil and gas companies last year — that’s less than $2,000 per spill. Hardly what I’d call “rigorous.”
More Frackenlooper-isms from his Colorado Public Radio interview.
Hickenlooper said the nine recommendations “probably should be enacted,” and he will rely on regulators and lawmakers to fine tune and implement them. The fact that nine proposals garnered such substantial support — with several passing unanimously — shows the task force did its job, he said.
“There were an awful lot of people that said nothing is going to come out of this, we’re not going to make any progress,” the governor said. “That turned out not to be the case” …
… A spokesperson from the newly formed group Coloradans Against Fracking said it’ll work to get a statewide ban on fracking passed through a ballot initiative or another means, including executive order.
For Hickenlooper, that’s a nonstarter.
“We can’t find examples in Colorado, or more than one or two examples, where fracking, in any sense, has caused harm or been sufficiently dangerous to the public to justify us to ban it,” he said.
It’s impossible to find something when you refuse to look for it. Here’s a good place to start looking: Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks And Harms Of Fracking
You see there are professionals across the country looking at the harm and documenting it. The day will soon come when Frackenlooper will have to answer to the people why the state of Colorado allowed this single industry — the oil & gas industry — to destroy our health and our environment now and for generations to come.