Colorado Towns Try to Limit Fracking

June 25, 2014

Towns across Colorado are enjoying an economic boom from energy production, but environmentalists are trying to limit fracking, reports Jillian Kay Melchior for National Review.

The towns of Longmont and Lafayette, Colorado, have already banned the practice entirely, while Boulder, Fort Collins and Broomfield have instituted fracking moratoriums. Today, residents in Loveland, Colorado, will also vote on a proposed moratorium. Across the state, a number of voters in different towns will see proposed fracking restrictions on their ballots this election season.

The movement against fracking is a serious problem for property owners and mineral-rights owners, who own the resources under their land and have been paying property taxes.

A number of legal challenges have emerged in Colorado courts, with some landowners seeking compensation for the restrictions on their ability to use their property.

  • According to a study from petroleum-engineering firm Netherland, Sewell & Associates, taxpayers in Boulder County, Colorado, could be on the hook for $1 billion if mineral-rights owners in the county prevail.
  • Legal experts estimate that the lawsuits could take up to a decade to resolve.

Robi Bell Sylvester, a Colorado landowner who owns the mineral-rights underneath her land, suffered massive property and vehicle damage in September 2013 when a severe flood hit her farm. Without the energy royalties she receives from the companies leasing her minerals, she says, her family could not have restored their farm.

Source: Jillian Kay Melchior, "Fracking and Property," National Review, June 23, 2014.

 

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