Letter to the Editor: Mike Foote: Forced pooling threatens our open space

“The prospect of oil and gas drilling on Boulder County open space is alarming and has been covered extensively in the Daily Camera over the last several months. Just as pernicious, but not as well-known, is the process by which the oil and gas industry can force the county and its taxpayers to sell mineral rights underneath its open space too.

One of the many special privileges the oil and gas industry enjoys in Colorado is a process called “forced pooling” — eminent domain of mineral rights by an oil and gas company. It gives operators the ability to force mineral rights owner to sell.

Only two other entities have eminent domain power: governments and utilities. One is accountable to the people; the other is highly regulated. The oil and gas industry is neither of those.

Even so, Colorado law currently gives the oil and gas industry virtually unfettered power to force an unwilling mineral rights owner to sell. Boulder County owns mineral rights under some of its open space land. It may object to selling those mineral rights but under current state law it can do little about it.”
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Foote, Mike. The Daily Camera 10 March 2018.