Bernd Metzger: Opposition to drilling


I am writing to you from France to voice my opposition to the oil drilling plans submitted to the Routt County Board of Commissioners. Before returning to Europe, I lived many years in the rural area west of Steamboat. In fact, I bought and developed five 35-acre parcels at Saddle Mountain Ranchettes.

In 1996, that area was rough, untamed Wild West. No roads, no water, no electric, no fences, nobody. Undisturbed vegetation, breathtaking views and plenty of wildlife. I loved it. When I decided to build a house on Lots 12 and 13, I was confronted with numerous obstacles and substantial financial risks: road access, electric line, water, etc. I had no doubt about the rewards for my undertaking the project, as I would be privileged to live off the beaten path in nature’s forgotten rugged hideaway.

Years later, I sold my home and moved on. In a twist of fate, recently, I had the opportunity to buy my old house back. I have been so excited these past days to return to the valley that I miss so much. We were to close on the deal at the end of the month. With disbelief, I hear the news that some rapacious neighbor at Saddle Mountain Ranchettes has applied for an oil drilling permit, and the Routt County commissioners appear to seriously be considering granting the permit. Apart from the irreparable environmental impact, apart from the aesthetics, apart from the chaos, etc., I wonder about one fundamental question: Who will ever trust Steamboat to buy there again?

How can you be sure that the gorgeous piece of Colorado that you are acquiring today is not converted into a gravel pit, water-treatment plant, oil field or wind park tomorrow? You need to be able to have faith in local government to preserve nature’s endowments, quintessential for the continued growth of the area. It is revenue, short-sighted financial gain and greed again that is the root of this absurd plan, isn’t it? What else could it be? I am deeply troubled by this news. I won’t be part of this. I’d be foolish to invest in a country retreat on land that is subject to oil speculation.

Bernd Metzger

Cannes, France


JC Williams 5 years, 6 months ago

Your hypocrisy is stunning. In your own letter you exposed your own impact and exploitation of wilderness land. Yet when a company plans to drill a well on someone's mineral estate your the first one to try and strip them of their property rights.


Jeff_Kibler 5 years, 6 months ago

Mineral rights versus Surface rights. The M usually trumps the S. I discovered that the hard way. Now I know better. Before you purchase a chunk of land in the U.S. these days, get the mineral rights or walk away from the deal.

Then again, Bernd writes from France, preserve "nature’s endowments" and so on. Then again, Bernd writes from a country that derives more than 70 percent of its electric power from nuclear fission.

I'll take drilling local hydrocarbons, and sending them elsewhere to be processed, over a local fission plant or Uranium mine.


the_Lizard 5 years, 6 months ago

:"I bought and developed five 35-acre parcels at Saddle Mountain Ranchettes"

KCarson, hypocrisy is an understatement in regards to this letter writer. Good thing he paddles back and forth from France, then rides a bike out to the wilds of SS. (err used to be before he DEVELOPED Saddle Mountain Ranchettes) as he would be foolish to fly or drive using some form of petro.


sledneck 5 years, 6 months ago

I'm all for drilling for oil, but perhaps his point is that allowing an oil rig right up against peoples homes is unwarranted. If so I actually agree. Anwar, Gulf of Mexico, or anywhere out away from peoples' homes??? Go for it. Right next door to my home or someone elses??? No thanks! There is no need to locate oil rigs adjacent to developed areas... no need at all.


the_Lizard 5 years, 6 months ago

The point, to me is the writer claims he came to the area in 1996 and: "that area was rough, untamed Wild West. No roads, no water, no electric, no fences, nobody. Undisturbed vegetation, breathtaking views and plenty of wildlife. He then developed it, changed it and turned it into something else. Which is fine, is in accordance with Routt County's master plan and so on, I don't have to like it personally, the wildlife probably don't enjoy it as much and so on, but it is part of a healthy growing economy. Now, it's all about the greed of someone else that's at issue. Developing and exploiting that prisitine land wasn't greed, but another person, the "rapacious neighbor". extracting the minerals is greedy. I call it hypocrisy. My assumption is that any activity would be well away from the homes anyway.


kathy foos 5 years, 6 months ago

And the EPA is changing the regulations for the better,starting in Feb,and its great news for the planet.The oil can be processed differently and not so dangerous to water,nature ,and people.Its the way that they do it presently and have done it that is so bad.The cost may take the production interest out of this area somewhat because of the wetlands and safe retrieval might cost ALOT..All people of all walks of life,especially the ones vacationing to get away from it all,they dont want to see it.I would think that we would give hope to the rest of the world that the Yampa River can flow out of Routt County (where it originates)cleanly and that this valley has kept it clean all along and is not going to drop the ball now and let it be ruined.The problem is that the whole oil thing creeps up on innocent people and you dont expect the worse and it always happens.I stand against gas fracturing in the County.No burning off and wasting gas at the wells.Water ,air ,wildlife and people all need to be safe.Jurisdiction issues need to be addressed for emergency response and money on hand for the companys to clean up immediatly on spills ,explosions etc.Being insured is not asking too much,everyone else is.Declare OIL the rare earth mineral that it is in Routt County .Please make sure its not wasted in the future.Peak oil is over , the product is needed , should be conserved for airplanes ,manufacture,not heating homes and powering cars.Its great that people are speaking up from all over the world ,Its everyones planet ultimately.Dont forget to thank the EPA for helping out right now at the perfect time.The oil companys must be so mad, I dont wish that,but we as people need to make a stand,somthing has to change,' this cannot go unchecked,special remedys shouldnt be needed by the commissioners,BUT THEY ARE NEEDED IN REALITY.The Rifle residents have warned us ,offficals say oil workers drove the food stamp need up etc.,property value dip,.How does that help?Why wouldnt this author be concerned?If we still manage to scew up Routt County at this point,after all of the warnings and advice(even Hickenlooper has backed off this recent EPA rulings,.How reasuring,not! . Please do the right thing county commissioners,the EPA did,do your part now..Good Luck


the_Lizard 5 years, 6 months ago

Well the EPA has spoken and utopia will be at hand. Did the EPA rule on water somehting or other, or was it a ruling under the Clean Air Act?


steamboatsconscience 5 years, 6 months ago

Dont worry the Repuglicans have promised an oil derrick on everyone's property!! Can we rename Steamboat Oiltown USA????


Kerrie Cooper 5 years, 6 months ago

"ll take drilling local hydrocarbons, and sending them elsewhere to be processed, over a local fission plant or Uranium mine."

Unfortunately, there was an uranium mine west of Craig, approx. 20 miles. These is still to this day a huge tailing pile covered with cement you can drive right up to just west of Lay. I have no doubt this contributes to the very high rate of cancer in the valley, esp in Craig. Between this, the coal plants, the pesticides and fertilizers used at the golf courses that run into the water and endless other chemicals, we have a very toxic cancer cocktail in the valley---fracking will just add some more percentage points to those that get cancer.


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