Citizens Supporting Property Rights: Balance, respect needed


In Routt County, two words have been ignored in the debate about responsible energy development. Citizens Supporting Property Rights, a new local citizens group, is committed to bringing those words — property rights — back to the debate.

Our organization represents residents and landowners with mineral property rights seeking to protect them. After all, we think the valuable minerals beneath our lands can complement the priceless treasures above. We’ve paid taxes on our minerals for as many as 100 years. Revenues from these minerals to the county, while consistent, have been modest. But, once we bring those minerals to the surface, Routt County will benefit in measurable, meaningful ways.

Some in our community don’t want to see drilling of any kind, but most are somewhere in the middle. It’s not only reasonable but prudent to have questions and concerns. After all, Routt County’s tourism and recreation activities are crucial to our valley. However, Citizens Supporting Property Rights thinks Routt County can have energy production that respects resident concerns and neighbors’ property rights, too.

Routt County farmers, ranchers and business owners are culturally patient and polite. Respect for neighbors and community has resulted in our silence. But silence is no longer an option because a minority of individuals has taken things too far. So far, in fact, that our rights as landowners are being impacted. Now, as interest groups attempt to restrict or prohibit oil and gas development in our county, we’ve organized to provide a clear, alternative view. With a little bit of balance and a lot more respect, property rights, energy development, tourism and recreation can coexist. If they can do it in La Plata County and Durango, we can do it here.

Colorado is the benchmark for comprehensive energy policy, having the most restrictive oil and gas regulations in the nation. Every aspect of oil and gas production is met with legions of requirements from the state to ensure protection of our health, air, land and water resources. Gov. John Hickenlooper deserves credit: He helped forge a bipartisan consensus around energy in the state, one demanding sensible production safeguards while guaranteeing regulatory certainty, making Colorado desirable for energy companies to invest in.

Northwest Colorado is blessed with an abundance of energy resources that can help diversify and move our economy forward. And good economic policy starts at home. The job of our local leaders should be to create balanced policies promoting responsible development of these resources and fair treatment for companies of all kinds.

Citizens Supporting Property Rights members don’t see oil and gas companies as enemies. Nor do we see them as our friends. Rather, we see oil and gas folks as business partners. Like any business relationship, they deserve clarity, fairness and respect while being held to the highest industry standards in place.

In coming weeks, we will begin running ads and taking steps to disseminate our views. We’ll be sure citizens have the benefit of knowing where our elected officials stand on property rights issues now and in the future.

Amy Williams, Hayden; Jody Camilletti, Milner; Harry Thompson, Steamboat Springs; Steve Elkins, Steamboat Springs

Citizens Supporting Property Rights


Scott Wedel 4 years, 8 months ago

Now, as interest groups attempt to restrict or prohibit oil and gas development in our county, we’ve organized to provide a clear, alternative view.

Okay, go ahead and defend yourselves from these groups. Personally, I have not seen these groups and they seem to have no impact upon's the county's approval process. But no harm in being vigilant.

It is never stated where Citizens Supporting Property Rights believes current Routt County regulations are acceptable protections on nearby properties. Sort of odd to form a group that doesn't state their opinions on the current rules.


Steve Lewis 4 years, 8 months ago

Matt Holman from Shell Oil spoke during his recent Routt drilling applications and fully embraced Routt's measures on water, air, and even Sage Grouse. He insisted his corporate goals suggest the same approach, and referred to the parallels of his corporate and our county goals at many points.

Which raises the obvious question: Where do the people above feel our regulations have gone too far?

Without presenting any example of the harm they claim to suffer, the above letter boils down a complaint that we have too much environmental protection here. Routt ranchers who would do less than Shell would do to protect Routt's environment? That will be an interesting ad.


Ben Beall 4 years, 8 months ago

The only "restriction" that I am aware of to date is that Routt County asked that Quicksilver install a few more ground water monitoring wells, test a baseline, and test a bit more frequently than the State requires at a site up-gradient of Milner's municipal water supply. A construction company that pumps water out of the bottom of a foundation excavation into a ditch has more stringent regulations than that. Am I missing something? There has been much discussion and concern, but it doesn't seem that Routt County has put up a roadblock to O&G development. Haven't there been three well permits issued this year?


John Weibel 4 years, 8 months ago

Yes, but that small speed bump might slow drilling down and produce a small lag in the extracting ones property from the ground in order to protect another's property from the harm of the others drilling.

Seems like that the only property rights that matter are theirs and others may have to suffer any adverse consequences of their drilling. Only their property rights matter not the others who's property they tread upon to extract their "private property".


Michelle Hale 4 years, 8 months ago

Prosperity is a right, it is a personal right, it is the right of a community, and it is a right that is covered under the Constitution of the United States. What has taken place in Routt is standing in the way of the personal rights of prosperity. The whole thing of drilling extra wells was mindless, and every effort WAS ABOUT CLOSING OUT ANY DRILLING. There was something new every week. If one was really concerned about well water, the lodgical thing would to have been to take a base reading of all the wells, and monotor them for a year or two.. Less than one percent of the wells through the United States have ever effected drinking water. There has to be consistancy for the oil companies, not new rules, in every county, no one can do business that way.

There is an oversight of those in Steamboat for the rest of the people who live in Routt. The mountain is NOT our main tax base. Energy is. The mountian has made it very clear they do not embrace locals buy pushing up ticket prices, taxes, and keeping the wages low, and making sure to push out low income housing at every turn. If the mountain were really about business and community they would lower lift ticket prices and see the people pour in because they could afford to ski. Not only afford to ski, but spend more money while in town. I think the truth is that you can't have Coal Miners skiing in Carharts, it might take away from the posh idea of what is promoted. In the meantime, Phiphsburg needs help with water, Oak Creek needs Police, and the list grows for those who do not fit the hypothesis or persona.

The rest of the county who is not Rich and Removed, or trust funders, and can't work for low wage jobs. The lowest paying job in the Oil Field is from about 60,000.00 to 80,000.00. One rig supports about 100 people. For every one of the 100 people they in turn support 10 business. I would think with the Ski numbers down, and people cutting back from such rip offs as 100.00 lift tickets, that Routt would pull their head out and get out of the way of those in the county who need the work.

Routt is also over looking that there are very few REAL ranchers, live here. Why? Because they have been forced to subdivide to pay the flippin taxes that Steamboat and the needs of the Mountain seem to keep pushing up. This year there is no hay, they have to sell their cattle, and hope to God they can make it through the winter. Having money for land disturbance, some new fences, roads, and some money for oil will help preserve the family farm and ranch. Ranchers are very few, real ones anyway. They deserve prosperity, as we all do.


Steve Lewis 4 years, 7 months ago

Michelle, Personal rights of prosperity. In the narrow view, that is about royalties. In a larger view, it very much involves our environment. Unlike Moffat County, we have a resort economy too. That means our clean environment brings in significant income to Routt's citizens. You may have no respect for tourism, but the money is good business, and well contaminations could make a serious dent, both in our economy and in our property values.

You are wrong to say, "The whole thing of drilling extra wells was mindless, and every effort WAS ABOUT CLOSING OUT ANY DRILLING." Do you understand the potential impact being mitigated at Milner's domestic wells? If so your suggested testing every two years would allow two years drinking water toxic water. Try it yourself, their properties are getting cheaper with the well nearby.

Statistics match the typical well with .25 employees. The wells are installed by a roving crew of 12-25. Your 100 workers per rig is baloney.

Property taxes are actually higher in Moffat than in Routt.

Simply put, you have a lot of wrong information.


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