Here on the Surface, the Facts Matter

An independent research report highlighting some untruths perpetuated by the oil and gas industry, who is fighting against the passage of proposition 112, was brought to light today by 9 News. The report is titled “Proposition 112 Playbook: Indecent Proposal.” Over the past week, an independent analyst firm, the RS group, or RSEG as they refer to themselves on their web page, shared the results of this unbiased report about the impact of 112’s passage on future drilling and access to mineral rights in Colorado. This report focuses on the minerals IN the ground as opposed to surface rights (where the wells are constructed), which has been the focus of most people’s attention in relation to proposition 112. This report states that despite the minimized surface area available once 112 passes, the underground minerals are still accessible. In fact, oil and gas companies could potentially access 61% of the DJ (Denver Julesburg) Basin because of the advanced technological capabilities of horizontal drilling. This gives operators the ability to access underground minerals that are 10,000 feet away. That’s almost two miles. They concluded that although surface rights (where the people, plants, and animals live) will be severely impacted by the passage of 112, access to the minerals themselves  will only be “minimally affected.”

These facts are especially relevant to those of us in Broomfield who feel that Extraction takes too many risks in drilling so close to homes, schools, and water sources. Extraction is the operator who stands to lose the most when 112 passes because their surface locations are consistently in dense residential areas where industrial activity doesn’t belong. According to the report, Extraction stands to lose 25% of its mineral rights as they have built their business model on developing minerals in our neighborhoods and next to our schools. It’s also not surprising why Extraction has targeted the marketing campaigns against 112 so heavily on our community, seeking to divide us and pit neighbor against neighbor. Extraction is betting big on Broomfield and the heavy, industrial development here next to our schools and water sources. As 112 gains momentum, Extraction’s stock continues to plummet. At the end of the day, it’s about how much more money some oil and gas executive can put in his or her pocket instead of using it to protect the impacted citizens in the neighborhoods they bulldoze through. And we’re taking the bait because, wow, that marketing is powerful.

When you read between the lines, it’s clear that the passage of 112 will not meaningfully affect the amount of oil and gas operators can access, but it will affect the process they have to go through to get to it. It will be more expensive for them to get to these minerals because they will now be forced to do it in a safe and deliberate way. They will finally be an appropriate distance from homes and schools (if there ever is an appropriate distance) not because they recognize the need to protect our safety, but because we stood up, here on the surface, to protect ourselves through legislation. This is an industry that is willing to risk the health and safety of the communities they drill in because their main motivator is to access minerals as cheaply and quickly as possible. The passage of 112 will protect the health and safety of our community and its members who live on the surface– our schools, children, families, and elders– our water, parks, air, paths, open space– and it will not compromise the access of the industry to their minerals. It’s time to execute our rights here on the surface, protect ourselves and our families, and demand that the industry respect our wishes.