CAMRO study shows Colorado stands to lose $26 billion if bans on energy development pass
DENVER – The Colorado Alliance of Mineral and Royalty Owners (CAMRO) released a report prepared by Netherland, Sewell, & Associates showing that untapped minerals in Colorado’s Wattenberg field could have an expected ultimate recovery of nearly $180 billion over the life of the field. Royalties for mineral owners alone would come to $26 billion. This means that the cities and counties in the Wattenberg field, or the State of Colorado, that enact bans on developing minerals in the Wattenberg field could be on the hook for over $26 billion from successful takings claims, or just compensation for the public use of private property.
“If the seizure of private property rights in Colorado is codified through the local control initiatives or statewide ballot measures, all property rights throughout the state are under attack. Not only do these estimates represent a staggering value that could be taken without compensation from mineral owners by proposed ballot initiatives, but they represent funds taken from tax coffers that fund schools, roads and other community services that we all value,” said Neil Ray, president of CAMRO. Even a section with low-producing wells still would generate over $200 million in royalties alone. Our cities, counties, and state simply cannot afford to compensate mineral owners for their property.”
Local control measures and ballot initiatives, such as Initiative 97, would severely restrict mineral development and, thus, represents a reverse takings claim, which would require compensation to property owners. This infringes on the property rights of mineral owners who depend on their minerals for financial support and prevents future development that could bring millions of dollars to the Colorado economy and local governments. Such restrictions on mineral development threaten the economic wellbeing of our communities and the sanctity of property rights for mineral owners.
“While we are not getting rich from our minerals, the extra funds each month were a God send in helping us care for our mother, who suffered from dementia. The peace and comfort we found from being able to provide our mom a safe and clean assisted living facility and, later, memory care facility was immeasurable. We would have experienced extreme financial and emotional hardship without the mineral rights that have been in our family for generations,” said Kathy Allen, a mineral owner who owns minerals in Weld, Yuma and Montezuma Counties. “When some suggest a ban on developing our minerals without compensation, it frightens our family because they are advocating for the property we have owned for generations to become worthless. If governments prevent mineral owners from developing our minerals, we will be forced to seek just compensation for their value.”