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I’m disturbed by the industry pushback against the recent letter written by U.S. Sens. Bennet and Udall to BLM regarding the proposed Lake Ridge Unit. It seems to me like the Thompson Divide Coalition has been working tirelessly for the last three years to come to some resolution that will protect that area from oil and gas development while giving leaseholders a fair deal on their leases.

SG Interests clearly tried to play a trump card with this unit request – extending the terms of their leases so that they don’t have to drill each one of them in the next couple of years with gas prices around $4-5/mcf – potentially trying to add value to leases that simply aren’t valuable now.

The senators asked BLM to maintain the status quo until negotiations bore fruit. Now industry is hot and bothered because the public is snooping around in a process that they’ve forever used to play games: extending leases and holding huge chunks of ground without investment when prices are low.



We all understand the potential benefits of unitization: less ground disturbance, higher resource recovery, less waste, etc., but those benefits are little assurance when you’re talking about developing a place that shouldn’t be developed.

In the Thompson Divide, the public deserves to play a role. This area is the lifeblood of local communities. Drilling means substantial long-term impacts to grazers, business owners, water users, recreationists, hunters, fishermen, wildlife and farmers.



Time is going to be critical to achieving a fair outcome, and industry should welcome open and fair dialogue as opposed to challenging public participation and feeding community fears about out-of-state corporate interests motivated by big profit margins, but unconcerned with potential impacts.

Thanks to the senators. Boo-on-ya to the trade groups.

Sacha Logan

Carbondale

Everyone knows that energy efficiency projects at the home or business are a great way to reduce wasted energy, which saves money on bills and helps the environment. The problem for most of us is the upfront cost.

Unfortunately, federal bankers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac stopped a program that Garfield County residents could have used to finance home energy improvements through their property taxes.

Seventeen states now offer an alternative method to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy projects on homes, businesses, not-for-profits and public buildings. Commonly referred to as on-bill financing, it is a relationship between the utility and the customer.

The program allows the utility to pay for energy improvements (weatherization, insulation, etc.) that save the customer money on monthly energy bills. The customer repays the utility with a portion of that savings each month until improvements are paid off. The customer sees a net savings each month.

On-bill financing is different from a bank loan in that it remains with the property even if the tenant moves or the property is sold.

Colorado claims to be a leader in the energy efficiency and renewable energy sectors, yet 17 states are ahead of us in offering financing. The Community for Sustainable Energy (CforSE), a Colorado not-for-profit, is organizing the voice of Coloradoans to see an on-bill financing program offered statewide.

I am the program director with CforSE and live in Fort Collins, but I travel around Colorado organizing support for sustainable energy policy in the state.

To date, about 400 letters have been written to Gov. Hickenlooper and the Governor’s Energy Office (GEO). The GEO has voiced concern about finding a viable energy financing alternative and recently acknowledged on-bill financing as being a possible solution.

Community for Sustainable Energy will be organizing letters to Gov. Hickenlooper from Garfield County citizens in support of an energy financing program.

Chantel Havre

Fort Collins


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