Letter: Human rights over mineral rights
Michelle Smith’s letter shows that she has not kept up with Battlement Mesa’s drilling issue. We have never denied the mineral rights owner (mainly Exxon) from extracting the gas beneath our community. Most of it is being extracted from outside the boundaries of our PUD due to the advanced technology of directional drilling and fracking.
If Ursa would be willing to use a different rig and drill up to a mile from a well pad, there would be no reason for its proposal of well pads within our boundaries. Battlement Mesa Co. has gone into the agreement with them because they own the surface rights of their undeveloped land within our PUD. With today’s gas prices, the agreement seems suspect to us.
Both companies are to blame. Neither one is willing to wait to use more advanced technology to extract the remaining minerals from well pads outside the boundaries. This shows a complete disregard for the people and the covenants in the community. It’s time the 1860s mineral rights laws get changed so that human rights come first. A safer distance from homes for well pads, injection wells and pipelines should be on the ballot this fall. I’m ready to get signatures on a statewide petition to get it put up for a vote.
Anyone who thinks their property is “safe” should just look at what’s happening to a planned development like Battlement Mesa and become alarmed. The split estate law in Colorado jeopardizes most people who buy property and build a house on it. The original owners usually retain the mineral rights.
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