Energizing the Weekend News

Finishing out the first full week of February, Colorado Confidential has wrapped up a few new items concerning energy development and conservation…and some of this info could eventually keep some cash in your pocket.Drilling Averted on Wildlife Areas-For Now
Four Colorado wildlife areas were removed from Bureau of Land Management oil and gas lease auction until impacts can be analyzed. Parcels were located in Little Snake, Red Lion, Spanish Peak and Browns Park state wildlife areas.

Although the state owns the land, the federal government owns the mineral rights. A BLM spokesman said the agency wanted to study how wildlife will be affected before drilling proceeded. Both the Colorado Division of Wildlife and Colorado Wildlife Federation protested the leases.

On Thursday, the BLM offered over 32,000 acres in Colorado for oil and gas exploration.

Rancher’s Family Awarded $4 Million in Unpaid Royalties
A couple of days ago, Colorado Confidential reported:

Several years ago, Mary Ellen Denomy, a certified petroleum accountant and a fraud deterrent analyst from the Rifle area, noticed that one local drilling company reported much lower production figures to royalty owners than what they had printed in their yearly report to investors.

Based on the information from that report, the royalty owner that Denomy represented successfully sued the drilling company for an estimated underpayment of $750,000. Another case is pending over a possible $4 million underpayment to a different oil and gas royalty owner.

“Remember, if the royalty owners were shortchanged in these cases, the county, the state and the feds were underpaid as well,” Denomy explained.

The Colorado Court of Appeals upheld that $4 million settlement on Thursday.

From the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel:

Sheep rancher (now deceased) William Clough owned 12,000 acres from Rifle to Parachute, mostly along Interstate 70, and was earning about $3 million a year in royalties from gas drilling on his land. He argued that Williams and Barrett Resources, which merged with Williams in 2001, had not paid him agreed-upon royalties from February 1996 to February 2004.

A Garfield County District Court jury agreed and found Williams guilty of breach of contract, violating the state Consumer Protection Act and acting in bad faith in its dealings with Clough.

Energy Related Bills Fly Out of Committees
These bills are headed to the House floor for further review:

House Bill 1146– would make buildings more energy efficient by requiring local governments to incorporate energy codes that meet or exceed the standards set forth in the 2003 International Energy Conservation Code.  Only local governments that already have a building code would have to incorporate the energy codes. 

House Bill 1145– would promote alternative energy development by authorizing the state land board to lease land for renewable energy resource development. Under current statute, 90 percent of the revenues from state lands help fund K-12 education. 

House Bill 1208–allows retailer reward programs to offer discounted gas and generic drugs to regular clients.

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Leslie Robinson

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