Billions and Billions Needed to Mitigate Energy Impacts

Communities and counties across the state recently looked into their 20-year crystal ball and tallied proposed costs associated with the growth of oil and gas industry for the Department of Local Affairs. The estimated price tag for 40 counties, 57 cities and towns and eight special districts: $23.5 billion. The preliminary DOLA document, obtained by the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, stressed that impacts on local communities need to be part of the conversation before severance tax and federal mineral lease revenue is diverted to other projects by lawmakers.

From Mike Saccone’s article:

The March 5 draft document, circulated by Department of Local Affairs Director Susan Kirkpatrick, lays out projected capital-improvement and infrastructure needs in 40 counties, 57 cities and towns, and eight special districts, totaling $23.5 billion.

Kirkpatrick wrote in the draft’s cover letter that her department compiled the report to respond to “conversations about alternative uses for severance tax and federal mineral lease revenues” at the Legislature.

She pledged to use the information “to forcefully argue the state has a continuing obligation to address the sizeable impacts of mineral productions at the local level.”

In the northwest quadrant of the state, these counties and towns estimated the costs from energy impact for the next 20 years:

Towns and Cities
Craig: $162 million
Delta: $335 million
Fruita: $285.9 million
Grand Junction: $285.9 million
Meeker: $29.7 million
Rifle: $122 million
Rangely: $71 million
Steamboat Springs: $308 million

Counties
Delta County: $51.4 million
Eagle County: $507.7 million
Garfield County: $116.1 million
Gunnison County: $62.2 million
Mesa County: $2.5 billion
Rio Blanco County: $229.3 million

In state senate action on Thursday, HB 1139, which would double direct DOLA grants to local town and county governments directly affected by energy development, passed without dissent, according to the Daily Sentinel Internet story by Saccone. It is unknown how many copies of the preliminary report was distributed among members before the vote.

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Leslie Robinson

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