Oil shale water-rights battle brewing over Shell’s Yampa River claim
According to the Steamboat Pilot and Today newspaper, the town of Yampa’s board of trustees last week voted unanimously to join any organized legal efforts to block the water grab by Shell.
The paper on Sunday reported that Shell, which filed for 375 cubic feet per second on Dec. 30, wants to build a 45,000-acre-foot reservoir in Moffat County for use in future oil shale development. The Denver Post first broke the story in early January.
Late last month Moffat County commissioners met with the board of commissioners for Routt County (home to Steamboat Springs) to discuss jointly opposing Shell’s water rights application and sharing potentially massive legal fees. Moffat County officials said they plan to follow their land-use board’s suggestion that the county file a formal protest.
According to the Pilot and Today, Moffat County Commissioner Tom Gray was skeptical about the move: “I don’t think there’s a leg to stand on to say this isn’t a valid use of the water.”
But Gray added that a recent meeting of the Yampa/White Basin Roundtable, a coalition of stakeholders along the river drainage, sparked a degree of alarm about the impacts to the river such a claim might have in the long term. “There is a huge concern up and down the river about this filing,” he said.
A report prepared for the Yampa/White Basin Roundtable last fall and first reported by the Colorado Independent indicated the Yampa and other rivers such as the Green and the Colorado in northwest Colorado could not support a full-scale oil shale boom.
Like this story? Steal it! Feel free to republish it in part or in full, just please give credit to The Colorado Independent and add a link to the original.
Juggling Colorado’s already stretched water resources is going to get even tougher in the decades ahead.Read More
None of the members appear to represent the views of the activist-constituents who spent thousands of hours of their lives working for greater local regulatory control. Unless they’re clairvoyant.Read More
Mark your calendars for an evening with Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Mike Keefe on Saturday, Sept. 20, from 7 to 11 p.m.Read More