Surface Rights Group Down but not Defeated

Note: The Colorado Landowners for Fairness, a citizens group based out of Glenwood Springs, is working on a ballot initiative that would require oil and gas operators to compensate private property owners when oil and gas drilling occurs on their property or neighborhood. Previous story

The daunting task of collecting the estimated 100,000 signatures in two weeks would make most organizations give up and quit. But for the surface rights initiative group, it’s just another obstacle among many the organization has faced.

  Greg Russi, a New Castle resident and a member of Colorado Landowners for Fairness, said the group recently had a reality check. “After five people spent all day collecting signatures at a local fair,” Russi lamented, “we still only came up with 250 signatures-that’s with people waiting in line to sign our petition.”

The Colorado Landowners group has lost count on how many petitions have been sent out across the state. “We need 1000 people to carry petitions to get 100 signatures each in two weeks,” noted Russi. “It’s beginning to look like that’s improbable, if not impossible.” Yet, Russi insisted no one in the organization is resigned to defeat.

“We’ve tackled oil company lawyers all the way to the Colorado Supreme Court and had delays with the Secretary of State on petition language,” Russi said. “That ate up almost a month during a time we could have been out getting signatures.”

The August 7th deadline is drawing near, yet requests keep coming in. Two-dozen petitions are headed for the Front Range this weekend. More