In case you missed the announcement from the Colorado Alliance of Mineral and Royalty Owners, banning oil and gas development or enacting a neverending moratorium on it (looking at you, Boulder) could hurt financially.

The organization found that cities, counties, and even the state of Colorado could be on the hook for billions in order to compensate mineral owners. The study, conducted by Netherland Sewell and Associates, found that the total remaining recoverable oil and gas in the Wattenberg Field, which is composed of parts of Boulder, Weld, Denver, Adams, and Jefferson Counties and more, would be around $179 billion. That means that approximately $26 billion in payments to mineral owners remain.


The folks up in Erie, Boulder, and Longmont had better think very carefully before they ban oil and gas development again. Mineral rights are a real property right, just like your house or any surface land you own. If a government prevents an owner from exercising his or her rights, the owner must be compensated by the government.

That’s a lot of tax dollars collected. We suspect that none of these jurisdictions would have the scratch to make this work. Just a guess.