A righteous cause by our senators
November 9, 2011
I’m disturbed by the industry push-back against the recent letter written by Sens. Bennet and Udall to the BLM regarding the proposed Lake Ridge Unit.
It seems to me like the Thompson Divide Coalition has been working tirelessly for the last three years to come to some resolution that will protect that area from oil and gas development while giving leaseholders a fair deal on their leases. SG Interests clearly tried to play a trump card with this unit request, extending the terms of their leases so that they don’t have to drill each one of them in the next couple of years with gas prices around $4-$5/mcf – potentially trying to add value to leases that simply aren’t valuable now.
The senators asked the BLM to maintain the status quo until negotiations bore fruit. Now industry is hot and bothered because the public is snooping around in a process that they’ve forever used to play games: extending leases and holding huge chunks of ground without investment when prices are low.
We all understand the potential benefits of unitization: less ground disturbance, higher resource recovery, less waste, etc., but those benefits are little assurance when you’re talking about developing a place that shouldn’t be developed. In the Thompson Divide, the public deserves to play a role. This area is the lifeblood of local communities. Drilling means substantial long-term impacts to grazers, business owners, water users, recreationists, hunters, fishers, wildlife and farmers.
Time is going to be critical to achieving a fair outcome, and industry should welcome open and fair dialogue as opposed to challenging public participation and feeding community fears about out-of-state corporate interests motivated by big profit margins, but unconcerned with potential impacts.
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Thanks to the senators! Boo-on-ya to the trade groups!