‘Split Estate’ documentary shows in Aspen, the valley
October 7, 2009
Area residents will get three chances next week to see a new documentary, “Split Estate,” that takes a critical look at the effects of the natural gas industry on the people, places and environment near the gas wells in Colorado and New Mexico.
The documentary is to be shown two times on Oct. 12 – once in Glenwood Springs and once in Aspen – and again on Oct. 13 in Carbondale.
The film shows in Aspen at 7 p.m. on Oct. 12 at the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies. In Carbondale, the film will be shown at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 13, at the Gathering Center at the Church of Carbondale on Snowmass Drive. Both showings are sponsored by the Thompson Divide Coalition, the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies and the Aspen Skiing Co.’s Environmental Foundation.
The other showing on Oct. 12 will be at 1:15 p.m. in the Garfield County commissioners room in Glenwood Springs. It is open to the public, but won’t be sponsored by the three environmental groups.
The film also is to be aired on national television on Planet Green, part of Discovery Communications, on Oct. 17 and again on Oct. 22.
“Split Estate,” from producer Debra Anderson, relates tales of what those interviewed describe as the profound and sometimes poisonous effects of gas drilling on people living nearby in Garfield County in Colorado and San Juan County in northwest New Mexico.
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Split estates occur where the surface rights and mineral rights on a given piece of property are owned separately, as is the case in much of Garfield County. One result of the split is that the owners of mineral rights essentially have the right to access to those minerals, regardless of the feelings of the surface-rights owner.
“Split estate situations aren’t what we will see if drilling happens here in the valley. Drilling here will more likely be on federal land rather than private,” said Lisa Moreno, executive director of the Thompson Divide Coalition, which is opposing gas drilling plans near Carbondale. “But the risk of impacts to the water and air quality, wildlife and our health will be the same whoever owns the surface.”
“Natural gas will supply a portion of our nation’s energy for years to come, and Garfield County will continue to be a major player in gas development through the use of hydraulic fracturing,” added Environment Foundation Executive Director Matt Hamilton. “It’s important that we as a community understand the threat energy development poses to our homes and our livelihoods, then work to ensure that when drilling does occur it is done responsibly.”
Anderson will be on hand at the Oct. 12 and 13 evening showings to talk about the issue and answer questions.