Colorado Cattlemen’s Association and state property rights owners offer grim view of proposed Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission setback rule

ARVADA, Colo. – On Wednesday, September 23, Colorado Cattlemen’s Association Executive Vice President Terry Fankhauser and impacted Colorado land and mineral rights owners voiced strong objections to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission’s proposed 2,000-foot setback rule.

“A 2,000-foot setback would contradict both measured scientific analyses and the will of Colorado voters, who just two years ago strongly rejected a similar ballot initiative,” said Fankhauser. “Moreover, such an arbitrary decision would result in economic devastation for tens of thousands of private property and mineral owners whose livelihoods depend on revenues generated from energy production.”

Terry Fankhauser was joined at a virtual media briefing Wednesday by Weld County rancher Susie Magnuson; Hesperus rancher, past CCA president and COGCC chairman Tom Compton; and Mead mineral rights owner Joe Wigginton. The participants shared their perspective on the unique relationship between Colorado’s agriculture and energy sectors, before examining the dire cultural and economic consequences of a 2,000-foot setback on communities and families across the state.

“Governor Polis told Coloradans that the oil and gas wars were over, but the very commission he appointed appears to have other ideas,” said Magnuson. “Colorado’s agricultural and energy industries are foundational to the state’s cultural and economic identity and are largely dependent on one another. An attack on one is an attack on both, so we implore the COGCC to examine the unintended consequences that its proposal would generate.”

“In my time as COGCC chairman, we gave full consideration to the impacts our decisions could have,” said Compton. “The newly appointed commission has failed to so much as estimate the economic impacts of a 2,000-foot setback, but those of us who would face such a prohibition head-on know that it would spell an end to our way of life. Our perspective can help the commission come to a reasonable decision, if only we’d be consulted.”

For Wigginton, the matter is personal. “My mineral rights help to pay for the medical bills of my daughter, who is battling a long-term illness. The COGCC’s proposal would strip away those rights from future Coloradans, leaving families and communities to fend for themselves. A 2,000-foot setback isn’t just scientifically misguided; it’s morally indefensible. We hope that the unelected officials making these decisions for tens of thousands of Coloradans will reconsider.”

The COGCC is scheduled to deliberate the proposed setback rule beginning on Thursday, September 24.

Colorado Cattlemen’s Association’s (CCA) mission is to serve as the state’s premier cattlemen’s association that serves as the principal voice and advocate for Colorado beef production. CCA accomplishes this through its vision of “advancing the legacy” of beef production for our members by ensuring a dynamic and profitable industry that provides growth and opportunity for future generations. CCA’s commitment lies within these core competencies: government affairs, issues management, communication and outreach, and member services and benefits.

By Brian Allmer - The BARN

Brian Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.