Wednesday, November 23, 2016

EDITORIAL: Obama cancellation of Colorado leases a ‘mockery’ of property rights

by Mesa County, Colorado Commissioner, Rose Pugliese

Last week, the Obama Administration canceled twenty-five of western Colorado’s natural gas leases, ten years after issuance. The lease cancellation announcement was made in a special fly-over Denver press conference...

...Mesa County’s comments were brazenly ignored by the Bureau of Land Management. To make matters worse, Secretary Jewel announced the lease cancellations with Governor Hickenlooper in Denver, rather than in western Colorado, where many of our economies and our jobs have continually suffered at the hands of the job-killing policies of the Obama Administration.

As a jurisdiction that is being impacted socially and economically by the action, we expect communication and accountability from the decision makers. Instead, the Commissioners learned about the press conference from constituents who contacted us; not from our federal and state “partners”.  Federal officials informed us that there was “no time” for a stakeholder meeting to discuss the effects of their actions on our constituents and their families.

As a Mesa County Commissioner, I swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States. I take that duty very seriously. The federal government, under the Obama Administration, made the confiscation of property rights a priority.

The taking of property rights has not been limited to oil and gas.  Ask Powderhorn Ski Resort when the Forest Service confiscated their water rights. Talk to farmers and ranchers about the Obama Administration trying to confiscate their water through the “Waters of the U.S.,” an insulting proposal that should be subsequently struck down by the courts.

Now, the natural gas producers of western Colorado, who invested millions of dollars in the Southern Piceance Basin and Roan Plateau, have had their contracts revoked arbitrarily and without regard to the long-term implications on the rule of law and property rights.

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