By Vincent Carroll – Denver Post Columnist
The Colorado State Land Board is set to approve a deal with ConocoPhillips next month that would boost state coffers by $137 million — and that’s just for starters.
The company would also pay the land board 20 percent in royalties once the lease at the old Lowry bombing range in Arapahoe County produces oil and gas, instead of the standard royalty of 16.7 percent.
In fact, board director Bill Ryan tells me, the overall lease is “far more restrictive than anything we’ve done before” — and perhaps “more restrictive than any other lease that’s been done in the state.”
The land board’s mandate, incidentally, is to generate income for public education.
So who would want to push back against this excellent news? Well, the sponsors of Senate Bill 107, which would add a host of regulations to hydraulic fracturing, that’s who.
Sen. Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora, has even taken to hyping the alleged dangers of drilling at the former bombing site. She told the Aurora Sentinel that “if not done exactly right, this could be dangerous,” while raising the specter of chemical contamination and potential gas leaks in groundwater, as well as traffic congestion.
“It’s too close to a major residential area and the property contains depleted uranium, unexploded munitions and a Superfund site,” she maintained.
Actually, Ryan tells me, the Superfund site is the Lowry landfill, which is about a mile away from the board’s property. But the depleted uranium and unexploded munitions sound scary, no? They shouldn’t.