Separating mineral rights, surface rights is immoral


To the Editor:

Regarding the mineral rights Moffat County and the Museum of Northwest Colorado own. Nearly every acre of these minerals are underneath land that individuals and families own and rely upon for their livelihood.

These people will suffer extreme adverse impacts from oil and gas development and there is no provision for their just compensation. It was immoral for the county to separate these minerals from the surface owners during The Great Depression and it is still immoral to continue this.

These mineral rights should be sold back to the surface owners or else Moffat County and the museum should buy the surface lands. Let the true cost of mineral extraction be born by those who benefit from it.

If Moffat County goes down the road of managing and leasing those mineral rights, it will take a bureaucracy and budget similar to the BLM. Does the county really want that?

Furthermore, all sources of mineral income Moffat County receives should be considered as a sale of a capital asset and be put into a trust fund as an endowment to the present and future generations. Then spend only the interest received from this trust.

There is one thing that should be locked in the museum though, and that is this county's nineteenth century extraction mentality.


Wes McStay

Moffat County resident

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