Concern mounts on mineral lease rules |

Concern mounts on mineral lease rules

Moffat County officials continue to express concern about new rules for federal mineral leasing money they say will hurt the county and the city of Craig.

Under existing rules, the Colorado Department of Local Affairs gives money to local governments based on the amount of energy extracted from federal mineral leases within the county of origin.

Under new rules proposed by the department, the state would dole out money to all counties where energy industry employees live, based on the number of employees living there.

The new rules would mean more money for urban areas and less for rural counties and cities.

The changes will affect only the department’s “third-tier” mineral-leasing funds.

Last year, the department gave out about $2.7 million in third-tier funds. In all, it gave $88.2 million in mineral-leasing funds.

The city of Craig received $502,000 in third-tier money. Moffat County received $117,000 last year.

Moffat County commissioners on Tuesday will discuss and possibly sign a letter to Gov. Bill Owens expressing their concern about the new rules.

But County Attorney Kath-leen Taylor said commissioners could wait to sign the letter until after a Wednesday meeting in Denver of state and local officials and representatives from the Department of Local Affairs.

Moffat County isn’t the only local government concerned about the proposed changes to the mineral leasing rules.

The Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado, which represents local governments in the state’s northwest region, is leading opposition to the changes.

On Tuesday, commissioners also plan to discuss possibly closing Moffat County Road 14 for the winter.

The road is in the far western end of the county, near Dinosaur National Monument.

Brandon Johansson can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 213, or

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