Coalition offers $2.5 million to prevent drilling
A group trying to stop oil and gas development on 220,000 acres west of Carbondale is offering energy companies about $2.5 million to cover their direct investments in undeveloped leases.
The Thompson Divide Coalition today said the offer is part of a proposed settlement that calls for federal legislation to retire 43 leases and protect the larger area from energy development.
“We believe this is a reasonable proposition,” Chuck Ogilby, the group’s president, said in a news release. “It acknowledges the investments these companies have made, and gives them a way to support an initiative that has broad community support.”
The offer is being made to SG Interests, Encana Oil & Gas (USA), Antero Resources and other companies.
The offer is based on estimated direct costs involved, including for acquiring the leases and paying rent on them. The coalition proposes being given 120 days to raise the money.
Robbie Guinn of SG Interests, a large leaseholder in the area in question, could not immediately be reached for comment. He previously has said his company would sell its leases for the right price but thinks they have huge potential for oil and gas production, and he doubted the coalition could afford to buy them.