Letter to the Editor: County planning for oil and gas future

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Dear Editor:
The West Slope Colorado Oil & Gas Association counts Rio Blanco County among the most business and industry friendly places in Colorado. This fact is important because recent discoveries of natural gas in the Niabrara and Mancos Shales, on top of the already well known robust energy reserves in Rio Blanco County, means planning for the future starts today.

And that’s just what the Rio Blanco County commissioners have been doing.
The commissioners have been working hard to bring new broadband Internet to Rio Blanco County. The lack of high speed Internet has proven a major challenge to the energy industry in the past.
The county also recently engaged with our association to explore how together, we can work with members of Congress to ensure Rio Blanco County gets to keep more of the energy revenues it generates—currently being diverted away from local impacts and the communities that need revenues the most.
The county has worked hard to rebuke onerous new air regulations designed for Denver while preparing to support agriculture and business in the face of a sage grouse listing that would cripple the regional economy for good.
Most recently, the commissioners have opened a new discussion around oil and gas well fees and how the county might restructure drilling fee collection timelines in a manner that reduces initial-cost burdens on companies that want to drill in the area.
In an era of never-ending headlines about local officials seeking drilling bans and or fracking moratoriums on the Front Range, Rio Blanco County remains a bastion of constructive, proactive, pro-business officials who seek partnerships with industry.
Peter Ludlum
Rio Blanco County