Industry Comments on BLM’s Retroactive Cancelation of Natural Gas Leases in Western Colorado

July 29, 2016

DENVER - Today, the Bureau of Land Management canceled 25 natural gas leases in the White River National Forest after the U.S Geological Survey noted the Piceance Basin is among the largest natural gas reserves in the county.

In addition to the cancelations, the agency rendered dozens more leases undevelopable through retroactive regulations imposed a decade after the leases were issued. Owned by the American public, and operated by energy companies doing business in western Colorado, these retroactively canceled natural gas lease agreements have been under contract for more than 10 years.

“Property right protections afforded by the U.S. Constitution are what makes American different from most nations in the world whose rule of law is merely a reflection of whims and mob mentalities,” said David Ludlam, executive director, West Slope Colorado Oil & Gas Association. “The decision to cancel natural gas leases retroactively is beneath the U.S. government. It’s in our collective best interest to continue challenging the decision to demonstrate our belief in the value of fairness and protection under the law.

“While additional administrative appeals are important and necessary, we continue viewing the legal and justice system as the best hope for ultimately restoring confidence in the integrity of BLM and their willingness to honor their commitments. WSCOGA will continue working with fellow trade associations and members to do all we can to right this precedent setting wrong perpetrated by an elite few against the mineral interests and energy resources owned by an entire nation.”

“Withdrawing leases over ten years after they were sold and paid for represents a gross violation of contracts between the federal government and the companies,” said Kathleen Sgamma, vice president of government and public affairs at Western Energy Alliance. “By rewriting history and ignoring basic legal tenets, BLM is sowing further doubt in the federal onshore program and accelerating the drive off federal lands not just in Colorado but across the West.  Companies are getting the message loudly and clearly that the federal government cannot be trusted to honor contracts and property rights.”