On April 29, Colorado Farm Bureau President Don Shawcroft testified in front of the Senate State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee on HB 1269.
Shawcroft said, “Farm Bureau’s first and foremost concern is the provision in the bill that changes the definition of waste. This change would devalue a mineral right if COGCC regulation prevents the resource from being developed. This change, which is contrary to our state’s very core belief in the recognition of mineral rights as property, will have a tremendous impact on mineral property rights as it reverses the very basis of access, devaluing the mineral owner’s property right without any compensation.”
He continued, “The claim that the current language in the bill puts waste and protection of the environment on an even playing field is false. The bill says that waste cannot supersede environmental protection – it does not say that environmental protection can’t supersede waste.”
The next part of his testimony focused on the bill will change the mission of the COGCC. “Colorado Farm Bureau is also concerned with how the bill changes the mission of the COGCC. Currently, the Commission has a balanced focus between the responsible development of the natural resources in the state and protection of the public health, environment and wildlife. A balancing act that they do quite well, I might add. The removal of this balance and directing the COGCC to focus solely on protecting the environment ignores the major compromise that was made five years ago and would severely impact a property owner’s ability to access their property,” he said.
He ended his testimony with an explanation of how this will affect those in Colorado. “HB-1269 flies in the face of the traditions, beliefs and history of property rights in Colorado. As sure as the sun sets in the west, I, and my family, will continue to farm, providing the food, fiber and fuel for the citizens of Colorado; mineral rights just might be the lifeline we need to stay doing the business we love,” said Shawcroft.