CAMRO in the News
As a part of our mission to advance and advocate for mineral owner interests through education and outreach, CAMRO presents information that mineral owners may not have seen.
In “new era” of oil and gas regulation, Colorado communities waste no time writing own rules
May 6, 2019 by John Aguilar
Pro-industry forces watching closely for regulatory “overreach”
Less than three weeks after Gov. Jared Polis signed into law a sweeping bill giving cities and towns in Colorado new powers to regulate oil and gas drilling, communities sitting atop the state’s vast fossil fuel deposits are already looking at how to flex their newfound muscle.
There will also be pushback from those who own the underground energy deposits should they be denied access to their property through overregulation, said Neil Ray, president of the Colorado Alliance of Mineral and Royalty Owners.“If there’s a regulatory taking, it will be pursued,” Ray said. “This isn’t baking brownies here — this is serious money, these are serious property issues."
Aside from the courts and ballot initiatives, resistance to new oil and gas regulations could once again emerge in local elections. In 2017, pro-industry organization Vital for Colorado gave more than $325,000 to local campaign committees in Greeley, Broomfield, Thornton, Aurora and Loveland to help get business-friendly candidates elected.
Colorado land trust officials say oil drilling setback Prop 112 would cut public school funding
September 20, 2018 by Grant Stringer
A consortium of oil production rights proponents say they prompted the study, according to Colorado Alliance of Mineral and Royalty Owners President Neil Ray.
“(Prop 112) is so devastating to schools,” said Ray. “Industry and mineral owners are very much aligned on Prop 112.”
CAMRO represents about 180 families in Colorado aiming to protect their property or mineral rights, said Ray, which can be an income source when leased to oil and gas operators.
Ray said he is concerned that the Colorado Legislature would be unable to offset the lost revenue because of Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, which inhibits the state’s ability to raise taxes.
Initiative 97: Oil and gas setback proposal makes November ballot
August 29, 2018 by Marianne Goodland
"The Colorado Oil and Gas Association also weighed in Wednesday, stating the measure risks 147,800 good-paying jobs, “more than $1 billion in taxes for schools, parks and libraries, and our nation’s energy security.” Dan Haley of COGA said a “half-mile setback is a blatant attempt by activists to ban oil and natural gas in Colorado and put working families on the unemployment line.”
The Colorado Alliance of Mineral and Royalty Owners estimated that 85 percent of “non-federal land would be unavailable for new oil and gas development.”"
GUEST COLUMN: Initiative 97 would cut education funding
August 17, 2018 by Dana Svendsen
"As a lawyer, engineer, and mother, I care deeply about education. I am far from alone, of course. Education is a daily kitchen-table issue for families, a critical focus for the business community, and a top-tier issue for our elected officials and public servants.
There is room for debate over the best ways to provide high-quality and affordable K-12 and higher education in Colorado. There are disagreements over how to pay for it. But this much is clear: We cannot afford to take existing sources of education funding for granted.
One of those funding sources is oil and natural gas production, and recent data from the Colorado Association of Mineral Royalty Owners helps illustrate the critical role it plays."
Colorado oil and gas industry prepares for a battle at the ballot box as production booms
July 26, 2018 by John Herrik
"The Colorado Democratic Party is endorsing the ballot initiative. But Democratic leaders, including Gov. John Hickenlooper and U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, who is running for governor, oppose the measure. Opponents of the initiative say it would deprive a potential source of income from landowners with mineral rights.
Former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, an Alamosa native who was a guest speaker at the annual roundtable, said the initiative would be “unconstitutional.”
Salazar, who expanded national parks and wildlife refuges and championed utility-scale renewable energy projects while serving in the Obama Administration, is now a partner at a Denver law firm, WilmerHale, where he has represented Anadarko Petroleum Corp. The company owned the leaking pipeline that caused fatal Firestone explosion in April 2017."
Analysis: Measure would halt drilling on most private land in top oil, gas counties
July 8, 2018 by Dennis Webb
"Ninety-four percent of nonfederal land and 61 percent of total acreage would be off-limits to drilling and related activities in Colorado's five top counties for oil and gas development under a proposed citizen setback initiative, a state agency says.
Analysis by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission finds that locally, Initiative 97 would prevent oil and gas development on 99.8 percent of private lands in both Garfield and Rio Blanco counties, which rank second and fourth respectively statewide in oil and gas production.
But the measure's overall impact on the two counties would be far less because it wouldn't apply to federal land. It would prevent drilling on 37.7 percent of all lands in Garfield County, which has 62.2 percent federal land, and 26.6 percent of all lands in Rio Blanco County, which has 73.4 percent federal land, according to the analysis."
Oil and gas community says proposed ballot measure would ban fracking in Colorado
July 10, 2018 by Joe St. George
"The Colorado Alliance of Mineral and Royalty Owners issued this statement:
“It’s not just mineral owners who have a lot at stake if something like Initiative 97, which would enact 2,500-foot setbacks and eliminate oil and gas development on 85 percent of non-federal land, passes. All of Colorado should be deeply concerned about the impact the initiative would have on our communities and future workforce,” said Neil Ray, president of CAMRO. “Colorado’s schools would face extreme financial hardship. Our schools already have experienced budget cuts. Can they withstand additional hits financially? Our students deserve better.”"
Further in the Hole: Prospective Anti-Fracking Ballot Measure Could Strip Public School Funding
July 11, 2018 by Colorado Peak Politics
"Well, this has to be the strangest blue on blue violence we’ve seen in a while. The Colorado Alliance of Mineral and Royalty Owners (CAMRO) issued a press release today showing that Colorado’s public schools could “face extreme financial hardship” if Initiative 97, a potential ballot measure to expand drill site setbacks to 2,500 feet from occupied buildings, passes. So, which God to pray to, Democrats? Public schools or the environment?
Through a Colorado Open Records Act request, CAMRO uncovered the fact that since 1980, Colorado’s public schools have received more than $560 million in revenue from the Colorado Land Board’s interests in the Wattenberg Field alone. According to the way Initiative 97 is written, operating wells will still be able to produce, but new exploration within the setback areas will not be permitted, nor will operators be able to re-open capped wells in those areas. The ballot measure could prevent the state from taking advantage of new technology in oil and gas development."
Cruisin' for a Legal Bruisin': Erie Bans Fracking For Remainder of 2018
July 12, 2018 by Colorado Peak Politics
"Then, there is the cost to compensate mineral owners for the government preventing them from developing their property. A recent study published by the Colorado Alliance of Mineral and Royalty Owners, or CAMRO, found that banning oil and gas development could cost cities and counties billions. That would bankrupt local governments. That’s not what radical environmentalists are going for…is it?"
Oil and gas bans in Wattenberg Field could cost billions
June 29, 2018 by Neil Ray (CAMRO President)
"If passed, local control measures and upcoming ballot initiatives like Initiative 97 would put a stranglehold on mineral development here in Colorado. That not only poses a threat to our economy — a 2017 PricewaterhouseCoopers report found that the natural gas and oil industry in Colorado had an economic impact of $31.4 billion dollars in 2015 — it deprives mineral owners of their property rights. Even worse, governmental entities that ban oil and gas development, or engage in a de facto ban on oil and gas development like Boulder, could bankrupt their city, county or state. Mineral rights are the same as property rights and these entities could be on the hook for up to $26 billion in royalty compensation to mineral and royalty owners.
In Colorado, mineral rights carry as much weight as surface rights. A ban on mineral development would be akin to a homeowner being told that his or her home would be torn down to make way for a new highway with complete disregard for their property. Any person would be horrified by that situation, and we should be equally disturbed by similar restrictions on energy development."
Podcast: June 15, 2018
Neil Ray, president of CAMRO, joined Gail Fallon on her podcast, "Mornings with Gail," Friday morning to discuss the Netherland, Sewell & Associates evaluation on the fiscal impact if Initiative 97 passes.
On the 15 minute segment, Neil further explains where the estimates come from and addresses the arguments proponents of the initiative are stating in response to the study.
June 14, 2018 by Staff
"A study commissioned by the Colorado Alliance of Mineral and Royalty Owners (CAMRO) finds that implementing policies or ballot measures that would effectively ban oil and gas development in in one of Colorado’s most productive oil fields would strand a “staggering” $180 billion worth of resources and cost mineral rights owners as much as $26 billion.
“The biggest takeaway is the staggering dollar amount,” Colorado Alliance of Mineral and Royalty Owners (CAMRO) president, Neil Ray told Western Wire.
Initiative 97 is a proposed ballot measure that seeks to increase oil and gas operations setback requirements to 2,500 feet. The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), previously studied this back in 2016 when a similar ballot measure was looming."
Study Says Untapped Front Range Oil, Gas Worth Nearly $180 Billion, Blasts New Drilling Restrictions
June 13, 2018 by Matt Bloom
"An oil and gas advocacy group is warning Colorado taxpayers they could face billions of dollars in compensation claims if voters approve tough new restrictions on where wells can be drilled.
The Colorado Alliance of Mineral and Royalty Owners (CAMRO), which represents individuals and corporations that own oil and gas rights, wants to kill a proposal that would increase the minimum distance between new wells and occupied buildings to 2,500 feet. The current minimum is 500 feet.
The industry’s latest effort came June 12, when CAMRO released a commissioned cash-flow analysis of untapped minerals in Colorado’s Wattenberg Field. The study valued future oil and gas production at nearly $180 billion — $26 billion of which would come in royalties for private mineral owners alone."
June 15, 2018 by Staff
"The trade group Colorado Alliance of Mineral and Royalty Owners (CAMRO) says Colorado could be liable for $26 billion owed oil and gas rights owners if oil and natural gas drilling setbacks are increased by 500%.
That mind-boggling number was put forth as the environmental group Colorado Rising gathers signatures in support of its statewide ballot initiative that would place new restrictions on oil and gas drilling.
The ballot measure would increase the required minimum setback between occupied buildings and new wells to 2,500 feet from the current requirement of 500 feet, Kallanish Energy learns."
Royalty owners claim wider setbacks would cost them $26 billion
June 12, 2018 by Aldo Svaldi
"A statewide ballot initiative to widen the buffer between oil and gas drilling and development could cost $180 billion in lost petroleum production and $26 billion in lost royalties in northeastern Colorado alone, a group representing mineral rights owners said Tuesday.
Statewide Initiative 97 would require new wells to locate 2,500 feet or more from homes, schools and water sources, an expansion of the current buffer of 500 feet or 1,000 feet.
“That 2,500-foot setback would eliminate oil and gas production in the Wattenberg,” argued Neil Ray, president of Colorado Alliance of Mineral and Royalty Owners (CAMRO), which commissioned Netherland, Sewell & Associates, a petroleum consulting firm, to conduct the analysis.
As concentric circles are drawn around the areas where drilling would be off limits, including waterways, they would overlap and effectively leave no viable areas available to host well pads, Ray said."
Industry study claims Initiative 97 would cost Colorado billions; measure's proponents push back
Video by Denver 7: view the article here.
Oil and Gas Advocates Warn Taxpayers They Could Pay Up Later For Voting Against Drilling
June 12, 2018 by Associated Press
"An oil and gas advocacy group said Tuesday that Colorado has billions of dollars' worth of petroleum still in the ground, and warned that taxpayers could face huge compensation claims if voters ban drilling.
At least five oil and gas measures have been proposed for the statewide ballot this fall, although none appears to impose an outright drilling ban.
The admonition from the Colorado Alliance of Mineral and Royalty Owners (CAMRO) was a salvo in Colorado's latest skirmish over who should regulate the oil and gas industry, and how much.""Not only do these estimates represent a staggering value that could be taken without compensation from mineral owners by proposed ballot initiatives, but they represent funds taken from tax coffers that fund schools, roads and other community services that we all value," Neil Ray said, president of the royalty owners group.""
State and Local Governments in Colorado Could Owe Mineral Owners $26 Billion if Proposed Setback Initiatives or New Bans Pass
June 12, 2018 by Oil & Gas 360
"NSAI report puts estimate of lifetime EUR for the Wattenberg at nearly $180 billion Northern Colorado's Wattenberg field has been a prolific producer of oil and natural gas for decades. Like other basins, the area's production accelerated significantly when hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling came to the DJ Basin a dozen or so years ago.
But there are proposed ballot initiative petitions being circulated this summer and a court case awaiting final outcome in Colorado that could result in shutting out large areas of the state."
Colorado Alliance of Mineral and Royalty Owners say state could be on hook for $26 billion if oil and gas setbacks increase
June 12, 2018 by Luanne Kadlub
"As Colorado Rising gathers signatures in support of its statewide ballot initiative for 2,500-foot oil and gas setbacks, the Colorado Association of Mineral and Royalty Owners, which represents mineral rights owners in Colorado, is letting others know that such a setback is not in the best interest of the state. The current setback requirement is 500-feet.
The impact of Initiative 97, said Neil Ray, president of CAMRO, would be huge for Colorado's 600,000 mineral rights owners. The organization released a report on Tuesday that showed untapped minerals in Colorado's Wattenberg Field, which includes much of Weld County, could have an expected ultimate recovery of nearly $180 billion dollars over the life of the field. Royalties for mineral owners alone would come to $26 billion dollars."
CAMRO study shows Colorado Stands to lose $26 billion if bans on energy development pass
June 12, 2018
"DENVER – The Colorado Alliance of Mineral and Royalty Owners (CAMRO) released a report prepared by Netherland, Sewell, & Associates showing that untapped minerals in Colorado’s Wattenberg field could have an expected ultimate recovery of nearly $180 billion over the life of the field. Royalties for mineral owners alone would come to $26 billion. This means that the cities and counties in the Wattenberg field, or the State of Colorado, that enact bans on developing minerals in the Wattenberg field could be on the hook for over $26 billion from successful takings claims, or just compensation for the public use of private property."
“While we are not getting rich from our minerals, the extra funds each month were a God send in helping us care for our mother, who suffered from dementia. The peace and comfort we found from being able to provide our mom a safe and clean assisted living facility and, later, memory care facility was immeasurable. We would have experienced extreme financial and emotional hardship without the mineral rights that have been in our family for generations,” said Kathy Allen, a mineral owner who owns minerals in Weld, Yuma and Montezuma Counties. “When some suggest a ban on developing our minerals without compensation, it frightens our family because they are advocating for the property we have owned for generations to become worthless. If governments prevent mineral owners from developing our minerals, we will be forced to seek just compensation for their value.”
Colorado trade group report praises natural gas and oil industry
June 12, 2018 by Staff
"The natural gas and oil industry not only creates jobs and generates tax revenues in Colorado, but also has played a role in lowering energy costs as well as emissions from power plants, according to a report from an energy industry trade group.
“Colorado’s development of natural gas and oil provides very real economic opportunity, and it is essential to creating jobs and generating much-needed revenue for our government. The low energy costs that have resulted from increased development have also lowered energy costs for consumers and businesses,” said Tracee Bentley, executive director of the Colorado Petroleum Council."
Ballot Initiative Challenging Oil and Gas Industry Goes to Colorado Supreme Court
March 12, 2018 by Nora Olabi
“The Title Board should never have approved proposed initiative 97, as it violates the single-subject and clear title requirements," Ray says in a statement sent to Westword. "In addition, the refusal of the state of Colorado to attach an appropriate fiscal impact statement despite information available violates state statute. Beyond the obvious legal issues with this ill-conceived proposal, it would essentially eliminate natural gas and oil development in Colorado. That translates to the destruction of 140,000 jobs, elimination of $217 billion in economic activity over the next 15 years, and prevention of mineral owners from developing their minerals."
Courts ask regulators to tackle arguments over oil, gas royalties
Feb 11, 2018 By: DENNIS WEBB
Rulings by judges in Garfield County have resulted in Colorado oil and gas regulators being asked to resolve disputes between energy companies and mineral owners over royalty payments.
The rulings run counter to some others in Colorado, raising jurisdictional questions over whether the agency or courts should handle such disputes. Traditionally they've largely been dealt with in the courts, where in Garfield County thousands and sometimes millions of dollars have been awarded to mineral owners over the years in connection with claims of improper deductions taken by oil and gas companies in determining royalty payments.
"The issue is whether the Colorado Oil and Gas (Conservation) Commission should have primary jurisdiction over these royalty underpayment claims," said George Barton, a Kansas attorney handing numerous current claims in Garfield County against Antero Resources and Ursa Resources, which purchased Antero's Piceance Basin assets several years ago.
"We strongly believe that the commission does not have jurisdiction over the claims."
Ray generally supports Colorado’s strict drilling regulations, but he also worries about further regulation based less on science and more on fear. Ray sits on the board of Vital for Colorado, a group backed by the drilling industry that spent big on recent municipal races in Broomfield and Aurora and elsewhere.
Read more here here.
Back to the Drawing Board on Statutory Pooling
April 28th, 2017 By CAMRO President, Neil Ray:
As referenced in the movie “There Will Be Blood,” imagine if you were drinking a milkshake and someone grabbed a straw, put it in your drink, and started drinking, too. It would be shocking and elicit feelings of unfairness — but, that’s my milkshake, you would think. This is what statutory pooling — also known as “forced pooling” — protects against, with the milkshake being a mineral deposit like natural gas or oil.
Statutory pooling is a misunderstood concept in Colorado that helps protect property owners, especially mineral owners. Colorado’s pooling law affords the minority mineral interest owner certain protection that if they suspect that their minerals are being drained, they can request a hearing before the commission and, by proving the fact, force their way into a pooled unit.
Without statutory pooling, every tract owner would have the right to drill a well in order to offset drainage of their minerals by adjacent wells.
Leaders of a group representing owners of mineral and royalty rights in Colorado have bolted from their national organization, which plans a push to retain its members in the state.
The board of what was the Colorado chapter of the National Association of Royalty Owners (NARO) voted to separate and register with the state as the Colorado Alliance of Mineral and Royalty Owners (CAMRO).
“We didn’t feel like they (NARO) had enough horsepower to deal with the messaging required in the state of Colorado,” said Neil Ray, president of CAMRO.
January 1, 2017 by RockPick:A new organization has been formed to exclusively represent Colorado Mineral and Royalty Owners called CAMRO, Colorado Alliance of Mineral and Royalty Owners.
CAMRO was formed as a result of a long-running displeasure with the policies of the National board of the National Association of Royalty Owners. After trying to resolve their concerns with the national organization, the NARO-Colorado board voted to take the organization in a different direction and has amended and restated their articles of organization and filed them with the Colorado Secretary of State disassociating the NARO-Colorado chapter from NARO-National.
December 2, 2016 by David Ludlum
The Glenwood Springs Post Independent editorial board recently referenced the value of local drilling and natural gas production within the narrow confines of creating electricity. The region’s natural gas industry can win the debate over whether to drill or not by expanding this debate and disallowing narrow discussions about the fuels’ importance. Only speaking about natural gas in relation to creating electrons misleads the public about what natural gas is actually used for and why its foundational to democratic society.