Promoters of bans on oil and gas development through hydraulic fracturing (fracking) often depict their opponent as a “fracking company” from the “dirty energy industry.” Demonizing men and women of the oil and gas industry who produce the fuel powering life throughout the state is bad enough, however, there is another group of victims who are not even mentioned: Colorado mineral owners. This egregious omission is identified by The Washington Times.
Overlooked in Colorado’s fierce political battle over the booming practice of hydraulic fracturing are the state’s 600,000 mineral owners, many of whom depend on the royalties from oil and gas leases for their livelihoods.
All too often, the targets of potential bans are characterized abstractly as “Big Oil” or “Big Business,” as against referring to the individuals taking part in the production and consumption of oil, individuals such as Bob and Cristy Koeneke who were described in the Washington Times.
The Koeneke’s are wheat farmers who lease the mineral rights on their property to oil and gas producers. The royalties they receive from the leases enabled the retirees to put two sons through Colorado State University and keep up the family farming operation.
The anti-fracking activists are attacking the rights of the Koenekes and every other mineral owner that wants to make use of the oil or gas under their land, crippling their ability derive income from their property. Whether the mineral owner is a farmer, family, or a corporate shareholder, bans on fracking–a necessary technology in oil production–ban mineral owners from generating life sustaining values.