The Colorado State Land Board manages 2.8 million surface acres and 4.0 million mineral estate acres of land granted in public trust by the federal government. The Land Board’s mission is to “produce reasonable and consistent income over time” in support of “public schools and other public institutions,” and “to provide sound stewardship of the state trust assets.” The State Land Board generates income through over 9,000 active leases. The Land Board is governed by a five-person Board of Commissioners, made up of citizen volunteers chosen by the Governor and confirmed by the state legislature. The current commissioners are Gary Butterworth, Barbara Bynum, Tyler Karney, Greg Moffet, and John M. Shaw. The Land Board halted three gas and oil leases for the South Park Basin after advocates and residents raised concerns over impacts on drinking water and local wildlife. The Land Board approved a controversial gravel extraction project, despite proximity to a wildlife preserve and concerns raised by farmers.
Notable Activities and Statements on Public Lands Policy
The Colorado State Board of Land Commissioners Halted Three Controversial Gas Tracts Due To Concerns Regarding Drinking Water and Local Wildlife
The Land Board Stopped Three Oil and Gas Leases for the South Park Basin After Advocates and Residents Said They Were Worried About Possible Effects. After advocate organizations, residents and other entities expressed concern over the possible effects of oil and gas development would have on wildlife and water quality, the commissioners on the Land Board “‘asked its staff to go back through the oil and gas auction list to ensure the Division of Wildlife didn’t have any additional stipulations to put on tracts as it related to specific wildlife habitat impacts.’” [Janice Kurbjun, “State Land Board pulls South Park Basin drilling leases,” Glenwood Springs Post Independent, 02/17/11]
The Colorado Land Board Signed Off on a Controversial Gravel Extraction Project Despite Proximity to A Wildlife Preserve and Concerns Raised by Farmers.
The State Land Board Signed Off On The Gravel Extraction Project Despite More than 560 Objections from Residents. In 2016, the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety recommended approval for a new 500-foot-deep pit to extract gravel that was located next to a 1,600-acre wildlife preserve. DMRS overrode a total of 568 objections submitted by residents. According to reports, “the State Land Board, which owned mineral rights to the gravel, signed off on this project in 2016 because of a mission that prioritizes generating revenues for schools.” [Bruce Finley, “A 239-acre gravel mine has been proposed next to a Colorado Springs wildlife preserve. A vote this week will show where the state’s priorities are,” The Denver Post, 04/25/18]
Arkansas River Valley Garlic and Chili Farmers Opposed the Gravel Mine. They argued that mining for gravel would destroy the prairie needed for pollinators, disturb production with dust and clog irrigation sprinklers with sediment. The farmers’ appeals were rejected by both the Colorado Land Board and Mining Board. [Bruce Finley, “State-backed gravel pit to fuel growth irks farmers,” The Denver Post, 03/05/17]