Delta County recently went on record supporting the withdrawal of important public lands from future oil and gas development so they can be enjoyed and protected for their other uses and values. In addition, Delta County has expressed its intent to use its local authority over development to make sure the community has a voice in shaping how this activity proceeds where it does happen in the county, such as in the "lease exchange" area being sought by Texas-based SG Interests. Both these positions taken by Delta County are positive steps, taken to support more balance when it comes to how and where oil and gas development happens.
EnCana, another natural gas development company, and the town of Erie have recently entered into an agreement giving the local community more say in how activity occurs in their area. This shows that working with oil and gas companies is possible, especially when a community stands unified to make sure that it has a real voice in how, when, and where this activity occurs.
Delta County should be commended for making sure that this broader discussion is part of any conversation about and oil and gas "lease exchange" in the county. By proposing that the valley's critical public lands be removed from the threat of future leasing and by making sure that where leases exist, development proceeds only under strict oversight with strong best management practices, we could see a real win for the North Fork Valley.