The Colorado State Land Board, which is the second largest land manager in Colorado, derives 80% of its revenue from fracking and oil and gas lease sales. We believe the State Land Board needs to re-envision its mandate in order to move to a carbon-free future. The State Land Board recently announced a 29,000 acre oil and gas sale for May, which they approved at today’s Land Board hearing. 350 Colorado members were there speaking out against this sale, and calling for a more rapid transition away from oil and gas development in our state. Additionally, our community sent over 300 letter to the State Land Board since Monday calling for change.

On one hand, our leaders have stated goals to move us toward reducing our GHG emissions and transition away from carbon intense energy sources, and on the other hand a “business as usual” approach prevails under the leadership of Governor Polis and others. Our concerns include lack of inspectors and adequate inspections on fracking operations, the issue of plugged and abandoned wells, and a need to re-envision their mandate in order to move to a carbon-free future.

The SLB has over 1,200 active oil and gas leases covering approximately 574,000 acres of mineral estate. These leases resulted in approximately $1 billion earned for trust beneficiaries, most notably Colorado schools, in the past decade. However, this revenue stream for Colorado schools is not sustainable in the long term and is not reflective of the need to rapidly transition away from fossil fuels.

That’s why we are calling on the Colorado State Land Board for a new mandate to move toward a carbon free future. We believe the Colorado State Land Board needs to take greater leadership toward Colorado’s clean energy future.

Nambe Barela, who is 20 years old and who interns with 350 Colorado had the following to say to State Land Board leaders today:

I’m asking the State Land Board to defer the May 2020 Oil and Gas Lease Auction. It does not make sense to to carry on with this sale at this time, given the fact that we are in the midst of two global health emergencies:
Firstly, COVID-19, which as you know is a respiratory pandemic that would only be worsened by the process of fossil fuel extraction.
Secondly, we are dealing with a climate crisis which demands a rapid and immediate transition from oil and gas, if we are to meet the State’s emission goals, defined in its Climate Action Plan.
I am 20 years old. If we continue along the path we always have, the Earth’s temperature will increase by 5.4° C in my lifetime- well above the 2°C agreed upon at the Paris climate agreement. Now’s the time to act.
I hope you will take this comment into consideration and thank you.
Want to take action? Send a letter to the Colorado State Land Board now, along with Governor Polis and the head of the Department of Natural Resources (which oversees the SLB), urging them to take greater and swifter leadership toward Colorado’s clean energy future. It is time to stop jeopardizing the health and safety of the environment and our communities, and to properly protect Colorado’s public lands for generations to come.