Scott Bill to Support Rural Colorado Gets Unanimous Senate Approval

DENVER—Today, the Senate approved Senator Ray Scott's (R-Grand Junction) bill to encourage economic growth through increased investment in rural Colorado.

House Bill 17-1152 allows federal mineral lease districts (FML districts) to invest up to 50 percent of their funding received from the Department of Local Affairs.

Under current law all funding received by FML districts must be immediately distributed or saved, HB 1152 allows districts to invest the money in order to increase the return on investment for impacted areas.

Under the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920, the federal government may lease public lands for the responsible production of minerals and other natural resources but must pay impacted areas a percentage of the royalties. 

About 71 percent of land in Mesa County is publicly owned with an abundant store of oil, gas, and other minerals. 

HB 1152 allows impacted areas like Mesa County to invest the royalties in a way that is beneficial to the communities affected.

"These communities should invest their earnings how they see fit, that's commonsense," said Scott. "Rural Colorado is hurting, and our natural resources and mineral rights are one of our most profitable resources to cushion the economic blow we've suffered. Investing the royalties to return a greater amount of funding directly to our impacted communities could help fund new roads, schools, and any other top priorities that deserve the attention of our local governments." 

HB 1152 will be heard once more on the Senate floor before continuing to the governor's desk for approval.


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