Feds Better Have My Money! HB-1249 Passes State Senate
DENVER – In an effort to ensure that the federal mitigation disbursements from the Anvil Points oil shale project begin flowing as soon as possible to impacted Western Slope counties, House Bill 1249 was passed through the Colorado State Senate today in a unanimous vote.
These funds were owed to the counties of Garfield, Rio Blanca, Moffat, and Mesa, stemming from federal oil shale activities on the Western Slope that date back nearly a century. A portion of these royalties were withheld by the federal government in order to fund the clean up of the Anvil Points Federal oil shale research site.
For a decade now, long after the clean up has been concluded, the federal government has held onto approximately $18 million of excess revenues from those royalties. But now, thanks to efforts by Colorado’s federal representatives and State Senators Ray Scott (R-Grand Junction) and Kevin Lundberg (R-Berthoud), that money will finally be reaching those counties.
“This has been an issue I’ve been focused on for nearly a decade,” said Senator Scott. “While I am excited to be able to see this issue finally reach resolve, I’m disappointed that these four counties were disregarded by the federal government for so long. Thankfully, we have some great people working 24/7 for the people of Colorado and we made it happen.”
While the federal government had announced the release of these funds by the end of March, 2018, HB-1249 was needed to ensure that the funds were properly allocated between the four counties, in accordance to the original royalty agreements. Garfield and Rio Blanca Counties will both receive approximately $7.2 million. Moffat and Mesa Counties will receive approximately $1.8 million.
“For these rural counties, every dollar matters, and that’s why I was very happy to see House Bill 1249 pass unanimously through the Senate this morning,” said Senator Lundberg, the Senate sponsor of the bill. “Ten years is too long, but hopefully these funds can finally go towards some pressing needs in these rural communities.”
House Bill 1249 now moves to the Governor’s desk for an anticipated signature.