Peter Shelton

The Gasman Cometh

Posted in Gas Pains, Watch columns by pshelton on January 13, 2012

The meek shall inherit the earth. But not the mineral rights.

Oilman and miser J. Paul Getty said that. He was the richest man in America in 1957 but famously had a pay phone installed in his own home.

The sentiment is truer than ever. The rush to develop natural gas wells across the country has resulted in fracking-induced earthquakes in Ohio, in poisoned water wells in Wyoming and now, in the words of BLM Uncompahgre Field Manager Barb Sharrow, the “firestorm” in Paonia. (more…)

Guilty of What Exactly?

Posted in Gas Pains, Watch columns by pshelton on March 12, 2011

So, Tim DeChristopher was found guilty last week of disrupting an oil and gas lease auction in Salt Lake City. (more…)

Yard Sale

Posted in Gas Pains, Watch columns by pshelton on October 17, 2009

In 2005 we learned that the mineral rights beneath our home were about to be sold to the highest bidder. I wrote this column after the auction at Bureau of Land Management headquarters in Denver.

Seven fifty-eight am. Bureau of Land Management State Office in Lakewood, Colorado. Two faded fiberglass Bambis cavort beside a closed-loop brook that emerges from behind the glass front doors. Inside, the brook burbles antiseptically. “They ought to put fish in there,” says a man in unscuffed cowboy boots. We’re early. Other bidders, some in western gear and some crossing their soft, Italian loafers, idle in line. In the awkward silence I flip a penny into the water, thinking about fountains and luck. It is the only foreign object, the only shiny thing in the dim hallway.

I am here at the quarterly BLM mineral lease auction to defend our Montrose County neighborhood. Or a portion of it, if I can. Three of the six property owners in our parcel have decided to pool what money we can afford and try to buy the lease ourselves. Try, in other words, to tie up the mineral rights for the ten-year life of the lease in order to prevent some oil-and-gas company from coming in and having its way with us. (more…)