Energy policy — oil shale: Opponents of Shell’s 2008 filing on the Yampa organizing

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Here’s an update on opposition to Shell’s filing for a diversion from the Yampa River, from Brandon Gee writing for the Steamboat Pilot & Today. From the article:

Routt County, the Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District and the towns of Oak Creek and Yampa will pool their resources in opposing Shell Oil’s application to take 375 cubic feet of water per second from the Yampa River west of Craig.

The Routt County Board of Commissioners approved the “common interest agreement” Tuesday. The others also are ex pected to approve the agreement if they haven’t already, County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said. The entities are among 25 groups that have logged oppositions against the application filed by Shell Frontier Oil and Gas in water court in Steamboat Springs in late December 2008.

The agreement will allow the agencies to share confidential information and attorney work product “in a way that has been recognized by the courts as protected,” Routt County Attorney John Merrill said…

Routt County, the Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District and the towns of Oak Creek and Yampa will pool their resources in opposing Shell Oil’s application to take 375 cubic feet of water per second from the Yampa River west of Craig.

The Routt County Board of Commissioners approved the “common interest agreement” Tuesday. The others also are ex pected to approve the agreement if they haven’t already, County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said. The entities are among 25 groups that have logged oppositions against the application filed by Shell Frontier Oil and Gas in water court in Steamboat Springs in late December 2008.

The agreement will allow the agencies to share confidential information and attorney work product “in a way that has been recognized by the courts as protected,” Routt County Attorney John Merrill said…

Shell spokesman Tracy Boyd said,“I think, given the choices, we’d prefer to have it referred to someone else in a referee function rather than go to trial.” “Generally speaking, we’d rather work with interested parties rather than work with a trial scenario. … We’re more interested in contacting all the entities and getting a better understanding of what their concerns are.”[…]

Light noted that there is no designated alternate referee and said she expects O’Hara to serve in that role. She also expects O’Hara to schedule a status conference with Shell and its opponents in the next 30 to 60 days. “The entire case is before him now,” Light said. “It’s exactly the same process, except Judge O’Hara is doing everything.”

The 25 statements of opposition enumerate a number of different concerns with Shell’s request. The city of Steamboat Springs argues that its water rights in the Yampa River Basin “may be adversely impacted if the subject application is granted without adequate protective terms and conditions.”[…]

In its statement, Routt County argues that, if approved, the diversion seriously would hinder the development of water resources for the unincorporated South Routt County community of Phippsburg, whose public water system is operated by the county. The county also states the diversion would impair the development of water resources for agricultural uses and would have a serious negative impact on its ability to finance and develop future water projects.

Across the board, statements of opposition also say that Shell has yet to prove its need for the water, that the claimed rights are not speculative, and the feasibility of its project, which includes a 45,000-acre-foot reservoir…

Some of the most strongly worded statements come from Steamboat attorney Tom Sharp on behalf of the Mount Werner and Morrison Creek Metro politan water and sanitation districts. In the statements, Sharp alleges outright that the application is “based upon the speculative sale or transfer” of the rights and that the water re­quested is excessive and wasteful.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

2 thoughts on “Energy policy — oil shale: Opponents of Shell’s 2008 filing on the Yampa organizing

  1. Hello,

    I have read so much about the opposition to Shell Frontier’s proposal, filed in Steamboat Dec 2008, but I have not been able to track down Shell’s actual proposal. Can you direct me to it, or send me the site? I have even been on Shell’s site searching for it. I would really like to read it.

    Thanks!
    M LeClair

    • Molly,

      Shell has leased exploratory property from the BLM. They did a pilot project a short while back. They’re pretty tightlipped about their processes. Check out the links here and here.

      John Orr

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