Legal process could take a year or more at Colorado high court

The Colorado Alliance of Mineral and Royalty Owners (CAMRO) has filed an amicus curiae brief discussing how the desired changes sought out in the Martinez case would affect royalty owners in Colorado.

In April the Colorado high court accepted the CAMRO amicus brief.

“I am pleased to let you know that the Colorado Supreme Court has recognized CAMRO as an amicus party in the Martinez matter, and that the CAMRO brief – along with several others in support of the Commission – was accepted as filed,” CAMRO President Neil Ray said in a statement to members.

“It will be a number of months before things go forward as the Respondents now will have the opportunity to file a response, and then oral argument will be set.  Only after that occurs will an opinion be rendered.  It still could be a year or more before a final ruling, although for now, CAMRO’s work, on this case at least, is done as amicus typically do not file response briefs (only by leave of the Court),” Ray said in the statement.

Ray said this is the first time CAMRO has weighed in on a Supreme Court case, “and I have appreciated the opportunity to work with you all to make this happen.”

CAMRO represents 1/3 of producing Colorado wells

CAMRO represents the interests of mineral and royalty owners in Colorado. The group has more than 150 families as members, “representing over one-third of the producing wells in Colorado,” the group says on its website.

CAMRO says its members comprise a unique segment of the population who own the real property interest in the mineral estate directly impacted by the oil and gas regulation.

“Members include individuals from all walks of life, from individual farmers and ranchers to family trusts and small operators,” CAMRO said in its amicus brief.

“CAMRO members often own both the mineral estate and the surface estate, and are perhaps citizens most intimately aware of the legitimate, albeit often competing, interests between surface and mineral ownership.”

CAMRO’S argument on behalf of the COGCC interpretation

In summarizing its argument in the brief, CAMRO said the following:

”CAMRO believes the Commission correctly interpreted its statutory authority to deny the rulemaking petition, appropriately taking into account the statutory language, including the articulated legislative purpose of the Act, as amended.

“The strained interpretation advanced by the Court of Appeals contravenes the Act’s plain language, and if implemented would far exceed overturning a rulemaking decision, fundamentally shifting the direction of the Commission’s administration of the Act.

“The potential for an abrupt, and unexpected, change in Commission regulatory focus has created significant uncertainty for all mineral interest owners in our State.

“Moreover, if the Martinez decision stands, implementation of the Act based on the Appeals’ Court interpretation risks regulatory taking of CAMRO members’ valuable real property rights, an issue critically important to CAMRO that also could also have far reaching monetary impacts should such takings occur.”

View the Amicus Brief prepared by attorney, Cindy Bargell: Colorado Alliance of Mineral and Royalty Owners Amicus Curiae Brief 4-2-2018.pdf.

View the Order of Court letter accepting the brief: ORDER OF COURT Accepting CAMRO Amicus Brief 4-11-2018.pdf.

See additional reporting and background on the Martinez case here.

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