Oil and Gas

Landowners in the Chama Peak Land Alliance understand that oil and gas development is important economically and to supply the nation’s energy needs. Some landowners welcome the financial benefits of development. Other landowners are deeply concerned about the risks development poses to other natural resources and quality of life in their community. Everyone agrees, however, that energy development should be handled thoughtfully to minimize risks, maximize benefits, and allow residents who will be directly affected some input into the process. The Alliance therefore does not advocate for or against energy development but assists landowners and their communities in thoughtful planning and impact mitigation.

The Alliance is facilitating and supporting a collaborative response among landowners to a potentially major oil and gas development in the northern San Juan Basin. This area, including the Chama Basin and Navajo River Valley, is currently the focus of leasing and exploratory drilling efforts in the Mancos shale and Niobrara formations. Should these efforts be productive, the development will have profound impacts on local communities, public and private lands, wildlife, water resources and air quality. Many landowners welcome the financial benefits such development may provide but are concerned about these impacts. A coordinated response will empower landowners and their communities to insure that any development is done responsibly, utilizing best management practices and that measures are taken to protect the region’s wildlife and natural resources.

In early 2013, the Alliance witnessed the success of its efforts to build a strong private lands voice to ensure that oil and gas development is sensitive to the needs of private landowners and is conducted in an environmentally sensitive manner. We hope that our collaborative effort can serve as a model for other communities.

In July 2013, the Alliance formed a unique partnership with Archuleta County, Colorado, Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, Future West, and Groundtruth Geographics to conduct a community-based mapping process to identify critical community resources such as municipal water supplies, high-value recreation, wildlife, and agricultural production areas that may be impacted by energy development.

Resources for Landowners

Landowner Memorandum of Cooperation

Background Information

Health and the Environment

Conservation Easements

Oil and Gas Maps

Leasing and Surface Use


Citizen Alternatives and Community Mapping Examples