Photo: A street-view of fracking equipment obstructing the view of historic Cutler Hall (built 1880)
The abstract discussion of fracking has taken on real meaning at Colorado College. Although it may not be immediately intuitive, land ownership and rights to a particular tract of land can be owned separately from the minerals underneath. This recently came as a surprise to Colorado College when they learned that they are not the owner of the minerals underneath the Colorado Springs campus.
CC President Jill Tiefenthaler was caught by surprise when papers were filed in El Paso County to begin drilling and fracking operations on the CC Campus. Local oilman, K. J. ‘Kip’ Snyder, owner of the mineral rights, filed the county application.
Oilman Snyder sees the CC tract as a huge opportunity for oil & gas exploration – starting with the Cutler Hall tract.
Student response at the liberal arts college has been uniform, swift and negative.
“My reaction?”, said student Stu Bentley. “I was sick to my stomach. We called an emergency meeting at the Starbucks on College Avenue.”
Libby Francis and Serena O’Neil, both from San Diego, have initiated ‘group thought circles’ at their dorms because the idea of actual hydrocarbons on campus are so distressing. “Sure our BMW’s use gasoline but our dad’s are giving us Teslas when we graduate!”
Mimi Davies, an art major from Dallas, Texas is making ceramic figurines of choking long-horned sheep. She is getting the word out on Twitter and Instagram.
Based on Colorado mineral rights law, there is little Colorado College can do to stop the work. Still, CC President Tiefenthaler and wildcatter Snyder are said to be in discussions.