By Kristin Espeland
Laramie, WY – A group of Colorado citizens plans to put a measure on the ballot this Fall that would strengthen their state's landowners' rights when energy developers own the minerals below their land. That situation is called a "split estate" and while Wyoming has passed legislation to help landowners and energy developers settle disputes, Colorado has not. Initiative for Surface Owners Rights spokesman John Gorman says the ballot measure is just 25 words and asks that energy developers pay surface landowners a fair price for any damage. The issue is still alive in Wyoming. Recently two groups filed a petition asking the Bureau of Land Management to raise the amount of money it asks oil and gas companies to put up before they begin drilling.