Two Democrats in the Colorado House of Representatives have introduced a bill to make it harder for oil and gas companies to force reluctant owners to lease mineral rights.

Under Colorado laws that date to 1951, if one owner in an area targeted for oil and gas development agrees to lease minerals under the owner's land to an energy company, owners in that area who haven’t signed or refuse to sign a lease can be “force pooled” into the group.

It's a controversial process that requires the company to file an application with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC). If the owner contests the application, the COGCC will hold a hearing to determine of the lease offer was reasonable, defined as whether or not it's comparable to other lease offers in the area being force-pooled.

The maneuver is intended to prevent a single owner from blocking development of oil and gas resources.

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