OURAY COUNTY – The Ridgway-Ouray Community Council will present the Emmy Award-winning documentary Split Estate Thursday, April 11 at the Wright Opera House at 7 p.m.
Colorado native Debra Anderson began shooting Split Estate in 2006. The film investigates an under-regulated industry’s devastating effects on citizens in the path of a gas and oil-drilling boom in the Rocky Mountain West. It exposes the growing environmental and social costs to western communities such as Garfield County, Colo. (including Parachute, Rifle, Silt, Glenwood Springs). The filmmakers show how drilling in the region has eroded its residents’ civil liberties, landscape and health.
The film title refers to the common situation in which the land’s surface is privately owned, while the mineral rights below are held by someone else, or the federal government.
Bill Richardson, former governor of New Mexico, has called the film “an eye-opening examination of the consequences and conflicts that can arise between surface landowners…. and those who own and extract the energy below.”
Following the movie, Western Colorado Congress Director of Organizing Frank Smith will discuss the status of Colorado’s regulations over gas and oil development. He will address those regulations’ inadequacies in protecting homeowners and ongoing citizen efforts to improve energy policy and, if time permits, answer questions.
ROCC’s objective in staging this event is to raise public awareness of the potential for oil and gas drilling in Ouray County and the impact a poorly regulated industry would have on the environment and property owners, said Al Lowande, ROCC’s representative to WCC.
“We hope that awareness will start the discussion among county residents and leaders as to how we can be proactive in protecting our communities,” he said. “We are not against oil and gas drilling, but want to insist that it be done right, with adequate safeguards for human health, water and air quality, and our property values.”
Admission to the showing of Split Estate is free, with donations to defray expenses appreciated. The Wright’s bar will be open.
Split Estate is a presentation of Red Rock Pictures, a production company dedicated to the creation of documentaries that explore deeply felt human stories about the environment, energy and human rights.
ROCC is a nonprofit community organization whose mission is to build, nourish and protect the healthy spirit of our community. ROCC is dedicated to quality of life issues that will help shape the future of Ouray County.