US Department of the Interior Natural Resources Revenue Data

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Colorado

Land ownership

Natural resource extraction varies widely from state to state. In Colorado, extractive industries accounted for 3.2% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016.

Natural resource ownership in the U.S. is closely tied to land ownership. Land can be owned by citizens, corporations, Indian tribes or individuals, or governments (for instance, federal, state, or local governments). Much of the data on this site is limited to natural resource extraction on federal land, which represents 35.9% of all land in Colorado.

The state of Colorado chose to participate in an extended reporting process, so this page includes additional state revenue and disbursements data, as well as contextual information about state governance of natural resources.

Production

Energy production: The U.S. Energy Information Administration publishes a profile of energy production and usage in Colorado.

Nonenergy minerals: The U.S. Geological Survey publishes information about nonenergy mineral extraction in the USGS Minerals Yearbook for Colorado.

The Energy Information Administration collects data about all energy-related natural resources produced on federal, state, and privately owned land.

Data and documentation

Coal

12,634,136 tons of coal were produced in Colorado in 2016.

Hydroelectric

1,918,115 megawatt hours of hydroelectric energy were produced in Colorado in 2016.

Crude oil

115,897,000 barrels of crude oil were produced in Colorado in 2016.

Natural gas

1,701,735,000 mcf of natural gas were produced in Colorado in 2016.

Other biomass

86,293 megawatt hours of other biomass energy were produced in Colorado in 2016.

Solar

548,330 megawatt hours of solar energy were produced in Colorado in 2016.

Wind

9,425,327 megawatt hours of wind energy were produced in Colorado in 2016.

Wood-derived fuel

0 megawatt hours of wood-derived fuel energy were produced in Colorado in 2016.

The Office of Natural Resources Revenue collects detailed data about natural resource production on federal land in Colorado.

Data and documentation

Coal

5,608,162 tons of coal were produced on federal land in Colorado in 2017.

County production

Delta County Garfield County Gunnison County La Plata County Moffat County Rio Blanco County Routt County Delta County Garfield County Gunnison County La Plata County Moffat County Rio Blanco County Routt County
County production of coal in 2017 (tons)

Gas

652,892,991 mcf of gas were produced on federal land in Colorado in 2017.

County production

Adams County Arapahoe County Archuleta County Baca County Bent County Broomfield County Cheyenne County Delta County Dolores County Fremont County Garfield County Grand County Gunnison County Huerfano County Jackson County Kiowa County Kit Carson County La Plata County Larimer County Las Animas County Logan County Mesa County Moffat County Montezuma County Morgan County Phillips County Prowers County Rio Blanco County Routt County San Miguel County Washington County Weld County Yuma County Adams County Arapahoe County Archuleta County Baca County Bent County Broomfield County Cheyenne County Delta County Dolores County Fremont County Garfield County Grand County Gunnison County Huerfano County Jackson County Kiowa County Kit Carson County La Plata County Larimer County Las Animas County Logan County Mesa County Moffat County Montezuma County Morgan County Phillips County Prowers County Rio Blanco County Routt County San Miguel County Washington County Weld County Yuma County
County production of gas in 2017 (mcf)

Oil

5,217,941 barrels of oil were produced on federal land in Colorado in 2017.

County production

Adams County Arapahoe County Baca County Bent County Broomfield County Cheyenne County Delta County Dolores County Fremont County Garfield County Grand County Gunnison County Jackson County Kiowa County Kit Carson County La Plata County Larimer County Logan County Mesa County Moffat County Montezuma County Morgan County Rio Blanco County Routt County San Miguel County Washington County Weld County Adams County Arapahoe County Baca County Bent County Broomfield County Cheyenne County Delta County Dolores County Fremont County Garfield County Grand County Gunnison County Jackson County Kiowa County Kit Carson County La Plata County Larimer County Logan County Mesa County Moffat County Montezuma County Morgan County Rio Blanco County Routt County San Miguel County Washington County Weld County
County production of oil in 2017 (bbl)

Sodium Bi-Carbonate

0 tons of sodium bi-carbonate were produced on federal land in Colorado in 2017.

County production

Rio Blanco County Rio Blanco County
County production of sodium bi-carbonate in 2017 (tons)

The state of Colorado covers over 66.5 million acres. The state is the owner and steward of 2.8 million acres of land and 4 million acres of mineral rights. In total, it owns 4% of land in Colorado, making it the state’s second-largest landowner, just behind the federal government.

The state of Colorado does not publish data about natural resource production on state lands. To obtain this data, contact the Colorado State Land Board.

Revenue

Companies pay a wide range of fees, rates, and taxes to extract natural resources in the United States. What companies pay to federal, state, and local governments often depends on who owns the natural resources.

Natural resource extraction can lead to federal revenue in two ways: non-tax revenue and tax revenue. Revenue data on this site primarily includes non-tax revenue from extractive industry activities on federal land.

Data and documentation

Revenue from production on federal land by resource

When companies extract natural resources on federal lands and waters, they pay royalties, rents, bonuses, and other fees, much like they would to any landowner. This non-tax revenue is collected and reported by the Office of Natural Resources Revenue (ONRR).

For details about the laws and policies that govern how rights are awarded to companies and what they pay to extract natural resources on federal land: coal, oil and gas, renewable resources, and hardrock minerals.

The federal government collects different kinds of fees at each phase of natural resource extraction. This chart shows how much federal revenue was collected in Calendar year (CY) 2017 for production or potential production of natural resources on federal land in Colorado, broken down by phase of production.

Commodity 1. Securing rights 2. Before production 3. During production Other revenue
Oil and Gas
Oil & Gas
$121,416,205
$2,029,999 $1,733,850 Oil $26,770,326 Gas $66,158,190 NGL $23,295,019 $1,428,821
Coal
Coal
$33,405,552
$1,311,376 $169,464 $31,841,105 $83,607
Geothermal
Geothermal
$27,462
$0 $27,462 $0 $0
Other products
Carbon dioxide
$47,020,213
$0 $0 $47,020,213 $0
Sodium
$2,140,274
$0 ($9,700) $2,149,751 $223
Helium
$34
$0 $0 $34 $0
All commodities
All commodities
$204,009,740
$3,341,375 $1,921,076 $197,234,638 $1,512,651

Most non-tax revenue collected by ONRR comes from counties with significant natural resources on federal land.

Data and documentation

All commodities

Companies paid $204,009,740 to produce natural resources on federal land in Colorado in 2017.

Revenue collected by County

Adams Arapahoe Archuleta Baca Bent Broomfield Chaffee Cheyenne Crowley Custer Delta Dolores Douglas Eagle Elbert El Paso Fremont Garfield Grand Gunnison Huerfano Jackson Kiowa Kit Carson La Plata Larimer Las Animas Lincoln Logan Mesa Moffat Montezuma Montrose Morgan Ouray Park Phillips Pitkin Prowers Pueblo Rio Blanco Rio Grande Routt Saguache San Miguel Sedgwick Washington Weld Yuma Adams Arapahoe Archuleta Baca Bent Broomfield Chaffee Cheyenne Crowley Custer Delta Dolores Douglas Eagle Elbert El Paso Fremont Garfield Grand Gunnison Huerfano Jackson Kiowa Kit Carson La Plata Larimer Las Animas Lincoln Logan Mesa Moffat Montezuma Montrose Morgan Ouray Park Phillips Pitkin Prowers Pueblo Rio Blanco Rio Grande Routt Saguache San Miguel Sedgwick Washington Weld Yuma
County revenue in 2017

Federal tax revenue

Individuals and corporations (specifically C-corporations) pay income taxes to the IRS. The federal corporate income tax rate tops out at 21%. Public policy provisions, such as tax expenditures, can decrease corporate income tax and other revenue payments in order to promote other policy goals.

Learn more about revenue from extraction on all lands and waters.

State and local governments in Colorado collect or receive revenue from natural resource extraction on federal, state, and private lands.

Colorado revenue streams (2016)

In 2016, the state of Colorado collected $494,669,537 in state revenue from natural resource extraction (this includes both tax and non-tax revenue). Counties also collect and distribute their own revenue from natural resource extraction.

Download: Colorado revenue streams (PDF)

Revenue stream Amount collected
Total $494,669,537
$212,707,846
Ad valorem taxes are collected and distributed by counties. Ad valorem taxes are reported by Production Year in Colorado.
State Royalties (In-Scope Commodities) $108,279,122
Severance Tax $84,079,230
Federal Mineral Royalties and Rentals $78,156,492
Federal Coal Lease Bonuses $5,746,847
$5,700,000
A rate imposed on the market value of all oil and natural gas produced, saved, sold, or transported to address environmental response needs. This levy is directed to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC).

Revenue sustainability

In FY2016, natural resource revenue accounted for 0.89% of total revenue collected by the Colorado Department of Revenue. Colorado has a diverse set of revenue streams; however, the downturn of oil and gas markets in 2016 did have a substantial impact on certain government funds. The State Land Board, for example, saw its total trust revenue decrease by 28% due to a 35% decrease in mineral revenues.

Tax expenditures

Tax expenditure programs are policy instruments that reduce state and local revenue through changes to the tax code (for example, tax credits, exemptions, preferential tax rates, or deferrals of tax liability).

In FY2015, Colorado had 15 tax expenditures directly related to the extractive industries which reduced state and local revenue. Data on the exact revenue impact for all expenditures is largely unavailable due to confidentiality requirements or inability to collect that information, however, the Oil and Gas Ad Valorem Credit had an impact of $134,915,000. The Colorado Department of Revenue outlines tax expenditures in its annual Tax Profile and Expenditure Report (PDF).

Disbursements

After collecting revenue from natural resource extraction, the Office of Natural Resources Revenue distributes that money to different agencies, funds, and local governments for public use. This process is called “disbursement.”

Most federal revenue disbursements go into national funds. For detailed data about which expenditures and projects from those national funds are in Colorado, see nationwide federal disbursements.

ONRR also disburses some revenue from natural resource extraction to state governments. In 2017, ONRR disbursed $92,040,308 to Colorado.

Data and documentation

State agencies distribute revenue according to the Colorado State Code. In addition to receiving distributions from the state, counties also collect and distribute revenue from local taxes, chiefly property taxes. Weld County, for example, produces the most oil and gas in the state, and generates a significant portion of its property tax revenue from oil and gas. It then disburses this revenue to help fund local schools, fire departments, libraries, towns, and water districts, among other items. For more details on how Weld County disburses property tax revenue see the county’s distribution statements and treasurer reports.

Distribution of Colorado state revenues (2016)

In 2016, the state of Colorado distributed $494,669,537 in state revenue from natural resource extraction to state and local funds.

State fund Distribution
Total $494,669,537
Cities/Towns/Counties $212,715,820
Permanent School Trust $56,016,168
School Trust $51,586,211
State Public School Fund $37,745,734
Local Government Mineral Impact Fund $32,587,932
Local Government Severance Tax Fund $31,289,615
General Fund $20,000,000
Severance Tax Perpetual Base Fund $15,644,807
Severance Tax Perpetual Operational Fund $15,644,807
Colorado Water Conservation Board $7,814,852
Oil and Gas Conservation and Environmental Response Fund $5,700,000
Local Government Permanent Fund $2,873,423
Higher Education Maintenance and Reserve Fund $2,873,423
Innovative Energy Fund $1,500,000
CSU Trust $665,391
Public Buildings Trust $8,226
Internal Improvements (Colorado Parks and Wildlife) $3,126

Saving and spending revenue from extraction

Many states choose to establish permanent mineral trust funds, which can help governments dependent on revenue from natural resources smooth revenue and investments across boom and bust cycles.

Many states choose to establish permanent mineral trust funds, which can help governments smooth revenue and investments across boom and bust cycles. In FY2016, Colorado saved 28.05% of total state revenue from extractive activities. In a given year, most of Colorado’s saved extractive revenues goes to one of these funds:

  • Local Government Permanent Fund: Money in this fund cannot be used for any purpose except when the amount of Federal Mineral Lease revenue is 10% less than the amount received the previous year.
  • Higher Education Maintenance and Reserve Fund: The interest and income earned on this fund is used for maintenance projects controlled by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education’s Capital Improvements Program. The principal in this fund must remain unused unless General Fund revenue is projected to dip below the required 4% reserve.
  • School Trust Permanent Fund: Colorado created this fund at statehood. Interest generated on the principal must support K-12 education. Interest earnings of the fund are credited to the Public School Income Fund and transferred to the Colorado Department of Education.

See the Memorandum on Allocation of Severance Taxes (PDF) or Public School Permanent Fund Investment Policy (PDF) for more detail.

Economic impact

This data covers gross domestic product and two different types of jobs data.

To learn more about direct energy employment across all sectors of the U.S. economy, another useful resource is 2017 U.S. Energy and Employment Report from the Department of Energy. This report has a separate state-by-state analysis of energy employment.

Data about each state’s gross domestic product comes from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Data and documentation

GDP (dollars)

In 2016, extractive industries accounted for $10,321,000,000 or 3.2% of Colorado’s GDP.

Employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics describes the number of people who receive wages or salaries from companies.

Data and documentation

Extractive industry jobs

In 2016, there were jobs in the extractive industries in Colorado, and they accounted for <1% of statewide employment.

Extractive industry jobs by county

Adams County Arapahoe County Archuleta County Baca County Boulder County Broomfield County Chaffee County Cheyenne County Clear Creek County Conejos County Delta County Denver County Douglas County Eagle County El Paso County Fremont County Garfield County Grand County Gunnison County Huerfano County Jefferson County Kiowa County La Plata County Larimer County Las Animas County Logan County Mesa County Moffat County Montezuma County Montrose County Morgan County Ouray County Park County Pitkin County Pueblo County Rio Blanco County Routt County Teller County Washington County Weld County Yuma County Adams County Arapahoe County Archuleta County Baca County Boulder County Broomfield County Chaffee County Cheyenne County Clear Creek County Conejos County Delta County Denver County Douglas County Eagle County El Paso County Fremont County Garfield County Grand County Gunnison County Huerfano County Jefferson County Kiowa County La Plata County Larimer County Las Animas County Logan County Mesa County Moffat County Montezuma County Montrose County Morgan County Ouray County Park County Pitkin County Pueblo County Rio Blanco County Routt County Teller County Washington County Weld County Yuma County
County employment in extractive industries (jobs, 2016)

Wage and salary jobs by commodity

Jobs are categorized according to the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). To learn more about how we grouped those categories, see data and documentation.

Geothermal, hydroelectric, solar, and wind energy categories are limited to jobs directly related to electrical energy generation. To learn more about all energy-related employment, see the 2017 U.S. Energy and Employment Report from the Department of Energy.

oil and gas

In 2016, there were 19,075 oil and gas jobs in Colorado.

nonenergy mineral

In 2016, there were 2,829 nonenergy mineral jobs in Colorado.

coal

In 2016, there were 1,512 coal jobs in Colorado.

solar energy

In 2016, there were 199 solar energy jobs in Colorado.

wind energy

In 2016, there were 210 wind energy jobs in Colorado.

hydroelectric energy

In 2016, there were hydroelectric energy jobs in Colorado.

Self-employment data, from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, describes people who work in natural resource extraction, but don’t receive wages or salaries because they own their own companies.

Data and documentation

Self-employment

In 2016, there were self-employed people working in the extractive industries in Colorado.

The U.S. Census Bureau collects information about the top 25 exports in each state. In 2015, one or more natural resources ranked among the top 25 exports from Colorado.

Data and documentation

Other nonenergy minerals

$120,020,000 worth of other nonenergy minerals was exported from Colorado in 2015.

State governance

The state of Colorado participated in additional reporting about state and local natural resource governance, revenues, and disbursements.

State agencies

The state of Colorado regulates an array of activities related to natural resource extraction and interacts with the extractive industries, especially when the activity is occurring on state or private land.

The Colorado Department of Revenue collects, manages, and distributes revenue from companies engaged in extraction in Colorado. It publishes annual summary , expenditure (PDF), and severance tax reports. Additionally, county governments collect oil and gas related property taxes, with the Colorado Department of Local AffairsDivision of Property Taxation coordinating this process.

The Colorado Department of Natural Resources manages the state’s natural resources and administers state trust lands.

  • The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission ensures that oil and gas wells and operations comply with state law. It is involved in all stages of extraction—issuing exploration permits, auctioning leases, addressing incidents/complaints, enforcing rules and regulations, collecting levies, etc. The commission is governed by rules and regulations, runs a data portal, and publishes reports.
  • The Division of Reclamation, Mining, and Safety works to protect the public, miners, and the environment during current mining operations. It holds responsibility for restoring abandoned mines and ensuring that all mined land is reclaimed to beneficial use. It works to achieve these goals through four major programs: coal regulatory program, minerals regulatory program, inactive mine reclamation program, and mine safety and training program. The commission is governed by rules and regulations and publishes data and reports

The [Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment](https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe (CDPHE) plays a role in regulating oil and gas operations. CDPHE deals primarily with:

State laws and regulations

The Colorado Constitution includes Article XVI on Mining and Irrigation, which outlines laws regulating the safety and environmental implications of extraction as well as the organizational structure charged with overseeing extractive activities.

The Code of Colorado Regulations also has several sections that govern natural resource extraction, including:

  • Practice and Procedure (PDF) (2 CCR 404-1) outlines rules and regulations to prevent waste and conserve oil and gas in the state of Colorado, while protecting public health, safety, welfare, including the environment and wildlife resources
  • Hard Rock Metal Mining (PDF) (2 CCR 407-1) includes general provisions and requirements regarding the permit process
  • Regulations for Coal Mining (PDF) (2CCR 407-2) establishes the provision known as the Colorado Surface Coal Mining Reclamation Act
  • Control of Hazardous Air Pollutants (PDF) (5 CCR 1001-10) regulates all new sources of air pollution and all modified or reconstructed sources of air pollution, including those generated by the extraction industry
  • Storage Tank Regulations (PDF) (7 CCR 1101-14) outlines rules for the design, installation, registration, construction and operation of storage tanks used to store regulated substances (including petroleum)
  • Rules Regarding Electric Utilities (PDF) (4 CCR 723-3) describes the specific provisions applicable to public utilities, includes specific regulations related to renewable energy, and recognizes that is it in the best interest of the public to utilize and develop renewable energy resources

Fiscal costs of extractive activity

In addition to generating revenue and economic activity, extractive industries can also bring certain costs to state and local communities. In Colorado, these are concentrated in a few areas due to the fact that nearly all production occurs in just six counties: Weld, Garfield, La Plata, Adams, Rio Blanco, and Jackson. Attention to and analysis of costs is, therefore, focused on these areas.

Transportation costs

Extractive activities have resulted in not only more traffic on Colorado roads and highways, but also greater loads on the state’s transportation infrastructure. In certain areas, such as Highway 85C between Fort Lupton and Platteville, traffic has increased by 58.72% over a five year period due to oil and gas development. Additionally, according to a Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) study, the load impact of trucks used in extraction can be as much as 15,000 to 46,000 times that of a passenger car. Oil and gas loads are estimated to be 3-10% of total loads on the Colorado highway system.

According to CDOT, the estimated cost to offset the impact of the oil and gas extraction on state roads and highways ranges from $10 to $30 million, which is up to 13% of the CDOT’s annual surface treatment budget. To read more, see the CDOT study Oil and Gas Impacts on Transportation (PDF).

Water costs

Increased extraction can put added demand on both water supplies and water infrastructure in communities. This can lead to increased rates and the need for infrastructure investments. Oil and gas extraction in Colorado reported using approximately 6.7 billion gallons of water from 2011-2013. Additionally, COGCC found that extractive activities produced 304,451,972 BBL of water in 2016, 0.006% of which was spilled.

In addition to water use and production, the environmental and engineering staff of the COGCC also monitor and assess water quality in Colorado. Currently, they are investigating 22 instances of Thermogenic stray gas impacts in domestic water wells in the Denver-Julesberg basin. Additionally, the state, through the Department of Public Health and Environment, also has multiple large remediation obligations related to the extractive industry, including a total of: $57 million at Summerville Mine operating a water treatment plant, $64.8 million at Clear Creek Basin cleaning up metal mine contaminated surface water, and $5.5 million at Captain Jack Mill addressing mine waste piles and drainage. See Colorado’s Comprehensive Annual Report to read more about the state’s remediation obligations.

Emergency services

The increased population that often corresponds with increased extraction can place greater demands on the emergency medical, fire, and police services of the state, counties, and towns.

Notably, a study conducted on the extractive industry in Weld County found a 163% increase in large truck crashes and a 64% increase in fatal crashes between 2000 and 2014 (a time of major growth in active wells in the area). Additionally, increased extractive activity has also led to increased oil and gas fires and explosions. Though the exact number of such incidents is not published by the government, general incidents and complaints can be searched through the Colorado Oil and Gas Information System. Additionally, a study conducted in 2005 found 32 incidents of active coal mine fires.

Reclamation costs

Multiple organizations in the Colorado state government work on the reclamation and remediation of sites related to extraction.

The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission oversees spill incidents associated with oil and gas exploration and production related activities. The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment’s Division of Oil and Public Safety oversees cleanup of petroleum released from regulated underground storage tanks. Finally, the Colorado Department of Transportation oversees spill incidents within Colorado highways and beyond.

Colorado has not been “certified” by the federal Abandoned Mine Land (AML) Reclamation program, meaning that it has remaining high-priority abandoned coal mine areas. Reclamation efforts in Colorado are led by the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining, and Safety (DRMS) which works to reclaim abandoned and inactive mines. DRMS has reclaimed 6,127 of the estimated 23,000 abandoned mines in Colorado. In 2017, Colorado received $2,793,000 from the federal AML Program, sourced from fees paid by coal mine operators, in line with the historic annual average. The average cost for closing a hazardous abandoned mine feature is $5,000. An overview of DRMS’ history and work can be found here.

Colorado currently has $75.3 million in unfunded abandoned mine land areas in need of reclamation. Priority 1 abandoned mine land (AML) areas, the highest priority, account for $41.5 million (or 55.2%) of those unfunded costs. Priority 1 AML areas are those that are necessary to reclaim in order to protect public health, safety, and property from extreme danger of adverse effects of coal mining practices pre-1977. This can include restoration of land, water, and/or the environment.

As of June 2017, $4.2 million in reclamation work was underway and $63.2 million had been completed across the three priority types.