New Report: Economic Impact of Natural Gas Development on Delta County

Citizens for a Healthy Community has published the first economic study on the North Fork Valley, with a particular focus on the impact of oil and gas development. The general argument in favor of allowing natural gas wells to be drilled in the North Fork Valley is that the County needs the revenue that they will generate. However, we are never shown any evidence to support this conclusion. To our knowledge, there has been no cost-benefit analysis done by the county to determine if developments in the North Fork Valley help maintain the budget.

CHC has filled this gap with Economic Impact Of Natural Gas Development On Delta County. In this study, we looked at the financial benefit of the North Fork Mancos Master Development Plan (NFMMDP) to Delta County, and compared it to the project’s potential impact on other, existing sources of revenue for the County.

Have you ever wondered:

  • How much the North Fork Valley contributes to the County’s property tax revenue? Or how oil and gas developments could affect that contribution?
  • How the recreation industry contributes to the County’s budget? Or how it could be negatively impacted by oil and gas development?
  • How much the North Fork Valley’s burgeoning agritourism industry contributes to the County? Or what impact will oil and gas development would have on it?


CHC’s research and analysis is based on information from economists, state and county government officials, state and local tourism boards, local realtors, agritourism boards, recreation industry representatives, and oil and gas industry analysts. Based on the best available data, we were able to estimate the economic value of real estate, agritourism, and outdoor recreation to the North Fork Valley, the value of oil and gas wells to the County, and the impact of oil and gas development on the local economy and the County’s leading sources of tax revenue—residential property tax and sales tax.

The North Fork Valley has worked hard to create a diverse and sustainable economy. Our research shows just how valuable it is, and how important it is in supporting a stronger county-wide economic model. While oil and gas projects will certainly generate some revenue for the County, our analysis shows that the story doesn’t end there. For example, the North Fork Mancos Master Development Plan would result in an estimated net loss of revenue to the County due to the negative impact on existing revenues. This report shows that the County and the oil and gas developer’s claims of economic benefit from such development projects should be subject to much greater scrutiny.

Read the full report here.


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