I wake each day torn between a desire to save the world and a desire to savour the world. It makes it hard to
plan my day.

:: E. B. White

Matt Sura

Matt Sura works for the Landowners’ Alliance of Northeastern Douglas County (L.A.N.D.). He is an attorney specializing in the representation of land owners, mineral owners, and local governments in their negotiations and legal disputes with the oil and gas industry.  From 1996-2008 Matt worked as a community organizer and, eventually, as the Executive Director of Western Colorado Congress (WCC) – a non-profit organization based in Grand Junction, Colorado.

In 1998 Matt helped organize a chapter of WCC in Garfield County called Grand Valley Citizens Alliance. Due to a major gas discovery in Garfield County, the state was permitting oil and gas operators to drill one well every 20 acres.  At the peak of development there were 50 rigs in Garfield County, drilling thousands of wells annually.

The effects of oil and gas development on the people and on the landscape were dramatic.  Heavy truck traffic, noise and air pollution, contaminated water wells, and declining wildlife populations were commonplace.  Peaceful ranches were turned into noisy, polluted, industrial areas.  Landowners were justifiably angry about what had happened to their land and to their community.

In cooperation with allies throughout Colorado, Matt and WCC worked for a decade to pass meaningful oil and gas reform at the state and county level.  In 2007 those efforts were successful and the Colorado  State Legislature passed a slate of oil and gas legislation.  Those legislative reforms gave landowners more rights and required the industry to adopt stricter environmental safeguards.

In 2008 Matt represented the conservation community in the state’s effort to draft the new oil and gas regulations required by the 2007 legislation.  The rule-making meetings were attended by dozens of industry attorneys but just a handful of local government and conservation representatives.  Through that experience, Matt decided to attend law school to increase his ability to work on behalf of communities and individuals affected by oil and gas development.  He graduated from CU Law with a focus in environmental and oil and gas law.

As an oil and gas attorney and former organizer, Matt encourages landowners dealing with oil and gas development to work together.  Multiple landowners are in a better position to negotiate protective leases and to demand higher compensation from oil and gas companies than they can individually.

Matt is also currently serving as a consultant to the US State Department to assist Ukraine in revising its regulations to allow for the responsible extraction of shale gas in that country.