At first, Grand Junction and Palisade tried to buy the mineral rights themselves. In early 2006 they bid more than $300 an acre at auction -- eight times what gas companies were typically paying for mineral leases in that part of the state at the time -- but were outbid by Genesis Gas and Oil.
Then they tried a different tack: If drilling had to go forward, they wanted to define the terms, making sure the safest techniques would be used  to protect the quality of their water. In this case, they wanted measures more stringent than what state regulations required.
With BLM officials arbitrating -- the agency made a goodwill agreement a condition of the leasing and permitting process -- the municipalities and Genesis Gas and Oil spent the next two years negotiating a compromise that could now stand as a model for towns across the country.
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