If States Got LGBT-Friendlier, They Could Earn Billions

If Texas lawmakers piled up hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars in the middle of an empty field and set it on fire, there would be massive public outrage.

But according to data from the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, that is effectively what Texas and other states are already doing by not creating a more supportive atmosphere for their LGBT citizens.

As the state-level Williams Institute numbers start to add up nationwide, its becoming clear that legislators dont just cost their states big money by passing attention-grabbingand boycott-inducinglaws like North Carolinas HB 2; they are also losing out on potentially billions of dollars by failing to pass laws that protect LGBT people.

Those invisible costs of inaction are hard to estimateand even harder to convey to the public.

The boycotts and stuff make headlines because they often involve big companies or famous people and that link is very clear, Williams Institute State and Local Policy Director Christy Mallory told The Daily Beast. But were trying to illuminate this other link.

Mallory has co-authored several analyses showing the economic impact of allowing statewide discrimination against LGBT people to continueand thereby incurring the sort of public health costs associated with minority stress, a psychological term for the stress that often accompanies social marginalization.

A Williams Institute report released last year, for example, estimates that if Texas could reduce the disparity in depression rates between LGBT and non-LGBT citizensone of the many public health outcomes linked to minority stressby just 25 percent, the state could save nearly $290 million dollars in costs associated with lost productivity, health care, and suicide (PDF).

Add another $118 million for reducing the LGBT binge drinking disparity by a quarterand another $1.6 million in estimated shelter and Medicaid expenses that could be reduced by banning discrimination against transgender peopleand the report proves that Texas is missing out on a load of cash by being one of the nearly 30 states that has yet to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Or, as the Dallas Voice recently summarized it, "discrimination in Texas is expensive."

Were not saying that the disparity is going to totally go away or that a certain law would completely close that gap, but we do say that these health outcomes that have been linked to minority stress do have a cause, Mallory told The Daily Beast. So we try to look at [the effects of] even narrowing that gap.

The Williams Institute also compiled similar reports on Georgia and Florida last year with similarly striking findings: Florida could cut $224 million in annual costs by reducing the disparity in LGBT and non-LGBT smoking rates by 25 percent, for example, and Georgia could save $80 million every year by doing the same.

Mallory told The Daily Beast that a similar report on Arizona will be forthcoming in March, with two more scheduled to follow by the end of the year.

And considering that a majority of states still do not have full statewide protections for LGBT people, its easy to imagine the total tally of wasted cash nationwide reaching into the billions as more states come under the microscopeespecially because the Williams Institute is only able to estimate some of the many economic variables at stake.

For instance, Mallory said, there are economic costs associated with the number of LGBT children who enter foster careor the number of youth under state care who could otherwise be adopted out to a same-sex couple in states where religious organizations are allowed to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientationbut its harder to put a price tag on these phenomena.

Were continually looking for new data and information that we can use to measure costs, Mallory told The Daily Beast, adding with a look forward to 2018: Were hoping to look at some new and different angles this year, but it will all depend on the data we can get.

LGBT advocates are quick to point out that if lawmakers cant understand these costseven as they get spelled out for them over the course of 2018then businesses already do, and theyre taking action as a result.

I think in some ways this is the untold story of the non-discrimination fight right now, Kasey Suffredini, president of strategy for the organization Freedom for All Americans, told The Daily Beast. Because even though a lot of the discussion and coverage nationally over the last 18 to 24 months or so has been about these high-profile defensive fights like North Carolina there have been places with proactive legislative fights underway where businesses really have come forward.

In 2016, for example, Massachusetts passed a bill protecting transgender rights with overwhelming support from the business community, as The Boston Globe and other outlets reported. Some of that business support is motivated by bottom-line concerns, Suffredini says, like maintaining a competitive edge in recruiting, but they are also, he adds, simply listening to their LGBT employees.

As Justin Nelson and Chance Mitchell, cofounders of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, put it in an Advocate op-ed this week, now, more than ever, the private sector is listening to the collective voice of the LGBT community.

That proactive corporate support for LGBT people may be quiet but it is powerful nonetheless.

Indeed, so much of 2017 was spent guessing how much North Carolina or Texas would lose by passing an anti-transgender bathroom billpotentially $3.76 billion according to an AP estimate for North Carolina and $3.3 billion in Texas tourism dollars, according to another studythat the recurring long-term costs highlighted by the Williams Institute have not become widely known to the public, even as corporate decision-makers took them into consideration.

For instance, as Amazon searches for its second headquarters, there is widespread speculation in outlets as wide-ranging as Bloomberg and the Washington Blade that the retail giant may be less likely to select a city in a state with a recent history of anti-LGBT legislationor a threat of anti-LGBT laws to come in the near future.

In 2018, a record 609 companies achieved a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaigns Corporate Equality Index.

Suffredini says that companies are increasingly realizing that their own policies arent enough when it comes to LGBT issues; they also want state and local governments to reinforce the internal protections they offer. Minority stress, after all, cant be fully alleviated by a company handbook if the environment outside of work is a hostile one.

Employees want more, Suffredini told The Daily Beast. Employees dont just live in the four walls of that company. Employees get on the bus to go home. They go across the street to eat lunch. They rent an apartment, they buy a home.

So if 2017 was the year when the public watched corporations stand up to anti-LGBT legislation in North Carolina, Texas, and Mississippi, Suffredini predicts that 2018 will be the year when we see them pushing for the proactive protections.

It may also be the year when we are able to move beyond a simplistic approach to the cost of anti-LGBT discriminationnamely, the idea that bad laws cost states moneyto a more holistic and interconnected understanding of discriminations costs.

As Suffredini put it, Nobody does well socially or culturally when they live in an environment where they have poor health outcomes just because of who they areand that also takes an economic toll on the state.

Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/if-states-got-lgbt-friendlier-they-could-earn-billions

Spinal-Cord Implants to Numb Pain Emerge as Alternative to Pills

For millions of Americans suffering from debilitating nerve pain, a once-overlooked option has emerged as an alternative to high doses of opioids: implanted medical devices using electricity to counteract pain signals the same way noise-canceling headphones work against sound. 

The approach, called neuromodulation, has been a godsend for Linda Landy, who was a 42-year-old runner when a foot surgery went awry in 2008. She was diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome, a condition dubbed the suicide disease by doctors: The pain is so unrelenting that many people take their own lives.

Linda Landy and family

Last November, Landy underwent surgery to get an Abbott Laboratories device that stimulates the dorsal root ganglion, a spot in the spine that was the pain conduit for her damaged nerves. A year after getting her implant, called DRG, she’s cut back drastically on pain pills.

“The DRG doesn’t take the pain completely away, but it changes it into something I can live with,” said Landy, a mother of three in Fort Worth, Texas. She’s now now able to walk again and travel by plane without using a wheelchair. “It sounds minor, but it’s really huge.”

Crackdown on Opioids

Recent innovations from global device makers like Abbott to smaller specialists such as Nevro Corp. made the implants more powerful and effective. Combined with a national crackdown on narcotics and wanton pain pill prescriptions, they are spurring demand for implants.

The market may double to $4 billion in 10 years, up from about $1.8 billion in the U.S. and $500 million in Europe today, according to health-care research firm Decisions Resources Group.

“There was a big stigma around this when it first came out,” said Paul Desormeaux, a Decisions Resources analyst in Toronto. “The idea of sending an electrical signal through your nervous system was a little daunting, but as clinical data has come out and physicians have been able to prove its safety, there has been a big change in the general attitude.”

Read More: Millions Face Pain, Withdrawal as Opioid Prescriptions Plummet

At least 50 million adults in the U.S. suffer from chronic pain, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Only a fraction of them would benefit from spinal-cord stimulation — about 3.6 million, according to Decisions Resources — but those are patients who are often given the highest doses of narcotics. They include people with nerve damage stemming from conditions like diabetic neuropathy and shingles, as well as surgeries.

“There is no question we are reducing the risk of opioid dependence by implanting these devices,” said Timothy Deer, president of the Spine and Nerve Centers of the Virginias in Charleston, West Virginia, a hotbed of the opioid epidemic. “If we get someone before they are placed on opioids, 95 percent of the time we can reduce their need to ever go on them.”

Studies show spinal-cord stimulators can reduce use of powerful pain drugs by 60 percent or more, said Deer, a clinical professor of anesthesiology.

Read More: Tangled Incentives Push Drugmakers Away From an Opioid Solution

Technology breakthroughs that are just now reaching patients came from a better understanding of how pain signals are transmitted within the spinal cord, the main thoroughfare between the command center in the brain and the body.

For some chronic pain patients, the spinal cord runs too efficiently, speeding signs of distress. Stimulators send their own pulses of electrical activity to offset or interrupt the pain zinging along the nerve fibers. They have been available for more than three decades, but until recently their invasive nature, potential safety risks and cost limited demand.

Market Leader Abbott

Illinois-based Abbott, with its $29 billion acquisition of St. Jude Medical this year, took the market lead with advances that allow it to target specific nerves and tailor the treatment. Nevro, of Redwood City, California, has rolled out improvement to its Senza system, a best-in-class approach that is safe while getting an MRI and operates without the tingling that often accompanies spinal-cord stimulation.

In the latest devices, which cost $30,000 or more, codes that are running the electrical pulses are more sophisticated. The frequency, rate and amplitude can be adjusted, often by the patients, which allows personalized therapy. 

The new implants are also smaller: The surgery is generally an outpatient procedure with minimal post-operative pain and a short recovery. They have longer battery life, reducing the need for replacement. And patients can try out a non-invasive version of the equipment before getting a permanent implant.

“This is really a defining moment in what we can do to impact the lives of people who suffer from chronic pain,” said Allen Burton, Abbott’s medical director of neuromodulation. “We can dampen the chronic pain signal and give patients their lives back.”

Medtronic Plc, which pioneered the technique but ceded the lead in recent years, is now working on next-generation devices. The company recently gained approval for the smallest pain-management implant, Intellis. In development are devices that can detect pain waves and adjust automatically, said Geoff Martha, executive vice president of Medtronic’s restorative therapies group.

“A self-correcting central nervous system — that’s the panacea. That’s the ultimate goal,” Martha said. “It could take a huge bite out of the opioid problem.”

    Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-12-26/spinal-cord-implants-to-numb-pain-emerge-as-alternative-to-pills

    ‘This isn’t a guns situation,’ says Trump after Texas church shooting

    US president says mental health of perpetrator, not gun ownership, to blame for mass shooting in which 26 people died


    Donald Trump has blamed Sundays deadly mass shooting at a Baptist church in Texas on the mental health of the perpetrator and claimed that gun ownership was not a factor.

    Asked during a press conference in Tokyo what policies he would support to tackle mass shootings in the US, the president said: I think that mental health is a problem here. Based on preliminary reports, this was a very deranged individual with a lot of problems over a very long period of time.

    We have a lot of mental health problems in our country, as do other countries, but this isnt a guns situation we could go into it but its a little bit soon to go into it. Fortunately somebody else had a gun that was shooting in the opposite direction, otherwise it wouldnt have been as bad as it was, it would have been much worse.

    This is a mental health problem at the highest level. Its a very sad event these are great people at a very, very sad event, but thats the way I view it.

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    Prayers and vigils after church mass shooting in Texas video report

    Speaking at the end of a two-day visit to Japan, Trump said he sent his thoughts, prayers and deepest condolences to the victims of the horrific assault, in which 26 people died and 20 others were wounded. The dead ranged in age from five to 72 years old.

    Flanked by the Japanese prime minister, Shinz Abe, Trump paid tribute to the community of Sutherland Springs, a small town 30 miles (48km) south-east of San Antonio.

    Beautiful area so sad Sutherland Springs, Texas, such a beautiful, wonderful area with incredible people. Who would ever think a thing like this could every happen? So I want to send my condolences, the condolences of our first lady.

    In tragic times, Americans always pull together, we are always strongest when we are unified. To the wounded and the families of the victims all of America is praying for you, supporting you and grieving alongside you.

    Law enforcement officials in Sutherland Springs did not name the gunman, though his name was reported elsewhere as Devin Patrick Kelley.

    The US Air Force said Kelley, 26, served from 2010 to 2014, when he left following a court martial. He received a bad conduct discharge for assaulting his wife and child. Kelley lived in the town of New Braunfels, about 35 miles from Sutherland Springs. On Sunday night police were at the property.

    The killing is the worst mass shooting in modern Texas history and one of the worst such gun rampages in recent years. The lone shooter was found dead after he was chased by locals and police across county lines.

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    It was act now, ask questions later: hero on car chase after Texas shooting video

    Trumps defence of the retaliatory use of use of guns echoed comments made earlier by the Texas attorney general.

    American churches should be arming some of the parishioners or hiring professional security, Republican Ken Paxton told Fox News in an interview hours after the shootings at Sutherland Springs First Baptist Church. Its going to happen again.

    If more churchgoers were armed theres always the opportunity that the gunman will be taken out before he has the opportunity to kill very many people, Paxton said.

    The Texas governor, Greg Abbott, said on Sunday: There are so many families who have lost family members, and it occurred in a church, in a place of worship. Thats where these people were mown down. We mourn their loss.

    Two years ago, Abbott lamented that the states population were not buying enough guns. Im EMBARRASSED: Texas #2 in nation for new gun purchases, behind CALIFORNIA. Lets pick up the pace Texans @NRA, he tweeted in October 2015.

    The lone suspect, dressed in black tactical gear and a ballistic vest, drove up to the church during Sunday morning services and started firing inside.

    He kept shooting once he entered, according to law enforcement officials. Among the dead was the 14-year-old daughter of Pastor Frank Pomeroy, the family told several television stations.

    Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/nov/06/this-isnt-a-guns-situation-says-trump-after-texas-church-shooting

    U.S. Growth at Above-Forecast 3% on Consumers and Businesses

    The U.S. economy expanded at a faster pace than forecast in the third quarter, indicating resilient demand from consumers and businesses even with the hit from hurricanes Harvey and Irma, Commerce Department data showed Friday.

    Key Takeaways

    While GDP grew more than anticipated, analysts look to another key measure to assess the true health of the economy. Final sales to domestic purchasers, which strip out trade and inventories — the two most volatile components of the GDP calculation — climbed 1.8 percent, the slowest since early 2016, after rising 2.7 percent in prior quarter.

    The fallout from the hurricanes was mixed, probably depressing some figures while lifting others. The storms inflicted extensive damage on parts of Texas and Florida, though the effect is likely to be transitory as economic activity is expected to rebound amid rebuilding efforts.

    Consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy, added 1.6 percentage point to growth last quarter. That was driven by motor vehicles, as Americans replaced cars damaged by the storms, while services spending slowed to the weakest pace since 2013. Even so, a steady job market, contained inflation and low borrowing costs are expected to provide the wherewithal for households to sustain their spending.

    The first reading of GDP, the value of all goods and services produced, also showed continued strength in business investment, indicating growth is broadening out to more sources beyond household consumption. Companies are upbeat about the outlook and overseas markets are improving, which may help boost exports and contain the trade deficit.

    At the same time, the details of business investment showed a mixed picture. The decline in investment in structures probably reflects the hit from Hurricane Harvey, especially on oil and gas drilling.

    Residential investment remained a weak spot. Builders are up against a shortage of qualified labor and ready-to-build lots at the same time sales are being held back by a shortage of available properties that’s driving up prices.

    Price data in the GDP report showed inflation picked up while still lagging behind the Federal Reserve’s 2 percent goal. Excluding food and energy, the Fed’s preferred price index — which is tied to personal spending — rose at a 1.3 percent annualized rate last quarter, following a 0.9 percent gain.

    Fed policy makers can point to evidence that growth is steady enough to allow them to keep raising interest rates, with investors expecting a quarter-point increase in December.

    While the economy is probably on solid footing in the ninth year of this expansion, the central bank and many economists expect GDP growth to slow beyond 2018, moving closer to 2 percent rather than the sustained 3 percent pace that the Trump administration says will happen if its tax plan is enacted.

    Economist Views

    “It’s hard to confidently discern the hurricane effects in this report, but the economy seems to be on pretty solid ground,” said Michael Feroli, chief U.S. economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in New York. “The details are reasonably solid. Consumers stepped down a little from the second quarter but their spending still expanded at a decent pace.”

    The gain in equipment investment shows “businesses may be getting a little more confident about the expansion, both here in the U.S. and abroad,” he said. Overall, the report “probably gives a little more confidence to the Fed to hike rates before year-end, but I don’t think it’s a game-changer.”

    Other Details

    • Nonresidential investment — which includes spending on equipment, structures and intellectual property — increased 3.9 percent and added 0.49 percentage point to growth
    • Equipment investment jumped 8.6 percent for a fourth quarter of growth, longest streak since 2014
    • Residential investment fell at a 6 percent rate after 7.3 percent drop, worst two-quarter performance since 2010
    • Net exports added 0.41 percentage point to growth as exports rose, imports fell; inventories added 0.73 point, most since 2016
    • Government spending fell at a 0.1 percent rate; the figures reflected 1.1 percent in federal spending, driven by defense, while state and local outlays dropped 0.9 percent
    • After-tax incomes adjusted for inflation increased at a 0.6 percent annual pace, down from the previous quarter’s 3.3 percent; saving rate fell to 3.4 percent from 3.8 percent
    • GDP report is the first of three estimates for the quarter; the other two are due in November and December as more data become available

      Highlights of Third-Quarter GDP (First Estimate)

      • Gross domestic product grew at a 3% annualized rate (est. 2.6%) following a 3.1% gain in 2Q, best back-to-back quarters since 2014
      • Consumer spending, biggest part of the economy, grew 2.4% (est. 2.1%) after 3.3% in 2Q
      • Business fixed investment rose 1.5%, adding 0.25 ppt to growth; spending on nonresidential structures fell, equipment and intellectual property gained, residential dropped
      • Trade, inventories added a combined 1.14 ppt to growth
      • Commerce Dept. said it can’t estimate hurricanes’ impact on GDP; disaster losses on fixed assets, private and public, totaled about $131.4b

      Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-27/u-s-growth-at-above-forecast-3-on-consumer-business-spending

      These Suburbanites May Have No Fracking Choice

      When Bill Young peers out the window of his $700,000 home in Broomfield, Colo., he drinks in a panoramic view of the Rocky Mountains. Starting next year, he may also glimpse one of the 99 drilling rigs that Extraction Oil & Gas Inc. wants to use to get at the oil beneath his home.

      There’s little that Young and his neighbors can do about the horizontal drilling. Residents of the Wildgrass neighborhood own their patches of paradise, but they don’t control what’s under them. An obscure Colorado law allows whole neighborhoods to be forced into leasing the minerals beneath their properties as long as one person in the area consents. The practice, called forced pooling, has been instrumental in developing oil and gas resources in Denver’s rapidly growing suburbs. It’s law in other states, too, but Colorado’s is the most favorable to drilling.

      Now fracking is coming to an upscale suburb, and the prospect of the Wildgrass homeowners being made by state law to do something they don’t want to do has turned many of them into lawyered-up resisters. “It floors me that a private entity could take my property,” says Young, an information security director.

      Many states require 51 percent of owners in a drilling area to consent before the others have to join. Pennsylvania doesn’t allow forced pooling at all in the Marcellus, one of the most prolific shale gas regions in the country. Texas, the center of the nation’s oil production, has strict limits on the practice. Despite its founding cowboy ethos of rugged individualism, Colorado has one of the lowest thresholds. “There’s a tension in oil and gas law between allowing private property owners to develop their mineral estates on their own and the state’s desire to ensure that ultimate recovery of oil and gas is maximized,” says Bret Wells, a law professor at the University of Houston.

      The rise of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing over the past decade has ushered in a modest oil boom on Colorado’s Front Range by enabling companies to wring crude more cheaply from the stubborn shale that runs beneath Denver’s northern suburbs. From 2010 to 2015, Colorado’s crude output almost quadrupled. This year the state is pumping more than 300,000 barrels a day, most of it from the Wattenberg oil field beneath Wildgrass and beyond.

      Colorado’s population is booming, too. As Denver’s suburbs bloom northward into oil and gas territory—Wildgrass is about 20 miles north of Denver, not far from Boulder—housing developments are erupting where once there were only drilling rigs and farmland. And because horizontal drilling can reach as far as 2 miles in all directions from a well, companies need underground access to more land to maximize production from each site. The Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission issues hundreds of pooling orders every year. “It’s an entirely new issue,” says David Neslin, former director of the commission, now an attorney at Davis Graham & Stubbs in Denver. “That’s creating some understandable friction with local governments and local communities.”

      Denver-based Extraction Oil & Gas is at the epicenter of that friction. Although it has rural holdings, a substantial amount of its reserves are located in populated areas. So the company, like others in the region, has put a lot of energy—and cash—into making its operations more palatable to suburbanites who fear the prospect of a drilling rig sprouting up within sight of their kiddie pools. Extraction almost exclusively uses electric drills, which are quieter than diesel-powered, and a new generation of hydraulic fracturing equipment that cuts noise. “It’s incumbent upon us to learn to live with these communities,” says Extraction spokesman Brian Cain. “Where we can go the extra mile to minimize impacts, we wish to do so.”

      The company’s latest project involves drilling 99 horizontal wells in Broomfield. That means leasing mineral rights from Wildgrass residents. Letters went out to some of them last year offering a 15 percent royalty and a $500 signing bonus. Some signed, others demurred, and still others organized a campaign aimed at blocking the project. Extraction hasn’t applied for a forced pooling order, but Young and his neighbors have come to believe it’s inevitable.

      The suburb’s agitation prompted the city to create a special task force to evaluate Extraction’s proposal. The company responded by taking members of the task force on a tour of oil and gas country. It wanted to show how its operations are less disruptive than traditional drill sites.

      Ultimately, the company agreed to more stringent environmental standards than the state requires. It will move some wells 1,300 feet from neighborhoods, almost three times farther than the law mandates. It will reduce the number of wells per site, monitor air emissions as well as water and soil quality, and build pipelines to transport oil immediately off-site instead of storing it in the city. “I can see Broomfield turning out to be a new model for how large-scale development gets done,” says Matt Lepore, director of the state commission, which will rule on Extraction’s applications for siting the wells this month.

      Such concessions have smoothed the path for development in many communities. But for some Wildgrass residents, any leasing is unacceptable. They say they fear accidents, such as the April pipeline explosion that killed two people and destroyed a home in Firestone, 20 miles away. Some simply find the terms of the initial lease offer laughable.

      “The money is so negligible,” says Elizabeth Lario, a health coach who’s lived in Wildgrass since 2005. And then there are property values: Homes in Wildgrass range from $500,000 to more than $1 million. “The royalties won’t offset the drop in property value,” says Stephen Uhlhorn, an engineer who’s lived in Wildgrass for four years. Oil development “is now hitting affluent neighborhoods where people have assets and livelihoods that exceed the value of any royalty they’re offered.”

      The bedrock of Colorado’s oil and gas policy is a 1951 law that says responsible fossil fuel development is in the public interest. The state, the law says, must protect the public from “waste”—industry parlance for oil that’s left in the ground. While Colorado has some of the strictest environmental regulations of any oil-producing state, it gives companies latitude in choosing where to drill. The Colorado Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the state’s interest in developing mineral resources preempts any local law that would curb drilling.

      Efforts to change the statute have fizzled. State Representative Mike Foote, a Democrat whose district is adjacent to Broomfield’s, introduced a bill earlier this year to raise the pooling threshold to 51 percent. It passed the House by a slim margin but died in a Senate committee in a party-line vote, with Republicans opposed. “The oil and gas industry pretty much controls the capital, particularly in the Senate,” Foote says. “Operators can do whatever they want.” Lepore, the head of the state oil commission, concedes the pooling threshold is low compared with other states. “I have no philosophical objection to a 51 percent requirement,” he says. “There are intelligent changes that could be made to the forced pooling law.”

      Young, the Wildgrass resident, received a lease offer last year. Since then he’s been working with a lawyer to consider his options, and so far he doesn’t like them. “You couldn’t put a Walmart where they’re putting these wells—no one would approve that zoning,” he says. “But for some reason, the industry is completely exempt from everything.”

        BOTTOM LINE – In Colorado, whole neighborhoods may have to lease the minerals under their land if just one homeowner agrees.

        Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-03/these-suburbanites-may-have-no-fracking-choice