Almost $18 million will be returned to Northwest Colorado from oil and gas lease revenue collected through 2008, to clean up the Anvil Points federal oil shale research site. Colorado Senators Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet, along with Colorado Congressman Scott Tipton, announced earlier this week that the Department of Interior would distribute the excess funds to Garfield, Rio Blanco, Moffat and Mesa Counties. The surplus money was not used for cleanup purposes and was never returned to Northwest Colorado, Garfield and Rio Blanco County are each expected to receive 40% of the money, while Mesa and Moffat County would get 10%, or $1.8 million each. Gardner applauded Interior Secretary Zinke’s decision to return the money, saying it belongs to the counties it was taken from, not the federal government. Bennet agreed, saying the federal government waited far too long to release these funds, and he is glad the counties will finally receive what is rightfully theirs. Tipton echoed those sentiments, saying the money rightfully belongs to Northwest Colorado, and he looks forward to seeing the funds distributed so local leaders can use them to enhance their communities and improve the lives of their citizens.