Home My Bar Page CLE Bar Journal Contact Us Membership Directory

Job Bank
News and Publications
Member Services
Judges' Benchbooks
Emeritus Program

Case Maker

Law Pay

Legally Speaking


Can Wyoming Have It All? Multiple Mineral/Energy Development in Wyoming: How to Make It Work

BackBack to Annual Meeting Home
Time: 8:30 AM - 10 AM
Presenters: Ms. Lynnette J. Boomgaarden
Mr. Stephen J. Sullivan
Ms. Mistee Lyn Elliott
Mr. J. Kenneth Barbe II
Mr. Philip C. Lowe

Credits: 1.5 (including 0 ethics)

Wyoming has an abundance of energy minerals – coal, oil and gas, biogenic methane, uranium – and wind energy. Development of one mineral can lead to impacts to or conflicts with another mineral resource. Energy and mineral development can interfere with surface operations of landowners. Over the years, Wyoming has seen conflicts between coal and coalbed methane (CBM) and conventional oil and gas development. More recently wind energy farms and their surface lessors have had to address the potential for conflict with the underlying mineral estate; in-situ uranium disposal wells are facing challenges from horizontal oil and gas well developers; and biogenic methane producers have faced opposition from coal companies. Surface owners must manage the conflict between development of their own or split-estate minerals or energy and their surface uses.

How are state and federal governments addressing these challenges? What are the regulations and policies that agencies use to help resolve conflicts? The BLM has a policy that the oldest mineral right usually has priority, but does “first in time, first in right” make sense? Wyoming has regulations in place to address mineral conflicts. But do state and federal rules adequately address practical considerations like the relative value of minerals or how mineral development could be phased to allow each mineral to be developed over time or management of surface impacts from development? How are Wyoming surface and mineral owners practically addressing these issues when they lease their lands or minerals for development? What agreements are used – what needs to be there to protect your clients’ interests? When does litigation make sense? A panel of speakers will address these issues from several perspectives.