The Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission approved Cimarex Energy Company's plan to reinject waste carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide into a producing natural gas formation in southwest Wyoming over the objection of Exxon Mobil Corporation. Exxon appealed. The district court affirmed the Commission's decision. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part, holding (1) the Commission properly denied Exxon's petition for a rehearing; but (2) the Commission failed to provide sufficient findings of fact as to whether Cimarex's plan to reinject carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide would result in waste of natural gas and improperly interfere with Exxon's correlative rights. Remanded to the Commission to make appropriate findings of both basic and ultimate facts. View "Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Wyo. Oil & Gas Conservation Comm'n" on Justia Law
Posted in: Energy, Oil & Gas Law, Environmental Law, Government & Administrative Law, Wyoming Supreme Court
The case involved two permitting actions for a wind energy project in the mountains of Converse County. Objectors included the Northern Laramie Range Alliance (NLRA) and Northern Laramie Range Foundation (NLRF). In the first case (Case 1), Objectors challenged the district court's affirmance of the County Board of County Commissioners (Board) decision to grant Wasatch Wind Intermountain, LLC's (Wasatch) application for a Wind Energy Conversion System Permit (WECS permit). They also challenged the court's rulings that NLRA and NLRF did not have standing to appeal the Board's decision. In the second case (Case 2), Objectors challenged the district court's affirmance of the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, Industrial Siting Council's (ISC) decision to grant a state industrial siting permit for construction of the project. In Case 1, the Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) NLRA had standing but NLRF did not; and (2) the Board properly granted Wasatch's application for a WECS permit. In Case 2, the Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the ISC acted within its authority in granting the industrial siting permit, and there was sufficient evidence to justify its decision. View "N. Laramie Range Found. v. Converse County Bd. of County Comm'rs" on Justia Law
This appeal involved the issuance by the Wyoming Department of Environmental Qualify (DEQ) of two general permits for the discharge of produced water from coal bed methane operations. A petroleum corporation and oil company (Appellants) appealed the DEQ's decision to the Environmental Quality Council (EQC). The Wyoming Outdoor Council (WOC) also sought review of the DEQ's decision to issue the general permits. The EQC rejected WOC's claim that general permits were rules and had to be promulgated through the rulemaking procedures set forth in the Wyoming APA. The district court reversed, determining that DEQ was required to promulgate the general permits as rules. The district court also rejected the argument by Appellants that WOC was not entitled to seek EQC review of the DEQ's decision to issue the general permits, ruling that the Wyoming Environmental Quality Act did allow WOC to seek administrative review by the EQC. The Supreme Court reversed in part and affirmed in part, holding (1) DEQ was not required to promulgate the general permits as administrative rules; and (2) WOC was entitled to EQC review of DEQ's decision to issue the general permits. View "Wyo. Dep't of Env't Quality v. Wyo. Outdoor Council " on Justia Law
Applicants Wagonhound Land and Livestock Company, LLC, VenJohn Oil, Inc., and Steven M. VenJohn filed a petition with the Wyoming State Board of Control seeking to change the place of use, point of diversion and means of conveyance for water appropriations attached to 174.8 acres. VenJohn owned the appropriations from the North Platte River and requested that the point of diversion and place of use of the rights be moved upstream to Wagonhound’s land. Vic and Jane Garber and several others who were intervening water right holders, objected to the petition, and the Board held a contested case hearing. The Board granted the Applicants’ petition but reduced the transferred rights to 152.5 acres. The Objectors unsuccessfully petitioned the district court for review of the Board decision. On appeal to the Supreme Court, they challenged: the sufficiency of the evidence presented in the Board's record; and whether the final decision was in violation of Wyo. Stats. 41-3-104 and 41-3-114. Although the Objectors claimed the defects in the original petition required reversal of the Board’s decision, the Supreme Court found that they did not sufficiently explain why the amendment process was inappropriate or how it violated statute or board rules. The Objectors also did not demonstrate how the other landowners were injured by the petition or the process employed by the Board. Without further explanation, the Court could not accept their argument, and affirmed the Board's decision. View "Garber v. Wagonhound Livestock & Land Company, LLC" on Justia Law
Posted in: Environmental Law, Government & Administrative Law, Real Estate & Property Law, Wyoming Supreme Court
The Rageths filed suit against the Sidon Irrigation District seeking a declaration of their conveyance rights in the Sidon Canal, reimbursement of water delivery fees paid to the District for past irrigation seasons, and the establishment of a reasonable annual water delivery fee in future years. The parties executed a stipulation that the Rageths have a perpetual right, as defined by their adjudicated water rights, to divert water from the District's diversion structure and convey such water through the Sidon Canal to their property, subject to an annual payment to the District. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the District on the Rageths' remaining claims. At issue on appeal was, in the absence of an agreement, what water delivery fee may an irrigation district charge a non-member who has a perpetual right to convey that non-member's adjudicated appropriation to that non-member's land outside the irrigation district's boundaries using the irrigation district's canal and related facilities. The Supreme Court reversed the district court, finding that genuine issues of material fact existed and holding that the Rageths' proportionate share of the requisite expenses must be based on an equitable apportionment determined after consideration of the various relevant factors. Remanded.