The Wyoming House of Representatives has given final approval to a bill that would raise the bond from $2,000 to $10,000 for oil and gas drillers seeking access to privately owned land.
The bond is used to repair damage to surface land when a use agreement can't be reached between the landowner and the energy company. Opponents says that the increase is too high.
Casper Republican Tom Walters said increasing the bond wages war on industry.
“We discuss Washington D.C. and how they have waged war on coal. And I just kind of feel like we are somewhat sitting here in this capital city waging war on the very industries or a sector of the industries that are paying a large portion of our bills.”
House Majority Leader Kermit Brown disagreed, saying in many cases the current bond isn’t enough.
“Think about having somebody bonding on to your property, force their way on, you didn’t want them on in the first place. They’ve left with a mess and you’re left to clean it up, or the state is left to clean it up whichever way it goes, and I’m telling you that $2,000 is just not enough money.”
Supporters say that the bill should encourage companies to negotiate with the surface owner.