Landowner Invokes Split-Estate Law, Loses

Cody, WY – The Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has ruled against a Park County landowner who tried to invoke Wyoming's new split estate law. The landowner sought to force an energy company to pay a higher bond for drilling on his land. The ruling yesterday rejected arguments by Heart Mountain landowner Jim Dager that Windsor Energy should post a $416,000 surety bond. He argued that was to cover the loss of value of nearly a thousand acres surrounding planned gas drilling operations. The commission instead approved a proposal by Windsor to post a $13,000 bond, covering the loss of value of only the ten acres of Dager's land that will be occupied by a well pad and disturbed by company operations. Dager had argued changes to Wyoming's split-estate laws required that landowners be compensated when oil and gas operations impact land beyond the immediate footprint of roads or equipment sites. Dager's attorney indicated they would take the matter to court.