Split Estate Bill Adds Critics

Riverton, Wy – The state legislature is again trying to help ranchers that have oil or gas under the land, but do not own the rights to it. But following a legislative committee meeting, the bill may have lost some support. Lawmakers voted down a plan to offer protections to land owners last session. Since then a group of representatives from the oil and gas industry, government and land owners met to come up with an alternative. There was some consensus-- but after changes by the legislature's judiciary committee support waned. The Powder River Basin Resource Council's Pennie Vance says she now has some problems with the bill and Bruce Hinchey of the Petrolium Association also has concerns about changes to the plan. Last year mineral industry leaders lobbied hard to kill the measure. Lawmakers acknowledge that they are not going to make everyone happy.