The Wyoming House of Representatives began debating a bill that would increase the bonding required from oil and gas developers who need to drill on private surface land.
The bond is used in lieu of a negotiated surface use agreement between landowners and energy companies. The agreement established payment for surface damage. Currently the bond is two thousand dollars and the bill would raise it to ten thousand dollars.
Some Representatives downplayed the importance of the bond increase, but Big Horn Republican Rosie Berger says it will enhance Wyoming’s Split Estate law.
“It has made a difference in my neck of the woods to our landowners and I believe that the bonding process is a good way to handle it. This increase is additional assistance to the landowner in their toolbox when they negotiate”
But Represented David Miller suggested that the Bond be adjusted for the size of the drilling operation.
Supporters say the goal is to get energy companies to negotiate with landowners. The bill will be debated two more times.