Laramie, Wy –
The Bureau of Land Management thinks changes in rules will improve problems between surface landowners and underground mineral rights owners in energy development disputes. B-L-M Deputy Jim Hughes oversaw a number of western hearings last summer looking into the issue of split estates. The idea was to see what laws were needed. But Hughes says the B-L-M has decided to address the matter internally, through the rule making process. He says Split Estate problems are not widespread. However, the B-L-M says surface landowners will be better notified when drilling is to occur and there will be a requirement that good faith negotiations over surface land damages occur.