A lawsuit filed by Tripower Resources says the energy company is not responsible for about $885,000 in back taxes from 2008 to 2010. Tripower says it did not own the wells from which these production taxes accumulated during the time period in question. But Campbell, Crook, and Converse Counties have listed the company as tax-delinquent. They’re applying taxes from current production to the owed back-taxes. Converse County treasurer Joel Schell says, according to statute, the current owner is responsible for any unpaid taxes.
"What you’re trying to avoid happen is some of the things we saw at the end of the last boom where you have companies come in, produce oil and gas, profit from that, and then before we can even bill to tax, which happens about a year after they produce it, they just shut up their doors and leave the state,” says Schell. “So we’re left with tax bills that are going to go unpaid."
Schell says the company that operated the wells until 2010 co-mingled boards of directors with Tripower, and Tripower was responsible for financial operations of those wells at that time. Tripower did not return calls before this story's deadline.