Surface Damages, Site-Remediation and Well Bonding in Wyoming - Results and Analysis of Recent Regulations


A great oil and gas boom is afoot in America and Canada and onshore production is advancing at an extraordinary pace. For some states, this production is without historical precedent. Consequently, they are now facing the environmental and surface-use issues related to hydrocarbon development that states with established production have wrestled with for a long time. Whatever regulatory path these states with newer production decide to take, the laws and regulations they have enacted or are considering will play a significant role in how gas, oil, and coalbed methane is ultimately developed in western America and how that development will affect rural landowners and towns. Wyoming is in the eye of this storm. Hitherto, Wyoming has been a minor producer compared to some other states, but now that prices are hitting new records and technologies and markets have developed for coalbed methane development, the eyes of the energy industry are fixed on Wyoming. It is currently undergoing a remarkable boom cycle, particularly with the advent of coalbed methane development. Wyoming has a sparse population, but must now begin to consider the results of surface damage, water contamination of both aquifers and surface supplies, and the tension between the surface and mineral owner that this rampant development is bringing. Until recently, it had relatively few laws - some of which were antiquated - on the books covering site remediation, water disposal from production, and well bonding.

This paper examines three issues:

  • recent legislation covering surface damages and entry requirements for producers
  • regulations crafted to help prevent groundwater contamination caused by coalbed methane development and surface remediation and bonding
  • bond requirements for producers

Reprinted here courtesy of Wyoming Law Review: Surface Damages, Site-Remediation and Well Bonding in Wyoming - Results and Analysis of Recent Regulations, Christopher S. Kulander, 9 Wyo. L. Rev. 413 (2009).

To read the full article, click on the PDF linked below.

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