At least one Wyoming lawmaker believes that persons and organizations that want to challenge an energy or industrial development permit ought to put up a bond to make up for any delay a company incurs due to the challenge.

House Bill 51, “Industrial and energy development protection,” was introduced by Rep. Sue Wallis, R-Recluse, and referred to committee last week.

The bill stipulates that the bond amount would be forfeited to the defendant if the court rules against the person or groups that filed the challenge. Environmental groups say the bill, if passed, would most certainly be challenged as unconstitutional.

Shannon Anderson, organizer with the landowner advocacy group Powder River Basin Resource Council, said there are already long-standing administrative and legal procedures to prove standing when challenging a permit application or permitted energy project. She noted that Basin Electric Power Cooperative faced a legal challenge by the Sierra Club over its proposed Dry Fork Station coal-fired power plant, and construction carried on throughout the process.

“I don’t think there’s a delay problem at all,” said Anderson.

Petroleum Association of Wyoming vice president John Robitaille didn’t say whether his organization supports the bill.

“We are considering the bill and need to review it further,” said Robitaille.

Wallis didn’t respond to attempts to contact her for comment. The bill is schedule to go before the House on Tuesday morning.

Contact Dustin Bleizeffer at 307-577-6069 or dustin@wyofile.com.

Dustin Bleizeffer

Dustin Bleizeffer is a Report for America Corps member covering energy and climate at WyoFile. He has worked as a coal miner, an oilfield mechanic, and for 22 years as a statewide reporter and editor primarily...

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