WOGc State Court Case Dismissed But Federal Case and COGCC Protests Continue

In the Wildgrass Oil and Gas Committee (WOGc) case in State Court, Judge Whitney upheld the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission’s motion to dismiss the case and WOGc stated  that they will not be appealing this decision. The premise of the WOGc health and safety lawsuit was that the COGCC failed to take into account health, safety, environment, and economic issues on the Extraction project.  It was originally filed by WOGc on 7/6/18.  According to WOGc, they felt that Judge Whitney’s order to uphold the motion to dismiss was well-reasoned and thoughtful regarding the case.  Therefore, WOGc felt that the chance of success on appeal was too low and did not justify going forward with this case.  Judge Whitney’s ruling can be read here.

WOGc’s federal constitutional rights case WOGc v. COGCC is still moving forward.  On 2/12/19, Judge Jackson ordered WOG’s COGCC forced pooling hearing to be held with full discovery and in consideration of health, safety and welfare.  However, WOGc was not given due process at its 3/12/19 COGCC forced pooling hearing.  On 4/30/19, WOGc Attorneys Joe Salazar and Dan Leftwich filed an Amended Complaint alleging Due Process, Freedom of Association, and Contract Clause violations, in large part because of constitutional violations evident during the 3/12/19 COGCC hearing.  On 5/10/19, both the COGCC and interveners Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA) & American Petroleum Institute (API) filed Motions to Dismiss.  WOGc will be responding to those Motions to Dismiss shortly.

WOGc has filed protests for Extraction’s United South and Sheridan South spacing units on behalf of its members who are mineral owners in these spacing units.  It is unclear at this time when these forced pooling hearings will occur, which were originally scheduled for June 17.  All the COGCC dockets were taken down after the May hearings were postponed.  The COGCC Director’s interim guidelines state that the COGCC will enforce that the operator must prove that they have access to 45% of the net mineral acreage in the spacing unit and that the operator must have negotiated in good faith.