House Bill 51, “Industrial and energy development protection,” sponsored by Rep. Sue Wallis, R-Recluse, died in committee on Wednesday. As introduced, the measure would have required individuals and organizations that want to challenge an energy or industrial development permit to put post a bond to make up for any delay a company incurs due to the challenge.
The bond amount would be forfeited to the defendant if the court rules against the person or groups that filed the challenge. Environmental groups, including the Powder River Basin Resource Council, had argued there are long-standing administrative and legal procedures to prove standing when challenging a permit application or permitted energy project.
A major point of contention between conservationists and developers in Wyoming is the Wyoming Environmental Quality Council‘s administrative appeals process, which considers challenges to permitting actions by the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality. Developers complain the process is used to unnecessarily delay projects, while protesters often argue they must force DEQ to follow its own rules, regulations as well as state and federal environmental protection laws.