One man’s thirty five-year battle with the federal government appeared to end last September, when a federal judge ruled that the Department of the Interior had wrongly cancelled his oil and gas lease. But the battle was not over.
A small, family-owned Colorado oil and gas exploration company holds oil and gas leases in the White River National Forest in Colorado. Despite more than twenty years of investment in this area, extremists are trying to drive this small company out of business, no matter what the law says
Our client Mary A. Thoman, a Wyoming rancher whose family has raised sheep in western Wyoming for nearly seven decades, had to give up her family grazing land after her livestock losses to the grizzly bear became too great. One of her ranch hands was nearly killed in an attack. A judge put the bear back on the endangered species list—contrary to the recommendation of 20 years of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service research and the pleas of ranchers and citizens of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. This makes it impossible for local and state officials to manage the growing grizzly population, and virtually guarantees more loss and death.
Federal bureaucrats, including the Secretary of the Interior, have no authority to cancel a lawfully issued oil and gas lease unless Congress has provided them that authority. Our client, Sidney Longwell, first purchased a federal oil and gas lease in Montana’s Lewis and Clark National Forest in 1982. Despite passing decade-long environmental and archeological reviews, the Clinton administration suspended his lease in 1993, and continued to suspend the lease ultimately for over two decades.
One protection afforded small businesses from overly burdensome federal regulations is the requirement that agencies consider the economic impact of regulations on small businesses; however, no such analysis was done regarding the “waters of the United States” rules issued by the Obama administration.
Case Summary The greater sage-grouse is not on the Endangered Species Act list. Nevertheless, the government is using the bird to illegally restrict mining in ten states and has recommended banning mining on more than ten million acres of land in the West. Case History The greater sage-grouse is the largest grouse species in North…
Since 1872, federal law guaranteed citizens a “right to mine” on most federal lands. In direct conflict with that law, Oregon banned suction dredge mining, which is the only economically feasible method of extracting gold from rivers in the national forests.