Summary of Decision October 19, 2012
Justice Burke delivered the opinion for the Court. Affirmed in part. Reversed in part.
Case Names: THE WYOMING DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY and YATES PETROLEUM CORPORATION AND MARATHON OIL COMPANY v. WYOMING OUTDOOR COUNCIL;
YATES PETROLEUM CORPORATION AND MARATHON OIL COMPANY v. WYOMING OUTDOOR COUNCIL and THE WYOMING DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY
Docket Number: S-12-0002, S-12-0003
Appeal from the District Court of Laramie County, Honorable Thomas T.C. Campbell, Judge.
Representing Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality: Gregory A. Phillips, Attorney General; Jay A. Jerde, Deputy Attorney General; Michael Barrash, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Christopher M. Brown, Senior Assistant Attorney General. Argument by Mr. Barrash and Mr. Jerde.
Representing Yates Petroleum and Marathon Oil Company: Eric L. Hiser and Matthew Joy, Jorden Bischoff & Hiser, PLC, Scottsdale, Arizona. Argument by Mr. Joy.
Representing Wyoming Outdoor Council: Steve Jones, Jones and Maxon Law Office, Jackson, Wyoming.
Date of Decision: October 19, 2012
Facts: This appeal involved the issuance by the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) of two general permits for the discharge of produced water from coal bed methane operations in northeastern Wyoming. Yates Petroleum Corporation and Marathon Oil Company (Yates and Marathon) appealed the DEQ’s decision to the Environmental Quality Council (EQC), challenging certain conditions of the two general permits. The Wyoming Outdoor Council (WOC) also sought EQC review of the DEQ’s decision to issue the general permits.
WOC claimed that general permits were rules, and had to be promulgated through the rulemaking procedures set forth in the Wyoming Administrative Procedure Act. The EQC rejected WOC’s claim, and WOC sought judicial review of that decision. The district court reversed the EQC, determining that DEQ was required to promulgate the general permits as rules. Because DEQ had not followed the statutory rulemaking procedures, the district court ruled that the general permits were void.
The district court also rejected the argument by Yates and Marathon that WOC was not entitled to seek EQC review of the DEQ’s decision to issue the general permits, but was limited to judicial review. The district court ruled that the Wyoming Environmental Quality Act did allow WOC to seek administrative review by the EQC. Yates and Marathon appealed.
Issues: The parties present a variety of statements of the issues on appeal. We think the issues are appropriately stated as follows:
Whether DEQ must employ the statutory rulemaking procedures for the issuance of general permits.
Whether WOC was entitled to administrative review by the EQC of DEQ’s decision to issue the general permits.
Holdings: The Court reversed the district court ruling that the DEQ was required to promulgate general permits as administrative rules, because they agreed with the EQC’s decision that the two general permits in question were issued following appropriate procedures. The Court affirmed the district court’s ruling that WOC was entitled to EQC review of the DEQ’s decision to issue these general permits.
Summaries are prepared by Law Librarians and are not official statements of the Wyoming Supreme Court
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Friday, October 19, 2012
Summary of Decision October 19, 2012