Judge Rules in Favor of Landowners

According to a recent Durango Herald article, Judge Gregory Lyman tossed out several gas companies’ applications for water rights in a ruling that could strengthen the hands of landowners in negotiations with drillers. Judge Lyman’s ruling is the latest development in a long struggle concerning water rights and gas drilling that began in 2007. In that case, Lyman ruled for Southwest Colorado ranchers who sued to get the state to regulate water use by natural-gas drillers. The state Supreme Court upheld Lyman’s 2007 ruling and required gas companies to get water well permits and water rights. In response, several gas companies filed for water rights in area streams and groundwater formations. Several local landowners and governments, including the city of Durango and the U.S. Forest Service, filed statements of opposition.