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Green River Formation Lawsuit Overview
All You Need to Know

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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt
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A group of mineral interest owners filed a lawsuit in 2018 against oil companies operating in the Green River Formation, which is abundant in oil shale and natural gas. The lawsuit claims that the companies engaged in fraudulent practices and did not fully pay the royalties owed.

As a legal attorney with almost a decade of experience in environmental law, I will use my expertise to explain the lawsuit in this article. I will discuss the potential implications of the lawsuit for the energy industry and environmental policy.

Quick Summary

  • The Green River Formation lawsuit examines resource extraction’s potential environmental, economic, and stakeholder impacts.
  • It brings into contention legal arguments concerning environmental laws, property rights, and effects on local ecosystems.
  • Potential outcomes include regulation changes, financial settlements, or other implications based on legal arguments & environmental effects.

What Is The Green River Formation Lawsuit?

A geological formation in Green River

The Green River Formation lawsuit is related to extracting oil and gas resources from the Eocene Green River Formation, a part of the larger Green River Basin.

The controversy stems from:

  • The potential environmental impacts of extraction
  • High water consumption required
  • The proximity to the Green River affects the river flows

One of the primary points of contention is the Enefit project in Utah’s Uintah and Piceance Creek Basins, which involves extracting billions of gallons of water from the Green River, a Colorado River tributary located within the Greater Green River Basin. 

This project has sparked controversy due to its extensive water usage and proximity to the Green River, posing potential risks to endangered species.

What Is The Current Status Of The Lawsuit?

The current status of the Green River Formation lawsuit is still ongoing. The lawsuit was filed in 2018 by a group of mineral interest owners who allege that oil companies operating in the formation have engaged in fraudulent practices and underpayment of royalties.

The case is currently pending in federal court in Wyoming.

What Is The Green River Formation?

A geological map of Green River formationThe Green River Formation is a geological treasure trove containing significant oil shale deposits, natural gas, and other valuable resources [1].

Spanning across parts of Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado, the formation is an area of great interest for the energy industry.

The Green River Formation represents a case for flood deposition, which suggests that the formation was created rapidly due to a global flood event. 

The well-preserved specimens found within the formation point to rapid burial, as opposed to the slower burial one would expect in a lake. This theory is supported by creation geologists who argue that the Green River Formation formed in a post-flood lake.

Who Are The Plaintiffs And Defendants?

The plaintiffs and defendants in the Green River Formation lawsuit consist of a diverse group of stakeholders, including environmental groups concerned about the impact on fossil fish, energy companies looking to exploit the resources of the formation, and government agencies responsible for regulating resource extraction.

Their primary objective is to safeguard the environment, particularly the unique fossil basin, while also considering the potential economic benefits of resource extraction.

On the other hand, the defendants primarily focus on exploiting the resources within the Green River Formation. They argue that extraction can be done responsibly and with minimal environmental impact.

Related ArticleOil Field Accident Lawsuit Update

The Green River Formation Lawsuit: An Overview

Men loading oil barrels on the truck

At the core of the Green River Formation lawsuit is the extraction of resources from the formation, representing a significant oil and gas source.

The lawsuit raises several environmental issues, including the potential repercussions of oil and gas development on air and water quality, wildlife, and public health. Some impacts could be noticeable in only a few weeks, highlighting the urgency of addressing these concerns.

“The energy industry and environmental groups will closely watch the lawsuit’s outcome. It could significantly impact the future of oil and gas development in the United States.”
David J. Smith, Professor of Law at the University of Wyoming

Regulatory Framework and Compliance Issues

Gavel and lawsuit papers

The regulatory framework and compliance issues surrounding the Green River Formation are central to the lawsuit.

Understanding the legal framework governing resource extraction and the challenges associated with ensuring compliance is key to navigating the complexities of the case.

Legal Framework

A lawyer reading about the legal frameworkThe legal framework for the Green River Formation lawsuit involves various environmental laws and regulations that govern resource extraction.

These laws and regulations are in place to ensure that extraction is done responsibly and with minimal environmental impact.

Some key environmental laws and regulations applicable to resource extraction include the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the Endangered Species Act [2].

Compliance Challenges

Compliance challenges in the Green River Formation lawsuit include meeting regulatory requirements and addressing potential environmental impacts.

Ensuring compliance with various laws and regulations can be a significant challenge for all parties involved in the lawsuit, as they must demonstrate that their actions align with the legal framework governing resource extraction.

What Is The Average Settlement In The Green River Formation Lawsuit?

A court gavel and some dollar bills in a rubber bandThe average settlement in the Green River Formation lawsuit may vary depending on the specific circumstances of each party involved.

As such, the average settlement is not publicly available at this time.

However, it is important to remember that the lawsuit’s outcome will have significant implications for the energy industry, the environment, and the economy, making it a critical issue to watch as it unfolds.

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FAQs

How Much Oil Is In The Green River Epoch Formation?

There are approximately 3 trillion barrels of oil in the Green River Epoch Formation. The amount of oil that can be extracted from the formation depends on factors such as the type of rock, the depth of the formation, and the presence of other hydrocarbons.

What Are The Damages Being Sought In The Lawsuit?

The damages being sought in the lawsuit include personal injury, property damage, and medical expenses. They are also seeking punitive damages.

Get A Free Consultation With Our Experienced Attorneys 

If you are involved in the Green River Formation lawsuit or have concerns about the case, we encourage you to contact our experienced attorneys at Schmidt & Clark, LLP for a free consultation.

They can help you navigate the Green River Formation’s complexities and discuss your legal options. Contact us today by phone or email to schedule your free consultation.


References:

  1. https://www.britannica.com/place/Green-River-Formation
  2. https://sgp.fas.org/crs/misc/RL30798.pdf

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