Ranchers are not unified in their hostility toward energy developers. Among ranchers, there are those who favored the legal and regulatory status quo of split-estate energy development and those who favored reforming current policies. Among ranchers favoring the status quo are those who believe that legislative intervention would negate their ability to negotiate terms with energy developers seeking to access and develop the federal mineral estate. Among ranchers favoring reform, most believe that legislative intervention would enhance their ability to negotiate terms with energy developers. In either case, the central focus of State Surface Owner Protection Acts was reformation of the negotiation process wherein ranchers entering into contractually binding Surface Owner Agreements with energy companies. Representatives of ranching organizations express the opinion that Surface Owner Protection Acts are beneficial to all their members. Unlike energy representatives, however, representatives of ranching are uniform in their opinion of how the ranching-energy conflict heightened.
KeywordsRanching lobby Bureau of Land Management Department of Interior Bureaucracy Split-estate energy development Surface Owner Protection Act
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