Energy Corporation of America (ECA) has been dismissed from the lawsuit filed by Silvertip landowners against the Carbon County Commissioners. The dismissal came at the request of ECA, which indicated that it had no interest that it wished to defend in the case.
The lawsuit challenges the January decision of the County Commissioners to deny the Silvertip Zone. The suit was filed on February 13.
According to the suit, ECA was named as a defendant even though the plaintiffs sought no damages against them. They were named because they might “claim an interest which would be affected by the declaration.” ECA conducted exploratory oil and gas drilling in the Silvertip area, and the company’s representatives participated in public meetings concerning establishment of the Silvertip Zoning District and, through its attorney Mike Dockery, ECA submitted extensive comments to the Commissioners opposing the establishment of the Zone.
However, ECA informed the Commissioners in December that the company had decided not to pursue further development in the Belfry area, and, according to the stipulation, “ECA does not claim an interest that it wishes to defend in the claims currently raised.”
As a result, ECA was dismissed from the case.
Will protesting landowners follow the same path?
You have to wonder whether the protesting landowners, who were also named in the lawsuit, might take the same path as ECA did. According to the lawsuit, “no relief is sought” against these individual landowners, “but they are considered necessary parties because of their interest in the outcome of this appeal.”
In other words, they were named as defendants not because anybody wants any money from them, but because they protested and the law requires that they have the opportunity to explain themselves if they choose to do so.
However, if they choose not to testify, they could conceivably opt out of the case in the same way ECA did.
What the Silvertip landowners ultimately decide to do is s between them and their attorney, but they have a path to get out of the suit if they want to.