Contact Us

College of Law

1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3035

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: 307-766-6416

Fax: 307-766-6417


Find us on Instagram (Link opens a new window)Find us on Facebook (Link opens a new window)Find us on Twitter (Link opens a new window)Find us on LinkedIn (Link opens a new window)

Research and Resources

Rural Law Center

Checklist for Surface Use Damage Agreements (SUDA)


Landowner Rights

□     Prior notice required before operator's entry onto land (specify  date of entry and number  days for oil and gas operations.

□     Prior approval by landowner of location of each well, tank battery, disposal pit, road, pipeline, power line, gathering system and facility

□     Operator to provide designated primary contact person

□     Right of landowner to take ownership of and convert abandoned well bore into water well for domestic use, stock watering or irrigation.

□     Landowner to be given first opportunity to perform contract work needed by operator


Operator Rights and Responsibilities

□     Operator's right of entry onto and use of surface acknowledged

□     Operator to cooperate in prevention of spread of agricultural diseases

□     Authorization for use of landowner's water, gravel, shale and payment for same

□     Operator responsibility to clean up litter / trash / rocks

□     Activities not permitted under agreement:

□     Living quarters for workers

□     Storage of excess equipment

□     No guns or explosives

□     No hunting without landowner's permission

□     No drugs or alcohol on premises

□     Operator's fire prevention responsibilities and required equipment

□     Restoration after CBM operations cease

□     Restoration and reseeding techniques specified

□     Plug and properly abandon unused wells copy of certification from WOGCC Supervisor

□     Duty to comply with environmental laws, and abate environmental damages

□     Operator to require that employees, contractors and subcontractors comply with SUDA


Scope of Development

□     Plan of development to be mutually developed and agreed upon before CBM

□     development begins; plan to include:

□     Maps showing important features on landowner's land

□     Location of operator's planned wells and supporting equipment

□     Location of pipelines

□     Critical Path Schedule

□     Construction standards for all facilities incorporated by reference to industry (API) standards

□     Water management plan

□     Noise control

□     Dust control

□     Weed control

□     Consolidation of facilities to serve as many wells as practical

□     Obligation to minimize visual impact on the landscape


Well Sites

□     Size limits for drilling pad and disposal pits (by acreage)

□     Limitation of agreement to shallow wells or particular coal formations for CBM



□     Width of roads

□     Right of ways

□     Repair of landowner's existing roads, if used

□     Reclamation of roads no longer used (or used by landowner)

□     No permanent roads without landowner permission

□     Construction specifications, techniques according to standards incorporated by reference

□     Roads to be maintained; weeds to be controlled by Operator



□     Construction techniques specified

□     Landowner to be provided with plat showing location of all pipelines

□     Removal, cleanup, restoration and release of easements


Compressors, gathering facilities

□     Noise limitations or reduction techniques

□     Location restrictions

□     Visual impact to be reduced


Power lines

□     Overhead lines to cause least interference with visual landscape

□     Buried pipelines to be used when possible

□     Restoration, construction techniques according to standards incorporated by reference


Protections for cattle/ranching operations

□     Installation of gates in fences when breached due to CBM operation

□     Gates to be kept as they are found (to be closed, if they were closed when operator goes through)

□     Areas (pits, drill sites, etc) to be fenced off to protect livestock

□     Special considerations during calving / lambing / foaling / hunting seasons

□     Special considerations for recreational ranch business operations (e.g., hunting, dude ranching, horse training)

Produced Water Management

□     Discharge location and conditions for discharge specified

□     Pits for disposal authorized (including provisions for construction, prohibition of overflow, fencing, permits, reclamation after end of use, monetary damages for leaking or discharging pits)

□     Reservoirs for beneficial reuse of water by landowner authorized

□     Operator responsibility for downstream damage to other lands, livestock, crops, improvements, etc.

□     Downstream landowners intended to be third party beneficiaries who can enforce the agreement

□     Operator to provide water analysis of streams, reservoirs or soils proposed to receive discharge of produced water (testing methods, locations, etc. specified) Landowner approval of written water management plan required for each water discharge point on or off landowner property, along with a copy of the NPDES permit application

□     Minimum contents of plan specified

□     Landowner right to require revision to plan if damage to landowner's improvements, land, or water

□     Landowner shall not unreasonably withhold consent

□     Operator may re-inject or transport water off landowner's property, if landowner and operator cannot agree on water management plan

□     Operator cannot prevent landowner from beneficially using produced water


Domestic and Stock Water Well Conditions

□     Location and depth of existing domestic and stock wells

□     Initial baseline and annual monitoring test of existing water wells to be paid for by Operator

□     Operator obligated to provide alternative supply if there is interference from oil and gas operations


Damage Provisions

□     Payment for all damages including loss of production, loss of land value or loss of improvements (including domestic and stock wells) from one or more of the following disturbances:

  • Roads (sometimes calculated by length of road)
  • Pipelines and right of ways
  • Gathering system
  • High pressure transmission lines
  • Compressor stations
  • Electric lines (above and below ground) Pits / impoundments
  • Stratigraphic test hole
  • Wells
  • Service access points
  • Pod building


□     Adjustment in payment amounts every so often according to a formula tied to the Consumer Price index

□     Amount of bond with WOGCC to reflect obligation for payment of damages


Enforcement and Dispute Resolution

□     Non-defaulting party has right to enforce the agreement

□     Operator to pay attorneys' fees and other costs of enforcing agreement, upon default

□     Natural resource management mediator jointly selected by landowner and

□     Operator to attempt to resolve dispute;

□     If dispute is not resolved in 30 days, parties have landowner can seek legal remedies including consent for entry of injunctive relief.


Miscellaneous Provisions

  • Operator to have insurance
  • SUDA not to be recorded without both parties' consent
  • SUDA not to be disclosed to third parties' without consent
  • Assignment of agreement
  • Fully assignable
  • Assignable with consent (but landowner cannot unreasonably withhold


  • No assignment outside company unless landowner consents (without such

consent, operator remains bound to agreement, even after assignment)

  • Operator agreement to indemnify, defend and hold landowner harmless for allactions / claims that arise out of operator's activities on land, including:
  • violation of environmental laws
  • liabilities for personal injury, death or property damage
  • mineral trespass
  • water trespass
  • Waiver of liability to landowner for damage caused by livestock to CBM


Contact Us

College of Law

1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3035

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: 307-766-6416

Fax: 307-766-6417


Find us on Instagram (Link opens a new window)Find us on Facebook (Link opens a new window)Find us on Twitter (Link opens a new window)Find us on LinkedIn (Link opens a new window)