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Appeal of Commission Orders

Craig Newman, Oil and Gas Conservation Law and Practice (1985)

An array of administrative law concepts, procedural and substantive issues are suggested by the title of this paper. A detailed analysis of all of those concepts and issues under the laws of all of the producing states is, however, beyond the scope of this undertaking and the patience of the reader. Rather, the author's inquiry has been limited to the laws of several selected Rocky Mountain states1 and the focus of the paper to several topics which appeared preeminent.

First, a brief survey will be undertaken of principal procedural steps necessary to effect an appeal of an order of a conservation commission2. Such procedures are, in the states surveyed, set forth by statute and/or court rule and reasonably easy to understand and accomplish. However, the reader is cautioned to examine closely all such procedural steps and the time frames specified in a particular case. The emphasis of the survey below is the common elements and procedures and those providing some problem or ambiguity to the practitioner. Further, the survey will not undertake an examination of the procedural steps necessary to perfect an appeal from the trial court to a state supreme court or intermediate appellate court.

Next, an examination will be made of two principal issues in the reported decisions involving oil and gas conservation agency orders: 1) the adequacy of the record; and 2) th