By Kristin Espeland
laramie, wy – A recent eighth district court case involving a coal bed methane developer and porperty owners has been decided in favor of the rancher. The judge ruled the drilling company could not discharge water into drainages on the rancher's property because they were NOT naturally occurring. University of Wyoming environmental lawyer Melinda Harm Benson says the judge's first decision in this two-part case favored the coal bed methane producer. And she says this is only the beginning of what could be many complex CBM-related legal battles. Benson says that now landowners as well as industry will be "comparing notes" to determine whether or not a state watercourse case could affect their operations.