© 2024 Wyoming Public Media
800-729-5897 | 307-766-4240
Wyoming Public Media is a service of the University of Wyoming
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Transmission & Streaming Disruptions

Johnson County Faces Sanction As It Looks To Retrieve Back-Taxes

A truck and a worker of Carbon Creek LLC out by a natural gas well
Carbon Creek LLC

Johnson County is facing a new hurdle as it tries to receive more than $20 million in back-taxes from a coal-bed methane producer.

The northeastern Wyoming countyfiled a lawsuit against Carbon Creek Energy, LCC in November 2020 in order to receive unpaid production taxes dating back to 2016. Carbon Creek is the operator of US Realm Powder River's coal-bed methane wells, a company that’s in an ongoing bankruptcy case.

As the county seeks to retrieve taxes owed, or foreclose on its tax liens, US Realm is asking the court to hold Johnson County’s treasurer in contempt for violating an automatic stay.

In federal bankruptcy law, an automatic stay is put on any adversarial actions against a bankrupt party. While Carbon Creek is not a bankrupt party, US Realm Powder River attorney Brad Hunsickerargued Johnson County should not be able to enforce its lien as US Realm is the legal owner of the mineral leases and well interests in the lien notice.

Johnson County responded in an email that it has no intent of making any claim to property owned by US Realm.

"We have been very clear that in the case of Johnson County v. Carbon Creek, we are not seeking assets of U.S. Realm and that the John Does in our Complaint and Amended Complaint do not refer to U.S. Realm," read an email from Attorney Tom Bullock on May 18, 2021 filed in U.S. Realm'sbankruptcy docket.

In addition to unpaid county taxes, an office within the U.S. Department of the Interior filed a proof of claim for millions of dollars inunpaid royalties.

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court District of Wyoming will be holding a hearing related to the situation on June 30.

Before Wyoming, Cooper McKim has reported for NPR stations in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and South Carolina. He's reported breaking news segments and features for several national NPR news programs. Cooper is the host of the limited podcast series Carbon Valley. Cooper studied Environmental Policy and Music. He's an avid jazz piano player, backpacker, and podcast listener.
Related Content