From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 4, Number 37 - December 9, 2004
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Exxon sues Sublette County

by Cat Urbigkit

In the latest chapter of the now decade-old tax dispute with Exxon Mobil Corporation over the company's LaBarge-area production, Exxon has sued the Wyoming Department of Revenue and the Sublette County Commission.

The lawsuit requests a determination that DOR and the county may not impose severance and ad valorem taxes on federal helium. Exxon Mobil contends that the helium produced in Lincoln County, which is owned by the federal government, is purchased and subsequently resold by the company.

The complaint contends: "No statutory authority exists for the imposition of either severance or ad valorem taxes on federally owned helium purchased by Exxon Mobil from the federal government in Lincoln County, Wyoming. The DOR and Sublette County disagree."

Exxon Mobil cites wording its federal mineral lease which grants the company "the exclusive right and privilege to drill for, extract, remove and dispose of all of the oil and gas deposits, except helium gas, in the lands leased ..."

The company concludes, "Accordingly, the federal leases do not grant Exxon Mobil any rights or privileges with respect to federal helium gas."

The commission passed a formal motion Tuesday to retain the law firm of Davis and Cannon to handle "any and all" matters regarding to this litigation.

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