CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — A new rule in Wyoming seeks to reduce a record number of applications for permits to drill oil and gas wells.

The Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission rule makes it easier for other developers and mineral owners to challenge permit applications and contest permits when drilling doesn't begin right away.

Recently companies with no immediate plans to drill in have been applying for multiple permits to secure control over potential drilling areas in Wyoming.

The commission received almost 70,000 drilling permit applications in just three years, creating a backlog of thousands of permit applications and protests from competing operators.

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