Gage Hart ZobellOffice: Billings
- Advised and navigated multiple clients through the maze of state agency requirements for the permitting and perfection of water rights for uses ranging from agricultural irrigation to mining and municipal.
- Defended Eastern Montana ranch in a Montana DNRC objection hearing that resulted in victory that ensured continued water use to over 2000 acres of pivoted corn.
- Assisted numerous Montana agricultural users through the adjudication process by filing and objecting on various water rights.
- Successfully defended a ranch from a DNRC initiated action in Water Court to limit the water usage and reduce the allowed irrigated acreage from 1600 acres to 600 acres.
- Worked with agricultural users on applying for a Montana 310 stream disturbance permit and defending emergency 310 actions.
- Advised and assisted a Nevada client in collateralizing excess water rights for financing of future infrastructure by conducting a title review and generating a water title report and later providing legal opinions to financing institutions on the validity of the water rights.
- Performed water rights due diligence and counseled client on water right validity on recent ranch acquisition of over one hundred thousand (100000) acres with over sixty thousand (60000) AFA of surface and groundwater rights.
- Counseled mining client on the development of municipal and mining water rights while utilizing tools such as water leasing and in-stream flows to protect the client’s water rights from any potential claim of abandonment.
- Conducted due diligence and drafted water schedules and reports on water supply and usage for mining clients on acquisition of nine-figure hard rock mining property in the Rocky Mountain region.
- Drafted DOTO and DDOTO for lands throughout the Williston Basin and Wyoming.
- Provided legal counsel as part of a litigation team for a multi-million dollar condemnation suit brought in furtherance of developing a mining property in Montana.
- Performed mineral title due diligence for acquisition of a nine-figure hard rock mining property in Wyoming.
- Represented oil/gas client before the IBLA regarding BLM refusal to refund bonus payment for partially cancelled lease.
- Drafted agricultural leases for ranch and farming properties throughout Montana while providing counsel and legal advice to local ranchers and farmers.
- Represented both local and out-of-state landowners establishing implied and prescriptive easements on landlocked property.
- Represented ranching clients and small vacation property owners in defending encroachments through quiet title actions.
- Negotiated agreement with state agency defending client’s secondary ditch easement and establishing client’s right to access state lands for ditch maintenance.
- Drafted mineral title report for seven-figure ranch purchase of over 3000 acres and initiated quiet title action on behalf of client resolving cloud on title.
Gage Hart Zobell practices in the firm’s Billings office as a member of the Energy & Minerals Projects & Transactions Practice Group. His practice encompasses multiple areas of energy, real estate, environmental, and natural resource law.
While with the firm, Gage has provided legal counsel to clients ranging from local ranchers with water disputes to large international mining corporations developing new acquisitions. His experience includes conducting mineral title examination and due diligence for properties in Montana, North Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho, and Nevada and drafting title opinions throughout the firm’s tri-state region. Gage is developing a broad based water law practice assisting both corporate and agricultural clients in water transactions, permitting, and development before the respective water courts and agencies. This practice has included assisting corporations with water due diligence in property development and acquisition while also providing legal counsel for development and preservation of existing water rights. His practice also includes drafting agricultural leases, condemning and defending easements, conducting quiet title actions, and assisting in the buying and selling of agricultural properties.
Gage earned a B.S. in Economics, magna cum laude, 2nd in class, from BYU-Idaho in 2011 and in 2014 received a J.D. from BYU’s J. Reuben Clark School of Law, magna cum laude, Order of the Coif, Phi Kappa Phi. In law school, Gage competed nationally in Moot Court winning multiple awards for speaking, edited the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation Journal, and was made a RMMLF Scholar in 2013. During law school, Gage clerked for the Honorable Judge Dale A. Kimball, U.S. District Court of Utah.
Gage was born in Dillon, Montana and raised on his family’s cattle ranch in the nearby Big Hole Valley. He continues to be active in ranching and maintains a small herd of cattle in the west of Montana.
- Energy & Minerals Projects & Transactions
- Mining – Hard Rock, Coal and Other Minerals
- Oil and Gas
- Pipelines, Transmission Lines and Other Linear Facilities
- Power Plants, Hydro Facilities, Refineries and Other Industrial Facilities
- Mergers & Acquisitions
- Renewable Energy
- Permitting and Environmental
- Title and Real Estate Related Matters
- Environmental Law
- Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and State Equivalents
- Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA or Superfund), Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and Solid or Hazardous Waste
- Eminent Domain
- Environmental Due Diligence
- National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and State Equivalents
- Agreements With Tribes
- Mining – Hard Rock, Coal and Industrial Minerals
- Land and Mineral Acquisition
- Litigation and Administrative Proceedings
- Merger and Acquisitions
- Mine Development and Operation
- Title Review and Curative
- Oil and Gas
- Title Examination
- Access, Title and Property Disputes
- Farm and Ranch Transactions
- Water Rights
- Water Law
- Comprehensive Water Law Practice
- Other Water-Related Matters
- Water Right Transactions
U.S. District Court, District of Montana, 2014
U.S. District Court, District of Nevada, 2016
North Dakota, 2016
2014, J.D., Magna Cum Laude, J. Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University
2011, B.S. in Economics, Magna Cum Laude, Brigham Young University – Idaho
Prior Experience (Employment)
Intel Corporation – Hillsboro, OR – Market Analyst /
Technical Research for Prototype Engineering Team
Summer Clerk – Guatemala City, Guatemala – Central America Legal Counsel, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2012
Shell Oil – Houston, TX – Summer Clerk, 2013
Crowley Fleck – Billings, MT – Summer Clerk, 2013
Judicial Extern for Honorable Dale A. Kimball, U.S. District Court of Utah – Salt Lake City, UT
Honors & Awards
Order of the Coif
Newel K. Whitney Distinguished Outstanding Graduate – Economics
Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation Scholar 2013
Board of Directors – Eagle Mount Billings (2014-2020)
President-Elect, Executive Committee – Eagle Mount Billings (2016-2017)
Board Member – JustServe, Billings MT (2014-2015)
President – J. Reuben Clark Law Society, Montana Chapter
American Exploration & Mining Association (AEMA) – Public Lands & Environmental Committees
Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation (RMMLF)
Montana Mining Association (MMA)
State Bar of Montana
Yellowstone Area Bar Association
Presentations & Publications
“How Industry and Regulators Are Responding to Challenges and Opportunities in Management, Reuse, and Beneficial Use of Produced Water” – RMMLF 2017 Annual Institute, Santa Fe, NM
“CERCLA 108(b)” – Montana Mining Association, 2017 Annual Meeting, Anaconda, MT
“Establishing the Validity of Agricultural Water Rights / Conducting Agricultural Water Rights Title Searches / Changing the Use and Diversion Point of Water”- NBI, Billings, MT 2015
Fresh Potato Price Volatility – presented IFAMA, Shanghai, China 2012