On the Monday, February 4, Climate Justice Forum radio program, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) again welcomes Alma Hasse and Tina Fisher of Idaho Residents Against Gas Extraction, talking about natural gas developments and resistance in southwest Idaho. As the legislature approves state oil and gas commission appointments by the governor and industry-compromised injection well regulations, citizens are crafting a statewide petition to ban toxic drilling practices and are voicing their concerns about private and state land leases (even UNDER the Payette River), flaring and seismic testing impacts, and impending fracking, waste wells, and pipelines. WIRT invites listeners to share their insights during the show broadcast on KRFP Radio Free Moscow between 7:30 and 9:30 pm PST live at 92.5 FM and online, by calling the station studio at 208-892-9200. Thanks to the generous, anonymous supporter who adopted program host Helen Yost as his KRFP DJ, the show also covers continent-wide dirty energy schemes and climate activism news.
It would have been fantastic if you had given a bit of time to some of the local citizens opposed to this development!
Industry has been very successful at convincing everyone else across the state that they do not have anything to worry about – that they are just going to operate a few wells in Payette and Washington counties and that they are not going to frack (at least, that is what we were told originally).
The problem is that does not exactly jive with what they have been doing these past couple of years.
Idaho House Bill 464 went through the legislature last year and totally strips the municipal governments of ANY control over the siting of oil and gas wells in Idaho. What used to be a process that involved an application to the city/county – a formal public notice and public hearing process – has now became a rubber-stamp process at the state level. There are only two ways that the state can deny a well permit: if there would be a wasting of the resource and/or if groundwater would be contaminated. Good luck proving that water will be contaminated BEFORE it happens! And if it happens – because the state is not requiring ANY baseline testing of well water in the drilling areas – it would be this side of impossible to PROVE that well water was contaminated by drilling activities! Just ask Mr. Brown if Snake River Oil and Gas or AM Idaho did ANY baseline testing of area water wells. Ask him if they are required to do any testing! Continue reading
Snake River Oil and Gas is testing three of its gas wells in Payette County. Gas left over from the testing is flared off.
While 2012 was a year of acquisition and information gathering for Snake River Oil and Gas, 2013 is poised to be a year of drilling for natural gas in southwestern Idaho.
“We will probably start drilling in the spring,” said Richard Brown, CEO of Snake River Oil and Gas. His company has close to 130,000 acres of gas and oil leases in Payette and Washington counties as well as seven productive wells. Snake River bought the wells last year from Bridge Resources, which initially drilled the productive wells.
Along with buying the wells and negotiating leases with landowners, Snake River spent $14 million last year exploring its new holdings, using large, earth-shaking trucks and high tech sensors in the ground to get three-dimensional data on how natural gas is situated underground. That data is still being analyzed. It looks promising, according to company officials. Now the company is testing three of its seven wells to learn more about the gas reservoir underneath the wells. After that could come drilling to extract that gas.
If all goes well, the next step for the drillers would be building a pipeline to connect the wells. They are close to the multi-state gas pipeline as well as Idaho Power’s new Langley Gulch gas-fired power plant near New Plymouth. Brown speculates that pipeline work could start in the summer. Continue reading
With latest purchase, Texans own 35,934 acres
GRANGEVILLE - The recent purchase of a 17,947-acre ranch on the Doumecq Plains southwest of Grangeville likely makes the two Texas billionaire brothers who bought it the second-largest landowners in Idaho County.
Farris C. Wilks, 60, and Dan H. Wilks, 56, of Cisco, Texas, bought the Delos Robbins Ranch in December. In January 2011, the brothers bought the 17,987-acre Hitchcock Ranch in the same area.
With a total of 35,934 acres, that ranks the brothers just behind Western Pacific Timber Company in total county holdings, Idaho County Assessor James Zehner said. Western Pacific owns about 38,000 acres in the Upper Lochsa region of Idaho County. Continue reading
Richard Brown, CEO of Snake River Oil and Gas, said the testing will go on for two to three weeks.
Snake River Oil and Gas, in partnership with Alta Mesa Holdings, purchased the assets of Bridge Resources last year, including 11 wells, seven of which have production capability, Brown said.
Three of the wells are now under intensive testing, which will help company officials understand the size of the reservoir and will be indicative of the production of the other four wells, Brown said.
The companies have approximately 300 to 400 oil and gas leases on about 130,000 acres with a number of landowners, he said. Seismic work was conducted in the area last fall, ending in November, Brown said. Continue reading
Idaho’s next chapter of drilling for natural gas has begun.
The Argus Observer reports that drivers northeast of New Plymouth or east of Payette may spot flames spouting from natural gas well testing in the region.
The Observer’s Larry Meyer reports that Snake River Oil and Gas has launched “intensive testing” at three wells, to help determine production viability. The testing is expected to last two to three weeks.
Snake River, in partnership with Alta Mesa Holdings, purchased a number of wells from Bridge Resources in 2012, after the Canadian-based company liquidated many of its assets, in the wake of financial troubles at the height of its 2011 drilling operations.
Snake River is currently testing wells purchased from Bridge Resources. No new wells have been drilled.
(By George Prentice, Boise Weekly)
Alma Hasse of Idaho Residents Against Gas Extraction and Helen Yost of Wild Idaho Rising Tide talked with nationally broadcast radio program host Dennis Bernstein between 0:56 and 20:38 of the Wednesday, October 17, edition of Flashpoints. Alma and Helen discussed citizen resistance to looming first fracking in Idaho, to tar sands equipment transports in eastern Montana and north central Idaho, and to national energy policies and debates.
Last year, the Idaho Legislature passed House Bill 464 and its many detrimental provisions. It crippled local governments’ ability to conduct the conditional use permitting process for oil and gas development and imbedded the federal “Halliburton Loophole” for hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) in Idaho state law, meaning that the practice of fracking does not fall under the definition of injection. Thus, neither fracked wells nor wells used for the storage of natural gas and oil are considered injection wells and thus are not regulated as Class II injection wells in Idaho. The state’s new proposed rules strictly concern the storage of toxins that are a by-product of oil and gas development, such as produced water, brine water, the fracking fluid pumped out of a fracked well, etc.
Please read the following articles respectively dated September and June 2012 for a better understanding of injection well issues and risks and the history of their oversight:
Are Fracking Wastewater Wells Poisoning the Ground beneath Our Feet? by Abrahm Lustgarten, Scientific American
The Trillion-Gallon Loophole: Lax Rules for Drillers that Inject Pollutants into the Earth, by Abrahm Lustgarten, ProPublica Continue reading