House Bill 464 in the Idaho Senate

Controversial legislation fast-tracked by the Idaho Petroleum Council through the Idaho Legislature, House Bill 464 faced a gridlock 17 to 17 vote on the Senate floor last Friday, March 9, about whether it should be sent to the Amending order for language changes.  This industry-sponsored law would allow state agencies and commissions to pre-empt city and county control of natural gas development and would exempt associated wells from state regulations governing Class II injection wells, thus permitting disposal of hazardous drilling waste such as hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) fluids.  In an unexpected turn of events, Lieutenant Governor Brad Little cast the deciding vote in favor of revisions (see the Boise Weekly article also on the WIRT website, Senate Deadlocks on Amending Gas Drilling Measure, Lieutenent Governor Casts Tie-Breaker. Continue reading

Comment Period Extended for Port of Lewiston Expansion

The Walla Walla District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) has extended the deadline for public input on the recently released 73-page Environmental Assessment (EA) and draft Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the Port of Lewiston Dock Expansion and Storage Area Development.  It lengthened the comment period to a more appropriate 30 days ending on Friday, March 30, rather than on Friday, March 16.  Both documents are available for your examination on the left side of the Corps’ Port of Lewiston Dock Expansion and Storage Area Development web page.  The project proposed by the Corps’ preferred Alternative 2 would expand the existing dock from its present 100 feet to 250 feet parallel with the north bank of the Clearwater River, along the Corps-owned flood protection levee and adjacent shoreline land.  It would also move a mooring pillar downstream in the river and develop two acres as a graveled storage area at current port facilities, among a half dozen other associated modifications. Continue reading