Controversial Oil/Gas Drilling Bill, HB 464, Signed into Law

Here’s a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho ― Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter signed the bill restricting local control over the natural gas industry, putting the finishing touches to a measure that launched the Senate’s ethics investigation into Senator Monty Pearce.  The law, HB 464, went into effect Friday, forbidding local governments from enacting ordinances to prohibit gas drilling.  From now on, Idaho cities and counties can’t require exploration companies to secure conditional use permits for their projects.  Though the bill cleared the House and Senate on wide margins, it created a sensation in the 2012 Legislature when Democrats accused Pearce of not disclosing a conflict of interest.  Pearce has leased land to Snake River Oil and Gas, the company behind the bill.  He didn’t disclose his leases publicly until the final vote.  Wednesday, the Senate Ethics Committee dismissed the complaint.

(By Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise, The Spokesman Review)

Gasland Rancher John Fenton in Idaho

On Monday, March 19, in Weiser, and on Tuesday, March 20, in Fruitland, the Idaho Organizing Project of the Western Organization of Resource Councils and Oregon Rural Action hosted guest speaker John Fenton of Pavillion, Wyoming, the rancher and chair of the Pavillion Area Concerned Citizens featured in the Gasland documentary.  Throughout two informative evenings of free, public presentations, John talked about his and his neighbors’ personal experiences and their direct struggles against the negative aspects of living in the middle of oil and gas fracking development on their ranches and in their community.  See a brief video of John explaining how his peers organized themselves and recruited the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for a seminal study of their ground water.

(Link provided by Liz Amason)