Alma Hasse, Payette County
The Argus Observer 6/20/13
On Monday, June 24, at 11 am, the Payette County Board of County Commissioners will be making their decision on the draft oil and gas ordinance before them.
Our Planning and Zoning Commission spent six months working on this ordinance. They held two public hearings and a by-invitation panel discussion that included Michael Lewis, Director of the Idaho U.S. Geological Survey office, Mark Hilty, Nampa land use attorney, and residents from both Payette and Washington counties.
What the Commissioners learned – contrary to what they had been told by industry – was that they could indeed regulate this industry and that, in Mr. Hilty’s legal opinion, they have an OBLIGATION to do so. Oil and gas drilling is a heavy industrial activity. Normally, heavy industrial activities are limited to operating inside areas specifically zoned for heavy industrial use. Our land use decision makers – both the Planning and Zoning Commission and our Commissioners – have the moral responsibility to enact good, protective ordinances that will protect our greatest resource, our drinking water. They need to ensure that they have taken EVERY precaution to protect our drinking water aquifers AND our surface waters. The City of Fruitland gets a lot of its drinking water from the Payette River.
They need to ensure that industry isn’t taking our precious irrigation water and using it to drill and frack these gas wells. This has happened in Colorado and Texas, where water has become so scarce (and expensive) that farmers are letting their fields go unplanted, because they cannot afford to irrigate!
They need to make educated decisions about the REAL health impacts associated with oil and gas drilling, the adverse effects on our infrastructure, such as our roads and bridges, the negative impacts to our property values, etc.
Please consider attending this important meeting.