Priority Should Be to Protect Health

Pattie Young, New Plymouth

The Argus Observer 6/20/13

Following the progression of oil and gas coming into our state, the main focus has been on monetary gains and fear of monetary losses in lawsuits from reasonable limitations for the safety of residents.

The Texas fertilizer accident originated in a location where there was little development or population at the time.  Development moved in afterwards, making vulnerable choices.  Here we have an industry with known accident and contaminant possibilities setting down in the middle of us.

In the hurry for possible business gains, we are allowing an industry with obvious hazardous elements and activities associated with it to move in prior to necessary safeguards and procedures to be planned or in place.  Lifting the previous ban on injection wells without adequate regulations and oversight is also a new risk element.

We entrust our elected officials to represent and protect our personal investments and safety with rules and ordinances.  I can state with full confidence that will not be the case with the Payette County oil and gas ordinance as drafted.  Our Department of Lands is currently the oversight for regulation of oil and gas development.  However, its hands are tied with its number one statement being to maximize resources.  It is also not a written priority to protect health and welfare.  Last year, Senator Werk and Senator Stennett unsuccessfully tried to insert this during the rulemakings.  This ordinance should at least include mandatory baseline water testing.  It comes down to enforcing industries and government to do what is conscientious right from the start.  Don’t become an acceptable risk.  Independently educate yourself and participate.

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