WIRT Newsletter: September Idaho Gasland News


GASLAND 2 IDAHO ROAD SHOW: BOISE & ONTARIO

Idaho Residents Against Gas Extraction (IRAGE), Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), and allies are hosting the Gasland 2 Idaho Road Show, providing community screenings in eight cities across Idaho and plenty of updates about the current oil and gas situation in Idaho [1, 2]. Gasland Part II, the 2013 sequel to independent filmmaker Josh Fox’s Oscar-nominated, movement-building documentary Gasland, reveals the implications for environmental, climate, and human health and American democracy and rights of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” the controversial method of extracting natural gas and oil and one of the most important environmental issues currently troubling our nation.

As residents of Payette and surrounding counties and southeastern Idaho face impending fracking, concerned, knowledgeable Idaho activists staging these free, public events will discuss with audience members local initiatives against oil and gas leasing, drilling, processing, and transporting in Idaho. This tour encourages citizen comments on recently revised state oil and gas rules before and/or at a Wednesday, September 24 hearing, as well as participation in grassroots protests during the Global Frackdown on the Capitol steps in Boise on Saturday, October 11, and at statewide Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) offices on Wednesday, October 15, opposing another state lands and minerals lease auction.

Please attend one of these movie showings and conversations on Sunday, September 21, in Boise and/or on Monday, September 22, in Ontario, Oregon. As we mobilize Idaho communities against corporate/government dirty energy inroads and demand protection from the impacts of oil and gas development, please consider generously supporting the Gasland 2 Idaho Road Show, online through the WIRT website “Donate to WIRT” button or at the address on the WIRT facebook and website pages [3].  Thanks to Arlene, Claire, Ellen, Jane, Judith, Pat, and Rob, we have raised $110 and donated dinner and lodging toward our $400 goal of offsetting film and travel costs, a small amount compared to the thousands of volunteer hours and dollars spent on a dozen regional campaign trips over the last year.  Please also help us promote this crucial road show and statewide fracking resistance by sharing the email, website, and facebook event announcements, printing and widely posting the event flyer, and participating in one of these community screenings and talks [4].  Thanks!

[1] Gasland 2 Idaho Road Show (Wild Idaho Rising Tide and Idaho Residents Against Gas Extraction) (facebook event)

[2] Learn about the Dangers of Fracking in the Film ‘Gasland Part II’ Monday (September 17, 2014 Argus Observer)

[3] Support WIRT (Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

[4] Gasland 2 Idaho Road Show Flyer (Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

OIL & GAS RULES COMMENTS

Please participate in the September 3 through 24 public comment period on the Idaho Rules Pertaining to Conservation of Crude Oil and Natural Gas (IDAPA 20.07.02), recently revised during four June and July negotiated rulemaking sessions. At 5 pm MDT on Wednesday, September 24, the Idaho Oil and Gas Conservation Commission will hold a public hearing on these proposed rules at the IDL office, 300 North Sixth Street, Suite 103, in Boise [5].  Although WIRT intends to develop talking points to prompt your comments, limited electricity and internet access for writing during the statewide Gasland 2 Idaho Road Show may delay or impede this project.  See the dozens of comments posted on the Idaho Department of Lands website, previously submitted IRAGE and WIRT letters, and the following editorial for ideas for your comments.  Please also speak out at the hearing and possible protest on September 24, and send your thoughts to the Idaho Department of Lands at rulemaking@idl.idaho.gov or P.O. Box 83720, Boise, Idaho 83720-0050 [6-7].

[5] Oil and Gas: Rulemaking for IDAPA 20.07.02 Rules Pertaining to Conservation of Crude Oil and Natural Gas (Idaho Department of Lands)

[6] Comments on Proposed Negotiated Idaho Oil and Gas Rules (August 1, 2014 Idaho Residents Against Gas Extraction and Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

[7] Our View: Don’t Skimp on Gas Oversight (September 3, 2014 Twin Falls Times-News Editorial Board)

“No fracking in Idaho [good luck with that!] means that dangerous, secret chemicals won’t be shot into the ground and potentially the state’s groundwater. But new industrial sites mean more chemicals to keep the machines working.  Gas drilling means potential widespread environmental contamination and even fires and explosions.”

STATE LEASE AUCTION

The Idaho Board of Land Commissioners received applications for state lands and subsurface minerals potentially leased for oil and gas exploitation at the next auction on October 15, where IRAGE and WIRT plan to display public objection [8]. With these proposals, tracts in Cassia County would join the thousands of acres already leased by Alta Mesa and other gas drillers in Canyon, Gem, Owhyee, Payette, and Washington counties [9].  Possibly affected citizens in the Magic Valley and all of these places are raising concerns about explosive chemicals migrating from faulty conventional, fracked, or acidized wells into drinking water and about earthquakes from gas reservoir fracturing and waste injection wells.  The Idaho Department of Lands accepted written comments and held a public, evening hearing on Wednesday, September 10, about these lands and minerals proposed for auction.  We nonetheless encourage overdue comments to IDL at publichearingcomments@idl.idaho.gov or P.O. Box 83720, Boise, Idaho 83720-0050.

[8] Public Comment Period for Oil and Gas Lease (September 3, 2014 Emmett Messenger-Index)

[9] Cassia County Land for Lease in State Oil and Gas Auction (August 29, 2014 Twin Falls Times-News)

BOMB TRAIN RAIL SPUR & MINI-REFINERY

At a public hearing held by the Payette County Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) on Thursday evening, September 11, at the Payette County Courthouse in Payette, commissioners rubberstamped an Alta Mesa application for a conditional use permit (CUP) to build and operate a New Plymouth processing plant and loading facility for liquefied natural gas “bomb trains” a little over one mile from New Plymouth High School [10]. The Houston, Texas company currently drilling another four wells in Payette County ground-zero covered all of its legal bases and used every loophole in county ordinances by submitting two other applications, a rezoning request to convert prime, irrigated, agricultural land to industrial uses, and an attempt to amend the Payette County comprehensive plan [11, 12].  On the previous Tuesday, September 9, P&Z held a noontime, no-host luncheon, to discuss these applications at Jimbo’s in Payette, and conducted a viewing of the site, both open to the public.  IRAGE activists warned that if the commissioners approved any of these applications, they would allow the “hydrocarbon transportation and ancillary processing” industrial facility to proceed, imposing bomb trains rumbling through communities on nearby city residents and other towns down the rail line.  Although P&Z displayed ignorance of potential impacts by rolling out the CUP red carpet, Alta Mesa scrambling local zoning regulations and comprehensive plans perhaps made P&Z “authorities” uneasy: They tabled the other two applications.  Whether the new rail spur and compression station – and associated natural gas exploitation reliant on this fossil fuel infrastructure – are “done deals” remains to be seen. Continue reading