Over the last four years, a majority of Idaho senators, representatives, and agency staff members has succumbed to the mercenary ambitions of the oil and natural gas industry and the state of Idaho. They have passed and misapplied state laws, rules, and regulations, allowing hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) that pollutes surface and ground water, sanctioning associated waste injection wells that leak or re-use water wells, permitting seismic testing and gas flaring that degrade geologic stability and air sheds, granting corporate hegemony over local jurisdictions that undermines democratic oversight of oil and gas facilities, approving gas wells and processing plants that spew volatile toxins, traffic, and noise, and consenting to drilling on state lands and near or under rivers, wetlands, and wildlife refuges that sustain water resources, agriculture, and native species [1, 2]. Subsequently, they have effectively compromised our air and water quality, jeopardized our health, property, and livelihoods, dismissed local protective ordinances, threatened agricultural communities, endangered tourism revenue, and risked the state’s lands, waters, and economy.
Despite ongoing outcry from thousands of citizens and diligent input from scientists, attorneys, elected officials, and conservation organizations, our delegates have negligently accommodated oil and gas exploration, production, and transportation in Idaho, especially where the state owns the subsurface mineral rights, at the likely expense of their constituents’ health, safety, finances, and self-governance. In the wake of increasingly erratic weather, horrific Colorado gasland floods, continent-wide oil and gas spills and explosions, and indigenous and settler blockades of fossil fuel equipment and product supply roads and rails, honest, hard-working Idahoans dread the impacts of similar probable scenarios on their families and communities, homes and businesses, and resources and recreation in the Payette River floodplains, where drilling resumed during summer 2013, potentially affecting wild, downstream Snake River canyons [3-6].
In response to state and local policy makers and administrators, in solidarity with harmed communities, and in conjunction with the Global Frackdown worldwide day of action on Saturday, October 11, concerned citizens and climate justice activists from across Idaho are converging to stage more public demonstrations, calling for a ban on looming first fracking in Idaho and around the Earth [7, 8]. As we circulate a petition to state officials and consider a ballot measure, to ban all toxic oil and gas practices statewide, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), Idaho Residents against Gas Extraction (IRAGE), Palouse Environmental Sustainability Coalition (PESC), and other groups and individuals are coordinating a Global Frackdown Idaho march and rally in Boise and gathering in Moscow, to publicly oppose fracking. Continue reading