Feb. 7 Idaho Bill on Oil & Gas Permits & Forced Pooling, Feb. 2 Approval of ITD Highway 12 Megaload Rules

Idaho House Bill 64 Exploits Idaho Resources and Rights

Idaho gasland residents need your legislative input!  At 12:30 pm PST/1:30 pm MST on Tuesday, February 7, in Room EW40, downstairs and on the east side of the Idaho Capitol, near Sixth Street in downtown Boise, the House Resources and Conservation Committee will consider House Bill 64, proposed by the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL), the proverbial fox not only guarding but designing the hen house of state and citizen fossil fuel resources and rights, as acknowledged by Citizens Allied for Integrity and Accountability (CAIA) at a recent hearing on another industry-friendly, IDL bill [1].  HB 64 would amend Idaho code regulating IDL-issued permits to drill or treat (frack, acidize, etc.) oil and gas wells, integration (forced pooling) of the tracts of mineral owners who do not willingly sign oil and gas leases, and administrative hearings on oil and gas integration disputes [2].

IDL director Tom Schultz will undoubtedly extol the benefits of House Bill 64 in his presentation before House Resources and Conservation Committee members, who are responsible for studying all information about this proposed law, available from research, statements, testimony, and hearings, to determine its scope and effects.  Thus, CAIA and Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) are calling for your input of crucial counterpoints, as Idahoans defending citizen rights to health, safety, and property.

Please consider and support the following CAIA and WIRT concerns about and suggested changes to HB 64, and write, call, or testify to the Idaho legislators of your district and of this House committee, via their following email addresses, phone numbers, or in person, to share your comments soon [3].  In the lower left corner of the main Idaho Legislature web page, enter your street address and zip code under Who’s My Legislator? and click Find [4].  The photos of your legislators that appear will lead to their email and phone contact information.  The Legislative Services Office Information Center at idleginfo@lso.idaho.gov and 208-332-1000 can also assist your input.  When calling legislators or the information center, state and spell your name and your organizational affiliation.  Listen to IDL and legislator discussion of House Bill 64 though the audio recording of the committee hearing at 12:30 pm PST/1:30 pm MST on February 7 [5].

Urge your legislative and House resources committee members to support the following changes to House Bill 64, regulating the actions of the oil and gas industry in Idaho, responsible state agencies, and impacted citizens:

1. Insist that a minimum of 66 percent of mineral interest acres be voluntarily leased within a proposed, 640-acre spacing unit for drilling and operation of oil and gas wells, before IDL can accept applications for integration of all of the unit tracts.  Mandate that affidavits of voluntary leases in these spacing units be open to the public record.

2. Increase the time periods for notification of affected mineral interest owners and the public about pending integration applications.  Extend the response time limits for potentially integrated mineral holders to a minimum of 21 business days.

3. Do not eliminate the option for mineral owners to stand as objectors to integration applications and orders.

4. Allow discovery of evidence in administrative hearing procedures considering contested integration applications.

5. Require that applications for integration and oil and gas well drilling and treatment be complete and available to the public by IDL deadlines and the start of any administrative hearings and oil and gas development activities.  The agency should deny or refuse incomplete applications.

6. Replace the words “treat a well” with “well treatment” throughout House Bill 64.

The oil and gas industry intrusions accommodated by the state sanctioned integration (forced pooling) of unwilling mineral owners, as advanced by HB 64, would inevitably jeopardize Idahoans’ air and water quality and quantity, and could contaminate ground and surface water, wells, and agricultural lands.  This legislation thus would not only ultimately degrade the sustainability and quality of life in Idaho, but would also impose adverse financial consequences on affected home, land, and business owners and their neighbors, by degrading their property rights, values, mortgages, and insurance.  This bill therefore deserves the more thorough citizen scrutiny and input afforded by negotiated rulemaking rather than legislative hearings.  The current version of House Bill 64 seems like an IDL attempt to avert such crucial public involvement.  We thank the Idaho Legislature for its time, attention, and consideration of these matters, and gratefully anticipate these revisions to or full rejection of HB 64.

Committee Secretary Tracey McDonnell <hres@house.idaho.gov>, Representative Clark Kauffman <ckauffman@house.idaho.gov>, Representative Dell Raybould <draybould@house.idaho.gov>, Representative Fred Wood <fwood@house.idaho.gov>, Representative Ilana Rubel <irubel@house.idaho.gov>, Representative John Vander Woude <jvanderwoude@house.idaho.gov>, Representative Judy Boyle <jboyle@house.idaho.gov>, Representative Marc Gibbs <mgibbs@house.idaho.gov>, Representative Mathew Erpelding <merpelding@house.idaho.gov>, Representative Megan Blanksma <mblanksma@house.idaho.gov>, Representative Mike Moyle <mmoyle@house.idaho.gov>, Representative Paul Shepherd <pshepherd@house.idaho.gov>, Representative Paulette Jordan <pjordan@house.idaho.gov>, Representative Priscilla Giddings <pgiddings@house.idaho.gov>, Representative Rick Youngblood <ryoungblood@house.idaho.gov>, Representative Ron Mendive <rmendive@house.idaho.gov>, Representative Steven Miller <smiller@house.idaho.gov>, Representative Terry Gestrin <tgestrin@house.idaho.gov>, Representative Van Burtenshaw <vburtenshaw@house.idaho.gov>,

Idaho House Approves Highway 12 Megaload Rules

Despite Idaho Representative concerns, encouraged by WIRT and allied comments, about the incongruence of rules for Highway 12 megaloads proposed by the U.S. Forest Service and the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD), the full Idaho House Transportation and Defense Committee deliberated, voted on, and passed ITD’s new rules, IDAPA 39.03.11, Rules Governing Overlegal Permittee Responsibility and Travel Restrictions, on Thursday, February 2, not on Monday, January 30, as suggested by the recent WIRT alert [6, 7].  Listen to ITD official and legislator discussion and unanimous committee member approval of all except one of the 2016 rules promulgated by ITD, between 22:07 and 33:10 of the audio recording of the committee hearing [8].

WIRT hopes to soon provide further, comprehensive information about oil and gas rules and laws in the 2017 Idaho Legislature.

[1] 2017 Resources and Conservation, Idaho Legislature

[2] House Bill 64, Idaho Legislature

[3] Call to Action February 7, 2017…, February 6, 2017 Victoria Casetta facebook photo

[4] Who’s My Legislator?, Idaho Legislature

[5] Idaho in Session: House Resources and Conservation, Idaho Public Television audiostream

[6] IDAPA 39.03.11, Rules Governing Overlegal Permittee Responsibility and Travel Restrictions, in Pending Rules: Committee Rules Review Book, Idaho House Transportation and Defense Committee

[7] Tell Idaho Representatives to Reject ITD Highway 12 Megaload Rules, January 30, 2017 Wild Idaho Rising Tide

[8] 2017 Transportation and Defense, Idaho Legislature

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