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The Adams County Record
Council, Idaho
July 18, 2012     The Adams County Record
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July 18, 2012

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Page 20 IDL will watch oil and gas regulation in Idaho BY ToM SCHULTZ DIRECTOR, IDAHO DEPARTMENT OF LANDS & SECRETARY TO THE IDAHO OIL & GAS CONSERVATION COMMISSION Conversations and sometimes controversy about oil and gas exploration in Idaho have brought lots of public attention and plenty of newspaper editorials over the past few years. When natural gas reserves were discovered in western Idaho in 2009, Idaho's laws and rules regulating the exploration and extraction of oil and natural gas were nearly two decades old. Industry practices and expectations had changed considerably in the past 20 years. So in 2010 the Idaho Oil and Gas Conservation Commission gave its approval for the Idaho Department of Lands to begin updating the state's legal and oil and gas regulatory framework. And this year Idaho's laws governing oil and gas development were brought up to 21st century standards. The department led many interested parties through months of negotiated rulemaking and proposed statutory changes, ultimately garnering the Idaho Legislature's approval of the department's proposed rules and legislation. The changes put protections in place for our important water resources, including periodic testing of well integrity and modifications to the well drilling and plugging rules to prevent waste and protect flesh waters. Surface owner protections were added, along with basic emergency response requirements. Active and inactive wells were defined to discourage improper well abandonment. Application, operating and reporting requirements were included for well treatments, including hydraulic fracturing. Bond amounts were increased and additional bonding requirements were added. A public comment period on applications was added to ensure Idaho citizens have a chance to continue weighing in. These enhancements and many more were made to Idaho's regulatory framework to protect our citizens and the environment while allowing for responsible natural gas development that will create jobs and help move Idaho and the nation toward greater energy self-reliance. In addition, a separate piece of legislation developed by representatives from the oil and gas industry and the Idaho Association of Counties also was passed this year. While the Idaho Department of Lands did not sponsor this legislation, we continue to work closely with Idaho's cities and counties to address their .concerns related to the Idaho Oil and Gas Conservation Commission's regulatory efforts. This all was done thanks to the dedicated staff of the Idaho Department of Lands and the collaborative spirit of interested citizens, local governments, non-government organizations, industry representatives, and other State agencies. Through our work, Idaho now has a stronger framework to guide the exploration and development of one of Idaho's most recently discovered natural resources. And the improvements will continue, which is especially important as more seismic testing is planned to continue exploration for oil and gas in western Idaho. The IDL will be hiring a petroleum engineer to oversee the program, adding another in-house expert to our already impressive roster of experienced staff. The Oil and Gas Conservation Commission also recently updated fee amounts, which puts in place the structure that is needed to fund the department's -regulatory program until production picks up. We will continue working collaboratively with other agencies, local governments and the public to ensure the most informed decisions are made. The Idaho Department of Lands takes its role and responsibilities seriously to further the goals of the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. We will continue to make public confidence a high priority in our work as the regulatory agency for oil and gas development in the State of Idaho. Wednesday, July 18, 2012 The Adams County Record Adams County Rodeo Royalty Kyanne Hemenway (left) is the 2012 Adams 0unty Rodeo Queen. Savannah Schaffer (right) is Junior Queen.