FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 6, 2016
Contact: For quotes or questions contact Doug Paddock, IORC, 208-991-4451, email@example.com
Idahoans Need Greater Protections from Oil and Gas Development
Boise, Idaho— Idaho Organization of Resource Councils asks for greater protections for people living near oil and gas development during Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) meetings. Throughout the spring and summer IDL is holding public meetings to update its standards for oil and gas drilling and production in Idaho. The next meeting is scheduled for 9:00am July 20 at the Idaho State Capitol Building, Room WW02, Lincoln Auditorium, 700 W. Jefferson Street in Boise.
According to the IDL website, the process is needed to provide clarity and bring the rules in-line with Senate Bill 1339 passed by the 2016 Legislature. The IDL proposal also contains changes to oil and gas standards including a 300 foot statewide setback for wells, tanks, and processing facilities. This defines the minimum distance infrastructure can be placed from occupied structures, domestic water wells, and other water sources.
The 300 foot proposal by IDL is inadequate to protect people living near oil and gas. Putting oil and gas infrastructure 300 feet from people’s homes and workplaces can negatively impact their health, property value, and quality of life. Out-of-state oil and gas companies continue to have their interests put over the health and safety of Idaho’s people.
Emissions from oil and gas operations contain methane, but can also contain toxic volatile organic compounds such as benzene, toluene, ethyl-benzene, and xylene. Residents also worry about accidents or impacts to their property value and reduced quality of life caused by odor, noise, dust, light, spills, and traffic.
Split estate issues are common in Idaho and throughout the West. Senate Bill 1339 defined the relationship between mineral rights owners, the oil and gas company, and IDL. It did not address surface owners; the people who don’t own their mineral rights. Surface owners are entirely cut out of the process and have few rights in this arrangement. This issue needs to be addressed as this industry moves ahead.
This current rulemaking is a great opportunity to protect the people of Idaho, however, this is not happening. The current surface damage bond can be set at as little as $5,000 if the oil company and the landowner don’t come to an agreement. That’s not nearly enough to repair damages if there is a spill or accident. The amount should be set at a level adequate enough to compensate a property owner for any and all damages associated with construction, accidents, or lost income.
The State Board of Land Commissioners recently directed IDL to enter into another negotiated rulemaking. This time for oil and gas leasing on state lands. The first oil and gas leasing meeting is scheduled for 9:00am July 15 at the Idaho State Capitol Building, Room WW02, Lincoln Auditorium, 700 W. Jefferson Street in Boise.
The Idaho Organization of Resource Councils (IORC) is a non-profit grassroots organization working to protect Idaho’s unique way of life by empowering citizens to improve the economic well-being of their communities by preserving family farms and ranches; supporting local, sustainable agriculture; developing small businesses and clean energy; and being responsible stewards of Idaho’s water, land, air, and natural resources.
For more information visit: www.IORCinfo.org