After a hearing that stretched for more than an hour and a half and saw extensive testimony both for and against, Idaho's Oil & Gas Conservation Commission has voted unanimously to approve new rules for development of crude oil and natural gas resources in Idaho, including “fracking,” or hydraulic fracturing. Lt. Gov. Brad Little, who was presiding in place of Gov. Butch Otter, abstained from the vote because of pending negotiations regarding possible gas drilling on his land. The state Oil & Gas Conservation Commission, which consists of the members of the state Land Board, approved temporary rules for gas drilling, including the controversial practice, in April; today's vote marked final approval, though lawmakers still will review the rules during their legislative session that starts in January. You can see the full 22-page rule here.
Supporters of the new rules said they'd promote jobs; opponents said they threaten clean water in the state. Boise Weekly reporter George Prentice has posted a full report here, and you can read Rocky Barker's full report here in the Idaho Statesman.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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