Eye On Boise

House panel takes up oil, gas drilling bill

Crowd at House Resources hearing Thursday on oil and gas well regulation (Betsy Russell)
Crowd at House Resources hearing Thursday on oil and gas well regulation (Betsy Russell)

The House Resources Committee is now taking up HB 464, the controversial measure on regulation of oil and gas drilling in Idaho that asserts state supremacy over local regulation, with some limited roles for local oversight. Suzanne Budge, lobbyist for the Idaho Petroleum Council, said it's "exciting" that "we have the potential for an oil and gas industry right here in the state of Idaho. I think it's a very positive opportunity going forward to see a new industry."

Of the bill, she said, "It brings additional uniformity and consistency to the regulation of oil and gas throughout the state of Idaho." The committee already has approved several other measures regarding oil and gas development put forth by the state Department of Lands, which has been ramping up to cope with a new wave of drilling in southwestern Idaho. The room is packed. Committee Chairman Bert Stevenson, R-Rupert, said, "It appears that we've arrived at the one that has lots of interest, because that's the one that everybody's signed up on."

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Russell covers Idaho news from the state capitol in Boise and writes the Eye on Boise blog.

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