The Senate Resources Committee has introduced legislation endorsed by the state Land Board to change the membership of the state’s Oil and Gas Conservation Commission from the Land Board members themselves to five gubernatorial appointees, who will serve staggered, four-year terms. They’d include one member “knowledgeable in oil and gas matters,” one with knowledge of geologic matters, one with knowledge of water matters, one private land owner with surface and mineral rights in an area with oil and gas exploration activity, and one private land owner without mineral rights. State Lands Director Tom Schultz told the committee, “We would anticipate probably between one and four meetings a year.”
The new commission could designate hearing officers, establish advisory committees, and “otherwise perform duties related to oil and gas in Idaho.” Committee Chairman Monty Pearce, R-New Plymouth, said, “I might at this time mention I have a ranch with some oil and gas leases on it. I will be voting, but … there might be the appearance of a conflict.” After his disclosure, the panel voted unanimously to introduce the bill; Pearce said a hearing on it will be scheduled.