Property owners know that we don’t own what’s underneath our land — like oil and gas — in most cases the state does. In 2015, legislators passed two bills that take away our ability to decide what happens on our private property. Thank you, Rocky Barker, for addressing Idaho Statute 47-317 and Idaho Statute 47-323 in a recent column, even though it is after the fact.
These bills eliminated jurisdiction of cities and counties to decide where oil/gas wells can be located in our communities and gave it to Idaho Department of Lands. The process used to involve public notices and public hearings in affected areas. Already leases have been issued in Payette County, Emmett and Eagle without this step. To my knowledge drilling applications do not require an environmental analysis. Since the industry’s process of choice appears to be fracking (fracturing the earths layers), our water, or worse our health, could be affected.
If your private land has been leased to oil/gas companies, wells can be built within 200 feet of your dwelling. They need only 55 percent of landowners in the lease area to agree to drilling in order to begin. The price of a lease that endangers our rights, $1 an acre.
Deborah Gold, Boise