Yes, Idaho is under attack from without and from within. Here in Gem County we are watching what took place in Payette County: the corruption of the county officials with the gas and oil industry.
Ask Pete and Joli Eromenok of New Plymouth how their kennel and training of hunting dogs business will do when the Alta Mesa compression station is put next to their property. Their permit was less than a year old when the county informed them of the station going in. The county attitude is too bad for you. Oh did you put a lot of money in the business? So sorry.
You may think we are coming at this from an environmental issue, but we are coming from a property rights issue. The gas and oil industry has been given carte blanche in this state. The previously elected gas and oil commission is now appointed by the governor.
In 2012 the industry lobbyists helped push thru with the help of Monty Pierce and others, legislation, HB464, that gave the industry control over what happens in counties and cities.
A county only gets to decide the color of the well head, the lighting and fencing around the well and the setback (the distance of the well from a water well). Road mitigation will probably be a thing of the past for counties with the next legislative session, because making the gas industry responsible for damaging the roads is unfair “why they don’t do any more damage than a farmer’s truck”.
Bobby Johnson, from Wyoming, led the negotiated rule making for Gas & Oil at the Capitol last summer. When asked by a citizen why Idaho has a 2% severance tax he told us that it was standard. When I last looked it up WY was 7%. We have the lowest in the nation tied with another state. Our State Senator Thayn told a resident of Gem County he got the best deal he could for Idaho.
And fracking? Oh, no they won’t frack they say. Yes, they will. The historic gas wells showing on the IDL maps show shale. (Oh if we could have a nickel for every time they say they won’t frack). Alta Mesa just presented an order for forced pooling in Fruitland, the map and geological info was redacted which makes us suspicious.
Maybe you should take a look at Denton TX. Are we going to be like them with wells in neighborhoods, parks and near schools? When the industry was asked by Denton citizens: why do you want to put a well by a school the answer was because we can.
Minerals will be taken for the greater good. As one state senator from Eastern Idaho said Idaho is now a gas producing state. Lt Governor Little and family have leased 33,000 acres to Alta Mesa. Our question is, was he involved in funding them?
If we sign a gas lease and we have a federally backed loan the lease could cloud my mortgage and cancel my homeowners insurance. What insurance company is going to insure property with a gas well on it? Who protected our rights?
Freedom is gone in Idaho for property rights. Citizens will have to deal with that loss and loss of property values, and potential water and air pollution. There are many more things we could say, but it is hard not to get mad because our state government will not listen to its people when we express concerns. They dismiss us as wacko environmentalist, not people who pay their salaries and want the oil and gas company reined in.
And by the way, Alta Mesa has purchased mineral leases in Ada County, over 2800 acres. They have Eagle in their sights. “Oh, but this is just a Gem County issue”. How will you feel when they put a well 200″ from your home because that is the industry standard.
“Not in my back yard”! Really? I can hear Alta Mesa laughing all the way to the bank. They start in small counties because they think we are dumb yokels. By the time they get to the larger counties they will steam roll over you too.
We wrote a letter to you around the first of the year with our concerns and you didn’t answer nor acknowledge that you received the letter.
Don’t talk to me about freedom. Between the Idaho legislature, the state government and the gas and oil industry that word has become a joke.