BOISE – Idaho lawmakers signed off Wednesday on a plan that limits local control of oil and natural gas development. Even supporters say this legislation isn’t perfect.
Idaho Senators debated for nearly an hour on the powers of the state Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. Under this bill, the agency has final say on where to drill for wells and how to develop the industry.
Democratic Senator Diane Bilyeu from Pocatello hoped to allow local governments to call public hearings on future developments.
“The only thing that I wanted was the opportunity for my constituents to able to have a public hearing,” she says.
Republican Senator John Tippets of Montpelier backed the bill. He says it’s needed now so industry and Idaho can tap this potential revenue source.
“We don’t have a perfect bill. But I don’t think we could agree on what the perfect bill would look like," Tippets says. "There would be many versions of that perfect bill and we’d be arguing over that for a long time.”
Tippets says lawmakers can tweak the bill in future sessions. It’s now up to the Governor to decide whether it becomes law.
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