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7:22 am
Wed May 23, 2012

Natural Gas Industry Eyes Mineral Rights In Idaho Wildlife Reserve

The natural gas industry is interested in mineral rights in a Northwest wildlife area. Aaron Kunz explains.

This month, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission authorized the state to auction off the mineral rights for nearly 400 acres in the Payette River Wildlife Management Area. The auction could take place in late July.

Suzanne Budge is with the Idaho Petroleum Council. She explains why the company, Snake River Oil and Gas, is interested in the mineral rights.

Budge: “Leasing the land in the western Idaho basin at this point in the process is all about gathering the best scientific data that’s available. And really trying and to make an assessment of whether that’s a commercial prospect in that area or not.”

This is a chance for companies to map the area for gas. It could lead to drilling if gas is found. The state would collect royalties on gas extracted from its land.

Gas drillers would not be allowed to sink wells in the wildlife area.

The 1,200-acre reserve is home to several bird species. They include sandhill cranes, hawks, and American kestrels.

Copyright 2012 Northwest Public Radio

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