Payette P&Z OKs Gas Plant With Conditions

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Thursday night Payette County Planning and Zoning Commissioners voted 6 to 1 in favor of a conditional permit for a proposed industrial facility to dehydrate natural gas. Opponents to the plant may not have liked the eventual outcome, but some took solace in the fact that a good many of their concerns were heard.

Approximately 50 people attended Thursday night's session at the Payette County Courthouse. That's quite a few for a P&Z meeting, but it's about half the number that squeezed July's meeting when citizens testified 5 to 1 against the plans for a gas compression and dehydration station on a parcel of land in New Plymouth.

Last night's meeting began with a bit of a shock. Three P&Z commissioners publicly announced that they had signed personal leases with Bridge Resources, the company that has been drilling for gas across Payette County for over a year and now wants to build the dehydration plant. The three recused themselves. Two more commissioners also announced that they, too, had signed leases with Bridge but would not recuse themselves from voting.

Commissioners then unveiled a lengthy list of conditions attached the conditional use permit, which still has to have a final sign-off from Payette County Commissioners. Among the requirements:

- architectural detail
- minimized lighting
- an environmental review of impacts to ground and surface water, plants and species
- a detailed list of any hazardous materials used
- security for the site
- a transportation plan, detailing routes and frequency of truck traffic
- landscaping plans
- reclamation plan, requiring a bond of 110 percent of anticipated cost to reclaim the project
- pollution prevention and spill response plan
- emergency response plan
- an annual review for the first five years with possible extensions

What may become the strictest criteria will be a requirement for Bridge to operate the facility at an average noise level not exceeding 45 decibels.

"If they can't keep to 45 decibels, they probably should abandon the project," said P&Z Chairman Chad Engler.

"I think this passes the test of reasonableness," said Commissioner Frazer Peterson.

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