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More Than 100 People Protest Idaho Bill at Statehouse Over Fracking Concerns

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- More than 100 people demonstrated against SB1339 at the Idaho Statehouse the afternoon of Feb. 22. -  - HARRISON BERRY
  • Harrison Berry
  • More than 100 people demonstrated against SB1339 at the Idaho Statehouse the afternoon of Feb. 22.


More than 100 people turned out to the Idaho State Capitol the afternoon of Feb. 22 to demonstrate against a bill working through the Idaho Legislature that many say greases the wheels for resource developers to frack despite communities' objections.

"We think this [bill] egregiously removes due process," said Shelly Brock, a board member of Citizens Allied for Integrity and Accountability.

The bill in question is SB 1339, which changes the permitting process for resource developers seeking to drill and treat wells. Those changes include shortening the application and approval process for drillers to 15 days, while currently the review period is more open ended.

The bill cleared the Idaho Senate Resources and Environment Committee with a "do pass" recommendation and has been filed for a second reading.

Opponents said the rule changes make it easier for developers to engage in practices that are bad for the environment. 

- Well known anti-fracking activist Alma Hasse spoke at the rally. -  - HARRISON BERRY
  • Harrison Berry
  • Well known anti-fracking activist Alma Hasse spoke at the rally.
"We know these fracking chemicals are poisonous," said demonstrator William Fowkes. "I think [the bill] is designed to eliminate almost all public resistance to drilling."

The demonstration drew from a broad cross-section of the Treasure Valley, from city-dwellers with a passion for environmental issues to citizens of rural Payette County who said they have first-hand experience with what fracking can do to communities.

Bryan Cripe said he recently moved from Payette County to Boise, and chemicals used in resource development there gave his dog terminal cancer. For him, SB1 339 plays into the hands of resource developers at the expense of communities.

- William Fowkes (right) said he disagrees with SB1339 because it could enable fracking in Idaho. -  - HARRISON BERRY
  • Harrison Berry
  • William Fowkes (right) said he disagrees with SB1339 because it could enable fracking in Idaho.
"This bill shortens the amount of time the public can say anything against the drilling," he said. 

The rally's featured speaker, Alma Hasse, whose anti-fracking activism landed her a weeklong stint in the Payette County Jail in 2014, stressed that regardless of demonstrators' differences, their actions come from a shared concern.

"We're here for our children and grandchildren's future," she said. "We're not just Republicans or Democrats—we're Americans. We're people. ... We can slay Goliath together as a team."