180-Day Moratorium on Gas Drill Permits in Payette

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Payette officials want to slow down the drilling for natural gas within their city limits.

The Payette City Council has approved a 180-day moratorium on the "acceptance or processing of applications for...extraction through oil and gas exploration." The newly enacted ordinance cites "current regulations may not be adequate to address environmental and land use compatibility issues created by oil and gas exploration."

Bridge Resources has been actively exploring for natural gas in Payette County, with most of its activity in New Plymouth. To date, Bridge has drilled 11 wells. Four have been dry, three have been successful and Bridge has plans to frack the rest, using the controversial process of shooting high-pressured liquids and sand down a well to enhance gas flows.

"This thing is moving at such velocity," said Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter at Tuesday's meeting of the Idaho Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. "It's so new to us."

Yesterday, Bridge's top three officers tendered their resignations. Bridge's stock traded as high as 52 cents a share in November 2010 but closed today at 3 cents a share on the Toronto Stock Exchange.