An afternoon filled with geosciences is not a typical crowd-pleaser. But it was standing room only at Boise's Owyhee Plaza Hotel this afternoon as the Idaho Environmental Forum hosted a roundtable conversation concerning Idaho's natural gas industry.
The controversial method of fracking - injecting high-pressured fluids into wells to enchance gas flows - was a main topic among lawmakers, conservationists, attorneys and even geologists.
"I would be much happier if lawmakers would call on our science and technical expertise more often," said Dr. Viginia Gillerman of the Idaho Geological Survey. "Ultimately, I think we have to have wise resource utilization."
Eric Wilson of the Idaho Department of Lands, who helmed last summer's marathon meetings that resulted in new rules for the oil and gas industry, said the new document was groundbreaking.
"This 57-page rule is very important," said Wilson." We had discussions that were quite spirited. I think I once called it a cage match."
Justin Hayes, program director for the Idaho Conservation League, praised many of the new rules but pushed back on a few others.
"These rules still allow the use of carcinogenic materials when fracking," said Hayes. "All I know is that I will drive as fast as the speed limit allows. I expect gas exploration companies to behave the same way with these rules."