Observer: New Gas Drilling Rules Approved in Payette


Payette County Commissioners have unanimously passed an ordinance concerning gas and oil exploration—thus making Payette the only county that has its own set of rules in addition to the state guidelines, approved by the Idaho Legislature.

The Ontario Argus Observer reports that Payette County Commissioners approved the ordinance July 29 after hearing from a number of citizens regarding the setback of drilling operations. Ultimately, commissioners opted to reduce a 500-foot setback, which had been written into a previous draft, down to 200 feet. The Observer reports that Commissioner Larry Church opted for the shorter setback, so "that a small farm owner could have the chance to sign a lease with the gas company if they wanted."

The Observer also reports that commissioners agreed to give the public access to water testing results after drilling operations have begun.

Snake River Oil and Gas has snapped up hundreds of land and mineral leases from public and private interests in the wake of previous efforts from Bridge Resources, which saw its drilling operations halt in 2011 when its financial house of cards collapsed. When Bridge started selling off its assets, including a pile of land and mineral leases, Snake River moved in quickly to begin staking its claim in preparation for its own operations.

In June 2012, Snake River Oil and Gas launched a battery of seismic testing—called vibroseising—in which the company shook the earth's crust to determine where the best gas deposits might be.