After listening to a string of Payette County residents who testified against the construction of a natural gas dehydration facility near their land, Payette County Planning and Zoning commissioners voted 5-3 to greenlight the plant anyway.
This morning's Ontario Argus Observer reports that the approval was granted Oct. 17 to Alta Mesa, which has thus far drilled two natural gas wells in Payette County.
The Texas-based Alta Mesa has partnered with Idaho-based Snake River Oil and Gas to kickstart natural gas exploration in Southwest Idaho, purchasing a number of wells from Bridge Resources in 2012 after the Canadian-based company liquidated many of its assets in the wake of financial troubles at the height of its 2011 Idaho drilling operations.
In July 2011, Boise Weekly first reported on a proposed gas dehydration facility, and Bridge Resource's original plans to build a refinery for natural gas being drilled in the region. Originally, Bridge Resources said that noise from the facility wouldn't have exceeded 45 decibels.
"Bridge didn't know what they were talking about," Alta Mesa spokesman John Peiserich said Oct. 17. "Or they had a lack of understanding."
Peiserich insisted that the facility would be comparable to a feed lot, but added that 75 decibels was an "appropriate standard."
The Observer reports that a number of nearby landowners balked at the idea, with one farmer testifying that P&Z commissioners "would be selling the heart and soul of Payette County."
But commissioners ultimately approved the conditional use permits for the treatment facility to get under way.