With construction of a commercial pipeline continuing to advance, moving Idaho closer to a functional natural gas industry, Payette County officials are still trying to figure out how much to charge for a drilling permit.
To date, natural gas wells have be approved under a conditional use permit, but new rules at the state and local levels require an individual permit for each well. And while the state of Idaho has its own permitting process, natural gas exploration companies also need to secure a county permit.
The Independent-Enterprise reports that Payette County staff are proposing that application fees would be $2,000 for new wells and $500 for already-drilled wells.
But after hearing from a lawyer representing Texas-based Alta Mesa, which snapped up a number of leases and existing wells from Bridge Resources in 2012 after the Canadian-based company liquidated many of its assets, Payette County commissioners have decided to table their decision for now.
"We hope to submit a lot of applications to the county," said attorney Michael Christian. "If we start submitting applications in batches, like we hope to do, if we submit five permits to you at once, that's $10,000, and that seems excessive."
Meanwhile, the Independent-Enterprise reports that a construction walk-through recently took place at the pipeline construction site, near Soutthwest Third Avenue in New Plymouth.