One-Man Protest Brings Plight of Payette County Activist to Idaho Statehouse


Boise resident Steven G. Donahue - DAVE GOINS, IDAHO NEWS SERVICE
  • Dave Goins, Idaho News Service
  • Boise resident Steven G. Donahue

"Stop the insanity," read a placard outside the Idaho Capitol Monday.

A Boise man took the plight of a Payette woman, arrested during an Oct. 9 public hearing, to the steps of the Idaho Statehouse Oct. 13.

"I just had to say something," said Steven Donahue in his one-man demonstration to bring awareness to the case of Alma Hasse.

Hasse, a vocal opponent of oil and gas exploration in and around her Payette County home, was arrested during a meeting of the Payette County Planning and Zoning Commission. Commissioners were considering a proposed expansion of a gas treatment facility by Alta Mesa, one of the leading players in Idaho's burgeoning gas exploration industry. 

During previous public testimony, Hasse had stated that a California community had an ordinance prohibiting the transportation of gas by rail. But after public testimony was formally ended, P&Z Commissioner Pete Morgan disputed Hasse's statement. That's when Hasse attempted to make a point of order. She was reminded that the hearing had closed and public comments were not allowed during deliberations. When Hasse continued to interject, she was asked to leave the courtroom; and when she refused to leave, she was arrested, charged with trespassing, obstruction and contempt.

"We have so many large gatherings that have support, and speak for themselves," said Donahue outside the Idaho Statehouse Oct. 13. "But yet we have a lone grandma up in a jail and nobody to speak for her."