The Idaho Department of Lands has given its OK and pulled in more than a quarter million dollars for private developers to explore for gas and oil on more than 5,000 acres of public lands.
The IDL, in its Oct. 15 meeting, auctioned off leases for 4,478 acres in Owyhee County, 600 acres in Cassia County and 160 acres in Gem County. The auction pulled in $263,229 in so-called "bonus" bids for the State endowment trusts that support Idaho's public school system, Idaho State University, the State Juvenile Corrections Center, the State Hospital North, the Idaho State Veterans Homes and the Idaho School for the Deaf and Blind.
One of the top bidders was Trendwell West which won leases on eight tracts at the price of $190,000. Alta Mesa was another top bidder, securing three tracts for $73,229.
The average bid was $46 per acre, but the highest bid was $105 per acre for 638 acres in Owyhee County.
Thus far in 2014 the IDL has auctioned more than 31,600 acres of public land and minerals, generating $2.1 million in revenue.