Motorists should be able to spot tangible evidence of the burgeoning oil and gas development in Payette County this week. Officials with Texas-based Alta Mesa have notified Payette County officials that the company will be "flaring" at its facilities, beginning as early as Tuesday, Sept. 29. Citizens may spot significant flames coming out of two locations in the the Little Willow Creek area, the site of Alta Mesa drilling. Notification to the the Payette County Planning and Zoning Commission indicates that the flaring could continue for approximately 18 days.
Alta Mesa spokesman John Foster told the Ontario Argus Observer the flaring is necessary to "check pressures and volumes" to validate whether a well can be productive. Idaho Conservation League program director Justin Hayes told the Observer that the flaring is less harmful to the environment than releasing the gas directly into the air.
"Sometimes flaring is necessary as a well is being developed, or when there is an emergency and they have to release gas for safety reasons," Hayes told the Observer.
Although much of Idaho's industry remains in the exploration phase, Alta Mesa and other developers continue to work toward preparing fuel for delivery to the 4,000-mile Northwest Pipeline owned by The Williams Companies, Inc, which runs adjacent to I-84, near New Plymouth, and serves much of the Northwest United States.