Saturday, November 26, 2011

Washington County P&Z Wants Its Own Gas Rules

Posted By on Sat, Nov 26, 2011 at 10:29 AM

The Washington County Planning and Zoning Commission, citing what it considered insufficient protection from current state rules, has approved its own set of regulations to restrict oil and natural gas exploration.

"We felt it wasn't enough to protect us," said Jeri Soulier, Washington County P&Z commissioner, referring to the current set of temporary rules.

Idaho's Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, comprised of the state's top elected officials, recently accepted a new set of rules to oversee the burgeoning industry, sending the document to the 2012 Idaho Legislature for consideration.

But Republican Representative Judy Boyle, representing the Ninth District, which includes Washington County, told the Argus Observer that she opposed the county's stance.

"When they begin to control what pesticides you use, how much water, setbacks on ditches, they open themselves up for lawsuits from environmental groups," Boyle told the Observer.

The Washington County P&Z ordinance includes a requirement the exploration companies would be ultimately responsible for any damage or wear and tear to county roadways, bridges, culverts and surfaces that might occur during exploration and drilling. The rules also include the requirement of a $10 million libability insurance policy for bodily injury and a $20 million policy for blowouts or explosions.

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