Note: A Quasi-Existential Dilemma 

I'll just come right out and say it: fracking sounds like a word I would have gotten my mouth washed out with soap for using in front of my mother as a kid. But it's a word you're likely to hear much more about in the future.

As Idaho prepares to venture into the world of natural gas drilling--if Payette County officials give Canadian company Bridge Resources the green light to turn their exploratory wells into fully operational wells--the process of fracking will likely take center stage in the preliminary discussion.

What it is, how it's different than mini-fracking (which is what Bridge says it will do in New Plymouth, and which is so safe, Bridge's exploration manager told the Idaho Statesman, she'd eat the substance the company uses in mini-fracking just to prove the point), whether it is harmful to the surrounding environment, and if and how it affects water quality. This week's main feature from ProPublica attempts to answer some of those questions, though, as you'll read, it's unclear whether sufficient evidence exists to provide definitive answers in some areas.

Also facing a quasi-existential dilemma: the state commission charged with potential regulation. The Idaho Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is that body, and until several weeks ago, the commission hadn't met in nearly two decades. Lucky for Idaho, the folks at Bridge know exactly what they're doing, so they can be especially helpful throughout the process. Wink, wink.

Moving on in this edition, you'll find another piece on Idaho's dairy industry on Page 30. Last week, we reported on the FDA's concern that contaminated tissue samples taken from slaughtered dairy cows may be indicators of contaminated milk. Truthfully, it's coincidental that we're touching on dairy again in this issue, and it's no surprise that a certain amount of suspicion has arisen among the state's dairy industry as it gains lawful approval to retreat further from the public's prying eyes while simultaneously facing increased federal scrutiny. We're still hoping to meet with the Idaho Dairymen's Association, and we'll keep you posted should that pan out.

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