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Revised Idaho Bill to Revamp Oil, Gas Rules Facing Deadline

A revised bill to rewrite oil/natural gas rules in Idaho may be running out of time as the state’s legislature is scheduled to adjourn on Friday.

A legislative services staff member told NGI's Shale Dailyon Wednesday that the session could be extended on a day-to-day basis.

With limited oil and natural gas development, but visions of becoming a more comprehensive producing state, Idaho's main exploration and production company opposed earlier versions of HB 232, alleging that the legislation would essentially "nationalize" energy operations in Idaho. But on Wednesday, an amended version, re-numbered as HB 301, was developed and unanimously passed (68-0) out of the lower House and sent to the Senate.

Alta Mesa Holdings LP's chief state legislative representative in Idaho, John Foster, a principal and founder of Boise-based consulting firm Kestrel West, told NGI's Shale Dailyon Thursday that Alta Mesa now supports the proposal, and said it has a chance to be passed before the upcoming adjournment.

Bill sponsor state Sen. Judy Boyle said the latest revisions were cobbled together Tuesday night and won the approval of all parties. The latest version also dropped a proposal for putting Idaho's governor on the state Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (OGCC).

Under HB 301, the OGCC would include three oil and gas industry members, the state Department of Lands director, and a county commissioner from an oil-producing county.

The state is just getting started in the oil/gas business after a number of failed tries over the past 100-plus years. In 2016, Idaho completed its first full year of commercial natural gas production, making it the 31st state to produce hydrocarbons.

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