A bill (HB 301) to rewrite oil/natural gas rules in Idaho was passed unanimously through both houses of the state legislature in two days last week and now awaits Gov. C. L. Otter's signature.

With limited oil and natural gas development, but visions of becoming a more comprehensive producing state, Idaho's Rep. Judy Boyle originally proposed rules that were opposed by the state's main exploration and production (E&P) company, but last week was morphed into an amended bill that was unanimously passed (68-0) out of the lower House and sent to the Senate, where it also streaked through without a dissenting vote.

Idaho's legislature, which was originally scheduled to adjourn Friday, will meet again Monday for final clean-up work, but the bill is now complete.

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 Daily that Alta Mesa supports HB 301. It is unclear when it will land on Otter's desk, "but I assume he will sign it in the coming week," Foster said.

Boyle said the passed version -- the result of a lot of eleventh-hour amendments and compromises -- dropped a proposal for putting Otter 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.