Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter announced the appointments today of members to the reconstructed Idaho Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. The panel is responsible for regulating the exploration, drilling and production of oil and gas resources on private, state and federal land in Idaho.
Earlier this year, the Legislature approved and the Governor signed a bill replacing the existing commissioners – the same five constitutional officers who serve on State Board of Land Commissioners – with five members appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Idaho Senate. The commission members are experts in oil and gas, geology and water, as well as two landowner representatives – one who owns mineral rights and one who owns land without mineral rights.
The Idaho Department of Lands will continue to be the administrative agency responsible for supporting the commission’s work and implementing rules and statutes related to oil and gas exploration and production.
The appointed commission members are:
· James Classen of Boise, representing geological interests, to a four-year term – Mr. Classen has more than 50 years of professional experience as a petroleum exploration geologist, geological engineer, and manager. He is a member of several professional geological associations. He served in the Army Reserves and earned an engineer of geology degree from Colorado School of Mines and a master’s degree in geology from Stanford.
· Ken Smith of Boise, representing oil and gas interests, to a four-year term – Mr. Smith is a retired certified public accountant who was chief financial officer for oil and gas companies in Oklahoma, Texas and Idaho, and was executive vice president, chief operations officer, and chief technical officer for Petroglyph Energy in Idaho. He has several active memberships in industry associations.
· Margaret (Marg) Chipman of Weiser, representing landowners with mineral rights, to a three-year term – Mrs. Chipman owns a cattle feeding and ranching business in western Idaho’s Washington County. She is a 20-year member of her local school board and has been actively involved in her community for decades. In the past two years she has helped facilitate town hall meetings in Weiser with oil and gas industry representatives and State officials. Mrs. Chipman has a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Idaho and is a certified pharmacy technician.
· Chris Beck of Hayden Lake, representing water interests, to a two-year term – Mr. Beck is the mayor of Hayden Lake and has been involved extensively in public service since the mid-1990s. He is a registered professional engineer in Idaho and Washington with more than 30 years of experience as a geotechnical engineer. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in geological engineering from the University of Idaho and is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
· Sid Cellan of Soda Springs, representing landowners without mineral rights, to a one-year term – Mr. Cellan is owner and operator of Cellan Farms in Soda Springs and has worked for the Caribou County Road and Bridge Department and the City of Soda Springs. He is the Secretary/Treasurer of the Idaho Grain Producers Association, a member of the Lure Crop Advisory Board for Caribou County, and a member of the Idaho Fish and Game Winter Feeding Advisory Board for the 5th District.