Suit on forced pooling of mineral rights remains in background

Mick Thomas, administrator of the Oil and Gas Division at the Idaho Department of Lands, uses an easel-mounted whiteboard to illustrate a point about mineral rights integration during a Feb. 7 town hall meeting at the Payette County Courthouse.

PALETTE COUNTY - As part of their ongoing effort to protect land owners in Payette County against forced access to oil and natural gas beneath their homes, Citizens Allied for Integrity and Accountability, in a message to its members on June 7, reminded members of a Thursday, June 11 deadline for written objections to an application filed by Snake River Oil and Gas for a ’spacing’ unit in the county.

In the message, Shelley Brock, President of the organization, pointed out the potential danger of Snake River Oil and Gas’ planned extraction to the surrounding environment.

“SROG has … spent millions constructing a pipeline to transport the oil and gas from these wells – a pipeline that crosses under the river in at least 2 locations,” said Brock. “An accident or leaking by either of these hydrocarbon wells or the pipeline could contaminate underground aquifers as well as the river, countless farms and ranches that use river water for irrigation, and the entire domestic water supply for the community of Fruitland.”

A telephone prehearing conference is scheduled for July 1 at 9 a.m., which James Pitrowski, an attorney representing the organization, will participate in. The organization expects a formal hearing to be scheduled “in the very near future,” in which they plan to testify as to why drilling should not be approved around local homes, schools, farms and waterways.

Brock reminds its members and the community that the goal here is to ensure the protection of their Constitutional rights.

“CAIA’s legal team is already engaged and working to protect citizens impacted by this latest application - as well as all other Idaho communities that could face oil and gas extraction in the future. Hundreds of thousands of acres across the Treasure Valley have been leased for future drilling activity and your neighborhood could be among them.”

Brock said that 23 letters have been posted to the Oil & Gas Conservation Commission website as of press time.

“This all builds a foundation for further legal action, if necessary, to protect our Constitutional rights, our property values, our families and water,” said Brock.

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