By Corey Evan

Independent-Enterprise

PAYETTE COUNTY - As progress continues to tap into Idaho’s oil and gas resources, one local citizens accountability group remains on their tails to ensure the public’s well-being as they do so.

With Snake River Oil and Gas having applied for a permit to drill a new gas/oil well identified as Barlow 2-14, Shelley Brock, president of the Board of Directors for Citizens Allied for Integrity and Accountability, wants the public to be aware of its hazards. Barlow 2-14 is only 20 feet from the Barlow 1-14 well drilled by Alta Mesa in 2018.

“These wells present a potential danger to the Fruitland city water supply as they are just upstream from the city’s water intake plant,” said Brock in a July 27 email to organization members. “They also pose a threat to nearby homes and farms, as well as wildlife and livestock living in or near the river.”

Pending permit approval by the Idaho Department of Lands, drilling is scheduled to begin Sept. 1.

Brock summarized the organization’s goal as making sure regulators know that the public is aware of this activity.

“Our goal is to flood the department with letters letting state regulators know how Idahoans feel about this well and this industry in general operating here; putting our property values, the health and safety of our families, livestock and wildlife, and our most precious, irreplaceable natural resource — our water — at risk.”

The public comments/objections window for Barlow 2-14 is open now until Aug. 5 at 5 p.m. MT. Brock urges everyone with concerns to make those known.

“While we consider all potential avenues for protecting the river and human and animal populations, a heavy outpouring of public comments is a crucial first step.”

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