PAYETTE — The latest in a series of hearings regarding proposed gas and oil developments will take place Monday at the Payette County Courthouse to hear arguments on setting the “just and reasonable” factors in ruling on the application to integrate or pool mineral rights of property owners who have not signed a mineral lease.

The administrative hearing will be held at 9 a.m. in the Payette County Courthouse.

The owners in question have property in a 160-acre section of land on both sides of the Payette River.

According to documents related to the setting of Monday’s hearing, AM Idaho (also known as Alta Mesa) has filed an application to integrate or take over mineral rights of property owners who have not signed leases within the 160 acres. An existing well drilled by the company is within the 160 acres referred to as a spacing unit, an area allocated to a well.

The hearing on Monday is authorized by the Oil and Gas Conservation Act and ordered by the Idaho Department of Lands.

A brief filed on behalf of the applicant for integration reads that the purpose of an integration order issued in the state’s oil and gas law is to encourage development and prevent waste and protect correlative rights or rights of oil and gas owners.

However, the brief argues, “There is no requirement that an equal balance be struck between the wishes of an interested owner (committed or not) and the wishes of an application/operator, nor is there a requirement that an applicant/operator analyze every possible statute or regulation that could be applicable. All that is required is that an integration order includes terms and conditions that are ‘just and reasonable.”

While the applicants argue that only briefs from uncommitted property owners within the 160-acre spacing unit should be considered by Department of Lands Administrator per his order, opponents to the integration says that property owners outside the 160 aceres would be impacted by any oil or gas removal since they do travel underground outside the boundaries.

Monday’s administrative hearing comes after the opponents to integration were denied their request for a rule-making process to “determine the factors to be considered when determining whether the terms and conditions of an integration order are ‘just and reasonable,” reads the denial document.

Having a rule-making process would bring the process before the Idaho Legislature.

Larry Meyer is a reporter for the Argus Observer.

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