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letter to Attorney General Wasden February 2014

Sunday, February 23, 2014

State of Idaho
Office of the Attorney General
700 W. Jefferson Street, Suite 210
P.O. Box 83720
Boise, Idaho 83720-0010

Dear Mr. Lawrence G. Wasden – Attorney General

As a citizen of Gem County, I truly appreciate and would like to take advantage of your "personal commitment to providing Idahoans access to the information they require of their government."

With regards to oil & gas devolvement in Idaho, your January 2011 opinion, which I have carefully read, clarified the need for the state's Oil & Gas Commission to define "occupy" as it relates to OGCA.  The legislature achieved this by enacting HB464 as well as providing a "however" for LLUP authority and its obligation to protect citizens by stating, “extraction may be subject to reasonable local ordinance provisions, not repugnant to law, which protect public health, public safety, public order or which prevent harm to public infrastructure or degradation of the value, use and enjoyment of private property.”

Gem County is currently working on adopting a Gas and Oil ordinance, and I ask for your clarification regarding the following questions:

1 - Does HB464 invalidate your January opinion "THE OGCA DOES NOT 'OCCUPY THE FIELD' OF OIL AND GAS REGULATION TO THE EXTENT THAT PREEMPTION OF ALL LOCAL LAND USE PLANNING ORDINANCES IS IMPLIED"?  And if so, how precisely is it altered?

2 - Does HB464 change "THE NEED FOR UNIFORM REGULATION OF OIL AND GAS DEVELOPMENT AND OPERATIONS DOES NOT EXCLUDE APPLICATION OF LOCAL LAND USE PLANNING ORDINANCES"?

3 - Does OCGA & HB464 "protect public health and welfare" to the extent that LLUPA and counties are able provide to its citizens?

4 - When county ordinance(s), as authorized by § 67-6518, impose higher standards than are required by any other statute regarding…

 “promote the health, safety and general welfare of the people in the state of  Idaho  as follows: 

(a) To protect property rights … 

(c) To ensure that the economy of the state and localities is protected. … 

(d) To ensure that the important environmental features of the state and localities are protected. … 

(k) To avoid undue water and air pollution.”

...do the OGCA statutes take precedence?

5 – Does HB464 and OGCA interfere and prevent counties from imposing higher standards to protect “the health, safety and general welfare of the people in the state of Idaho“?

Thank you in advance for your response and thank you for doing an excellent job for the citizens of Idaho.

Sincerely,

Joe Morton

Emmett, Idaho