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The following letters are from one of our county's most active citizens on the oil & gas issue, Joe Morton, to the State Attorney General and our Gem County Commissioners.

To date these concerns have not been addressed by these officials...

letter to Attorney General Wasden
February 2014

draft letter to Gem County Commissioners for review/consideration
June 2014

letter to the editor, Messenger Index paper, August 2014:

Dear Mr. Commissioners,

The citizens of Gem County and Gas & Oil Ordinance committee still do not have a clear understanding where the “line” is drawn between what Gem County (you as the governing authority) can do to protect the degradation of property value… etc.

Your saying that the Idaho Association of Counties (IAC) draft ordinance is the limit to which we can use for protecting the citizens under the LLUPA, falls short of established precedent noting otherwise.  Furthermore the IAC draft has NO language which defers the cost to the applicant instead placing this burden on the backs of the citizens… i.e. “The applicant shall pay for a groundwater study prior to any extraction”   

Citizens have asked you for guidance and clarification regarding where the line will be drawn by you as our governing authority.  A copy of a letter to Attorney General Wasden (see ) seeking answers to questions was provided to you on June 3rd, 2014. 

Since February you have been asked to address this issue and Citizens of Gem County still do not have an answer from you, as to when, what and how Gem County will Protect the Degradation of our property value… etc. Furthermore, I was told by your office that we have been advised by our county prosecutor to NOT send a request to Idaho Attorney General Wasden seeking clarification of the county’s responsibility when it comes to developing a Gas and Oil ordinance.

Please provide in writing to the citizens of Gem County what you will do. Publicly state what Gem County’s position is regarding Protecting the Public Health Safety, Degradation of property value and right to use & enjoyment of property with regards to Gas / Oil operations in our county.

Most importantly, please issue a statement to the citizens stating that you are willing to take the time needed to develop a Gas and Oil ordinance based on sound science and comprehensive ground water studies.  Also state that you are willing to place a moratorium on all Gas and oil activities until an ordinance is adopted.

Joe Morton