Letters From the West

Otter appoints brand new oil and gas commissioners

A natural gas drilling rig( Associated Press Photo)

A natural gas drilling rig( Associated Press Photo)

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter appointed five members to the Idaho Oil and Gas Conservation Commission Wednesday.

The commission regulates the exploration, drilling, and production of oil and gas resources on private, state and federal land in Idaho. Previously Otter and the other four constitutional officers who make up make up the Land Board served as the commission.

The Legislature approved new commission made up of people representing different stakeholders. One is knowledgeable in oil and gas; one in geology; one in water; one private land or mineral owner in an area with oil and gas activity; and one private land owner without mineral rights.

Members would serve four-year terms, initially staggered and shortened. The Idaho Department of Lands remains the administrative agency responsible for supporting the commission’s work and implementing rules and statutes related to oil and gas exploration and production.

The appointed commission members are:
James Classen of Boise, a long time exploration geologist and engineer, who will represent geological interests,
Ken Smith of Boise, a retired COO for Petroglyph Energy, who will represent oil and gas interests,
Margaret Chipman of Weiser, representing landowners with mineral rights,
Chris Beck of Hayden Lake, representing water interests, and
Sid Cellan of Soda Springs, representing landowners without mineral rights.

Rocky Barker is the energy and environment reporter for the Idaho Statesman and has been writing about the West since 1985. He is the author of Scorched Earth How the Fires of Yellowstone Changed America and co-producer of the movie Firestorm: Last Stand at Yellowstone, which was inspired by the book and broadcast on A&E Network. He also co-authored the Flyfisher's Guide to Idaho and the Wingshooter's Guide to Idaho with Ken Retallic. He also was on the Statesman’s team that covered the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news in 2007. The National Wildlife Federation awarded him its Conservation Achievement Award.

Posted in Letters from the West