New Idaho Ordinances

Idaho Citizens Help Critical New Gas & Oil Ordinances Come Into Being



C.A.I.A. members have been in the forefront of promoting protective gas and oil ordinances for Idaho cities and counties in the way of petroleum development.  The C.A.I.A. board has sent our model protective ordinance (based on ‘experienced’, attorney-vetted ordinances of Texas) to 50 Idaho jurisdictions, with more to come.  Urged by local citizens, the Fruitland and Eagle city councils have striven for many months to work out Oil & Gas Operations ordinances of their own.

We’re very happy to report that both Fruitland and Eagle have now adopted ordinances that are far more protective than any of the other few county ordinances currently in effect in Idaho. …An excellent thing, as wells have already been drilled in Fruitland, right along the river and just upstream of the city’s water supply intake; and a great deal of State-held mineral rights within Eagle city limits have been leased in recent years.

C.A.I.A. applauds the efforts of these City Council folk who are genuinely concerned for the well-being of their many neighbors as well as their city government.

The City of Fruitland was the first to finish their ordinance.

Here are some of the good additions to the Fruitland ordinance No. 629:

  • Acknowledgement of both drilled wells and post-extraction facilities (would have been better to include seismic testing regulations as well)
  • Good setback from wells:  1200′ to nearest property line of existing occupied structure, domestic water well, canal, ditch, or high-water mark of surface waters within 800′ of a highway; 1200′ from churches, schools, medical facilities, or places of assembly (would have been better to be from pad site’s outer edge rather than well itself)
  • Possibility of obtaining property owner’s permission to reduce setbacks to 100′ will not be acceptible for shared canals, ditches, or high-water marks of surface waters
  • Good setbacks from post-extraction facilities:  800′ from a highway; 1500′ from nearest property line of an existing occupied structure & from water wells, ditches, and canals; 2000′ from property line of a church, school, medical facility, or place of assembly
  • No wells to be drilled within FEMA Special Flood Hazard Area
  • Post-extraction facilities allowed only in Heavy Industrial Zoning District
  • Automatic emergency shut-off valves operated remotely, installed on drilling equipment (would have been better to specify how city personnel will be able to stimulate operation of this in an emergency)
  • Baseline water testing by applicant on 2 domestic water wells within 1/4 mile of site, to be retested annually; chemical tracers to be used in all drilling fluids (would have been better to require different ones for each well)
  • Applicant must have $15M per occurrence comprehensive general liability insurance with an aggregate of $30M, plus an indemnification of the City
  • All chemicals used onsite must be disclosed as part of a Preparedness, Prevention and Contingency Plan, & applicant will provide trainingfor all emergency responders prior to post-extraction activities (would have been far better to include drilling phase as well)
  • A Road Repair Agreement for all public roads/rights of way used
  • Post-extraction activities need to comply with City noise regulations (would have been appropriate to include drilling phase!)
  • Operators must suppress dust but may not use produced water or any hydrocarbon for dust suppression
  • Other-than-drilling site development and post-extraction activities must adhere to Monday-Saturday daytime hours

Eagle officials worked longer on their city’s gas and oil ordinance, learned from Fruitland’s efforts, and – thanks largely to citizen input – later adopted language that is yet more protective.  [link forthcoming after encoding]

Eagle’s even stronger ordinance No. 792 of 6-26-18 includes the addition of:

  • Unprecedented one-half mile safety setbacks
  • Vastly increased liability insurance levels
  • Stringent water testing requirements
  • Mandatory chemical tracers in all drilling and fracking fluids
  • Disclosure of all chemicals with no exemptions for trade secrets
  • Emergency shut-off valves on drilling and post-extraction equipment in case of fires or explosions

Eagle’s careful fielding of all the ins and outs of protection can serve as a good model for other cities and counties in Idaho.

[If you live within Ada County, please consider signing a petition to Ada County and Boise city officials if you have not signed a paper copy – here.]