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Idaho Reviews Energy Plan

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A look at power, from A Seat in the House

I serve as Co-Chairman of the Interim Committee on Environment, Energy and Technology. The committee met July 12 and 13 in Boise to address current energy issues. A major item of discussion was the need to review the current Idaho Energy Plan as recommended when the current plan was adopted by the Idaho Legislature.

It was decided in the meeting to enlist the assistance of the Idaho Strategic Energy Alliance to assist in the review of the energy plan and to provide recommendations for changes in the plan where needed to keep the plan viable as guidance on providing a firm and economical energy supply for Idaho citizens.

Governor Otter created the Alliance and directed it to develop analyses, assess options, and provide advice for executing the 2007 energy plan. The Alliance has over 150 members with broad and varied professional expertise that is useful in reviewing the energy plan and recommending changes in the energy plan to keep the state current with changes in energy development, policies and costs. 

The Alliance is to review the current plan and make recommendations for change to the interim committee based on the alliance’s concept of three pillars of Idaho’s energy future. 

1) That we maintain and enhance access to stable, secure, sustainable and affordable energy supplies for Idaho citizens and businesses. 

2) Determine how we can extract the most economic advantage from energy systems, technologies and markets. 

 3) To provide a sound understanding of energy fundamentals to Idaho citizens emphasizing that “no energy option is a free lunch—there are positive and negatives to all—that using energy wisely is the best, lowest cost option to meeting energy demand, but even with wise use and conservation in order to grow (economically) we require enormous amounts of affordable energy.”

The alliance is expected to meet with the interim committee within the next four to six weeks to present their recommendations to the committee. Following this meeting the committee will continue to work with the alliance and other interested citizens and organizations that have an interest in Idaho energy policy to update the 2007 plan to bring it current with today’s energy environment.

Because natural gas has been discovered in southwest Idaho the committee also devoted a portion of the meeting to natural gas development. The committee was provided information on natural gas supplies in the United States and more specifically natural gas development in Idaho. 

One organization that analyses potential gas availability in the United States is the Potential Gas Committee. This is an incorporated, nonprofit organization consisting of knowledgeable and highly experienced volunteer members who work in the natural gas exploration, production and transportation industries and in the field and technical services and consulting services.

The results of the Potential Gas Committee’s latest biennial assessment of the nation’s natural gas resources states: The United States possesses a total resource base of 1,898 trillion feet of natural gas. This is the highest resource evaluation in the committee’s 46-year history. Most of the increase from the previous assessment arose from reevaluation of shale-gas plays in the Mid-Continent, Gulf Coast and Rocky Mountain areas.

Bridge Resources Corporation is a natural gas exploration and production company with an interest in Idaho. They currently hold a 50 percent working interest in over 105,000 acres and have drilled 11 wells in the southwest Idaho area. Seven of these wells have gas available and the company is actively engaged in bringing these wells into active production through a process known as “Fracking”.

Fracking is a process in which water, sand and other components are pumped under high pressure into a gas formation to create fractures that allow the gas to flow into the well pipe and up to the surface for collection.

Over 90 percent of natural gas wells in the United States are using the fracking technique making possible more than 600 trillion feet of gas being developed and brought to market.

Development of natural gas in Idaho will not only help meet the nation’s energy needs but will also provide significant economic benefit to the state from severance taxes, royalties, income taxes, property taxes and other economic benefits.

Applications for gas wells have to be submitted to Idaho Department of Lands for permitting; however to insure that the Idaho’s permitting process meets environmental concerns the Department is currently reviewing and revising its rules for granting permits to insure protection of ground water and other environmental issues.  In addition the Federal Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, Safe Drinking Water Act and other federal rules govern the development of natural gas.

Thanks for reading and as always please contact me with issues of interest.  George

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Author info

Rep. George Eskridge Rep. George Eskridge the Republican Representative for District 1 in Idaho’s House, George Eskridge can be reached at 208-265-0123 or write PO Box 112, Dover, ID 83825

Tagged as:

energy, A Seat in the House, fracking, hydrofracturing, natural gas, Idaho Energy Plan, Strategic Energy Alliance, Idaho Interim Committee on Environment Energy and

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