Words like truth and honor are the latest casualties in the fight with the Idaho Legislature. Despite being top-heavy with alleged champions of family values, the Idaho legislature routinely ignores and negates the wishes of citizens.
In February 2012, John Peiserich of Snake River Oil and Gas was scheduled to give a presentation to the Environment and Resource committee chaired by Senator Monty J. Pearce. Pearce, who owns numerous gas and oil leases, allowed Peiserich over an hour to make his "pro-fracking" presentation in support of HB 464.
The law, which went into effect Friday, ties the hands of local governments with regards to potential restrictions that would impact gas and oil drilling or "fracking". Effective immediately, cities and counties in Idaho cannot require drilling companies to get a "conditional use permit" for drilling projects, effectively eliminating the ability of local governments to set ordnances that would protect quality of life issues in their jurisdiction.
Conditional use permits are a commonly used legal tool that allows municipalities to control certain uses which could have detrimental effects on the community and Idaho stands as the only state in the country which has stripped towns and counties of this important right of self-determination.
The rush to pass HB 464 was led by Pearce who has been the subject of several ethics inquiries. In an email sent to him on February 28 by Ms. Alma Hasse, a resident and farm owner in Payette Country, she asked for the time to allow opposing experts to appear before his committee saying, "We do not feel that a vote on HB 464 should be held by the committee until such a time as the committee has had the opportunity to hear from ALL affected parties and their experts.
Pearce did not allow opposing viewpoints to be presented and declined any comment for this article.