Boise, Idaho - Idaho was welcomed as a full member state of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) during the 2017 IOGCC Annual Business Meeting in Oklahoma City this week.
As Idaho's official representative at the meeting, Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) Director Tom Schultz was presented a welcome letter to Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter, signed by the governors and official representatives of IOGCC's six founding states.
House Bill 52 was approved by the Idaho Legislature during its 2017 session and was signed into law by Governor Otter on March 20, giving final authorization for Idaho to join IOGCC as a full member. Idaho has been an associate member since 2015; however, with commercial oil and gas production now under way in Idaho the state is eligible for full membership. Since it is a compact commission, both the governor and the Idaho Legislature had to approve the full membership application. The official membership begins on July 1, 2017 when the bill goes into effect.
Idaho becomes the 31st full member state. The last full member state admitted to IOGCC was Virginia in 1982.
As a full member Idaho is able to:
• Access effective practices from nationwide resources as well as lessons learned from other states grappling with similar issues
• Receive information about issues in other states, Congress, and federal agencies
• Obtain assistance to initiate innovative programs or further develop and enhance existing programs
• Learn about emerging national trends
• Direct resolutions and initiatives of the IOGCC
The IDL is the administrative arm of the Idaho Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. This past year, the commission requested and received a peer assessment from the State Oil and Gas Regulatory Exchange (SOGRE), which is an initiative of the IOGCC and the Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC). The report found Idaho's oil and gas regulatory structure was mostly in line with the regulatory practices of other oil and gas producing states, and it provided guidance for Idaho as its regulation of oil and gas exploration, drilling and production continues to evolve (news release, Feb. 15, 2017).
(Photo from left: Carl Michael Smith, IOGCC Executive Director; Matt Lepore, Director of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and 2017 IOGCC 2nd Vice Chairman; Tom Schultz, Director of the Idaho Department of Lands; Michael Teague, Oklahoma Secretary of Energy and Environment and 2017 IOGCC Vice Chairman; and Gerry Baker, IOGCC Associate Executive Director)