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The future of oil and gas in Idaho is uncertain for a number of reasons. The first is the passage of SB 1339, a 17-page bill which literally rewrites the rules on how oil and gas can be extracted here in Idaho. What will this mean for Idahoans? We may not know the full impact of the change for a while yet.

The second factor contributing to the growing uncertainty is the dissolution of the Idaho Petroleum Council which has been described as an “independent voice for Idaho’s infant oil and gas industry.” The Idaho Statesman has reported on the situation.

Suzanne Budge, executive director of the organization she’s led for five years, resigned Feb. 26, a day after Alta Mesa chief counsel John Pieserich emailed members of the council’s executive committee insisting they dismiss her.

That’s not all, though. There’s the fact that Alta Mesa Idaho is currently the sole producer of natural gas in the state and their commitment to development here is questionable considering the veritable collapse of prices within the industry over the last two years.

Add to that the opposition from locals who have a not-in-my-backyard (NIMBY) attitude toward oil and gas development and increased regulation from the state, and the future of the industry is indeed in jeopardy.

Not far away in Colorado, we are seeing dozens of wells shut down by regulators amid increasing opposition to fracking driven largely by fear and misinformation.

Idaho has a lot of potential for development and growth in the oil and gas industry, but there are a number of obstacles still to overcome. Whether or not Idaho will ever have a thriving oil and gas industry remains an open question. Only time will tell.