Bill Excluding Federal Minerals Rights Advances at Legislature
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — An Idaho Senate committee has sent to the full Senate a bill giving state officials the option of excluding the federal government's mineral rights from areas that contain natural gas and oil.
The Senate Resources and Environment Committee on Friday approved the industry-backed bill that has already passed in the House. If it becomes law it will give the five-member Idaho Oil and Gas Conservation Commission the option to exclude federal mineral rights if the federal government fails to grant leases.
Backers say the state needs that option because the U.S. Bureau of Land Management is halting development by failing to offer leases in western Idaho where the nascent industry is moving forward on the belief the area contains profitable reserves.