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Salmon City Mayor Leo Marshall and City Councilman Fred Waidely presented the March 7 meeting of the Salmon City Council with information pertaining to a bill currently before the State Legislature. The bill, HO 464, gives the state authority over all drilling for oil or gas in the state and the city officials see potential conflicts with city Planning and Zoning rights as well as the rights of cities in general.

Waidely quoted a portion of the legislation to the council. It reads, “No ordinance, resolution, requirement or standard of a city, county or political subdivision, except a state agency with authority, shall actually or operationally prohibit construction or operation of facilities and infrastructure needed for post extraction processing, transport of gas or oil.”

He interprets that to mean the state legislature is saying the state has a right to override local zoning laws. Waidely said, “I think this is a gross usurping of local rights. I know the state gets all upset when the federal government takes away some of the rights and mandates it, so I think the cities should be able to do the same thing back to the state. They shouldn’t be able to take our rights.”

Waidely is proposing an official Resolution stating opposition to the bill be sent to the Idaho State Legislature from the City of Salmon. He said he has also contacted the county concerning the legislation and resolution and the response was that the county is also well aware of the bill.

Waidely commented that the legislation related to state control over drilling and hydraulic fracking of the ground may not directly affect this city or county but does certainly affect other areas. That prompted Councilman Jim Kluesner to remember when years ago the city drilled for a water well on Island Park it hit natural gas. He said natural gas has also been found south of town. He thinks those findings as well as the high number of warm and hot springs throughout the area puts this community in a position of possible future impacts from HO464.

The legislation has already passed the House and is awaiting a hearing before the Senate Resource and Environmental Committee. The council is not scheduled to meet again until March 21st. In order for local, official reaction to be heard before final action on HO464 it must be sent to Boise quickly.

The mayor suggested the council study the legislation and decide if it wants a special meeting for the purpose of voting on the proposed Resolution.

Special meetings are legally required to be announced/posted 24 hours in advance.

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