- Associated Press - Monday, March 7, 2016

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - The Idaho House on Monday approved legislation aimed at speeding up natural gas and oil production by changing the industry’s deadlines and decision-making process.

Senate Bill 1339 would make the Idaho Department of Lands responsible for initial oil and gas decisions, while allowing the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to oversee and reverse such decisions.

It would also institute tighter deadlines for oil and gas industry appeals.

Democratic Rep. Ilana Rubel, of Boise, says lawmakers have been inundated with letters from constituents in opposition of the bill. She argues that the new legislation would unfairly restricts public input because it reduces the public comment period on new drill projects from 15 to 10 days.

The measure passed the body in a 50-19 vote.

It now heads to Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s desk for his signature.

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