The Idaho Oil and Gas Conservation Commission regulates the exploration, drilling and production of oil and gas resources to ensure the conservation of oil and gas and the protection of correlative rights and surface and groundwater.
The Oil and Gas Program resides under the Minerals, Navigable Waters, and Oil & Gas Division within the Idaho Department of Lands and serves as the administrative arm of the Commission.
The current Idaho Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has been in place since July 1, 2017. The Idaho Oil and Gas Conservation Act was created in 1963. It established the Idaho Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, and since that time the Commission has undergone several changes in its make up.
Chair Betty Coppersmith
Betty Coppersmith retired to Idaho after 30 years experience in the oil and gas industry. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Petroleum Engineering from Texas A&M University and her Master in Business Administration from California State University Bakersfield. She was appointed to Idaho’s Oil and Gas Conservation Commission in March of 2019.
Betty was employed in various engineering disciplines throughout her career, including production, reservoir, and maintenance roles, for various global energy companies. In addition, she worked extensively in the safety, health, and environmental aspects of the industry. She has experience with compliance, industry advocacy, and regulatory development. Most recently, she was on a rotational assignment in Angola, Africa as Chevron’s Health, Environment, and Safety Superintendent.
In their spare time, Betty and her family enjoy exploring the natural beauty of the state of Idaho through various activities such as hiking, fly fishing, camping, backpacking, cycling, and snowshoeing.
Vice Chair Ray Hinchcliff
Ray Hinchcliff is retired after 30 years working in the petroleum industry. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Wyoming and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting from Weber State University.
Commissioner Hinchcliff spent his career working for ConocoPhillips in various engineering and management roles. Core skills include operations management, project management, engineering supervision, and field development. His work experience includes Wyoming, the Gulf Coast region, the Permian Basin, the North Sea, Russia, and the Alaskan North Slope.
Ray and his wife reside in Teton Valley, Idaho. He enjoys hiking, fly fishing, hunting, cycling, and woodworking. They have three children.
Commissioner James Classen
James (Jim) Classen is an Independent Geologist with more than 58 years of experience in the oil and gas business. He is an Engineer of Geology from Colorado School of Mines and earned a Master’s Degree from Stanford University.
Commissioner Classen grew up in the oil and gas business with a father who was a Geologist/Petroleum Engineer and a brother who also worked in the business. He worked 14 years with the company that became Amoco and left as the Division Geologist on and off shore Louisiana.
After working for two small independent companies for five years, he formed his own independent oil companies in 1959. The companies are still in operation, and his exploration and development activities are focused in the Gulf Coast region in Louisiana and Texas. He generated and sold drilling prospects, evaluated prospects, and participated in all aspects of multiple drilling ventures throughout his career.
Jim married a Boise girl and moved back to Idaho in 1999. He resides in Boise and enjoys fishing and hunting near his cabin in Lowman. They have three children who reside in Boise; Englewood, Colorado; and Hamilton, Montana.
Commissioner Dustin Miller
Dustin Miller was appointed Director of the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) in August 2018. As IDL Director, Dustin also serves as a member of the Idaho Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.
Dustin has been a member of the Governor’s Natural Resources Cabinet since 2012. Prior to joining IDL, Dustin was the Administrator of the Governor’s Office of Species Conservation where he participated in State and national committees related to wildlife and land use planning.
Throughout his career, Dustin has built support for land use initiatives and has helped establish collaborative relationships with State and federal agencies, private landowners and resource industry leaders.
Dustin worked extensively across the state as a natural resources field coordinator for the United States Senate. He started his career as a wildland firefighter for the U.S. Forest Service.
Dustin earned a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from the University of Idaho. He lives in Boise with his wife and their two young children.