OGCC Secretary Update

Mick Thomas

Division Administrator – Minerals, Public Trust, and Oil & Gas

Secretary to the Oil & Gas Conservation Commission

This update was sent to the Commission on Saturday, January 25.

Current Items:
Land Board approves IDL Organizational Restructure
2020 Legislative Session
Tax Commission
WSLCA Conference
OGCC Regular Meeting
News Article(s) of Interest


Land Board approves IDL Organizational Restructure
At the Land Board meeting this past Tuesday, the organizational restructure of the Idaho Department of Lands was approved. This restructure included combining the Resource Protection and Assistance Bureau which includes the mineral regulatory and public trust programs with the oil & gas regulatory program under one new division. I will be the Division Administrator over this new division.

This restructuring will improve operational efficiency by enabling both divisions to collaborate on achieving Department goals. Some of the key benefits are:
• Inspection needs of the department can be better met with the newly combined staff.
• Technical expertise currently devoted to the Oil & Gas program can be used by the mineral regulatory program.
• Greater administrative support and project coordination will be provided with the new structure.
• Increased operational efficiency using existing staff.

I will continue to serve as the secretary to the Commission. If you have any questions please reach out. I’m happy to discuss further.

2020 Legislative Session
Deputy Director David Groeschl presented the Idaho Department of Lands Omnibus Rules which includes the IDAPA 20.07.02 Oil and Gas Rules to the House Resources & Conservation Committee this past Tuesday and to the Senate Resources & Environment Committee this past Wednesday. The updating of the Oil & Gas rules in 20.07.02 provided significant reductions in wording of IDL related rules in compliance with the Red Tape Reduction Act of 2019. The House and Senate both approved the changes as written.

The 2020 Legislative Rules Review Books can be found on the Office of the Administrative Rules Coordinator website at: https://adminrules.idaho.gov/legislative_books/2020/

Tax Commission
I met with the Tax Commission last week to discuss Oil & Gas severance tax revenues to the state over the past few years. There continues to be excellent communication between the Tax Commission and the Oil & Gas division. The Department has provided the new allocation data as well as the Oil & Gas audit to the tax commission, and we are providing technical expertise as requested.

WSLCA Conference
Last week I attended the Western States Land Commissioners Association in Austin, Texas. The agenda for this meeting was mainly focused on the oil and gas industry in Texas – specifically on how the Texas General Land Office is working with industry to improve revenue streams to the state. On Monday I spoke with GLO Commissioner George P. Bush. Mr. Bush shared that some of his major goals for the GLO were cooperation between programs (move away from the “silo” approach), and providing a level of predictability to industry. Overall it was an excellent conference.

OGCC Regular Meeting
The first OGCC meeting of 2020 will be held on Wednesday, February 5, 2020 at the Boise City Council Chambers, Boise City Hall, 3rd Floor, 150 N. Capitol Blvd., Boise. The meeting will begin at 9:30 am (MT). More information can be found on the OGCC Website on the Commission Meetings page.

News Article(s) of Interest
Mining our way to a low carbon future (video):
Excellent information on how a dramatic increase in mineral recovery is needed to reach the low carbon goal. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWTkiQ64u_U

Controversy Stoking Idaho’s Oil & Gas Industry (audio):
https://www.boisestatepublicradio.org/post/controversy-stoking-idahos-oil-and-gas-industry#stream/0

Can troubled Idaho oil, gas industry have a return to transparency? Skepticism remains:
https://www.idahostatesman.com/news/business/article239174583.html

Oregon Dept. of State Lands rejects extension request on key permit for proposed Jordan Cove LNG project:
https://www.wweek.com/news/2020/01/21/the-oregon-department-of-state-lands-rejects-extension-request-on-key-permit-for-proposed-jordan-cove-lng-project/