Idaho governor signs disputed drilling bill

Idaho gov approves restrictions on local control of gas industry; bill prompted ethics probe

Associated Press

BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter signed the bill restricting local control over the natural gas industry, putting the finishing touches to a measure that launched the Senate's ethics investigation into Sen. Monty Pearce.

The law went into effect Friday, forbidding local governments from enacting ordinances to prohibit gas drilling.

From now on, Idaho cities and counties can't require exploration companies to secure conditional use permits for their projects.

Though the bill cleared the House and Senate on wide margins, it created a sensation in the 2012 Legislature when Democrats accused Pearce of not disclosing a conflict of interest.

Pearce has leased land to Snake River Oil & Gas, the company behind the bill.

He didn't disclose his leases publicly until the final vote.

Wednesday, the Senate Ethics Committee dismissed the complaint.

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