2007 Legislation
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HOUSE BILL NO. 230 – Geothermal well, applicatn, fees


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Bill Status

H0230......................................................by STATE AFFAIRS
GEOTHERMAL RESOURCES - Amends existing law relating to geothermal resources
to revise filing fee provisions; to revise procedures relating to the
processing of applications and investigations; to revise requirements
relating to the provision of good and sufficient security; and to authorize
the director to accept a comprehensive security.
02/22    House intro - 1st rdg - to printing
02/23    Rpt prt - to Res/Con
02/28    Rpt out - rec d/p - to 2nd rdg
03/01    2nd rdg - to 3rd rdg
03/02    3rd rdg - PASSED - 66-0-4
      AYES -- Andrus, Barrett, Bayer, Bedke, Bell, Bilbao, Black, Block,
      Bock, Bolz, Brackett, Bradford, Chadderdon, Chavez, Chew, Clark,
      Collins, Crane, Durst, Edmunson, Eskridge, Hagedorn, Hart, Harwood,
      Henbest, Henderson, Jaquet, Killen, King, Labrador, Lake, LeFavour,
      Loertscher, Luker, Marriott, Mathews, McGeachin, Mortimer, Moyle,
      Nielsen, Pasley-Stuart, Patrick, Pence, Raybould, Ring, Ringo,
      Roberts, Ruchti, Rusche, Sayler, Schaefer, Shepherd(2), Shepherd(8),
      Shirley, Shively, Smith(30), Smith(24), Snodgrass, Stevenson, Thayn,
      Trail, Vander Woude, Wills, Wood(27), Wood(35), Mr. Speaker
      NAYS -- None
      Absent and excused -- Anderson, Boe, Kren, Nonini
    Floor Sponsor - Brackett
    Title apvd - to Senate
03/05    Senate intro - 1st rdg - to Res/Env
03/12    Rpt out - rec d/p - to 2nd rdg
03/13    2nd rdg - to 3rd rdg
03/19    3rd rdg - PASSED - 32-0-3
      AYES -- Andreason, Bair, Bastian, Bilyeu, Broadsword, Burkett,
      Cameron, Coiner, Corder, Darrington, Davis, Fulcher, Geddes, Goedde,
      Hammond, Heinrich, Hill, Jorgenson, Kelly, Keough, Langhorst, Little,
      Lodge, McGee, McKague, McKenzie, Pearce, Richardson, Schroeder,
      Siddoway, Stegner, Werk
      NAYS -- None
      Absent and excused -- Gannon, Malepeai, Stennett
    Floor Sponsor - Cameron
    Title apvd - to House
03/19    To enrol - Rpt enrol - Sp signed
03/20    Pres signed - To Governor
03/26    Governor signed
         Session Law Chapter 189
         Effective: 03/26/07

Bill Text

  ]]]]              LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF IDAHO             ]]]]
 Fifty-ninth Legislature                   First Regular Session - 2007
                              IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
                                     HOUSE BILL NO. 230
                                 BY STATE AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
  1                                        AN ACT
 10    Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Idaho:
 11        SECTION  1.  That  Section 42-4003, Idaho Code, be, and the same is hereby
 12    amended to read as follows:
 13        42-4003.  PERMITS -- APPLICATION -- FEE -- EXCEPTIONS. (a) Any person who,
 14    as owner or operator, proposes to construct a well or to alter a  well  or  to
 15    construct  or to alter an injection well shall first apply to the director for
 16    a geothermal resource well permit. Such application shall set out the  follow-
 17    ing information on a form or forms prescribed by the department:
 18        (1)  The  name  of  any person making the application; if such person is a
 19        partnership, joint-venture, association, or other unincorporated group  of
 20        corporate  or natural persons, the names and places of domicile of each of
 21        the constituent persons who have general  partnership  responsibility  and
 22        authority  for  and in such unincorporated group of persons; if any person
 23        named on a permit application is a corporation, its place of domicile, the
 24        names and places of domicile of its principal executive officers, and  the
 25        names and places of domicile of any person or persons owning a thirty per-
 26        cent  (30%)  or greater interest, whether legal, beneficial, or a combined
 27        legal and beneficial interest, in such corporate person; if the  applicant
 28        is  making  an  application  as an agent for any other person, it shall be
 29        clearly so stated and any person who is the applicant's principal shall be
 30        subject to each and all of the disclosure requirements of this subdivision
 31        subsection; for purposes of this subdivision subsection, the domicile of a
 32        corporation is at all of the following:
 33             a.  tThe place of incorporation,;
 34             b.  tThe principal place of business,;
 35             c.  tThe place, by city and state, of the home  office,  and  in  any
 36             instance  where  domicile  is  required  to be disclosed all of these
 37             places shall be specified.
 38        (2)  The  location  of  the  proposed  well;  and/or  the  injection  well
 39        described particularly by the quarter-quarter  section  according  to  the
 40        township and range system of the United States public lands survey.
 41        (3)  The  length,  size, type, and thickness of casing proposed to be used
 42        in such well and/or such injection well and any  other  devices  or  tech-
 43        niques to be used in the drilling, operation, and maintenance of such well
  1        and/or  injection  well for the purpose of conserving geothermal resources
  2        and their availability, avoiding waste and for  the  protection  of  other
  3        subsurface natural resources.
  4        (4)  The  character and composition of the material expected to be derived
  5        from such well.
  6        (5)  The means proposed to be used to  contain  and  manage  the  material
  7        expected to be derived from such well or injected into such injection well
  8        in  order  to avoid  unreasonable damage to life, property, or surface and
  9        atmospheric natural resources.
 10        (6)  Whether such well or such injection  well  is  proposed  to  be  con-
 11        structed  as  a part of a program for exploration or for development of an
 12        already explored geothermal resource area.
 13        (7)  Such other information as the director may determine to be  necessary
 14        for the administration of this chapter.
 15        (b)  Any application for a permit to construct a well which is made pursu-
 16    ant  to  this  section,  if  the  construction  or operation of such well will
 17    involve the use of water, or if such well may be expected to yield water to be
 18    used, for any beneficial purpose, other than as a mineral  source,  an  energy
 19    source, or otherwise as a material medium, shall be accompanied by an applica-
 20    tion  to appropriate the public waters of this state in the form prescribed in
 21    chapter 2, title 42, Idaho Code, and by  regulations  rules  adopted  pursuant
 22    thereto,  and  such application to appropriate the public waters shall be gov-
 23    erned in all respects by that chapter.
 24        (c)  Any application for a permit made pursuant to this section  shall  be
 25    accompanied by a filing fee of:
 26        (1)  One Two hundred dollars ($1200) if for a well,; or
 27        (2)  Fifty One hundred dollars ($50.100) for an injection well,;
 28    and no application shall be accepted and filed by the director until such fil-
 29    ing  fee  has been deposited with him. All moneys received under provisions of
 30    this act chapter shall be deposited with the  state  treasurer  in  the  water
 31    administration fund as provided in section 42-238a, Idaho Code.
 32        (d)  No  person shall construct or alter a well or an injection well with-
 33    out having first secured a permit therefor; provided however, that the  direc-
 34    tor  may,  by general rule or regulation adopted pursuant to chapter 52, title
 35    67, Idaho Code, exempt specific categories of wells or injection wells  other-
 36    wise embraced by this act chapter upon a finding that the purposes of this act
 37    chapter do not require that such wells be subject to the permit requirement of
 38    this section.
 39        (e)  Nothing  in  this  act  chapter  shall  be construed as affecting any
 40    valid, vested water rights for water in use on or before July 1, 1987.
 41        (f)  The director shall have the authority to and may designate  any  area
 42    of  the  state  a  "geothermal  area" when the director finds or has reason to
 43    believe that such designation is necessary to protect the geothermal  resource
 44    from  waste  and to protect other resources of the state from contamination or
 45    waste.
 46        (g)  No person shall drill a well for any purpose  to  a  depth  of  three
 47    thousand  (3,000)  feet or more below land surface in a designated "geothermal
 48    area" without first obtaining a permit under the provisions of  this  section.
 49    Such permit shall be in addition to any permit required by other provisions of
 50    law.
 51        (h)  The  owner  of  any well constructed or being constructed pursuant to
 52    section 47-320, Idaho Code, which who encounters a  geothermal  resource,  and
 53    who  intends or desires to utilize such resource, shall make application for a
 54    geothermal permit as required under this section, provided  however,  that  no
 55    additional filing fee shall be required.
  1        (i)  A geothermal resource shall be utilized primarily for its heat value.
  2    Usage  of  a geothermal resource primarily for some reason other than its heat
  3    value shall not be deemed a beneficial use of the resource.
  4        SECTION 2.  That Section 42-4004, Idaho Code, be, and the same  is  hereby
  5    amended to read as follows:
  7    Upon receipt of an application made pursuant to section 42-4003,  Idaho  Code,
  8    it shall be the duty of the director to examine such application to ascertain,
  9    within  thirty (30) days of receipt, if it sets forth all information required
 10    by that section and all the information necessary for the director to make the
 11    determination required by this section. If upon such examination the  applica-
 12    tion  is found to be defective, the director shall return such application for
 13    correction, or notify the applicant that such application  is  defective,  and
 14    the  applicant  may correct such application within thirty (30) days or make a
 15    new application. All applications which comply with the provisions of this act
 16    chapter and with the regulations rules of the water resource  board  shall  be
 17    accepted  by  the  director  and  numbered in a manner which will aid in their
 18    identification.
 19        (b)  Upon Within thirty (30) days of  the  receipt  and  acceptance  of  a
 20    proper  application  and  the  determination of its completeness in accordance
 21    with subsection (a) of this section, the director shall undertake and thereaf-
 22    ter diligently conduct such investigations as necessary to determine that  the
 23    construction  or  alteration of the proposed well or injection well will be in
 24    the public interest. The director may consider, but is not limited in his con-
 25    sideration to:
 26        (1)  The financial resources of the applicant,  his  principal,  or  other
 27        person  who  may  be legally responsible for the subject well or injection
 28        well, and the probability that such person will  be  financially  able  to
 29        bear  all costs for which he might be responsible which may be incident to
 30        the construction, operation, and maintenance of the well or injection well
 31        proposed to be constructed or altered.
 32        (2)  The adequacy of measures proposed to safeguard  subsurface,  surface,
 33        and atmospheric resources from unreasonable degradation, and especially to
 34        protect ground-water aquifers and surface-water sources from contamination
 35        which would render such water of lesser quality than it would have had but
 36        for the contamination.
 37        (3)  The possibility that the construction and maintenance of the proposed
 38        well  will  cause waste or will damage any geothermal resource, reservoir,
 39        or other source, by unreasonable reduction of  pressures  or  unreasonable
 40        reduction  of any geothermal resource material medium or in any other man-
 41        ner, so as to render any geothermal resource of unreasonably less value.
 42        (4)  The adequacy of measures proposed to safeguard the environment of the
 43        area around the site of the proposed well from unreasonable  contamination
 44        or pollution.
 45        (5)  Any  possible interdependence between any geothermal resource, reser-
 46        voir, pool, or other source expected to be affected under the  permit  and
 47        any  aquifers  or  other sources of ground waters used for beneficial uses
 48        other than uses as a material medium or a mineral source, and  the  proba-
 49        bility that such interdependence may cause such ground-water sources to be
 50        inadequate to meet demands on them under existing water rights.
 51        (c)  Upon  completion  of the investigations required under subsection (b)
 52    of this section, the director shall approve the application  in  whole  or  in
 53    part  or  upon  conditions,  or  reject  the application. Any applicant or the
  1    director shall have a right to have a public hearing concerning the  propriety
  2    of  issuing  a  permit  for  which  an application has been made under section
  3    42-4003, Idaho Code. Hearings held under this subdivision of this section sub-
  4    section shall be governed by rules of procedure adopted by the water  resource
  5    board  pursuant  to chapter 52, title 67, Idaho Code. Hearings held under this
  6    subdivision subsection shall be held at any location found to  be  appropriate
  7    by the water resource board.
  8        SECTION  3.  That  Section 42-4005, Idaho Code, be, and the same is hereby
  9    amended to read as follows:
 10        42-4005.  PERMIT -- ISSUANCE -- BOND  SUFFICIENT  SECURITY  --  REVIEW  --
 11    APPEAL.  (a) If the director finds that the well or the injection well as pro-
 12    posed to be constructed or altered is in the public interest, he shall issue a
 13    permit. The director may issue a permit substantially in accordance  with  the
 14    specifications  on the application, or the director may limit the scope of the
 15    permit granted or may issue a permit subject to conditions.
 16        (b)  If the director finds that the well or injection well as it  is  pro-
 17    posed  to be constructed or altered in the application will not be in the pub-
 18    lic interest, he shall refuse to issue a permit. In no case shall the director
 19    issue a permit to construct or alter a well or injection well if he finds that
 20    use of the proposed well or injection well may  be  expected  to  unreasonably
 21    reduce  the  quality  of  any surface or ground waters below the quality which
 22    such waters would have had but for the proposed well.
 23        (c)  If the director refuses to issue a permit, or issues one  subject  to
 24    conditions or limitations, he shall issue a clear statement of his reasons for
 25    refusing  to  issue  or issuing the limited permit. The director shall issue a
 26    statement of findings of fact and conclusions of law that provides  a  factual
 27    and  legal basis for the order. The refusal of the director to issue a permit,
 28    together with the clear statement of the reasons for  refusing  to  issue  the
 29    permit  shall  be  served  on the applicant by certified mail. A permit issued
 30    conditionally or subject to limitations shall, with the statement  of  reasons
 31    required  under this subdivision subsection, be served in the same manner as a
 32    refusal to issue a permit.
 33        (d)  An applicant denied a permit or issued a limited or conditional  per-
 34    mit  may  seek  a  public hearing before the water resource board. A certified
 35    transcript of the proceedings and the evidence received at such hearing  shall
 36    be  maintained  by  the  board.  The  board shall affirm, modify or reject the
 37    director's decision, and make its decision in the form  of  an  order  to  the
 38    director.  The hearing shall be conducted in accordance with chapter 52, title
 39    67, Idaho Code. Judicial review of the final determination by the board may be
 40    secured pursuant to chapter 52, title 67, Idaho Code.
 41        (e)  The director shall not issue a permit if he finds that the  operation
 42    of  any well under a proposed permit will decrease ground water in any aquifer
 43    or other ground water source or will unreasonably decrease ground water avail-
 44    able for prior water rights in any aquifer or other  ground  water  source  of
 45    water  for  beneficial  uses,  other  than uses as a mineral source, an energy
 46    source, or otherwise as a material medium, unless and until the applicant  has
 47    also obtained a permit for the appropriation of ground waters under chapter 2,
 48    title 42, Idaho Code.
 49        (f)  The  director  shall  require,  as  a condition of every permit, that
 50    every person who engages in the construction, alteration, testing,  or  opera-
 51    tion  of  a well to file with the director, on a form prescribed by the direc-
 52    tor, a bond indemnifying the state of Idaho providing provide evidence of good
 53    and sufficient security, conditioned upon the performance of in the form of  a
  1    bond,  trust fund, letter of credit, insurance or other acceptable surety that
  2    ensures that the applicant perform the duties required by this chapter and the
  3    proper abandonment of properly abandon any well covered by  such  permit.  The
  4    bond Good and sufficient security shall be in an amount not less than five ten
  5    thousand  dollars  ($510,000)  or  more  than  one  hundred  thousand  dollars
  6    ($100,000)  as  determined  by the director based on the size and depth of the
  7    well, the complexity of the well, the resource to be recovered,  the  area  of
  8    operation, and other relevant factors.
  9        (g)  Notwithstanding the requirements for sufficient security for individ-
 10    ual permits identified in this section, the director shall have the discretion
 11    to accept evidence of good and sufficient security in the form of a comprehen-
 12    sive  wellfield  or statewide bond, trust fund, letter of credit, insurance or
 13    other acceptable surety for all well permits owned by the applicant  within  a
 14    field  or  within the state, provided the amount of the comprehensive security
 15    does not exceed the total sum of the amounts under each individual permit.
 16        SECTION 4.  An emergency existing  therefor,  which  emergency  is  hereby
 17    declared to exist, this act shall be in full force and effect on and after its
 18    passage and approval.

Statement of Purpose / Fiscal Impact

                       STATEMENT OF PURPOSE

                             RS 17072

This legislation increases the basic fees to help cover IDWR's
costs to review applications for geothermal production and
injection wells.
     The amendment broadens the bonding ability of geothermal
developers by allowing a wider range of financial instruments. It
also provides greater blanket assurance and flexibility to the
department for well abandonment bonds.

                           FISCAL NOTE

This legislation will have no fiscal impact on the state's
general fund. It does increase the revenue of the IDWR by the
amount of the increase in filing fees.

Name: Representative Bert Brackett 
Phone: 208-332-1000
Director David Tuthill, Water Resources, Dept of
Representative John A. Stevenson
Representative Scott Bedke 
Representative Fred Wood (27)
Representative Sharon Block

STATEMENT OF PURPOSE/FISCAL NOTE                         H 230