BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho's oil and natural gas industry is a step closer to getting new regulators after a Senate panel approved a shakeup of the state's Oil and Natural Gas Commission. Currently, the Idaho Land Board, with Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and the attorney general, secretary of state, controller and public schools superintendent, regulate the industry. A newly constituted panel, approved unanimously by the Senate Resources and Environment Committee on Wednesday, would have five governor-appointed members.

One person would have knowledge of drilling, another with geology experience and another technical expertise in water issues. There would also be two landowners, one with and one without mineral leases. The idea is to put decision-making in the hands of people with deeper knowledge of the issues, while reducing elected officials' conflicts of interest.