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Sustainable Idaho: The Portneuf Resource Council, Put Water First

Center for Ecological Research and Education
Idaho State University

In our final episode with the Portneuf Resource Council, we focus on water with PRC policy advisors Sue Skinner and Shannon Ansley. Along with promoting clean energy, and sponsoring this show, the Portneuf Resource Council runs a campaign called ‘Put Water First’. This is a grassroots campaign aimed at educating the public on the health of their drinking water and how to protect their water ecosystem.

While groundwater sources themselves are not protected, the cities of Pocatello and Chubbuck are required to make sure that water supplied to homes meets the drinking water standards set by the federal government and the state government. Protecting the watershed is important for the long term health of the community and ecosystem, and once contaminated, it is a very resource intensive task to restore the aquifer.

Sue Skinner and Shannon Ansley offered some suggestions for how the watershed can be better protected. The first is universal business licensing, where companies that store hazardous chemicals would be listed. The second is to have both Pocatello and Chubbuck enact ordinances for groundwater protection. And the third option is designating the lower Portneuf valley aquifer as a sensitive aquifer. The sensitive aquifer designation requires legislative approval and most importantly, it requires broad support from the community, from the business community, as well as the local governments.

Katie Kelshaw is a graduate of Boise State University with a Masters of Arts in Political Science where she has since taught as an adjunct professor. She is born and raised in Pocatello, where her family are farmers and business owners. Katie is an active member in an advocacy organization called Action Corps Idaho, where she helps run campaigns around Climate Justice and a Global COVID Response.