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BOISE -- Gov. C.L. Butch Otter has appointed five new members to the state's Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.

The panel is responsible for regulating the exploration, drilling and production of oil and gas on private, state and federal land across the state. The commission was created by the Idaho Legislature and the new members are the first gubernatorial appointees to hold posts.

The new members include: Boise geologist James Classen; former energy company executive Ken Smith of Boise; Weiser resident Margaret Chipman, who will represent landowners and mineral rights; water rights representative Chris Beck of Hayden and Soda Springs resident Sid Cellan, who will represent the interests of landowners and mineral rights.

Members will serve four-year terms.

They replace Otter and the state's four other constitutional office holders who held seats.

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