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YVC: Idaho Contemplates Taking Over Federal Lands

Posted by cwashburn at Jan 25, 2013 02:30 PM |

Read our legislative update for Jan 25, 2013. This issue discusses the Legislature considering taking over management of federal lands, as well as updates on rules regarding injection wells, geothermal leasing and motorized hunting.

YVC: Idaho Contemplates Taking Over Federal Lands

MB Whitaker photo.

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Join us for our ICL Happy Hour Thursday, Jan 31, 5 pm, at Pengilly's Saloon (no-host bar) in Boise. Learn what’s happening in the Idaho Legislature and how you can speak up for conservation!

Federal Lands

The Idaho Legislature is considering following Utah’s lead in taking over management of all federal lands. This fringe idea could lead to millions of acres of lands important for hunting, fishing and recreational purposes being privatized. During a joint hearing in the House and Senate Resource Committees, Utah Rep. Ken Ivory touted the concept as a way to generate revenue for the state. 

We oppose this idea: turning over management of 33 million acres of federal land to the state would not protect core Idaho interests. Rather, it would undermine progress among the timber industry, rural counties, fish and wildlife experts, Native American tribes and others to find commonsense solutions that benefit our economy and environment. We want the Legislature to abandon this effort and support collaborative land management efforts already underway. We expect legislation to be introduced soon.

Update on Rules

We lost our effort to stop injection well rules created for the natural gas industry. Injection wells will be used to dispose of used fracking fluids. The rules do not protect groundwater or the health of Idaho communities. Both the House and Senate Resource Committees approved these rules.

We support a rule that improves geothermal leasing on state lands. The rule protects Idaho's waterways and requires planning to protect other environmental values before any development or exploration. Both the House and Senate Resource Committees have approved this rule.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is asking to remove restrictions on motorized hunting for upland game and game birds. Though we oppose this effort, the Senate Resource Committee approved these rules. A House Committee hears them next week.

Save the date for our Legislative Reception Saturday, March 11!

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