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The Bad and Good News for Water

First, the Senate Resources and Environment Committee approved a controversial rule that threatens the health of Idahoans who consume high levels of fish. In particular, the rule exposes Native Americans to high levels of carcinogens and toxic chemicals from industrial pollution. Only Senate Minority Leader Michelle Stennett (D-Ketchum) voted against the rule.

Fortunately, because the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency shares the same concerns  as ICL, the tribes and other advocates for clean water, it will likely  reject the rule. If so, the agency would develop a more protective rule.

The House Environment, Energy, and Technology Committee will probably take up the rule in the coming days, and ICL plans to testify in opposition to the rule. We want to make sure that clean water is protected for all Idahoans.

Trapper Education Snared by House Resources

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game proposed a rule to mandate at least 6 hours of training  before new trappers are licensed. One citizen testified before the  House Resources and Conservation Committee that 6 hours is not nearly  enough, which may have influenced some committee members.

The majority rejected the rule for other reasons.  Specifically, House Majority Leader Mike Moyle (R-Star) argued that  IDFG lacked the statutory authority to require trapper education. So the rule was defeated. The Senate Resources and Environment Committee is expected to consider the rule next week.

Budget Writers Recognize Climate Change

Despite the rhetoric that Idaho’s leaders deny a changing climate, the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee recognized reality. Members agreed that it makes sense to boost spending for wildfire preparedness and extend key firefighting contracts from 5 to 8 months. They approved a supplemental $379,000 for the fiscal year that ends this June 30. We support the proposal.

Rules 101

State agencies develop rules to provide direction or guidance in interpreting law or policy or to establish agency procedures. Each rule is considered individually by House and Senate committees at the beginning of the session.

For a proposed rule to be rejected, both the House and Senate  committees must reject it and the full House and Senate must agree.  Rules are finalized when the session adjourns.

Tie of the Week

The TOTW again features water quality. Marcus Coby,  member of the Shoshone-Bannock governing body and Fort Hall Business  Council, summed it up well in his testimony on Monday:

Water is our most sacred resource. We will never stop fighting to protect our water.

Neither will we, Marcus, neither will we!
Until next week. Esto perpetua