Idaho’s 2016 legislative session kicks of Monday, Jan 11. Keeping with tradition, ICL will be your voice for conservation. These are among the issues that we will actively watch: water quality, public lands, wildlife, energy and mining.

Stay current by signing up for ICL’s weekly legislative email update, Your Voice for Conservation.

Water Quality

As a result of ICL pressure, the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has drafted rules to establish acceptable standards for mercury, arsenic, asbestos and other toxins that can accumulate in fish and be passed on to those who eat them. Unfortunately, in the opinion of ICL the draft rule developed by DEQ doesn’t go far enough to protect public health. Especially for Native American populations and others who consume significant quantities of salmon and steelhead, the rule would not be sufficient. ICL will urge the legislature to send DEQ back to the drawing board to improve the standards.

In addition, the legislature will continue to move toward “primacy” over Clean Water Act permitting. The move would give Idaho the ability to craft water quality protection permits, known as NPDES permits, which are currently developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The key consideration for the legislature is to give sufficient resources to the DEQ so that the program can adequately implement the rigorous terms of Clean Water Act permits.

Public Lands

Last year, the Idaho Legislature backed away from attempts to join an interstate compact with Utah and share in their legal quest to snatch public lands from the American people. Idaho’s national forests and public lands are important to all Idahoans and all Americans. Time and again, Idahoans have stepped forward to demand continued access to our treasured public lands, which represent our most valued areas for hunting, fishing and recreation. Given the increasing cost of wildfires, Idaho wouldn’t be able to afford to manage these lands. ICL and many others fear that the lands would eventually be sold off acre by acre. The Idaho Legislature should work to find ways to protect access to state lands, and support collaborative efforts that are making progress and finding real solutions-from Bonners Ferry to Bear Lake.

Other Issues

ICL will respond to additional issues that arise this legislative session. We anticipate proposals regarding energy, oil and gas development, water policy, suction-dredge mining and more.

We’ll track legislation for you and provide opportunities for our supporters to contact their representatives. We encourage you to sign up for weekly email updates.

Who’s Your Voice?

Since 1973, ICL has represented you in the legislature and been your voice for conservation every day. Stepping into the role of full-time ICL lobbyist this year is long-time staffer Jonathan Oppenheimer. Jonathan has been with ICL for 14 years and works across the state on conservation issues including public lands, water, wildlife, roadless and more. Jonathan has also testified before the legislature regarding the public lands takeover, wildlife, fire management and other conservation topics.