In 2018, a bill preempted the ability of cities to update their building codes with regards to efficiency standards. Now, it appears this bill didn’t go far enough for some, so an effort is afoot to entirely eliminate the Idaho Energy Conservation Code (IECC). That means it’ll be buyer beware when it comes to how your home is built, including the HVAC system, insulation, lighting and sealing leaks.

Idaho homeowners save an estimated $15 a month with IECC standards and pay off their initial investment in a matter of months. So, instead of spending a couple dollars up front to ensure safe and efficient homes, we’ll be paying exponentially more with higher heating, cooling and energy bills.  

This makes no sense for consumers, power producers, builders or realtors and we hope they all show up to voice their opposition to this misguided proposal. That wasn’t the only news from the week though…

Wolf Bill Stalls as Fish and Game Commission Takes the Reigns

Sen. Bert Brackett (R-Rogerson) introduced Senate Bill 1247, which would allow expanded wolf-hunting opportunities by extending the season in many units from 9 to 12 months. Meanwhile, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game is soliciting comments on various proposals to expand wolf hunting and we encourage you to take a look and provide comments

The reason that Idahoans voted in 1938 to establish the Fish and Game Commission in the first place was to depoliticize decisions around wildlife, which all Idahoans own. As we said last week, this bill undermines the Commission’s authority and reinjects politics into management.

Dredge Mining Rules Advance

When the House Resources Committee heard the Idaho Department of Water Resources’ rules earlier this month, recreational suction dredge mining caused the biggest stir. This week, when the same rules were considered by the Senate Environment and Resources Committee, they sailed through with minimal comment. 

The irony is that the rules are written to provide an expedited permit to dredgers whose operations fall below a certain threshold (5 inch diameter nozzle, 15 horsepower). Because these are “Fee Rules” (and must be approved by both chambers) the House Committee could still strike the rules, meaning dredge miners would be required to fill out a more detailed Stream Channel Alteration Permit application. ICL takes issue with miners who flout rules designed to protect clean water and habitat for endangered salmon, steelhead and bull trout.

House Poised to Vote on Science Standards Hearing

The House Education Committee held a hearing last week on K-12 Science Standards. Despite years of deliberation, concerns remain over the inclusion of climate change and human impacts on the environment. A vote is expected Tuesday. 

The Senate is also getting antsy over the delay and may move independent of the House. The Chair of the House Education Committee Lance Clow (R-Twin Falls) also introduced a resolution establishing an Interim Committee to review all education standards during the summer. That bill has not yet been printed and no hearing is scheduled yet. Regardless of what the House does, the big question is whether the Senate will follow their lead, whatever that may be.

We Can’t Do It Alone

As part of our work, we have the privilege of working with partners across the state. This week, we appreciated the chance to meet with some of the leaders of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. In recognition of our shared commitment to protecting our water, air, public lands and wildlife heritage before it’s too late, I bring you the Tie of the Week.

Until next week, Esto Perpetua,