I am heartened by the support of people like you who value Idaho’s clean water and quality of life. As I head to the Capitol each day, I know that you’ve got my back. And at every opportunity we’ve provided for you to weigh in, take action and contact your legislators, you’ve come through. For these reasons, I thank YOU!
Hybrid Tax Repeal Advances
The House Transportation and Defense Committee unanimously sent the hybrid tax repeal bill (HB 20) to the House floor with a "do pass recommendation." The bill has received strong support in the Senate in previous years, and we hope that it will be approved by the House.
Oil and Gas Rules Die Quietly
As I mentioned last week, the House Resources and Conservation Committee rejected the Idaho Department of Lands’ rules for oil and gas development. ICL joined concerned landowners-and even gas producers-to oppose these rules based on procedural concerns and failure to provide for public transparency and to protect water quality.
The Senate Resources and Environment Committee has followed suit and pulled consideration of the rules. Instead, committee members will await House action on a resolution to reject the rules.
House Refuses to Hear Fish and Game Fee Increase
The Chair of the House Resources and Conservation Committee, Marc Gibbs (R-Grace) announced that he was returning the Idaho Department of Fish and Game’s bill to increase license fees. Gibbs wants more action from Fish and Game on deer and elk that are "invading" farmers’ fields and eating their crops.
Fish and Game hasn’t seen a fee increase in 13 years, and the agency’s programs are suffering for it. Because they rely so heavily on license revenue, funding has seen a relative reduction over the years. It’s time to ensure adequate funding for the important role that the department plays.
Deniers Deny Hearing
This week, Rep. Ilana Rubel (D-Boise) was stiff-armed by the chairs of the House and Senate resources committees regarding her request for an informational hearing on the reality of climate change. Despite 72% of Idahoans recognizing that climate change is real, they balk. Despite numerous studies proving that climate change is already dramatically affecting Idaho’s agriculture, water supply, public lands and way of life, they stall. Despite 15 of 16 of the warmest years on record having occurred since 2001, they deny.
Despite the "stick your head in the sand" approach of Chair Dell Raybould (R-Rexburg) and Steve Bair (R-Blackfoot), the good news is that we are engaging in real discussions with decision makers to address the root causes of climate change by reducing our reliance on dirty power and also to mitigate the impacts to Idaho’s water, public lands and wildlife.
Legislative Reception-Next Thursday!
Since the election, we have been asked by many of our members and supporters how they can get involved and create change. The best way is to meet face to face with our elected officials and decision makers. Join us next Tuesday, Feb 7, at Beside Bardenay in Boise for our annual legislative reception, cosponsored with Conservation Voters for Idaho. It’s a great opportunity to mingle with ICL supporters and legislators and learn about conservation issues in Idaho.
Tie of the Week
We’ve noticed a hunger in America today to speak out on those values we hold dear. ICL is proud to play a role in helping inform and empower our members to speak out. We saw that power this week when Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) pulled his bill, which would have sold off 3.3 million acres. Margaret Mead said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has." My tie of the week celebrates the power of the people’s voice…and it’s loud!