View All Bills

HB 167: Third best available science – 2021

Summary: HB 167 would allow the Idaho State Department of Agriculture to ignore best available science as it relates to regulation of dairy and beef feedlots.

ICL's position: Oppose

Current Bill Status: Law

Issue Areas: CAFOs, dairies, science, Water Quality

Official Legislative Site

3-23-21 UPDATE: Governor Little Issues Transmittal Letter

On March 23, Governor Little signed HB 167 but issued a Transmittal Letter. His letter cited concerns with the challenges of implementing both HB 51 and HB 167. Gov. Little stated “this bill, combined with House Bill 51, could put the [dairy] industry under increased scrutiny … I do have concerns that these pieces of legislation may increase the likelihood of agency rules being challenged in court. ”

The Idaho Dairymen’s Association, along with Milk Producers of Idaho and the Idaho Farm Bureau, introduced HB 167 to amend existing laws that require the Idaho State Department of Agriculture to apply “best available science” as they develop rules related to dairy and beef feedlots. Industry groups are seeking exemptions to the law, which would allow them to ignore the best available science if it wasn’t considered economically feasible.

That means that if it’s simply too expensive to implement the best science, they can ignore it as it relates to the Dairy and Beef Environmental Control Acts, Odor Management Act, and inspection of dairy products.

The bill is a replacement for HB 100 which was pulled as a result of problems with the bill. Unfortunately, this bill continues to pose significant concerns.

This best available science issue came into play last summer, as the dairy industry sought to allow increased application of cow manure on fields, which the ISDA determined was not consistent with the best available science. As a result, the ISDA canceled the 3-year long rulemaking effort and left the prior rules in place. Instead of accepting the fact that science didn’t support their proposal, the dairy industry is proposing to change the rules of the game.