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SB1368: Tinkering with the Idaho Roadless Commission—2020

Summary: Roadless Bill makes some minor changes to the Idaho Roadless Commission.

ICL's position: Neutral

Current Bill Status: Law

Issue Areas: Public Lands

Official Legislative Site

Sen. Dan Johnson (R-Lewiston) has introduced Senate Bill 1368 on behalf of the Federalism Committee – Federal Lands Subcommittee, which makes some minor changes to the Idaho Roadless Commission.

The Idaho Governor’s Roadless Rule Advisory Commission serves at the pleasure of the Governor, and was codified in statute in 2018, making the commission permanent.

The Idaho Roadless Rule was finalized by the U.S. Forest Service in 2008 and guides the management and protection of more than 9.3 million acres of undeveloped national forests across our state. The commission is made up of representatives from local government, conservation, timber, mining, recreation and others. The commission has been successful in identifying issues, resolving conflicts and ensuring that the spirit and letter of the Idaho Roadless Rule is carried forward in its implementation.

Among other things, the bill states that the commission shall “propose projects” and “develop policies.” These statements appear to conflict with the language in a Memorandum of Understanding between the Forest Service and the State of Idaho, which clarifies that the Forest Service “retains the sole discretion for making project and planning decisions…” Ultimately federal law and procedures take precedence, and the bill does not appear to make significant changes to the existing protocols.

The bill also reduces the number of commissioners from the current 14 to a maximum of 12.