Monday, May 23, 2016

Land-transfer agitator Chmelik loses in Idaho County

Idaho County Commission Chairman Jim Chmelik has traveled across the West, a pied piper seeking to get counties to follow him on his quest to get the federal government to transfer public lands to Western states. Chmelik tells anyone who’ll listen that a lawsuit could give the states the land and turn back the clock for rural counties, with prosperity from logging, mining, agriculture and energy development. He got the Idaho Association of Counties on board and almost got the Idaho Legislature to join Utah in 2014 in preparing for a lawsuit to go after those federal lands. But on Tuesday, Chmelik (pronounced SHMELL-lick) was defeated as Idaho County voters tired of his campaign and his unyielding support for a separate, unpopular local-federal land exchange. He was defeated 2,014 to 1,157 by Denis Duman, a former Cottonwood mayor opposed to the Lochsa land exchange and to spending county money to support Chmelik’s land-transfer efforts...more

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