Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Jewell awaits Idaho invitation to talk

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell may want an official invitation from the state's congressional delegation to study the Boulder-White Clouds National Monument proposal, but that's unlikely to happen. All four Idaho Republican senators and representatives expressed opposition in February to use of the 1906 Antiquities Act by President Barack Obama to designate the central Idaho mountains as a national monument. But Jewell looks forward to an invitation from local officials. "I think we would be very happy to meet with the community, whoever invites us," Jewell said in Boise Monday. The Stanley City Council authorized letters last week asking Jewell and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Thursday or their staffs to meet with the council on or about June 12. Designation of a 570,000-acre Boulder-White Clouds National Monument has emerged as a serious option, especially since the death of Idaho Rep. Mike Simpson's bill. His bill would have protected swaths of wilderness while preserving some popular ATV and motorcycle trails. The two counties that contain the 700,000-acre roadless area managed by the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management are on opposite sides of the issue. Blaine County's commissioners have approved a resolution in support of a Boulder-White Clouds National Monument. Commission Chairman Larry Schoen has been trying to organize several roundtables with commissioners and business people in the two counties. Custer County is opposed. Nonetheless, County Commission Chairman Wayne Butts said he would welcome the administration coming to meet with local officials. He even has a venue for them: The Idaho Association of County Commissioners and Clerks is meeting in Challis the week of June 12...more

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