Thursday, March 17, 2016

Bill sets out how Idaho would manage federal lands

A bill introduced in the Idaho Legislature March 9 spells out how Idaho would manage any federal lands it receives in the future. A separate bill introduced a day later would require the federal government to receive legislative approval before buying or acquiring any additional land in Idaho. Both were introduced by Rep. Judy Boyle, a Republican rancher from Midvale who supports efforts by Utah and Idaho to compel the federal government to return control of most public lands to western states. If that happens, House Bill 582 sets the parameters for how Idaho would manage those lands. Titled the “Idaho Multiple Use Sustained Yield Act,” the bill requires the state to manage those lands for multiple uses. The bill blunts criticism that Idaho would just sell those lands to the highest bidder, Boyle said. “They are for true multiple use, so it’s everything. We’re talking about recreation, wildlife, the environment, grazing, mining, logging,” she said. “That reassures people we’re not going to sell all these land ... They’re gong to be managed for multiple use for the best of Idaho.” The bill says the transfer of federally held public lands to the state would fulfill the promise made in the U.S. and Idaho constitutions as well as the Idaho admissions act... “that any new state enter the union with all the same rights as the original 13 states.” The federal government promised all new states it would extinguish the title to public lands in a timely fashion and it has honored that promise for all states east of Colorado, say supporters of the effort to transfer control of federal lands. It’s time for the federal government to keep that same promise to Idaho and other western states, Boyle said...more

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