Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Idaho House Committee Clears 2 Controversial Fed Lands Bills - Full Article

March 16 2016

BOISE • Two controversial bills on federal land management passed a House committee on mostly party-line votes Tuesday.

One bill, which has already passed the Senate, would let counties declare a “catastrophic public nuisance” if county officials fear the way federal lands are being managed is increasing the risk of wildfire or other safety risks, and it lets the counties demand abatement from the federal government. The other states that Idaho would manage federal lands for multiple use if the state gains ownership of them in the future.

The state management bill cleared the House Resources and Conservation Committee on a party-line vote, while Rep. Fred Wood, R-Burley, joined Reps. Donna Pence, D-Gooding and Mat Erpelding, D-Boise, to oppose the “catastrophic public nuisance” bill.

The state management bill, sponsored by Rep. Judy Boyle, R-Midvale, was getting its first full hearing Tuesday and drew the most testimony. As often happens during debates on federal vs. state land ownership, land transfer opponents expressed fears that state ownership could mean some land being sold off or closed to public access. Supporters said they would oppose selling the land and that the states would manage it better than the federal government...

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