March 1, 2019
On a national level, this week gave conservationists a reason to celebrate. Senate Bill 47, The Public Lands Package, easily passed the House with a 363-62 vote after having sailed through the Senate with a 92-8 vote. This rare showing of bipartisan support is a testament to the value Americans place on our public lands.
However, here in Idaho, our legislature seems to be tone deaf to the public's appreciation of public lands. This week we saw the legislature advance three bills attacking our public land, and we need you to speak up and urge your state senators to reject HJM 5, HJM 8 and H162. Use the links below to make your voice heard.
HJM 5 seeks to prevent the federal government from acquiring new public land unless equal acreage from within the same county is sold. Such a system would unnecessarily restrict our ability to secure access to inaccessible or landlocked public lands, while also limiting our options for making strategic habitat conservation projects work. This also threatens to undermine private property rights by limiting a landowner’s ability to donate or sell their property to a public buyer.
HJM 8 suggests the state of Idaho supports an outright withdrawal of habitat protections on some 500,000 acres of wilderness study areas in the state, but that’s not the case. While we recognize the need for more permanent management solutions for our wilderness study areas, those management decisions should be made the Idaho way – through collaboration and hard work – not as part of an ideologically charged, one-size-fits-all management scheme.
H 162 seeks to exert state control over federal land management and ownership decisions through the creation of a federal lands council. It is unclear how this council would be appointed. What we do know is that the legislators on the council would receive a taxpayer-funded salary bump.
Click the links below to send two quick emails to your legislator, urging them to stand up for our public lands!
All 3 of these bills are headed to the Senate Resources & Environment Committee. The contact info for committee members is listed below, and we suggest you make phone calls and send emails in addition to using the links above. You can email the entire committee at: [email protected]
Chair Lee Heider [email protected] 208-332-1347
Vice Chair Bert Brackett [email protected] 208-332-1336
Steve Bair [email protected] 208-332-1364
Dan G. Johnson [email protected] 208-332-1421
Dean M. Mortimer [email protected] 208-332-1358
Jim L. Patrick [email protected] 208-332-1318
Jim Guthrie [email protected] 208-332-1348
Michelle Stennett [email protected] 208-332-1410
Maryanne Jordan [email protected] 208-332-1412