Lands and Natural Resources

An issue of interest in Idaho and the West is the management of federal lands.  Some urge the transfer of federal lands to the states, and say we should sue to get it.  I do not believe the claim is legally viable, and do not support such action.  I do, however, believe states should be actively involved in management of federal lands within state boundaries. Opponents of state management paint this issue with a broad brush, accusing those who support it of not supporting the preservation of public lands. That argument is shallow, false and designed to mislead. My family and I enjoy public lands as much as anyone for backpacking, camping, fishing and hunting; however, use of federal lands should not be restricted solely to recreation. For example, the once thriving lumber industry has been decimated by federal policies and environmental lawsuits, and has been replaced with increasingly costly wild fires. 

I support collaborative management and pilot projects to place some lands under state management.  Better timber management would increase revenue and reduce fire risks. Judicious access to mineral resources would economically benefit Idaho. Idaho does not receive tax revenue for the 62% of lands under federal control in Idaho. Eastern and Midwestern states enjoy a much larger tax base to fund schools and other services because most property is under private control which generates tax revenue. Federal PILT payments (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) are a poor substitute, and are fiscally and politically unstable. I support measures to prudently manage timber and mineral resouces on federal lands in an environmentally friendly way, and share revenue therefrom to help school in Idaho and fund restorative projects.  I support continued preservation of our most scenic and treasured areas. I applaud the recently announced timber auction in a burned out area of the Nez Perce - Clearwater Forest. This is a cooperative effort between the state and federal government under the 2014 enacted Good Neighbor Authority. That is movement in the right direction.