Wednesday, October 8, 2014

No to state land grab

    On Oct. 10, the Legislature’s Federal Lands Task Force will be coming to Hailey and Twin Falls to ask our communities about Idaho taking over the management of federal public lands. This is just another bad Idaho idea that should go nowhere.
    First, neither the U.S. nor Idaho constitutions allow it. Second, the state doesn’t have the money. The feds are spending almost $400 million annually to manage federal lands in Idaho, including fighting fires, providing public access and managing our natural resources. Idaho can’t even cover the cost of road maintenance, it hasn’t committed enough funds to provide children with a good education, and has kept thousands of residents without medical care because the state has not acted to expand Medicaid funding.
    Of course the advocates will say that the state will make money … by selling timber, the land, water rights, our heritage. We need to tell the Task Force to drop this bad idea. We are not interested in selling our public lands, our clean air and our water. We should attend this meeting to tell them to get back to work on things that matter: funding so we can fix our roads and have public transit, improve our education system, and allow federal funding to meet health care needs.
Sarah Michael
Blaine County

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