Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Land-grab plan belongs in the trash

    Taking over federal public lands is high on the list of bad ideas from Idaho. If we turn over our public lands to the state, we can expect to see these lands and resources treated like our promises to education or like our state parks, sold or closed for lack of state commitment to doing the right thing.
    Our state government has demonstrated its ability to award contracts for management to political insiders, as we have seen in the Department of Education under Tom Luna. Our state has a long history of protecting special interests and industry. Imagine how Idaho would craft an Ag-Gag law for millions of acres opened to private use. We could call it Smokey-Gag. Will we be sued or arrested for taking pictures of mine waste in wetlands? Or cattle-destroyed riparian areas. Or over-cut forests bleeding silt into our salmon streams? In view of Idaho’s history of bad ideas, there is no reason to hope for better management, for guaranteed public access, or for just reasonable concern for endangered species.
    This idea belongs in the circular file.
Tom Blanchard

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