Letters From the West

Idaho Water Plan will remain intact despite hearing next week

No matter what happens next week the Idaho State Water Plan will go into effect March 8 with its references to climate, endangered species and wetland protection intact.

The House Resources and Conservation Committee voted Friday to print the plan edited by an informal group of legislators, lawyers and lobbyists. But the hearing on the bill was set by Committee Chairman Lawerence Denney for Thursday afternoon.

That means there won’t be enough time to get it passed by the House, through hearings in the Senate and for a floor vote there by the Constitutional 60-day limit after the Legislature’s session began. Denney confirmed that the Idaho Water Resources Board had delivered the water plan to the Legislature on the first day of the session.

But there still will be a hearing on the bill and the original water plan, which will give the lawmakers who wanted it changed and “thousands of water lawyers” a chance to testify, Denney said.

Rocky Barker is the energy and environment reporter for the Idaho Statesman and has been writing about the West since 1985. He is the author of Scorched Earth How the Fires of Yellowstone Changed America and co-producer of the movie Firestorm: Last Stand at Yellowstone, which was inspired by the book and broadcast on A&E Network. He also co-authored the Flyfisher's Guide to Idaho and the Wingshooter's Guide to Idaho with Ken Retallic. He also was on the Statesman’s team that covered the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news in 2007. The National Wildlife Federation awarded him its Conservation Achievement Award.

Posted in Letters from the West