Idaho doesn’t expect its demand the federal government turn over all federal lands will get anywhere simply by its passage as a resolution this year.
Republican Sen. Chuck Winder, co-chairman of the Federal Lands Interim Committee, said the panel’s task is mostly educational this year and will not bring a recommendation back to the Idaho Legislature until 2015. House Resolution 22, which demands the federal government turn over its lands, modeled on similar legislation in Utah, won’t by itself change policy.
“Our expectation is we’re not going to hear anything from the federal government or get short term or long term results from that effort,” Winder said.
University of Idaho Professor Jay O’Laughlin gave a history of federal land policy in Idaho concluding that the Forest Service no longer is able to do its job efficiently. He suggested a trust management system, similar to the way the Idaho endowment lands are managed, would address the problem.
But he also said changing the rules the Forest Service must meet would help and providing the agency with the funds to harvest its sustainable harvest of 6 billion board feet
Mostly he blamed the Forest Management Planning Act passed in 1976.
“In my opinion it’s been a dismal failure,” O’Laughlin said.