Idaho Republican Sen. Jim Risch met Friday with U.S. Forest Service chief Tom Tidwell to try to help free up a southeast Idaho sawmill owners from the claws of the government shutdown.
Sawmill owner Brad Jensen of tiny Ovid in Bear Lake County, got a cease and desist letter last week from the Forest Service telling him he has until Tuesday to pull his logging crew off of a timber sale south of Soda Springs. The agency has sent similar letters to loggers and mill owners across the nation due to the shutdown of the government Oct. 1.
Risch is hopeful the chief, who attended Capital High School, might be able to help Jensen, who has to get the timber out o the woods this fall or might go out of business and leave 70 people in the town of Ovid without work.
“I know Tom really well,” Risch said. “He is one of the guys you can deal with in the administration.
“He’s doing the best he can,” Risch said. “He apologized for what he’s doing.”
Risch, who got involved at the request of Idaho Lieutenant Gov. Brad Little, said Tidwell was exploring whether Jensen’s situation could be considered an emergency.