As trees grow bigger and more bunched together, they create a greater chance for a major fire to break out, potentially burning millions of acres in Idaho. Gov. Butch Otter believes one such fire is coming soon, and therefore feels it's in the best interest of the state to take over management of federal timberland, according to the Idaho Statesman.
Once in state control, logging--which was once a huge industry in Idaho--would be allowed in the places that are deemed a fire hazard. Having state-controlled forest land would have three benefits right away: State control over timberland, potentially preventing a major forest fire, and last, by allowing state control there is an opportunity to create jobs through the logging industry.
Otter made his remarks in Washington, D.C., before members of the Congressional Western Caucus, whose GOP members are from the West. Otter said the federal government owns 63 percent of the land in the state and manages 75 percent of the forest land.
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