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House Bill 113 — New water quality councils proposed

House Bill 113 — New water quality councils proposed

Parrish Miller
February 12, 2021

Bill Description: House Bill 113 creates a "Big Payette Lake water quality council" and "Lake Cascade water quality council."

Rating: -1

Does it create, expand, or enlarge any agency, board, program, function, or activity of government? Conversely, does it eliminate or curtail the size or scope of government?

House Bill 113 creates Chapter 66, Title 39, Idaho Code, the "Big Payette and Cascade Lakes Water Quality Act."

The new chapter establishes two water quality councils and grants them "all necessary power" to undertake a lengthy list of duties contained in the code.

Under these duties, the councils must prepare comprehensive water quality management plans that "shall specifically identify and address concerns where commerce, fisheries, industry, invasive aquatic species, land use, recreation, residential development, scenic values, water uses, wildlife habitat, and other forms of human activity may reasonably be expected to significantly impact water quality or significantly impact compliance with applicable water quality standards."

The councils are likewise instructed to "promote the implementation of plans by serving in an advisory capacity to those cities, planning and zoning, county, state, and federal authorities with responsibilities affecting watershed water quality."

The councils are also encouraged to recommend "the adoption of any statutes, ordinances, rules, and regulations needed to implement plans."

Additionally, the bill creates two dedicated accounts in the state treasury for these councils and allows them to take in money from "grants, gifts, donations, use fees, or other sources." That these councils may be funded in part through fees is of particular concern.

The legislative intent language contained in the bill makes it clear this is not merely an impartial or investigative endeavor. 

"The legislature finds that: The waters of Big Payette and Cascade lakes are threatened with or are now experiencing deterioration due to expanding residential development, greater public use, and growing land use activities."

Adopting House Bill 113 will insert environmentalist propaganda into Idaho code and will lead to additional rules and regulations that limit commercial and personal activity.


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