Despite repeated misdirection from Democrats in the Idaho House, lawmakers approved a measure to allow Idaho to enter into a working group to examine state management of federal lands.
Multiple times on the House floor Friday, Democrats, including Mat Erpelding of Boise and Paulette Jordan of Plummer, told colleagues that Utah, the first state in the working group, allocated $12 million this year to secure federal land management.
Democrats urged colleagues not to put Idaho on the hook for that sort of money for what critics believe is a worthless and futile endeavor.
While Utah did, as Democrats say, allocate $12 million to secure land management from the feds, a significantly smaller sum will fund the state’s participation in the working group: $0.
Utah State Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, told IdahoReporter.com Friday that out of the $12 million set aside for the push, not a dime was budgeted for the compact.
“It’s for the legal effort,” Ivory said. The Utah legislator also serves as president of the American Lands Council, a nonprofit dedicated toward securing land management for 12 Western states.
The legal effort does not, he clarified, participation in the working group.
The fiscal note attached to the spending document testifies to Ivory’s point. Utah legislators passed House Bill 132 this year, which allowed Utah to participate in the group. The fiscal note attached to the measure, provided for transparency, says the state won’t pay anything for membership, at least in the short term.
“Enactment of this legislation likely will not materially impact state expenditures,” the note reads. “However, there may be costs associated with Utah's membership in the compact in the future.”