Idaho Take Notice
One of America's best ideas—public lands are again being undermined
For several years, Idaho has been warding off threats of a sage brush rebellion that would allow for the transfer of public lands to the state. Some say this would bring more revenue to our state, but history suggests a different outcome. Public lands that are transferred to the state are frequently sold off to the highest bidder to generate revenue for the state, ultimately limiting public access to our outdoors. To prevent such transfers, "Keep it public" and "Public Lands in Public Hands," have been the tag lines, branding and unifying a nonpartisan, and national effort, to prevent the transfer or sale of our public lands. However, the battle is evolving rather quickly with much more nuanced and sophisticated moves being made by this administration to support a pro-energy and development agenda on our public lands.
Instead of proposing the sell off of our public lands to developers or the highest bidders, Trump and his administration are now moving ahead with sweeping agency and policy changes that fast track and prioritize energy and development efforts, while simultaneously undermining and limiting the public's ability to oppose and provide feedback on proposed oil and gas projects on our public lands. Four bills are being considered by the House Committee of Natural Resources that deserve Idaho businesses, as well as the public's attention and immediate feedback as they stand to significantly impact land use review and approval processes:
- (H.R. 6087) (Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming), titled, "Removing Barriers to Energy Independence Act" aims to charge the public for protesting gas and oil lease sales, or permits to drill.
- (H.R. 6106) (Rep. Stevan Pearce of New Mexico), titled the "Common Sense Permitting Act" would amend the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to allow for exclusions and authorize additional categorical exclusions to streamline the oil and gas permitting process.
- (H.R. 6088) (Rep. John R. Curtis of Utah), titled the "Streamlining Permitting Efficiency in Energy Development Act" or "SPEED Act" amends the Mineral Leasing Act to authorize notifications of permit to drill, and for other purposes.
- H.R.6107 - (Rep. Stevan Pearce of New Mexico), titled the "Ending Duplicative Permitting Act" that says the BLM will not have to require permits for oil and gas activities conducted on mineral estates that is less than 50% federally owned, and for other purposes.
Public lands belong to all Americans. The prioritization, or fast tracking, of an entire industry's projects, fails to take into account the broader long term economic value of our public lands. Too many stakeholders, businesses, and communities' livelihoods and health depend on the continuance of healthy public lands for us to fast track projects that could impact us here in Idaho for decades. Let's make sure that work done on public lands remain in compliance with the important environmental reviews required by National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), as well as the Federal Land Policy and Management Act which helps ensure the public's right to participate in how public lands are goverened.
We need good long term multi-use public land management models and policies. As stewards and beneficiaries of public land access here in Idaho, your voice is needed in opposing bills that undermine public engagement and try to bypass necessary environmental reviews.
Unite your business voice with ours! Together, we are Idaho businesses supporting Idaho's Lands!