Public Lands

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

In his Monday State of the State address, Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter says he’s hopeful President-elect Donald Trump will give Idaho more leeway when it comes to public land management. He says he recently gave Trump’s transition team advice about sage grouse protection and removing federal protections for grizzlies.

 

Sally Jewell, sage grouse
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

A federal district court judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter against the Obama administration.

In September 2015, Otter’s office filed suit against the Interior Department, arguing the federal agency illegally imposed land-use restrictions to protect the imperiled sage grouse. Now – a year and a half later – U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan dismissed the lawsuit.

Rick Bowmer / AP Images

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell made her final stop in Boise Tuesday during her last month as an Obama administration official. Jewell was briefed by wildfire officials at the National Interagency Fire Center about a landmark policy she put in place during her tenure.

Andrew Selsky / AP Images

Earlier this week, President Obama created two national monuments. The newly preserved land is in Utah and Nevada. But before the transfer of power to President-elect Trump January 20, Obama could also designate 2.5 million acres of land near the Idaho border. 

 

Richard Drew / AP Images

According to the Washington Post, Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT) has been tapped to lead the Interior Department under Donald Trump. The cabinet position oversees key agencies pertinent to life in the West, including the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

The Interior Department has updated a rule that governs activities like ranching, mining and gas drilling on federal land. Obama Administration officials say they aim to simplify the process for land development, while building in more transparency and public input.

Idaho Bureau of Land Management

As President-elect Donald Trump continues to announce his picks for his administration, one cabinet position that could directly affect Idaho remains unfilled.

The Secretary of Interior oversees the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, two agencies that can be the focal point of anger from both the left and the right side of the political spectrum.

Idaho Bureau of Land Management

A new legal analysis from a group of Western attorneys general casts doubt on many of the arguments Utah has put forward in its push to gain control of millions of acres of federal land.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

After an hour-long fundraiser with Trump supporters in Boise, the eldest child of presidential nominee Donald Trump spoke briefly to reporters Thursday. Wearing jeans and cowboy boots, Donald Trump Jr. made his love of western states known.

“I love the West," says the New York businessman, "I love the western states, I’m a big outdoorsman. I was always drawn to this part of the world and I’m just excited to be here."

Federal officials have approved the first geothermal project on Idaho's public land since the 1980s.

The Times-News reports that the Burley Bureau of Land Management has given the go-ahead for Walker Ranch Energy's geothermal project, which will include a plant about 13 miles south of Malta.

The power plant will be built on private property, but up to 22 wells will be drilled on 200 acres managed by the Burley BLM office. The operation is expected to eventually produce 25 megawatts of energy.

Happy 100th Birthday, National Park Service!  

We asked, and you provided. Earlier this week we put out a request to our audience to send in their favorite memory from one of the 58 national parks in the U.S. Turns out, ya'll *love* national parks. (Some of us at BSPR even shared our best vacay pics.) 

So without further ado, below are your photos, videos, memories -- and even a painting! -- gratefully shared with the world. Thanks for contributing to our "birthday gift!"

Legislature Live screenshot

A packed meeting at the Idaho statehouse this afternoon focused on the hot topic of federal lands. The House and Senate resource committees convened to welcome speakers from Utah advocating that public lands be transferred from the federal government to Western states. The meeting did not include any public testimony.

House Approps GOP YouTube

Congressman Mike Simpson had some pointed things to say about public lands during a recent budget hearing on Capitol Hill with U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell.

“Let me tell you why people live in Idaho," Simpson said. "They live in Idaho because they love their public lands. They like access to them for recreation, for hunting, for fishing, for all the activities that they do on public lands."

Headwaters Economics

Between 1970-2014, rural counties with a lot of federal lands did better financially than those without as much federal control. That’s according to a new study by Headwaters Economics, a non-partisan think tank based in Montana.

Economist Megan Lawson led the study which drew averages from around the West. She says federal lands aren't necessarily the reason why those rural counties were better off, but that having federal land doesn't automatically spell economic ruin.

Addison Mohler / US Fish and Wildlife Service

The occupation of a national wildlife refuge in eastern Oregon has gone on for almost a week. The armed militants there say the refuge is a symbol of government overreach in the West. In Idaho, Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge has been the subject of angst over federal regulations – but with a different outcome.

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