The ripples are still spreading from U.S. Rep. Butch Otter’s sponsorship of federal legislation to sell off 15 percent of Idaho’s public lands – a move that attracts extra attention because Otter is running for governor of Idaho. On Jan. 1, the Lewiston Tribune, in an editorial by Jim Fisher, noted that Otter was sponsoring the legislation “with some of the House’s flakier members – including one named Flake.” A few days earlier in the Idaho Statesman, former Idaho Gov. Cecil Andrus decried Otter’s plan in a guest editorial, saying, “Selling off our public federal lands to pay for the damage of Hurricane Katrina is like selling your backyard to cover the costs of a fire in your garage. It doesn’t make sense.” Meanwhile, letters to the editor in newspapers across the state have raised concerns about Otter’s plan.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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