Idaho farmers who in the past have annually burned their fields and a clean-air group that opposes field-burning on public health grounds will meet separately with a dispute resolution expert on Friday. “These are preliminary discussions to see if there’s any room for dialogue to try to find a middle ground,” said Jon Hanian, spokesman for Gov. Butch Otter. Otter has been an advocate of negotiations between the various sides on the issue. However, a federal court has stopped all field-burning in Idaho while the state works on a new plan to comply with the federal Clean Air Act regarding open burning, a process that could take three years.
Duke University law professor Francis McGovern will meet separately with growers and with Sandpoint-based Safe Air For Everyone. Hanian said Otter is “hopeful something productive might come from it.”