Gov. Butch Otter signed into law HB 557 today, the compromise legislation on field-burning. Otter, joined by ag representatives and the heads of the state departments of Agriculture and Environmental Quality, read a letter from Safe Air For Everyone executive director Patti Gora and praised her and all involved in working out the compromise, which sets up a new regulatory system that makes public health a priority while allowing field-burning to resume in the state.
“One thing this does tell me, when the traditional industries of Idaho, especially the natural resource agricultural industries, appear to come in conflict with growth and a new Idaho, we don’t simply have to give up on the old in order to enjoy and express our hope for the new,” Otter said. “Because we can, there is room, I’ve found, to accommodate both. And I can’t think of a better example than what these folks have come up with.” State Ag Director Celia Gould praised Otter, calling the agreement “a true reflection of the leadership that the governor has provided for us in his effort to solve problems, instead of stand in corners and point fingers.” Said Kent Lauer of the Idaho Farm Bureau, “We’re glad we’re here today. It has been a long process, it’s been a strenuous process. … We finally got there.”