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Eye On Boise

Thu., Feb. 6, 2014, 3 p.m.

Suction dredge mining dispute prompts Rep. Shepherd to try to nullify the EPA

On Monday, dozens of angry suction dredge miners from around the state gathered at a joint hearing held by the House and Senate Resources committees in the Lincoln Auditorium, to complain about a new EPA permit that’s been required for suction dredging in Idaho since last spring. The Twin Falls Times-News has a full report here about the hearing and the issue. Now, Rep. Paul Shepherd, R-Riggins, one of the instigators of the hearing, has introduced new legislation today aiming to nullify the EPA, by just declaring its regulation authority "null and void and of no force and effect in this state." The bill, which includes an emergency clause making it effective immediately on passage, says EPA is unconstitutional and invalid, and calls on the state to “enact any and all measures as may be necessary to prevent the enforcement of regulations” issued by the agency.

Shepherd said in his bill’s Statement of Purpose that EPA regulations “are not authorized by the Constitution of the United States and violate the Constitution’s true meaning of intent.”

Lewiston Tribune reporter Bill Spence reports that Shepherd said he brought the bill at the request of several suction dredge miners. “That's the main thing driving this, but the bill pertains to any regulations not approved by the people,” Shepherd told the House State Affairs Committee. Several members questioned the bill’s legality, and Shepherd said he’s requested an Idaho attorney general’s opinion on it, but hasn’t yet received it. The committee agreed to introduce the bill, clearing the way for a possible full hearing; you can read Spence’s full report here at his "Political Theater" blog.

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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