Idaho politicians have always made backroom deals with powerful special interests, but they have taken it to a new level with the formalization of the backdoor crony collaboration process. If members of the public are getting in the way, all you need is a collaborative group of selected cronies that see things your way.
After five years of public opposition, the Idaho delegation has decided to sidestep the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for the Lochsa Land Exchange and conduct a legislative exchange. This backroom crony collaboration process will – unbelievably – be run by Western Pacific Timber. According to the Dec. 7 Lewiston Morning Tribune, “the company is to forward information it collects from the stakeholders to the delegation and the information will be the basis of the legislation.”
In other words, a few select individuals will be contacted and the delegation will come up with a plan that meets the needs of the powerful and well-connected. They will then attach the legislation to a must-pass spending bill. The public will pay the cost of this boondoggle but have little input. Please tell the U.S. Forest Service to either cancel this entire project or continue with the formal NEPA process.