What’s happening with the Upper Lochsa Land Exchange? Clearwater National Forest Supervisor Rick Brazell is scheduled to release the final environmental document (FEIS) and Record of Decision by the end of 2013.
Opposition to this exchange started as a grassroots effort in Latah and Benewah counties late in 2008 and early 2009 after retired Forest Service employees brought it to the public’s attention. The focus shifted to Idaho County late in 2011 after their commissioners proposed an acre for acre exchange within Idaho County.
This is not legal (the Forest Service must do a value-for-value exchange) but it can be done through congressional action. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation pulled its support and opposition coalesced with a public face at stoptheswap.net. This proposal was evaluated with a supplemental DEIS.
In 2012, Western Pacific Timber hired ex-Sen. Larry Craig and ex-USDA Chief of Staff Mark Rey to lobby for their interests in D.C. The Congressional delegation has been involved in the process, recommending the Forest Service assessment of the Idaho County Commissioners’ alternative. It seems that, no matter what the final Forest Service decision may be, congressional action is possible.
Objections should be directed to our congressional delegation.