Gov. Butch Otter, a former congressman who first went back to D.C. vowing to tell the federal government to “butt out” of Idaho, told lawmakers today, “Obstructionists in Congress and the undue influence of a carryover proscribe-and-punish mentality in some federal agencies are still slowing progress. But we’re having fewer ‘mother may I’ moments with our federal partners, and one of the results is better, more active management of our resources, and communities that are becoming better protected from catastrophic wildfires.”
He cited two examples: Rangeland fire protection associations, which are now working with local ranchers to help fight fires in their areas; and the use of federal Good Neighbor Authority to allow the Idaho Department of Lands to actually conduct timber sales on national forest lands. “It’s an innovative way to more quickly implement on-the-ground land and watershed improvements on Forest Service acreage,” Otter said.
He’s requesting spending authority for eight new positions at the Department of Lands as the GNA program expands.
“It has been especially refreshing to see the Trump Administration’s willingness to seek our input, to really listen and embrace the value of state perspectives on issues that affect us most directly,” Otter said.