Idaho may be the next Western state to pick a public lands fight with the federal government for control of millions of acres of forest, rangeland and mineral deposits within its borders.
Idaho lawmakers, motivated by the potential for new revenue and the appeal of having more authority over how those lands are managed, are gearing up to follow the lead taken by Utah and Arizona in 2012.
Last year, Utah and Arizona approved measures demanding the federal government surrender control of millions of acres of land overseen by the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and other federal agencies. Utah's bill became law when it was signed by Republican Gov. Gary Herbert, while Arizona's Republican Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a similar bill.
"This is about economic self-reliance," Utah state Rep. Ken Ivory told a joint meeting Monday of the House Resources and Conservation Committee and Senate Resources and Environment Committee.