Idaho land deal could mean big clearcuts

20 Feb

BOISE — Idaho could profit handsomely if it were to win control of millions of acres of federal forest, rangeland and mineral deposits.

That’s according to an informal Department of Lands’ “napkin” analysis released Tuesday that says Idaho’s proceeds from managing an additional 16.4 million acres could run $51 million to $75 million annually.

Idaho lawmakers are exploring their options, following Utah’s and Arizona’s 2012 gambits demanding Washington, D.C., surrender control of U.S. Forest Service, BLM and other federal territory.

Rep. Lawrence Denney and Sen. Monty Pearce, western Idaho Republicans, asked for the Department of Lands’ analysis last month.

According to agency calculations, Idaho would generate most of its new revenue from timber sales.

Environmental groups have panned the state-takeover idea, however, saying it’s promoted by fringe groups chafing at federal control.

— The Associated Press

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