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BOISE -- The Senate will consider a measure demanding the federal government cede millions of acres of public forests, backcountry and rangeland to Idaho, on grounds the state can manage it better.

After House Republicans followed his lead, Rep. Lawerence Denney of Midvale on Thursday convinced GOP members of the Senate State Affairs Committee to pass his resolution, too.

Denney says Idaho could cut down one billion board feet of timber annually, reducing fire danger while still preserving wildlife and recreation.

Foes said Idaho residents value public land too much to allow the state to take title to it, for fear that some could be sold into private ownership.

Jonathan Oppenheimer of the Idaho Conservation League added that Idaho already ceded any right and title to federal lands at statehood in 1890.

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