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Bill to form Idaho council on federal lands passes House

The federal government manages 51,000 square miles of land within Idaho.
The Salmon River

BOISE, Idaho — Legislation to create a panel of Idaho lawmakers to assist Idaho residents and state agencies on federal lands issues has passed the House and is headed to the Senate.

The House voted 55-15 on Tuesday to approve the plan to create the Council on Federal Lands put forward by Republican Rep. Judy Boyle.

Boyle says the council is needed because the Legislature doesn't have time to look into the decisions made by federal land managers.

The federal government manages about 62 percent, or 51,000 square miles, within Idaho. The Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service approve grazing permits, logging contracts and mining operations.

Some lawmakers questioned whether such a legislative council will enter into areas more rightfully reserved for the governor's office.