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ICL Pushes Back Against Hopes for State Grab of Federal Land: 'It's Not a Piggy Bank to be Raided'

“This represents a threat to our land and, potentially, a yearslong legal battle that would drain Idaho’s tax dollars."

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The Idaho Conservation League is blasting some Idaho lawmakers for proposing a state takeover of federal land, saying that “it represents a threat” of privatization of public lands, .

“One of our primary arguments is that this is an ideology that’s been disproved in the courts before," Jonathan Oppenheimer, ICL senior conservation associate, told Boise Weekly, adding that “right wing groups” such as the American Legislative Exchange Council are behind the “radical proposals.”

Currently, 33 million acres are managed by the federal government. However, similar to Utah’s recent stake on federal land, some Idaho Legislators are advocating for a state takeover.

“We have a lot of concerns," said Oppenheimer. “The public land is not a piggy bank to be raided.”

Oppenheimer said groups like ALEC and lawmakers such as Republican Utah Rep. Ken Ivory have been traveling around the West, promoting the bills as “profitable."

If such a measure were ever passed in Idaho, Oppenheimer said that the ICL would have concerns that public lands could be privatized, resulting in no-trespassing signs popping up.

Oppenheimer was quick to add that there has been no proposed Idaho legislation to date, but insisted, “This represents a threat to our land and, potentially, a yearslong legal battle that would drain Idaho’s tax dollars.”