Governor Jim Risch is in Washington, D.C. this week, pushing his roadless lands petition to policymakers there, but Idaho conservation groups are pushing back. In September, Risch unveiled a proposal to open up some of Idaho's roadless areas under a Bush Administration plan that asks for management proposals from governors (BW, News, September 27, "Risch On Roadless: Open 'Er Up"). Even though a federal judge nixed the Bush policy in favor of earlier plans that protect federal roadless areas, Risch said he was pressing on.
Now the Idaho Conservation League and The Wilderness Society are touting a new report they've prepared that calls the Risch plan flawed in concept and execution.
"At a state and local level, the government failed to listen to the people," said Jonathan Oppenheimer with the Idaho Conservation League. "The process effectively excluded the majority of Idahoans and that's unfair."
Risch presented the Idaho roadless petition, which was developed after weeks of hearings and public comment, to The Roadless Area Conservation National Advisory Committee at U.S. Forest Service headquarters.