Bedke pushes for lands transfer

House Speaker Scott Bedke joined about 50 politicians from nine states Friday, to discuss ways to wrest control of public lands from federal management to state jurisdiction.

House Speaker Scott Bedke

The daylong summit meeting itself was closed to the public, the Salt Lake Tribune reported. But afterwards, Bedke joined about a dozen other elected officials to argue for a transfer.

“It’s time the states in the West come of age,” Bedke said. “We’re every bit as capable of managing the lands in our boundaries as the states east of Colorado.”

Public lands jurisdiction is a contentious issue with a K-12 education connection. Supporters of a transfer say states can better manage public lands, allowing multiple uses that would better fund education. Critics say the exorbitant cost of administration on millions of acres of public lands would exceed any new revenues from state-managed lands.

The Legislature has a committee studying the issue. Its recommendations are not due until 2015, but the 2013 Legislature already passed a resolution demanding just such a transfer.


Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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