Reading Betsy Russell’s article, “Federalism committee: Collaborate, or tell the feds to ‘pound sand’?,” I was not surprised that no one provided public comment on successful examples of federalism at the recent Interim Committee on Federalism meeting. Not because there aren’t any examples but simply because the term “federalism” is so broad. As Rep. Jason Monks’ pointed out at the hearing, federalism is a sharing of powers over the same area of land and I believe Idaho has a long history of successful state and federal partnerships.
The Shared Stewardship Program and Good Neighbor Authority have already shown an extensive amount of cooperation between the U.S. Forest Service and the Idaho Department of Lands, in order to treat and manage forests, reduce the threat of wildfires and invasive species and create more jobs in our local communities. Other land management agencies like the BLM and Fish and Wildlife Service regularly partner with Idaho state agencies like Idaho Department of Fish and Game to manage wildlife species. In fact, these same partnerships were credited for preventing the greater sage-grouse from being listed as an endangered species back in 2015.
As an angler and outdoor enthusiast, these partnerships are essential. Idaho has a staggering amount of outdoor landscapes to explore, which means a lot of land to manage. I agree with Rep. Monks’ statement at the hearing that the committee should be looking toward ways to improve Idaho’s relationship with the federal government, not “tell the feds to pound sand.” The more we work with, and not against, our federal partners, the more successful we’ll be at protecting Idaho’s way of life and healthy landscapes.
Shevawn Von Tobel, Boise