As of Tuesday, June 19, 2018
June 13, Tom Reilly’s letter to the editor to the Idaho County Free Press commented on the difference between the Lochsa Land Exchange (ULX) and the proposed Central Idaho Land Exchange (CIS). He feels they are markedly different and blames “environmentalists” for pushing wrong-headed thinking. I’ve followed this land exchange proposal for over a decade, and here are some points to consider:
• The majority of people opposed the ULX for good reasons. Mr. Reilly supported it.
• Some environmental groups supported the ULX. (and may/may not support the CIX).
• The already “selected” lands in the ULX and CIX are pretty much identical.
• WPT (the company trying to push the CIX — the same owner as in the ULX) is using the same lobbyists and tactical maneuvering.
Mr. Reilly goes down the wrong rabbit hole to compare federal and state management. The real issue is ownership. We the people own public land and have a say in what happens on our lands. We do not own state land, we are customers who have no say about what happens on those lands. The “CIX” idea has been pushed by WPT since Senator Risch heard the people speak against the ULX in Grangeville in 2015. It is through an exchange WPT will reap the highest financial return. Why else would WPT continue to pay ex-Senator Larry Craig and his ex-chief of staff Mark Rey to lobby our elected officials for a land exchange?
And why would Mr. Reilly be so concerned about getting the Lochsa checkerboard back into public ownership at the expense of giving up other public lands? Does he work for The Nature Conservancy?
State land is not public land. Mr. Reilly’s distraction is the real red herring. Give WPT some cash if you want the Lochsa, and quit trying to trade away public land.