Hearings on a revised Boulder-White Clouds wilderness bill, introduced by Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, are expected to be held in the U.S. Senate this month and in the House in June or July, state Sen. Michelle Stennett, D-Ketchum, told the Blaine County commissioners following a recent trip to Washington, D.C.
During a commissioners meeting Tuesday, Stennett said she and Commissioner Angenie McCleary were told by Obama administration officials that the president wants to give Simpson’s bill a chance before he considers issuing a proclamation to create a Boulder-White Clouds National Monument.
Stennett said that during their three-day trip, the two local officials met with representatives from the U.S. Forest Service, the BLM, the offices of Simpson and Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch, both R-Idaho, and the president’s advisory Council on Environmental Quality.
“We needed to know what they are up to, and they needed to know that we want to be part of the process,” she said.
Stennett said federal officials were receptive to the idea of holding “structured” public meetings in Idaho. She said the officials were informed of a memorial unanimously approved by the Legislature this session expressing a desire for a collaborative effort to secure local and state support prior to the exercise of presidential authority.
“I thought it was a very positive visit and much more productive meetings than I expected,” McCleary said.