East Snake River Plain gets legislative attention
BOISE - Water, always a major issue in Idaho, was on the front burner in two legislative committees here March 13 as lawmakers sent several bills to their respective floors for amendment, or with do-pass recommendations.
The House Resources and Conservation Committee sent House Bills 736 and 737 to general orders for amendment.
- H736 amends existing law relating to groundwater districts, to provide for credits and adjustments related to mitigation obligations based on mitigation or replacement water plans of certain nonirrigators.
- H737 amends existing law relating to the administration of groundwater rights within the Eastern Snake River Plain.
The committee also acted on House Joint Memorial 21, sending it to the floor with a do-pass recommendation. It calls on Congress to transfer national forest system lands within Idaho to the state, to be managed for the benefit of rural counties and schools, and urging Congress to seek a long-term solution to the fiscal problems facing rural counties if Secure Rural Schools payments are not reauthorized or allowed to expire after the 2006 reauthorization.
Across the Rotunda, the Senate Resources and Environment Committee also dealt with a flurry of water laws and resolutions, forwarding them to the Senate floor with do-pass recommendations. All previously passed the House. They include the following:
- H636 - sets a minimum streamflow for the north fork of the Clearwater river from immediately below Dworshak Dam to its confluence with river held in trust for the people of Idaho by the Idaho Water Resources Board. The House passed this bill Feb. 27 on a vote of 65-1 with four absent or excused.
- H546 - amends existing law to revise the conditions under which the Idaho Water Resources Board may approve loans for certain water projects. The House approved this March 1 on a vote of 67-0 with three absent or excused.
- H637 - exempts specific administration projects and certain public works projects handled by the Idaho Department of Water Resources and the Idaho Water Resources Board from review by the Department of Administration. This passed the House March 1 on a vote of 64-0 with six absent or excused.
- H544 - amends existing law allowing irrigation districts to base elections on weighted votes determined by the acres of assessed land, rather than on the number of landowners, if a majority of electors approve. Passed the House Feb. 23 on a vote of 61-4 with five absent or excused.
- H576 - revises the filing requirements for the office of director of an irrigation district, and the public notice requirements for such elections. Passed the House Feb. 23 on a vote of 64-1 with five absent or excused.
- HJM 14 - calls for a repeal of the Federal Lands Recreation Act. Adopted in the House by voice vote March 7.
- HJM 20 - calls on Congress to immediately replace the program for permitting outfitters and guides on public lands to allow continued operation of their businesses if the Federal Lands Recreation Act is repealed. Adopted March 7 by the House by voice vote.
- House Concurrent Resolution 36, approving the application to appropriate water for minimum streamflows in Niagara Springs Creek. Adopted in the House by voice vote Feb. 27.
- HCR 37 - approving the application to appropriate water for minimum streamflows for the North Fork of the Clearwater River. Adopted in the House by voice vote Feb. 27.
Pat McCoy is based in Boise.
Panels Forward Water Bills
Capital Press, March 17, 2006
See what you can learn
learn more on topics covered in the film
see the video
read the script
learn the songs