Guest column submitted by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo
Idaho is fortunate to be home to some of our nation’s most unique landscapes and vast natural resources. I am dedicated to protecting our environment in a manner that ensures the vitality of our forests and rangelands, protects the rights of property owners and addresses the economic needs of our rural communities.
We have a responsibility to ensure that our local communities are consulted on decisions that impact the land on which they live and depend. Measures that empower state and local officials and private stakeholders to lead in the decision-making processes pertaining to our public lands help to avoid the drawn-out conflicts and costly litigation that we see all too often in communities throughout the West. I continue to work to enact land management policies that ensure the strength of our natural environment, maintain public access and maintain resilient, self-sustaining economies for our rural counties for years to come.
For example, I recently joined fellow members of the Senate Western Caucus, including fellow U.S. Senator for Idaho Jim Risch, in requesting Senate Appropriators support policies that play a vital role in maintaining the economic and environmental well-being of our region. The Senate Western Caucus is made up of Senators from western and rural states unified behind a western approach to solving America's problems. In the letter, we advocated for the following priorities:
We concluded the letter, “As members of the Senate Western Caucus, we seek to promote and defend the western way of self-reliance, local decision-making, and love of the land. We believe the most successful land management policies are collaborative in nature and take into full consideration those whose heritage and livelihoods are tied to our lands and resources. Those who are closest and depend the most on the land are best equipped to take on land management challenges.” I will continue to work to advance policies that best address these and other issues that impact the economic and environmental well-being of the West.
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