Senate Resources & Environment Committee Chairman Monty Pearce said he plans to hold hearings this session on a tapeworm carried in wolves and on a land exchange between the Forest Service and a timber company in Idaho County.
Both issues are controversial among many Idahoans. Pearce spoke about the upcoming session at the annual Idaho Environmental Forum Legislative Forecast along with House Resources and Conservation chairman Bert Stevenson.
Washington State University and Idaho Department of Fish and Game researchers found that more than half of the wolves they tested carried a tapeworm parasite known as Echinococcus granulosus. Hunting activist George Dovel of Garden Valley took the study and widely circulated an article that suggests the wolves were brought in from Canada with the disease and that its dangerous to people, game and livestock.
William Foreyt, the Washington State University wildlife disease expert who led the study said chances wolves will pass the tapeworm on to people and livestock is low. It was around before the wolves got here and is an issue that has long been managed.
But Dovel’s article has gone viral among sportsman groups.
The Lochsa Land Exchange would trade Western Pacific Timber’s 39,000 acres of lands checkerboarded with Clearwater National Forest lands for an equivalent value of land picked from 45,000 acresin other parts of Idaho County. Many people don’t like giving up the national forest lands that would be traded mostly in the southern side of the county.
Pearce said he expects some wolf bills this year. He added that he wants the state to consider litigation that might force the federal government to either turn over federal lands to the state or pay for them.
Ultimately he’d like the state to find ways to develop jobs for the 67,000 Idahoans unemployed by developing natural resources.
“We have mines that are not opened and forests that are not logged,” Pearce said.