Otter holds Capitol for a Day in Kuna

I’m covering Idaho Gov. Butch Otter’s Capitol for a Day in Kuna this morning at its city hall.

I’m here because Bureau of Land Management officials are on hand to talk about the controversial Gateway West power line transmission project. One of the proposed routes runs right through Kuna.

Otter said this is his 61st Capitol for a Day. He remembered playing in a country western band years ago in Kuna at a prominent bar called the Redeye Saloon. He said the name was appropriate.

Water Users follow panel's recommendation against condemnation

The Idaho Water Users Association approved a resolution against condemnation against irrigation districts prompted by Caldwell’s eminent domain lawsuit.

The state’s largest and most powerful water group and its executive director Norm Semanko can now take “all steps necessary” to stop Caldwell or others from using condemnation to take existing irrigation and drainage facilities, water rights and storage water from irrigation districts or canal companies. The likely means legislation will show up this year.

Otter among headliners for business conference on China

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter and J.R. Simplot Co. President and CEO Bill Whitacre will headline an all-day conference on doing business in China at the Boise Centre on the Grove Feb. 7

Corps faces a fight over dredging behind Lower Snake dams

Idaho historian Keith Petersen asked the question in his 1995 book River of Life, Channel of Death: “Will the government continue to pour money” into the maintenance costs of the four lower Snake Dams in Washington?

Caldwell responds to Water Users vote by saying Semanko has conflict

Caldwell responded to the Idaho Water User’s resolution committee vote criticizing its eminent domain lawsuit Tuesday by repeating its charge that its executive director Norm Semanko ha a conflict of interest.

It said in the press release the committee vote “protects IWUA Executive Director Norm Semanko’s self-interest as a result of his position as a lawyer with the law firm representing the Pioneer Irrigation District in its lawsuit against the City of Caldwell,.”

Water Users stick with Pioneer on eminent domain issue

The resolutions committee of the Idaho Water Users Association voted unanimously Tuesday to support a resolution against the use of eminent domain against irrigation districts.

Electric supply adequate as Idaho Power mulls coal plant closures

Improving energy efficiency use and the addition of gas-fired power plants is keeping up with the retirement of dirty coal plants in the Pacific Northwest, the Northwest Power and Conservation Council reports.

Utah lawmaker sells state takeover of federal land to Idaho committees

Utah Rep. Ken Ivory told Idaho lawmakers Monday the federal government has made promises, “solemn compacts,” and “solemn trusts” to dispose of all of the left over public land to states at statehood.

Rejection of Powell's logical western vision led to public land estate

The author of a Utah bill that asks the federal government to give back more than 20 million acres of federal land in that state will make a presentation at a joint session of the Idaho Senate and House resource committees at 1:30 p.m.

Republican Rep. Ken Ivory will talk about the bill signed into law by Utah Gov. Gary Herbert in 2012. Idaho lawmakers are going to consider similar legislation this year. I have written extensively about this subject and past efforts to right the wrong that western states have long claimed because they were treated differently than eastern states.

Obama's got incentives to keep the West happy

Forget the parlor game about who President Barack Obama will pick as his Interior Secretary or other posts that have dramatic impacts on Idaho, like the Department of Energy.

Who he picks, while important, is not as critical as his agenda for the region beyond the 100th Meridian. During his first term Obama was largely conciliatory with western leaders.

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