- Associated Press - Thursday, October 9, 2014

GRANGEVILLE, Idaho (AP) - Idaho County commissioners have approved hiring a consultant to find a way to cut more timber on federal land.

Commissioners approved spending up to $2,000 to hire Doyle Shamley of Veritas Research Consulting, The Lewiston Tribune reported (https://bit.ly/1vTIiOT) Thursday.

Plans call for him to visit Grangeville from Oct. 26 to 28 and meet with U.S. Forest Service officials from Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest.

“What I want to do is bring them in and get advice,” said Commissioner Jim Chmelik. “The Forest Service’s hands have been tied because of litigation from environmental groups and I feel that litigation is having a detrimental effect on the forest and the general health and well-being of the citizens in Idaho County.”

He said he wants to find ways to start logging on federal land that has already gone through necessary environmental reviews.

Idaho County pays $5,000 a year to be a member of the American Lands Council, which offers advice to counties on how states can take over federally managed land. Chmelik said he learned about Shamley while attending as a speaker a seminar by the group.

“I don’t want to be in a big battle with the Forest Service,” Chmelik said. “But I also don’t want to see our county residents suffering the way they’ve been suffering.”

Chmelik unsuccessfully challenged Lt. Gov. Brad Little in the Republican primary in May. Chmelik’s campaign was largely based on Idaho gaining control of federally managed public lands as a way to produce what he predicts will be an economic windfall.

“We have a deadbeat landowner in the Forest Service,” he said. “Not because they want to be - they’ve been forced to be deadbeat because of environmental groups. I want to help them not to be a deadbeat landowner.”


Information from: Lewiston Tribune, https://www.lmtribune.com

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