Idaho politicians have always made backroom deals with powerful special interests, but they have taken it to a new level with the formalization of the “Backdoor crony collaboration process.” If members of the public are “getting in the way,” all you need is a collaborative group of selected cronies who see things your way. You “marginalize” the critics by cutting them out of the process and painting them as extremists.
Take the recent takeover of the Lochsa Land Exchange by the Idaho congressional delegation. After five years of public opposition, the Idaho delegation has decided to sidestep the National Environmental Policy Act and conduct a legislative land exchange. This “backroom crony collaboration” process will unbelievably be run by Western Pacific Timber. According to the Lewiston Tribune (Dec. 7), “the company is to forward information it collects from the stakeholders to the delegation and the information will be the basis of the legislation.”
In other words, a few select individuals will be contacted and the delegation will come up with a plan that meets the “needs” of the powerful and well connected. The politicians will tell us the project has the support of a “diverse” group of people. They will then attach the legislation to a must pass spending bill. Except for paying for the entire “boondoggle” the public will be cut out of the process. Please tell the Forest Service to either cancel this entire project or continue with the formal NEPA process.