Idaho Congressman Asks President for Delay on Monument

Cong Simpson(Boise, Idaho) Republican Rep. Mike Simpson of Idaho is asking President Barack Obama to hold off designating a rugged swath of central Idaho as a national monument. Simpson said he’s asking the president for six to eight months to give him time to work on passing legislation for the area that would create some wilderness while opening other areas for development. Simpson’s Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act would create three wilderness areas totaling 332,775 acres while releasing 130,000 acres from a wilderness study area to a multiple-use designation. But that plan for years has failed to get through Congress, in part because other Idaho congressmen don’t support it and Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter has refused to back it. So some groups are asking Obama to use his executive power under the Antiquities Act to create a 592,000-acre national monument that includes the rugged Boulder and White Cloud mountains.Sally Jewell, secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, said on a visit to Idaho last week that she supports Simpson’s efforts. “We’d love to see legislation passed,” Jewell said. But she added the president is “not afraid to use his pen.”

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