BOISE — A resolution to study the effects of climate change on Idaho's natural resources barely made it past an introductory hearing Thursday morning.
Sponsored by House Minority Leader Mat Erpelding, D-Boise, the proposal would create an interim legislative committee "to study the effects of climate variability on Idaho's state agencies that are responsible for resource management," such as the departments of Lands, Agriculture and Water Resources, and make recommendations to address it.
Erpelding said the interim committee would continue the discussion that started Wednesday, when the House Environment, Energy and Technology Committee held a hearing on the impact of climate change on Idaho, one of the major themes of which was the lack of data on the Idaho-specific effects. Erpelding said House Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, and committee Chairman John Vander Woude, R-Nampa, had agreed to give the bill a hearing.
"They both agreed this was worth further discussion in (Environment, Energy and Technology)," Erpelding told the House Ways and Means Committee.
Ways and Means is a seven-member committee consisting of House leadership from both parties that meets irregularly. As a "privileged committee," it meets more often later in the session since it can introduce bills after the deadline has passed for most other committees.
House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star, and Majority Caucus Chairwoman Megan Blanksma, R-Hammett, voted against Erpelding's proposal, and for a minute it looked like the resolution wasn't going to get introduced. Then Assistant Majority Leader Jason Monks, R-Nampa, who didn't say "aye" or "nay" on the initial vote, said he was OK with it if Bedke and Vander Woude had agreed to hear it.