Idaho Rep. Paul Shepherd introduced H473 to stop the federal Environmental Protective Agency (EPA) from regulating state activity.

This bill was introduced because gold dredgers have to comply with both state regulations and federal EPA regulations that sometimes conflict.

H0473 states,


The legislature declares that the regulation authority of the United States environmental protection agency is not authorized by the Constitution of the United States and violates its true meaning and intent as given by the founders and ratifiers, and is hereby declared to be invalid in the state of Idaho,shall not be recognized by this state, is specifically rejected by this state and shall be considered null and void and of no force and effect in this state.

Representative Shepard said in the Lewiston Tribune, “It appears the EPA bureaucracy has an agenda in its interpretation of what pollution is,” he said. “They’re saying if you pick up sand with a suction dredge, run it through and dump it back in the water, that’s pollution. It’s pretty much shutting (the dredgers) down. That’s the main thing driving this, but the bill pertains to any regulations not approved by the people.”

The EPA is an executive branch and lacks the constitutional authority to make law and regulations.

“The bill doesn’t nullify regulations approved by Congress, Shepherd said, but does nullify regulations created by the EPA alone to implement legislation like the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts,” Shepherds said.

Idaho has incorporated federal rules and regulations into state law,making it a challenge for this bill to pass. If it does, it may also clean away state regulations. That is exactly why this bill was introduced. A discussion is very much needed in Idaho to resolve these issues. The tribune continued on, “That’s the problem – Congress isn’t asserting its authority to look at these rules,” said Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Iona. “I think what Representative Shepherd is getting at are the regulations that aren’t in the law or that greatly exceed the intent. Agriculture is facing lots of things like that with the Clean Air Act that can’t begin to complied with. So I understand why he’s bringing this. It’s worthy of discussion.”

In the case of the Gold Dredgers states, “the EPA requires a permit for the dredge owner but not for each person operating the dredge, as the state does. More than 900 Idahoans have state permits.

The state permit is akin to a fishing license. Miners apply, agree to comply with state rules and observe its list of open, seasonally restricted and closed rivers. But the EPA and state do not share the same catalog of rivers and rules.

Last year, 162 applicants sought to dredge in 370 sites around Idaho. The EPA permitted 81 locations. Some of those requests were incomplete, and additional information has not been provided, EPA spokesman Mark MacIntyre said.”

The fact of the matter is, the state of Idaho should regulate environmental concerns in Idaho. After years and years of incorporating federal rules and regulations, problems are arising where residents of Idaho are unsure which to follow.

Action Items

If you are an Idaho resident, and believe the state should be in control of its own environmental regulation, contact the State Affairs committee members here and tell them to vote yes on H0473.

Kelli Sladick