By Shevawn Von Tobel, Communications Director
It’s week two of Idaho’s 2020 legislative session and already our public lands are under attack. You might remember last year’s session when some politicians came after our public lands under the guise of establishing a “Federalism Committee.” We all knew what that meant – just another way for politicians to explore ways to sell off our public land heritage. Yesterday, they continued their work on chipping away at our public lands by inviting longtime anti-public lands advocate, Ken Ivory, to present to their committee. In response, concerned Idahoans packed the room…and for good reason.
Ken Ivory, a former Utah state representative, has been at the center of the push to seize control of America’s public lands and sell them off to the highest bidder.
Idaho is no stranger to Ivory’s tricks. Nearly ten years ago, Ken Ivory convinced some Idaho politicians to waste more than $100,000 of taxpayer money on a failed bid to urge Congress to relinquish control of Idaho’s public lands.
The last time anti-public land proponents came to Idaho in 2016, they faced a packed house of passionate Idahoans from all walks of life who sent a strong message that day to keep hands off of our public lands. Apparently, Ken didn’t get the message so, once again, public land supporters came out in full force to let our legislature know that we’re watching this session closely.
“Today’s packed hearing room sent a strong message to the Federalism Committee that Idahoans are watching the legislature closely. Ivory’s latest pitch is just another one of his ploys to further advance his personal agenda of selling off public lands and lining his pockets with Idaho taxpayer money.” – Rialin Flores, acting executive director, Conservation Voters for Idaho
Snake Oil Pitch
Ken Ivory’s presentation to the legislature yesterday involved a pitch for the state to contract services with Aeon AI, in which Ivory is the senior vice president of corporate strategy. The services, Ivory said, would “calculate” how much PILT (Payments In Lieu of Taxes) Idaho counties should really be getting from the federal government.
If the legislature approves, the contract could cost Idaho taxpayers over $1 million. Obviously, this is once again a ploy for Ken to advance his agenda of lining his pockets with Idaho taxpayer money, while undermining our public lands.
While we understand there are real issues in regards to PILT for Idaho’s rural counties, given Ivory’s long history of legal troubles, taxpayer waste, and a clear agenda of selling off public lands, we certainly don’t think he’s the right messenger to tell Idahoans what to do. We’re glad Idaho lawmakers are coming together to discuss how to solve the issues around PILT, but Idahoans needs to decide that for ourselves and not from out-of-state snake oil salesmen like Ivory.