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Federal Lands Make States Billions says Interior Secretary

Benito Baeza

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — As Idaho lawmakers debate whether to take over federal land, one federal department is now touting its role in managing millions of acres within the state. The Department of Interior, whose agencies include the Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service, insisted Monday it’s a big player in Idaho’s economy.

In particular, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell says energy development, tourism, outdoor recreation and other activities on land it oversees contributed $1.55 billion in economic output and supported almost 15,000 Idaho jobs in 2012. Its announcement comes just ahead of a meeting Friday at the Capitol in Boise.

There, an interim lawmaker committee will discuss whether the state should follow Utah in trying to wrest control of federal land from Washington, D.C., on grounds Idaho-based managers could manage it better.

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