Thursday, April 23, 2009

Idaho Legislature Day 102

Otter Signs Aquifer Bill

Boise - Governor Butch Otter put the veto stamp away this afternoon and signed the Eastern Snake River Plain Aquifer bill.

The legislation would help increase flows to the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer and reduce pumping from the massive underground aquifer. The bill calls for managed recharge, groundwater-to-surface-water conversions, water rights buyouts and incentives to idle farm land.

Otter signed the bill despite vetoing 35 bills this week. The vetoes so frustrated lawmakers that they took Wednesday afternoon off leaving the Statehouse annex nearly deserted.

The measure will cost up to $100 million over the next ten years with 30- percent of the money coming from taxpayers, with the rest coming from irrigators.
Otter is using the veto in an attempt to get lawmakers to approve a gas tax to fix state roads and bridges.

The legislature costs taxpayers more than 30-thousand dollars a day, the session has rung up a $3-million dollar bill so far with the session stretching at least another week.

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