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No Public Hearing on Climate Change? State Rep. Has One Anyway

Climate change could increase fires in Idaho, which in turn would threaten the state's natural resources. (Lance Cheung/USDA)
Climate change could increase fires in Idaho, which in turn would threaten the state's natural resources. (Lance Cheung/USDA)
March 15, 2017

BOISE, Idaho – Unable to get an informational hearing on climate change's impact on Idaho in the Legislature, State Rep. Ilana Rubel is taking the issue to the people. Rubel holds a forum today at the Idaho State Capitol to address the effects that climate change is having on the state.

She says she grew tired of being stymied by other legislators and decided to call a meeting. She has invited lawmakers, scientists, and the public to discuss climate change.

"Just invite everybody, and have it here in the building while everybody's in session, in the hopes that we can raise attention to this issue, and maybe get some sort of political action going on it," she said.

The forum will be held in the Lincoln Auditorium at 3:30 P.M.

Climate researcher at the University of Idaho, John Abatzoglou will also speak at the forum. He says climate change affects many of Idaho's resources, including those important to major economic drivers such as recreation and agriculture.

He hopes Idaho lawmakers will begin to look at plans soon for how to mitigate the worst effects of a warming change.

"Idaho is behind the curve on that, and there's certainly things that we can do as a state to begin to understand where we need to begin to focus our interests, in terms of water resources or ecosystems," he explained.

This year, Idaho lawmakers stripped references to climate change out of the school science curriculum. In response to that move, Rubel says the forum will be streamed live online so that students can watch and learn about climate change.

"And we're encouraging science teachers around the state to have their kids listen in, so that there will be at least an alternative route where they can learn something about real science and the threats facing our state," she added.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - ID