Idaho Gov. Butch Otter praised Interior Secretary Sally Jewell’s order Tuesday aimed at reducing the frequency and intensity of wildfires across vital sagebrush habitat in the West.
“Secretary Jewell made a brilliant rule,” Otter said Thursday morning.
The strategy Jewell approved will begin during the 2015 fire season. It is intended to reduce the size, severity and cost of rangeland fire and curb the spread of cheatgrass and other invasive species.
Otter especially praised the efforts to reduce cheatgrass, noting his own effort begun in 2007 after 700,000 acres of prime sage grouse habitat burned.
“We declared war on cheatgrass,” Otter said. But a shortage of native seeds hindered their efforts to restore the area south of Twin Falls.
He noted that Jewell has been to every Western Governor’s Association meeting since she took over at the Department of the Interior and has listened to their ideas.
“I hope we have the same success with transmission lines,” Otter said, referring to two major proposed power line projects that would span from the Pacific Coast to the Great Plains.