Re-published with permission from the IP News
In studying the scoping report, I have found in each comment period a lengthy guidance/suggestion comment submitted jointly by The Yellowstone to Yukon Initiative and the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. At this time, I will not address the majority content, it is very comprehensive.
I would like, however, to address a single sentence found in the first comment they submitted.
“A separate letter was submitted regarding both Targhee Pass and other statewide ITIP projects by GYC, Y2Y, and other partners throughout the state and region, which also requested funding to implement wildlife passage mitigations.”
Citation #11 reads:
Weskamp, David, (The Nature Conservancy), Laatsch, Jamie, (Henry’s Fork Foundation), Rinaldi, Kathy, (Greater Yellowstone Coalition), Trotter, Kim, (Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative), VanFleet, Mary and Parmer (various affiliations), Seidler, Renee, (Wildlife Conservation Society), and Reynolds Ph.D., Timothy (wildlife biologist). Letter to Idaho Transportation Department, Attn. Adam Rush, Comments on Idaho Transportation Department 2017-2021 Idaho Transportation Investment Program. 29 July, 2016.
Please note the date on that letter: 7-29-16
This is 6 months before ITD ever came to Island Park to talk about a project on US 20, and it would not be until the end of July 2017 that ITD would tell Fremont County and IP that wildlife overpasses were included in the alternatives. The advocates promoting wildlife overpass alternatives at Targhee Pass are represented in citation #11. From that July 2016 date, you can conclude that these ‘special interests’ had an entire year to seek other agency and non-governmental organizations support for the overpasses. Since they had partnered with ITD in HWY 20 analysis, they also were aware of the ITIP planning effort and potential HWY 20 projects.
They all knew.
They were all collaborating far in advance.
The community of Island Park and Fremont County did not.
We have not been involved, informed or coordinated with in this process.
Island Park and Fremont County should request and be given a copy of that letter.