The Idaho Legislature created the Policy Analysis Group (or “PAG”) in 1989 as a way for the University of Idaho to respond quickly to requests for information and analysis about current natural resource issues. The PAG is administered through the University of Idaho’s College of Natural Resources, Dennis Becker, Dean.
As defined in its enabling legislation, the PAG’s formal mission is to provide timely, scientific and objective data and analysis, and analytical and information services, on resource and land use questions of general interest to the people of Idaho.
The PAG was created in 1989 by the Idaho state legislature. The following is verbatim from the amended Idaho Code under which the PAG currently operates.
38-714. Creation of forest policy analysis group – Powers and duties
(1) There is hereby created within the Idaho forest, wildlife and range experiment station a “forest, range and wildlife policy analysis group.” The forest, range and wildlife policy analysis group shall be under the control of the dean of the college of forestry, wildlife and range sciences of the university of Idaho and shall have the following powers and duties:
(a) A program of continuing inquiry into such public policy issues as may be suggested by the advisory committee described in this act;
(b) The ability to provide timely, scientific and objective data and analysis pertinent to such resource and land use questions which are of general interest to the people of Idaho and which are suggested as worthy of the group's attention by the advisory committee described herein. Each report of the group shall include a range of actions which might be taken to resolve the issues addressed in the group's inquiries. In developing such alternatives, the director shall consult with a broad array of public agencies and other interests and shall show potential benefits and detrimental effects of each alternative, and;
(c) Analytical and informational services provided on a contractual basis to those public entities desiring such services in order to better reach more informed decisions regarding the wise use of Idaho's forest, range and wildlife resources, including fish, wildlife, timber, water, outdoor recreation, forage and aesthetic values. Such contractual services may not be offered at rates less than the college's actual costs for providing them and must adhere to the highest professional and scientific standards for objective, scientific research. The results of such contractual services provided by this group shall be considered to be public knowledge available to the citizens of Idaho.
(2) The dean of the college of forestry, wildlife and range sciences, in a manner consistent with existing practice for hiring and electing faculty members to the college and its departments, shall as soon as practicable subsequent to the passage of this act, name a director of the forest policy analysis group. The director and staff shall have academic training and managerial skills appropriate to the college and the position and shall be compensated at a rate commensurate with their abilities and experience. The director and staff shall enjoy all protections of academic freedom and tenure that are consistent with general policies and practices of the college. Individual projects and analyses will be conducted by the group’s staff or members of the college’s faculty, or by scientists from other educational institutions or research entities as appropriate.
(3) The dean of the college of forestry, wildlife and range sciences shall name a forest policy advisory committee representative of the entities, both public and private, which have demonstrated interest in the areas of inquiry and conclusions of the group. Members of this committee shall serve without pay and under such terms of service as may be prescribed by the dean. It shall be responsibility of the committee to review various forest policy issues and suggest the priority, critical focus and appropriateness of these issues for consideration by the forest policy analysis group. The total size of this committee shall not exceed eleven (11) voting members. The dean shall also name a “technical advisory committee” consisting of faculty members and others with a demonstrated technical knowledge of issues or questions posed to the group to help provide guidance and expertise to each of the group's inquiries.
(4) It shall be the duty of and within the purposes of the forest, wildlife and range experiment station to establish a forest policy analysis series in which to publish all results and findings, whether tentative or conclusive, regarding any and all of the group’s studies. Such publication shall be made freely, without prejudice and in a manner consistent with the highest professional, scientific, and ethical standards. In carrying out the provisions of this section, the director and staff of the forest policy analysis group shall seek the counsel and expertise and generally cooperate with other colleges within the state's university system, plus other public or private research efforts.
A standing Advisory Committee is required by the PAG’s enabling legislation. The committee is appointed by the Dean and made up of a variety of natural resource leaders from around the state. The committee’s main charge is to review current issues and suggest topics for analysis.
- Bryan Brooks — Idaho Wildlife Federation
- Andy Brunelle — Idaho State Coordinator, U.S. Forest Service
- Mike Courtney — District Manager, Twin Falls District Office, U.S. Bureau of Land Management
- Jim Fredericks — Deputy Director, Idaho Department of Fish and Game
- Russ Hendricks — Director of Gov’t. Affairs, Idaho Farm Bureau Federation
- Dustin Miller — Director, Idaho Department of Lands
- Jonathan Oppenheimer — External Relations Director, Idaho Conservation League
- Tom Schultz — Vice President of Governmental Affairs, Idaho Forest Group.
- Anna Torma — Vice President of Public Affairs, Potlatch Corp.