The Legislature's budget committee has approved a 1.7 percent increase -- to $68 million -- for the agency responsible for safeguarding Idaho's environment.
The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee voted 20-0 Tuesday to approve the budget for the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality that includes about $29 million in federal funds.
Also in the budget is $1.5 million to clean up toxic discharge from an abandoned silver and lead mine upstream from the resort towns of Ketchum and Sun Valley.
Another $750,000 -- plus three full-time workers -- are also in the budget, as the agency takes over for the federal government in regulating pollution that gets into waterways.
The House, Senate and Gov. Brad Little must still approve the budget.
(by Associated Press)