LEWISTON, Idaho (AP) -- An economist has concluded that a proposed land swap in north central Idaho between the federal government and a timber company could lead to a loss of jobs and economic activity.

The study by UI economist Steven Peterson focused on land trade proposal between the U.S. Forest Service and Western Pacific Timber Co. Under the plan, the government would exchange 18,000 acres in three national forests in northern Idaho for nearly 40,000 private acres.

The Lewiston Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/p6qaGX ) Peterson was contracted by Idaho County officials, who have opposed the trade.

Peterson concluded the trade could cost the region 128 jobs and $8.2 million in lost economic activity.

But he also determined it could spur the production of up to 12 million board feet of lumber per year.

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Information from: Lewiston Tribune, http://www.lmtribune.com

Copyright 2011 The AP.

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