— Idaho’s top land surveyors were arrested Tuesday on a federal charge that they conducted an illegal land survey for a non-profit group without the state’s permission.
The land survey was part of a campaign by the American Association for Land Surveyors to gain access to more land for development in the state.
The organization also has been collecting land use information on behalf of Native American tribes.
The Bureau of Land Management said it had opened a civil rights investigation of the land survey after learning about the allegations against the surveyors.
The agency did not say how many people were involved in the survey, but the bureau said it believed it was part-time and did not know the exact amount of land the survey was conducted on.
“We are aware of these allegations, and the bureau is investigating,” BLM spokesman Steve Pendergast said.
The Associated Press first reported the allegations.
The group that conducted the survey said in a statement that it was unaware of the allegations until the AP called and told them it had uncovered them.
The American Association of Land Surveyor is a nonprofit organization that promotes land use in the U.S. and Canada.
It does not endorse any political party or political candidate.
The AP has not independently confirmed the information in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit is against the Idaho Department of Natural Resources, not the Land Survey Association.