Larry Craig throws cold water all over CIEDRA, Owyhee Initiative.

Senator Craig would not sandbag his fellow Republicans just before the elections, especially in view of the fact that a large majority of Idahoans indicate they support the efforts of Republican congressman Mike Simpson (ID, 2nd district) to create a large Boulder-White Clouds Wilderness (with side payments to anti-wilderness interests).

Idaho’s other US Senator, Republican Mike Crapo, has always supported consensus building efforts to defuse conservation controversies. His Owyhee Initiative, however, is his first success.

Senator Craig was polite about it, but he proved to be the same man he has always been. He dislikes Wilderness just as he always has. He doesn’t want cooperation on these issues, and he is going to either kill these bills after the election or turn them into flat-out anti-conservation vehicles. He has built his career on polarization on public land issues. He favors extractive interests, period. I don’t think he is cynical. He is a true believer. All he needed to change was his public tone slightly for the course of one hearing in his committee.

Read the article in the Idaho Statesman today, “Craig still has doubts about wilderness bills. Senator plans to work for compromises on Boulder-White Clouds, Owyhee bills.” In fact, the proposals represent years of negotiations and compromises. To say there needs to be compromise on bills that are entirely the product of compromise, is an oxymoron.

So these conservation bills are dead in fact if not in name. The question is will the media and the groups that entered into the compromise realize that before the elections?

Sept. 28 late. The Friday edition of the Idaho Mountain Express  just went on-line and Greg Stahl has a story on the hearing. 

Stahl thinks Craig didn’t “tip his hand,” although my impression was that his comments said a lot about his position and likely future action. Here is the article. “Idaho wilderness bills begin Senate voyage. Craig speaks cautious words about CIEDRA.



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  1. Alan Gregory Avatar

    I’m not surprised by Craig’s words. Not all all. They mirror, in fact, those of Vermont’s Republican governor who, until today, tried to shoot down a wilderness bill for the Green Mountain National Forest (see
    in Vermont.
    That bill, too, is/was/is the product of compromise.
    Let’s remember that more than 90 percent of the native land cover of the lower 48 has already been compromised away.

  2. Vor Avatar

    We certainly dont need more wilderness. What we need is common sense management of existing public lands that conserves it and still allows mutiple use access by the public that actually does in fact own the land.

  3. mike Avatar

    Dearest Ralph,
    When you started this blog thing, you very clearly indicated that you would “delete patently offensive” postings. So, delete Vor above; I find him patently offensive.

    I’ve only booted one person so far, and it was about the second day. This person immediately started posting under two names in the same thread.

    I don’t see Vor’s comment as patently offensive. It’s just a generic anti-wilderness comment.

    Some folks do get warned from time to time by private mail.

    I should add that while the posts here are anonymous to the public, I can see everyone’s email address. Ralph Maughan

  4. Laird Bean Avatar
    Laird Bean

    If you read Vor’s comment in item 2 it is obvious that he is making a very critical point. First, those who manage our public lands need to institute better management practices and protect more of our public lands from those who abuse them such as the off-road vehicles and SUVs. More wilderness will do most of us little good until we can learn to protect, preserve, and enjoy the public lands that we frequent and use over and over.

  5. D Callen Avatar

    There are off road groups but they dont do any damage, they enjoy the wilderness not destroy it. Jerry Duffy a hard core off roader knows the limits and has taught it to several people. He is also part of an offroad group that greatly opposes CIEDRA and so do I. I lived near the white cloud mountains for 3-4 years and loved being in the wilderness,


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Ralph Maughan