Monday, June 14, 2010

Unlike Bingaman, Simpson seeks and gets consensus on wilderness bill

After nearly a decade of labor and compromise, sweeping legislation that protects hundreds of thousands of acres as wilderness in Idaho's Boulder-White Cloud mountains is headed for a Senate hearing this week. The Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act goes back to Congress on Wednesday, but this time with what some say is a significantly greater chance of passing. For the first time, the bill's champion, Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, has the support of the entire congressional delegation. "Basically, he is looking forward to this being the year it gets done," said Simpson's chief of staff, Lindsay Slater. First proposed by Simpson in 2001, the bill has evolved through five Congresses. In its current form, the measure has been hailed as a compromise across aisles and a victory for a variety of competing interests. In the past, Simpson lacked the support of a fellow Republican who kept the legislation from moving in the Senate, Sen. Larry Craig, who retired at the beginning of 2009. Rick Johnson, the executive director of the Idaho Conservation League, said that although the Democrats who lead Congress balked at a conservative Republican presenting a wilderness bill, they've grown to see Simpson's sincerity...more

Simpson spent 10 years working with local interest groups until he had a bill with a broad consensus of support.

Not Bingaman. After less than a year he is ready to ram a bill through which is opposed by the business and ag communities, and those concerned about border security and flood control.

Why won't Bingaman take the time to get it right?

1 comment:

Mike D. said...

Just because a politician declares a consensus or a compromise, it doesn't mean that such actually exists. Nor does it mean the politician's plan is a good idea, which in this case it is not. The same issues that dismay Dona Ana Co residents bedevil Simpson's bill: catastrophic wildfire, cut-off from resources uses, watershed degradation, uncontrolled predators, economic collapse, etc.