17 Jun 2010, 10:53am
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Boulder-White Clouds bill still needs work, Idaho lawmakers tell Senate panel

Even the wilderness legislation’s architect, Mike Simpson, agrees there’s room for improvement.

BY LAUREN FRENCH, Idaho Statesman, 06/17/10 [here]

WASHINGTON - While it’s a compromise, the latest version of the Boulder-White Clouds wilderness bill can still use refinement, some members of Idaho’s congressional delegation say.

Rep. Mike Simpson and Sen. Mike Crapo, Idaho Republicans who back the measure, acknowledged during a hearing Wednesday that it is far from perfect. And Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, who sits on the Senate subcommittee now considering the bill, said “there are still some pending issues that are going to need, perhaps, some more of that collaborative process to reach this consensus.”

The bill would designate 332,775 acres in the Boulder-White Cloud mountain ranges as three wildernesses, separated in part by motorized trails.

Advocates for recreation say much of the land is already under federal protection, and they don’t like the curbs the bill would place on other trails. Gov. Butch Otter opposes the bill, saying Idaho doesn’t need more wilderness. …

Otter reiterated his opposition in a letter Tuesday to Risch and Crapo.

“My opposition to CIEDRA and additional wilderness areas in Idaho should not surprise anyone,” the governor wrote.

“I recognize the need for economic development in Custer County, Clayton, and the surrounding communities, but remain unconvinced that the answer is more wilderness acres and federal red tape.” … [more]



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