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Congressman after Endangered Species Act

Allen Best Special to the Daily

WASHINGTON D.C. Next in the sights of U.S. Rep. Richard Pombo, chairman of the House Resources Committee, is dismantling the Endangered Species Act. But instead of rewriting the law wholesale, he plans to pursue incremental changes.He indicated his strategy at a recent meeting with the Commodity Club, an informal network of agricultural lobbyists in Washington, reports the Contra Costa (Calif.) Times.”The Endangered Species Act, whether you like it nor not, is the ultimate law of the land,” Pombo said. “What we need to do is take it piece by piece.”Pombo, a fourth-generation rancher, has been gunning at the Endangered Species Act since he arrived in Congress in 1992. He views the law and many other environmental regulations as tyrannical. In the mid-1990s, when Republicans held a majority in the House, Pombo helped rewrite a proposed revision, but then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich decided that the proposal would be too controversial.But today, says the Times, Pombo could probably get sweeping changes to the act through the House, although the more cautious Senate is thought to be far less willing to adopt revisions.A year ago he became chairman of the committee, and he has helped move two of President Bush’s top legislative priorities, the comprehensive energy bill and a version of the Healthy Forests Initiative, through his committee. Both versions were more industry-friendly than the versions passed by the Senate.Three die after hitting trees at JacksonJACKSON HOLE, Wyo. Three skiers died during January after hitting trees at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. One of the three victims was wearing a helmet.All of the crashes, says the Jackson Hole News & Guide, came after a prolonged dry spell marked by temperatures consistently well below freezing. Much of the terrain at the resort, which is known for its steep and difficult runs, was covered with hard-packed and icy snow.Wilderness advocates backed by businessSUN VALLEY, Idaho Proponents of expanded wilderness designation of public lands in Idaho have been drumming up support from businesses with the argument that wilderness is good business.”Protecting wilderness is an important component of an economic strategy what will lead to a more diverse, more stable, and more prosperous local economy and a brighter future for Idaho children,” said Andy Munter, co-owner of Backwoods Mountain Sports in Ketchum.At issue, explains the Idaho Mountain Express, are roughly 500,000 acres of contiguous, road-free wildlands between Ketchum and the towns of Stanley and Chalis. The former is strongly dependent on recreation, but resident of the latter fervently believe in livestock and timber harvesting.A compromise proposes to give these more traditional communities land allocated to industrial development in exchange for their acceptances of wilderness designation.


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