(Environmental) CONFERENCE ATTENDEES STRESS SHARED VISION FOR WEST
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truffler1635 at my-deja.com
Fri Jun 9 01:52:09 EST 2000
The following artile is from The Oregonian, Friday, June 2, 2000, p C13
CONFERENCE ATTENDEES STRESS SHARED VISION FOR WEST
A plan in which various interests have a stake will be necessary to find
a workable policy, officials say
By MICHELLE COLE, The Oregonian
BOISE - Unless Westerners can agree on a shared vision for the
American West, environmental policy will continue to be driven by "top-
down" federal decrees that divide communities, the governors of Oregon
and Montana and four former governors said Thursday.
None offered a specific vision of the West's future, but each talked
of the varying values that Westerners and all Americans place on open
spaces, recreation and the use of natural resources.
Without a plan in which the various stakeholders can invest, it will
be impossible to agree on workable environmental policies, they said.
"There has always been a tension in the West between economic
development and the powerful landscapes that define this region, between
the extraction of natural resources and concern over long-term
environmental protection," Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber said.
Instead of focusing on differences, Kitzhaber said, Americans must
begin to identify the values they share and let those shared values
determine policies governing land use, water and wildlife.
The current and former governors were invited to give their advice
for the next president during a symposium sponsored by the Andrus Center
for Public Policy at Boise State University. They identified several
issues, among them:
- Forests: Montana Gov. Marc Racicot suggested that it might be time
to let go of the idea that the nation's forests should show an economic
return. "We pay to maintain the Lincoln Memorial," he said. Likewise,
the government should provide the resources to ensure a healthy forest.
- Salmon: if the government decides that breaching four Snake River
dams is necessary to restore dwindling salmon populations in the
Columbia River Basin, then Americans should be prepared to help the
people dependent on the dams for economic survival. "If it's worth it to
the country to remove the dams, then the country has to pay for the
communities that are impacted. They have to be kept whole," Racicot
-Grizzly and wolf reintroduction: Former Idaho Gov. Phil Batt said
Americans should decide whether its necessary and appropriate to return
wildlife to their historic ranges just because the Endangered Species
Act dictates that. "I'm not sure we did a good thing when we brought
wolves back to Idaho," Batt said. "But a better argument can be made for
them than for grizzlies."
- Environmental regulation: This nation has depended upon regulators
and the courts to enforce sound environmental practices, Kitzhaber said.
The Endangered Species, Clean Air and Clean Water acts are still good
tools, he said. But "as we enter the 21st century, our environmental
problems are becoming more complicated and more challenging." Instead of
regulations and lawsuits, good stewardship may depend more upon
providing incentives, encouraging consensus and fostering individual
accountability, he said.
- Managing the West from Washington, D.C.: The governors complained
about President Clinton's "top-down" plan to protect 43 million acres of
roadless national forest lands and about East Coast bureaucrats who
decide that hundreds of thousands of acres should become national
monuments without consulting those who work, play or find solace in the
areas. One solution they agreed, could be moving the headquarters of the
agencies responsible for managing public lands to the West.
Cecil Andrus, a former Interior secretary and Idaho governor, said
he would make sure that advice would be "given to the next president of
the United States and...presented to all the Cabinet officials he will
George Frampton chairman of the White House Council on Environmental
Quality and the president's chief environmental adviser, was among the
300 people attending the symposium. Frampton declined interviews and
listened quietly throughout much of the day. But he did stand to give a
brief response to the discussion.
"I've learned in approaching these contentious, complex natural
resource issues that we are unlikely to arrive at any policy unless
we're able to start out with some kind of shared vision," he said. "I
see a number of pretty contentious issues the next administration is
going to have to deal with, and on some, we don't have a shared vision."
Posted as a courtesy by
Daniel B. Wheeler
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