Oh No, Mr. (Interior) Bill
A rider tacked onto the Interior Department spending bill, courtesy of Sens. Slade Gorton (R-Wash.) and Larry Craig (R-Idaho), would stall a large federal land and wildlife management plan for 64 million acres in the Pacific Northwest. The Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project — covering federal lands in eastern Washington, eastern Oregon, Idaho, and Montana — is intended to take a broad regional approach to land management, as Pres. Clinton’s controversial Northwest Forest Plan did in the region’s western areas. Industry groups fear the plan would curtail logging, recreation, and other land uses, while enviros fear it won’t adequately protect land. The Gorton-Craig rider, which the Clinton administration opposes, would require the feds to gather more public comment and report to Congress on the plan’s cost and impact before implementing it.