Former Idaho Gov. Cecil Andrus has supported Rep. Mike Simpson’s Boulder-White Clouds for more than a decade but he doesn’t like the latest version.
Andrus called Simpson’s latest version, which I wrote about Sunday, a (GOP Sen. Jim) “Risch bill.”
“It's not acceptable in any way, shape or form,” Andrus said.
Instead, he said he supports President Obama proclaiming the area a national monument until Simpson’s original bill passes. Andrus was speaking to a luncheon at the Andrus Center for Public Policy to a full house crowd of more than 50 people along with Idaho Conservation League director Rick Johnson.
Andrus had a conversation with Obama last week and Johnson also expressed his support for protecting the Boulder-White Clouds to the President when he was in Boise.
Andrus held up a letter from 44 former members of the late Sen. Frank Church to President Obama supporting a monument.
Simpson and Risch both say the latest bill is Simpson’s but Risch is working with him to pass it this time instead of stopping it as he did in 2010. The latest version at 292,000 acres is 36,000 acres less than the previous version and all of the motorized trails in the area will remain open, pleasing motorcycle riders and snowmobilers.
Johnson, who always has worked closely with Simpson on his wilderness bill, spoke warmly of the Republican Congressman and said he still counts on him. But he’s not sure he will be able to get any bill through this Congress and he too supports a national monument proposal he and others have fashioned protecting more than 500,000 acres including most of the East Fork of the Salmon River watershed.
“Hope is not a strategy,” Johnson said.
Johnson said it will take the support of the entire Idaho delegation to get Simpson’s bill passed.
“It will not pass without leadership of both the senators and representatives,” Johnson said.