February 22, 2006

Crapo Tells Legislative Collaborative Environmental Efforts Are Working

Idaho Legislature approves resolution supporting Senatorâ??s ESA bill

Boise â?? Idaho Senator Mike Crapo told members of the Idaho Senate and House this morning that efforts both in Idaho and nationwide are leading to meaningful improvements for both the environment and the economy that will ultimately benefit both species and private property owners under changes in the Endangered Species Act. During remarks today to the Idaho House, Crapo noted his appreciation for the Idaho legislatorsâ?? unanimous approval of House Joint Memorial 16, passed by the House just prior to his speech. HJM 16 backs Crapoâ??s efforts to improve the ESA.â??We are starting to get more and more successes in this country with collaborative decision-making,â?? Crapo said. â??We are trying to find the common ground, rather than the battleground, over the Endangered Species Act.â?? Crapo said his bill to improve the Act, S. 2210, the Collaboration for the Recovery of the Endangered Species Act (CRESA), seeks consensus-driven solutions by collaborative groups. Landowners willing to help species would be rewarded with tax credits and a guaranteed partnership on recovery efforts. â??It authorizes and opens the door for states and local communities to get involved with the management of species actions before species are listed as endangered,â?? Crapo said. â??We can start working to get ahead of the game with the local people who know the issues and how to best manage the species.â?? He added his CRESA bill also would prioritize species recovery efforts, focusing on those most in need and avoiding lengthy court fights costing valuable tax dollars.He said the evidence that collaborative decision-making is working ranges from agreement on the Idaho memorial passed today to local efforts such as those on sage grouse recovery which have avoided listings in Idaho. Crapo said a round of recently-completed negotiations to protect ranching and the environment of Owyhee County under the Owyhee Initiative are also proof collaboration is working and that it is the best hope to end â??gridlockâ?? under present laws.â??We have far too many laws that are punitive in their impact, and which generate conflict between various interest groups over environmental management,â?? Crapo told the Idaho House. â??The result is instead of working out solutions, we fight. We can do better.â??