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Senator, Cabinet members discuss collaborative conservation in St. Louis

Washington, DC â?? Idaho Senator Mike Crapo delivers remarks tomorrow in St. Louis, Missouri, to a national conference on conservation issues attended by members of President George W. Bushâ??s Cabinet. The Conference on Cooperative Conservation, sponsored by the White Houseâ??s Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), invited Crapo to speak and participate in discussion groups because of his work in collaboration in solving environmental issues and his efforts to update the Endangered Species Act by focusing on collaborative and consensus-building efforts.â??The conference will show that collaboration is hard work and that it does work for resolving conflict. Success stories and works in progress from across the country will be represented, and these are the type of solutions on the ground that are directing the Congress toward improvements in the Endangered Species Act, the Farm Bill, and other laws,â?? Crapo said. â??These case studies show we can get more done for endangered species, for the environment and those who live and work on the land when we work together rather than having court orders determine the outcome.â??Crapo co-chairs an ESA work group with Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-Arkansas) and is working with Senator Lincoln Chaffee (R-Rhode Island), Chairman of the Senate subcommittee on ESA issues, House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo (R-California) and others on draft legislation to improve the ESA by prioritizing incentives for landowners, collaborative efforts, involvement by state and local entities, resolving funding questions, and other issues.Crapo will join Interior Secretary Gale Norton, Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns, Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen Johnson during work sessions designed to facilitate President Bushâ??s directives that five Federal agencies implement cooperative conservation guidelines with an emphasis on including local participation. Crapo will speak Tuesday morning and participate in work sessions Wednesday. While at the conference, he will visit with Idahoans involved in conservation efforts such as Joyce Dearstyne of Elk City, Steve Thorson of Twin Falls, and Roy Prescott of Jerome. Dearstyne directs the Framing Our Community Program, which is reducing forest fuel loads while creating economic benefits to the local community. Her â??Jobs in the Woods Programâ?? created 15 jobs and $275,000 in economic development.# # #