September 27, 2006

Owyhee Initiative Act has first hearing

Crapo cites collaboration, â??surge in supportâ?? during testimony

Washington, DC â?? Idaho Senator Mike Crapo cited five years of collaboration and a surge of public support for the Owyhee agreement today during testimony before the first hearing on his Owyhee Initiative Implementation Act, S. 3794. Idaho Senator Larry Craig chaired the hearing of a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests. Crapo thanked Craig for the timely hearing and said he was looking forward to working with Craig on the legislation following the upcoming recess. â??Today was a very positive day for the Owyhee Initiative. This hearing focused on the issues at hand and featured strong testimony from Idahoans, witnesses both pro and con and from the Administration. Forums like this will only build on the support that the Owyhee Initiative has already received. I compliment and thank Chairman Craig for his leadership and promptness in scheduling todayâ??s hearing and his ongoing willingness to work with us on the legislation during October and beyond.â?? During his testimony, Crapo cited the collaboration and cooperation among local leaders over the five years of working on the agreement and how that has made the Owyhee legislation possible. â??The Owyhee Initiative represents the next generation of collaborative and cooperative conservation. It transforms protracted conflict and uncertainty into resolution with bright prospects for the future. Ranchers can plan for subsequent generations. Off-road vehicle users have access ensured. Wilderness is established. The Shoshone-Paiute Tribe knows that cultural resources will be protected. The Air Force will train its pilots in perpetuity. Local, state and federal government agencies will have structure to assist in joint management of the region. The Owyhee Initiative protects water rights, releases wilderness study areas and protects traditional uses. This will all coincide with the preservation of environmental and ecological health. This is a revolutionary land management structure that looks ahead to the future,â?? Crapo said. â??This canâ??t be called solely a ranching, wilderness, Air Force or Tribal bill. It is comprehensive land management legislation. Each group negotiated aggressively, and now remarkably, each supports the objectives of those with whom they had previous conflict,â?? he added. â??The status quo is unacceptable. The Owyhee Canyonlands and its inhabitants deserve their conflicts be resolved in a meaningful and timely fashion. The surge in support since the introduction has been powerful, with letters of support received from dozens of organizations and entities. As with the Work Group that forged this agreement, the advocates of the bill have proved diverse and strong. The Owyhee Canyonlands, all its inhabitants and cultures are truly a treasure of Idaho and the United States; I ask you to join me in ensuring their future by passing this legislation.â??