Minnick, salmon dams and wheat farmers

I walked out Boise's Arid Club Aug. 20, 2003 and bumped into Former TJ International CEO Walt Minnick, two former Interior secretaries, Cecil Andrus, Bruce Babbitt along with Save our Wild Salmon leaders Pat Ford and Nicole Cordan going in.

Babbitt was in Idaho after a fund-raiser for the salmon group in Ketchum. Minnick had arranged the lunch for Andrus and he to talk to Babbitt, the most prominent voice calling for breaching the four lower Snake dams to save Idaho's salmon.

Who is the West's next federal landlord?

One of the great parlor games of the West is to guess who the next president will choose as the Interior Secretary.

The man or woman who will succeed Idaho’s Dirk Kempthorne will be the nation's top wildlife manager, federal landlord of more than 507 million acres of national parks, rangeland and wildlife refuges.

He would manage more than 600 dams that bring water to 31 million Westerners and irrigate 60 percent of all the vegetables grown in the United States. He would be in charge of the fate of 1,265 threatened or endangered species.

Minnick and Sali disagree on climate change

Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Sali and Democrat Walt Minnick offer voters a clear difference on the issue of climate change. Sali is skeptical it exists. Minnick believes it is second in priority only to the world’s current economic woes.

“I take climate change seriously,” Minnick said in a forum before the Meridian Chamber of Commerce.

Simpson makes Esquire's "10 Best " list in Congress

Idaho Republican Rep. Mike Simpson was named the 6th best Congressman by Esquire Magazine.

Esquire included the 2nd District Congressman in its list of the 10 best in its November issue.

What is nuclear power's future in an uncertain financial environment?

Alternative Energy Holdings has gone through the first of a series of hearings on its proposed nuclear plant in Elmore County. But it has a long way to go to get the zoning changes it will need, let alone the money.

I palled around with a domestic terrorist

I must confess. I served on a committee with a domestic terrorist who was wanted by the government. You might say we “palled around” since we shared a few drinks at cocktail parties.

Sali seeks to portray Minnick as radical environmentalist

On Thursday, oil prices dropped to $89 a barrel from a July high of $147 and Idaho U.S. Rep. Bill Sali blamed his Democratic opponent, Walt Minnick for high gas prices .

New energy economy may help INL and Idaho

The financial rescue plan, the economy’s dramatic drop and the need to scale back federal spending to reduce the deficit may mean hard times for segments of Idaho’s economy.

For every dollar Idahoans paid in federal taxes in 2005 we got approximately $1.21 back from the federal government. That percentage also could go down. I predict some of that cutback is going to come in farm programs and highway funds.

Craig-Wyden councils offer chance to steer forest restoration

The extension of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act, brings back from the dead Resource Advisory Councils that direct a portion of the spending of the funds on projects like weed control, habitat improvement and fire prevention.

These councils, called by participants RACS , included a wide membership including labor and industry, environmentalists, recreation people, elected officials, tribal representatives and educators.

Craig burys hatchet with Wyden to get school funds

Idaho Republican Sen. Larry Craig and Democrat Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon came together last week to keep federal money flowing into rural schools and counties.

The two senators crossed the aisle in 2000 to craft the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act, which offset lost timber receipts with federal money in 700 counties in 39 states. It also established collaborating committees that included many of the combatants in the timber wars of the 1980s in each county to approve spending on projects on national forests.

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