Rep. Mike Simpson spokesperson Nikki Watts' disingenuous assertion that "CIEDRA is overwhelmingly supported by Idahoans" is simply not true. CIEDRA has broad and vigorous opposition in Idaho and nationally. Eighty-seven conservation and sportsman's groups nationally (10 of them in Idaho) strongly oppose the bill.
CIEDRA would give away 5,693 acres of precious public lands. This is simply outrageous. It is abhorrent. I say a resounding no to slicing up, bartering, compromising and giving away for commercial development our public lands heritage.
I am an ardent supporter of real wilderness. CIEDRA is anything but. It would drastically dilute the intent of the 1964 Wilderness Act. It creates three islands of wilderness transected by motorized corridors. It is fiscally unsound. It transfers water rights from the federal government to the state—a bad idea. It codifies statutory long-term privileges for commercial outfitters. CIEDRA is a "paper wilderness" that would create more problems than it solves.
Especially galling is that CIEDRA would overturn key components of the visionary Public Law 92-400 which created the SNRA in 1972. Under that law the successful SNRA private lands program has prudently and wisely invested 65 million taxpayer dollars over 35 years for key scenic easement and visual land protections. To see this major public investment evaporate with obtrusive commercial development and garish trophy homes (on the prime 162 SNRA acres adjacent to Stanley for example) would be a high crime.
CIEDRA is blatant back-door good ol' boy corporate cronyism. Huge public land giveaways would be a national precedent-setting disaster. Please go to www.westernlands.org. Click on the upper right for two superb articles on bad "quid pro quo" public lands give away and sell off bills. Please help oppose the awful travesty this fatally flawed bill represents.
Retired SNRA land manager