Eye On Boise

Mussels a 'biological wildfire'

The House Agriculture Committee voted unanimously Tuesday in favor of SCR 109, the measure to allow the state agriculture director to use deficiency warrants, if needed, to fund emergency measures to fight invasive quagga and zebra mussels. The warrants allow spending right away, and the state must pay the bills. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)
The House Agriculture Committee voted unanimously Tuesday in favor of SCR 109, the measure to allow the state agriculture director to use deficiency warrants, if needed, to fund emergency measures to fight invasive quagga and zebra mussels. The warrants allow spending right away, and the state must pay the bills. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

Rep. Eric Anderson, R-Priest Lake, told the House Agriculture Committee today that quagga and zebra mussels should be thought of as a "biological wildfire" right at Idaho's border. He and Sen. Tim Corder, R-Mountain Home, were promoting SCR 109, the resolution to allow the state agriculture director to use deficiency warrants for emergency measures to keep the invasive mussels out of Idaho.

Rep. Dennis Lake, R-Blackfoot, said he's more accustomed to the warrants being used for active emergencies, like wildfires that already are raging or floods under way. The warrants - which run up bills the state then must pay - aren't generally used to  prevent wildfires or floods, he noted. Said Corder, "I agree that this is different." He said, "The fire's burning right up towards the border. ... If we saw the trees burning, but we can stop it at the border ... that's exactly what we're asking to be done." The mussels already have been found in Utah. The committee voted unanimously in favor of the resolution, which already passed the Senate; it moves now to the full House.




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