Rep. George Nethercutt said he will try to get assurances from the Clinton administration at a hearing next week that a sweeping environmental review in the Columbia River Basin won’t affect private-property owners.
The House appropriations subcommittee on the interior, on which the Washington Republican serves, will hold an oversight hearing Tuesday on the Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project.
The Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management are conducting the review over 144 million acres in seven states - Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and portions of Nevada, Utah and Wyoming. The goal is to assess the condition of fish and wildlife in the region, and develop plans to protect them.
Nethercutt and Sen. Slade Gorton, R-Wash., failed in an effort to block completion of a formal environmental impact statement as part of the review.
But they did succeed in attaching language to a budget bill President Clinton signed that specifically prohibits any new fish or wildlife protections from being extended to private property.