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Kempthorne Grills Wildlife Nominee Challenges Clark To Lend An Ear To Bull Trout, Other Idaho Issues

The Clinton administration’s nominee to become director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service promised Sen. Dirk Kempthorne her agency’s cooperation as Idaho deals with endangered and threatened species issues.

During Jamie Clark’s confirmation hearing Wednesday before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Kempthorne said attempts to reintroduce grizzly bears in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness and to list the bull trout and Bruneau Hot Springs snail for federal protection demonstrated a lack of cooperation with the people and government in Idaho.

“Can you assure me that grizzly bears will not be released in Idaho within the next 18 months, and the state of Idaho will have an opportunity to work with the service to define the conditions regarding this issue?” he asked Clark.

“I will assure you, senator, that I believe we have ample time to work together with you, the state and other interested parties to address the concerns of the state of Idaho and to address the needs of the grizzly bear and to ensure that all of our collective interests are met,” she replied.

Clark also agreed to address issues Kempthorne raised about protecting public safety and the authority of the citizen’s advisory committee on grizzly bears.

In addition, she said she would work with the state on pre-listing agreements for bull trout and on conservation agreements for Bruneau Hot Springs snails, as well as to use updated data from Owyhee County aquifer monitoring wells.

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