December 25, 2008 in Voices

Vocal Point: Range improvement spending reckless

Jeanne M. Hom Correspondent
 

The Spokesman-Review’s Dec. 3, article, “Idaho proposal could reopen Farragut shooting range” is full of misinformation, as was presented by Idaho Fish and Game Regional Director Chip Corsi.

In these tough economic times, Idaho Fish and Game plans to spend $400,000 dollars on a shooting range at Farragut State Park. An unbelievable fact is that when they spend this money, of which they have already spent $270,000, and if they are successful in proving the range is safe, they will only be able to allow 500 shooters per year.

The Farragut State Park Shooting Range has been closed, by court order, for nearly two years. The Citizens Against Range Expansion has procured a court order, which states that the Farragut Shooting Range must fully contain its bullets, before it can open for 500 shooters per year. The court order clearly states: “In order to open for more than 500 shooters per year, IDFG must come to agreement with CARE as to noise limits, if the parties cannot agree to noise levels; the court will make that determination with additional evidence.”

The court order lists 10 “Statement of Facts,” which sets the noise standard criteria for the Farragut Shooting Range. IDFG’s Farragut Shooting Range project manager David Leptich stated in the court order, “If this range is improved, the local public benefits because it is a safer, quieter range.” The court found, “Neither the claim of increased safety nor the range being quieter is supported by the evidence.”

During the Dec. 1, public meeting, Corsi presented no evidence to any noise abatement engineering whatsoever. The truth is there are no noise abatements possible to meet the court noise standard criteria, except for putting the range in an enclosed building.

Corsi indicated that IDFG is not bound to the court order regarding noise. Corsi further stated that new state legislation, passed subsequent to the court order, set a noise standard for Idaho Fish and Game owned shooting ranges that is the noise standard the court must abide by.

Apparently, the state believes it can pass legislation that flies in the face of a court order. The new standard is absurd when compared to the court order on noise. It is obvious to CARE that our Legislature has failed to do its homework. The court order clearly and unequivocally sets a noise standard maximum, of a one-event 55dBA impulse-mode noise level, measured at the private property line. The new legislation, which was lobbied by IDFG after the court order, sets a standard of 64dBA, averaged over one hour, 20 feet from the nearest occupied residence.

IDFG believes it does not have to come to any agreement with CARE or the court to set a noise standard. In fact, CARE has asked IDFG the question: “Why don’t you ask the court if the new legislation supercedes the court order, especially before wasting tax dollars?”

The question was not asked. Why not? Why waste our tax dollars? In these economic times, IDFG continues to present misinformation. Enough is enough! It is time for IDFG to remove its blinders and for our Legislature to do its homework and hold IDFG accountable.

It seems unbelievable to improve the Farragut range at a cost of $400,000-plus for just 500 shooters a year. However, to hope that the court will reverse itself on its noise ruling, without asking it first, smacks of foolishness.

Idaho Fish and Game is single minded in its pursuit of range improvements, but what is most despicable, it is reckless.

Vocal Point is written by members of the community about issues of area interest. If you’d like to address a topic in this space, let us know. Contact Jeff Jordan at 927-2170 or by e-mail at voice@spokesman.com to discuss what you’d like to write. Reach Jeanne M. Hom by e-mail at jeannehom@gmail.com


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