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Eye On Boise

He Otter know

Congressman Butch Otter said today that he voted against this year’s transportation bill because it didn’t streamline the environmental permitting process for road projects. “It’s still taking us 15 years in order to build a bridge in New Jersey,” he told the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce. “I personally volunteered to negotiate some mitigation with the Army Corps of Engineers and EPA, because I told them I had some experience.”

In 2001, Otter paid $50,000 in fines for his third violation of the federal Clean Water Act, for work he did without a permit to convert marshy areas on his property into park-like ponds.

Otter made frequent references to the incident in his remarks. “I also told them I sold my backhoe – it cost me $50,000 every time I got on it,” he said to laughter.

Later, when asked about his opposition to amnesty for illegal immigrants, Otter said, “If they’re gonna forgive and forget … I got some stuff I want EPA to do.”

Overall, the two-term Republican, who is running for re-election and faces Democratic challenger Naomi Preston, said Congress won’t do much between now and the election. “What’s gonna happen in Washington between now and November? Nothin’,” he said to laughter. “I should say very little. The Senate is really bogged down.”

He described the U.S. Senate as “one of the only institutions in the world that can successfully talk for 72 hours without doing anything.”

Eye On Boise

News, happenings and more from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.