BOISE - The Idaho Senate wants Congress to make Craters of the Moon a national park, but only if current uses, including hunting and grazing, are protected.
Senators voted 20-13 in favor of a non-binding memorial to Congress calling for the action after a long debate, in which some expressed doubt about whether those current uses really could be protected in a national park.
Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls, noted that a memorial to Congress, long nicknamed a “hanky in the wind” in Idaho, doesn’t have any force of law.
“They have a special shredder that they receive these things, and they shred ’em all – they never pay attention,” Davis said. “So who is going to pay attention? Four members of Congress,” referring to Idaho’s delegation. “And those four members of Congress are going to craft something that makes sense for Idaho. I have confidence in those four individuals to take this hanky in the wind … and try to write legislation that covers these concerns.”
Davis said people in the communities around Craters of the Moon are “pleading for some opportunity to have some serious economic development. And this is what they have brought.”
Sen. Cliff Bayer, R-Meridian, noted that the Idaho Farm Bureau is opposing the move.
But Sen. Jeff Siddoway, R-Terreton, the measure’s Senate sponsor, said he is confident that Idaho’s representatives will protect current uses.
“You can come up with all kinds of excuses and ask all kinds of questions, but our congressional delegation is going to have to write a bill that will guarantee the existing uses, and not disallow us the opportunity to expand our economy,” Siddoway said.
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