Idaho wilderness bill fails

  • Sen. Larry Craig is an Idaho Conservation League ad

  Idaho Rep. Larry LaRocco, D, abandoned his attempt to push an Idaho wilderness bill through Congress this year. LaRocco struggled for 18 months to formulate a bill, but shelved it this July. "Once you get into the summer months and closer to November ... the people who like to kill things become active," said LaRocco in The Idaho Statesman. The bill called for adding 1.36 million acres of wilderness, most of it in LaRocco's congressional district, to the 4 million acres already in the state. Conservationists supported 6.5 million acres. John McCarthy, conservation director for the Idaho Conservation League, says the group thought LaRocco showed leadership on the issue, but bowed to pressure from the timber industry. The statewide group reserved harsher criticism for Sen. Larry Craig, R, who, it says, has blocked any new wilderness designation for the state. In advertisements that ran in major Idaho newspapers, the group compared Craig's refusal to introduce or negotiate a wilderness bill to an ostrich sticking its head in the sand. If Craig doesn't change, the ad says, there is "zippo" future for Idaho wilderness. For more information about the wilderness issue and the Idaho Conservation League's ad campaign call 1/800-Green ID.

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