The flaws of Harry Reid

  Dear HCN,

The recent cover article in HCN suggested that Sen. Harry Reid was the best Western environmental senator (HCN, 9/28/98). While he is far superior to many of his colleagues, the article failed to mention many of his shortcomings. For example, Sen. Reid is co-sponsor of legislation that would transfer thousands of acres of land to Clark County (Las Vegas) for a new regional cargo airport at dirt-cheap prices. The airport would vastly increase the low-level overflights on surrounding wilderness and park areas.

He also worked with Sen. Kempthorne of Idaho on legislation to reauthorize the Endangered Species Act. This legislation relied heavily on habitat conservation plans and "no surprises."

But the worst aspect of his environmental record pertains to mining. Sen. Reid singlehandedly has blocked reform of the General Mining Law of 1872, which establishes mining as the premier use of public lands. He even authored a rider this session which prohibits the BLM from reforming its mining regulations. The bulk of these regulations were written in the early 1980s, before cyanide heap-leach operations became prevalent.

Tom Myers

Reno, Nevada

Tom Myers is a board member of Great Basin Mine Watch and on the steering committee of the Western Mining Activists Network.

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