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Oregonian criticizes Congress for pushing back OR Wilderness bills

Oregon wilderness: Wait 'til next year
Editorial from the Oregonian criticizes Congress for pushing back OR Wilderness bills
Nov 18, 2008
By Rick Attig

An Oregon wilderness bill is stopped dead in Congress yet again.

This is getting old, watching them lug an Oregon wilderness bill up to the Hill for the umpteenth time, only to discover yet again that it's a false summit, that Congress can't get it done, that a cranky Oklahoma senator objects, that it's dead. This is a helluva way to save a natural treasure.

Supporting Mount Hood wilderness has become the natural resources equivalent of rooting for the Cubs. Everybody expects the new players -- more slick-fielding Democrats! -- will push it over the top. Then the game starts, and the Oregon wilderness team goes down swinging to journeyman pitchers most people have never heard of: Pombo, Coburn.

Wait til' next year, right?

There's nothing else to do. Oregon's lawmakers already all support, with varying levels of enthusiasm, the expanded wilderness at Mount Hood, and the new designation of wilderness at Soda Mountain, Copper Salmon, Badlands and Spring Basin. Lawmakers have held all the public meetings, done all the necessary fieldwork, to build strong bipartisan Oregon support for the changes. The fact is, Oregonians have done everything they possibly can to persuade Congress to protect forever some of the most important federal lands in this state.

That's not enough this year. But come January there will be some new names on the Oregon wilderness roster next year -- Merkley, Schrader. A promising new left-hander, Obama, will be in the White House. It's going to be a big, big year for Oregon wilderness.

Just you wait.

Yeah, just wait 'til next year.





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