Walden seeks to restore compensation in Cascade-Siskiyou Wilderness

Congressman Greg Walden (R‑Ore.) announced he will introduce
as soon as this week legislation to set aside 24,100 acres in the Cascade‑Siskiyou
National Monument as protected wilderness. The bill will closely mirror
legislation introduced by Senator Gordon Smith (R‑Ore.) and Ron Wyden (D‑Ore.),
but will restore a cornerstone provision that is now conspicuously missing from
the Senate bill after it was amended last week.

 

 

That
missing language includes the deal reached between environmentalists and
ranchers to fully compensate ranchers for giving up their grazing leases before
wilderness is established. Congressman Walden’s bill would put that agreement,
which was reached at the beginning of this process, back in legislative
writing.

"Where
I grew up, a handshake is as good as a contract. In Washington, D.C., I’ve
learned that you better get it in writing," Walden said. "I’ve found out the
hard way that if you don’t have a guarantee in writing, it likely won’t happen.
By including a guarantee for full compensation, we will ensure that the
wilderness and the buyouts reach the finish line at the same time."

"I
don’t want a pivotal party to this agreement to fall prey to a bait and switch.
I want a square deal," Walden said.

The
language providing federal funds to compensate ranchers for voluntarily giving
up their rights to grazing leases that was originally included in the
Smith/Wyden bill (S. 2379) was stripped during a Senate markup today.

Walden’s
bill will also make clear a deal between the conservation community and
ranchers that private funds will help pay for the grazing buyouts.

Speak Your Mind

*