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GOP Group Calls for Action on Rep. Simpson's CIEDRA

April 3, 2012

BOISE, Idaho - The group Republicans for Environmental Protection says there are at least 19 Republican-backed bills in the U.S. House that would designate new wilderness areas, conserve wetlands and fight invasive species in 14 states, including Idaho, but the bills seem to be taking a back seat to other priorities in Congress.

The group's vice president, Jim DiPeso, says they've asked House Speaker John Boehner to help change that.

"We wanted to plant the seed and offer a respectful reminder that Republicans support these bills, conservation is conservative, and these bills make a lot of sense and they should be passed."

Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson's Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act (CIEDRA) is on the group's list of Republican bills stalled in the House. The bill would designate more than 300,000 acres as wilderness, as well as open other areas to some development to benefit local counties.

DiPeso points out that some of the nation's major environmental decisions were made by Republican presidents.

"Ronald Reagan signed more wilderness bills than any other president, before or since his administration. And what we're trying to say is that conservation is conservative."

Rep. Simpson's bill does face controversy from groups concerned about limits on logging and motorized recreation, as well as opposition from groups that think it opens up too much land to private companies.

CIEDRA is HR 163. Other bills the group is pushing are listed at www.rep.org.

Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - ID