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Nader Says Limit Logging, Breach Dams

by Mark Warbis, Associated Press
Spokesman Review, June 10, 2000

Green Party candidate critical of Bush, Gore
for not visiting smaller states

BOISE -- Ralph Nader, consumer advocate and Green Party presidential candidate, took an unconventional approach on Friday to winning over traditionally conservative voters in timber-rich Idaho.

He called breaching four lower Snake River dams, allowing production of industrial hemp and banning national forest logging the right things to do for the state economically, despite what the corporate and bureaucratic elite says.

And Nader, visiting his 46th state since March, accused Democratic Vice President Al Gore and Republican Texas Gov. George W. Bush of "cynical political calculation" for not campaigning in such sparsely populated states as Idaho.

If Bush brings his presidential campaign to Idaho before November, it figures to be only briefly, in between other appearances. He is almost certain to run away with the state's four electoral votes.

And Gore, whom many blame for the Clinton administration's unpopular roadless lands policy, is not expected to visit overwhelmingly Republican Idaho at all.

"If you're going to campaign for the presidency of the United States, you should campaign in every state in the United States," Nader told about 100 people at Boise State University. "If George W. Bush is going to take Idaho for granted, I'd like to take Idaho from him."

Amy Heart of Moscow, the Nader campaign's state coordinator, said supporters hope to gather signatures from about 7,000 registered voters by Aug. 31 -- at least 4,918 of which must be verified -- to win their candidate a place on Idaho's November general election ballot.

The secretary of state's office said 4,917 verified signatures would be required by Aug. 24 to qualify an independent candidacy for the ballot, or 9,834 by Aug. 30 to qualify a new party and its certified candidates for the ballot.

The Green Party is not currently recognized by Idaho.

Heart said 400 to 500 signatures had been collected so far in Idaho in support of Nader and his running mate, American Indian activist Winona LaDuke.

The crowd on Friday, primarily college students, was receptive to the anti-big business, anti-special interest, pro-campaign-finance-reform message from the man who first gained notoriety when he took on the automobile industry in the 1960s.

Nader, who got 1 percent of the vote for president in 1996, called today's Republican and Democratic parties "essentially one corporate party with two heads wearing different makeup."

And he decried a political system controlled by "the greedy and corrupt" that -- despite a decade of unprecedented prosperity -- has allowed the highest rate of child poverty in the western world and resulted in more people working longer hours for less real income than 20 years ago.

In Idaho, Nader called for a permanent ban on all logging in national forests, which he said "should be preserved, not exploited and destroyed."

"We have them in trust for present and future generations of Americans," he said, and the state stands to realize much greater economic benefit from recreation- and tourism-related businesses in the forests than from timber.

Nader, 66, also said the federal government should give up its opposition to growing industrial hemp, which can be used in fuel, food, clothing, cosmetics and lubricants in place of wood fiber.

And he endorsed dam breaching as the best way to restore dwindling Northwest salmon runs.

"There's an overwhelming case for it," Nader said, contending the economic benefits of related recreation opportunities would far outweigh what he characterized as the minimal downside from the loss of electricity production, irrigation and shipping.

Mark Warbis, Associated Press
Nader Says Limit Logging, Breach Dams
Spokesman Review, June 10, 2000

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