Strip the Riders from Interior Billby Editors
Scranton Times, September 28, 2000
Faced with public support for the environment, sound science and the inability to pass anti-environmental legislation on its merits, a number of lawmakers in Washington are attempting to attach "riders" to the Interior appropriations bill.
The most controversial is an attempt by Sen. Slade Gorton, a Washington Republican, to kill the prospects for dam removal on the Snake River and its tributaries, before the matter even reaches the stage of a full debate. He has attached a rider to the Interior bill that would preclude any funding for even a study of the matter.
Environmentalists claim that Northwest salmon populations are threatened by the dams, which have been built by the federal government primarily to provide the Northwest with the nation's cheapest electricity, and to enable farmers to ship grain to port by barge.
Competing claims should be debated, but Mr. Gorton's rider would simply silence the opposition.
The Interior bill now has been saddled with a host of other riders, many of which are nods to special interests by their congressional sponsors.
Both Houses should strip the riders from the bill and send a clean Interior appropriations package to the president.
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