Idaho Being Cut Out of Salmon Recovery Moneyby Associated Press
Idaho Mountain Express 12/12/01
LEWISTON (AP) -- A coalition of Northwest legislators may look to reopen debate on the $110 million Pacific salmon coastal recovery bill.
The legislatioin that funds efforts of states and tribes to recover threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead runs was passed last month.
But the bill included no money for Idaho and gave Washington and Alaska a greater share of the pot than Oregon and California.
Now senators from Idaho, Oregon and California may work to take a new look at the way the money was allocated.
As the bill stands now, Washington will receive $34 million, Alaska $27 million and Oregon and California will each receive $17 million. Idaho was left out of the picture when House and Senate versions of the bill were reconciled in a conference committee.
Crapo was not willing to point fingers at senators from Alaska or Washington for keeping Idaho out of the mix, but did say there was some regional politics involved.
"I think the numbers speak for themselves," Crapo said.
Both Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington, and Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, hold sway because of their positions on committees and subcommittees important to the funding process.
Crapo said it will be politically difficult to change the bill for fiscal year 2002 because it would mean taking money away from the other states. Idahos best shot is for the 2003 fishcal year, he said.
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