Sunday, November 16, 2008

Senator Coburn tells Oregon if they want wilderness to pay for it themselves

Senator Coburn is holding up a perk for Oregon because it makes taxpayers in Mississippi, Kansas and West Virginia pay for Oregon's perks. Good for him. Oregon, pay for your own wilderness, since you want it so, so badly. If I go there to use it you will make money from goods and services I buy. Oregon Environment News -
An Oklahoma senator who makes frequent light of what he calls examples of Oregon "pork" spending once again blocked new Mount Hood wilderness legislation Friday, despite wide support in the rest of the Senate. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., pledged to filibuster a massive lands bill that included about 125,000 acres of new wilderness on Mount Hood and along the Columbia River Gorge, in Idaho's Owyhee canyons and elsewhere in California, Colorado and New Mexico. Coburn's filibuster could have forced the Senate to burn up to three days considering the bill. Senate leaders decided they didn't have those days to spare amid pressing legislation such as a rescue for the auto industry and extension of unemployment insurance benefits. However, a top aide to Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said that although the bill may have to wait until next year, it will pass. "Sen. Coburn is delaying the inevitable," said Josh Kardon, Wyden's chief of staff. "The new Congress with the new president will pass the wilderness bill. It's just a matter of time." Coburn has been the nemesis of new Mount Hood wilderness over the past year, repeatedly defying attempts by Wyden and Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore., to push their wilderness legislation through. He contends that the roughly $10 million cost for mapping and surveying is wasteful federal spending. The Oklahoma senator takes pride in making light of federal spending in a "pork report" on his Web site. On Friday, two of the eight examples in Coburn's pork report came from Oregon. One of the examples quoted an Oregonian headline describing "arty upgrades," including new lamps, sidewalks, bike lanes and trees, on Northeast 102nd Avenue in Portland funded with $5.4 million in federal earmarks. Another example described a "junket to Mexico" by Umatilla School District officials to brush up on Spanish skills and absorb Latino culture.

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