to the editor from this week's Chronicle:
to Counties must be met
Guest column submitted by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo
In September, Idaho County Commissioners visited my office as part of their
making the case to Congress about the need to reauthorize Payments in Lieu
of Taxes (PILT) and the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination
Act (SRS). While I welcome opportunities to get a sense of local
needs, local officials should be spared the time and expense of having
to continuously make the case for this federal responsibility. The
federal government must meet its responsibility to rural communities home
to federal land and provide much-needed certainty to these counties so
they can budget appropriately according to expected revenue and provide
much needed services.
These payments are a lifeline to rural communities that depend on them
for vital functions like law enforcement, emergency response, public health
and critical transportation infrastructure. Lands managed by the
federal government cannot be taxed by local or state governments.
Critical services in federal forested counties have historically been funded
in part with a 25 percent share of timber receipts from federal U.S. Forest
Service Land. As those revenues fell due to reduced timber harvest,
SRS was enacted in 2000 to help bridge the gap to keep rural schools open,
provide road maintenance, support search and rescue efforts and other essential
The SRS program expired on September 30, 2018. Without reauthorization,
forested counties are subject to payments based on the outdated 25 percent
receipt formula. Similarly, the PILT program expired on September
30, 2019, with final payments to counties expected in spring 2020, absent
I joined a bipartisan group of 31 senators in sending a letter, led
by Senators James E. Risch (R-Idaho) and Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), to Senate
Leadership urging the inclusion of a two-year reauthorization of the PILT
and SRS programs in any end-of-year legislation. We wrote, “As history
has proved, without the certainty of these two critical programs, schools,
libraries, and jails will close. The services counties continue to provide
will see a reduction in staffing and resources. Roads will go unpaved and
become unsafe. Mental health and physical health services will be scaled
back and in some cases even ended. Fewer and fewer law enforcement officers
will be forced to patrol larger and larger areas.” This is one recent
step in addition to the many other recent related actions that include
·* In September, a bipartisan group of my Senate colleagues
and I introduced legislation that would reauthorize the PILT program for
* Also in September, a bipartisan group of senators and I sent
a letter, led by Senator Risch, to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue
urging the expediting of nominations to Resource Advisory Committees (RACs)
to assist with disbursement of SRS funds used for important projects such
as trail maintenance, weed abatement and watershed restoration.
* Earlier this year, Senators Wyden, Risch and I reintroduced
the bipartisan S. 1643, the Forest Management for Rural Stability Act,
that would establish a growing endowment to provide funding needed for
schools, road maintenance, law enforcement and other essential services.
Thank you to local Idaho community leaders and others for helping
make the case of why it is important to meet this federal obligation given
the enormous amount of tax-exempt federal land in many rural counties.
There are major federal budgeting challenges, but this is a federal obligation
that must be met. Enactment of this legislation would provide much-needed
stability to these counties so they can provide essential services while
bipartisan work continues to end the financial uncertainty thousands of
rural counties face nationwide.
No. 233 - 10/14/2019
Another quick look at the "Climate change" (really "Global Warning")
info that has hit our news the past couple of weeks. RNR 232 hinted last
week that we could well be experiencing another PIED PIPER incident! A
rash of sensational news the week before was found in the Lewiston Tribune,
giving the reader a serious reason to believe that the warming of our planet
could well spell our doomsday in coming decades!
Just a quick recap! "Moscow students joining 'climate strike' " They
were "galvanized" the Trib article stated "by a 2018 report, stating that
if Earth warms more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, climate change would become
irreversible." A day later, student Robanna Brosten is quoted, "Climate
change is one of the most important things facing the world today." Also,
Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg was allowed to address the UN meeting in
session, saying she represented "hundreds of thousands of young people
insisting the warming world can't wait any longer." She added during that
address the comment "Shame on you" because the world was not acting fast
enough to deal with the problem. Then reviewed there also was the Trib
article quoting a UN report: "Oceans and ice are in trouble ... he planet
is in hot water-literally ... melting ice will drive up sea levels ...
the world will see about 3ft of sea level rise by the end of the century
Why not add another recent Trib article, this one in the 2A section,
Oct. 8. The Title? "Climate activists march in global protests." The article
begins: "Berlin -- Activists with the 'Extinction Rebellion' movement blocked
major roads across European cities Monday, kicking off world wide protests
demanding much more action against climate change." And the article goes
on to state: "1000 people blocked the Grosser Stern, a traffic circle."
Wow! Sounds very serious! And it might well be! But, could it be nothing
more than modern PIED PIPERS as suggested last week, leading well-meaning
but maybe unknowing individuals into demanding or accepting the remedy
proposed by certain world leaders? Essentially just eliminate or significantly
reduce the coal, oil and gas fuels that today provides up to 85% of our
modern power needs!
A look back at earlier "Climate change" articles in these RNR's suggests
an interesting pattern! Articles 37-40, 1/25/16 on, quotes similar disaster
statements like those above. Then again, in four articles printed in 2016,
one finds a review of the same kind of articles, again flooding the local
news! The same can be found in four RNR articles in Aug and Sept of 1918!
Seems like every year, the PIPER pipes up and scares us to death! Well,
there is another side to this story!
What about the 10/2 Trib story detailed last week: "Montana rides out
record-setting ... blizzard." And Oct. 10 in the 2C Trib: "Early snow knocks
out power in Spokane." Avista reported there: "32,000 customers were without
power ... schools canceled classes ... " More detail given there!! And
what do you think about the FARMER'S ALMANAC prediction just released that
"Winter 2020 will be 'Freezing, Frigid, and Frosty?'" They called the past
winter quite accurately!
What about John Caseys' book COLD WINTER which cites scientists around
the world claiming that "sun hibernation" is sending us into a future 30
year cold period which will end our current warming spell and bottom out
about 2035? And what about the large number of climate graphs which tell
us of repeated cycles of warm and of cold periods in the past? (More next
week that suggests the PIED PIPER may be piping again ... and again ...
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