Letters to the editor from this week's Chronicle:

Federal Obligation 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 county services. 
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  Without reauthorization, forested counties are subject to payments based on the outdated 25 percent receipt formula.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 legislative action.  
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 the following:
·* In September, a bipartisan group of my Senate colleagues and I introduced legislation that would reauthorize the PILT program for ten years. 
 * 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.

Redneck Review!
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." (In Berlin) 
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 ... and again!!!) 
Jake Wren

Cottonwood, Idaho 83522


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