Tuesday, September 2, 2014
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Tag Archives: Otter

Resignation or Not, Craig’s Power Over West is Gone

It was after a Congressional forest hearing, and Sen. Larry Craig found himself besieged by reporters and activists. He had tried to slip out the back door, but they caught him, and as he hopped into his car and motored away, a cycling activist grabbed his rear bumper and pedaled after him. “Pimp! Pimp! Pimp!” the activist shouted. That was 1996, and long before his Republican allies abandoned him amid allegations that Craig solicited sex from another man in an airport bathroom stall, the Idaho senator was cursed by environmentalists’ as an unflagging ally of timber, grazing and mining interests. His recent fall from power brings an end of an era. Craig was so beholden to industry that if he resigns, few others could follow in his footsteps, environmentalists say. Even if Gov. Butch Otter, a fellow Republican, appoints a staunch conservative to take his place, they say, it would be hard to match Craig’s anti-conservation legacy. And even if Craig doesn’t resign, his tumble from influential positions on key committees like appropriations and energy and natural resources would leave him far weaker than the Western power broker he once was. Read More »

Governor Issues Idaho Wildfire Disaster Emergency

Idaho is a disaster. Literally. Wildfires all over the state prompted Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter today to issue a statewide “disaster emergency” declaration. The declaration, a request of the state Bureau of Homeland Security based on the hazards of the state’s many uncontrolled wildfires, authorizes the use of state resources to assist in efforts to respond to wildfire concerns anywhere in Idaho. In other words, the goal of the declaration is to allow counties to get help more efficiently and to allow state officials to more easily help fight all the fires. Read More »

Governor Otter Applies to Add Idaho to Climate Registry

Idaho might soon be added to another national roster – the Climate Registry. Earlier this week, Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter announced that he applied for Idaho to become the 38th state on the registry and vowed that Idaho will work to establish and promote a voluntary statewide greenhouse gas emissions reporting and verification system. The registry, which was established in March 2007, is a “multi-state and tribe collaboration aimed at developing and managing a common greenhouse gas emissions reporting system with high integrity.” But endorsing a greenhouse gas reduction program is only part of what being a member of the registry includes. Read More »

Otter Declares Disaster for Five Counties

It feels like it has been over 100 degrees for a very long time in Boise. The neighborhood lawns, generally a green fescue, are rotting yellow hay. And people, not just the ones with asthma, are hacking all over the city because of the wildfire smoke wafting into the Valley. But it isn't just smoke in the Valley that's a fire concern. In response to requests from local authorities addressing the hot weather and wildfire activity, Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter on Monday issued “disaster emergency” declarations for five Idaho counties. The counties – Cassia, Idaho, Nez Perce, Owyhee, and Twin Falls counties – contacted the Governor’s office hoping for the disaster declarations Read More »

State Controller Kerfluffle: More to Come?

It looks as if Idaho’s Controller, Donna Jones, may have been taken to the woodshed – the one in Governor Butch Otter’s office. On Monday morning, Jones issued a press release criticizing Otter’s proposal to pay for Idaho’s worsening roads and bridges by raising taxes. She said the state’s current budget surplus of $247 million should be used for needed repairs. Jones said in the release: “As a former legislator, seeing a surplus of this magnitude brings two thoughts to mind. First, taxes are too high on Idaho’s families. Second, instead of looking at raising taxes to pay for road and bridge repair, the Legislature could potentially use $200 million of this surplus to tackle Idaho’s backlog of road repairs.” But just an hour or so later, Jones told Read More »

Warren Jones Appointed to Idaho Supreme Court

Idaho Governor Butch Otter has named Boise trial lawyer Warren Jones to the Idaho Supreme Court. He’ll join the panel in July, after the retirement of Chief Justice Gerald Schroeder. Schroeder has said he preferred an appointed successor so that candidates would come from a well-qualified pool of applicants. Read More »

Idaho Governor Otter Signs on to Global Climate Challenge

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Idaho Gov. Butch Otter has signed an executive order to have the Department of Environmental Quality coordinate efforts by state agencies to track greenhouse gas emissions. I applaud this effort by my governor. It's a refreshing change of pace from the business as usual approach many Idaho political leaders have been taking on this critical issue. Those of you who have read my comments elsewhere on New West know my position on this issue. It is one that I have come to after reviewing the scientific basis for anthropogenic climate change. Many out there are still skeptical, and that is an understandable position to take. The Earth’s atmosphere is a very complex system, with multiple forms of equilibria interacting simultaneously. However, there are a few things that are crystal clear to me. First, by examining the Keeling curve, which has measured the concentration of atmospheric CO2 since the late 1950s, it is clear that there has been a constant trend upwards over that time. It is rising at a rate of 1-2 ppm each year and has risen in absolute terms about 20% over the last four decades of the 20th century. If we also look at the paleological data (page 31 of linked PDF file) acquired from ice cores drilled in Antarctica, we see that the present day observed levels of the gas far exceed anything that has been naturally occurring over the past several hundred thousand years. The only reasonable explanation for the current increase is Read More »

Chasing Free Marketeers in Havana

Posing with Che

Just got back from 10 days in Havana... The Boise Weekly bought me a plane ticket down there to chase Idaho Gov. Butch Otter around as he tried to sell potatoes and other Idaho agricultural goods to Cuba. I wrote a story about the trip last week and have another one coming out on Wednesday. Click on the banner above to see some pictures from Havana. Here are some impressions of the island... Read More »

Just One Wild and Crazy Reporter Makes It To Cuba With Gov. Butch Otter

You have to hand it to Nathaniel Hoffman and the Boise Weekly. Using nothing more magic than a letter to the Cuban government requesting a visa, Hoffman is in Havana, Cuba covering Idaho Governor Butch Otter’s trade mission – the only reporter to make it. Boise’s Big Two - The Idaho Statesman and KTVB Channel 7 - aren’t there. As far as we’ve been able to find out, Hoffman is it. Idaho Statesman Managing Editor Bill Manny told New West, “We’d hoped to send someone along, but at the same time the dates were announced we were told by Otter’s office that no reporters would be allowed with the delegation. By then there just wasn’t time to pursue it.” Boise Weekly Editor Shea Anderson said that when Hoffman's visa application was received, the Cuban government called Governor Otter’s office to ask if a reporter from the Weekly should be allowed in for the trade mission. “It was all done officially," he said. Read More »