Congressman Newhouse seems really committed to comparing the Boise Airport and the four lower Snake River dams. Not only is that comparison so flawed that it is absurd, but it is also striking because it reveals how little Congressman Newhouse understands the situation that these dams have created in Idaho’s Second Congressional District.
Congressman Newhouse, let me just say that if the Boise Airport were spilling 1,000 gallons of jet fuel a day into the Snake River and poisoning your farmers’ crops, we would be grateful for someone to propose a solution that would allow my constituents to continue to have access to air travel and your constituents continued access to clean water.
If operations at the Boise Airport had been tied up in litigation for 30 years and court rulings continued to inch closer and closer toward one that would wreak havoc on the entire economy of the Pacific Northwest, and someone came up with a concept to help avoid that fate, guess what? I’d be willing to listen to that person, even if I didn’t like some of the aspects of that concept.
“We must consider comprehensive solutions to this extremely complex challenge,” said Congressman Newhouse. I think what he meant to say was, “we must consider only solutions that I agree with and are politically easy for me to support” to solve this challenge. I understand that Congressman Newhouse may feel that attacking me is politically popular in his district right now. But that statement, along with his advocacy for relying on “science, facts, and data — not hyperbole, emotions or ideologically-driven arguments,” at this point is laughable.
May I remind Congressman Newhouse that he is the one comparing an airport to four dams. He is the one that is so emotionally charged over this issue that he invited himself to the Andrus Center conference to make these illogical comparisons. And he is the one using the work of far-left environmental groups to make personal — not policy — accusations about me and my work.
Congressman Newhouse, let me clear something up: the dams in your district are doing damage in mine. They are decimating the salmon populations in my district, whether you accept that fact or not. My concept IS a comprehensive solution to this extremely complex challenge, whether you want to accept that fact or not. My concept would bypass two dams in your district, yes — but it would also provide so many more benefits to make the stakeholders whole along with significant economic opportunities for the futures of the Tri-Cities and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. It may be your choice to bury your head in the sand, and advocate for vague, “comprehensive solutions.” That is not mine. I have proposed something as a starting point, and you have been unwilling to even discuss it. If that doesn’t reveal your true intentions and commitment to the status quo, I don’t know what does.
Mike Simpson is a Congressional representative and Republican representing Idaho’s 2nd Congressional district.