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Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2006 - 1

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Location: Washington, DC


DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, ENVIRONMENT, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2006 -- (House of Representatives - May 19, 2005)

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Mr. WALDEN of Oregon. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to this amendment proposed by my colleague from Oregon. I only wish I had known in advance the gentleman was going to offer this amendment because it is specifically targeted toward my district, a tribe in my district, that is seeking to gain approval of a compact and take land into trust.

Warm Springs Tribe is not a family of five that has gone out shopping somewhere in some other State for land. There are 4,400 tribal members who are suffering on the reservation. They have worked diligently with the communities involved. They have land in the Scenic Columbia River Gorge that is in trust and was in trust prior to the passage of IGRA, and it is on a hillside where they have plans where they could build, and they could do that today.

But that land would scar the beauty of the Scenic Columbia River Gorge, which is my home and has been my home all of my life. This tribe, instead, looked to another area, and my colleague from Oregon suggests that the area they looked at is the crown jewel of the gorge.

Mr. Chairman, this is port property zoned for industrial use, leveled out with dredge tailings from the construction of the second lock at Bonneville Dam, all right, as opposed to an area up on a side hill that is timbered and beautiful where they already have land. So they worked with the local community which supports them locating there. They reached a compact with the Democratic Governor in a long and protracted discussion. That compact is now before the Secretary.

My colleague has on more than one occasion mentioned an acid rain study. We have looked at that, and he should know because we know it was done over a 4-month period one with readings at a little town in Wishram, Washington, during the winter when it is foggy in the gorge. So there is much more to that story that I will not get into today, but I suggest the gentleman take another look at that study.

I grew up in the gorge. We are the wind-surfing, kite-boarding capital of the world. And in the summer, if you want to come and find where the wind blows, come to the gorge and enjoy the great recreational opportunities, and it blows from the west. The west is where the great urban center of our wonderful State is, where there are traffic problems and industrial problems; and I tell Members that because if there is a problem with pollution in the gorge, it is not coming from the east, it is coming from the west.

So I urge Members to oppose this amendment. I think the chairman of our Committee on Resources has a much more prudent approach, to look at this issue on a broader scale, to see what is the best policy for this Nation to follow when it comes to dealing with these issues of tribal casinos on or off reservation.

But to move an amendment like this with very little notice, if any, on an appropriations bill, I would dare say, is not appropriate.

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