Welch responds to stalled wilderness bill, calls on Rainville to send message to House GOP she is now supportive
Peter Welch, candidate for U.S. Congress, issued the following statement in response to the failure of the U.S. House to pass the New England Wilderness Act last night:
"It is disappointing for Vermonters that wilderness protection for our state has stalled in the U.S. House, despite an agreement between the Governor and Vermont's congressional delegation. The leadership in the Senate did its job by unanimously passing the compromise language; unfortunately the Republican leadership in the House was unwilling to do theirs.
"I, like most Vermonters, support a balance of land use for our National Forests- land that is truly wild for hunting, hiking, and skiing; active forest management; and recreation use such a snowmobiling. This is a clear difference between me and my opponent Martha Rainville, who has stated clearly her opposition to 'any more' wilderness protection.
"The New England Wilderness bill is yet another example of why we must put an end to Republican leadership in the House and begin a new direction.
"Chairman of the House Resources Committee Richard Pombo has a record that puts him among the most anti-environmental members of the House. It was in his power to respect the wishes of Vermonters and enable us to preserve this portion of our National Forest land for generations to come. Instead, he chose to stall this bill.
"Unfortunately, some responsibility for Chairman Pombo's decision to kill the compromise Wilderness bill rests with Martha Rainville. She sent a clear message to the Republican leadership by asserting, "I do not believe that a Congress five hundred miles away in Washington should forever lock up any more of this resource so important to Vermonters, simply to satisfy a wilderness lobby " [May 20, 2006, Republican Party Convention Speech].
"They heard her loud and clear.
"Martha Rainville has since said she would respect the process in creation of the Wilderness designation. She can correct her mistake by sending a letter to Chairman Pombo making it clear that she respects the compromise crafted by the Governor and our congressional delegation and encourage him to take up this important bill when the House returns for business.
"In Congress, Vermonters can be certain I would have fought for passage of this land protection in the House would continue the land protection tradition of Senators Aiken and Stafford and our current delegation."