After trumpeting her opposition to Senator Tim Johnson's really good proposal to create the first national grassland wilderness right here in South Dakota, Kristi Noem faced some questions... like did you read the bill?
Ask Noem a question, and that's usually about when the wheels come off:
Noem said she has read “most” of the bill and feels informed on it. She voted for a resolution in the state House this past session to oppose the designation [Tom Lawrence, "Noem Opposes Wilderness Legislation," Mitchell Daily Republic, 2010.09.09].
OpenCongress.org measures S.3310, the Tony Dean Cheyenne River Valley Conservation Act of 2010, at about six pages. Princess Kristi couldn't take time to read all of six pages. She apparently just read the talking points Senator Thune handed her.
Had Noem read the actual bill (or even my humble blog coverage thereof from June), she would have learned that nearly every point of opposition she raises to the bill is bogus:
- "I believe this federal land grab is a solution in search of a problem." False: this bill takes no land away from private owners. The wilderness area is already entirely federal lands.
- "We should continue what has worked in order to preserve and protect these lands and to ensure these lands are available to be enjoyed by the public." True... and S. 3310 continues current practices. Current grazing rights are protected. Current state fish and wildlife management practices are protected. Fire, critter, and disease management practices are continued. Access by soldiers, Indians, and private landowners is protected. We just won't go in and sell off this land for further development.
- "It would threaten the rights and livelihoods of those with grazing permits in the proposed wilderness areas..." False.
- "...it also has the potential to compromise the control of forest fires, prairie dogs, and noxious weeds in the designated areas." False and false.
- "Our federal forests have been neglected and mismanaged by the bureaucracy and now we are dealing with an extremely serious pine beetle epidemic and the threat of catastrophic fire." Fa—what? Federal management will not lead to a pine beetle infestation of grasslands. And the catastrophic fire risk in the Black Hills comes from all of us (yup, my fault, too) wanting nice thick stands of pine for pretty pictures as well as residential developments packed hither and yon right where good healthy forest fires might blow through.
- "There is overwhelming local opposition to S 3310." False! The only survey out there shows Pennington County voters favor the Tony Dean Cheyenne River Valley Conservation Act by a 61% to 34%. Among Custer County voters, the split is 53% for, 39% against. Noem's boosters have cited smaller poll margins than that as signs of overwhelming support for their candidate.
And stop saying silly things that make my blogging far too easy.
Now if we can just get Congresswoman Herseth Sandlin to cut the crap and endorse Senator Johnson's really good bill.