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Clinton may veto bill rather than approve Sen. Campbell’s rider

Aspen Times Staff Report

White House officials have signaled that President Clinton will veto a Interior Department appropriations bill if certain riders, including one concerning the White River National Forest, are not removed.

In a statement from the Office of Management and Budget, administration officials cited problems with nine riders attached to the interior bill, including one introduced by Colorado Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Colorado. Campbell’s rider would delay the implementation of the new forest plan for the White River National Forest by requiring an additional time-consuming economic analysis.

Campbell called for the additional analysis because he contends the new forest plan would have serious negative economic effects on the region.

However, an economic-impact analysis already completed on the forest plan indicates it would not cause job losses, but would slightly slow the rate of job growth. In a region already grappling with the effects of growth, this is not considered to be a problem, officials said.

Pete Morton, an economist for the Wilderness Society, made the same point in a critique of an economic study commissioned by the White River Forest Alliance, a motorized recreation advocacy group.

“You can’t really have job losses when you already have thousands of unfilled jobs. Slower growth is probably a good thing,” Morton said Monday.

A statement of administration policy from OMB describes the riders as “highly objectionable to the administration,” and had the following to say about Campbell’s addition: “This provision would unnecessarily delay implementation of a revised and improved forest plan on the White River National Forest in Colorado by requiring an unnecessary regulatory flexibility analysis. … The provision would undermine the local, collaborative planning already under way.”

Calls to Campbell’s press offices in Washington, D.C., and Fort Collins were not returned Monday.


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