Lately, Rep. Jim Kolbe has been heard on TV and radio in Tucson and Phoenix trying to sell yet another back-door legislative rider to attempt to exempt his Mt. Graham scandal from the laws which govern the rest of us. Congress exempted the telescope project from environmental laws back in 1988, using a rider tacked onto an unrelated bill to avoid public hearings. Later, the University of Arizona discovered it had selected a site with poor astrophysical viewing, so they moved the scope outside the area approved by Congress. Two levels of federal courts agreed the new location is outside the area designated by Congress Ÿ so now the university seeks another back-door congressional exemption.
The other day Kolbe appeared on KUAT TV in Tucson trying to rewrite history. He said the new site is within the area approved by Congress, that we've had lots of public hearings, that riders don't evade hearings and tat the mountain top is heavily developed already.
Does he assume that if you string enough lies together you'll overwhelm the fact-checkers? In fact, riders do evade public hearings. The existing handful of cabins, roads and microwave relays are nowhere near the fragile, spruce fir ecosystem the telescopes will deforest and fragment. Kolbe's 1988 rider did, in fact, avert hearings even in 1988.
Why doesn't Kolbe just admit he's more interested in pleasing a political ruffian, the University of Arizona, than in saving a unique ecosystem, rescuing a long list of unique species, or upholding the rule of law?
Instead, he stoops to these unseemly efforts to deceive the people whom he represents.
East Asian Studies Graduate Student
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