Bryan says critics of feds should ”turn down the jets”
CARSON CITY, Nev. – Conciliation, not confrontation, is the best strategy for resolving an eastern Nevada dispute that has fired up Sagebrush Rebellion proponents, Sen. Richard Bryan said Tuesday.
Those involved in the hassle with federal officials who control nearly 90 percent of Nevada’s land should ”turn down the jets,” Bryan, D-Nev., added during an impromptu news conference.
Bryan said he wasn’t singling out Rep. Jim Gibbons – a former jet pilot – in the controversy over a national forest road that has pitted officials in Elko County against the federal government.
Gibbons, R-Nev., and Rep. Helen Chenoweth, R-Idaho, held a congressional hearing in Elko earlier this month in response to heightened tensions over the road and protection of the threatened bull trout in the county.
While calling for a compromise, Gibbons said Monday that federal decisions haven’t always taken into consideration local uses and practices that ”are in the best interest of people here rather than in Washington.”
”Each of us has to choose for ourselves what the appropriate course of action is,” Bryan said, adding that he realizes there are legitimate differences but his goal is to defuse the dispute.
Bryan added some want to use the bull trout dispute as a vehicle to advance the public lands debate, but that’s a broader issue.
”Turn down the jets. Let’s cool the rhetoric and sit down and see if we can’t develop some kind of process to get this resolved,” he said.
Bryan also said he’s concerned about claims by Gloria Flora, supervisor of the national forest who quit in protest of the dispute, that many of her employees have been threatened and feel unsafe working in Nevada. But he added there’s still no proof of those claims.
On other topics, Bryan said:
-No decision has been made on what he’ll do after leaving the Senate at the end of 2000. Bryan said only that he’s coming back to Nevada, and hasn’t even decided what end of the state in which to live.
-Al Gore gets his endorsement over Bill Bradley for the Democratic presidential nomination, because of his experience as vice president and strong support for Nevada’s efforts to keep a high-level nuclear dump out of the state. He said Gore has promised to keep alive the veto threat that President Clinton had used against proponents of legislation to locate the dump at Yucca Mountain.
-He believes GOP Sen. John McCain of Arizona has a shot against Texas Gov. George W. Bush in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.
-His big issues in Congress next year will include work on legislation aimed at preserving Nevada’s Black Rock Desert; continuing the fight against the nuclear dump; and moving ahead with measures to ban Internet gambling and to clean up the boxing industry. New protections for consumers using debit cards also are needed, he said.