SPOKAKE, Wash., Nov. 3, 2000 (The Spokesman Review) Presidential candidates Al Gore and George W. Bush weigh in on energy and the environment in a question and answer session from the Spokesman Review.
1. Energy: Should the federal government gurantee BPA power to the Northwest first?
2. Timber: Should the federa government change national forests’ policies?
3. Agriculture: What changes would you make in the federal farm program, “Freedom to Farm?”
4. Dams: What should be done with Northwest dams?
Bush – Wants the nation to build more power plants and oil refineries. Said the fight between California and Northwest communities over cheap power from the region’s federal dams should be solved by building more power plants in California.
Gore – Has not addressed the issue of competition for BPA power. Calls for a national approach to energy deregulation, and a power grid able to shift electricty among regions as needed.
Bush – Opposes Clinton administration’s moratorium on building roads in “roadless” areas of national forests. Promises more input from local communities on any changes in timber policy.
Gore – Supports administration’s road-building moratorium in forests as way to reduce pollution from runoff. Would work with states and communities to find other ways to meet timber needs.
Bush – Supports the current Freedom to Farm policy that allows farmers to plant to demands they see in the market. Wants more federal programs to boost foreign grain sales to take up current surpluses and boost low prices.
Gore – Wants the government to take a more active role in “livable and sustainable” farm communities. Would expand low-interest loans for disaster relief, explore programs to ensure family farms and ranches aren’t at a disadvantage to large corporate farms.
Bush – Wants federal government to spend more on stream restoration and technology to increase salmon runs, but promised not to remove any dams on the Snake River. Won’t say what would do if faced with federal judge’s order to remove dams, calling it “way too hypothetical.”
Gore – Promised to convene “salmon summit” with all groups hurt or helped by current river conditions. Wants to spend more to improve conditions for salmon so removing dams isn’t necessary, but won’t rule that out. Says neither extinction of salmon nor major economic disruption is acceptable.
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