By Ben Olson
Last week, local volunteer and concerned citizen Dave Pietz traveled to Washington, D.C. so that he could meet face to face with U.S. Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and discuss two issues that Pietz feels are important to North Idaho.
“There were two areas I was interested in speaking with Senator Risch about,” said Pietz. “One was for Scotchman Peaks to reach full scale wilderness status. The other was the oil train issue.”
Pietz was able to log some face-to-face time with the Sen. Risch on the trip last week, and expressed hope that the information he’d shared was well received by Risch, as well as his Chief of Staff John Sandy, as well as Darren Parker, who handles environmental issues for Sen. Risch.
“I appreciated the opportunity to approach Risch as an individual in a community,” said Pietz.
In regards to the Scotchman Peaks Wilderness, Pietz said his main point to Sen. Risch was to point out how special and unique the area was.
“I grew up in Bonners Ferry, but spent most of my time living in the Midwest,” said Pietz. “After retiring and coming back to Sandpoint and the Northwest, I appreciated an area like Scotchman Peaks Wilderness. It’s so valuable and unique in the country. It needs to be a place to stay in full-scale protective status. That’s what I told Sen. Risch mostly.”
Pietz also mentioned to Sen. Risch the recent news that Idaho Forest Group just endorsed Scotchman Peaks as a wilderness, which he said Risch was impressed with.
In regards to the oil train issue, Pietz said he expressed his desire that Sen. Risch vote against a bill passed in the House last week that would lift the ban on oil exports, essentially guaranteeing more oil trains on the tracks.
“I told him I was in favor of him voting against that bill,” said Pietz. “I think he’s favorable. I hope he’s heard from other Bonner County Citizens. I would suggest people to follow up with Risch. We need some other legislation than what is in existence now. It’s just not good enough.”
Pietz, retired from working with the Energizer Battery Company, said that he was familiar with hazardous materials and has worked with the Department of Transportation, as well as with EPA regulations.
Interested in contacting Sen. Risch about an issue that concerns you? The closest office is at Harbor Plaza on 610 Hubbard St., Suite 213 in Coeur d’Alene. Call 208-667-6130 to setup an appointment to talk to his staff. You can also login to www.risch.senate.gov and follow the links to write an email to Risch.