CALDWELL – At least four Canyon County Republican Legislative candidates believe that trees and alfalfa benefit from rising CO2 levels and some are happy to provide it to them in the form of auto exhaust.
Other hopefuls for the Idaho Legislature ask their wives to drive less, recycle copper wire and buy low-flush toilets in order to leave a smaller footprint on the earth. And one claims to have shot a wolf.
The responses came during a Tuesday night candidate forum in which Idaho Press-Tribune editor Vickie Holbrook asked, in a tenuously worded question, what the candidates were doing for the environment.
District 10 Rep. Curtis Bowers said: “I really appreciate the trees producing oxygen for me to breathe so since everyone is cutting back so much I let my car idle about an extra 5 minutes because I want to make sure they have plenty of carbon dioxide.”
Bowers’ opponent, Pat Takasugi, was not at the forum.
In the District 11 field, incumbent Steven Thayn, of Emmett, agreed that there are benefits to increased CO2 emissions and said no one asked the plants about CO2 reduction. Challenger Matt Beebe, an outgoing Canyon County Commissioner said that if we don’t make some carbon dioxide the alfalfa fields near his place will suffer. He also said he drives slower to work to save gas. Former legislator Gary Bauer, also running for Thayn’s seat, was not at the forum.
District 11B incumbent Carlos Bilbao, a former Boeing manager from Emmett had the most detailed answer from his new low-flow toilets and EnergyStar appliances to his xeriscaped yard. Steve Coyle, a Star proponent of what he calls “American Liberty,” said he does not believe in global warming and Walt Bayes, a Wilder anti-abortion fanatic said he shot a wolf.
Bayes: “I saw this wolf chasing my deer so I shot him and that’s going to preserve our hunting like we need it.”
Meridian Republican Jeff Justus, also a Bilbao challenger, was not present.
In District 12, senior Rep. Bob Schaefer, a retired architect, spoke about his passive solar house that is “earth bermed and earth coupled” while his young opponent Roberto Olvera said he carpools and recycles.
Steve Kren, running in District 13, said he recycles copper wire from his electrical business, but acknowledge it was mostly a business decision. He also recycles at home and takes fewer driving vacations. His challenger, Nampa attorney Russ Johnson said his office recycles ink cartridges and newspapers and he complains to his wife: “I complain a lot to my wife about how many trips she takes to town.”