by Max Brantley
* Leslie Newell Peacock's elaboration on yesterday's post (on the jump at that link) about the legislative hearing on the White River Blueway designation, at which multiple state and private agencies caved to conspiracy theorist pressure and said they'd back off supporting the voluntary federal program which likely would help bring federal onservation aid to the state, including promoting such projects as trout hatcheries.
* The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette report on the same meeting.
* The Stephens Media report on the same meeting.
Then I ask you the same question I asked Sen. Johnny Key after he approvingly Tweeted about the "testimony" yesterday as ample ground to object to the project.
Please identify a single — ONE SINGLE — specific ill that participation in this project would present. Oh yes, I heard the noise. Federal government? Bad. EPA? Bad. Conservation? Bad. Nature Conservancy? Bad. (This is particularly laughable, since The Nature Conservancy occasionally has to endure criticism as an agency too beholden to corporate contributors and a tax dodge for some of them.)
How bad was it? Even the Arkansas Farm Bureau, the most retrograde lobby in Arkansas, didn't officially disapprove of Blueway designation and admitted it saw only positives in the program. But it had to bow to the uproar (unsupported by evidence though it is) and resist.
It was classic Arkansas Republicanism. Whip up fear of imagined demons. Facts aren't necessary. This was the real capper, as reported by Leslie about comments by Rep. Kim Hammer of Benton, the neanderthal who aspires to be House speaker:
... [He] made a motion that federal agencies come before the Legislative Council before they make any plans to enhance conservation, sustainable farming and other benefits on the White River or anything else, which passed the committee unanimously.
Arkansas Republican legislators no longer believe they also control just the executive branch of Arkansas government. They now believe they control the federal government too.