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1995 Legislative Review
by Chris Bell
Washington -- Thanks to cooperation between GOPAD -- the
Western Carolina Paddlers' political action committee -- and
the new Republican majority, several pieces of legislation are
pending that bode well for whitewater enthusiasts. These
include the Whitewater Enhancement Act, the Shuttle Vehicle
Health Act and the Paddling Publications Decency Act.
The sponsor of the Whitewater Enhancement Act (C. 921) is
none other than Western North Carolina's own Congressman
Charles Taylor. Many paddlers are unaware of the great debt
we owe Mr. Taylor, whose entry into political life began with
his crusade in the 1970's to block construction of a dam
proposed for the North Fork of the French Broad.
Not one to rest on his laurels, Mr. Taylor should solidify
his paddling constituent base with his whitewater enhancement
bill, which stipulates that a minimum of 1 billion board feet
of timber be cut each year in each of the southeast's
principle whitewater paddling states. Further, the bill
exempts whitewater enhancement timber harvests from all
environmental laws and regulations.
In an exclusive interview with our Washington
correspondent, Congressman Taylor stated that he introduced
the bill because "I felt real bad that the opportunities for
western canoeists and kayakers created by my salvage timber
amendment to the House appropriations bill might not be
matched here in the southeast, what with our superior timber
stands and all. So I created this new bill to guarantee that
the wealth would be spread around."
When asked how the amendment to the appropriations bill --
whose provisions mandate a minimum of 6.3 billion board feet
of timber be cut from stands that include at least some
damaged trees or trees susceptible to fire or insect attack --
would create opportunities for canoeists and kayakers, Mr.
Taylor turned to his whitewater consultant, Monty Wooten, for
"It has been known at least as far back as the Johnstown
weather-related event of 1916 that clearcuts of sufficient
size enhance transient whitewater flows," Mr. Wooten
explained. "Because the salvage timber amendment exempts
salvage harvests from all environmental regulations, a number
of these cuts are expected to be of sufficient size to create
surges of water following light to moderate rainfalls that
will make even the most hardened whitewater boater drool. Why
restrict all that fun to western boaters?"
The Shuttle Vehicle Health Act (S. 326) would ban the sale
of Powerbars to kayakers and canoeists. Speaking from the
Senate floor upon his bill's introduction, Lauch Faircloth (R-
NC) stated: "My colleagues across the aisle want to outlaw
cigarettes, which are produced using tobacco grown by God-
fearing Americans in the great state of North Carolina and
have no absolutely proven effect on health, but none are
willing to discuss the effects of Powerbars on health and air
quality in shuttle vehicles."
Waving photographs taken at the WCP's Rescue Rodeo in the
air with one hand and pointing the index finger of his other
at each Democrat in attendance, Mr. Faircloth asserted in
measured tones, "I have solid evidence that certain
unscrupulous merchants seek to hook unsuspecting young people
on these 'flatulence slabs.' In my hand are photos of one
Roger Derrough, a known liberal, pushing boxes of these things
at public gatherings. Someone has to take a stand."
In addition to forbidding the sale of Powerbars, the
Shuttle Vehicle Health Act would ban Asheville's Steve
Heiselman from rides in all but open-bed pickup trucks on
windy days. Asked whether he would support regulations aimed
at limiting the impact of emissions from hog farms, Mr.
Faircloth, owner of North Carolina's largest hog farm,
responded angrily, "how could you possibly equate the sweet
smell of contented pigs with the noxious fumes emanating from
We have Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC) to thank for the
Paddling Publications Decency Act (S. 426). Acting at the
behest of WCP President Ava Carr, Mr. Helm's bill would
require that all advertisements prepared by "Mr. Corran
Addison, his company, Savage Designs of Asheville, NC and all
heirs and assignees thereof" be subject to review by a newly-
constituted Senate sub-committee on decency.
The bill further stipulates that photographs of "action
figures" such as that printed on page 137 of the February 1995
issue of Paddler magazine be banned unless the figures are
included in the purchase price of the boat in whose
advertisement they appear.
In a written statement, Mr. Addison said, "I don't know if
Mr. Helms is male, female, or confused, black, white, brown,
red, green, yellow, gay, lesbian, redneck cop, stoned, gibber,
racer, weekend warrior, creeker, beginner, expert, ugly,
military style, doggy style, fat, rich, poor, foxy, vegitarian
(sic), canibal (sic), bum, hippie, virgin, famous or drunk,
but I do know whether he's an asshole or not."
All three bills are scheduled for votes April 1, 1995. To
express your opinion, write:
Congressman Charles Taylor, 231 Cannon Building, Washington,
DC 20515 or chta...@hr.house.gov;
Senator Lauch Faircloth, 702 Hart Senate Office Building,
Washington, DC 20510;
Senator Jesse Helms, 403 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Wash-
ington, DC 20510.
Be sure to reference the bill names and numbers in your
letters. For further information, contact our GOPAD staff,
Don Barnett and Charlotte Lackey.
Next month: the impact of Newt Gingrich's Georgian Salamander
Preservation Act on paddlers.
Is you're congressman going to protect that rear species preventing the
olympics on the Ocoee also? ;)