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Government, Politics & Issues

Amid news-making comments, Bond seeks to protect fish and promote Missouri National Guard

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 7, 2009 - U.S. Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond, R-Mo., is likely to make news this week as the Senate continues its health care debate.

Exactly how isn't yet known.

But for weeks, the outspoken comments of Missouri's most veteran incumbent statewide official on various topics -- from cap and trade to Afghanistan -- have won him air time on cable news shows and face time with President Barack Obama.

Take, for example, last Tuesday. Bond was part of a high-level congressional entourage briefed ahead of time by the president before his Afghanistan news conference. Bond says he told Obama that he liked the troop surge, but disliked the public time line. That seemed to be the message of most congressional Republicans. But in Bond's case, it snagged him a lot of national media attention.

Later last week, he continued his longstanding assault against the Democratic-led cap and trade proposal that would put a cap on harmful emissions and allow firms that exceed the cap to purchase credits (trade) from companies that pollute less.

Bond, like most congressional Republicans, contends that the measure will lead to higher energy prices for consumers, and cost jobs.

In any case, Bond did have time before the week ended to pursue a couple other pet topics:

-- He praised the Missouri National Guard's agricultural efforts in Afghanistan and sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates to suggest that they consider expanding the program.

“American soldiers are literally sowing the seeds of peace throughout Afghanistan,” said Bond in the letter, as he described the Missouri National Guard's work.

Begun in February 2008, Bond said the Missouri Guardsmen implementing the program in Afghanistan "were so successful at eliminating poppy production, harvesting alternative crops, and creating economic opportunities for local Afghans that 10 other states have now sent their own National Guard teams to Afghanistan."

-- He promoted a bill that he co-sponsors, with Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., "to provide financial assistance to local groups interested in protecting fish habitat."

“Whether you like to fish, as I love to do, or you are just interested in preserving the beauty of our aquatic treasures, the National Fish Habitat Conservation Act is for you,” said Bond in remarks at a hearing of The Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee.

According to his staff:

"The bill, S. 1214, authorizes $75 million a year for fish habitat conservation by establishing a National Fish Habitat Board under the U.S. Department of Interior which will select projects for funding. ... During the hearing, Bond stressed that the bill also places a priority on protecting private property rights by requiring express, written consent from landowners before the purchase of any land or water rights for habitat protection through this program...."

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