By Betsy Z. Russell, The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Wash. Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Feb. 24--BOISE -- Gov. Dirk Kempthorne has given North Idaho lawmakers his pledge that the Nez Perce water rights agreement won't increase demands for water from North Idaho lakes and rivers to help fish downstream.
"That gives me and my constituents up north some confidence," said Rep. George Eskridge, R-Dover. "I've got the governor's commitment that he's going to be just as concerned with our water issues."
Eskridge and Rep. George Sayler, D-Coeur d'Alene, were among 18 House Resources Committee members sitting through hours of testimony Wednesday on three bills enacting the complex agreement. It was the second day of the hearings, which drew close to 300 people and stretched into Wednesday evening.
"I think there are a lot of genuine concerns, and there will be some individuals who will be negatively …