SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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TENNESSEE VALLEY AUTHORITY'S LAND BETWEEN THE LAKES AREA
PLEASE NOTE: The following transcript is a portion of the official hearing record of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. Additional material pertinent to this transcript may be found on the web site of the Committee at [http://www.house.gov/transportation]. Complete hearing records are available for review at the Committee offices and also may be purchased at the U.S. Government Printing Office.
WATER RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENT
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TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED FIFTH CONGRESS
JUNE 21, 1997
Printed for the use of the
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTUCTURE
BUD SHUSTER, Pennsylvania, Chairman
DON YOUNG, Alaska
THOMAS E. PETRI, Wisconsin
SHERWOOD L. BOEHLERT, New York
HERBERT H. BATEMAN, Virginia
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCHOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
JOHN J. DUNCAN, Jr., Tennessee
THOMAS W. EWING, Illinois
WAYNE T. GILCHREST, Maryland
JAY KIM, California
STEPHEN HORN, California
BOB FRANKS, New Jersey
JOHN L. MICA, Florida
JACK QUINN, New York
TILLIE K. FOWLER, Florida
VERNON J. EHLERS, Michigan
SPENCER BACHUS, Alabama
STEVEN C. LaTOURETTE, Ohio
SUE W. KELLY, New York
RAY LaHOOD, Illinois
RICHARD H. BAKER, Louisiana
FRANK RIGGS, California
CHARLES F. BASS, New Hampshire
ROBERT W. NEY, Ohio
JACK METCALF, Washington
JO ANN EMERSON, Missouri
EDWARD A. PEASE, Indiana
ROY BLUNT, Missouri
JOSEPH R. PITTS, Pennsylvania
ASA HUTCHINSON, Arkansas
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCMERRILL COOK, Utah
JOHN COOKSEY, Louisiana
JOHN R. THUNE, South Dakota
CHARLES W. ''CHIP'' PICKERING, Jr., Mississippi
KAY GRANGER, Texas
JON D. FOX, Pennsylvania
THOMAS M. DAVIS, Virginia
FRANK A. LoBIONDO, New Jersey
J.C. WATTS, Jr., Oklahoma
JERRY MORAN, Kansas
JAMES L. OBERSTAR, Minnesota
NICK J. RAHALL II, West Virginia
ROBERT A. BORSKI, Pennsylvania
WILLIAM O. LIPINSKI, Illinois
ROBERT E. WISE, Jr., West Virginia
JAMES A. TRAFICANT, Jr., Ohio
PETER A. DeFAZIO, Oregon
BOB CLEMENT, Tennessee
JERRY F. COSTELLO, Illinois
GLENN POSHARD, Illinois
ROBERT E. (BUD) CRAMER, Jr., Alabama
ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON, District of Columbia
JERROLD NADLER, New York
PAT DANNER, Missouri
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey
JAMES E. CLYBURN, South Carolina
CORRINE BROWN, Florida
JAMES A. BARCIA, Michigan
BOB FILNER, California
EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON, Texas
FRANK MASCARA, Pennsylvania
GENE TAYLOR, Mississippi
JUANITA MILLENDER-McDONALD, California
ELIJAH E. CUMMINGS, Maryland
EARL BLUMENAUER, Oregon
MAX SANDLIN, Texas
ELLEN O. TAUSCHER, California
BILL PASCRELL, Jr., New Jersey
JAY W. JOHNSON, Wisconsin
LEONARD L. BOSWELL, Iowa
JAMES P. McGOVERN, Massachusetts
TIM HOLDEN, Pennsylvania
NICK LAMPSON, Texas
Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment
SHERWOOD L. BOEHLERT, New York, Chairman
JOHN R. THUNE, South Dakota Vice Chairman
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCDON YOUNG, Alaska
THOMAS E. PETRI, Wisconsin
HERBERT H. BATEMAN, Virginia
WAYNE T. GILCHREST, Maryland
JAY KIM, California
STEPHEN HORN, California
BOB FRANKS, New Jersey
JACK QUINN, New York
VERNON J. EHLERS, Michigan
STEVEN C. LaTOURETTE, Ohio
SUE W. KELLY, New York
RICHARD H. BAKER, Louisiana
FRANK RIGGS, California
ROBERT W. NEY, Ohio
JO ANN EMERSON, Missouri
FRANK A. LoBIONDO, New Jersey
BUD SHUSTER, Pennsylvania
ROBERT A. BORSKI, Pennsylvania
JAY JOHNSON, Wisconsin
ROBERT E. WISE, Jr., West Virginia
GLENN POSHARD, Illinois
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey
JAMES A. BARCIA, Michigan
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCFRANK MASCARA, Pennsylvania
GENE TAYLOR, Mississippi
EARL BLUMENAUER, Oregon
ELLEN O. TAUSCHER, California
BILL PASCRELL, Jr., New Jersey
LEONARD L. BOSWELL, Iowa
JAMES P. McGOVERN, Massachusetts
NICK J. RAHALL II, West Virginia
NICK LAMPSON, Texas
JAMES L. OBERSTAR, Minnesota
Bauer, Robert J., Executive Director, Kentucky Forest Industries Association
Baust, Dr. Joseph A., Sr., Professor, Murray State University, Murray, KY
Carroll, Austin, Board Chairman, Land Between the Lakes Association
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Hamilton, Milton H., Jr., Commissioner, Department of Environment and Conservation, State of Tennessee, Nashville, TN
Hess, Charles M., Chief, Operations, Construction and Readiness Division, Directorate of Civil Works, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Washington, DC
Jordan, Tracy Cothran, Former LBL Landowner
Kennoy, William H., Director for TVA, Knoxville, TN, accompanied by Dr. Kathryn J. Jackson, Executive Vice President, TVA's Resource Group, Knoxville, TN, and Ann W. Wright, General Manager, Land Between the Lakes, Golden Pond, KY
Lassiter, Jody A., Cabinet Liaison, Office of the Governor, State of Kentucky, Frankfort, KY
Laverty, Lyle, Director of Recreation, Wilderness and Heritage Resources, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Lowe, Rick L., Manager, Resource Management Department, Land Between the Lakes
McKinney, Hon. Terry O., Lyon County Judge/Executive Representing Lyon, Stewart and Trigg Counties
Murray, Ann P., Executive Director, Tennessee Conservation League
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Nickell, David, Former LBL Landowner
Switzer, Ronald R., Superintendent, Mammoth Cave National Park, National Park Service, U.S. Department of The Interior
Travis, Ella Mae, Former LBL Landowner
Tuck, Tom, Past President, Western Kentucky Arabian Horse Association
Yambert, Dr. Paul, Representing the Concept Zero Task Force
PREPARED STATEMENTS SUBMITTED BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
Bryant, Hon. Ed, of Tennessee
Clement, Hon. Bob, of Tennessee
Whitfield, Hon. Ed, of Kentucky
PREPARED STATEMENTS SUBMITTED BY WITNESSES
Bauer, Robert J
Baust, Dr. Joseph A., Sr
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Hamilton, Milton H., Jr
Hess, Charles M
Jordan, Tracy Cothran
Kennoy, William H
Lassiter, Jody A
Lowe, Rick L
McKinney, Hon. Terry O
Murray, Ann P
Switzer, Ronald R
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Travis, Ella Mae
Yambert, Dr. Paul A
SUBMISSIONS FOR THE RECORD
Murray, Ann P., Executive Director, Tennessee Conservation League, report, atural Resources Management Plan for Land Between the Lakes, October 1994, Volume II
Whitfield, Hon. Ed, a Representative in Congress from Kentucky, article, ''Playground for the Rugged'', by Joe Creason, Louisville Courier Journal, June 23, 1963
Yambert, Dr. Paul, Concept Zero Task Force:
A Superior Management Proposal for Land Between the LakesConcept Zero, pamphlet
Excerpt from the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill, 1997
ADDITIONS FOR THE RECORD
Anderson, Vernon R., statement
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Doles, Jewell R., statement
Gray, J.R., State Representative, 6th District, Kentucky, statement
Greene, Chris, Teacher, Murfreesboro , TN, statement
Jordan, Tracy Cothran, statement
Matheny, Charles, Central Region Manager, Forest Resources Division, Westvaco Corporation, statement
Kennamer, James Earl, Ph.D., Vice President for Conservation Programs for the National Wild Turkey Federation, statement
Whitehead, Corinne R., on behalf of the Coalition for Health Concern, and former residents of the Land Between the Lakes, statement
Yambert, Carla and Paul, statement
Letters concerning Land Between the Lakes
TVA'S LAND BETWEEN THE LAKES AREA
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSATURDAY, JUNE 21, 1997
U.S. House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment,
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure,
The Subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 9:11 a.m., in the Lovett Auditorium, Murray State University, Murray, Kentucky, Hon. Sherwood Boehlert (cairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Mr. BOEHLERT. The Subcommittee on Water Resources and the Environment will come to order.
This morning we meet to receive testimony on a matter of great national and regional significancemanagement of Land Between the Lakes, commonly referred to as LBL.
For those of you not familiar with the proceedings of a Congressional hearing, let me first mention that we are governed this morning by the rules and traditions of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. Only witnesses who appear on the official witness list are permitted to provide oral testimony, although any and all interested persons are encouraged to submit written testimony for the Subcommittee's consideration.
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We will strictly adhere to the Committee's five minute limitation on oral testimony. Let me remind witnesses that regardless of whether they are able to fully articulate their positions within the allotted 5 minutes, their complete statements will be made part of the official hearing record and read by the entire Subcommittee.
In addition, the Committee appreciates the number of individuals and groups desiring to present oral testimony today. Unfortunately, we could not accommodate everyone. If you were unable to present oral testimony, I would strongly encourage you to submit written testimony for our consideration and the official record. I assure you it will be read and given just as much consideration as the oral testimony. The Committee will leave the hearing record open for 30 days for anyone wishing to submit testimony for the record.
With those procedural ground rules stated, let me now turn to the reason we are all here, to better understand how Land Between the Lakes, certainly a national treasure, has been managed and is to be managed in the future. This hearing would not have happened without the hard work and leadership of our colleague, Congressman Ed Whitfield.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you, that is well-deserved.
He has been tenacious in his desire to educate members of Congress about this wonderful asset and the many issues surrounding current and future management.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Incidentally, I would point out that this iswe were due to come here on March 1 and we were at 7:00 a.m. in the morning at Andrews Air Force Base waiting to take off and we were advised that we could not come because of weather conditions, and we all know what a disastrous day that turned out to be. But we were determined to come and we have fulfilled the commitment, and it is a tribute, once again to my good colleague, Mr. Whitfield.
This morning, we had the privilege of flying over the LBL. Its abundant wildlife, breathtaking natural beauty and first-class recreational facilities were indeed impressive. I would encourage, when I get back to Washington, every member of Congress, whether from New York, as I am, or New Mexico or wherever, to see this wonderful area first-hand.
I would also note in our elected positions, we must make difficult decisions about balancing the federal budget, declining federal expenditures and the more efficient management of our nation's assets. The tight fiscal environment we live in will require innovative ways to operate and protect our national treasures such as LBL.
Once again, let me thank my colleague, Mr. Whitfield, for his leadership and the efforts of all the other members on this panel and throughout the region. I look forward to receiving all testimony for this critically important hearing.
Now it is my privilege to turn to the ranking Democrat on the Committee, the gentleman from Pennsylvania, Mr. Borski.
Mr. BORSKI. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. And I first want to commend you for your leadership in holding this field hearing on future management plans for Land Between the Lakes.
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The Transportation Committee has a long history of addressing the nation's priorities in a bipartisan manner. Likewise, Mr. Chairman, I applaud the bipartisan efforts of my colleagues from the Tennessee Valley, as demonstrated by the members who are here today. For years, I have worked with my colleague, Bob Clement, who serves on the Committee and serves in a very senior position. I also want to compliment Ed Whitfield, who I have also been friends for a number of years, even before his service in the Congress. And I would be remiss, Mr. Chairman, if I did not mention Mr.Congressman John Tanner, who had also urged me to join you today in this hearing. And I also want to acknowledge the presence of Congressman Ed Bryant, who also represents the interests of the valley in a very positive manner.
Like you, Mr. Chairman, I recognize that Land Between the Lakes is a National Recreation Area, which is also a national asset, one that is visited by almost three million people each year. It is a beautiful place that offers plentiful recreational opportunities and a variety of services to people with diverse interests. As a National Recreation Area, we have accepted a federal responsibility to manage it for the people of this region and the country. However, in today's tight budgetary environment, every federal agency and every federal program is under review to explore opportunities to streamline and cut back. TVA and Land Between the Lakes are subject to this same review.
Several proposals have been circulated to address the future of LBL and TVA and each has generated lively debate. As the Committee of jurisdiction, it is our responsibility to review proposals such as the commission recommended by Congressman Clement. We may learn that little change is needed or that major change is needed. Regardless, a review of LBL and TVA is timely and appropriate. This field hearing is the perfect vehicle to help members learn.
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I also look forward to hearing from our witnesses today so that we can better understand the complex management issues concerning the future of Land Between the Lakes and TVA.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Now the Chair is pleased to recognize the distinguished gentleman from Kentucky, the reason why we are here, Mr. Whitfield.
Mr. WHITFIELD. Thank you, Chairman Boehlert and members of the Subcommittee. And I want to particularly give thanks to Chairman Boehlert and Mr. Borski and other members of this Committee for taking the time to come to Kentucky to talk about an issue that is particularly important in western Kentucky. I also want to thank those people in attendance today who, by being here, display and show their interest in this important issue.
I look forward to working with Chairman Boehlert and with my fellow members of this Subcommitteeas many of you know, I am not a member of this Committee, but it is the Committee that has jurisdiction over TVA and LBL. And I look forward to working with them to ensure that Land Between the Lakes is properly managed and adequately funded.
How did I become involved in LBL? Well, I remember attending a meeting about a year ago that was on a Wednesday night over at Kenlake State Park, and being on a Wednesday night, we really did not think that there would be many people in attendance because that generally is the night that people attend church here in western Kentucky. But when we arrived there, there were about 300 people in attendance. And during that meeting, you could actually feel the intensity about this issue. As we listened to former landowners and as we listened to people who manage that property, it became very clear to me that there had not been an oversight hearing on LBL really since its inception. And so with the intensity that night, I felt it was essential that we have this hearing and so I requested the hearing because I felt we had an urgent need to shine the light of Congressional oversight on certain TVA proposals and management practices.
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Foremost among my concerns were TVA's five concepts that was being floated to commercially develop LBL at different stages. These proposals, in my view, violated commitments made by the federal government over 30 years ago when President Kennedy authorized Land Between the Lakes to be a National Recreation Area managed by TVA. To implement this Presidential authorization, property owners and farmers were forcibly evicted from their land. Not surprisingly, the public was intensely opposed to TVA's proposals to commercialize LBL; so much so, that TVA ultimately withdrew them.
Subsequently, TVA Chairman Craven Crowell unilaterally announced that TVA would no longer seek federal funding for LBL or TVA's other non-power programs after fiscal year 1998. Crowell's announcement heightened the public's concern about the future of LBL. His announcement also shocked members of Congress because he never discussed the issues with us and with many people even at TVA. Some members of Congress, as a result, are currently planning to eliminate all federal funding for LBL in fiscal year 1998, which begins October 1 of this year.
After Mr. Crowell announced TVA's intention to walk away from its non-power programs, TVA formed a 19-member task force to analyze whether he made the right decision. The task force is comprised totally of TVA employees. Because of the public outcry against TVA's original plan, this task force will likely recommend revising TVA's proposal to provide at least some federal financial support to TVA's non-power programs.
But I fear we face an uphill battle in Congress because of actions taken by the Chairman of TVA. I hope that this hearing will help Congress address two fundamental questions:
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First, does the TVA Board of Directors have the willingness, the ability and the commitment to manage LBL to assure its preservation for future generations?
Two, if not, which agency of the federal government should be entrusted with federal management responsibility of LBL?
Views differ on which agency can do the best job of managing LBL, but I sense there is overwhelming agreement about the purposes for which the land should be managed. These purposes are spelled out clearly in a Louisville Courier Journal article that appeared on June 23, 1963, and I ask unanimous consent to include the article as part of my remarks.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Without objection, so ordered.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Whitfield and article referred to follows:]
Mr. WHITFIELD. This article appeared the same week that President Kennedy established LBL as a National Recreation Area, and I quote from the article, it said, ''Non-commercial facilities in a section set aside for maximum public use.''
In the subsequent 34 years, visitors to Land Between the Lakes have defined maximum use through their pursuit of a wide range of recreational activities, including hunting, fishing, bird watching, camping, environmental education programs, timber harvesting, horseback riding and hiking, as well as the enjoyment and study of the LBL's abundant wildlife and unspoiled natural beauty.
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Regardless of which federal agency is in charge of LBL, these pursuits must be allowed to continue. To that end, I will urge Congress to take the following actions:
First, reaffirm the principle that commercial development, private or public, is prohibited on Land Between the Lakes and the public can continue its current recreational activities.
Second, Congress will not allow TVA to walk away from its LBL responsibilities until Congress enacts provisions to ensure competent federal stewardship of LBL and adequate funding of LBL to preserve and protect what is an irreplaceable resource in perpetuity.
Again, I thank the Chairman and my colleagues from Tennessee, Pennsylvania and New York for being here. I look forward to hearing the testimony of our witnesses. And before I yield back the balance of my time, several of my constituents have asked to videotape this hearing and I request unanimous consent that they be allowed to do so.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Without objection, so ordered.
Mr. WHITFIELD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you very much, Mr. Whitfield. That is a very comprehensive statement. I think it quite eloquently places us where we need to be as we begin this proceeding.
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The Chair now recognizes the gentleman from Tennessee, Mr. Clement.
Mr. CLEMENT. Thank you, Chairman Boehlert and our ranking Democrat, Bob Borski, Congressman Ed Whitfield, his lovely wife, Connie. And I might say, Congressman Whitfield did go above and beyond the call of duty to make sure we had this Congressional oversight hearing here at Murray State, which I think is very necessary. Also, Congressman John Tanner, my neighbor in Tennessee, as well as Congressman Ed Bryant. The three of us represent Tennessee and I feel very close to Kentucky. Much of my family come from Kentucky and I have always looked at Tennessee and Kentucky as sister states and very, very close and we want to keep it that way. And I assure you we are in this boat together.
I am a member of this Committee, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee that has oversight, Congressional oversight authority over TVA operations.
I agree with what Congressman Whitfield said awhile ago, we were shocked, bewildered, angered, and as a member of the TVA Board, I took a personal insult to the way and how this was handled. Chairman Crowell went directly to OMB, Office of Management and Budget, around us in the Committee, around us as members of the Tennessee Valley Congressional Delegation. We in the Tennessee Valley Congressional Delegation, the seven states that are part of the TVA region, we are the front line troops for you, the people, the seven million people in the Tennessee Valley area. We are the ones that lead the fight to protect, defend and support TVA. The TVA Board, particularly Chairman Crowell, made it very difficult to defend, support and protect TVA moving into the 21st century.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I love LBL. I am telling you I fell in love with it a long, long time ago, all the way back to 1963. I have traveled extensively in the LBL area in Kentucky and Tennessee. I know it not only to be a regional asset, but a national asset. You know, we have over two million visitors visit LBL every year.
We are here to take testimony on the current operations at LBL, on the future needs and also the potential future management options. And what TVA has done to us. We may even have to have some other federal agency to manage LBL, to restore the funds, the federal funds, because of the damage that is being done. Pandora's box has been opened. In my opinion, the TVA Board has violated the TVA Act. The TVA Board has been responsible for opening up, as I stated, Pandora's box; they have, in my opinion, acted very irresponsibly, they have done irreparable harm. And I might say to you, a couple of weeks ago we had a Congressional hearing in Washington, DC and I gave Chairman Crowell an opportunity on the record to say to everyoneand I asked him this question, I said, ''Chairman Crowell, you have got an opportunity now to say I am sorry, I did not mean what I said, I got some bad information, I did not mean to zero out all the federal dollars for LBL and flood control and navigation and recreation and concern all of us have about our lakes that we surely do not want privatized; you have got your opportunity right now to say I did not mean it, I am sorry, I want those funds restored. Are you willing to say that?'' And he refused to renege or to take back the words and the agreement that he made to zero out federal funds.
This is a very, very serious matter, and we in the Tennessee Valley area need to take it seriously. But I assure you, Bob Clement and others, we are not going to sit on the sidelines and we are going to fight for the Tennessee Valley area because it is worth preserving for future generations.
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[The prepared statement of Mr. Clement follows:]
Mr. BOEHLERT. The Chair now recognizes Mr. Bryant.
Mr. BRYANT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I do have a complete statement and I would ask unanimous consent to be able to include that in the record and would like to just make a brief statement.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Fine.
Mr. BRYANT. I thank you, too. I want to add my special thanks on behalf of the people that are here today, the people of Kentucky and Tennessee that we represent. I appreciate very much your effort as well as Bob Borski's effort to take time out of your busy schedule to come down to our part of the country and listen to the concerns of our constituents.
I also want to thank all the members of the audience that came today. I know I showed up at the first meeting because I drove in and did not get word that it had canceled. I know I saw several of you there and I think as a result of that place being so overcrowded, we decided to relocate over into this building. And hence, the reason for the change of venue. But again, I think your presence today reflects the importance to Kentucky and Tennessee that LBL is in terms of both economy and recreation.
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To conclude, we have a number of witnesses to hear. I do share the concerns of all the membersJohn Tanner, Bob Clement, Ed Whitfield and others that are not here today for other reasons, about the future of the LBL. I am very committed to the plan that has been in place here at LBL, the multi-use purposes that we have seen that have worked so successfully over the years, that not only provides the good stewardship of this area, but also the use that not only the people in Kentucky and Tennessee, but from this entire region, have the opportunity to just benefit from. And I would like to see that maintained.
I am satisfied with TVA's performance in managing this property, and again at this point, I would prefer, and I think many of my constituents would prefer that TVA continue as the manager for this area.
With those remarks, I will conclude and again thank the Chairman for the time and effort that he has expended, and especially the interest he has shown in us. Thank you.
Mr. BOEHLERT. I thank my colleague. The Chair now recognizes the gentleman from Tennessee, Mr. Tanner.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Bryant follows:]
Mr. TANNER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Mr. Borski, I want to thank both of you all for holding this hearing. I am not a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and I want to also thank you for inviting me to come and participate this morning. This is important to the folks in Tennessee and Kentucky. It is also important, I think, to the nation as a whole because LBL, as has been stated before, is a national treasure, a National Recreation Area, unlike a National Park or Wildlife Refuge.
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The counties surrounding LBL in Tennessee are in the Eighth Congressional District and therefore we do have an intense interest in the proceedings here.
In the interest of brevity, I have a statement that I will submit for the record in its entirety, but may I just simply say this, Mr. Chairman, as we determine the future course of LBL, who will manage it, what will it look like in the future as budgetary pressures mount, I think the counties surrounding LBL in Tennessee are interested not only in what may happen from an economic development standpoint, but also there is a theory or a theorem, a payment in lieu of taxes, that is very important to the constituencies around LBL that must be addressed at some time. And secondly, if there is in the future a determination made by the Committee or by others, the Congress, that LBL should be somehow disposed of, then it will be our strong insistence that those families from whom this land was originally taken must be given, as they say in real estate parlance, the right of first refusal, if that should ever come to pass.
So with those few remarks, may I again thank you all for
Mr. TANNER. Thank you for coming and we look forward to the witnesses in the hearing. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you very much.
Now we will start with our first panel. The first panel we will hear from will bring us the point of view of the Tennessee Valley Authority represented ably by Director, Mr. William Kennoy, accompanied by Dr. Kathryn Jackson, who is Executive Vice President for TVA's Resource Group and Ms. Ann Wright, who is General Manager of Land Between the Lakes. Mr. Kennoy, we are going to try to adhere to the five minute rule, you have been through this drill before, but this is a very important hearing, so we will give a little leeway to this first panel. With that, we will start.
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TESTIMONY OF WILLIAM H. KENNOY, DIRECTOR FOR TVA, KNOXVILLE, TN, ACCOMPANIED BY DR. KATHRYN J. JACKSON, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, TVA'S RESOURCE GROUP, KNOXVILLE, TN, AND ANN W. WRIGHT, GENERAL MANAGER, LAND BETWEEN THE LAKES, GOLDEN POND, KY
Mr. KENNOY. Thank you, sir. And good morning, Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee.
It is a pleasure to come before you today on behalf of the TVA Board of Directors, and with me this morning are Ms. Wright, who is the General Manager of Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area and Dr. Kate Jackson, whois Executive Vice President of the Resource Group.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Excuse me one second. Can the audience hear okay?
Mr. BOEHLERT. Pull the mic a little bit closer, if you will. Can you hear us up here?
Mr. BOEHLERT. Okay. So we will do our best to make sure we are heard, this is an important subject.
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Mr. KENNOY. Does this work?
Mr. BOEHLERT. Okay, fine, thank you very much.
Mr. KENNOY. We appreciate this opportunity to talk about LBL, which is one of 37 National Recreation Areas and one of the major public recreation areas in this nation's heartland. So we welcome this hearing because we are proud of the job that the LBL staff is doing to serve the public's recreation needs. And this hearing also provides an opportunity to hear from that diverse group of users who treasure LBL.
We know that LBL is special, not only for the people of this region, but also for the people across the United States, and each of them wants what is best, what they think is best for LBL, and naturally their interests often conflict and it is our challenge to balance these competing interests.
LBL does serve a diverse group of users because it was established as a National Recreation Area, and the history of that designation is germane to the issues surrounding its future. The idea for LBL took root back in 1959 when TVA recognized the recreational potential for the peninsula that would be formed by Kentucky Lake and the impoundment of Lake Barkley. In 1961, President Kennedy submitted TVA's proposal to the Department of Interior and the Interior Secretary recommended that TVA develop the area as a demonstration project. Secretary Stewart Udall said, and I quote, ''The project will demonstrate how an area with limited timber, agriculture and industrial resources can be converted into a recreational asset that will stimulate the economic growth of the region.''
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In following the Secretary's recommendation, the LBL National Recreation Area was created in 1963. TVA has managed LBL in accordance with this mandate and the mission statement developed in 1972.
So, Mr. Chairman, as the Committee looks at the issues affecting LBL, I respectfully request that you address three points. These points are the foundation of LBL that the public enjoys today and are essential to its future.
First, LBL is a National Recreation Area.
Second, LBL is managed for multiple recreation uses that respond to public demand.
And third, LBL is a national asset and should continue receiving federal funding.
It is clear that the future of LBL lies in its continued designation as a National Recreation Area. It is not a wilderness, nature preserve nor wildlife refuge, not a national forest or a national park, but it offers all the benefits of these designations. As a National Recreation Area, LBL has the flexibility needed to provide the wide variety of recreational and educational opportunities that make it so popular. The current activities include full service camping, backpacking, off-highway vehicle and horseback riding, hiking, biking, boating, fishing, hunting and environmental education and nature studies for the entire family.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Now this wide range of activities attracts more than two million visits annually by people from every state. In fact, more than 60 percent of the visitors to LBL come from beyond 100 miles distance. It is this multi-use approach that makes LBL so valuable as an economic driver for this region. Today, LBL's healthy ecosystem supports a bounty of wildlife for viewing as well as hunting, and there is 130 percent more forest volume now than there was in 1964 when TVA began its management.
LBL is also a national laboratory for cost recovery management and customer-based decision-making. TVA has met the fiscal challenges put forth by Congress to make LBL more self-sufficient. And while appropriations for many federal lands have increased, LBL's appropriations have remained essentially flat, in the $6 million to $7 million range for most of the past 15 years. Last year, TVA received $6 million for LBL and generated approximately $3.4 million in earned income, and this income paid for more than one third of all operation and maintenance, which is a greater percentage than at most national recreation areas.
While we have increased LBL's cost recovery significantly through new ways of doing business, we are reaching the maximum level possible under current guidelines. Recent attempts to support new ways to generate income, including adding new facilities and services, just simply did not find adequate public support.
But that situation is not unique. LBL is only a microcosm of the national debate about funding and management of public lands, and solutions do not come easily in the face of competing public interests and limited budget resources. So the (TVA) Board established a 19-member task force to identify options and make recommendations for TVA programs currently funded by Congress, which includes LBL. Since January, that task force has spent more than 700 hours generating public opinion, and this includes 22 public workshops and a phone survey by an independent firm that contacted 3600 people. By an overwhelming majority, 9 out of 10 people in the 7 state TVA region want TVA to continue operating LBL. I want to note that at a public meeting in Clarkesville, Tennessee, drew the largest turnout of the 22 public meetings. And while the large amount was not surprising, we were surprised that 82 percent said they favored TVA operation of LBL as a multiple-use recreation area. In the phone survey that we conducted in three LBL Congressional Districtsthe First in Kentucky, the Seventh and Eighth Districts in Tennesseeshowed that 79 percent of those contacted wanted TVA to continue managing LBL. It is obvious that while a vocal minority has received a great deal of media attention, the unpublicized silent majority favors LBL the way it is.
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As I stated earlier, TVA is proud of its balanced management of recreational and environmental education resources at LBL and we are committed to managing LBL, if that is the desire of Congress.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, the success of LBL lies in its ability to serve a broad range of recreational needs and that is possible because it is a National Recreation Area and should continue to operate under that designation. The question, could TVA or someone else manage LBL with less federal funding? The answer is yes. Activities and services can be eliminated, but it will come at the expense of the users of those services. And one thing that is real important to me and I think we should all remember that 788 families and their homes, farms and businesses were moved to create LBL. It is only fitting that their heritage be preserved as a federal land holding.
So I am confident that we have all the same objective and that is to ensure that LBL continues to serve the recreation interests of the American people and produces top value for the customer and taxpayer.
So, Mr. Chairman, we seek your help and your support to preserve LBL as a unique regional and national asset.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you very much, Mr. Kennoy, and you will note, and I think the audience will note, that the Chair was generous with its time so that we could frame the issue properly and give the Director from TVA, Mr. Kennoy, an opportunity to give us a more comprehensive statement than 5 minutes would allow.
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The Chair now recognizes the distinguished gentleman, Mr. Whitfield.
Mr. WHITFIELD. Mr. Kennoy, I was glad to hear you say that LBL should continue to receive federal funding, but that position is exactly opposite from what Mr. Crowell, the Chairman of TVA, announced not too long ago. So what is the position of Mr. Crowell today? I mean, you are one of three Boards of Directors; does he favor continued funding by the federal government of LBL, or not?
Mr. KENNOY. Well at the last hearing we had, he was asked that question and he did say that we could consider alternatives, and a compromise is in order. So I think he has publicly stated that the Board does support receiving federal funding for LBL.
Mr. WHITFIELD. Okay, so he has changed his position on that then, he does believe there should be federal funding for LBL.
Mr. KENNOY. Yes.
Mr. WHITFIELD. Okay. Now, one of the problems that people talk to me about relating to TVAand this does not reflect the management quite as much as it does the leadership at TVA, the Boards of Directors, for examplebut people say to me many times that they believe TVA goes out and has a lot of public hearings to leave the impression that they are asking for input, but that TVA has already basically decided on what they want to do and what they do not want to do. To be more specific, many people felt that when you proposed the five concepts for various stages of development, TVA was committed in advance to pursuing one of those proposals. And I would ask you, what is your response to that allegation?
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Mr. KENNOY. Well, I never did really look at those as proposals or concepts.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Could you please pull that mike up, because I know everyone is most interested in your answers.
Mr. KENNOY. Yes, sir, thank you.
I never did consider those to be concepts or proposals. What we were trying to do at that time was to get ideas and to get public input, to get some conversation started about what really is the future of LBL, what should happen, what are the possibilities. So those concepts or proposals or ideas have long since been terminated by the TVA Board. I mean they are no longer being considered, they are no longer on the table at all and have not been for a long time.
Mr. WHITFIELD. In your testimony, you left me with the impression that you felt that TVA is the appropriate agency to continue to manage LBL. Is that your position today?
Mr. KENNOY. TVA was originally created because it had a broad mandate and a lot of flexibility that other federal agencies did not have. And that is one reason why that ability exists for TVA to do that. I cannot address the other agencies and what their missions and mandates might be, or what the agendas might be. They can best answer that. But those are some of the things that the task force is going to determine for us, I think October 15 is the date, is that not, Dr. Jackson, when that will be submitted?
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Mr. WHITFIELD. Do you think, as a Director of TVA, that TVA can walk away from LBL in the way Mr. Crowell said that they were going to do without the approval of Congress?
Mr. KENNOY. When that was brought up, that really never came before the TVA Board for approval. We were going through a process of self-evaluation like you do in continuous improvement, of our whole program, including our power program which is 98 percent of our total program. And those are questions you ask yourself; you ask yourself those questions as food for thought, you try to think outside of the box, and you try to generate ideas. Those are what-if questions. What would happen if this took place. And I do not know how they got misinterpretedpeople can interpret those things different ways andbut to me, it was just food for thought. It was part of that process of being honest, asking the honest questions and trying to get this information in so we could really evaluate all of TVA's programs.
Mr. WHITFIELD. But does the TVA Board today have a position? Do they want to manage LBL or not?
Mr. KENNOY. TVA would be totally pleased to manage LBL, if that is the wish of Congress.
Kate, would you like to add something to this?
Dr. JACKSON. Could I add something to that? The Chairman's proposal was to examine whether or not there were more efficient or effective ways to deploy the activities that TVA currently does with appropriated dollars. And what the Chairman said was that TVA would like to look into opportunities not to receive federal appropriations to perform those activities. He never said those were not essential services of the federal government. One of the things the task force has done is tried to examine which of the programs that we are doing are appropriate for federal management and which should be performed some other way or by some other entity or group of entities. And we are still committed to completing that task force report and then those recommendations clearly will go to the Board. We look to Congressto this Committee as the oversight committee and also the Appropriations Committee and the regional delegationto clearly take the final action on that.
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Mr. WHITFIELD. Mr. Chairman, I know my time has expired, but I would just make one comment. When Mr. Crowell made this announcement, I did not get the impression that he was asking the opinion or floating this as an idea, but that it was a decision that he had made unilaterally. That was my impression.
But I know my time has expired, Mr. Boehlert, so thank you.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you very much, Mr. Whitfield. The Chair recognizes Mr. Clement.
Mr. CLEMENT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I might say I am thoroughly confused, Mr. Kennoy.
Mr. CLEMENT. I might say I have the utmost confidence in your staff, in your employees. I have lost a lot of faith and confidence and trust in the TVA Board.
Mr. CLEMENT. I tell you, I have seen a lot of things in my life but I do not know how you expect us, the members of the Tennessee Valley Congressional Delegation, and those even outside the Valley area, Congressmen on the various committees that care about national assets such as LBL, to carry water when you send such mixed messages. I cannot believelike this public opinion survey that has now been made by TVA that says the overwhelming number of people in the Valley area want TVA to continue to manage LBL. Why did you not make that survey before Chairman Crowell zeroed out all federal funds for TVA for LBL? I mean, why now? Why did we not do that survey first?
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Mr. KENNOY. Well, I guess, hindsight is 20/20. We are continually monitoring public opinion because we want to do the right thing for LBL.
LBL is really the heart of TVA, a big heart of TVA. You talk to all the employees, you talk to all our retireesLBL is extremely important to TVA and we care a lot about LBL. And this is just part of the process. Perhaps we did not do it exactly right, perhaps we got the cart before the horse a little bit, but I think the intentions were good.
Mr. CLEMENT. But you see
Mr. KENNOY. We are really trying, everybody is trying to do the best thing.
Mr. CLEMENT. But how can you say you care about LBL when you zeroed out all federal funds for the operation and maintenance of LBL?
Mr. KENNOY. Well, I am not sure that was the intent. As I said earlier, I think those are honest questions you would ask yourself internally. If you are really trying to get at the right answers, if you really want to think outside of the box, if you really want to do good quality management, if you want to have continuous improvement. And TVA has had a lot of continuous improvement over recent years. They have made a lot of progress and I think this is just part of that overall process of going through that
Mr. CLEMENT. For the audience, let me share this with the audience, we have three members of the Board at TVA, you all have heard me say maybe before, they report to God only and most of the time they do not listen to God, you know. And I have made that statement.
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Mr. CLEMENT. But let me add, the three Board members are appointed by the President and they are confirmed by the U.S. Senate for a 9-year term. Now a Board, if you have three members, two of the three can out-vote the Chairman, two of the three sets policy, changes direction, et cetera.
How can you explain to the people here how Chairman Crowell could go up there and zero out all federal funds for flood control, navigation, recreation, and funds for LBL, all by himself, Mr. Kennoy?
Mr. KENNOY. I really cannot. The Chairman is an independent person and all the Board members are independent and I really cannot. He needs to answer that question, I think. I think Kate Jackson haswould like to make a contribution.
Mr. CLEMENT. No, I want you to answer these questions, you are on the Board.
Mr. KENNOY. As I said before, I think it was a question asked in all honesty in a what-if situation: what would happen if this happened; what would happen if other things came along that affected TVA and really, we examine ourself. It is part of self-examination, and I think it was all part of an honest process to do that.
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Mr. CLEMENT. Let me say this to you very clearly. Here is the proposal to eliminate federal funding of TVA's appropriated programs, Craven Crowell, Chairman, Tennessee Valley Authority, January 1997. Proposal: To eliminate all federal funding for TVA's appropriated programs by fiscal year 1999. It is very clear. It is in print, all of us have a copy of it.
Let me share with everyone hereand Mr. Kennoy and the Board are very familiar with what I have proposedI have proposed nowmaybe we need a cooling off period more than anything, but I have proposed a regional commission and this regional commission would meet just for 12 months. It would not be another so-called layer of government. But we have got utility deregulation right around the corner, which very well could skyrocket our power rates. We have got a debt of over $27 billion that TVA has. Now we have this proposal to zero out all appropriated funds. This regional commission would look at everything, including changing the structure of the Board where rather than having a three-member full time board, maybe a part time board of five, seven, nine people and do it in a different way. Just because we have had TVA the way we have had it in the past does not mean it is the way we ought to have it for the 21st century.
And I assure you, Mr. Kennoy, the people in the Valley area need a bigger voice than they have right now on the future of TVA and where we are going.
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Mr. BOEHLERT. I thank the gentleman. You know, the Chair would note that Chairman Crowell's statement about future funding of LBL, the non-power aspect of the budget of TVA, came out within hours of the President's budget submission to Congress and the American people. It came after consultation with officials of the Office of Management and Budget. So I am wondering here if the signal did not come from the White House that this was going to happen and the inevitable was responded to by the Chairman.
What, Mr. Kennoy, is your response to that?
Mr. KENNOY. Any contact with the OMB was not a Board action and I am sure there is a lot of individual interaction between staff members of TVA and individual directors with OMB and I really could not address that. I really have no knowledge of the particulars of how that came about.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Well, I just wanted the record to note that the President's budget does call for a phasing out of the funding, and it starts at the top. So we are going to have to have a lot of analysis of this whole issue.
The Chair now recognizes the gentleman from Tennessee, Mr. Bryant.
Mr. BRYANT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I want to thank the members of this panel for testifying today and for taking the heat, not that there should not be some heat put on you, but I do appreciate your willingness to come forward and answer the questions.
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I want to also thank you for the job Ms. Wright and others have done in the management of the LBL. You are in a difficult position. We do not always do things perfectly to make everybody happy all of the time, but I think by the numbers that we have seen through the polling results and the surveysthe multi-purpose use of this area is certainly the route we need to maintain.
I think, Mr. Chairman, your listing of the activities, the multi-purpose activities that we have out there is certainly not exhaustive, there are many others, but they are the sort of things that I think most of the people in this audience have come to expect, not only from Kentucky and Tennessee, but within the entire region of this country. It is a national recreation center.
I think the management from the ecological side, the ecosystemthe number I wrote down, there is 130 percent more forest out there than in the 1960scertainly shows a correct and appropriate management, not only from the multi-purpose use, but also from the ecological use. And again, just the sample results of the surveys and ballots show that the vast, vast majority of the people are satisfied with TVA's management of this area.
I do not think in the end there is any question that this asset is not going to disappear. There is going to have to be an expenditure of Federal funds into this asset, as it should be any other national park or national recreation area. I think the question to me is who will continue to manage it and under what management plan. And as I have said several times today already, I want the TVA to continue managing it under its current multi-use purpose. I do not want it turning into a wilderness where people cannot go into it. I want it to stay as it is.
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And if I understand your testimony, and if any of the three of you have a different opinion, correct me, but I understand TVA is prepared to continue its current management which, I think it is a 10-year plan that we are in. Is that correct?
Mr. KENNOY. Yes, sir, that is correct.
Mr. BRYANT. Okay. Ms. Jackson or Ms. Wright, no disagreement on that?
Now do you speak for the Board or do you just speak for Mr. Kennoy today?
Mr. KENNOY. I speak for the Board in what they have set up.
Mr. BRYANT. Is there not a vital linkage between the power and the non-power side in terms of working together and the priorities of water levels and so forth, and I am sure many more that I do not know about, but is there not some significance and importance to maintaining that connection, whereas if you had different agencies independent of each other trying to operate the two, there would be inevitable conflict and balancing of priorities and one might suffer over the otheris that not a factor?
Mr. KENNOY. We feel like that TVA can manage the river system more efficiently because we do have all these things to consider and balance, and the balance is important as far as how you handle the water levels, how that relates to power. Dr. Jackson has spent a lot of time in that and she might give you a little more detail and like to address that a little bit.
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Dr. JACKSON. The tension among the multiple uses of the river system, such as for potable water, navigation, flood control, recreation and also hydropower production, is one of the things that has made this integrated resource management system so effective. And if you begin to pull apart the synergies among those and create different tensions or a different set of priorities, a different set of outputs will result. And so, as we change that equation, we will definitely change the output of that vital finite resource, the river system, and yes, we get more out of it because of that multi-purpose tension.
Mr. BRYANT. So if you bring more decision-makers, in other words if a different organization, different part of the federal government comes in to run the LBL, it obviously will be making decisions one way versus TVA who will continue to make the hydroelectric power decisions.
Dr. JACKSON. That is right.
Mr. BRYANT. So it complicates it.
Dr. JACKSON. The Board of Directors has broad mandate to make all decisions on the flow of the water up and down that reservoir system, and recognizing anything we do up in Virginia or the upper part of east Tennessee has an impact on Alabama or western Kentucky or western Tennessee. And because of that broad mandate, TVA has been able to operate the river system without the conflict that is so apparent, either political or legal conflict, of other river systems.
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BRYANT. Mr. Chairman, I would yield back my time.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you very much, Mr. Bryant. The Chair recognizes Mr. Tanner.
Mr. TANNER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I will be brief. I know there are many witnesses that we have yet to hear from.
There is no question that LBL enjoys widespread public support, it is a national treasure, as has been said. There have been some mistakes made by the TVA Board and others and we might as well acknowledge that and not try to fight that. I think, from what I have been told, that the confidence of the people has been shaken somewhat in the judgment of the leaders of the Tennessee Valley Authority, and maybe that is all right. But we must move forward from here. People are understandably concerned about the future of LBL. Not only, as I mentioned in my opening statement, about the payments in lieu of taxes, Stewart County, Tennessee for example, an area that has historically high unemployment, receives about $750,000 a year payment in lieu of taxes, every penny earmarked for education. When there are pronouncements made by people in authority at the agency, then there is understandable concern and that has not been a particularly pleasant thing for either you all or for members of Congress who represent this part of the country.
Having said all that, may I simply ask you to, in your deliberations of this in-house committee that you told us about when you came to Washington a couple of months ago, may I strongly suggest that if you want it to be creditable that you solicit, consider and otherwise make available to the general public the opportunity to have input. And that not only includes members of Congress, but other people who are directly affected by the operations of the Tennessee Valley Authority.
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Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you very much.
Let me just point out the situation as I understand it. The President's budget includes $106 million for the non-power aspects of TVA's budget for fiscal year 1998. For fiscal year 1999, the President's budget has nothing, nothing in thereI am not talking about TVA, I am talking about the President of the United States, the budget submitted to the Congressnothing. Not a penny for LBL, which is about $6 million traditionally; not a penny for navigation, not a penny for flood control. And as you look at other portions of the budget, there are no additional dollars requested to make up for the lost revenue in this portion of the budget.
I just want to make it clear that this Committee is determined on a bipartisan basis to make certain we do not walk away from flood control responsibilities, from navigational responsibilities and we are here demonstrating our interest in the recreational aspect of that. So this is a very important issue and I want to thank my colleagues for their attentiveness and particularly I want to thank Mr. Whitfield for his leadership in this thing. Once again, let me say he has been tenacious.
I come from beautiful upstate New Yorknot New York City, I want to emphasize that.
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Mr. BOEHLERT. But I come from upstate New York and we too appreciate something as magnificent as an outdoor recreational area with multiple uses. I have had first-hand exposure to LBL today and Mr. Borski and I, as we looked at it, we just marveled at what a treasure that is for your area. We are not here in any way, shape or manner identified with an effort to take away that treasure. We are trying to determine how we are going to preserve that treasure.
Thank you very much, Mr. Kennoy.
Mr. KENNOY. Yes, sir, thank you.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Dr. Jackson, Ms. Wright.
The second panel consists of Mr. Jody Lassiter, Cabinet Liaison, Office of the Governor for the state of Kentucky and Mr. Milton Hamilton, Jr., Commissioner, Department of Environment and Conservation for the state of Tennessee.
Gentlemen, your statements will appear in the record at this point in their entirety. We would ask that in the interest of expediting this hearing, that you try to summarize your statement in approximately 5 minutes.
Let us go in the order announced, Mr. Lassiter, you are up first, since we are on Kentucky soil.
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCTESTIMONY OF JODY A. LASSITER, CABINET LIAISON, OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR, STATE OF KENTUCKY, FRANKFORT, KY; AND MILTON H. HAMILTON, JR., COMMISSIONER, DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND CONSERVATION, STATE OF TENNESSEE, NASHVILLE, TN
Mr. LASSITER. Good morning. Mr. Chairman and honorable members of the Subcommittee, on behalf of Governor Patton, I welcome you to western Kentucky and to specifically Murray, which I am proud to call my hometown. I am Jody Lassiter and I have the pleasure of serving as the Governor's liaison to the 27 western-most counties of the Commonwealth of Kentucky and Governor Patton has asked me to deliver his statement regarding the future of Land Between the Lakes, the subject of today's hearing.
The Tennessee Valley Authority is the nation's largest electricity producer, a regional economic development agency and a steward of the Tennessee River Basin. In 1963, TVA presented a proposal to President John F. Kennedy, whereby it would develop a national recreation area with an emphasis on conservation values and education in the area of Kentucky and Tennessee lying between Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley. It would be called the Land Between the Lakes.
Early on, TVA's Board of Directors decided that proper development of this unique resource would require full ownership of the area. Accordingly, 95,000 acres then in private ownership was purchased to add to the 75,000 acres already in public hands. Nearly 1000 families then living in the Land Between the Lakes were relocated. The mission of the TVA, to provide resource management, environmental education and outdoor recreation in this unique region of Kentucky and Tennessee thus began and has carried forward for 34 years.
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Now TVA is seeking to divest itself of this resource, its mission and its commitment to the nation and to the people of the Tennessee Valley.
TVA has proposed, and this Subcommittee is now considering, that Congress cease federal funding of TVA's non-power related functions, including the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area.
The Commonwealth of Kentucky urges that Congress in no way eliminate federal funding from preserving this unparalleled resource. Nowhere else in this nation can man come so close to his environment to the mutual benefit of both.
Nearly two million people a year visit the Kentucky portion of Land Between the Lakes. In fact, it is Kentucky's number two tourist destination. They come to see and learn about such national symbols as the wild turkey, the bald eagle and the American bison. Within the 170,000 acres of protected lands and undeveloped shoreline, there are 200 miles of trails, campgrounds, interpretive centers and educational facilities. There is habitat diversity with wetlands, several upland forest types and numerous open grassland areas. There are more than 1600 species of plants and animals. There are several biosphere reserve core sites which are undisturbed and protected from development. There are access points to the lakes themselves which are magnets for thousands of anglers and recreational boaters throughout the nation.
This is a place where any man, woman or child can see, hear, touch and enjoy nature. More importantly, it serves as a natural learning environment for resource protection and preservation.
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It has been suggested in some quarters that the states of Kentucky and Tennessee should jointly take over and operate Land Between the Lakes. Speaking for Kentucky, we do not intend, nor do we possess the financial resources to make up for services lost because of federal budget cuts. The Land Between the Lakes is a promise made by the federal government to the people of the Tennessee Valley and should be a promise kept.
My strongest recommendation to this Subcommittee is that TVA should retain management and development responsibilities for Land Between the Lakes. TVA should not be allowed to turn these responsibilities over to the states or other federal agencies. Congress should continue its support and TVA should continue to carry out the mission it both proposed and promised to the people of the Tennessee Valley and the nation.
Let me assure you that I have a keen understanding of the demands and pressures on limited federal dollars. Governors face these problems also.
However, Congress cannot fulfill its obligation to the Tennessee Valley region while eliminating federal funding for the Land Between the Lakes. Such an act would amount to an abandonment of LBL and a loss of a precious resource.
If, as has been suggested, Congress does decide to turn over the Land Between the Lakes operations to the National Park Service or the National Forest Service, how will these already financially strapped agencies operate this new acquisition without additional funding?
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC If such a transfer is decided upon, I implore you to accompany it with the same level of funding currently going into the Land Between the Lakes operations. Please do not allow this unique environmental showcase to be relegated to the position of an unwanted stepchild.
My second recommendation to you is that a partnership task force be created to advise and assist with regard to the future of Land Between the Lakes. I ask that this task force be made up of members of both states who represent the groups having a deep and abiding interest in the region's future. This would include representatives from the two states' fish and wildlife commissions, environmental quality groups, natural resources and forestry departments, conservation offices, biodiversity councils, tourism agencies and perhaps most importantly people who live in the region and thereby have the biggest stake in the decisions being made.
I am aware that the TVA Chairman has named a task force within TVA to oversee any transition that may occur.
I propose that a task force such as I am recommending can approach the future needs of the Land Between the Lakes with a much broader understanding and commitment to the region. I would like to see it become a permanent advisory board with real authority to oversee operations at LBL whether it continue under TVA or some other agency. In fact, I believe this task force could best recommend which federal agency or combination of agencies could best continue to carry out the mission and the commitment made 34 years ago to the people of Kentucky, Tennessee and the nation.
The proper resolution of this matter must be made with much care. There are many needs to be considered with regard to preserving the natural environment, protecting wildlife, providing the educational responsibilities that were part of the original mission, and letting the people have access to and enjoyment of the recreational aspects of LBL. All of these must be maintained with balance.
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Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you. Thank you very much, I really do appreciate that. And the full statement will appear in the record at this juncture.
Mr. LASSITER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. BOEHLERT. One quick question, what is the number one tourist attraction in Kentucky?
Mr. LASSITER. The number one tourist attraction?
Mr. BOEHLERT. Yes. You mentioned LBL is number two. I was just wondering what was number one.
Mr. CLEMENT. Basketball.
Mr. LASSITER. UK basketball would probably be a good choice. I am sure it is possibly the Mammoth Cave National Recreation Area.
Mr. BOEHLERT. All right, thank you. Mr. Hamilton.
Mr. HAMILTON. Mr. Chairman and esteemed members of the Subcommittee, I am Milton Hamilton, Jr. I currently serve at the request of Governor Don Sundquist as Commissioner of Tennessee's Department of Environment and Conservation. Today, I am speaking on behalf of the State of Tennessee.
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First, I want to express my appreciation for your attention to this important issue, your willingness to come south to visit with us and for giving us the opportunity to share our state's concerns.
We in the Department of Environment and Conservation, together with Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency managed by Executive Director Gary Myers, are responsible for and are concerned with the quality of our environment, the abundance of our wildlife and the enjoyment by our people of the great outdoors. We are particularly concerned about the enjoyment and use of the public lands.
Due to these concerns, we are equally interested in the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area. On behalf of the State of Tennessee, I would like to make three beliefs known to this panel:
1. The State of Tennessee believes that broad and careful study should be initiated for LBL's future to avoid selecting rash or poorly considered proposals.
2. The State of Tennessee recognizes that the LBL lands were taken by threat of or with eminent domain for outdoor public use. WE feel strongly that traditional public uses established at LBL should be maintained, particularly the hunting and fishing access.
3. The State of Tennessee believes that Land Between the Lakes is a national resource. The United States Congress should fund its management. Who should manage it is a matter for broad and careful study.
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Again, thank you for the opportunity to address you on behalf of the State of Tennessee.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you very much, Commissioner, appreciate it.
The Chair recognizes Mr. Whitfield.
Mr. WHITFIELD. Mr. Lassiter, in your testimony, you indicated that your strongest recommendation to this Subcommittee is that TVA should retain management and development responsibilities for Land Between the Lakes. Now why do you recommend that?
Mr. LASSITER. Well, being a native of this region, primarily I can tell you the Tennessee Valley Authority made a commitment to the people of the Tennessee Valley in 1963 and fulfilled that commitment, particularly with the actions taken by TVA in creating Land Between the Lakes. Calloway County, for example, was the destination of a great many individuals who were removed from the land between the rivers area, and because of that reason and the strong feelings and emotions and particularly the promises made by the federal government, TVA should fulfill that promise.
Mr. WHITFIELD. Well, in my view, there is a difference in their responsibility to fulfill it and their commitment to doing it. But do you feel like there are other agencies that could manage this property as well as TVA?
Page 52 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. LASSITER. It is the position of the Governor and the Commonwealth of Kentucky that TVA would be the primary operational control authority over TVA.
Mr. WHITFIELD. Now the Daniel Boone National Forest, of course, is managed by the U.S. Forest Service and it is a multi-use property just like LBL is. Do you feel like the Daniel Boone National Forest is being managed in a professional way?
Mr. LASSITER. Absolutely, but because of the history of the Land Between the Lakes and the commitment that was made in 1963, the Tennessee Valley Authority is best prepared to manage Land Between the Lakes and the many other responsibilities that it undertakes to manage in the Land Between the Lakes recreational area.
Mr. WHITFIELD. So you primarily are recommending TVA, or the Governor is, because of the history that they have with LBL.
Mr. LASSITER. And its ability to manage the many resources that are there.
Mr. WHITFIELD. But you do not feel like their ability is any greater than say the National Forest Service, do you?
Mr. LASSITER. I believe they are best equipped and the Governor believes they are best equipped to follow through on the commitment and to manage the resource.
Mr. WHITFIELD. Okay. Now you have indicated that LBL is the second highest place for visitors to come to as a tourist site in Kentucky. Do you think that there is any chance at all that the State of Kentuckyrecognizing that this draws so many people to this areawould be willing to provide any funding at all for LBL?
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Mr. LASSITER. The Governor's position is that the Commonwealth of Kentucky does not have sufficient financial resources to contribute to the management of LBL, and that that should be the responsibility of the federal government and the Tennessee Valley Authority.
Mr. WHITFIELD. I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you. Mr. Clement.
Mr. CLEMENT. Yes. Mr. Lassiter and Commissioner Hamilton, both of you representing the State of Kentucky and Tennessee.
I might say, Mr. Lassiter, you did not mention the Blue Grass State or horses when you were talking about that first attraction and LBL being the number two attraction of the state. I just wanted to put in a plug for Kentucky as well.
Mr. LASSITER. Thank you.
Mr. CLEMENT. Let me ask both of you, both of you represent the respective states, were either the State of Tennessee or Kentucky informed about what TVA was going to do, to zero out federal funds for the future of LBL, prior to them meeting with the Office of Management and Budget in Washington, D.C.? And if you were not informed, why do you think TVA did this?
Page 54 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. LASSITER. Speaking for Governor Patton, I am aware of no contact that was made with the Governor's office prior to the statement by Chairman Crowell, and could not tell you the reasons for the lack of communication before the statement was made.
Mr. HAMILTON. I also, from the State of Tennessee's standpoint would have to say that we had no prior notice of what was taking place. We have had a lot of contact since that time with the various members of TVA and their board, in my office and in the Office of Policy, State of Tennessee.
As to why they did not do that, I cannot answer it. I said in my office that I thought maybe TVA was looking to see just how much of a power base it had across the United States, and particularly in the southeast where they are so heavily involved, and that now they are finding out there is a lot of base of support for the non-power functions of TVA that probably have more clout than those that are just purely interested in power.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. CLEMENT. Yes.
Mr. BOEHLERT. I am sure from both Governors the response was almost immediate in contacting your respective Congressional delegations and reacting to Chairman Crowell's statement. Was it just as immediate in responding to the President's budget, which was released within hours? Has there been communication with the White House on this issue? Because the task is made much easier if the President includes something in his budget; but if the Presidentwhich his budget does not include anything in 1999. Congress can always insert and we have done that quite often in the past, but it makes the task easier if we are both on the same page.
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Have both your Governors communicated with the White House, with the administration, to express your feelings? Because whether or not TVA continues to be funded, if we follow the path that has been charted minus $106 million from TVA's budget; therefore, no money to continue the management of LBL, with the thought that there are other agencies of the federal government that could and do very effectively manage such resources, but there is no money in the budget for them either. And so we have a magnificent resource and we have the navigational portion of the activity and we have the flood control portion of the activity, and there is no present plan in the year 1999 to have any money to deal with them.
Mr. HAMILTON. As far as I know from the State of Tennessee, from my office in particular, we did have a lot of conversation with our Congressional people in Washington. I do not know whether the finance administration part of our state, which deals mainly with our budget, had any contact with the federal government through the White House or not. I would have thought that there would have been some contact there, particularly since the Vice President is a Tennessean.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Well knowing Governor Sundquist as I do, I can imagine there was swift.
Mr. HAMILTON. Yes, sir.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Mr. Lassiter.
Mr. LASSITER. I am aware that Governor Patton has been in contact with the White House with reference to those budgetary items. As to the detailed communications, I could not speak to them.
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Mr. BOEHLERT. Sure, I understand that, it is privileged communication. But I just wanted to make sure that they understand that there is a player there that is very prominent.
Mr. CLEMENT. My last question would be about a regional commission which would be in existence just for 12 months, about the future of TVA and what we expect of TVA in the 21st century. Would you support that, Mr. Lassiter?
Mr. LASSITER. Yes. Governor Patton's proposal specifically states that there should be an advisory committee made up of the stakeholders in this region to advise and assist the TVA in managing its most precious resource, which is LBL.
Mr. CLEMENT. Commissioner Hamilton.
Mr. HAMILTON. Well, certainly Tennessee would prefer some logical approach to trying to determine, instead of a crash approach immediately trying to remove this from TVA. We do not see, from my perspective, in dealing with the parks and recreational areas of Tennessee that there will be any money saved if you transferred it to anybody else but that needs to be considered in the process because the land has to be managed by whoever you give it to. If you give it to the Corps of Engineers or the U.S. Forestry Service, that $106 million, you are not going to be able to save it, somebody has got to manage it.
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. CLEMENT. Commissioner Hamilton, you are absolutely right and I think that is what has been unfair about TVA's proposal, leaving the impression that we are going to have this budget savings, that we are downsizing. We are really deceiving the public because if TVA is not involved in LBL and these other functions in the future, someone else is going to have to take over those responsibilities.
Mr. HAMILTON. That is correct.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you. The Chair now recognizes Mr. Bryant.
Mr. BRYANT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I just have one quick question to both members of the panel. You have already answered most of my questions, but sometimes words mean different things to different people.
But in terms of this word ''multi-purpose''; I interpret that to mean that both your states, Tennessee and Kentucky, support the continued multi-purpose use of the LBL, which to me, multi-purpose is like it is being used today, various ways, 365 days a year it is open to the public to do these various recreational things. Is that your understanding of the word ''multi-purpose,'' both of you?
Mr. HAMILTON. It is certainly our understanding in Tennessee, because we want the hunting and the fishing to continue, we want the nature trails, the wildlife watching, all this type thing, camping, recreational. That is what it is there for and that is what the people are using it for, and it should continue.
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BRYANT. Mr. Lassiter.
Mr. LASSITER. Absolutely. We do not want the use of Land Between the Lakes, which has already been restricted to some circumstances now, to be restricted any further and that multi-purpose use continue.
Mr. BRYANT. Thank you. I yield back my time.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you. Mr. Tanner.
Mr. TANNER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, I too will be brief.
Mr. Lassiter, I was interested in the Governor of Kentucky's proposal about a Tennessee/Kentucky task force, meeting or whatever. Has he communicated that to the State of Tennessee?
Mr. LASSITER. I understand that to be the case.
Mr. TANNER. Mr. Hamilton, would the State of Tennessee be equally interested in such an idea?
Mr. HAMILTON. I think the State of Tennessee would be interested in either way that the Congress would decide that we should do it. We can do it together and make recommendations or the task force that Congressman Clement is talking about would certainly be a broader perspective than just the two states, because it is not just serving the State of Tennessee and the State of Kentucky. We have people from all over the United States coming to use LBL. It is a great natural area.
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Mr. TANNER. I understand that and I do not think the two ideas are mutually exclusive. I know that the people that are involved most directly are those who live in Tennessee or Kentucky around LBL and I would hope that they would have perhaps a bit more input than someone who is just a visitor from Michigan or Maine orpardon me, Mr. ChairmanNew York.
Mr. TANNER. Anyway, thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you very much. Any further questions of any of the panel members?
Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you very much, and tell your respective Governors how much we appreciate your being here. And please, Mr. Hamilton, pass along to my classmate Don Sundquist my best wishes.
Mr. HAMILTON. Thank you.
Mr. LASSITER. Thank you.
Mr. BOEHLERT. The third panel consists of Mr. Austin Carroll, Board Chairman, Land Between the Lakes Association; representing the Kentucky Forest Industries Association, Mr. Robert Bauer, Executive Director; from our host, Murray State Universityand incidentally, they have been most gracious hosts and we do appreciate itwe have Dr. Joseph A. Baust, Professor, and Dr. Paul Yambert for the Center for Environmental Education; from the TVA-LBL impacted counties, we have the Honorable Terry O. McKinney, Lyon County Judge/Executive and from the Land Between the Lakes, the Team Leader in Resource Management, Mr. Rick L. Lowe.
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Gentlemen, we would ask that you try to summarize your statement in 5 minutes or less, which will allow us ample time for questions. Your full statement will appear in the record at this juncture in its entirety.
We appreciate your being willing to serve as resources for this Subcommittee as it goes about its very important business, and we will now proceed with the panel in the order in which the panel was announced. Mr. Carroll, you are up first.
TESTIMONY OF AUSTIN CARROLL, BOARD CHAIRMAN, LAND BETWEEN THE LAKES ASSOCIATION; ROBERT J. BAUER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, KENTUCKY FOREST INDUSTRIES ASSOCIATION; DR. JOSEPH A. BAUST, SR., PROFESSOR, MURRAY STATE UNIVERSITY, MURRAY, KY; DR. PAUL YAMBERT, REPRESENTING THE CONCEPT ZERO TASK FORCE; HON. TERRY O. MCKINNEY, LYON COUNTY JUDGE/EXECUTIVE REPRESENTING LYON, STEWART AND TRIGG COUNTIES; AND RICK L. LOWE, MANAGER, RESOURCE MANAGEMENT DEPARTMENT, LAND BETWEEN THE LAKES
Mr. CARROLL. Good morning. My name is Austin Carroll. On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Land Between the Lakes Association, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to come and talk about the past and future of Land Between the Lakes. The Land Between the Lakes Association is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to assist with the improvement, promotion, conservation and wise use of Land Between the Lakes. The Association is independent of the Tennessee Valley Authority. It was created by a group of private citizens. We are proud to be in our 15th year of assisting with the stewardship of Land Between the Lakes.
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As Chairman of the Association, I represent individuals who are interested in LBL's future as a multi-use recreation area, a national attraction and a demonstration area that includes environmental education and natural resources management. Because of its national importance, LBL is also a property that is a vital component of the continued economic development of our region.
Our Association Board is a diverse group of volunteers composed of business and community leaders, educators, tourism industry representatives and descendants of former LBL residents. In spite of our diversity, we speak with a single voice when we talk about securing the future of Land Between the Lakes.
Land Between the Lakes is the largest contiguous deciduous forest land between the Rockies and the Appalachians. We like to say it is the biggest green thing between the Rockies and the Smokies in the central part of the country. Within a day's drive of more than two-thirds of the population of the United States, LBL's 170,000 acres of scenic woodland and 300 miles of undeveloped shoreline must be considered a priceless one-of-a-kind natural resource.
While LBL can certainly be considered a jewel in the nation's crown, we believe it should not be considered as a candidate for preservation based management that has served some other public lands so well. Applied in the strictest sense, preservation would dramatically change the nature of LBL's mission in outdoor recreation, environmental education and natural resource management.
It is paramount that LBL continue to be managed with the multiple-use stewardship, those techniques that TVA has applied successfully for more than 30 years. Multiple-use management has allowed LBL to demonstrate that it can be a leader with a 36 percent cost recovery rate for its operation; quadruple LBL's deer population; increase by 10 times the number of wild turkey on Land Between the Lakes; reintroduce native species like the bald eagle and the woods elk; identify and maintain sites for 22 federal endangered, threatened and sensitive species; and increase LBL's volume of trees by 130 percent.
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All of these accomplishments have been achieved while LBL has also provided the additional services that the traveling public desires, such as wildlife viewing, camping, hiking, horseback riding, hunting and more. In fact, it is because of this multiple-use approach that LBL has become, as was mentioned before, the second most popular tourist attraction in Kentucky and third in Tennessee I believe.
In planning for the future, the woodland environment of LBL should not be confused with the wide open landscapes of the west. For LBL, a key element of success has been the active management of the landscape and its wildlife. When prairie fires ceased and huge herds of grazing elk and bison disappeared, so did the open spaces. Optimizing wildlife population levels and viewing opportunities today now requires active professional management practices, including selected timber harvest and maintaining forested openings and controlled game hunting.
As we look ahead to Land Between the Lakes in the future, we ask that some basic principles be used to guide its path into the future:
1. The federal government must recognize that it has an inherent responsibility to provide ongoing support for safeguarding the rich cultural heritage of the land and the people who have lived on this land.
2. Any managing agency must continue to focus on LBL's original multiple-use mission to manage the resources of LBL for optimum yield of environmental education and outdoor recreation opportunities.
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC 3. A clear definition of appropriate visitor services must be determined. This definition must address a range of requirements, including visitor needs for convenience and accessibility. There will never be 100 percent agreement on what level of commercial services are acceptable for LBL. Still, the service needs of LBL visitors must be satisfied if LBL is to remain a viable recreation attraction for this central region of the country.
4. No plan for the future of LBL should be considered without a viable implementation plan including realistic funding resources and reasonable expectations for internal revenue generation.
As I stated earlier, LBL is a national treasure that has significant impact on local and regional well-being. This is a proud region with a proud heritage and we are committed to doing whatever needs to be done to see that LBL has a secure future. We, the people of the region, accept the responsibility for making this happen, but we also must insist that the responsibility be shared with the federal government.
The federal government cannot turn its back on Land Between the Lakes. Huge investments have been made in land and personal sacrifice by those who have lived here and those who have worked here. We maintain that the federal government has a mandate to continue its stewardship of this distinctive natural resource. We can build upon our strengths as we work together to find innovative ways to secure the future of Land Between the Lakes.
Thank you for your interest in this issue and we appreciate you folks allowing us to have input.
Page 64 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you very much, Mr. Carroll. Mr. Bauer.
Mr. BAUER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the Subcommittee. My name is Robert Bauer and I am the Executive Director of the Kentucky Forest Industries Association. I appreciate the opportunity to address the Subcommittee concerning future management of LBL.
The Kentucky Forest Industries Association represents over 700 member companies that support a $2 billion wood industry that provides over 25,000 jobs in Kentucky. The Association works closely with these members and I am providing testimony on their behalf.
The management of LBL has served as an excellent national model of resource management. When these lands were assembled, the mission of LBL was to provide environmental education and recreation within a multiple use conservation framework. We strongly feel that continuing the traditional mission of multiple use management of these lands should be a priority for this Subcommittee.
Hunting, camping, wildlife viewing, nature photography, hiking, outdoor classrooms, ORVs, horseback riding, bird watching and many activities have coexisted in LBL for many years. This National Recreation Area recovers 36 percent of its costs which is far more than any other area in the country. LBL should not be passed around different government agencies, but used as a demonstration model for other areas around the country.
In 1994, the LBL Natural Resource Management Plan was supported by over 2600 people or 93 percent of the commenters. The LBL Alliance, comprised of numerous outdoor user group organizations was formed at that time and provided many comments supporting multiple use in LBL. KFIA was a member of the Alliance. The cost of this planning process was $3 million. This plan should not be thrown out the window for another planning process at the urging of a vocal minority, but should be used to guide future management. Recent planning efforts have shown the public does not want extensive development in LBL and past efforts have shown the public overwhelmingly opposes total preservation. In short, most people support a balanced approach to managing LBL.
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In order to reach these management goals, the agency which manages LBL must have all the tools available for effective management that support a recreation/education mission. This includes judicious timber harvesting to meet a wide range of objectives from ensuring different age classes and stages of forest are available for enhancement of wildlife habitat and to provide for all aspects of environmental education.
LBL is currently 89 percent covered by an oak/hickory forest. According to research, this has been the forest type in the LBL region for over 10,000 years. LBL's forest has grown from 308 million standing board feet in 1966 to over 700 million board feet today. During this same 30-year period over 120 million board feet was removed through timber harvesting. Trees in the forest have grown larger and improved in overall quality since TVA ownership. Timber harvests typically remove the worst trees and leave the better trees in the forest more room to grow. Also, with the exception of 1 year in the early 1980s, LBL's timber program has never been below cost. This is partly due to the minimum of red tape required through internal regulations. It indeed is a national model to follow.
Local wildlife are highly dependent on the nuts and acorns this forest provides. The average acorn yield was 78 pounds per acre in 1966. The last 10-year survey showed an average of 110 pounds per acre. The current ecology of LBL is such that over time, 40 percent of the oak/hickory acorn and nut producing forest will be lost as it converts to a maple/beech forest. A maple/beech forest has a very low food value for wildlife and limited plant habitat. A recent 4-year study by Dr. Scott Franklin concluded that management is needed to maintain an oak/hickory forest in LBL and to prevent the takeover of a maple/beech forest.
Page 66 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Talk of future management would not be complete without mentioning the tremendous impact these lands have on the local areajobs and income generated from timber harvesting, hunting, camping, hiking and many other uses. The LBL timber program alone supports 124 jobs and contributes over $4 million to the local economy without adversely affecting market conditions. In addition, local counties depend on TVA for payments in lieu of taxes. In 1994, TVA paid about $7 million to LBL surrounding counties.
For 30 years, forest management in LBL has been a unique demonstration to everyone, from the wood industry to local school children. In fact, 93 percent of the comments received on the Natural Resource Management Plan supported active forest management on LBL. Management has focused on wildlife habitat rather than forest products since 1966. In fact, eight of the nine bald eagle nests in LBL are located in timber harvest areas. If that is not testimony to proper forest management, what is? In light of Dr. Franklin's recent findings, strong evidence of past success, and overwhelming public support for active forest management, we believe this program is crucial to proper management of LBL.
We strongly prefer that LBL remain in TVA ownership for the benefit of local counties as well as for continuance of past model management. If a new agency must be chosen, KFIA supports one that would continue LBL operations as they exist today. We suggest in the event of transfer, the USDA Forest Service be given careful consideration. Of all possible executive branch agencies, we believe their multiple-use mandate most closely mirrors LBL's past management.
Again, I thank the Subcommittee for allowing me to speak today.
Page 67 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you very much. Dr. Baust.
Dr. BAUST. Thank you. I appreciate the opportunity to speak this morning.
I must say I come here with a bias. The bias is that I have been involved in education for 30 years of my life and my belief is that the future of this country hinges on what we do, how we educate our kids, especially in view of the time that now we see our students are not able to do as well in mathematics and science as children in other comparable countries and even smaller countries. And so, I am here with somewhat of a bias, I must say.
What we teach sometimes to our students is that there are some indicator species, those species sometimes tell us about the health of our environment. Well today, I would like for us to look at one facility at Land Between the Lakes as maybe an indicator of the health of education at Land Between the Lakes.
You have before you some pictures. If you choose to look at them with me as I go through my testimony, I would appreciate it.
I would like to take an imaginary walk through the Youth Station. This is one of the group camps at Land Between the Lakes, 200 acres, 16-acre island that is associated with it. And on our walk, I want to provide you a vision of environmental education at the Youth Station at Land Between the Lakes.
We walk past the gate of Youth Station and proceed along the winding road. This is a quiet, pastoral setting that leads to an oasis where there is a dining hall and six cabins, home away from home for 72 persons. This place left unoccupied, filled with unused materials and equipment, is an indication that Youth Station once was a bustling place, is now a ghost town.
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Cathy Johnson and Lou Nell Litchfield, friends of ours and also former cooks at the Youth Station at Land Between the Lakes, relate a story. I think it is a poignant one. They related a story about inner city Nashville childrena former home of mine as welland they said when the children were told they were going home from Youth Station, they hid behind the trees and begged to stay. This Lou Nell Litchfield said to me, why, I say why? Because Youth Station made a connection to nature, made a connection to math and science and language arts and social studies. It made a connection and allowed these kids to see the simple giftsyou know, the Shaker hymn, the simple gifts. Well, it made that connection for them.
But Youth Station made an impact on all children, rich and poor, inner city, suburban, rural. It is from the dining hall porch that Majority Leader Dick Armey and Secretary Bruce Babbitt stood there and saw the promise Youth Station represented. This bipartisan realization is reflected in Armey's statement, ''You have so much opportunity here.''
What interest is there in Youth Station at LBL? Well, currently there is none because it is closed, has been closed since 1994. But Murray State and Austin Peay University joined together to propose a model environmental education center at Youth Station for children, the two universities would take a share in its running. We wanted to help TVA and we wanted to educate children and teachers in environmental education. Teachers, schools and other groups pledged to use Youth Station 350 days per yearthat is our survey. It comes from the two universities.
There were 150 persons that volunteered from Murfreesboro, Tennessee to Paducah, Kentucky to help us repair that facility. And we raised over $23,000 in independent monies to help in that cause.
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Well, why have environmental education at LBL at all? Because it is the mission of LBL to provide environmental education for all Americans. It is good education, it is connective. In a time when there is so much skepticism about government, our children need and our citizenry needs to know that promises are kept. TVA made a commitment to the former owners of LBL that they would create a national recreation and environmental education area. We must assure our children and our citizenry that we keep our word.
LBL's own survey found that 58 percent believed that education should be the only business of LBL. This is yet another confirmation of need as assessed by the people.
Lynn Hodges is the past president of the North American Association for Environmental Education. He is also a member of the staff of the Tennessee Valley Authority in Knoxville or Norris. He stated that Youth Station was an important part of LBL's environmental education mission. It had and still has the potential of becoming a model facility, a national laboratory for environmental education.
All training at Youth Station, as we proposed, Austin Peay and Murray State, should apply national standards in environmental education in math, in science and other disciplines. Youth Station should be a place where all who enter its gates should experience quality education. It should provide skills and knowledge so each person can make a well-informed decision and exercise his or her rights and responsibilities as a member of the community. We want critical thinkers, we want problem solvers. That is what we want and that is what that facility represents.
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Let us look at some for instances. If we educated 500 teachers at that facility the first year, we would reach 150,000 children over a 10-year period. Let us even increase that. If 2000 teachers were trained at that facility, 600,000 children would be impacted over a 10-year period. What a good use of money, geometric increase.
If we can work together for a common good, Youth Station can be saved from neglect. We would all be winnersgovernment, universities, communities becoming partners to make a difference for children and teachers. It not only makes good sense, it is just really cost effective. Education is a long-term investment worth long-term commitment. Youth Station must become a national demonstration project, it must not be allowed to fall to the ground.
There is a need, there is a promise. We want our children to be good mathematics persons, we want them to be good problem solvers, we want them to be good communicators. We should provide the opportunity for others to stand on the porch of Youth Station and see what Secretary Babbitt and Representative Armey have seenso much opportunity.
Please let us find a way to work together. Thank you.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you very much. Dr. Yambert.
Dr. YAMBERT. Howdy. I am here to represent the Concept Zero Task Force. We appreciate the opportunity today, it is both welcome and urgent.
Unlike many of the people in the audience, I am not a former resident or owner of land between the rivers. But I am a current owner of Land Between the Lakes and of TVA. To fracture an old aphorism, if it is broke, try fixing it before discarding it. Our claim that LBL is broke is not based on its claims of inadequate funding. LBL is broke because it no longer performs the functions for which it was created; that is, its mission.
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In addition to LBL's explicit mission with which we are all familiar, the implicit mission contains the promises and assurances found in the Congressional testimony and the press releases at the time of LBL's birth. In addition, we expect high ethical standards, including using but not abusing science; heeding, not circumventing, Congress; and completing, not competing with, private and state enterprises.
Time constraints dictate that we deal only with a few of the more egregious shortcomings of LBL today. I will mention four:
Disregard for its promises and its mission. The promise of uniqueness, including no commercialization within LBL, was first broken with the seemingly innocuous sales of ice and soft drinks and has recently been broken at an increasing rate and scale by new gift shops, restaurants, campground stores, bikes, cabins and ponies for rent and sites for lease. Similarly, LBL's once exemplary environmental education programs have degenerated to the motel for rent and kiosks to read level.
Number two; disregard for public participation in planning. In late 1995, LBL submitted and then was forced to ''officially withdraw'' its now infamous five preliminary concepts. LBL quickly dropped all pretense of following the legislated NEPA process and soon began to implement the plans it had disingenuously insisted were only concepts with no EIS statement, no consideration of cumulative effects, no preferred alternative and, apparently, no shame.
Number three; disregard for directives of Congress. According to explicit Congressional directives, H.R. 479, LBL is to become more nearly self-sustaining, self-sufficient, by becoming an increasingly natural area with scaled down programs and staff. Instead, LBL has rapidly expanded its commercial infrastructure. Despite this defiant, spendthrift management, some Senators and some Congressmen have pledged additional funds when additional commitment to the mission is a far greater need.
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Number four; disregard for the future. Federal agencies have the option of longer planning horizons than private enterprises. LBL has failed to embrace this option. Adding to its failures in maintenance, LBL is now harvesting timber in potential core areas of the biosphere reserve. This foreclosing of future options indicates a lack of business acumen and ecological sensitivity which cannot, in the context of the mission, be condoned.
LBL is operating as if a remiss Congress will not insist upon retro-development or upon rededication to the mission, the mission which worked so well for 30 years without intensive logging or commercialization. Tragically, these broken promises have long term moral, economic and ecological consequences which we, and the environment, can ill afford.
By remaining faithful to its mission, LBL could become an increasingly effective green magnet, requiring only a modest budget, fulfilling its stewardship obligations, retaining its uniqueness and, albeit gradually, regaining the confidence of the people.
In order to move toward this goal, we ask those of you in Congress to take immediate and effective action as follows:
A. Establish a regional commission to evaluate TVA's transition plans and those of possible successor groups.
B. Establish an immediate moratorium on any further commercialization at LBL until step one is complete.
Page 73 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC C. Consider how LBL can best serve as a model demonstration of enlightened federal land management.
D. Evaluate the feasibility of establishing a combined public/private endowment fund to manage LBL in perpetuity.
Obviously LBL deserves the lion's share of the blame for the cascading abandonment of its mission. It is also clear too few in Congress are dedicated to their oversight responsibilities. Similarly, we the people have allowed ourselves to become passive and poorly informed observers of the sociological and ecological processes taking place at LBL. Both as a beloved site and as a bellwether for federal land management, the future of LBL will soon be defined.
We of the Concept Zero Task Force will not be among those guilty of allowing LBL to become a land of broken promises rather than the land of promise it can and should become.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you very much, Dr. Yambert.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Judge McKinney.
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Judge MCKINNEY. Today with me on the stage is Jim Wallace, who is Superintendent of Trigg County School System and also a former resident of Land Between the Lakes, and Burlin Moore, the Trigg County Judge/Executive. So they are also joining me in case there are tough questions, they are to answer those.
Today, Mr. Chairman and Subcommittee members, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, I speak to you on behalf of Stewart County Tennessee; Trigg County, Kentucky and Lyon County, Kentucky.
No one group of people has paid a greater price in the name of TVA than those forced to move from between the rivers. In 1961 TVA Board members proposed to President John F. Kennedy that the land between Kentucky and Barkley reservoirs be made into a national recreation area. The lives of many people from Stewart County, Trigg County and Lyon County would never be the same. The federal government owns 42.79 percent of Stewart County, 40 percent of Trigg County and 40 percent of Lyon County. The three counties receive $1.6 million from TVA annually. Tennessee distributes TVA power funds in lieu of taxes to its 95 counties for general operating purposes.
According to TVA sources, TVA generated $713,461 for Stewart County in 1996 from LBL. Since the 1994-1995 fiscal year, the general purpose school fund advanced to be the sole recipient for all of Stewart County's State Revenue Sharing TVA revenues. Should these funds be abolished, the Stewart County children will suffer a great injustice. It should also be considered that with 43 percent of the property in Stewart County owned by the federal government, this decreases the property tax base available. It is a very rural area, where the largest employer is the school system. To remove this amount of money from the school system budget would mean cutting services to the children of the county and raising the unemployment level, since cutbacks would be necessary.
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The State of Kentucky retains 30 percent of all TVA power monies that it receives, as well as all interest earned between the receipt of TVA monies until annual distribution to the 33 TVA counties and their respective county school systems is made.
Trigg County received about $100,000 for fiscal year 1995-1996, which represents 11 percent of the county general fund budget. In past years, the amount received has been greater. Essential services are provided with these funds.
The Trigg County School District has averaged $406,786 each year during the past 10 years. The TVA payment makes up seven percent of the school's general fund budget. Without this source of revenue, the Trigg County Board of Education would be forced to cut staff and reduce their student services.
Lyon County has received an average of $101,000 for the past 4 years from TVA. TVA's 1996 funding accounts for 11.7 percent of the general fund budget. The county received more from the federal government than from local taxes in prior years.
The Lyon County Schools have received a total of $1,517,158 over the past 5 years. This was the total amount received. The current annual TVA payments are equivalent to ten certified teachers in the Lyon County Schools. TVA makes high quality education possible for Lyon County students.
The 170,000 acres in Land Between the Lakes contains 420 miles of roads, 90 bridges and five dams. The money necessary to maintain these transportation needs is not available to the three counties from Tennessee and Kentucky. According to our figures, it takes $1500between $1200 and $1500 a mile just to maintain the road, so this would be a total of $630,000 annually. Within LBL we also find 221 cemeteries. These cemeteries require access and security, so the former residents can visit their loved ones that have passed on.
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We cannot change the past. On March 25, 1963, President John F. Kennedy received a proposed press announcement from his Secretary of the Interior:
''The President announced that the Tennessee Valley Authority will develop a Natural Recreational Area as a demonstration in resource development in the 170,000 acre Between-the-Lakes area.... The agency will administer the area for a period required to complete the demonstration, estimated to be about 10 years. At the end of that period, arrangements for permanent administration of the area for outdoor recreation will be determined.''
LBL has been in the hands of TVA for over 34 years.
If TVA ceases to control the multi-use recreation area, Stewart County, Lyon County and Trigg County request that:
Local governments be funded directly from Washington, D.C.
Funds be established equivalent to the highest year of TVA payments.
Funds increase consistently with inflation.
Multi-use recreational management continue for tourism economy.
All roads to cemeteries be maintained.
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United States fulfill all ethical and financial obligations to the counties and people of LBL.
On behalf of Stewart County, Trigg County and Lyon County, thanks for your concern for our future.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you very much, Judge. Mr. Lowe.
Mr. LOWE. Thank you, Mr. Boehlert. I am the acting manager of the Resource Management Department at Land Between the Lakes. My colleagues and I are responsible for protecting and managing LBL's wildlife, forest and fields. I hold a Master of Science degree in wildlife biology and I have been involved with the stewardship of LBL's wildlife resources for the past 20 years.
Congressman Whitfield's staff asked that I share with this Committee some information about LBL's wildlife, and I appreciate this opportunity, Congressman. I also want to thank you and Congressman Bryant and Congressman Tanner for the longstanding support of the conservation of LBL's wildlife resources. I encourage other members of Congress to join them in very carefully considering LBL's valuable wildlife resources, as the future of the area is deliberated.
TVA manages LBL's forests and fields for a wide variety of wildlife. Today, there are 352 vertebrate species found on LBL, most of which are forested animals. About 89 percent of LBL is forested, seven percent is in open land and only four percent of LBL is in developed roads and facilities and other infrastructure.
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As a result of habitat improvements, as others have told you today, many wildlife populations have dramatically increased. For example, our wild turkey flock has increased ten-fold while the deer herd has increased four-fold. And the bald eagle has also staged a remarkable comeback. When TVA assumed responsibility for LBL there were no eagle nests, only a wintering population of about 20 birds. Today, however, LBL has 13 nesting territories and a wintering population of about 150 eagles. This rapid recovery has been due in part to restoration efforts conducted by TVA and partners. Similar restoration efforts have been successful for osprey, giant Canada geese, river otter and ruffed grouse. And we are currently exploring the feasibility of releasing elk onto LBL.
The overall health and vigor of LBL's forest has also vastly improved. As you have heard today, our standing timber volumes have more than doubled since assuming ownership and three-fourths of the forest is dominated by large mature trees, as you saw today as you had your overflight.
LBL is nationally known for its hunting and wildlife viewing opportunities. Currently, we offer over 230 days of hunting annually. And to illustrate the scope of public interest in hunting, please consider that since 1967, over one half million people have submitted applications for deer hunting on LBL. During this same period, a quarter of a million archers have hunted for deer and another 55,000 hunters pursued wild turkey. The high rate of hunter success at LBL, coupled with the unique outdoor experiences that we provide truly make it a destination of choice. And LBL's hunting program is completely self-supporting through the sale of permits and application fees.
Page 79 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC While our hunting program is important, wildlife viewing is actually the highest rated visitor activity on LBL. And to increase the chances of the public seeing wildlife, TVA has improved habitats. In our visitor facilities, we have developed trails and observation blinds and we provide special programs and tours. Visitation to our newest attraction, the elk and bison prairie, I think very clearly highlights visitor interest in wildlife viewing. Since opening last year, we have had over 140,000 visitors tour the area. Development of this area has been a partnership with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Land Between the Lakes Association. Congressman Whitfield also played a critical role in helping secure funding for the development of this area. Thus far, we have received over $363,000 in private donations.
These opportunities to view and to hunt wildlife are directly tied to the diverse habitats that we provide. And really, the connection is quite simple. Without the right mix of food, water, cover and shelter, many popular species of wildlife would decline, as would the associated public uses. LBL's natural resources, as you have heard today, are managed according to a scientifically based plan that was developed under the guidelines of the National Environmental Policy Act, with extensive public input. This plan prescribes a combination of preservation and active management techniques that I would like to desribe very briefly for you.
About one-fourth of LBL has been designated as preserve areas, which are important for wildlife species requiring older forest. In other parts of LBL, selective timber harvesting is used to improve the quality and the diversity of habitat for many wildlife species that our customers want. By removing some of the trees, sunlight can reach the forest floor, which stimulates the growth of young plants. These young plants provide food and cover for over half of LBL's wildlife. And because, as you saw today, only seven percent of LBL is in open land, timber harvesting is a critically important tool for creating additional young growth.
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It is critically important that this Subcommittee understand that future changes in LBL's habitat management will directly impact wildlife and the related public uses. If active forest and open land management were reduced or eliminated, the landscape will change. Many desirable species dependent upon young growth, such as deer, turkey and many species of songbirds, would dramatically decrease. Obviously the associated benefits of these and other wildlife would also be reduced. I hope your review will lead you to the conclusion that a balancethat a balance of management and preservation is required to meet ecological and social needs.
In closing, let me emphasize that LBL is an important ecological asset. However, as we have heard today, there are certainly many different views about how this asset should be managed. TVA has demonstrated that a combination of active and passive management will provide for a wealth of recreation benefits, as well as a quality environment. This array of benefits should be carefully considered as you make decisions about LBL's future.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you very much, you had a good story and I appreciate hearing it. Mr. Whitfield.
Mr. WHITFIELD. Thank you.
Mr. Carroll, you are the spokesman for the Land Between the Lakes Association. How would you describe your relationship with TVA? Do you have a good working relationship with them?
Mr. CARROLL. Yes, we have a good working relationship with them. We do not always agree on things but, you know, we generally do. We support the Land Between the Lakes and we conduct fund-raising activities and we coordinate volunteer activities, several thousand manhours go into volunteer work at Land Between the Lakes. We coordinate with TVA in those activities and generally have a good working relationship.
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Mr. WHITFIELD. And you all are not associated with them formally, it is a volunteer organization that looks out for the interests of LBL, is that correct?
Mr. CARROLL. That is correct.
Mr. WHITFIELD. Did the Chairman of TVA or any of the Board of Directors come to talk to you prior to his announcement that TVA was not going to seek any federal funds?
Mr. CARROLL. No, sir, we did not.
Mr. WHITFIELD. So you were not aware of that at all?
Mr. CARROLL. No, sir.
Mr. WHITFIELD. Okay. Mr. Bauer, you are representing the timber industry here today. In your testimony, you had mentioned that the forest at LBL is primarily an oak/hickory forest which is important for wildlife to live on. But there is a continuing battle in maintaining the oak/hickory forest instead of allowing it go to a maple/beech forest, is that correct?
Mr. BAUER. That is correct. If left unmanaged, it amounts to the type of species and how they grow, and you know, certain trees can grow in the shade and certain trees cannot. So it takes management to keep sunlight in to let the oaks and those type trees grow, basically.
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Mr. WHITFIELD. So if you stopped all timber harvesting at LBL, what do you think the result would be?
Mr. BAUER. Well, eventually you are going to have the maple/beech, which can flourish in the shade much better, and as you lose your oak/hickory stands you will have the maple/beech take over. That is basically what
Mr. WHITFIELD. So maple/beech would take over over time, which would have an impact on wildlife?
Mr. BAUER. Right, as far as acorns and value for wildlife, depending on which species of wildlife that you are talking about.
Mr. WHITFIELD. Now, Dr. Baust, you had talked a little bit about environmental education, and I think that is a very important use of LBL because there are many children that live in cities that do not have the opportunity to visit places like LBL and so forth. Now the Youth Station was closed in 1994.
Dr. BAUST. Correct.
Mr. WHITFIELD. Now in my conversations with people at TVA, they say that it was closed because there was not enough demand for use. What is your view on that?
Dr. BAUST. Well, my view is that as their staff decreased, their ability to market the place decreased, and I have memoranda that date back to 1989 that show that they were not able to keep up with either demand or were not able to market the facility. So that if you look at it over time, they had a flat rate of use at that one facility, about an average of 7000 overnights a year, means to me that they had more than they could do trying to keep up what they were doing and they were unable to intersect with especially Kentucky schools. If you look at the demographics, Kentucky schools were almost summarily disregarded with regard to use. Example is, we met with TVA staff and when we were askedwhen we asked them about disuse or misuse or not being able to use the LBL for environmental education, we were told that we really do not need Kentucky schools, and that is a quote-unquote.
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Mr. WHITFIELD. I did not hear that.
Dr. BAUST. We really did not need Kentucky schools for environmental education, we had enough use from Tennessee schools. And I think if you are in an area that is from both Kentucky and Tennessee and from a person who has adopted both states, because I was in school in Tennessee, I think what is important is that you use your constituency as broadly as possible.
Mr. WHITFIELD. Well, we recognize how important money is and funding and so forth, but it is rather shocking and shameful when you go to that Youth Station and you see these multitude of buildings simply rotting away.
Dr. Yambert, you represent Concept Zero and I know during your remarks you made some statements about Wranglers Campground. I know that they do have facilities there for people to spend the night and they evidently have a few grocery areas where they sell Cokes, sandwiches, whatever. Now is it my understanding that your group is opposed to that?
Dr. YAMBERT. Yes. We areI would rather say it positively, that we are in favor of sticking with the mission and anything that digresses from that, we would not approve.
Mr. WHITFIELD. Now would you disapprove of riding horses there, I mean renting horses from the management of the
Page 84 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. YAMBERT. Again, I guess you folks stay out of micro-management and so do we. We feel that the principle of no commercialization was a promise made when LBL was formed. There is a lot of poetic literature from Directors of the TVA Board at that time, the Chairman and others, ''no commercialization in the future, therefore, none permitted from the past.'' And it just brings tears to your eyes to see how eloquent they were and how their vision is now currently being lost. LBL was justified under Section 22 and 23 of the original TVA Act because they could not get new enabling legislation. In the context of that Act, LBL had to be a unique, innovative demonstration. They could not just do what the Park Service was already successfully doing, they had to do something different.
So the open sesame that they finally discovered was if we make this place with no trace of civilization, only the safeguards that are needed for the health and safety of the public, so it will be so unusual that when you cross the bridges, you will immediately recognize what a unique and special area this is. It is that uniqueness that LBL is now homogenizing.
Mr. WHITFIELD. Do you support forest management, the timbering?
Dr. YAMBERT. Again going back to the mission, I think forest management would be a very appropriate activity, commercial forestry would be a very inappropriate activity.
Mr. WHITFIELD. So when TVA puts this out for bid to companies to come in and
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Dr. YAMBERT. We would say that, if it is commercial, it is in violation of the mission. If it is for environmental education purposes or wildlife management purposes, it would be most appropriate.
Mr. WHITFIELD. Okay. Judge McKinney, I suppose your primary concern is that whichever agency may end up managing LBL, whether it is TVA or whatever, your primary interest is the need to continue in-lieu-of tax payments, is that correct?
Judge MCKINNEY. Yes, Mr. Congressman, we are very concerned about the money. It seems like each year there are rumors or each time a budget is passed, we hear rumors that there are cuts or there are changes, and LBL is a very important part in regard to funding local projects, especially in education and in local government in the three counties. Now I am one-sixth of the presentation you have heard. It was compiled also by Larry Lott, School Superintendent from Lyon County and also Rick Joiner, the County Executive in Stewart County. He had a death in the family today. And Anita Hawkins is also the School Superintendent in Stewart County. But we are very concerned that those monies would be oncoming and something we can depend on.
Ever since I have been in government, which is 15 years, there has been questions about cuts and changes in LBL funding. We have never had a situation that we could count on, and it means a great deal to us in regard to being able to do our jobs.
Mr. WHITFIELD. Now it is my understanding that TVA makes a payment to the state and then the state, through a formula, disburses the money to the affected counties?
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Judge MCKINNEY. Each of the states that are involved in the Valley have their own formula for distributing the monies back to the governments. And yes.
Mr. WHITFIELD. Okay. Mr. Lowe, I would just say that I enjoyed your testimony very much. I think one of the very unique characteristics of LBL is the wide variety of wildlife that we have there and I think that definitely has to be a goal of protecting wildlife because that is one of those activities that really brings people into this area.
Now are you optimistic about the future of wildlife at LBL?
Mr. LOWE. Yes, sir, I sure am. The key to success of having a diversity of wildlife though is to provide a diversity of habitats. Wildlife have varying needs. Some require older forests, some require younger forest. To meet those diversified needs, we need to provide diversity of habitats.
Mr. WHITFIELD. Mr. Chairman, I yield back my time.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you very much. Mr. Clement.
Mr. CLEMENT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I want to say to all of you, you represent a lot of people in this area that are very concerned and likely concerned and should be about our future and what direction we are headed. And I assure you, we are all in that boat together.
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I might say also, I am just pleased to be here at Murray State University, what a great university you have. I am a former college president at Cumberland University, right outside of Nashville. When I first got to Congress, people would come up to me and say boy, you are a Congressman now, that is really something. I said well, that is right, but you are going to have to understand, the last 4 1/2 years, they have called me Mr. President.
Mr. CLEMENT. But I miss the college campus very much and it sure meant a lot to me, those years I spent there, and I can imagine how you all feel.
I want you to know what we are really up against, because I am very, very concerned where we are headed. Number one, I think it is a good idea about Tennessee and Kentucky joining forces in a task force, I think that is great. But I also think we are going to have to have broader support than that and that is why, you know, I have talked a lot about a regional commission because TVA does cover seven states. It covers a lot of Congressmen and a lot of U.S. Senators, and we know this national asset here, LBL, people come here from all over the country, all over the world, to visit LBL. And we want that to continue.
But we have a lot of Congressmen and U.S. Senators around the country that are very envious of LBL, very envious of whatof the great prosperity and growth that the Tennessee Valley area has experienced in recent years. That is why you have heard an outcry by some CongressmenCongressman Bob Franks from New Jersey and Congressman Scott Klug from Wisconsin and others, to destroy TVA as an agency.
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TVA has given them a lot of ammunition now to move in that direction, and I expect this year there is going to be a move by some in Congress to privatize TVA, because it is a very, very serious matter. And then you get down to what assets are going to be affected and sold off and what is going to happen to all of us.
So knowing that we have got some Congressmen, U.S. Senators in other parts of the country shooting at us, we need as much strength as possible, we need to be as vocal as possible and we need to be as unified as possible, or they are going to pick us off one at a time. And I assure you, I have supported and I know all these Congressmen here have supported national assets, national resources that are located in other parts of the country. We have sure supported their causes and their interests and we sure want them to support our national assets, and one in particular here at LBL.
Any comment on that? Dr. Yambert?
Dr. YAMBERT. I certainly agree with nearly everything you said. I think the one place that some of us in Concept Zero might disagree is that there seems to be a tacit assumption that the current amount of founding for LBL is pretty close, it is in the right ballpark. Maybe it has slipped a little bit lately, but have been able to make that up by additional logging or something of that sort. In order to get you irritated, I think that the budget is in the range of three times as high as it ought to be. I back that up on one statement from Congress, a conference report, which showed the number of staff per acre. And we left out the ones that would be unfair in their comparison, and the remaining ones average to about LBL has about three times the staff that the Park Service would have for a comparable unit. Then based on Ted Williams' article last year in the May-June issue of Audubon, where he studied three land management agencies other than LBL, using his figures, we came to the same magic number. The Park Service gets about $13 per acre per year, the Forest Service gets about $7, but is also allowed to keep 90 percent of the logging funds. The Fish and Wildlife Service only gets $2 per acre per year and LBL gets $39 per acre per year; more than all the others combined, three times as much as the second place one, which is the National Park Service. We feel that it is incumbent upon us to pay our way. We think that LBL should have an adequate but modest budget. This would tend to preclude the mission leap which is at the heart of the problem we are discussing today.
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Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you.
Listen, we have got to move on now because you have exceeded your time and we are getting way behind schedule.
Mr. Tanner, do you have anything?
Mr. TANNER. Mr. Chairman, I just want to thank Judge McKinney for your comments on a matter that we share with Stewart County, Tennessee, and I appreciate you being here. I talked to Mr. Lowe on the helicopter and I appreciate your testimony as well.
Thank all you all for being here. I yield back the balance.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Judge McKinney should know that I am a former county executive, so I am sympathetic to the plight you have outlined.
Mr. BRYANT. Mr. Chairman, this is a very diverse panel and I think they all have very effectively made their presentations and I will have no questions at this time. Thank you.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you.
Page 90 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. WHITFIELD. Mr Chairman, I would just make one statement. We of course may be submitting some questions to these people individually.
Mr. BOEHLERT. By all means and I would hope the panelists would be responsive to any questions and reply in a timely fashion.
Thank you all very much for serving as very valuable resources for this Subcommittee.
The fourth panel of the day consists of Mr. Tom Tuck, Past President, Western Kentucky Arabian Horse Association; and former LBL landowners Tracy Jordan, David Nickell, Ella Mae Travis; and from the Tennessee Conservation League, Ann Murray, Executive Director.
Your statements will appear in the record at this juncture in their entirety. We ask, in the interest of time, that you try to summarize your statements. We would also point out that some of us may have some follow-on questions that we would submit to you in writing and we would appreciate a response in a timely fashion.
Let us go in the order of introduction. Mr. Tuck, you are up first.
TESTIMONY OF TOM TUCK, PAST PRESIDENT, WESTERN KENTUCKY ARABIAN HORSE ASSOCIATION; TRACY JORDAN, FORMER LBL LANDOWNER; DAVID NICKELL, FORMER LBL LANDOWNER; ELLA MAE TRAVIS, FORMER LBL LANDOWNER; AND ANN P. MURRAY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, TENNESSEE CONSERVATION LEAGUE
Page 91 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. TUCK. Good morning. My name is Tom Tuck, I am the Past President of the Western Kentucky Arabian Horse Association.
Mr. BOEHLERT. I do not think it is working properly. Jim, could we
Mr. TUCK. My name is Tom Tuck, I am the Past President of the Western Kentucky Arabian Horse Association.
The equine population of the United States, through 1996 stands at 6.9 million horses, with almost three million horses used for recreational purposes. The horse industry accounts for $25.3 billion in goods and services and pays $1.9 billion in local, state and federal taxes annually. There are 1.9 million horse owners with more than 600,000 people directly employed by the horse industry.
Members of Congress, elected and appointed officials and participants of this hearing, I submit to you this economic impact of horses in the United States today. The horse industry is a growth industry, but is faced with the same budget concerns that are facing all phases of our economy. Urban sprawl and the continual loss of large tracts of open land are a grave concern to the recreational segment of the horse industry.
The Wranglers Campground, which is the designated equine camp at the Land Between the Lakes, has experienced an increase in usage over the past 6 years of 348 percent, with as many as 3800 people using the facility over Memorial Day weekend. In 1995, the occupancy rate was 67 percent, almost twice the industry average. The Wranglers Campground fills a niche for thousands of riders through the central United States who have few large areas in which to ride. Over the past 15 months, TVA has upgraded and expanded the Wranglers to become one of, if not the number one equine campground in the nation, with riders coming from all over the U.S. and Canada.
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On behalf of the 50 members of the Western Kentucky Arabian Horse Association, Inc. and equestrians throughout the region, I ask that you make every effort to see that a long term funding formula be implemented to serve the needs of the equestrian industry for the foreseeable future. The suggestion of moving the Land Between the Lakes from TVA to another agency does nothing to solve the funding dilemma, and because of transitional expenses, only adds to the funding crisis.
After TVA initiated a Between the Lakes study in 1959 which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Corps of Engineers and the National Park Service all reviewed, President Kennedy directed TVA to proceed with the development of the Land Between the Lakes. It is my understanding that these agencies along with the U.S. Forest Service were considered to manage the LBL but declined because they could not or were not willing to manage the broad scope of the recreational and environmental benefits required by the Presidential directive. I propose to you that the above statement is even more accurate today. None of the aforementioned agencies' missions encompass the full breadth and scope that is required to yield the optimum benefits to this region of the natural resources of the Land Between the Lakes. Therefore, moving the management of the Land Between the Lakes to any other agency can only be detrimental to the mission of LBL of providing a leadership role in creating recreational opportunities and environmental education to as wide a constituency as possible.
Craven Crowell's attempt to dump the Land Between the Lakes in order to position TVA more advantageously in a future non-regulated power production market is a slap in the face to the people of this region. The commitment made in 1963 to develop and manage the Land Between the Lakes forever changed the lives of people whose land was taken to create this recreational area. It has since changed the lives of those whose economic livelihood is tied to the tourism this recreational area has created. It has changed the lives of the two million visitors a year who depend on this area for an irreplaceable form of recreation. One statement by a transitional manager of TVA cannot and will not change that commitment.
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I am asking you here today, on behalf of our horse club, on behalf of all equestrians, and on behalf of all users of the Land Between the Lakes, do not let this be a done deal of moving this great recreational area to another agency, but instead direct and fund the TVA to manage the Land Between the Lakes for the present and future benefit of all.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you, Mr. Tuck. Ms. Jordan.
Ms. JORDAN. Thank you, Congressmen and your staff for being here today. I want to talk for a few minutes about the past. Can you hear?
Mr. WHITFIELD. I think it would be helpful for you to get a little bit closer.
Ms. JORDAN. The 1960s were a time of great culture shock for the entire nation, but for the people of the land between the rivers, our shock was such that many never quite recovered. The very institutions that sustain in times of crisis, that promise shelter and calm were not spared by Tennessee Valley Authority. The reason for removing us was so that LBR would be uninhabited. The reason for taking our businesses was so that it would be uncommercialized. There is no reason possible to give for destroying our churches.
In the past 5 years, American has been justly outraged by the destruction of small churches in the south. It is hard for LBR residents to communicate the devastation we felt when our own government invested in the bulldozing and the burning of our churches. What is more, the inevitable process of death that culminated in such scenes took as long as 7 years to be complete. Of all the sad pictures and mournful words from the last years of life as we knew it in LBR, none are more moving than the funeral procession for Sardis Church or the final minutes at the last meeting of Bethlehem carefully recorded in my grandmother's hand, ''The motion was made and seconded to disband'' and ''The motion was made to adjourn.''
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TVA officials must have been concerned about the public relation problems inherent to destroying churches, but much of the sentiment toward LBR people was contaminated by the depiction of us as backward, ignorant and lawless people. TVA carefully publicized their human interest endeavors even as they systematically destroyed the world of these humans. One such early story dated 1963 praises TVA's plan to keep cemeteries open and accessible for visiting and decoration and for maintenance by relatives and cemetery associations. The ironic and perhaps wistful ending of that story is that ''TVA will not object to removal of any existing graves if heirs wish to do at their own expense.''
TVA has not maintained access to the 250 cemeteries in LBR. In fact, in recent years, access to only about one-fifth is possible, not always by motor vehicle. In January of 1997, a funeral procession was stalled on the ice-covered road to a family cemetery. Contacted earlier that week, TVA officials promised to have the road cleared. Instead, they scattered salt on it which was not much help with single digit temperatures. Family members have suffered the pain of finding their loved ones' gravestones vandalized, finding cemeteries rutted by four-wheel drive vehicles, even of not finding their cemeteries at all. The Chinese cemetery in LBR, perhaps without precedent in historic and human value, was removed entirely by TVA officials. When relatives came, yes, from China, to visit it, TVA officials showed them where it was.
We know today that all cemeteries are subject to attack. Ours are especially defenseless, we cannot visit them daily or weekly. For many of us, those of us who live far away, the elderly, those in poor health, our infrequent visits are often cause for anger and reproach rather than for peace and communion. We have our yearly dinner on the grounds on the empty spots where our churches used to be. We hear the ghosts of music, we smell the just trimmed grasses and flowers and we taste the faint sweetness of the past.
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There is no justification for taking our churches away.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Ms. Jordan, your statement is very eloquent and it will appear in the record in its entirety and we have all had the benefit of reading it. I want to thank you for coming here and telling us in a very poignant manner your personal story, it means a lot to us. Thank you.
Ms. JORDAN. Can I finish?
Mr. BOEHLERT. And I might be a little bit prejudiced because I have a daughter named Tracy too.
Ms. JORDAN. Thank you.
What has happened to our cemeteries is grave desecration. What happened to our churches is very grave desecration. A great past-haunted southern writer, William Faulkner, once wrote that ''was'' is the saddest word of all. We of LBR can relate to that idea. We remember the promises that TVA made to keep our land the way God intended. We remember the promises that our ancestors made when they carved farms out of a wilderness to feed a family that did not exist yet and when they vowed to come back between the rivers from faraway wars. We remember the inheritance of our mothers and fathers who farmed the river bottoms through the depression and managed not to starve and finally got their houses. We remember how they salvaged what they could from the 1937 flood and cut their own timber and built their houses again and how they finally took those houses with them out of something that seems like stubbornness, if you did not know their stories, when they had to leave their places in 1968.
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LBR is a sacred place. There are promises built around it that allow for nothing to be done that would violate its sanctity. It is a forest temple, not a place for things to be bought and sold. It is a church in the wildwood, not the green motel. Those of us who have lived there and who go there now in the right spirit will not forget our sacred places. Is it reasonable to expect an agency to care for and maintain some 10,000 graves along with us? After all, on a land strip only 40 miles long and a few miles wide, that many cemeteries mean many roads to nowhere as far as the disinterested are concerned. If there is a bridge to the future, it most certainly connects to roads from the past. That road and that bridge must be reconciled to the fact that they meet. The past is not a distant point on a time line that we slip further and further from. It is a continual presence that demands our engagement and eventual return. Nowhere is this more evident than in the fields of timeworn stones that bear the names of our people and eventually our own. Bury our hearts between the rivers.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you very much. Mr. Nickell.
Mr. NICKELL. I want to thank you for this chance. I have waited for about 30 years for this chance.
You have the text of my written testimonyit was prepared for the March 1 hearingthat we evolved a unique cultural identity between the rivers and that we have managed to preserve remnants of that identity and we have even passed parts of that along to our next generation.
I would like to summarize that testimony and expound on its significance in light of the quickly deteriorating situation at the Land Between the Lakes.
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I am of the sixth generation from between the rivers. I teach sociology and philosophy at Paducah Community College and I farm. From my perspective, this hearing is not about a recreation area or whether some users would like more luxury. It is about our homeland. It is about a sacred place, it contains our burial grounds, it holds the body of our ancestors as for generations it held our hope for the future.
It no longer belongs to us, but we still belong to it. Our identity is tied to it in ways that we do not understand. I ask you how many generations must a people live in one place before they become the native offspring of that place? It is not property to us. We belong to it more than it ever belonged to us.
When our people filed class action suits during the relocation and we were allowed no other course of appeal, the suits were not about price, they were not about getting more money, no matter what TVA has said. They were about our rightful place on the earth, they were about whether the government has the right to force the people from their ancestral homeland, to destroy generations of community building, to bulldoze and burn churches, the centers of our many communities.
On February 23, 1972, it was my 15th birthday, Judge Phillips of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the use of eminent domain was justified because the 1933 TVA Act includes the provision for public demonstration. That decision not only cites but directly quotes from past TVA Chairman Aubrey Wagner's explanation to Congress of why that demonstration would justify the use of eminent domain, which Congress was questioning at the time. It had already been used on us three time in one generation.
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By removal of all commercialization, past and future, within the LBL, economic development on the outside would be stimulated. This was the demonstration which justified our removal. Apart from this, TVA had no justifiable claim to our homes.
It was in this context that the promise was made, there will be no commercialization in the Land Between the Lakes, period. This promise was made to those of us who were being stripped from our heritage and to those who were being lured into the area to invest private capital in the surrounding area. They could be certain of never having taxpayer supported competition from businesses within the LBL. This promise was also a promise for the future. With all commercialization excluded, the attraction of the LBL would always be its unique natural beauty and the educational and recreational benefits that could only be provided by a place devoid of all vestiges of civilization, as Aubrey Wagner described it to Congress.
The promise was so well understood here that when the management at LBL put in drink machines, public outcry was so great, that they had to call a public hearing to promise that this was not a trend, they were only meeting the needs of the LBL users and it would go no further. We got grocery stores and gift shops.
When the five concepts for increased commercial development were released, the outcry was so great, they were officially withdrawn. We got restaurants, western stores, horse and canoe rentals and rental cabins.
Each of these services was already available from the private sectors surrounding LBL. TVA is closing the economic opportunities the LBL was designed to create. More officially withdrawn development is under construction as we speak and commercial logging is increasing dramatically.
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You elected representatives of the people should be outraged that TVA, an agency of our government, is blatantly violating its own promises, the will of the people and even Congress' directives, explicit directives. Will you not act to stop this irreversible construction and destruction in the LBL?
I support Concept Zero's alternatives for funding the LBL and ask that you impose an immediate moratorium on TVA's irreversible financial ventures in the LBL. The former residents were given only one choice, load your houses and your businesses on a truck and haul them out of here or have them bulldozed and burned. It is only right that the management of the LBL now be given the same option.
My statement is in opposition to some that have been heard here today and I have full documentation of every claim and I hope I have a chance to share it with you.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you very much, Mr. Nickell.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Ms. Travis.
Ms. TRAVIS. Chairman Boehlert, Congressman Whitfield and Committee members, my name is Ella Travis.
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I am a former landowner of what is now the LBL area. My father-in-law had a boat dock, campground and over 500 acres of farmland and timberland. Our land and homes were sacrificed when condemned and taken by the TVA.
My father-in-law was among those asked to keep his business within the area. TVA made a promise of no private enterprise within the area as a condition in its creation, when in 1964, TVA Chairman A. J. Wagner testifies in Congress as to whether any private land inholdings might be permitted. He said that when people cross the bridges into this area, he wanted them to be immediately conscious of the fact that this was a new kind of areano inholdings, no commercial development, that there be room for commercial developments on the opposite shores of the Kentucky and Barkley reservoirs.
It was suggested in 1963 from a White House press release that the TVA would administer the area for the period required to complete the demonstration, estimated at about 10 years. At the end of this time was when it was supposed to be determined who would operate the agency.
To further substantiate this, again, TVA Chairman A.J. Wagner testified in Congress. He said that TVA was doing a demonstration and that when they tested all the ideas that appeared to be useful to them, it was their thought that they would withdraw and it would be turned over to another agency.
In 1964, before a Senate Committee, TVA gave a prepared statement to show what their plans were for this demonstration. It was to be for outdoor recreation such as hunting, fishing and waters sports, it was to provide educators to teach outdoor classes for conservation and natural science. The area was to become an economic asset to the surrounding region, not within LBL.
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My opinion, TVA acquired the LBL under the pretense and impression of outdoor recreation such as hunting and fishing and camping, not commercial recreation, such as in the TVA's public use plan, five preliminary concepts, which consisted of a heritage theme park, golf courses, food services, leasing of the land. After great public opposition to these five concepts, in 1996 TVA officially withdrew them, but there has still been implementation of some of the very things in the LBL area, especially in the Wranglers Campground.
My opinion, if TVA is allowed to continue management of LBL, they are going to further commercialize the area and they are going to further log and harvest the timber.
TVA has betrayed the trust of not only the former landowners but the surrounding area business people by allowing commercial development within the area. When you make a commitment to the former landowners and to the U.S. Congress, the times that change and the years that pass and some people, such as the users that do not understand, is no reason to dishonor it.
In conclusion, I respectfully request that Congressional action be taken on the following things:
1. Take the necessary steps to acquire a complete audit of TVA's management of the LBL area. I want to know where the appropriations, the user fees and the timber harvest fees especially have all been applied.
2. Take action to stop all the commercialization.
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3. I want TVA eliminated from the LBL.
The over 65,000 acres that was once a Kentucky woodlands National Wildlife Refuge area and turned over to TVA at the time they acquired the land, return that to that status again and do not take the land and homes of the people in the Clark Rivers bottom area. Transfer the remaining LBL that was purchased to the National Park Service, the agency that was favored for this project from the very beginning. There must be documentation of established regulations, restrictions and funding.
4. If for any reason, the National Park Service could not operate the area, then I ask that action be taken that the former landowners could get their land back.
I really do not mind asking my government to return with dignity the land they took in a disgraceful way, I sincerely feel that the former landowners constitutional rights were violated from the cradle to the grave and all done by TVA with no apology.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you very much, Ms. Travis.
Now, Ms. Murray, as we pass the microphone from one to the other.
Page 103 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. MURRAY. Thank you, Chairman Boehlert and Committee members. I wish to thank you for holding this very important meeting and I appreciate the opportunity to be able to speak to you. My name is Ann Murray, I am the Executive Director of the Tennessee Conservation League, a private, non-profit membership organization. We are the largest and oldest broad-based conservation organization in Tennessee and an affiliate of the National Wildlife Federation.
I am also here speaking on behalf of the League of Kentucky Sportsmen. Together, the two organizations represent over 30,000 sportsmen and women across the great states of Kentucky and Tennessee.
Even though this hearing today is to discuss the management of Land Between the Lakes, it is hard to isolate just the issue of the looming overall issue of TVA's lands. The magnitude of TVA's decision to divest itself of all of the non-power programs is monumental. TVA owns some 435,000 areas of public land, 174 public recreation areas and controls 11,000 miles of shoreline throughout the TVA region in seven states.
It appears that neither Chairman Crowell nor the White House has thought through the proposal to divest TVA of its non-power programs. Mr. Crowell has no clear idea where or how TVA's responsibilities are to be transferred, and the White House, while showing a $100 million a year saving by eliminating money from managing TVA's locks and dams, contains no provisions for increasing funding to other agencies who might assume those duties.
We are talking about our rivers, our locks and dams, our public lands bought with public money for the protection and economic development of the region.
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But today, LBL is the issue. And in regard to LBL, the Tennessee Conservation League formally requests the following:
1. We request continued Congressional funding for Land Between the Lakes. The President's budget contains no funds whatsoever for the transfer of TVA natural resources to other agencies. They simply are not funded after 1999. This is unrealistic and must be changed. During the 1980s, LBL was repeatedly slated for zero funding. Each time TVA, our elected officials and local interest groups went to bat and justified continued funding. This time, we are without the TVA leadership in a request for natural resources management.
2. We request an oversight committee of diverse LBL stakeholders to be appointed by the Governors of Tennessee and Kentucky, to work with the internal TVA transition team to establish a process whereby any entities interested in taking over the management of LBL can submit proposals for public review and comment. TVA's transition team is to present their recommendations to the TVA Board by October 1, 1997. Chairman Crowell has this plan on the fast track. Gentlemen, it took us 66 years to get where we are today with TVA's programs. It is ludicrous to think that these immense changes that would result from these directives could be thoroughly examined in seven months. We need to ensure that a very careful and considered process is implemented and that the public is involved. I might also say that we would be in support of Congressman Clement's regional proposal to look at the bigger issue.
3. We request that the current Natural Resources Management Plan be maintained regardless of who ends up with the management of LBL. A Natural Resources Management Plan for LBL was published in October of 1994 and implemented in 1995. The program objectives and guidelines presented in the plan were developed to serve the broad mission of LBL. This process was done under all mandated guidelines and involved broad public participation. It cost several million dollars of taxpayers' money to go through the process and to develop the plan. It would be irresponsible to toss such a plan aside when there has been such wide acceptance and we know the plan works. LBL is a demonstration in integrated multiple-use management on a contiguous block of land. By demonstrating that environmentally sound resource management is totally compatible with extensive recreational use, LBL serves as a national model for state and other federal agencies.
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We must remember that adequate funding for LBL was promised, that it is necessary and right.
On the broader front, Congress must look at the true implications of TVA's decision to divest itself of its non-power programs. The question is, who will manage a shoreline that encompasses 11,000 miles along 30 reservoirs in the states of Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi, Kentucky, South Carolina and North Carolina. Some of Chairman Crowell's ideas include allowing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, various state entities and private developers to buy up and control land and river systems. Where will the states find the millions of dollars to perform the duties TVA has done since the 1930s?
There are millions of people who use the river for drinking water and recreation. Wildlife management as well as water quality are issues not to be dismissed lightly. What would happen if the river system is privatized? What is the economic impact to local governments affected by these changes?
These and many more questions need to be studied judiciously and with public participation. We need to keep LBL as it is and that takes money. But we need to make people aware of the extent of loss to our area beyond LBL unless the budget is restored.
Thank you very much.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you very much, Ms. Murray.
Page 106 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Chair recognizes Mr. Bryant.
Mr. BRYANT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I have a prior previous commitment to give a speech in Memphis to the American Legion and I must excuse myself at this time. I did want to thank this panel and assure the last panel that I will be reading their testimony and certainly again I want to thank the Chairman for holding these hearings.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you very much. Mr. Whitfield.
Mr. WHITFIELD. Mr. Chairman, this panel was quite a poignant panel and it is very moving hearing testimony from former landowners. Listening to Mr. Tuck and Ms. Murray and thinking about the testimony of Dr. Yambert before, we understand that there are a lot of competing ideas on the best use of LBL, but as we have indicated before, we have read all of this testimony, and I do not have any questions of this panel except to just thank them for the time that they took in preparing it, and we will certainly be reading your statements in more detail and appreciate your being here today.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you very much. Mr. Clement.
Page 107 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. CLEMENT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, panel, very, very much, and particularly the former landowners. You are speaking for a lot of people out there that deeply appreciate your thoughtful and emotionally charged testimony, and everyone should read it and read it carefully, what you have said.
Ms. Murray, I know in your testimony and knowing the great organization that you represent, the Tennessee Conservation League, which has done so much good work for so many years and I congratulate you and your find organization.
Ms. MURRAY. Thank you.
Mr. CLEMENT. I know you have thrown out a lot of questions about TVA and about what has transpired. Can you give any rationale at all why TVA would propose zeroing out federal funds in such a way with no other plans about what is going to happen to LBL or what is going to happen to a lot of these other functions?
Ms. MURRAY. Well, I cannot help but think that it is being driven by a $27 billion debt, the deregulation of the utilities industry, and I really do question it because I know that there are private power entities that run non-power programs very effectively and fund them and still look after natural resources, environmental education and other quality of life issues. So I am perplexed unless they just really want to get out of land management and water navigation, flood control and turn into a strictly private utility.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Or, as you suggested in your testimony, the White House sent a very strong signal, because that budget came out and there was no funds
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Ms. MURRAY. Yes.
Mr. BOEHLERT. So the question is which came first, Chairman Crowell's decision or was he instructed by the White House
Ms. MURRAY. It is a chicken and egg situation.
Mr. BOEHLERT. that it was inevitable.
But I want to thank all of you, you have been very helpful, you are very valuable resources for us and the heartfelt testimony is much appreciated.
Ms. TRAVIS. Chairman Boehlert, I would like to bring something to your attention, and that is regarding the timber situation in the LBL, if I may. May I speak?
Mr. BOEHLERT. For a minute, because we have got to move on because we have got a plane that has to get out of here.
Ms. TRAVIS. Okay.
Mr. BOEHLERT. I will not get home, incidentally, until about 10:00 tonight.
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Ms. TRAVIS. From the very beginning, in the early 1960s, TVA claimed that the area was a deficient area, an area of little value, but as soon as they moved a sawmill in the area in 1966, they startedthey commercialized the area at that time with harvesting the timber. As early as 1985, they claimed they had made $2,322,763.30 in just 19 years. I do not believe that. A forester, in an interview with the local newspaper, claimed that much of LBL's forest is mature forest. So they contradict theirself.
TVA so implied to Congress that the land would be left in a wilderness state, giving hikers, campers, hunters, fishermen and bikers and naturalists a place to roam freely. Time has shown that TVA was more interested in developing the area than in preserving it for future generations.
In a recent article in a local newspaper on May 26, 1997, the General Manager of LBL told of their Natural Resource Management Plan, which was really their commercial logging plan for 1997, and I would like to present this to you today. They claim only a small portion of LBL's timber is removed and LBL's forest management is not profit driven. Well, then I ask why is 40 percent more timber going to be cut this year than last year? They claim that by removing some trees, sunlight can reach the forest floor, stimulating rapid growth of young plants. These plants provide food and cover for half of LBL's wildlife species.
To me, this is misleading, since it will be many, many years before these young plants will yield or provide for wildlife the food and cover offered by the trees that they have cut and sold. And one thing that she did not mention, a month before, on April 16, 1997, TVA issued a categorical exclusion for each of the work areas for the LBL logging plan for 1997. This meansthis is a determination that the action will not individually have a significant effect on the environment.
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The logging plan, in my opinion, is inappropriate for LBL's designation and mission of education and recreation. The logging of 5.7 million feet over 21,896 acres will impact trails and camping areas.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Ms. Travis, why do you not submit the rest of that for the record, because we have to get on with the next panel.
Ms. TRAVIS. This is not in my testimony.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Yeah. No, no, I know it, but I mean you can submit whatever you have for the record, we do appreciate it and thank you all very much.
Now for the fifth and final panel of the day
Mr. WHITFIELD. Would you give us that?
Ms. TRAVIS. It is not in form to give to you.
Mr. BOEHLERT. consisting of Mr. Ronald Switzer, Superintendent, Mammoth Cave National Park Service, Department of the Interior and we are going to have the question answered as to what is Kentucky's number one tourist attraction. I am sure Mr. Switzer can shed some light on that. Mr. Lyle Laverty, Program Director, National Recreation, Wilderness & Heritage Resources for the Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Chief, Operations, Construction and Readiness Division Directorate of Civil Works, Mr. Charles M. Hess.
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Gentlemen, you may proceed in the order that you were introduced, Mr. Switzer, you are up first. And once again, this iswe do not direct this, the airplane leaves at a certain time and we had better be on it or else I will never get home. We ask that you summarize your statement. As you know, from your previous experience testifying, your statements will appear in their entirety in the record at this juncture. Mr. Switzer.
TESTIMONY OF RONALD R. SWITZER, SUPERINTENDENT, MAMMOTH CAVE NATIONAL PARK, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR; LYLE LAVERTY, DIRECTOR OF RECREATION, WILDERNESS AND HERITAGE RESOURCES, FOREST SERVICE, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE; AND CHARLES M. HESS, CHIEF, OPERATIONS, CONSTRUCTION AND READINESS DIVISION, DIRECTORATE OF CIVIL WORKS, U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS, WASHINGTON, DC
Mr. SWITZER. Good morning. My name is Ronald Switzer, I am Superintendent of Mammoth Cave National Park, the most heavily visited public use site in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you for answering the question.
Mr. SWITZER. Accompanying me this morning is Mr. Tom Falrath of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Office in Atlanta, Georgia. He will help me answer any questions that you may have.
Thank you for the opportunity to offer the Department of the Interior's views on management of national recreation areas and how our management policies might apply to Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area.
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Mr. Chairman, national recreation areas in the National Park System were originally units surrounding reservoirs, impounded by dams built by other federal agencies. The first unit of the National Park System with this designation was Lake Mead National Recreation Area and the National Park Service took over administration of it in 1936. As of 1995, the National Park Service was responsible for the administration of 18 national recreation areas in the United States. The National Park Service manages many of these areas under cooperative agreements with other federal agencies.
The concept of national recreation areas has evolved to include various types of land and water resources set aside for recreational use by Congress, including major areas in urban centers. For example, Golden Gate National Recreation Area in San Francisco, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area near Los Angeles and Gateway National Recreation Area in New York City and New Jersey. Activities at national recreation areas range from camping and fishing to cultural events and music festivals, depending on the individual area's resources.
Other federal agencies also manage national recreation areas. The Forest Service and the Army Corps of Engineers are here to discuss the national recreation areas under their jurisdictions. Within the Department of the Interior, in addition to the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management administers one national recreation area. Created by the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act in 1980, the one million acre White Mountains National Recreation Area in central Alaska is managed by BLM.
The Fish and Wildlife Service does not administer any national recreation areas. With certain small exceptions such as fish hatchery sites, by law all lands administered by the Fish and Wildlife Service are classified as National Wildlife Refuges and subject to the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act. That Act provides that any public use of a refuge, including recreational use, may be permitted only when it is determined to be compatible with the wildlife conservation purposes for which the area was established. The Fish and Wildlife Service has been phasing out public uses of refuges that are not directly related to wildlife, such as motor boating and waterskiing, or that can readily be provided by the private sector, such as campgrounds.
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The National Park Service seeks to manage all parklands in accordance with its mission, as established by Congress in the National Park Service Organic Act of 1916. The Act says, and I quote, ''to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.'' In the 1970s, Congress elaborated on that Organic Act, confirming that all park units have equal legal status in a national system. Accordingly, the National Park Service treats each unit of the system with the same measure of concern it gives attention to all resources in a park, regardless of its title or the way in which it became part of the National Park System. Nearly every unit of the system is a mixture of natural, historical and recreational features. So our approach is to respect all significant values and to manage the complexities of each park unit comprehensively. We recognize the differences inherent in park purposes and titles, but we manage, based on actual conditions rather than official designations. This means that historic structures, natural resources and recreational resources, regardless of where they are located will be similarly managed.
Generally, our initial effort is to identify nationally significant cultural and natural resource values. Once those are established, we manage our units to protect and preserve those values. According to the National Park Service Management Policies, recreational uses are to be managed in such a way as to protect park resources and prevent derogation of park purposes and values. Specifically, each park unit develops and implements its own visitor use management plan to ensure that recreational uses are consistent with its authorizing legislation. Tools for managing recreational areas include regulations, permit and reservation systems, local restrictions, public use limits and special designations.
Page 114 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Unless it is mandated by statute, the National Park Service will not allow a recreational activity in a park or in certain locations within parks if they would result in inconsistency with the park's enabling legislation or proclamation or derogation of the values or purposes for which that park was established. Recreational activity is generally not allowed if it results in unacceptable impacts on visitor enjoyment due to the interference or conflict with other visitor use activities. Recreational activity similarly would not be allowed if it resulted in consumptive use of park resources or in unacceptable impacts on park resources or natural processes or if unacceptable levels of danger to the welfare or safety of the public, including participants.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you very much, Mr. Switzer. We just noticed you summarized in the last couple of paragraphs.
We will have to move on now to Mr. Laverty. I notice you have a rather lengthy statement. Let me tell you, the Chair has got to be very arbitrary as we come to a conclusion of this session because we have a plane to catch and we have got to get out of here. Mr. Laverty.
Mr. LAVERTY. Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to discuss the Forest Service management operations of recreation programs as well as national forest areas. I am the Director of Recreation, Heritage and Wilderness Resources with the Forest Service, and I have taken great liberty to cut a major portion of the written response so that I can get out of this hot light here.
The national forests were created in 1905 by Gifford Pinchot with a philosophy of multiple use. Through this whole philosophy of multiple use, that has been the guiding principle on how we manage the national forests. Recreation is but one of those multiple uses.
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The goal of our recreation program is to provide a wide variety and spectrum of quality recreational opportunities for American people. The National Forest System provides the greatest variety of outdoor recreation of any federal land management agency in the United States. In fact, the National Forest System, the 192 million acres, provide about 43 percent of the total recreational use on the federal estate.
The national forests provide an extremely strong boost to the nation's economy. By the year 2000, the Forest Service programs will contribute about $130 billion to the gross domestic product. Important to recognize is about 75 percent of that will be generated by recreation and tourism on the national forests.
National Forest Service programs stimulate employment and income related effects on local, regional and national economies. As a result of that effort, about 3.3 million jobs will be generated by national forest programs in the year 2000. Again, about 78 percent of that will be driven by national forest recreation, travel and tourism programs.
Much of the tourism and recreation that takes place on the national forests is carried out through a variety of partnerships. We call these recreation service partners. In fact, we have strategically positioned ourselves for the future to recognize the increased demand that is going to take place on public lands to even facilitate a stronger private sector role in the delivery of those services. Special use providers provide the public thousands of jobs, billions of dollars in income to local communities and millions of hours of recreational opportunities. The national forest has about 23,000 special use permittees, about 1700 of these permittees have invested probably in excess of a billion dollars in infrastructure to support the recreation experiences on the national forests. Another 5100 permittees offer short-term permits that provide river rafting experiences and concession campgrounds. In 1994, the GAO found that these concession operations generated over $1.2 billion in gross receipts.
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Let me talk for a minute about the national recreation areas in the national forests. We operate and manage a system of 19 of the designated national recreation areas, representing 2.8 million acres in 17 states and these provide an extremely special niche in our mission. We have found that each NRA is managed according to the direction that has come from the Congress and provides a variety of special benefits. Each NRA has its own unique management plan that addresses the legislative direction while providing for multiple benefits.
The multiple uses found in many of our national recreation areas include timber management, mineral development, grazing, wildlife habitat improvement, hunting and a variety of other activities, while at the same time highlighting the unique values that warranted the designation as a national recreation area.
In summary, we have positioned ourselves for the future, we have recognized the changed demands of American people as they look at the public lands for recreation, and we have developed a set of what I would consider to be contemporary tools, some of which have been reinforced by members of Congress through the fee demonstration program.
We truly recognize those public/private ventures in terms of how we can delivery services. We have gone extensively to concessioning. About 75 percent of our campgrounds are currently operated by the private sector. These tools have been enhanced by the fee demonstration authority that came to us in the 1996-1997 appropriations bill. These have been strategic opportunities for us to position ourselves to provide quality recreation experiences to the American people while at the same time recognizing the dilemma that we are all in as we begin to balance the budget.
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Thanks for the opportunity to share some ideas about the national forests. We would be delighted to work with you and would invite you to one of our NRAs to see what goes on. Thank you.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you very much.
Mr. Hess, you know the drill, time is of the essence. We appreciate all of you being so very proud of the work your respective agency is doing, so we can dispense with some of the plaudits because we recognize you are doing a good job. Mr. Hess.
Mr. HESS. Thank you very much. Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman, members of the Subcommittee, ladies and gentlemen, I am Charles Hess, Chief of Operations, Construction and Readiness Division, Directorate of Civil Works, Headquarters, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Washington, D.C. I am testifying this afternoon on behalf of the Honorable H. Martin Lancaster, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, and accompanied today by Major Robin Hagerty, the Acting District Commander of the Nashville District Corps of Engineers.
In your letter of invitation, you asked for views on the Corps management of national recreation areas and how those management policies might apply to the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area. I would briefly like to describe Corps authorities in regard to operating and managing recreation areas, talk about the role in management of recreation and natural resources nationwide and discuss the Corps policies in the management of recreation areas that we believe are of general applicability.
Page 118 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The basic Corps authority that it uses in managing its recreation and natural resources management program stems from Section 4 of the Flood Control Act of 1944, as amended. This Act authorized the Chief of Engineers to construct, maintain and operate public park and recreational facilities at water resource development projects under the control of the Secretary of the Army, and to permit the construction, maintenance and operation of such facilities. It also provides that the water areas of projects shall be open to the public use, generally for boating, fishing and other recreational purposes.
There are other authorities, of course, that are involved in our operation, maintenance and management of recreational facilities and those are in my written testimony.
Some facts concerning the Corps role in the management of its recreation and natural resource management program that would be of interest to the Committee and the members of the public: The Corps are stewards of natural resources on over 11 million acres of land and water at 456 lake projects in 43 states. Approximately 80 percent of the American population live within a 1-hour ride of these Corps facilities and use these facilities heavily.
In fiscal year 1996, an estimate 375 million visitors participated in recreation activities at Corps projects, making the Corps the largest provider of water-based recreation in the United States. We are the second largest provider of recreation to the Forest Service, my colleagues.
At these lakes there are over 4000 recreational areas for which the Corps is responsible. The Corps directly operates and manages about 2500 of these areas and 1800 are managed by others under Corps oversight. These include federal agencies, state government, local governments, concessionaires and quasi-public agencies.
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In our operation of our fiscal year 1996 program, we expended approximately $65 million on its natural resource program and $185 million on its recreation program and collected about $35 million in user fees, which represents about 18.3 percent of the amount expended on the total program.
The Corps manages only about two percent of the total federal land holdings, but receives about 30 percent of the total visitation to all federal managed areas, and again, that ranks us second behind the U.S. Forest Service.
I would like to now talk a little bit about our recreation management policies. Essentially we manage our lakes according to the purposes for which the lakes were authorized. These typically are multi-purpose projects which include recreation as well as flood control, navigation, water supply, water quality, hydro-electric power, fish and wildlife and other purposes. Our natural resource management mission is to manage and conserve these natural resources consistent with sound ecosystem management principles while providing quality public outdoor recreation experience to serve the needs of present and future generations.
In all aspects of natural and cultural resource and management, the Corps promotes awareness of environmental values and adheres to sound environmental stewardship.
I think these in general discuss our highlights of our natural resource and recreation management authorities, role and policies. Clearly in today's fiscal climate, where balancing the budget and reducing the deficit by the year 2002 is a major priority, the Corps like other federal agencies is faced with level or declining resources to maintain these services on behalf of the public. We are constantly seeking greater efficiencies as we provide these services and we are also negotiating with states and other federal partners and the public to perform certain recreation services.
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This concludes my testimony and I would be happy to answer any questions that you may have.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you very much and I want to thank all the panelists.
Mr. WHITFIELD. Yes. The National Park Service, the National Forest Service and the Corps of Engineers, all manage some national recreation areas. Now are you aware of any national recreation area that you manage that was not created by statute?
Mr. WHITFIELD. Okay, so all the national recreation areas that you manage were created by statute and that is one difference that we have here at LBL. LBL was not created by a separate statute and I think what you all are saying is that you manage your property under the parameters of the statute setting up the national recreation area. Okay, well I wanted to get that point out, because like I said, we do not have a statute on LBL.
Second of all, Mr. Switzer, in your statement on page 4, you indicated several instances in which recreational activities will not be allowed on Park Service property, including when those activities would result in unacceptable impacts on park resources or natural process. Based on your knowledge of LBL, is there any activity that they do there right now that you would not allow based on their resources and natural processes?
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Mr. SWITZER. As you so aptly pointed out, some of the recreation uses are implemented in keeping with the enabling legislation. In many of our areas we have found that incompatible uses or impacts on natural resources result from such things as ATV or all terrain vehicles and those kinds of things that have not been regulated properly. That does not mean that they would necessarily be excluded.
Mr. WHITFIELD. Okay. Now my understanding is, just from reading the testimony, that if you looked at the activities at LBL, that the National Forest Service is the one that allows most of those kinds of activities. Would you agree with that Mr. Laverty, from your knowledge of LBL?
Mr. LAVERTY. Basically many of the activities that take place on the LBL are very similar to the activities that take place on the national forests.
Mr. WHITFIELD. So you are really a multi-use organization.
Mr. LAVERTY. That is correct.
Mr. WHITFIELD. And you manage the Daniel Boone National Forest?
Mr. LAVERTY. That is correct, yes.
Mr. WHITFIELD. Okay. Mr. Chairman, I have read all their testimonies and I think I have a clear understanding of the differences in these agencies. I want to thank you for arranging for this hearing because it means a lot to this area because this is a valuable piece of property and we know that it was taken forcibly from families who did not want to leave it. So we have a tremendous responsibility as a government to make sure that this property is preserved for future generations and I look forward to getting back to Washington to go over all this material and see if we can reach some consensus among everyone affected.
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Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you very much, Mr. Whitfield.
Mr. TANNER. Mr. Chairman, thank you. I want to just follow up on one question Mr. Whitfield had with regard to the Park Service. Does the Park Service presently participate in any active professional wildlife management programs?
Mr. SWITZER. I am not sure I understand your question, Mr Tanner.
Mr. SWITZER. In the properties that are administered by the Park Service, do you have active wildlife management programs ongoing?
Mr. SWITZER. Absolutely.
Mr. TANNER. You do?
Mr. SWITZER. Yes, sir, in almost every natural area and recreation area in the system.
Mr. TANNER. That would be preservation or conservation?
Mr. SWITZER. Preservation and conservation, restoration of habitat and active and ongoing reintroduction programs, we have all of those.
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Mr. TANNER. I yield back, Mr. Chairman. Thank you.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Mr. Borski.
Mr. BORSKI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I just wanted to make a note in closing, I know it was brought up once or twice today perhaps even by yourself, Mr. Chairman, that this administration had sought to zero out funding for TVA's non-power parts.
Mr. BOEHLERT. 1999.
Mr. BORSKI. In 1999. I was also reminded by Ms. Murray on the previous panel that that is not new, this also happened during the 1980s. What is new this time is that the Chairman of TVA has himself agreed to zero funding.
And I wanted to close, Mr. Chairman, where I started that this Committee, in its long tradition, is bipartisan. I do not know that there is, if that is the right word, more of a bipartisan leader than yourself and certainly the members of the Tennessee Valley delegation on a bipartisan basis have fought the budget cuts in the 1980s and I am sure that that bipartisan leadership will fight just as diligently this time and I expect them to be as successful as they have been. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you very much. And I would like to thank all of the witnesses today. This last panel a little bit short-changed in terms of time but I know you appreciate it. All the previous panelists who appeared before us today, very valuable resources in giving us a real good feel for the issue.
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I want to particularly commend my colleagues for taking their weekend to be right here. It is very important, I do not have to remind anyone this is a beautiful time of year all over this country, but we are here because we really care.
Finally, I want to thank all of you who are here in this auditorium today for your attentiveness, for your interest in this subject and I wish to assure you that we are going to, in the best way possible, come to grips with this issue in a bipartisan manner, as Mr. Borski mentioned, and fully appreciative of the magnificence of that wonderful facility called Land Between the Lakes.
Thank you very much, this hearing is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 12:25 p.m, the Subcommittee was adjourned.]