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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.






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MAY 12, 1998

Printed for the use of the

Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure


BUD SHUSTER, Pennsylvania, Chairman

THOMAS E. PETRI, Wisconsin
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HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
JOHN J. DUNCAN, Jr., Tennessee
JAY KIM, California
STEPHEN HORN, California
BOB FRANKS, New Jersey
JOHN L. MICA, Florida
SUE W. KELLY, New York
RAY LaHOOD, Illinois
FRANK RIGGS, California
CHARLES F. BASS, New Hampshire
JACK METCALF, Washington
ROY BLUNT, Missouri
JOSEPH R. PITTS, Pennsylvania
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JOHN R. THUNE, South Dakota
CHARLES W. ''CHIP'' PICKERING, Jr., Mississippi
JON D. FOX, Pennsylvania
J.C. WATTS, Jr., Oklahoma

NICK J. RAHALL II, West Virginia
ROBERT A. BORSKI, Pennsylvania
ROBERT E. WISE, Jr., West Virginia
BOB CLEMENT, Tennessee
ROBERT E. (BUD) CRAMER, Jr., Alabama
ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON, District of Columbia
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PAT DANNER, Missouri
JAMES E. CLYBURN, South Carolina
BOB FILNER, California
FRANK MASCARA, Pennsylvania
GENE TAYLOR, Mississippi
BILL PASCRELL, Jr., New Jersey
JAY W. JOHNSON, Wisconsin
JAMES P. McGOVERN, Massachusetts
TIM HOLDEN, Pennsylvania

Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment

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SHERWOOD L. BOEHLERT, New York, Chairman

JOHN R. THUNE, South Dakota Vice Chairman
THOMAS E. PETRI, Wisconsin
JAY KIM, California
STEPHEN HORN, California
BOB FRANKS, New Jersey
SUE W. KELLY, New York
FRANK RIGGS, California
BUD SHUSTER, Pennsylvania
  (Ex Officio)

ROBERT A. BORSKI, Pennsylvania
JAY JOHNSON, Wisconsin
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ROBERT E. WISE, Jr., West Virginia
FRANK MASCARA, Pennsylvania
GENE TAYLOR, Mississippi
BILL PASCRELL, Jr., New Jersey
JAMES P. McGOVERN, Massachusetts
NICK J. RAHALL II, West Virginia
  (Ex Officio)





    Bryant, Hon. Ed, a Representative in Congress from Tennessee
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    Clark, Lawrence E., Deputy Chief for Programs, Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture

    Hess, Charles M., U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Directorate of Civil Works

    Ryun, Hon. Jim, a Representative in Congress from Kansas

    Tanner, Hon. John, a Representative in Congress from Tennessee

    Whitfield, Hon. Ed, a Representative in Congress from Kentucky

    Wright, Ann W., General Manager, Land Between the Lakes, Tennessee Valley Authority, Golden Pond, KY


    Boswell, Hon. Leonard L., of Iowa

    Bryant, Hon. Ed, of Tennessee

    Ryun, Hon. Jim, of Kansas

    Tanner, Hon. John, of Tennessee
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    Whitfield, Hon. Ed, of Kentucky


    Clark, Lawrence E

    Wright, Ann W


    Clark, Lawrence E., Deputy Chief for Programs, Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, responses to the questions

    Hall, Ben D., President, League of Kentucky Sportsmen, Inc., letters, May 11, 1998 and July 17, 1997



TUESDAY, MAY 12, 1998
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U.S. House of Representatives,

Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment,

Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure,

Washington, DC.

    The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 2:03 p.m., in Room 2167, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Sherwood Boehlert (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.

    Mr. BOEHLERT. The subcommittee will come to order.

    The subcommittee meets today to receive testimony on legislation addressing the future of TVA's Land Between The Lakes and on the Small Watershed Program of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, particularly a pending project in Kansas and pending projects in both Iowa and Missouri.

    We will hear from our colleagues in Congress and from representatives of Federal agencies with expertise and interest in the pending proposals. Unfortunately—and this is indeed unfortunate—we will not be hearing from the Forest Service or the Fish and Wildlife Service. At the last minute, they decided to inform us they would reject our invitation to testify and refused to even be available to answer any questions that may arise, which is an interesting position and we'll have more to say about that a little bit later. This is not a good example of cooperation or a desire to have open, honest debate about how best to protect LBL.
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    With regard to H.R. 3689, Representative Ed Whitfield's bill on LBL, I would offer a few observations. First, Representative Whitfield should be commended for taking the responsible, but politically controversial step of addressing a difficult situation, that is, the distinct possibility of zero appropriations for TVA in future years.

    I would also note that based on testimony received by this subcommittee last year in Murray, Kentucky, no one wants to see a failure to provide stewardship of one of the Nation's crown jewels in terms of natural resources and recreation, that is, Land Between The Lakes.

    Provisions in H.R. 3689 should help to reaffirm and maintain the Federal responsibility for this important natural and national resource.

    Admittedly, the jury is still out regarding the approach to protecting LBL outlined in this bill. The subcommittee is reviewing H.R. 3689, particularly the question of transferring LBL responsibilities to the Forest Service.

    Today's hearing and subsequent discussions with affected members of the public and resource agencies will help.

    The subcommittee is also interested in the current status and future of the NRCS program. As all of us are learning, small watershed projects can provide many benefits and opportunities beyond flood control; for example, environmental restoration and protection.

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    I look forward to hearing more about the two particular projects pending before our subcommittee and to further discussions with congressional colleagues and others. Let me now turn to my colleague, the gentleman from Tennessee, Mr. Clement, for any statement he'd care to make.

    Mr. CLEMENT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Good afternoon and welcome to my colleagues from the Valley Delegation and other distinguished guests. We meet today to discuss legislation introduced by our colleague and friend, Congressman Ed Whitfield of Kentucky, H.R. 3689, the Land Between The Lakes Protection Act of 1998.

    Personally, I have very strong feelings about Land Between The Lakes. I have fished in those clear waters. I have hunted with a bow and arrow there. And I have hiked over the seemingly endless trails. I have watched elk and bison graze and bald eagles nest. I have stood in awe of the natural beauty of the 170,000 acres of wildlife and nature that is situated between two lakes in Tennessee and Kentucky.

    Man has destroyed much of our natural resources in this country for the sake of development. But TVA made a commitment in 1963 to preserve LBL as a national recreational area, and it has stuck to that commitment. It is inspiring to visit LBL and see this magnificent place that has escaped the fate of so many of our precious natural resources.

    You can step onto the land and be transported back 200 years to a time when most of our country was wild and untarnished by the ways of man. Thirty-six years ago, TVA made a promise to its rate payers and to the entire country. Last year, there was a moment when TVA wavered. But TVA has come back stronger in its commitment to LBL and it is determined to keep its promise.
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    Do we really want to undermine that commitment? Do we really want to say that after 36 years of dedication to wildlife, 36 years of helping to save bald eagles from extinction, 36 years of providing numerous recreational opportunities for millions of people, do we really want to say that TVA should no longer perform the duties that it promised to perform and has diligently carried out?

    In the past, we have defeated TVA's enemies, our enemies, by presenting a united front and fighting for TVA. A house divided against itself will fall. I do not want to see LBL suffer because we, the TVA defenders, did not stand together. If we pause for a moment and think in the simplest terms, if we remember the beauty of the land, the recreational opportunities, the magnificent creatures that inhabit LBL, and the millions of people who have enjoyed all these things, how can we possibly entertain the idea of stripping control of LBL from TVA.

    LBL is a national treasure. It is owned by the people of the United States. We must stake out LBL's future so that it best serves the public interest without causing unnecessary cost to the American taxpayer.

    I believe that this legislation will cost taxpayers money, disrupt services, and displace workers. How could this be good for LBL or the public it serves? I don't think it makes sense for the taxpayers or those who use LBL today or for future generations of LBL users for Congress to pursue this transfer legislation.

    I am looking forward to hearing what Mr. Whitfield has to say, as well as my Tennessee colleagues, Mr. Tanner and Mr. Bryant. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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    Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you very much. As my colleague knows, I, too, have stood in awe of the 170,000 acres of natural beauty, LBL, and we are vitally interested in the future of that magnificent resource.

    Mr. CLEMENT. And I might say, Mr. Chairman, if I could, I remember so well you coming to Tennessee and Kentucky when we went to Murray, Kentucky and a number of us testified. We appreciated very much that you didn't do everything from Washington, D.C. You really wanted to be there at LBL, and it was most appreciated from the people in the Tennessee Valley area.

    Mr. BOEHLERT. Well, there's no substitute for getting away from Washington and seeing for one's self. I saw. Mr. Boswell, do you have any opening statement?

    Mr. BOSWELL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I will have more of a statement when we get later on in the program, but I will just confess to you one of the reasons I wanted to be on your was so I could support these kinds of projects.

    I come from an area where the watershed project is extremely important and I realize your long interest in it, but this is something that we have to do, not only for ourselves, but the next generations. And if we don't do it, shame on us. So I'm here to hear about the projects, but I'll just tell you up front right now, I like them all.

    Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you. Mr. Clement.

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    Mr. CLEMENT. Mr. Chairman, several of our colleagues may have been delayed in arriving at today's hearings. I ask unanimous consent that members be permitted to submit opening statements for the record as if read.

    Mr. BOEHLERT. Without objection, so ordered.

    Mr. BOSWELL. Mr. Chairman, Ms. Danner contacted our office, and she has been delayed because of a family situation. So she sent her regrets and hopes that we will carry forth.

    Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you so much. With that, let's go to our first panel, and we'll go in the order introduced. We'll start with Mr. Whitfield.


    Mr. WHITFIELD. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much. I want to thank you and Congressman Clement and the other members of the subcommittee for agreeing to hold this hearing on H.R. 3689, the Land Between The Lakes Protection Act.

    Senator McConnell has introduced identical legislation on the Senate side. I don't think there is any question that all the members of the Kentucky delegation and the Tennessee delegation certainly support TVA. But today, we are talking specifically about Land Between The Lakes.
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    I would like to just give a brief background on LBL and the need for the approval of this legislation. As you know, LBL is a 170,000 acre woodland located in western Kentucky and Tennessee between the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers. I represent approximately two-thirds of LBL and Representative Tanner, the remaining one-third.

    It is the only national recreation area in America managed by the Tennessee Valley Authority and the only recreation area which was not created by a Federal statute. LBL contains some of the most varied species of wildlife east of the Mississippi. TVA has managed the property since the early 1960's when President Kennedy established LBL through executive directive as a 10-year demonstration project in resource development.

    Over 800 families were forcibly removed from their property when LBL was created. As a result, emotions still run deep when any discussion regarding development of this property takes place.

    The permanent manager of LBL was to have been determined at the end of the 10-year demonstration project, but a Federal decision was never made regarding that issue. No separate statute was ever enacted governing the management or operation of LBL. General authority was granted through the provisions of the original TVA Act of 1933 and operating funds were provided for TVA through the annual appropriation process.

    As a result, LBL has become a valuable resource for the visitors and permanent residents of Kentucky and Tennessee who enjoy the wide variety of recreational and environmental education activities at the property.
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    In January 1996, serious public concerns were raised about the management of LBL when TVA explored five development concepts ranging from upgraded campgrounds to a major theme park. As a result of the tremendous outcry against the development concepts, Congressman Tanner and I met with members of the TVA Board of Directors and requested that TVA drop those concepts. I am delighted to say that they agreed to do so.

    Objections, however, to TVA's policies toward LBL have continued since the five development concepts were first discussed. At my request and the request of others, this subcommittee held a congressional hearing in Kentucky on the future of LBL.

    Two months prior to that scheduled hearing, the chairman of TVA, Craven Crowell, announced that he would no longer seek Federal funds for the non-power programs of TVA, including LBL. That position was supported by the administration when the Fiscal Year 1998 budget was submitted to Congress requesting $106 million for non-power programs for Fiscal Year 1998, but eliminating all funding thereafter.

    The hearing in Murray focused on the concerns of State and local officials, private interest groups, and former landowners interested in the future of LBL. It also featured witnesses from TVA and various Federal agencies with experience in managing national recreational areas.

    This past September, Congress funded LBL non-power programs for Fiscal Year 1998 at a reduced level of $70 million. LBL received $6.9 million. However, that new law also included explicit language ending funding for TVA non-power programs, including LBL, beginning in Fiscal Year 1999, pursuant to Chairman Crowell's request.
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    Although Chairman Crowell has now taken the position that TVA should continue to manage LBL, and Congress should fund TVA's non-power programs, intense opposition to that position has developed in Congress. And that brings us to where we are today.

    Based on the action taken by Congress to eliminate future non-power funds to TVA, I, for one, am not optimistic that these monies will be restored even though TVA now says they want to retain control of the non-power projects.

    LBL is a federally-created national recreation area and should receive Federal funds, just as every other national recreation area in American receives Federal funds. My legislation ensures a safe haven for LBL in the event Congress does not provide appropriated funds for TVA non-power programs for Fiscal Year 1999.

    What does this bill do? It transfers management of LBL to the U.S. Forest Service in any fiscal year in which TVA does not receive a minimum of $6 million to operate LBL as a part of the non-power program. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, through a cooperative agreement with the Forest Service, would have responsibility for wildlife management activities at LBL.

    Although the administration decided yesterday to prohibit the testimony of the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Fish nd Wildlife Service, I would like to say that representatives from those agencies were most helpful in preparing this legislation.

    The bill reaffirms LBL's original mission in support of public recreation, fish and wildlife conservation, and environmental education. It guarantees the continuation of in-lieu-of tax payments to the affected counties. It establishes a 17-member advisory board to ensure local input in the land management process.
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    It prohibits the U.S. Forest Service from charging entry fees. It guarantees continued hunting and fishing at LBL, in accordance with State laws. In fact, all the activities that you can do there today, you would be able to do so under this act. It codifies the original mission of LBL. It protects and provides access to all the cemeteries at LBL, and that's a big local issue. And it establishes a generous compensation package for any TVA employee that may lose their job.

    I hope the Congress does appropriate funds for TVA's non-power programs in Fiscal Year 1999. But I don't believe there are many people who believe that that may happen. I do not intend to sit idly by and not be prepared for the possibility that TVA will not receive funds. And so this bill is a safety net to ensure a continued stream of Federal money to finance LBL operations, and this measure should be enacted.

    This 170,000-acre recreation area is a valuable resource. Hundreds of families were moved off of the land involuntarily. They still live in the area and have strong emotions intertwined with the future of this property.

    And I hope you will agree with me that passage of this legislation will maximize our efforts to protect LBL for future generations. Thank you very much.

    Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you very much, Mr. Whitfield. Mr. Tanner.

    Mr. TANNER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate you and the other Members of the Committee holding this hearing. I am glad that we can come together today to discuss this legislation. I have a written statement that I would like to submit for the record because I don't intend to talk very long. As slow as I talk, it takes long enough anyway.
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    But let me just say one or two things. You have been down there. The Land Between The Lakes is unique. It's unique in its mission. It's unique in the way it was founded. TVA is uniquely situated to manage that. And what do I mean by that? No other single agency in the United States government has, as part of its mission, all of the activities that occur and have occurred at LBL. Hunting, camping, environmental education, historical education. No other Federal agency has as part of its mission all of the matters that take place there. That's number one.

    Number two, the bill as written would envision at least two, and perhaps as many as four, Federal agencies doing exactly the same thing that TVA by itself does today; hence, more bureaucracy.

    Third, more bureaucracy around here normally means more money. And what do I mean by that? This bill will cost every taxpayer in the United States money. How? By the appropriations process that goes to the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the United States Corps of Engineers, all of whom will have to be involved if the mission at LBL, as currently envisioned and as currently undertaken, is to continue.

    Secondly, every ratepayer in the Tennessee Valley will pay more. How? Because once this bill is enacted, and once TVA is removed, this bill mandates that TVA continue to fund many of the expenses that are ongoing at LBL without any money. That translates directly to the ratepayers in western Kentucky and Tennessee and the other parts of the Valley.

    And third, for those areas around LBL, if the State legislatures involved do not make changes in their law, which we have no control over here in Washington, there will be fairly dramatic reductions in the payment in lieu—payments that go to those counties which those counties use to fund their local education system, because part of the land in their county is in LBL.
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    So you have increased expenditure for the same program at LBL, you have more bureaucracy, and I think, personally, Mr. Chairman, what we ought to envision and try to enact in this Congress is to make sure that TVA, in recognizing the mistake that was made—and Chairman Crowell quite frankly and publicly says, I made a mistake. And he was roundly criticized last year for saying what is part of this legislation this year. I find that ironic. But he says very publicly and very frankly, I made a mistake; TVA ought to stay involved in the management of LBL. It's a national treasure, national resource, and TVA is uniquely positioned to manage this unique location.

    And so, while the explanation may sound benign, I can see if we do not fulfill what I believe to be the proper thing to do in terms of bureaucracy and expense, and that is, to fund TVA at least the $6 million that goes to LBL in their non-power.

    Now, if you want to talk about the other $70 million that TVA is appropriated in their non-power business, that's fine with me. But as it relates to LBL, it seems to me the cheapest, less bureaucratic function that this Congress could perform would be to make sure that $6.7 or $6.8 million is appropriated to TVA for the management of LBL. Thank you.

    Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you very much, Mr. Tanner. Mr. Bryant.

    Mr. BRYANT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding these hearings, and I want to thank my colleague from Kentucky for opening the debate on this very important issue to our region. And I also want to associate myself with the very fine remarks of my colleague from Tennessee, Mr. Tanner. I think he hit the nail right on the head.
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    The Chair is very familiar with the Land Between The Lakes. As mentioned, you have been there, you have toured it. You know the size, the beauty, the environmental haven there, the recreational opportunities that are not only available to the citizens of Tennessee and Kentucky, but in that region and across the country, literally millions of people visit that national part, if you will.

    And the chairman is certainly familiar with the poor decision, bad judgment, that our TVA made over the last year or so in saying they did not need this funding. And as John Tanner has indicated, they have publicly admitted a mistake. And I think we need to put that behind us and move forward and do the best possible thing for that region and that area; and that, in my view, would be continuing TVA's very important role in managing the LBL, the Land Between The Lakes.

    I want to make it clear that I favor that. TVA has, I think, done an excellent job in its management of that area. It's a multipurpose plan that they worked a long time to develop and spent a lot of money to develop. It's one that allows use in every sort of recreational way, along with management of the timber there, and again, one, I think, that's favored by the people that make complete use of it.

    And it's for that reason I would like to see TVA funded and not have to come up with this money through some other source to continue the management of this. I think adequate funding must be there for the upkeep and maintenance of this park, and quite frankly, right now, in Congress, that's a very sketchy proposal.

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    If another government agency or multiple agencies are given the task of managing the park, I would hope that they would be mandated to follow the TVA operational plan. The consideration of a new management agency is also creating problems, as Congressman Tanner mentioned, for some of our local communities in Tennessee, I know, that rely on this area, this park, for their economic viability.

    In Stewart County, which Congressman Tanner represents, the residents and county officials are worried about the potential shortage of over $700,000 which goes to fund county schools that they lose from their property taxes. He very clearly raises this, and as I say, I associate myself with him on this. Unless there's some change made, some of those counties that receive these payments in lieu of taxes that only TVA can do, are going to greatly suffer.

    Couple that with the loss of employment opportunities, I know in one of the surrounding counties there, they talk about cutting recreational staff from 338 employees to 154 over a 5-year period, and these are employees from that area. These are workers from that area that would be affected.

    There is also concern with the agency, the U.S. Forest Service—which as has been mentioned, is not here to testify today—that they manage the lands. They are used to managing the forests and they are not really, in my view, the right folks or have the expertise to manage the park's massive recreational campground areas, the hunting preserve, and those kinds of things.

    And should the LBL be managed by another Federal agency other than TVA, I think this has the duty and responsibility to make sure that these concerns are addressed, and again, that they are a continued, multipurpose use by whoever runs the LBL, as well as this very important tax issue, the payment in-lieu-of tax issue, and the loss of potential employment for that area, were this cut in employment to take place.
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    But again, I thank the Chair for holding this hearing. I thank again Mr. Whitfield for throwing something out there for us to talk about. But it is an important issue for all of us, as you can see from the delegation that is here to testify, and also from our colleague, Mr. Clement, on the , for his very fine statement.

    With that, I will thank the Chair again for the hearing. Thank you.

    Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you very much. Mr. Ryun.

    Mr. RYUN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the opportunity to testify today. Mr. Chairman, the Upper Delaware and Tributaries Watershed Project is long overdue. The Watershed Plan and Environmental Impact Statement were completed in 1994 under the guidelines set forth in the PL 566 program.

    The project is truly cooperative and has a great deal of cooperation from many people back in the state of Kansas. It's been assisted by a lot of local sponsors by these particular groups. You've got the USDA Soil Conservation Service and Forest Service, the Kansas State Extension Forestry, the Kansas State Conservation Commission, the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, and of course, the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

    Mr. Chairman, we in Kansas like to know the bottom line. We are very common sense. So before I go any further, I would like to share with you what this project would do and how much it would cost.
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    The project would build 20 water flood retarding dams and other facilities. It would address environmental concerns on 12,000 acres of land, and create 16 livestock waste management systems.

    The total cost of this watershed project is projected to be $13.6 million. The Federal share for this project is $9.4 million. This project would benefit over 18,000 people and generate an annual benefit of $1.5 million. If you are a Wall Street banker, you'd be pretty happy with this; it's a good investment.

    The watershed district developed this project in response to several water-related problems in the Northeast region of my district. The Upper Delaware and Tributaries Watershed includes nearly 180,000 acres in Northeast Kansas, including the Kickapoo Indian Reservation. Problems include rural flooding, water control impairment, and the lack of a dependable water supply.

    It is estimated that seven percent of the watershed will be flooded every year. This impacts about 12,000 acres in the flood plain. Annual damages to crops, roads, and bridges are anticipated to be nearly $500,000. This damage is done by flash flooding, which cause the streams to overflow their banks for approximately 6 to 12 hours and they wash out crops and cover it with sediments. The flooding also destroys miles of fencing, field bins, hog pens, other structures, and it scatters debris across farms. These flooding damages directly affect the economy of these communities by increasing production costs and reducing income.

    In addition to directly measurable flooding damages, nonpoint source pollutants enter the watershed as the water flow recedes, negatively impacting the water quality in the region. Not only does this water pose a public health risk for human consumption, it can often be unsuitable for use in livestock and crop irrigation.
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    Mr. Chairman, I'd like to take a moment and point out that Kansas has made water quality a high priority in recent years in order to better protect its citizens. Kansan keeps meticulous measurements of their water quality, and Kansas has stepped up its efforts to address the problems that they have found.

    The Northeast region of Kansas fights an ongoing battle for a dependable water supply. The lack of a dependable supply causes economic losses on businesses and livestock producers during periods of drought, especially on the Kickapoo Indian Reservation. The current Kickapoo water problem supply serves tribal living communities and rural residential areas in about 30 square miles of the reservation area.

    In 1976, the Kickapoo Nation built a low-water dam on the Delaware River. The volume of storage above this dam on the Delaware has been reduced by siltation. When there is a short low-flow or a drought period, it would leave the Kickapoo without adequate water protection and with very poor water quality. It's actually the fire protection we're very concerned about, because during these periods in 1989 and 1991, water to businesses, residents and livestock operations was rationed and the water to the Kickapoo Indian Nation was cut off.

    The Kickapoos have worked for the last 20 years to develop a dependable water supply for increased industrial, domestic, and recreational use. The completion of this project would vastly improve their way of life.

    Another important purpose of this project is the reduction of sediment and other nonpoint source pollutants delivered to the Perry Reservoir 18 miles below this particular area. It is estimated that the reduction of sedimentation to Perry Lake would extend the life of the structure for nearly 10 years, which is an important aspect of cost. And the reduction of pollutants would improve the quality of water supply for Perry Lake.
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    This is another reason that it makes this watershed project a good one. It would not only impact those who live and work in the watershed district, it would impact the water quality for those who live and work downstream.

    Mr. Chairman, we in the heartland of this great Nation love clean water and clean air. Kansas has more than its fair share of wide open farmlands and ranges. Kansans understand the dependency upon the land for a strong economy, and make environmental conservation a high priority. This watershed project makes tremendous strides to protect valuable farmland and to improve the water quality in our area.

    Mr. Chairman, it is clear that the need for this project is well past due. The project includes broad-based local and State support. The Upper Delaware Watershed Project will protect valuable farmland, and it will improve the water quality for the region.

    Mr. Chairman, I thank you for the time, and I hope that you will give this favorable consideration.

    Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you very much, Mr. Ryun, for the excellent statement. I think we can dispense with you first.

    First of all, I want to commend you for the manner in which you have focused this subcommittee's attention on this project. The minority and majority have had a lot of time to consult on this and we are going to encourage you today as you depart from this. There is no need for you to stay further with the LBL discussion. You don't have a dog in that hunt, so to speak.
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    But I do want to commend you. You've done an excellent job of bringing the merits of this proposal to the subcommittee, and I wish to assure you that we'll be prompt in our response.

    So unless any of my colleagues have a question of Congressman Ryun, we can let him——

    Mr. HORN. I'd just like to ask a question of the panel.

    Mr. BOEHLERT. Oh, no, we're going to get to that.

    Mr. HORN. Okay.

    Mr. BOEHLERT. But in fairness to Mr. Ryun, no sense for him to stay around to listen to the LBL, unless you would like to stay.

    Mr. RYUN. I think I'll read about it later. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. BOEHLERT. You bet. Thank you so much. Do you have anything for Mr. Ryun? All right, fine. Thank you very much, Mr. Ryun.

    Now let's go to our LBL panel. First of all, Mr. Whitfield, I want to make clear one thing. You support TVA getting continued appropriations, is that correct?
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    Mr. WHITFIELD. Yes.

    Mr. BOEHLERT. So what you are proposing is sort of a safety net, a contingency plan.

    Mr. WHITFIELD. That's correct, because I've had a lot of discussions with a lot of people involved in the appropriation process, including the chairman of the TVA Caucus, Zack Wamp. I feel very strongly that there's a good chance that the appropriation is not going to be there.

    And since I represent two-thirds of LBL, I think it would be irresponsible for me not to at least have a backup plan in place.

    Mr. BOEHLERT. So, if I could draw an analogy here, you are trying to buy the fire extinguisher before the fire starts.

    Mr. WHITFIELD. That's correct.

    Mr. BOEHLERT. Well, all right. Let me ask Mr. Tanner and Mr. Bryant, what would be your contingency plan? Do you have an alternative if what may happen, does happen? I think that's the whole point, as I understand it, of Mr. Whitfield's legislation.

    Apparently, there is agreement with all three, all four of you here, that TVA should continue to receive appropriated funds. But as I'm hearing the situation, and the benefit of my conversations with others leads me to conclude that those appropriated funds might not come. And if they don't come, then what?
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    And I think Mr. Whitfield is proposing an alternative, the safety net, if you will. Under those circumstances, assuming that maybe the worst happens as far as what all four of you want, and if the appropriated funds don't come, then what do we do? Mr. Bryant?

    Mr. BRYANT. I think ultimately there are going to have to be some funds appropriated somewhere from somebody's budget to take care of this. As I testified the last time I was here, obviously the LBL is not going to disappear. It's Federal property and it will have to be maintained.

    I think what Congressman Tanner mentioned, the potential of multiple organizations, Federal agencies coming in and overlapping, I think is not going to be cost-efficient.

    As far as a specific alternative plan, again, I commend Congressman Whitfield for doing this. My point in being here is simply to say that this Committee has to understand that, number one, the property is not going to go away. Number two, we've gotten great use out of it there across the region with the multipurpose plan, and regardless of what Federal agency comes in, I think it should be a mandate of this that they would continue to operate it under that same TVA multipurpose use.

    And finally, the economic issue of LBL plus the payment in lieu of taxes also has to be considered, and TVA is in a position to legally make these payments, where I understand other Federal agencies may not be in that situation.

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    And something has to be done. Some consideration has to be given in those instances by this Congress in taking care of those communities that are affected economically and taxwise.

    Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you. Mr. Tanner, do you have something to add?

    Mr. TANNER. Well, Mr. Chairman, I don't think there's any mystery about this. There was some controversy last year when Chairman Crowell made his ill-fated, and I thought, ill-conceived announcement, which he has since, and the TVA Board has since agreed publicly and with some egg on their face that it was a mistake.

    Now, as Congressman Bryant said, LBL is not going away. What are we going to do with it? What we are maintaining is that due to its uniqueness, due to the TVA's unique role in the management of that resource, it is the cheapest, less bureaucratic way to do so.

    Now, if the appropriators say in the face of that logic, we are still not going to appropriate money to TVA, because we don't like Craven Crowell or we don't like TVA in general or whatever, what I have said was on the non-appropriated money, some $70-plus million, if you want to argue about whether or not that ought to be, fine. But as it relates to LBL, it is, it seems to me, governed by logic that it is unquestionably cheaper and less bureaucratic to appropriate $6 million to TVA for the purpose of LBL.

    Now, if Congress doesn't do that, as Mr. Bryant said, what do we do? The Forest Service can't do what TVA does at LBL now. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service cannot maintain what happens there. The U.S. Park Service cannot maintain what happens there. And the Corps of Engineers cannot maintain it.
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    One or all of them will have to take it over, I suppose. I think that would be a monumental failure of the 105th Congress, as it relates to LBL, if this happens. And I'd be glad to testify to the appropriators to that extent.

    Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you very much. Mr. Clement.

    Mr. CLEMENT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Whitfield, I know you've heard now from Congressman Tanner and Congressman Bryant saying your piece of legislation, the legislation you've introduced, is really going to cost the taxpayers, it's going to cost the ratepayers more money. And you know, we've turned the corner. Now we are looking at a balanced budget for the first time in 30 years. Is that what you intended to do to cost the ratepayers and taxpayers more money?

    Mr. WHITFIELD. Well, first of all, the fact that someone says it's going to cost more does not necessarily make it so. Of the $6 million appropriated to LBL last year, over $5 million went to salaries and benefits for TVA employees.

    So I think there is really an open question here. I don't want to argue against TVA, because this is a backup plan. But I think there is a lot of statistics out there that indicate the National Forest Service, the National Park Service, and the Fish and Wildlife Service manage property at much less per acre cost than does TVA. And I think we can show those figures.

    Now, having said that, my only interest in this is to protect this property. It is the most volatile issue in my district. Everywhere I go, people are talking about LBL. And I remember last year when Mr. Crowell said he didn't want any more appropriations, he said I am going to save the taxpayers' dollars by not asking for appropriations.
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    But as Mr. Tanner and Mr. Bryant have said, this is a Federal responsibility, and Federal tax dollars should be used for this property, since 800 families were forcibly removed from their property. So the Federal Government has a responsibility.

    I would also just say to you that while Mr. Tanner and Mr. Bryant have expressed concern about overlapping agencies, I will tell you that the Forest Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service sat down and worked out an agreement between them on the way that they would manage wildlife at LBL. So I don't think it would be quite as cumbersome and as complicated as maybe my cohorts might indicate.

    Mr. BOEHLERT. Would my colleague yield?

    Mr. CLEMENT. Yes.

    Mr. BOEHLERT. Just let me provide some level of comfort. I think there is agreement that the Federal Government has a responsibility to continue to provide in some way, shape or manner for the future of LBL as presently constituted, that is, as a magnificent recreation area.

    And if I'm hearing correctly—and I don't have the benefit of my hearing aide today, it's out for repair—but you are all essentially saying the same thing. You want to retain LBL. There is a Federal responsibility to continue doing what it has done. Mr. Whitfield is expressing concern and therefore, he's trying to provide a sort of fail-safe or a backup position if we don't do what all of you want us to do, that is, the Congress.
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    Mr. CLEMENT. But what concerns us, Mr. Chairman—I know, Ann Wright, the General Manager of Land Between The Lakes, is going to testify next and she's done a wonderful job in that position. When she speaks for TVA, in her testimony, she mentions that it is going to cost as much as $20 to $25 million more for these other agencies to get involved in managing the operations of TVA.

    But I'd like to hear what Mr. Tanner and Mr. Bryant also have to say about the comments that Mr. Whitfield said.

    Mr. TANNER. Well, thank you, Mr. Clement. The Inspector General analyzes what happens at LBL, and TVA there spends 52 percent of their annual budget on salaries and benefits for the 104 employees who manage a whole host of management intensive recreational endeavors, as you know.

    On the other national recreation areas, they found from 60 to 82 percent of the monies were spent on salaries and benefits.

    It may well be that the Forest Service cost per acre may be cheaper than the cost per acre at LBL. I don't know that, but I don't dispute it. I would just simply say there must be a good reason for it, and it seems to me that reason would be that there is a myriad of activities that take place at LBL, environmental education, the Old Home Place historical education. All of those things don't occur on the properties managed by the Forest Service or Park Service.

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    So I think when one is comparing cost, one has to look at the activities that those costs apply to. So I don't know that we've got an apples to apples argument with respect to just cost per acre, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. BOEHLERT. The sad fact of the matter is that we don't have the benefit of the U.S. Forest Service testimony here, and I would urge my colleagues to encourage the administration to be a little bit more cooperative, that we are dealing with something very sensitive.

    Mr. BRYANT. Mr. Chairman, may I respond to that, also?

    Mr. BOEHLERT. Sure, Mr. Bryant, by all means.

    Mr. BRYANT. Today I don't have the benefit of my glasses, much as you with your hearing aid, and I don't want to mislead this . I read some numbers wrong and I would agree with Mr. Tanner on the number of employees. I think I cited some different numbers in terms of the size of the staff out there.

    But I want to be clear that I am personally not critical of Mr. Whitfield's bill. I agree with the Chair and with him that this is a fall-back position in the event TVA is no longer funded to operate the LBL. I simply add that my strong preference is, based on the great job that TVA has done, that they be allowed to continue and that this recommend the funding.

    But in the event that doesn't occur, you start looking at a fall-back position. I strongly recommend this strongly recommend that whoever might manage that, that they maintain that multi-use purpose plan that TVA has developed, that some consideration be given to replacing the payment in lieu of taxes to those surrounding areas that may or may not be done right now if control is changed over, and that the economic concerns of those communities also be taken into consideration.
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    Mr. BOEHLERT. Yes, and those are very valid points and I agree 100 percent with them. Mr. Whitfield.

    Mr. WHITFIELD. May I just make one statement. In this legislation, section 103 addresses the in-lieu-of tax payments. According to the conversations that we've had with the appropriate people, not only would these counties continue to receive the TVA in-lieu-of tax payments, but they also would receive the National Forest Service in-lieu-of tax payments.

    But the language specifically states that the in-lieu-of tax payments would continue as if this legislation had never passed. So if the States want to change it, that is something that they would do. But this Federal legislation does not change it.

    Mr. CLEMENT. Well, Mr. Whitfield, would this be the U.S. Forest Service that would be making these payments in lieu of taxes? And I'd like for you to give me an example of the U.S. Forest Service having any kind of such program anywhere else in the country.

    Mr. WHITFIELD. Well, as you know, in Kentucky and Tennessee both, they have formulas based on power generated by TVA and allocations are made to the counties from those allocations. This legislation says that that would not stop. There is no reason for that to stop.

    But in our conversations with the Forest Service, they've indicated that they make in-lieu-of tax payments, and they have given us examples of it.
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    Mr. CLEMENT. But in your legislation, you have TVA making a lot of payments to LBL. I mean, these are the ratepayers that would be making these payments. Then you get into the argument, you know, are we going to have to raise rates in order to provide for these new services?

    Mr. WHITFIELD. Well, first of all, most certainly, we do not want to raise rates on the ratepayers of TVA. As you have already indicated, the annual budget at LBL is around $11 million a year. We appropriate about $6 million. So TVA is already spending about $5 million on top of that, recognizing that some of it comes from user fees.

    So you could even make an argument that by transferring, you are going to save the ratepayers money.

    Mr. CLEMENT. Well, TVA spent $11 million in 1997 and 47 percent of that went for salaries. And then $3.9 million to of the LBL funds were self-generated. I know you mentioned, what, $5 million of TVA's budget went for salaries. Are you correct in that?

    Mr. WHITFIELD. Well, the information that I had, that's what it indicated, a little over $5 million.

    Mr. BOEHLERT. Yes, I think your figures are probably compatible.

    Mr. WHITFIELD. I might also say, you had indicated that this legislation required TVA to make additional payments, and I don't want to mislead the . That is true. We had asked in this legislation, if it ever took effect, which it may not, that TVA make $1 million payments for a period of 5 years.
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    And one of the reasons for that was simply that there was a youth station at the LBL on the Kentucky side that was used for environmental education for young people that literally has rotted to the ground. And there was some thought to using some of this money to help rebuild that.

    As you know, TVA does have an economic development fund and they help local communities with economic development, because of their vital interest in the area. And I know they would continue to be interested in this area.

    Mr. CLEMENT. Let me ask you this final question, then. I know we come from different States, Kentucky, Tennessee. We are different political parties. You are a Republican; I'm a Democrat. But you know, always in the past, we have been one voice when it comes to the TVA Caucus on TVA issues.

    I guess it is troubling to a lot of us what legislation you are proposing, as well as Senator McConnell, that Kentucky is going one way and the other States are going another direction and feel entirely different about the future and about LBL, about who should manage LBL, and the future of TVA.

    Why this feeling? I know you have a lot of coal, you have a lot of low power coal, low sulphur coal, I should say, in the State of Kentucky. What is different in Kentucky than it is in the rest of the Tennessee Valley area?

    Mr. WHITFIELD. Well, first of all, I would say that Kentucky obviously has benefited a great deal from TVA and continues to do so, and we are supportive of TVA. But I became involved in this issue not so much because of TVA—and I recognize that times are changing with deregulation looming out there, there is concern by a lot of people who are supporters of TVA that if you lose anything, that weakens TVA as an entity.
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    And my sole purpose in becoming involved in this was for LBL—separate and distinct from TVA. So while I support TVA, my primary interest is LBL. And you've indicated that Ann Wright is going to testify. She lives in Hopkinsville and her husband was a fraternity brother of mine. I also would be the first to say that she's done a marvelous job of managing LBL for TVA.

    But one of the problems I've had has been the inconsistent policy of the TVA leadership regarding this property.

    Mr. CLEMENT. Thank you.

    Mr. BOEHLERT. Dr. Horn.

    Dr. HORN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am coming at this problem not only as a Member of this Subcommittee, but as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Management Information and Technology. I am about to do a series of hearings on the Forest Service, and I am fascinated by the origin of this particular national recreation area. I am curious, before President Kennedy designated the Land Between The Lakes as a national recreation area in 1963, was there Forest Service logging in this area? Does anybody know that?

    Mr. WHITFIELD. Well, these gentlemen may want to respond also. This basically was private property. There were 800 farm families moved off this property to create the national recreation area. There also was about 60,000 acres of wildlife refuge, but as far as I know, the National Forest Service was not involved in any way prior to that.
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    Dr. HORN. Has there since been, any Forest Service logging on this area? What is the status of that?

    Mr. WHITFIELD. There's never been any Forest Service logging, although logging does take place on this property and it is a mechanism that TVA uses to generate income, and particularly, to generate revenue at a time when the Congress has been reducing appropriations.

    Dr. HORN. Does the TVA have any policy different from the Forest Service, let's say, in terms of clear cutting? Is there any clear cutting in the area?

    Mr. TANNER. Not to my knowledge. Less than 2 percent of the 170,000 acres is logged annually.

    Dr. HORN. Is there a lumber mill in the area that services that logging?

    Mr. TANNER. No. Ms. Wright may be able to furnish——

    Mr. BOEHLERT. Yes, Dr. Horn, the next witness is Ms. Wright.

    Dr. HORN. Yes, what I'm interested in is the possibility of turning the Forest Service more into recreation than simply logging. And so that's why I was curious about this particular designation.
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    Mr. WHITFIELD. I'd like to make one other comment, Congressman Horn. One of the reasons we involved the Fish and Wildlife Service in this is we do have the sensitivity to logging, and the Fish and Wildlife Service has a reputation of being more the other way. And we thought the two of them working together would provide a balance.

    Dr. HORN. Thank you.

    Mr. BOEHLERT. Mr. Boswell. Mr. Taylor, do you have anything?

    Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Whitfield, I'm just a bit interested in your proposition here. You state in rather bold type, ''Ratepayers in Kentucky and Tennessee should not be forced to finance LBL operations.'' Is that correct?

    Mr. WHITFIELD. That's correct.

    Mr. TAYLOR. And as I read on a little later, your legislation would guarantee payments to each of these counties from LBL. So they are not going to pay more, but they are going to continue to get their money. They would also be eligible under your plan for traditional payment in lieu of taxes from the Forest Service, so that's a plus.

    You go on to say the Forest Service couldn't even charge any fees to try to recover their cost. I've got a feeling you could end up costing the Federal Government more than when we started.

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    Mr. WHITFIELD. Well, first of all, the TVA payments are not——

    Mr. TAYLOR. In turn, people from all the other States that don't have this great organization.

    Mr. WHITFIELD. The TVA payments that are already made to the States based on the amount of revenue generated by the sale of power and consumed by that State, those payments would continue to be made. That is not taxpayer dollars. And the Forest Service money, their in-lieu-of tax payments would be taxpayer dollars. So I don't understand exactly how there would be more taxpayer dollars involved in this.

    Mr. TAYLOR. Well, are they getting payment in-lieu-of taxes now from the Forest Service?

    Mr. WHITFIELD. No, they are not.

    Mr. TAYLOR. So that's an additional expense to the Nation. Plus the Nation would incur the expense of maintaining this through the Forest Service, if I'm not mistaken.

    Mr. WHITFIELD. No, you are correct on that. Those payments would be made; they are not being made now. And we can all discuss this, and you may want to discuss this with Ms. Wright as well. But in the studies that I have seen and have been explained to us, TVA is spending nearly $33 an acre maintaining this property. They receive an appropriation each year from the Federal Government. And the National Forest Service figures indicate they spend nearly $13 an acre to maintain similar property.
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    Now, I will admit that the Forest Service uses a more rustic approach. There may not be quite as many buildings that would be taken of, but all the activities that are there now, hunting, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, all of that, would continue under this legislation.

    Mr. TAYLOR. The question is have you or any of the organizations interested in this requested the Congressional Budget Office to score your proposal? Because, again, at first glance, I could see where this could actually end up costing the taxpayers more money than the present situation.

    Mr. WHITFIELD. Well, we'd be happy to do that. And I know Ms. Wright is going to be testifying later, and she has some figures that she thinks it would cost additionally. But that's something I guess we can respectfully disagree on, but we'd be happy to do that.

    Mr. TAYLOR. It's just a question. I can see where the Nation would obviously incur some additional expenses. I am just trying to decipher what that means, since we are trying to balance the budget, to the net expenses of the Nation and the net revenues of the Nation.

    Mr. WHITFIELD. Right.

    Mr. TAYLOR. So it has not been scored. Have you asked the Congressional Budget Office to score this?
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    Mr. WHITFIELD. Yes, we have.

    Mr. TANNER. Have they given you a timeline as to when you can expect that?

    Mr. WHITFIELD. In 1 month.

    Mr. TANNER. Okay, thank you, sir. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. BOEHLERT. I think the important thing is, as Mr. Whitfield has stressed, this is not his first position, this is his fallback position, the safety net, the safe haven, if you will. He, like Mr. Tanner and like Mr. Bryant, like Mr. Clement, are all advocating that the Congress continue to appropriate funds for TVA to operate LBL. He is simply looking beyond that at the possibility, and some people would suggest, the likelihood that the Congress will not provide continued funding for TVA for the non-power program. And therefore, he is looking for a fallback position.

    As someone who has had the privilege of visiting LBL and looks at it from afar, boy, I can darn sure appreciate how important that is to your region. And I will tell you, if I lived in that region, I'd be saying, you guys better do your best to protect it.

    So you have done your job today, gentlemen, and I thank you for your outstanding testimony, and I know you will all be available to continue to serve as resources for this subcommittee as we come to grips with this very important issue. Mr. Whitfield, Mr. Tanner, Mr. Bryant, thank you very much.
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    The next witness, Ms. Ann W. Wright, who comes with advanced billing and credit for doing a job well done—all seem to agree with that. Ms. Wright is the General Manager for LBL. She will be accompanied by Charles M. Hess, a Directorate of Civil Works, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Ms. Wright and Mr. Hess, if you have a separate statement, your statements will be included in the record at this juncture in their entirety. We would ask that you summarize, if you can, in approximately 5 minutes. We are not all that arbitrary. We like to hear what our witnesses have to say, and when we invite you to talk, we want you to talk and we want to listen. And then we want to ask questions.

    Ms. Wright, you heard the testimony. Let's continue.


    Ms. WRIGHT. Thank you very much. Good afternoon, Chairman Boehlert, Congressmen. I will summarize.

    My name is Ann Wright. I am General Manager of Land Between The Lakes, or LBL, as most of us know it. I have worked at Land Between The Lakes for more than 30 years, and I appreciate this opportunity to appear before you again to talk about this very special place.

    We are here today because of a funding issue. Transferring LBL to another agency will not save taxpayers or customers money. In fact, it will probably cost more. LBL is an important part of TVA, and TVA's leadership is committed to seeing that Land Between The Lakes' future continues to serve its many stakeholders. However, LBL does not belong to TVA; it belongs to the American people. And the future of this special place is in your hands.
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    LBL was established as a national recreation area in 1963 by President Kennedy. People come to LBL to do a variety of things, to camp and hike and bike, to sightsee, picnic, ride horses and off-highway vehicles, to hunt and fish, as well as to learn about history and about the environment. Yet 96 percent of Land Between The Lakes' 170,000 acres remains undeveloped.

    LBL receives more than two million visits a year by people from all parts of the United States and many other countries. It is one of the top tourist draws in Kentucky and Tennessee and serves as the centerpiece of a tourism economy in which almost $600 million was spent in tourism travel last year.

    At LBL, we treat visitors as customers whose interests determine how TVA prioritizes services and allocates funds. The result has been a dramatic increase in visitation in the targeted activities, high customer satisfaction, and a correlating increase in earned revenue through fees charged for services and special activities.

    Only 60 percent of LBL's budget comes from appropriations. Last year, TVA received $6 million in appropriations for LBL. With this, LBL generated an additional $3.9 million through user fees, agricultural land leases, and timber sales. This level of cost recovery is higher than any other national recreation area, and is directly attributable to TVA's flexible statutory authority and customer focus.

    The proposed legislation does provide a safety net for Land Between The Lakes in the event Congress does not fund TVA. However, the transfer is not without cost. We estimate the transfer alone would cost between $20 and $25 million.
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    Also, the three LBL counties would suffer from the loss of tax equivalent payments. Each year, TVA makes payments to the States based on power revenues and power properties. The States then redistribute these funds according to State-legislated formulas.

    TVA's non-power properties are included in Tennessee and Kentucky's redistribution formulas. Thus, the three counties currently receive more than $1 million annually, directly attributable to TVA's management of Land Between The Lakes.

    These funds are critical to the operation of county schools and other local government functions.

    A recent editorial about Land Between The Lakes in the Clarksville, Tennessee Leaf Chronicle stated, ''Let's keep everything the way that it has been for decades. It has worked well for the South and for the United States. Let's not mess with success.''

    LBL's success is evidence of TVA's responsible stewardship of this important national asset. And much of LBL's success can be attributed to the TVA staff at LBL, past and present. They are dedicated professionals who understand an outdoor recreation area is a 24-hour a day, 7 days a week operation. They care about the land and they care about the visitors that come to LBL. They live in the surrounding communities and they contribute to the quality of life in the economy of the region. I take this opportunity to acknowledge their dedication and hard work.

    TVA is an effective manager of LBL, and our success is evidenced by LBL being a national recreation area that provides multiple public uses driven by customer demand and customer expectations, by our high level of earned income that helps us provide more and better services for the public, and by the overwhelming public support for TVA's continued management of LBL.
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    Again, I thank you for the opportunity to provide this information, and I'll be happy to answer questions.

    Mr. BOEHLERT. Yes, thank you very much. Mr. Hess, do you have any formal statement?

    Mr. HESS. I have no formal statement to submit, sir.

    Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you. Let me ask you, Ms. Wright, TVA's Appropriation Task Force—which I understand was completely internal within TVA, all TVA personnel—on the LBL concluded that the transfer of LBL to the Forest Service would require little or no change in the current mix of recreation and environmental activities at LBL, and that the number of visitors would essentially remain the same.

    Now, Mr. Whitfield's bill only transfers LBL to the Forest Service if TVA receives less than $6 million in appropriated funds to manage the property. Doesn't this approach minimize problems surrounding a transfer, and isn't it consistent with the Task Force conclusions?

    Ms. WRIGHT. The conclusion of the Task Force is that no money would be saved by transferring Land Between The Lakes to the Forest Service, and in fact, that the funds to support in-lieu-of tax payments at the level that TVA had been making to the States and the States had been reallocating to the counties, would have to be paid from appropriations rather than from power revenues, as they have been in the past.
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    Mr. BOEHLERT. But the key thing is you have to look at contingencies in this business. And I know what you want. It's very clear what you want. You want Congress to say, okay for continued funding for TVA for LBL. I don't think there's any disagreement within the panel we just heard from, your testimony, Mr. Clement's position, or the Administration's position. But there is need in some quarters for a contingency plan. If what you want doesn't happen, then what? Do you just throw up your hands in despair and say, we don't know what to do?

    It seems to me that Mr. Whitfield is offering a proposal that provides a safe haven, if you will, a safety net, if you will. He, like you, wants TVA to continue to get the appropriated funds, but he is willing to admit that there is a possibility that they might not get it, and if they don't get it, he wants to have a plan in place to make sure that the people continue to have LBL as essentially present constituted.

    So I guess my question of you is—and probably I'm asking the wrong person, because you are going, it would seem to me, to finesse it, because it doesn't serve your interest to think of that contingency. But what happens if Congress doesn't respond to the request that you are advancing, then what? What would you suggest be done?

    Ms. WRIGHT. In the 1998 appropriations language, Congress directed TVA to pay for the activities that have been currently paid for with appropriations, with funds other than appropriations beginning in FY 1999. It is not clear whether those funds could be used to pay for LBL. I think there will be a variety of options that our board would have to address.
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    Mr. BOEHLERT. Okay. Let me go to Mr. Clement.

    Mr. CLEMENT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I understand that there have been a number of independent studies, Ms. Wright, that have been made to determine what the citizens of the Tennessee Valley area think of TVA's continued operation of LBL. Can you expand on those studies and the results?

    Ms. WRIGHT. Yes. Last year, we did a comprehensive study using an independent consulting firm to determine what the opinion was of the citizens of the Tennessee Valley about the importance of Land Between The Lakes and TVA's continued management of LBL.

    And 9 out of 10 people indicated that they felt that TVA's management of LBL was desirable and that certainly LBL was an important asset for the Federal Government to continue to support. There was very little support of or interest in transferring Land Between The Lakes to another entity.

    I'd also like to add that the surveys that we've done of Land Between The Lakes customers indicate a very high satisfaction with the level of services that TVA is providing. In fact, 90 percent of those folks rank Land Between The Lakes, in terms of satisfaction, either satisfied to very satisfied.

    Mr. CLEMENT. Well, not only satisfaction, but I think all of us in the Tennessee Valley area want to make sure that the ratepayer and the taxpayer are not saddled with a lot of new costs that are unnecessary. There has been media attention given to what I perceive to be a vocal minority of folks called Concept Zero, who criticize TVA's operation of Land Between The Lakes. Are they indicative of what LBL users think of your operation?
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    Ms. WRIGHT. Certainly Concept Zero is one stakeholder. And as manager of a public area such as LBL, it's important that we listen to all voices and all interests in how public lands are managed. But I think the evidence shows from the data that has been collected that the majority of people think that LBL is being managed wisely.

    Mr. CLEMENT. What's the great concern that people have about the transfer of Land Between The Lakes to the Forest Service or any other agencies, from what you hear about this proposed legislation?

    Ms. WRIGHT. The proposed legislation calls for a number of requirements that would cost millions of dollars to the taxpayer and possibly to the electric ratepayer of the Tennessee Valley. This is an unfair burden placed on the taxpayer and the electric ratepayer.

    Mr. CLEMENT. What are the views of your staff on the impact of legislation to LBL, and how is the morale among the employees?

    Ms. WRIGHT. Well, I have to say that I am really proud of our employees, because with all the controversy that has been ongoing over the last year to 18 months, they have continued to focus on doing a good job of providing public services at LBL.

    But obviously, they're concerned and anxious about their futures. They understand that under this legislation, and if transferred to the Forest Service, that it would be likely there would be far fewer jobs and that many of them would lose jobs. And certainly, that affects them, their families, as well as the communities in which they live.
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    Mr. CLEMENT. Well, even the local officials in Stewart County and the two counties in what, Trigg County and——

    Ms. WRIGHT. Lyon County.

    Mr. CLEMENT. Lyon County. All are very concerned about losing revenue, aren't they, if this happens?

    Ms. WRIGHT. Yes, they are.

    Mr. CLEMENT. Part of LBL's mission is to stimulate the economy in the surrounding region. What contribution has TVA made in this area?

    Ms. WRIGHT. The two states have estimated that Land Between The Lakes serves as a centerpiece of a regional economy that generates about $600 million annually in tourism travel expenditures. So LBL is extremely important to the economy of the surrounding region. In addition to that, the three counties in which LBL resides receive about $1.3 million in lieu of tax payments that are directly attributable to TVA's management of LBL.

    TVA is also very actively involved in a number of regional projects, one of the most recent being a regional tourism planning effort in which we are working with 20 counties surrounding LBL to determine how we can best plan a future for that region that makes it a significant national tourism destination.

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    Mr. CLEMENT. Now, a while ago, you heard Congressman Whitfield referring to logging. Do you agree with what he said about logging? That you all log at The Land Between The Lakes and generate revenue from that source.

    Ms. WRIGHT. We do have an active resource management program at LBL, as mandated in TVA's original mission and the executive decision in the announcement by President Kennedy. The purpose of timber harvest is to provide the diversity of wildlife habitats that are necessary to have a diverse wildlife population.

    Wildlife viewing is the number one reason people come to LBL, and is the primary recreation activity. We manage the natural resources at LBL primarily to support recreation benefits, not to generate revenue.

    However, the revenue that is generated from the timber management program supports the total cost of that timber program, as well as supports various wildlife activities such as wildlife restoration, that do not produce revenue on their own.

    Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you, Mr. Clement. Then the answer to the question is yes, you agreed with what Mr. Whitfield said.

    Ms. WRIGHT. Yes.

    Mr. BOEHLERT. All right, I just wanted——

    Ms. WRIGHT. We do manage timber, but it's not to generate revenue. The purpose of our timber management program is not to generate revenue. It is to support recreation activity.
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    Mr. BOEHLERT. I understand. But it does generate revenue.

    Ms. WRIGHT. Yes.

    Mr. BOEHLERT. All right. So you agree with Mr. Whitfield. I just wanted to make sure we understand that.


    Okay, Dr. Horn.

    Dr. HORN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. On page three, to follow up on my colleague from Tennessee's question, you say, ''Last year TVA received $6 million in appropriations for the Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area. In addition to appropriations, TVA generated approximately $3.9 million in earned income from user fees and sale of timber and recreation supplies, another $1 million in cash donations and in-kind support.''

    In terms of the sale of timber, which my colleague mentioned, is all of that sale within the LBL area, or is it from other parts of the TVA forest operations? In other words, that figure you give here of $3.9 million in earned income from user fees and sale of timber, et cetera, how much of that is from timber——

    Ms. WRIGHT. Of the 3.9?

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    Dr. HORN. The 3.9 is the total, but you don't isolate the timber.

    Ms. WRIGHT. Yes, of the 3.9—excuse me.

    Dr. HORN. Go ahead.

    Ms. WRIGHT. Of the $3.9 million that was generated in revenue last year, approximately $700,000 came from the sale of timber.

    Dr. HORN. And all of that sale was within the LBL.

    Ms. WRIGHT. All of that sale was within LBL. We are currently harvesting some timber on about 1.7 percent of the total land base at LBL. Since TVA undertook the management of Land Between The Lakes, the volume of standing timber in LBL has increased 130 percent.

    Dr. HORN. Now, do you build roads into the timber? How does that work? Or do you contract out on that? How do you handle those timber sales?

    Ms. WRIGHT. Because LBL was heavily inhabited prior to the development of Land Between The Lakes, in most cases, there are existing roads into the areas. In some cases access roads for timber harvests have to be built, but it is limited. And most of the time, what we try to do is use that opportunity to provide access to some of the cemeteries in LBL that don't currently have access.
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    Dr. HORN. Would you say that you provide, as part of that contract, money to build roads where none exist to certain patches of timber? In other words, the Forest Service, you know how they operate.

    Ms. WRIGHT. Right. That is not part of the contract.

    Dr. HORN. Okay. Would they have to build their own road or their own path?

    Ms. WRIGHT. Yes.

    Dr. HORN. Who do you contract with on something like this?

    Ms. WRIGHT. That is done by the logging contractor working with us. And again, very few miles of roads are actually built to provide that access because they already exist.

    Dr. HORN. These are private contractors?

    Ms. WRIGHT. Yes, they are.

    Dr. HORN. They aren't part of the TVA's regular operations of forests?

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    Ms. WRIGHT. No, sir.

    Dr. HORN. Okay. Is there any clear cutting as a result of this tree harvest?

    Ms. WRIGHT. No, we don't have any clear cutting in Land Between The Lakes. We undertook an environmental impact study, environmental impact statement development, and development of a new natural resources management plan in which we had considerable public input; and significantly modified how we manage natural resources based on the changing interests and needs of the public and how public lands are managed.

    I believe we have an exemplary plan for managing public resources, which considers various public interests. Again, our resource management plan is focused on supporting and enhancing the recreation benefits to the public, and specifically wildlife benefits.

    Dr. HORN. How many board feet of timber are we talking about?

    Ms. WRIGHT. Our plan calls for an average harvest of approximately 5.3 million board feet a year. This is about a 20 percent decrease from the previous plan, again, based upon changing public interest.

    Dr. HORN. Twenty percent less from the previous year?

    Ms. WRIGHT. From the previous resource management plan.

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    Dr. HORN. Which is what time period?

    Ms. WRIGHT. It was a 10-year plan. The new plan went into effect the beginning of 1996.

    Dr. HORN. Okay. So that's the first year then of the new plan that is a 10-year plan, and you are aiming for 5.3 million board feet per year.

    Ms. WRIGHT. It averages about 5.3.

    Dr. HORN. And what was it under the old plan? You said it's 20 percent less.

    Ms. WRIGHT. About 7 million board feet.

    Dr. HORN. Okay. Was there any such logging when it was in private hands before people were bought out?

    Ms. WRIGHT. Yes, sir. In fact, when LBL assumed responsibility for developing Land Between The Lakes, the natural resource base was in very poor condition from indiscriminate harvesting, as well as fires.

    Dr. HORN. If Mr. Whitfield's bill—and I agree with the Chair, this is simply a fallback, it isn't taking something away from you, but if you don't have the money, presumably you can't do it. And would the Forest Service operation of this mean that Forest Service policies in other parts of the country would be followed, or would they be following what your own policy is in this area?
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    Ms. WRIGHT. The legislation calls for continuation of the existing resource management plan at LBL until a new plan could be put in place.

    Dr. HORN. Thank you.

    Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you, Dr. Horn. Mr. Boswell. Mr. Taylor. Ms. Kelly. Distinguished Vice-Chairman Mr. Thune. Thank you both.

    Let me ask Mr. Hess one question. Is the Corps capable of managing LBL?

    Mr. HESS. I think as we testified at Murray, Kentucky last year, we told the Committee and Chair about the Corps' capabilities with respect to recreation. We currently manage 4,300 recreation areas nationwide. We do not operate any national recreation areas. We host approximately 375 million visits per year to Corps recreation areas.

    I think it's fair to say that we are technically capable of operating the Land Between The Lakes. However, the key question is a resource issue, and clearly, under our current budget constraints, the Corps would not be able to operate Land Between The Lakes without impacting other recreation areas across the Nation.

    Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you very much. And thank both of you very much for your outstanding testimony. We deeply appreciate it.

    Ms. WRIGHT. Thank you.
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    Mr. BOEHLERT. Our final panelist today is Mr. Lawrence Clark, Deputy Chief for Programs for the Natural Resources Conservation Service. And as Mr. Clark is making his way to the podium, I'd like to thank Mr. Whitfield and all the witnesses today. I think we have a clear understanding of what you want and how you want to get there.

    Mr. Clark, you may proceed as you wish. We would ask that you try to summarize your statement. We are not dealing with a great deal of controversy here, and I think we are pretty much on the same wavelength. But we'll be glad to hear from you.


    Mr. CLARK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It's a pleasure to be here on behalf of the Natural Resources Conservation Service to talk about two important watershed projects that we are working with in the agency. I did bring two staffers with me who have some expertise very specific to these projects, who we may have to defer some of the details to as we get into further discussions.

    Mr. Chairman, to begin with, I'd like to begin by reviewing or at least citing to some extent some of the fine work that we've done over the past 50 years with this important program, the Small Watershed Program. And that includes not only the Public Law 566 work that we do, but the work that we do under the authority of the 534 program as well.

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    Over the years, these programs have been very important in improving the environment and increasing economic development, reducing flooding in rural communities. They also helped develop an infrastructure that rural people around the Nation depend on to offer flood protection across the land.

    It's also important that we remember that these projects are initiated from the local level, and that local sponsors provide the initiative for these projects. They are all federally assisted projects that we support local communities with.

    Local governments do some very specific things with these projects. They provide all the land rights. They secure the construction permits for these projects. They pay a portion of the construction costs, as well as they have the responsibility of operating and maintaining the projects.

    So I am pleased to be here today to talk about two very specific projects. One is the East Fork of the Grand River Watershed that includes the States of Missouri and Iowa; and the Upper Delaware and Tributaries Watershed, which is in Kansas.

    First of all, let me talk about the East Fork of the Grand River Watershed. This project was prepared under the authority of the Watershed and Flood Prevention Act of 1954. The project itself includes a recommended action that includes numerous multipurpose structures to reduce flooding in the watershed area. It also includes components designed to improve management of cropland, forest land, and grassland. It also has features that include improved fish and wildlife habitat, provide water supply, and provide recreational opportunities to the communities affected.
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    The watershed is located in Ringgold and Union Counties, Iowa, and Harrison and Worth Counties, Missouri. The problem that the watershed projects were developed to address were reduced or declining farm income, increased government costs of services that were caused by flooding and sedimentation in the floodplain, flood plain scour, and serious erosion in the upland areas of the watershed. We have calculated the average annual damage in the watershed to exceed $4 million. That's $4 million per year.

    There also exists in the watershed a lack of dependable rural water supply for the communities that are affected. So this project is designed to provide some relief for those concerns wherein we have water shortages during periods of extended drought.

    The project components in the watershed plan consist of 20 flood water retarding structures, a 20-acre reservoir that will offer multiple benefits, a 100-acre public reservoir that will include flood detention. It will also include wildlife and recreational benefits. We have in the plan a 350-acre lake in Iowa for water supply, for flood detention, as well as for wildlife and recreation.

    The project includes 344 grade stabilization structures to deal with the erosion problem, and it also includes 10,500 acres of improved land treatment for erosion control. One of the newer features that is included in this plan is 89 dry hydrants for rural fire protection.

    The plan itself, to install at full cost will be around $20 million, of which 80 percent of it is a cost that will be paid by the Federal Government. The cost benefit ratio for this project is about 1.35 to 1.
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    The second project that I would like to briefly highlight for you is the Upper Delaware. That project includes tributaries in the State of Kansas. The project itself is recommended to include flood water retarding structures, a multipurpose dam, a water supply reservoir, a waste management system, improvement of cropland and forest land in the watershed, some riparian easements, and recreational opportunities for the communities affected.

    Again, the plan includes the concerns that have been addressed by the Kickapoo Tribe to have them address water-based recreation, as well as water supply needs. The problems that have been identified include rural flooding, water quality impairment, lack of a dependable water supply, and a lack of water-based recreation.

    The project itself is one that will cost about $13 million, providing a benefit cost ration of about 1.2 to 1. These projects are examples of the fine work that has been done and we continue to do with this program.

    But as the millennium approaches, we are concerned about how we will continue to help sponsors to fund these projects. They do yield great benefits in terms of their conservation effects. But we do have to concern ourselves with the lifespan of many of the aging structures that we have built over the years.

    Many of these projects and structures that we built continue to assist sponsors. We built thousands of them around the country and many are more than 40 years old, and therefore, they are in some need of repair, and some may even need decommissioning.

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    Many of these structures are now coming under the new dam safety laws that we have to contend with to keep them effective. The infrastructure that we are talking about now that is in a state of deterioration costs to build about $8.5 billion, and that is a significant investment that the American people have made in this program.

    So, in conclusion, Mr. Chairman, we'd like to ask your approval for these projects so that the Natural Resources Conservation Service can continue to assist these sponsors with dealing with the problems that they've identified in their watersheds which need attention, and attention fairly immediately. So it's my hope that we can approve these projects and do so fairly quickly. Thank you.

    Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you very much, Mr. Clark. It won't surprise you to learn that we have a strong advocate on the subcommittee for at least one of the projects. Mr. Boswell, do you have any questions that you—or commercials that you'd like to——

    Mr. BOSWELL. Well, not exactly a commercial, but thank you, Chairman. I've known a lot of the people involved in this project for many years before I even thought about this position, dedicated people that have worked hard with the Commission and really want to do something right, investing in the American watersheds.

    And this is a good project, it really is. And it's needed. I have walked it, and as Mr. Clement said in one of his testimonies earlier on, I have been over a lot of this ground, I've flown over it in a slow and low type situation looking at it, and it's important. There's a lot of erosion there and all these things we could say about it. I have a statement I'd like to leave, if I could.
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    Mr. BOEHLERT. Sure. Without objection, the statement will be included in the record in its entirety.

    Mr. BOSWELL. Thank you.
    [The prepared statement of Mr. Boswell follows:]

    [Insert here]

    Mr. BOEHLERT. Mr. Clark, we have a good relationship with your office and the staff and we've examined these projects. I think you make a good case for them. It's the type of activity that this Committee is prone to strongly endorse, and I don't anticipate any problem with either one of these, pending completion of our professional staff review.

    But I know you'll be available if the need arises for us to ask any questions.

    Mr. CLARK. Absolutely.

    Mr. BOEHLERT. In the meantime, let me thank you both, gentlemen, and tell you, this is an easy pop today, isn't it? No hard work. Thank you very much.

    Dr. HORN. Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. BOEHLERT. Mr. Taylor, do you have any comment? Dr. Horn?
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    Dr. HORN. Yes, just one question. In this watershed program, what did your service ask OMB for in the current budget?

    Mr. CLARK. Restate your question, sir.

    Dr. HORN. Well, what did the Natural Resources Conservation Service seek in funding from the administration for these projects?

    Mr. CLARK. One hundred one million dollars.

    Dr. HORN. One hundred and one was sought by Agriculture.

    Mr. CLARK. Yes.

    Dr. HORN. All right. What did OMB give you?

    Mr. CLARK. That's what they gave us in the budget.

    Dr. HORN. Well, what did you ask for? You asked for the same amount they gave you?

    Mr. CLARK. That was the Department's request, yes, sir.

    Dr. HORN. I was going to say, you deserve a gold pin to wear in this town, since they slashed right and left every worthy project I can think of. I am fascinated, and I commend you for having that charm and efficiency and effectiveness with OMB, because they don't seem to know much about other natural resource projects in America. But I'm glad they know about this. Thank you.
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    Mr. CLARK. Thank you, sir.

    Mr. BOEHLERT. Mrs. Kelly.

    Mrs. KELLY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. There is considerable anxiety in my district with respect to the New York watershed and the lack of responsiveness to community concerns. What requirements must localities meet with regard to the public input in your application process?

    Mr. CLARK. We require a fairly elaborate public participation process. First of all, for the Small Watershed Program, there must be a legal sponsor of the project. That would be a group who is enabled by State and local law to carry out certain responsibilities like they can secure the land rights; they can carry out the operations and maintenance for the project; in essence, be able to enter into a contract through a relationship with the Federal Government to implement a project.

    The public participation process usually requires that the sponsors hold public meetings, that they carry out various methods of informing the public and involving the communities in these projects.

    Mrs. KELLY. Well, I don't have any active small watershed projects in my district, but I understand that the Natural Resources Conservation Service that has the Small Watershed Program has quite a backlog of projects. Can you tell us how many projects there are awaiting funding?
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    Mr. CLARK. I can tell you that about 500 projects are awaiting funding now.

    Mrs. KELLY. For the people who are waiting for their projects to be funded, where can they go to seek alternative funding? What other alternatives are there if they don't get it through you?

    Mr. CLARK. Yes, there are other places to get funding. In some cases, they have secured funding from State government. They, in some cases, have raised the money themselves to carry out the projects. Those have been the two primary sources. And in some cases, they may be able to secure funds from other agencies, as well.

    Mrs. KELLY. Which agencies?

    Mr. CLARK. In some cases, they could go to the Army Corps. Some of the work that we do might be fundable under the authorities that the Environmental Protection Agency has if we are working with water quality issues. Some of the work that we do can be in part funded by the Fish and Wildlife agencies, such as the Fish and Wildlife Service.

    Mrs. KELLY. Do you actively help these people look for alternatives while they're waiting?

    Mr. CLARK. Absolutely.

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    Mrs. KELLY. Is there anybody in your office that helps them do that?

    Mr. CLARK. Yes, we are in constant dialogue with them about strategies and creative approaches for funding their part of the construction of these projects.

    Mrs. KELLY. Okay. I just wondered how long. One last question: How long does it take for the average project to be approved, funded, and then completed? That's basically a three-part question.

    Mr. CLARK. Planning itself for the project, I'm going to need some help here.

    Mrs. KELLY. Okay. Would you rather have him come and sit at the microphone? Is that all right, Mr. Chairman, to have him identify himself?

    Mr. BOEHLERT. Sure. Come right up, and if you'd identify yourself.

    Mr. CLARK. This is Warren Lee, who is our Director for Wetlands and Watersheds.

    Mr. LEE. The size of the projects, you asked what the timeframe was.

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    Mrs. KELLY. How long does it take for them to be approved and then funded, and then for the project to actually get completed?

    Mr. LEE. That can be very quickly, from a timeframe of probably 1 year from the time the sponsors request assistance to get the plan through all the process and do the environmental assessments and impact statements type of thing. And then depending on the size of the project. We have watershed projects that are very small, that are a few hundred thousand dollars, and then large ones such as this. So it may be from a year or 2 to implement, to many years.

    Mrs. KELLY. Like 10? What are we talking about here?

    Mr. LEE. Ten, 15, 20. And if I may add, you asked how many projects are waiting in the system. We have about 500 active watersheds. Many of them have many of their components completed, but there are many different phases and structures and land treatment practices installed. So many of them, the pipeline is flowing and many of them are underway. So it's not just do one and then the next one comes into the pipeline.

    Mrs. KELLY. What about the funding? Is that all included in that 1 year out to 15 year?

    Mr. LEE. No. The funds are obligated based on the increments that are contracted for that particular year.

    Mrs. KELLY. So that's a per year funding, we're talking about.
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    Mr. LEE. No. Like the two that were presented here, they are designed to be implemented pending appropriations over about 10 to 12 years, depending on which one of them. So you would schedule the structures to be built and contract accordingly.

    Mrs. KELLY. And usually, how long does it take?

    Mr. CLARK. To construct?

    Mrs. KELLY. For the completion of the whole thing.

    Mr. LEE. These particular projects that we have were actually planned to be installed over—one is, I think, 7 years and one is 12 years. So if the funds were available to do that, that's how long it would take to totally complete this project.

    But these also compete with other good projects across the country. So whether they will be implemented in that timeframe is questionable, to be honest with you, pending available appropriations.

    Mrs. KELLY. Okay. Thank you very much.

    Mr. BOEHLERT. Just let me ask a question, if I may, to follow up, because she's got a good line of questioning here.

    One, how is this scored? If it takes 7 years, is it according to outlays each year, one seventh each year?
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    Mr. CLARK. It's based on a reasonable workload that that State staff who has to do the design work and the field work to support the project. What capacity might exist in that State to do the work to support the project. It's also governed, to some extent, by how rapidly the sponsors can secure land rights for the structures and so on, as well as the availability of funding.

    And also, the other factor that comes into play here would be the rate at which they can gain the permits that would be needed from the Army Corps, EPA, or some other State permitting agency.

    Mr. BOEHLERT. And that sometimes can be a very time-consuming process.

    Mr. CLARK. Yes.

    Mr. BOEHLERT. Let me ask you this. Of the 500 or so you have pending, do you have a priority list? Have you gone so far as to prioritize those applications which are pending? Or don't you get to that at this stage?

    Mr. CLARK. Yes. We can prioritize them. In fact, we ask the States when they request annual funding for their projects to submit them to us in their priority order that they are ready to do the work. So we do have them ranked even by State on a priority basis.

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    Mr. BOEHLERT. But it's priority in terms of their readiness to do the work. Is there a priority in terms of importance of the project? Do you determine that or does the State do that, or do you do it in consultation?

    Mr. CLARK. We do it in consultation. We can look at all the plans and rank them according to some priority. But generally, what happens is because you fund increments on an annual basis, you end up looking at the increments and prioritizing those.

    Mr. BOEHLERT. Dr. Horn made a very astute observation. You got what you asked for and there aren't many that can say that, so maybe as we conclude this hearing, you might tell us your secret.

    Mr. CLARK. Well——

    Mr. BOEHLERT. I think the answer is it's a good program, it's a necessary program, it's one of those programs that's very well run. So you are to be commended for your association with it.

    Dr. HORN. Mr. Chairman, would you yield for 10 seconds?

    Mr. BOEHLERT. Dr. Horn, I am always glad to yield to you.

    Dr. HORN. I appreciate your comment, and maybe I was too easy on you. If you asked for $101 million, and you've got 500 projects, is that really adequate to cover what the real need is that my distinguished colleague, Mrs. Kelly, has elicited from you?
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    Mr. CLARK. The backlog that we have that needs funding now, this would be projects and components of projects that are on the shelf, totals about $1 billion. So that would be what we would need to clear the deck.

    Also, keep in mind it's projects like these that are constantly coming on line because there are always good projects being developed by local sponsors that need assistance. So as projects come off the shelf, there are new ones always coming on.

    And we do try to service those and make sure that we are helping those communities develop those plans to support their needs.

    Dr. HORN. In terms of that $1 billion in need you admit for 500 projects, what is the annual pacing that is really needed to catch up with the 500 now before you, and will there be 500 before you 2 years from now, 3 years, another 500? What is it?

    Mr. CLARK. Part of that is there won't be 500 more coming on before we can clear the deck. The rate or the pace at which they are coming on has been significantly reduced. OMB, in terms of the number of starts, as well as the combination of the fact the staff we have who can carry out the program and assist these sponsors, has been reduced significantly.

     So the capacity to put more on the shelf has been reduced.

    The number at which they come off is totally governed by the level of appropriations and the amount of financial assistance we have. So they could be dealt with over some period of time.
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    Dr. HORN. Thank you.

    Mr. BOEHLERT. Mrs. Kelly.

    Mrs. KELLY. If I may just follow up on that one a bit. You were talking about, when you responded to the Chairman's question, about prioritizing. When you prioritize, does that priority list change yearly?

    In other words, could a project be number 10 on your list 1 year and number 14 or 25, same project, move down to 25 on your list the next year?

    Mr. CLARK. That is possible, yes.

    Mrs. KELLY. So they do slide around on your priority list?

    Mr. CLARK. We try not to, because what happens in most cases is that once you start the construction of a project, for example, a dam, the State may be able to handle the design 1 year for that project; the next year they might come back and ask for the construction costs or the land clearing component and so forth. So once we start that investment in the construction of one, we don't just walk away from it and leave it; we do continue the process.

    However, if we have designed one, but we have one that's truly better in terms of the priority meeting the criteria, the quality of the project is significantly greater, it may move ahead of one that we have already designed.
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    Mrs. KELLY. Who makes those priority decisions?

    Mr. CLARK. Well, they are made at several levels. First, the conservationist at the State level rank and look at their priorities and what they are able to do. And then when they come to Washington, when we look at the available funding that we have for them, we do try to fund what we consider the best projects that yield the greatest environmental benefit, consistent with the program objectives.

    Mrs. KELLY. So it basically comes from your office?

    Mr. CLARK. Yes.

    Mrs. KELLY. Based on the amount of money you have.

    Mr. CLARK. Yes.

    Mrs. KELLY. Okay. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you very much, Mrs. Kelly. And thank you very much for serving as a resource for this Committee. We appreciate it. Keep up the good work.

    Mr. CLARK. Thank you.

    Mr. BOEHLERT. The subcommittee is adjourned.
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    [Whereupon, at 3:45 p.m., the subcommittee adjourned subject to the call of the Chair.]

    [Insert here]