Page 1       TOP OF DOC

Tuesday, March 10, 1998.  




    Mr. REGULA [presiding]. I call the meeting of the Subcommittee of Appropriations on Interior and Related Agencies to order. We are happy this morning to welcome Secretary Babbitt and to hear your testimony. I am quite sure you have a number of important things you would like to share with us.

    Your statement will be made a part of the record, and you can summarize any way you choose. So thank you for coming.

Opening Statement, Summary

    Secretary BABBITT. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much. I appreciate the chance to be back here and talk about what we have been doing during the past year, and where we go from here.

    I guess I should start just briefly with—Congressman Dicks, good morning.
 Page 2       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Just start briefly with the numbers. The President's request for the Department for fiscal 1999 represents a decrease of one half of one percent, but I would hasten to add that that is computed by including Title V funds from last year.

    If you remove the Title V funds and look just at the operating and regular side of the budget, the request is for an increase of approximately 6.5 percent.

    I know the committee is always interested in staffing and FTE numbers, so I would start by pointing out that the downsizing of the Department from the 1993 base is the second highest percentage of any civilian agency—arguably the highest, in any event, from the 1993 base of 78,000.

    We were down in 1997 to 66,000, and that is a decrease of—Mary Ann, what is the percentage?

    Ms. LAWLER. 17%.

    Secretary BABBITT. Now, with that prelude, the request this year does have an FTE increase of approximately 1,400. It is driven principally by the need for more personnel in the land management agencies—Fish and Wildlife Service; very, very much the National Park Service driven by the visitor demand and by some increases which I can explain a little later on; in the Bureau of Indian Affairs; in Trust Management Probate; a variety of related areas.

 Page 3       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. Chairman, I think I am going to start today by talking about a subject which we have discussed with the committee and with you at some length and on which I think we are making real progress, and that is your concern for the construction and maintenance budgets in the land management agencies.

    So I guess starting with this could be seen as a form of pandering to the chairman's expressed concerns.

    Mr. REGULA. Pretty good choice of topics. [Laughter.]

    Secretary BABBITT. Well, I think we are in fact making some real progress. I acknowledge that your interest and at your urging we have made a lot of progress.

    We have presented the construction and maintenance budget under the title of Safe Visits. Now what we have done under the leadership of Mr. Berry is attempt to refocus construction and maintenance toward maintenance and upgrading of properties throughout the land management agencies based on a rating system.

    All of the projects have now been presented in a rank ordered manner which says our first priority is going to be health and safety. We do not have enough money to do all of the maintenance, but we have to do priorities first.

    What is health and safety? Well, in some of the parks, it is going to be waste water treatment facilities. In other parks, upgrading the fire protection for buildings. So there is a long list. We have rank ordered it, and we will present that to you.
 Page 4       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Now, reflecting the emphasis on maintenance, the maintenance budget request this year is up by $82 million dollars, and the construction part of the budget is down in the request by about $14 million dollars.

    The construction priorities all relate to the health and safety issue and obviously to finishing projects which are already underway.

    I would like, briefly, to talk about some of the cross cutting issues in the budget. Each year, as we come back here, it seems more and more that, rather than going through one agency at a time, you can get a better picture of what is going on by looking at the large multi-agency issues that are increasingly characteristic of this Department.


    Of course, we have talked about the Forest Plan over the last five years. It continues to unfold, I think, as one of the great conservation success stories of this Administration. The request for the coming year is down slightly at $68 million dollars.

    The BLM has met its timber harvest commitments and will meet them again next year. Much of the money, of course, is for restoration which will have important impacts on the salmon streams of the northwest and provide us a leg up on some of the oncoming listing issues for the various stocks of Pacific salmon.

 Page 5       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. Chairman, I believe you have been in the Everglades recently. I think the restoration of the Everglades is again a great success story characterized by bipartisan cooperation both in the Florida delegation and in the Florida legislature; and more generally, a high degree of involvement by the State of Florida, by the Water Management District, and by local governments.

    We are moving, in the coming year, toward a very important decision point which will come in the summer of 1999. That is the completion of the so-called restudy by the Army Corps of Engineers, which will bring us back before these committees to review how it is that all of these strands come together in the ultimate reconstruction and restoration of the entire Everglades ecosystem.

    In the meantime, our budget request is for $144 million dollars. A large part of that is land acquisition, science, and funding ongoing commitments.

    Mr. YATES. Good morning, Mr. Secretary. Sorry I am late.

    Secretary BABBITT. Mr. Yates, I heard a——

    Mr. YATES. You did?

    Secretary BABBITT. I heard a discouraging rumor that this will be my last appearance before you in this committee, and I just want to say that I can hardly believe that an institution of your quality and longevity is——
 Page 6       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. YATES. Longevity certainly. [Laughter.]

    Thank you, thank you. I appreciate that very much. Even though it was mostly unsaid, I appreciate it very much. [Laughter.]

    Secretary BABBITT. Well, it has been an extraordinary pleasure.

    Mr. YATES. It has been fun. It has been fulfilling, and we are glad to welcome you here, Mr. Secretary.

    I am sorry to have interrupted, Mr. Chairman.

    It is very kind of you to say those things. I appreciate it.

    Secretary BABBITT. Well, let us see. We have been through the Forest Plan, the Everglades segment.


    A word about the California Bay Delta Restoration issue. This is a project which is now coming to fruition very nicely with many of the same characteristics as the Everglades, characterized by bipartisan cooperation with local governments, the California legislature, the Congress, and a high degree of cost sharing in the form of a large bond issue passed by the California voters.
 Page 7       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    It has unfolded over the last three or four years in the Bay-Delta Accords in the resolution of the water supply issues under the Central Valley Project Improvement Act.

    Now there will be within the next couple of weeks the unveiling of an environmental impact statement for the final configuration of flood control, fish and wildlife, and water supply issues in the San Francisco Bay-Delta.

    We are really within striking distance of one of the most historic achievements in a long time, actually bringing together northern and southern California, the competing urban/agricultural and environmental interests.

    The request, which I recognize is mostly outside this committee, but not entirely because it is a multi-agency request, is for $143 million dollars.


    Mr. Nethercutt is not here, but I will pretend that he is because I would like to say a word or two about the Columbia Basin. I know that is on the minds of both him and other committee members.

    In the wake of the President's Forest Plan, the Forest Service and the BLM, at the President's request, moved to the upper Columbia River across the Cascades to see if we could put in place a large scale plan for the management of the forest, fishery, grazing, and mineral resources.
 Page 8       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    We have been at it now for three, perhaps four years. And the draft environmental impact statements are now out. What is driving this Columbia River process is, of course, resource management and our desire to avoid litigation—this piecemeal litigation which results in injunctions against activity because of the courts on a piecemeal basis—and a failure of compliance with water quality, Endangered Species Act, and the other issues.

    The environmental impact statements, which would be the blueprint for administration of this area by the land management agencies, have not been met with much enthusiasm either by the environmentalists or by industry.

    That has led some to suggest that we should step away from the commitment to try to do this. My response to the critics is that the alternatives are all worse. If this is not a perfect plan, we need to engage people, keep at this process, and see if we can find some consensus on the big issues in the Columbia River Basin which are forest health, the use of controlled fire and thinning to restore health to the forest——

    Mr. Kolbe, good morning. Excellent timing. I am just coming to the southwest from the Columbia Basin.

    Mr. KOLBE. That is a big change.

    Mr. SKEEN. That is a good change.

 Page 9       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Secretary BABBITT. Yes. And in that context, I would simply say to the committee we have made some modest requests to keep moving forward with this. I think it is essential that we keep working with Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Montana, the states up there. We have to move forward on the forest health and restoration and on the stream, watershed, and fisheries issues.

    I just do not think we can walk away from this. It would not be in the public interest and ultimately not in the interest of the local governments. We will see if we cannot find something—very likely a repeat of what happened on the west slope of the Cascades with the avalanche of injunctions that came down in the 1980's.

    Now, to the southwest. I believe at the instigation of Mr. Kolbe last year, there was a footnote in our budget saying, if I can sort of summarize it, get moving proactively to deal with the southwestern issues.

    And that advice was given in the context, I think, of us being behind the curve. No question about it.

    The litigation developing over a variety of issues—the Endangered Species Act; the listing of the Southwest Willow Flycatcher with large impacts potentially upon grazing; the renown ferruginous pygmy owl which has made its appearance in the suburbs of Tucson causing some concern; a whole variety of issues relating to timber plans and water; and in the eyes of some, kind of the makings of an oncoming regional crisis.
    We are getting on top of those issues. We are not entirely there, but I do think that we have heard the message. We are going to try to deploy some of the techniques out in the southwest that have worked pretty well in other areas of the country such as the northwest and elsewhere by looking into conservation agreements, habitat management, these broader scale proactive efforts to avoid disruptions in the local economy.
 Page 10       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    There are modest increases in the budgets once again of several agencies—the Bureau of Land Management, the Geological Survey, and notably, the Fish and Wildlife Service.


    Just a word about the endangered species issues in this budget. There are substantial increases in the agencies I just mentioned for the administration of the Endangered Species Act.
    Those requests were originally put in with the expectation that this would be the year to reauthorize the Endangered Species Act. There is a bill—a consensus bill—which moved out of the Senate Environment Committee, but its fate beyond there is, at this point, I would say, uncertain even though it passed by a 15:3 margin with bipartisan support.
    In any event, if we are going to stay ahead of the curve on the Endangered Species Act, we need the resources to keep these habitat conservation plans, safe harbor agreements, and other issues moving. I would urge your close attention to those requests.


    Okay, two more issues. The first is science, and there are three subjects briefly on my mind. The first is a $15 million dollar request to fund an interagency, multi-agency disaster information network.
    We are finding out several things about this. One, it seems like each year we have more and more natural disasters: floods, mud slides, fires. It seems to be kind of a continual progression. And secondly, our ability to respond to natural disasters is improving by leaps and bounds.
 Page 11       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    I was out in Menlo Park last week amidst all the water in California and saw just one example of it with the ability of the Geological Survey to bring down satellite information, geological information and respond to the mud slides.
    Actually, they are going out in some of these areas along the Pacific coast and prioritizing the problems in these neighborhoods and ''red taging,'' as they call it, particular structures by combining all this knowledge and saying, ''the problem in the next 48 hours is going to be here and here and here is a kind of predictive capacity.'' They have already managed to do that almost to perfection with volcanic problems, but they are still struggling in terms of earthquakes.
    The reason for the disaster information network concept is the need to bring together the information from literally dozens of sources and get it out in real time as these disaster scenarios start to unfold.
    The reason for doing it—for centering it at the Geological Survey—is because of their information processing capability. Much of this information now comes down from satellites, including the use of a variety of classified resources.
    This committee and the Congress, over the last years, have funded a secure facility out in Reston which is the appropriate place to bring this information together through the security screens and all of the different sources.
    There are proposed increases in the Geological Survey water research accounts. I would call your attention to those simply because we used to think of the water issues as western issues driven by drought and reclamation.

    But in fact, the water issues are now national issues. They come at us from all kinds of different quarters. We have the pfiesteria problem in Chesapeake Bay. We have nitrification problems now spreading out in the Gulf of Mexico beyond the mouth of the Mississippi River. We have contamination plumes in ground water. It is a national problem. The Geological Survey is not a regulatory agency, but it is the best base from which to power up the kind of data and scientific research that we need.
 Page 12       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    The other science issue is fire science. We have discussed that in the last several years, and we are making real progress.
    I think we have gathered a consensus now about the importance of managing fire hazards through the management of the landscape and the fuel accumulation on the landscape. This means spending money to get back into these forests, thin them out, and try to restore some semblance of the natural fire cycle that these forests evolved with and which in fact is the key to keeping them healthy and free of insect outbreaks and disease and nutrient deficiencies.


    A word quickly about Native Americans and the increases that are proposed in the budget. I would like to focus on just a couple of issues. One is law enforcement. The reservations in this country have a serious onrushing of criminal activity, a crime problem.
    It has many roots, of course, but one is the lack of law enforcement capability which by any measure is vastly underfunded. You will see in the budget a $25 million dollar increase request for uniformed police, criminal investigations, and detention facilities.
    It is matched by a very important commitment from the Justice Department, which I think is in the neighborhood of $100 million dollars, for investment in detention facilities and related issues.
    The Indian Trust Account Reconciliation issue is again present in the budget. This is a problem which has accumulated for 150 years in terms of records and accounting of the trust funds that have been handled by the bureau across that time period.
    It is a very complex issue. I think we are now on course to begin cleaning up the accounts and putting in new accounting systems.
    A small footnote about the Alaska subsistence issue. This is an issue that relates to whether or not the Department will be required by law to intervene in the management of Alaska fisheries to protect the subsistence priority for Alaska natives. We are working with the Alaska delegation to try to avert that by an amendment to the Alaska constitution and legislation to put it into effect.
 Page 13       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    It will be a close call as to whether or not that gets done. If it is not done, we may well be back for a substantial budget request to implement a Federal subsistence program. We have done our best for the last six years to find some way around that issue.

    Again, this is a 100% bipartisan issue. We are all working on it, the delegation, the governor, but we are not there yet.

    There are many other items that we could be talking about—the land and water acquisitions, oil production in the Gulf of Mexico, the upcoming lease sale decisions on the Alaska slope and others. But in aid of time, perhaps I will rest my account there and invite you to flail me in your customary, generous, and high-spirited fashion.

    [The information follows:]

    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."

    Mr. SKEEN. Are you volunteering this or——
    Secretary BABBITT. Absolutely.
    Mr. REGULA. Thank you.
    What we will do is take questions in the order of appearance. Try to hold these to five minutes per member. Then we will come back around for another series of questions.

    My first concern is some of the policies on land exchanges on use of park assets. First of all, the Wall Street Journal, as you are well aware, had a report on a $50 million dollar land exchange involving the ''highest price ever paid for a private home in the United States.''
 Page 14       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    It was an unprecedented deal, involved a major developer, the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service. And the Wall Street Journal article was obviously quite critical.
    Tell me about this exchange. Was this initiated by the Federal agency or the private sector? And if it is complete, who is going to benefit from it? It seems to me, at least reading the story, that we are giving away a lot more than we are getting.
    Secretary BABBITT. Well, the issue, of course, is appraisals. Land exchanges involve the question of the appraisals being appropriate and reasonable. It is complicated by the fact that in a land exchange half of the land exchange goes from private into public, and the appreciation and value stops on the public side. We saw this in the acquisition of the San Pedro conservation area notably in which the efforts of Mr. Kolbe, the governor of Arizona, and others resulted in a land exchange which brought down the Arizona press like a fire storm on all of us alleging every kind of skullduggery imaginable.
    It was one of the best things that ever happened in Arizona, and the citizens of Arizona and the press will tell you that to this day.
    Now, Nevada. Number one, I have recused myself from all land exchanges involving the Del Webb Corporation from 1993 to the present. There is no legal requirement to do that. I have done it. Therefore, my observations on this are not as a decision maker.
    I believe those land exchanges will bear scrutiny from any source. The appraisal record is crystal clear. Those land exchanges were elevated to the national level and the appraisals were reviewed and redone in several cases.
    I do not hesitate to tell you that I think that Wall Street Journal article is an outrageous piece of innuendo.
    Mr. REGULA. Well——
    Mr. YATES. Is it not true?
 Page 15       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Secretary BABBITT. Yes.
    Mr. REGULA. I think the facts that they set out in the article are based on the information they have, and I think any land exchange ought to be scrutinized with the greatest care to ensure that the United States is not losing something.
    Secretary BABBITT. Mr. Chairman, I would be happy to bring the record of that exchange over. Again, I am recused from it, but I can bring the facts over. And I would meet any person anywhere in a public forum to talk about it. That is an outrageous smear on the agencies involved. That is just the bottom line.
    Mr. REGULA. I would suggest then that a summarization of the facts be brought, and we will include it in the record.

    Secretary BABBITT. I would be happy to do that. I really would.

    [The information follows:]

    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."

    Mr. REGULA. Next is an article from the Salt Lake Tribune about the sale of microbes. It said, ''The microbe suit puts park in hot water.'' And apparently there is a licensing agreement in Yellowstone to Diversa Corporation of San Diego in which we, the government, receive a small yearly fee.
    And the question is, is it proper to give an exclusive contract to one organization for access to these microbes which apparently they can commercialize to their advantage?
 Page 16       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Secretary BABBITT. Mr. Chairman, I have to tell you something. This really stretches the bounds of reasonableness. For 100 years, the national parks have been allowing people to come in and take these kinds of resources for free.
    Now under my administration, I said to the National Park Service it is time to do what other countries in this world have done, notably Costa Rica. That is to say, to the extent that someone is using a public resource, whether it be grazing, timber, minerals, whatever, it is appropriate for the public and the taxpayer to get a return.
    This contract is the first time in the history of the United States Government that the National Park Service has moved to make a deal. I am absolutely astounded that that kind of innovation immediately provokes this kind of response.
    Now, is there a lawsuit? Sure, there is a lawsuit. There are always lawsuits. This is some group up in Seattle, Washington that has a—well, I will not describe their agenda. It is all a matter of public record.
    The contract was negotiated by reference to contracts that have been negotiated elsewhere. Now, there are not many of them. The Merck Company has some of these contracts for bio-prospecting in Costa Rica.
    There are a few in other areas. This is the first one that has ever been done in the United States. I guess the bottom line is no good deed goes unpunished. Once again, I would be happy to come up here, haul out those contracts and go through them with this committee line by line by line to make one simple point: we are finally getting a return on public assets for the first time.
    Mr. REGULA. Well, Mr. Hansen, who is chairman of our counterpart committee, and the authorizers advise me that he tried to get the information on this deal from the Department and they refused to give him this information.
    Now that does not square with what you are saying this morning.
 Page 17       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Secretary BABBITT. I would be happy to bring the information to this committee or Mr. Hansen on 24 hours notice.
    Mr. REGULA. I will so advise Mr. Hansen.
    Secretary BABBITT. There is an issue in these contracts about public disclosure of the exact terms of the royalty. Why is that? That is because the commercial practice is not to paste the royalty rates in these biological prospecting things on every bulletin board, thereby setting the maximum for every future deal.
    It is the way the Costa Rican ones are done, the Merck ones are done. That is standard practice. But again, Mr. Hansen, rather than acquainting himself with the facts in the commercial practice, is busy spreading all this innuendo.
    And I resent it. And I would be perfectly happy on 24 hours notice to bring the contracts and have it out.
    Mr. REGULA. Well, I think we have signed a letter requesting that, so——
    Secretary BABBITT. Okay, you have got it.
    Mr. REGULA [continuing]. There will be a response. I have more questions such as whether you charge for movie sets. They use a lot of our public lands and likewise ski resorts. But my time is up.
    Secretary BABBITT. Mr. Chairman, in the history of the United States, no one has ever proposed charging for the use of public lands for movies. Now what I want to know is why all this innuendo when we make a proposal?
    For the first time, we are saying the taxpayers ought to get a return, and all of the sudden there is all this innuendo.
    Mr. REGULA. On movies?
 Page 18       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Secretary BABBITT. Yes.
    Mr. REGULA. Well, I agree with you.
    Secretary BABBITT. Okay.
    Mr. REGULA. Mr. Obey.
    Mr. OBEY. Mr. Secretary, I would like to raise the issue of the infamous Hudson dog track in Wisconsin because frankly, the more I see what is written about this, the angrier I get.
    And so, Mr. Secretary, I simply want to thank you for making the right decision in turning down that ridiculous request to allow some failing dog track owners in Wisconsin to turn a losing economic proposition into a money maker by abusing the ability of tribes to take land into trust under the Constitution of the United States and Treasury of the United States.
    The way this story is portrayed normally is that this is an issue of rich tribes versus poor tribes. The fact is, this was an issue of rich dog track owners in the State of Wisconsin trying to take a losing proposition and turning it into a money maker by getting a number of tribes that had nothing to do with the area to come in and take over land and thereby enable them to add a casino facility to the dog tracks.
    The impression given by a lot of these stories is that you have three poor Wisconsin tribes who are trying to establish casinos on their reservation in order to increase their income.
    In fact, all three of the tribes in question have casinos on their reservation. I have a map of the State of Wisconsin here. Hudson is over here at the end of the state. The three tribes that wanted to establish their casinos in Hudson are located here, here and here.
 Page 19       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    The nearest is 100 miles away in a different congressional district. Two of the three tribes who wanted to establish those casino rights happen to be from my district, and one had been from Congressman Roth's district.
    All three of them wanted to establish a casino in Mr. Gunderson's district. And Mr. Roth, Mr. Gunderson and I all opposed their request because of the ludicrous nature of that request. What we had here, in my view, is simply an abuse of the trust privilege which tribes have in this country, or at least an attempt to abuse that trust privilege.
    If you take a look at public opinion in Wisconsin on this issue, you will discover that on the April ballot in 1993, the Wisconsin legislature got fed up with dealing with all of these gambling issues because we have gone in just a few short years from a state that allowed no gambling into a state that looks like a second rate Las Vegas in some places.
    And so the legislature put six questions on the ballot. Ballot question number one, ''Do you favor a law that would allow gambling casinos and excursion vessels in the state on the Mississippi River, Lake Michigan and Lake Superior?''
    The entire State said no by a 44% to 56% vote on the ballot. And in the Hudson area in question, the populace said no by a vote of 27% to 72%. On the second question, ''Do you favor a constitutional amendment that would restrict gambling casinos in this State,'' the entire vote stood at 61% to 39% for those restrictions.    In the Hudson area, they voted 70% to 30% for those restrictions.
    On ballot question three, ''Do you favor expanding gambling to allow video poker and other forms of video gambling in the state,'' 34% yes, 66% no statewide. And in the Hudson area, 29% yes, 71% no.
    On the last question, asking whether or not the constitution should be revised to clarify that all forms of gambling should be prohibited except bingo, raffles, parimutuel on-track betting and the current state-run lottery, the entire state voted 59% to 41% to shrink gambling.
 Page 20       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    The Hudson area voted 67% to 33% to shrink gambling. The only two questions—there were two questions on the ballot which asked whether the votes would like to wipe out gambling totally, and there the state voted no on one question by a narrow margin. But even in those two cases, the Hudson area votes voted overwhelmingly to wipe it out. So I simply want to make that statement to say that I have no idea what the internal actions of your Department were, but on the merits on the issue, you made the right choice.
    We have, I think, a serious problem in this country where anytime a gambling high roller decides he wants to expand his profits, he can go to a tribe and say hey, why don't we work it out so you can buy a piece of land that has nothing whatsoever to do with the reservation, which is hundreds of miles away, take it off the tax roll, give it to the tribe, and what have you got?
    You have a new gambling casino. I have one tribe, the Ho-Chunk Tribe, which is at least 100 miles from the community in question. They wanted to take a piece of land into trust and put a gambling casino on it two blocks from a school in my district.
    I strongly support the concept of tribal sovereignty, and I support the ability of tribes to be able to recapture their land on their original reservations so that they can have a sensible economic entity. But I think we have a real problem in this country when you can have huge financial interests manipulating the right of tribes to engage in this legitimate rebuilding of their reservations for the purpose of making huge profits for somebody who has no relationship to the tribe—except that he is trying to use them to establish profits for his own business.
    So I do not know how events are going to proceed legally, Mr. Secretary, but I am mad enough on this question to simply tell you that I think that you did the right thing. The people of the State of Wisconsin certainly believe you did the right thing.
    The congressional delegation certainly thinks you did the right thing. And most certainly the people in the community of Hudson think you did the right thing because they removed from office every single official who was on the side of granting the tribe that ability to establish that casino.
 Page 21       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    And I just wanted to say that because I am hot under the collar on it and I wanted to get it off my chest.
    Secretary BABBITT. Thank you.
    Mr. YATES. Mr. Secretary, the first time Mr. Obey ever got mad. [Laughter.]
    Mr. REGULA. Mr. Skeen.
    Mr. SKEEN. With that great introduction, Mr. Secretary, great to have you here.
    I note that we have an increasing frustration by the action of the so-called environmental groups in the southwest, and I would like to ask that in your Southwest initiative outreach effort on endangered species issues that groups which threaten to sue and collect legal fees over and over with the designer ECA Environmental Species Act lawsuits, not be invited to participate.
    These groups have made it clear through their words and actions that they do not want to see these issues resolved. And they have also made it clear that they will not be happy until all but the environmental elite are fenced out of the public lands and forests.
    Having said that, I will be waiting for details on your initiative for the southwest endangered species crisis.
    As a follow up to that displeasure, the Department's failure to appeal many of these Environmental Species lawsuits—as you are aware, the 9th Circuit Court does not have a very good record on appeals with the Supreme Court. Also, by not appealing and accepting the lower court adverse decisions, you open up a whole new funding stream for these so-called eco-legal terrorists in the southwest. It is quite a group.
    As I recall in one case, even though the Department's position was in opposition to identifying critical habitat, because it would not add one bit of protection to the Southwest Willow Flycatcher, they still decided not to recommend an appeal. And the Department expended funds for an effort that did not benefit the species at all.
 Page 22       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    And as I understand it, in many of these cases the plaintiff then is allowed to collect legal fees which they use in turn to turn around and file another designer lawsuit. And this leads to the belief by the victims of the eco-legal terrorism that you are working hand in hand with these groups.
    I realize that this is not the case because you and I have had great conversations about this issue before. But there is widespread belief in the southwest of this type of collusion, and I would like to have your comment and assurance that this is not the case.
    Secretary BABBITT. Well, Mr. Skeen, it is not the case. And again, I am astonished at the tone that this hearing has taken. I must say I have been over here for—this is the sixth year I have been here, and I do not——
    Mr. SKEEN. You should be used to it by now.
    Secretary BABBITT. Well, no, frankly, I do not recognize what is going on here today. Clearly quite extraordinary. We have yet to discuss a budget issue of any kind. I do not know who orchestrated this, but something is going on.
    Okay, now, in the spirit of your question, I must say that I am administering the Endangered Species Act according to the law. I am proud of the record that we have put together. We have introduced a great variety of innovations that I think have won a lot of acquiescence in the business community and the timber community.
    Any implication that we are colluding with environmental groups, I must say, is (a) false; and secondly, I resent the implication.
    Mr. SKEEN. I understand that, but that feeling is there and I want to let you know that it is there because you did not appeal some of these cases. It gives the impression——
    Secretary BABBITT. Mr. Skeen, the decision not to appeal is made by the solicitor and it is made in accordance with my judgment of the best way to administer this law.
 Page 23       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. SKEEN. But it is also funding a stream of legal response that goes to the same question once again, that the environmental groups over there get paid for putting these lawsuits together.
    Secretary BABBITT. Mr. Skeen, the provision for attorney fees is in the law. It was passed by the United——
    Mr. SKEEN. I understand that.
    Secretary BABBITT [continuing]. States Congress.
    And if you have a problem with people collecting attorney fees, rather than an innuendo against me, you might examine the law.
    Mr. SKEEN. We are not presenting innuendo—this is bare-faced fact.
    I will submit additional questions for the record.
    Mr. REGULA. Yes, we will have another round.
    Mr. SKEEN. Thank you.
    Mr. REGULA. Let me assure you, Mr. Secretary, there is no orchestration here, and these questions do have relevance. A $50 million deal in Tahoe has some budget implications.
    Mr. Skaggs.
    Mr. SKAGGS. Maybe I can provide a quick antidote in that there are some environmental groups in Colorado that are worried that we may be end running the Endangered Species Act by current efforts to deal with a working group looking toward a habitat conservation plan on the Prebles Meadow Jumping Mouse.
    So there is some concern even from the environmental side that the administration of the Endangered Species Act may not be rigorous enough by the Department.
 Page 24       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    And not that you need to comment on that, but I do hope that as we get down toward mark up, the effort that the committee was kind enough to make to allocate a little bit of money to try to avoid the proverbial train wreck in this particular pending listing matter will be continued, because it is far preferable and your leadership in trying to avoid confrontational incidents with the ESA I think has been a very healthy and welcome one.
    I do not know whether you wish to comment.
    Secretary BABBITT. Mr. Skaggs, I think the issues that you referred to are really ripe for the very kind of effort that we have made in southern California and the northwest and elsewhere.
    I was in Denver yesterday and heard a great deal of discussion about this, and it seems to me that we ought to be able to work this one out. Whether or not there is a listing, there is a problem, and I believe we have the tools at hand to work it out.
    Mr. SKAGGS. You bet.
    I wanted to pick up on one of your opening comments about how you have prioritized the maintenance and construction budget as a function of health and safety risks. I hope it is not the case, but I wanted to ask you whether there comes to mind any instances in which that scheme of prioritization may get in the way of what needs to be done to preserve particularly historic structures that are in decay.
    And those being irreplaceable, the question would then possibly arise whether we need to examine exactly what the prioritization scheme ought to be.
    Secretary BABBITT. Congressman, I think it is a fair question. What we have done with these lists that have been submitted is set up the matrix and laid out the priorities. I would guess that in most cases, if an historic structure has fallen into that state of disrepair, it is probably bumped into the health and safety category for obvious reasons.
 Page 25       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. SKAGGS. Perhaps Mr. Berry, who I know is superintending this effort for you, could see whether there are any of those sorts of trade offs that we ought to be aware of.
    I recently had a chance to visit Ellis Island for the first time since I left the New York area as a boy and was just stunned by its power and effect, and also by the fact that the Park Service, for all of its good work there, and while doing substantial renovation, has much left to be done.
    There is no fee charged at Ellis Island. It would seem to me that this might be a real likely candidate for our efforts to invite the public to help with the kind of work that obviously still needs to be done at Ellis Island.
    If the group that I was with is any measure, I think people wish that they had been asked to contribute because it was clear that this was a place that needed even more attention, as beautiful and meaningful as it already is.
    Secretary BABBITT. Mr. Skaggs, we have had a vigorous discussion about the Ellis Island issue. It is complicated by the fact that visitors already pay—I think it is a seven dollar fee on the circle line to get out there.
    And there is a sense among many members of both the New York and New Jersey delegations that that is an adequate price to pay. It is mostly transportation. But the fact is, it is tantamount to an admission fee because it is the only way to get there.
    We have not managed to find a consensus on that.
    Mr. SKAGGS. Do you need permission to make voluntary contributions available or a place for visitors to do that as we do at the Smithsonian?
    Secretary BABBITT. No, we do not, and there are in a fair number of parks those kinds of——
 Page 26       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. SKAGGS. I think that would be a——
    Secretary BABBITT [continuing]. Facilities. That is a good suggestion. I would be happy to have a look at it.
    Mr. SKAGGS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Mr. YATES. What is the state of the bridge?
    Mr. SKAGGS. What is the state of the bridge, Mr. Yates inquires.
    Mr. YATES. So you do not have to have the circle trip there.
    Secretary BABBITT. Well, the bridge was built to——
    Mr. YATES. From land to the island.
    Secretary BABBITT. It was built from the New Jersey side to facilitate construction.
    Mr. YATES. Right.
    Secretary BABBITT. There is a vigorous difference of opinion as to whether or not—the bridge would need a lot of upgrading if it were to become a permanent facility, and I believe that the New York delegation is very strongly opposed to that.
    Mr. REGULA. Mr. Dicks.
    Mr. DICKS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Mr. Secretary, I want to welcome you here today. I want to thank you and appreciate your efforts on the northwest timber plan. We, I think, made some considerable progress, and I appreciate the fact that the Administration was willing to extend this beyond the first five years in terms of the Community Assistance Program and to work on watersheds and—all of which will not only help us in terms of the habitat for the Spotted Owl and Marbled Murrelet, but in our efforts to restore salmon runs, which is very important.
 Page 27       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    One of the things in your budget and that I have strongly supported, and I think is one of the best ways to deal with many of the endangered species issues, is Habitat Conservation Plans. In my State of Washington, we had the first multi-specie HCP done on the lands of Murray Pacific.

    I know you are very well aware of this, and may have been there when we actually signed that agreement. And I notice that you are trying to expand that effort, and there has been some resistance from the environmental community on this.
    Can you tell us where the Administration is on HCP's and how you see the future for them?
    Secretary BABBITT. Congressman, I believe that the Habitat Conservation Plans and the Conservation Agreements, which is sort of a pre-listing version of it, are really the future for the Endangered Species Act because it addresses the problem of how you reconcile species protection with the land owner's expectation of a reasonable economic return.
    The Pacific northwest has really been the proving ground with Murray Pacific, Plum Creek, Weyerhauser, and a variety of other timber companies. What we have managed to work out is an accommodation in which the timber companies make some concessions about the length of the rotation, maintenance, stand structure, buffers along streams.
    The Fish and Wildlife Service and marine fisheries then agree to issue a so-called takings permit, which simply acknowledges that there may be some inadvertent taking of the species. It is working in an urban context in southern California now, and I think we are going to see it increasingly with the salmon runs that are now candidates in the Pacific northwest.
    Our hope was that we could get a reauthorization bill that would, in effect, sanction these in legislation, but I do not know whether that will happen or not.
 Page 28       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. DICKS. Does the Administration remain committed to the ''no surprises policy?''
    Secretary BABBITT. Congressman, the answer from this member of the Administration is yes. Because there is no other incentive for a land owner to enter into a Habitat Conservation Plan if it is open ended and the agencies can come back, say, in a year or five years or whenever and take a second, third, or fourth bite at the apple.
    There is a good debate going about the experience and the conditions with no surprises. How long should a Habitat Conservation Plan run? Is 100 years too long? Fifty? Thirty? I think it depends on whether it is resource extraction or subdivision development or whatever.
    There are some questions that have been raised about monitoring, about the use of science. These are all fair questions, and we are learning as we go. Again, we kind of started from ground zero.
    Mr. DICKS. The only criticism that I have heard that troubled me a little bit was the question about—that some of the university professors had raised recently in an article suggesting that maybe there was not enough science underpinning these HCP's.
    And my experience with them is that the people who are working on these things at the Fish and Wildlife Service are very trained and skilled biologists. I kind of resented the implication that somehow there was not a good scientific underpinning.
    I think that is one thing we need to make certain that we can explain to the public is that there is good science behind these HCP's.
    Secretary BABBITT. Yes, I think we can do better on this. But I think the understandable tendency of professors is to say there is never enough science because we never have a perfect understanding of an ecosystem, and on the margins judgments have to be made.
 Page 29       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    But I think we can do better, and I think we can learn from those kinds of critiques.
    Mr. DICKS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Mr. REGULA. Mr. Miller.
    Mr. MILLER. Mr. Secretary, hi.
    I am not in the Everglades area of Florida, but I am close by and have a special interest in it. I was with Mr. Regula when we visited the Everglades in January, and it was a very educational. We spent two days down there.
    I have to commend the Administration, actually Congress too, for giving a high priority to trying to address the problems of the Everglades, which are caused by a variety of things from development to agriculture and such.
    One thing I learned was how complicated the whole process is. It is something like—is it 23 different Federal, State, local, and regional agencies involved? I mean, at the Federal level, the coordination between the Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Indian—BIA to, the Park Service is amazing.
    At this stage how do you feel we are doing with the coordination of the Everglades project?
    Secretary BABBITT. Congressman, I think it is a remarkable phenomenon down there. I think it is probably the first time, certainly in my knowledge, that we have had agencies working together on this scale.

    The Corps of Engineers and the Interior Department are obviously kind of the lead, but everybody else is in—Agriculture, the Bureau of Indian Affairs because of the Miccosukees and the Seminoles—it goes on and on and on.
 Page 30       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    How do you get coordination? I think the answer is a mandate from the top to the agencies. In this case, that was really the Vice President at the Federal level and the governor at the State level, and I am quite satisfied that we are all moving together.
    Mr. MILLER. You mentioned a couple of possible problem areas. One, we have lost about half of the Everglades also and we are never going to totally recover from that. But, control of water down there as water flows through the Everglades.
    We have had a lot of success in the restoration of the Everglades recently, but it is mainly because of heavy rains over the past number of years. We have had a lot of rain in Florida.
    Secretary BABBITT. Too heavy.
    Mr. MILLER. Yes, too heavy. But it has helped increase the flow of water through the Everglades. And then, of course, all the land acquisition is going to help in the future.
    But one concern is, who is going to control the water? I mean, we have the Corps of Engineers versus the Water Management District—South Florida Water Management District. But the Interior Dept. is not part of that.
    It is really outside of your control because there are two different agencies responsible. Does that put us in a secondary position because we are not involved? Controlling water is one of the keys to the successful restoration of the Everglades.

    Let me ask you that question. How much of a concern is that?

    Secretary BABBITT. Well, I think the existing law is okay. What it basically does is recognize, as I think is appropriate, that the primary management of the water resource is a State function, which in this case, is by the South Florida Water Management District.
 Page 31       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    The Federal Government should not be making broad scale allocation issues. The Corps of Engineers gets into this because, in a typical flood control project like the one that is on the ground in south Florida, there will be a master agreement laying out how the project is to be operated to meet the multiple objectives.

    So my view is that that is appropriate.

    Mr. MILLER. What happens if you get into conflict—you know, with the development—they need more water for the people living down in Broward County or Dade County versus, you know, the concerns of the endangered species, the sparrow, the alligators, what have you?

    Who is going to make the choices? How are we going to make decisions versus development for drinking water?

    Secretary BABBITT. Well, there is a very interesting example of that going on right now. We have too much rain in Florida. Rain is now backing up in the water conservation areas, and it is a system which is full of water and we are operating it kind of on the margins.

    The question is, who is going to take the hit if we step up our releases through the system? Will it be the wildlife in the east side of the peninsula, or will it be some flooding of roads and some infrastructure on the east side where the development is?

 Page 32       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Those issues have to be worked out between the Corps as the operator of many of the structures and the Water Management District. Now, they refer to Federal and State law. So we are involved because the Endangered Species Act obviously sets some guidelines on how that system ought to be operated.


    Mr. MILLER. Well, obviously the answer has not—we have not reached that stage yet, but I see a potential conflict, you know, years in the future as to who is controlling for what purpose and what goal.

    Let me ask you a question about land acquisition. Lots of money is going to the Land Acquisition Fund, and there is a significant unobligated balance sitting there right now, and I think you requested another $80 million dollars.

    This year they are trying to finalize the purchase of the Talisman tract, which, of course, I think we all agree is critical down there, at least most of that land is critical. But the question is, when you start spending huge amounts of money and you announce the Federal Government is going to pay for it—and I know you talk about appraisals.

    It is hard to say what the value of swamp land is. Years ago, the developers sold swamp land and made a lot of money in Florida which was wrong, and we are having to buy some of that back, as you know, in some of those developments.

    But the rumor in Florida is that we may pay more for the Talisman tract than its worth. Now, it is sugar land and I do not know if we did or not. But you know, all of a sudden you say, ''Well, how do you know we are not overpaying for land?''
 Page 33       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    And this goes back to the question Mr. Regula asked earlier. How do you know we are not getting a bad deal when the Federal Government says we are going to buy your land regardless?

    Specifically on the Talisman tract, do we feel comfortable we have not overpaid?

    Secretary BABBITT. Well, the issue of appraisals is always going to be controversial. The law makes it very clear what it is the Federal agency must do. You must get appraisals. And this Talisman tract, I think, has been appraised six ways from Sunday.

    The problem with appraisals is that they are not numerically objective coming out of a computer. An appraisal is a judgment. And beneath all of the stuff ultimately is judgment. It is hard when there are not a lot of comparables.

    The alternative is condemnation, in which effectively a judge or a jury makes the determination. So the appraisal has to be weighed by us against the pros and cons of using——

    Mr. MILLER. Could I get a report verifying that you are comfortable with the valuation and that we are making a fair—I do not think that has been closed yet anyway. But as I say, we all agree on the goal of it, but the question is——

    Secretary BABBITT. Certainly.
 Page 34       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    [The information follows:]

    The Department of the Interior has reviewed the two-year old appraisal of the State and is conducting a current appraisal on the value of the Talisman tract. The Department expects to be able to provide the appraisal report to the Committees by June 1, 1998.

    Mr. MILLER [continuing]. Are we really not overpaying for that. And I have a concern when you have multiple people contributing money to it because it is not just Federal dollars and such.

    Is my time up, Mr. Chairman, or do I have time for——

    Mr. REGULA. We will be coming around again. And we will hold the record open for a submission of that.

    Mr. Yates.


    Mr. YATES. Mr. Secretary, you have been in office now for, what, five years, six years? A long time. Has the Department of the Interior prospered under your administration? Are there things that you want——

 Page 35       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. REGULA. Here comes a softball right across the plate. [Laughter.]

    Mr. YATES. Have you done everything you wanted to do, or are there things that the Department should have done that you would have liked to do? Have you received full cooperation from this committee?

    We have the impression that you have. And with that cooperation, were you able to do the things that you thought the Department needed?

    Secretary BABBITT. Well, Mr. Yates, notwithstanding the rocky start this morning, I must acknowledge gratefully that we have had a very nice relationship with this committee. I would say that——

    Mr. YATES. What do you mean rocky start?

    Secretary BABBITT. This morning?

    Mr. YATES. Have you had a rocky start?

    Mr. DICKS. You were not here at the beginning.


    Secretary BABBITT. Well, we just had a vigorous discussion of a few items.
 Page 36       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    I would say the most interesting thing to me over the last five or six years or longer is that, in these resource areas and environmental areas, there has been virtually no legislation, almost none.

    We have passed in six years two pieces of legislation involving my Department. That is it, other than sort of administrative and operational tidying up. Only two: the California Desert Protection Act at the end of '93 and an Organic Act for the Refuge System this past year.

    So all——

    Mr. YATES. Is that what you wanted? Or did you want other legislation?

    Secretary BABBITT. Well, I have proposed again and again and again each year a whole variety of issues relating to wilderness areas: reform of concessions in the National Park Service, reform of the mining law—to name a few.

    But there is not in the Congress in the 1990's a sort of direction or the votes to do that. In contrast, the things that we have done in this committee, I think, add up quite impressively. And that is why I deliberately highlighted these multi-agency regional restoration plans.

    This is a new chapter in conservation history, and we should not underestimate the importance of the Forest Plan, the Everglades, the Bay-Delta; these issues where we are bringing agencies together using the appropriation power; looking for stakeholder consensus, State match, and local participation.
 Page 37       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    A lot of that is happening under the Endangered Species Act, and I think it is really quite remarkable. You know, the impetus comes through this committee because it is about money. It is not about new laws.


    Mr. YATES. One of the things with which this committee was concerned, and I think has not yet been solved, is what happens to the Indian Trust Funds? We had been trying for years to find some procedure which would assure that the Indian interests were protected by an appropriate depositary.

    I do not think that the Department of the Interior has an outstanding record on this subject. It seems to me, oh, several years ago when we were attacking this problem that the Indians were losing a great deal of money as a result of what I thought was the mishandling of their trust funds.

    At least not being handled adequately, and that there was a lawsuit against the United States by the Indians for having mishandled their funds. What is the status of the trust funds now?

    Secretary BABBITT. Mr. Yates, I spoke briefly to that in my opening statement.

    We have made considerable progress. First of all, you may remember that we did set up a special trustee to deal with these issues three or four years ago.
 Page 38       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. YATES. Right.

    Secretary BABBITT. And appointed a trustee who has now laid out a plan. It is a daunting task. It is 150 years of records which are in some cases there, and in some cases they are not. There is now litigation on all fronts.

    But the plan is now moving forward. It has essentially three parts. One is to get at the individual trust account. Second is to get at the history of the tribal trust funds. And the third is to sort of dredge up the past and sort it out to get information and data systems which can from here forward deal with it.

    Now, the information systems for the individual accounts are going to be put up on a trial basis in the Phoenix area, and rolled out to the remaining areas by March 2000.

    The reconciliation of past accounts is going forward. It is wrapped up very much in a couple of lawsuits. There is one thing I would like to get from this Congress on the authorizing side in which we have been unable to do, and that is legislation dealing with the fractionation of the allotments.

    This is simply the issue under the Dawes Act when they began breaking up the Indian reservations with individual allotments, which are all held in trust. And typically, say, 40 acres which was allotted to an individual in 1890 has now descended through six or seven generations and is owned in common under existing law often by as many as two or three hundred people—tenants in common on 40 acres of land. Part of our record keeping problem is we spend, hypothetically, maybe ten or twelve dollars a year on each of those accounts and, in many cases, the accounts earn maybe five or ten cents a year as the sort of prorata share of a grazing fee on a piece of desert land.
 Page 39       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    We need legislation to take care of that one.
    Mr. YATES. What is your appraisal or your view as to what the status of it is now? Are you on the way to achieving some kind of solution of this terrible mess?
     Secretary BABBITT. Yes, absolutely.
    Mr. YATES. Thank you.
    Mr. REGULA. Mr. Wamp.
    Mr. WAMP. Thank you, Mr. Secretary.
    Before I ask two questions, let me convene the bipartisan Sidney Yates fan club—again, I was reminded a moment ago that this is one of the last times, if not the last time, that Mr. Yates will have the distinguished Secretary of the Interior come before this subcommittee.
    And for a person who spent the first half of my life as a Democrat and the second half of my life as a Republican, I just want to say again you are a class act and we are going to sorely miss you. You are a real credit to this country.
    I appreciate your tutelage here in just the short time that I have been here, and I want to recognize that again.


    My two questions, Mr. Secretary, both had bipartisan concern expressed as we had two hearings——since your last appearance here, we had two hearings where there were some bipartisan concerns expressed around the Park Service construction problems such as the infamous outhouses and the employee housing that ran too high.
    And through that, the IG and the GAO exempted any accusations towards the Denver Service Center, but they did identify what they called serious management problems at the Park Service. I just want your assessment of that, what is being done to improve the management of the Park Service—that is question one.
 Page 40       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    And question two is another hearing we had about maintenance backlog where three agencies under your purview—BLM, Fish and Wildlife, and the Park Service—were unable to clearly articulate a definition for backlog maintenance.
    There were new construction projects like visitor centers and land acquisition that were included in the backlog maintenance budget. And we are trying to make sure that there is adequate funding to address backlog maintenance, yet no one could really put their finger on how they determine backlog maintenance.
    It looks like there are a lot of new things being thrown in there. I think it is fair to say at both hearings, there was bipartisan concerns about those two issues. So if you could hit them both, please, sir, and thank you for coming.
    Secretary BABBITT. Mr. Wamp, I will take the second one first because it is, I think, the easiest one. We have put together, at the urging of this committee which recognized the problem, a prioritized list of every maintenance repair and rehabilitation issue on all of the land agencies. It is real, it has been scrubbed down, and I believe is the appropriate starting point for this.
    If we can, working together, keep the available funds focused at this list without too much leakage out to special priority projects and keep from inflating the construction budget because of member requests and stay with this—I recognize the reality, but your criticism in years past was well founded. I believe that John Berry is going to do a staff briefing for the appropriation subcommittees on both sides on the response that we have prepared, and I believe you will be satisfied. We have really made a major effort, and I think it is a quality result.

    Mr. YATES. May you yield, Mr. Secretary?
    I just want to say thank you very much.
 Page 41       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Secretary BABBITT. You are welcome.
    With respect to Park Service construction, we are kind of at the front end of dealing with this problem. Let me first see if I can kind of explain why I think the problem arose, just very briefly.
    Some years ago the Park Service set up the Denver Service Center as a way to kind of rationalize and utilize architects, engineers, estimators, impact statement writers, all that sort of stuff.
    It was a correct thing to do. But what has happened, and I think you can understand, is that with two centers of decision making, things kind of fall between the cracks. The superintendent at Yosemite National Park says the Denver Service Center, which reports to Washington, is overseeing this, so I do not need to spend quite as much time out looking at that housing thing.
    The Denver Service Center, because of its budget structure, has a different set of priorities which are not quite as tightly linked to the budget as the superintendent of the park.
    Everything kind of falls in the cracks. We have commissioned a study by the National Academy of Public Administration and it is underway. And you and I know that the National Academy of Public Administration is not the answer to every problem, but I think it is a good starting point.
    We recognize the problem. That study will be final in June, and we are prepared to act on the recommendations and discuss them with you and tell you what we can get from it. Because it is a problem. I mean, it is absolutely undeniable.
    Mr. WAMP. Let me just point out in closing that we were looking for a person that would either accept responsibility or that we could determine was responsible, and there was no one to be found. And there are agencies in the Federal Government, and I will just use the Post Office, for example.
 Page 42       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Marvin Runyon accepted the accountability at the Post Office I think up and down the line. I think that is commendable and they are going in the right direction. I would really encourage that, that we improve the management practices.
    I would commend you for the things you are doing well, but there is still much more to be done. I will come back on the next time around.
    Thank you.
    Mr. REGULA. I would say, Mr. Secretary, I think the NAPA report requested by this subcommittee on study of the Denver Service Center will aid us in addressing the accountability problems.
    Mr. Kolbe.
    Mr. KOLBE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Mr. Secretary, I certainly do not want to be confrontational here, but I do think—I just feel compelled to say—that the comments you made to Mr. Skeen were really uncalled for. I do not think you can find in the evidence that there is an orchestration or anything here.
    I do not think you would suggest that Mr. Obey's comments, which immediately preceded, were orchestrated by the chairman of this committee. So, I just do not think that is correct.
    I also think that it is a legitimate oversight function of this committee to ask questions about policy, to ask questions about exchanges or any of the other multitude of legislation that comes under the jurisdiction of your agency.


    So I just wanted to get that off my chest. I do have some budget questions, but I do have just one question. Frankly, I do not think that Wall Street Journal article is terribly unfair to you.
 Page 43       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    It raises some legitimate questions about the whole process of appraisals and it raises some legitimate questions—or perhaps you may think they are not legitimate questions—about the Department and the way appraisals and exchanges are handled.
    I have been through enough of these exchanges. I know the difficulty of this. I know the problem that exists in Las Vegas, the lack of land that is available up there.
    But just one question that I did want to ask on that, because the only thing in there that in any way involves you, it seems to me, is the question about whether or not the priority list was approved by you, and I think that is an accurate statement. Is it not true?
    Secretary BABBITT. Mr. Kolbe, here is the problem with that and why I find it so absolutely outrageous.
    I came to work for the United States Government in January of 1993. Now the ethics rules, as I understand them, say that you must recuse yourself for one year on matters where you had some connection.
    In this case, I had done some work for the Del Webb Corporation. The issue is recusal for one year.
    Mr. KOLBE. And you have continued to recuse yourself even beyond that.
    Secretary BABBITT. My point, Congressman, is that there is no requirement of any kind beyond one year. And in year five, in an excess of caution, no requirement of any kind, I have still recused myself. This guy comes along in year five and says, ''Ah ha, but in year five, you were a party to a discussion in which some broad scale decisions were made about land exchanges in Nevada.''
    Now, I have to tell you, I really resent being smeared on the front page of the Wall Street Journal five years later when the recusal requirement expired after one year.
    Mr. KOLBE. I am not going to pursue this, Mr. Secretary. It was three years, January '96, exactly three years after.
 Page 44       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Secretary BABBITT. Three years.
    Mr. KOLBE. But it was—you are correct. And you have continued to recuse yourself for the obvious reasons.
    Secretary BABBITT. But the reasons are not even obvious. I have done this——
    Mr. KOLBE. Well, they must have been if you decided to recuse yourself.
    Secretary BABBITT. Well, I am trying to be as careful as I possibly can.
    Mr. KOLBE. I understand that.
    Secretary BABBITT. Had I not recused myself, presumably, they would have been satisfied, and I simply do not understand the results. And that is why I tend to get excited when this article is waived in my face.


    Mr. KOLBE. Mr. Secretary, on the budget, you have said in your statement that you have aggressively streamlined the agency and reduced headquarter staff management layers, reengineered processes; you have improved efficiency effectiveness of customer services, and I think that is all very, very good and well.
    I assume from all of this you have saved some money. Do you have any way of quantifying for us what you think you have been able to save for the Department? Is there any way to quantify that?
    Secretary BABBITT. Could I give you an example?
    Mr. KOLBE. Yes, I was—okay, sure.
 Page 45       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Secretary BABBITT. I would like——
    Mr. KOLBE. That does not quantify it, but——
    Secretary BABBITT. I had some discussions with the committee last summer when a great crisis arose about Menlo Park and its facilities and the Geological Survey. You may remember this thing erupted onto the front page of the newspaper because I had had the temerity to go out to Menlo Park and say these rentals are outrageous, and I am going to move the GS out of Menlo Park unless we can do something.
    Maybe we will move them to Arizona. We were back in Menlo Park last week. We have done a down sizing there. We have struck a rent stabilization agreement with the GSA, and it is going to save us about $50 million over the next ten years.
    Now why is that important? Because we were willing to rock the boat. A lot of people got excited and that has to be done.
    Now, can I answer your question directly? It is awfully hard. We abolished the Bureau of Mines, so I can give you savings there. I do not remember what their yearly budget was.
    Mr. KOLBE. I understand.
    Secretary BABBITT. Eighty percent of that is gone.
    Mr. KOLBE. I understand the difficulty of quantifying this. That is the reason I was trying to come around to this question. You have got a $461 million dollar increase over last year's appropriations. And really, what I am trying to say is actually the budget increase is clearly larger than that if you include these savings. I mean, you are not only able to apply those savings, but then you have a budget increase.
    And I was trying to get some handle on what is the real increase we have in this budget.
    Mr. DICKS. Does that take into account inflation?
 Page 46       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. KOLBE. Inflation has to be a part of that obviously. Labor costs and so forth, that all is a part of that. But I am trying to get an idea what the real increase is.
    Secretary BABBITT. Well, that is an interesting question, and frankly I do not know whether we could give you a little more specificity. Maybe we could.


    Mr. KOLBE. I think my time is about expired, and I will ask some questions for the record. But I want to go on with a question or a statement to you about an issue I have been dealing with in the subcommittee that I chair, and coming to realize the complexity and the difficulty of this—about the year 2000 computer problems.

    Is this a priority for you? What are you doing personally on this issue in your Department, and what are the problems you see that you face, and how are you dealing with them?

    Secretary BABBITT. It is a fair question, an important question. We are dealing with it in a variety of ways. I think what I really would like to do is write you a letter in response to that because the Interior issues are somewhat different.
    We do not do much entitlement or check writing, and our computer systems tend to be focused a little more narrowly.
    Mr. KOLBE. We are finding in every agency that did not think they have a problem there are enormous problems.
    Secretary BABBITT. Well, that is why I would like to write you a letter because I agree.
 Page 47       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. KOLBE. Everything that has a date in it has to have a change, and it is a tremendous problem. We are finding some agencies are on top of it, and some are not.
    Mr. Secretary, I will submit a series of questions. If you could just respond to those, it would be very helpful to me.
    Secretary BABBITT. Okay, I am notified by Mr. Berry that we have just been moved into the ''best'' category by OMB for our plan.
    Mr. KOLBE. Good. So you are on target for March '99.
    Secretary BABBITT. Oh, I think so.
    Mr. KOLBE. I will submit a series of questions.
    Secretary BABBITT. Now, there are some surprises out there, and everybody who says they know they are on target for '99 had better qualify.
    Mr. KOLBE. Thank you.
    Mr. REGULA. Mr. Nethercutt.


    Mr. NETHERCUTT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Welcome, Mr. Secretary.
    I found your comment interesting a little while ago that we will never have a perfect understanding of ecosystems. I could not agree with you more, and I think an example on the ground of that comment is right in the Pacific Northwest, with the Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project.
    As you know, we have spent some $30-plus million on the study. We have urged your Department, others within your Department, and other agencies, to extend public comment periods, so we can understand the economic consequences to the regions, the rural forested regions of my state and other states. I commend those agencies for extending that comment period.
 Page 48       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    I see in the budget request that there is a request that looks like, another $25 million, not to say another $10 million beyond—for the Forest Service, that is requested for this project. I understand you made some reference to it earlier in your testimony, and I am sorry I missed that. But my understanding is that you said the project is intended to—departments must go forward to avoid litigation.
    I have been concerned about the implementation costs of this project and this study and so-called body of science that is out there, and what it will do to the lifestyle of the people of the Pacific Northwest, the people of my district, for example, in Colville, who have a production economy using the forest in a balanced way to run those communities.
    And so my question is, how much more money do you believe the agency will put into this particular project? If the $25 million that I have alleged is correct—I would appreciate your confirming that if it is not—then I would be happy to be advised of it.
    Second of all, I think your Department is going to have some difficult challenges ahead in the implementation of whatever decision comes out. It looks to me like the natural consequence of not having enough money to implement whatever the decision is, will have a no decision effect, which will be a decision that will negatively impact my region and other western states.
    So I would appreciate having your thoughts on it, as well as the explanation of the funding request for this next fiscal year.
    Secretary BABBITT. Okay. The $25 million I think is BLM and Forest Service. I think our increase this year is $8 million, but it is a lot of money.
    Mr. NETHERCUTT. It is BLM and Fish and Wildlife Service.
    Secretary BABBITT. That is right. That is correct.
    Mr. NETHERCUTT. Forest Service comes under USDA——
    Secretary BABBITT. Yes.
 Page 49       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. NETHERCUTT [continuing]. But I think it is $10 million under Forest Service, under the Ag budget, about $1 1/2 million for Fish and Wildlife, and about $22 or $23 million——
    Secretary BABBITT. That sounds about right, yes.
    I recognize that there does not seem to be much enthusiasm for the alternatives that are in the draft impact statements from either the environmental group or the industry. I mean, this is a process in search of friends to join its one defender, who is now talking to you.
    Mr. NETHERCUTT. There are times when I wish you would recuse yourself on other things, Mr. Secretary. [Laughter.]
    But anyway——
    Secretary BABBITT. My approach to this is simply this. The alternatives are worse, in my judgment. If we abandon this and lapse back into the traditional pattern of land management, one plan at a time, decisions in isolation, we are going to get back into the specific rivers kind of litigation where there will be injunctions against activities for failure to factor the cumulative impacts across the landscape. So it seems to me that calls for a coordinated response. If this one is not right, we have got to find the right one.
    Now, let me say a word about the costs. As I read the restoration alternatives, there are some big numbers here. They are principally for forest restoration and stream restoration. Now, I think the forest restoration has got a lot of positives. First of all, the money is all jobs, trying to get these forests thinned out and get fire back on the land.
    There are also forest products that come out of this. They are not the traditional forest products, but you can see, I think, up in the Blue Mountains and in Oregon—and presumably in your part of the country—some industries which are retooling to take a different kind of forest product. If we could get this restoration underway on a broader basis, I think it has some potential to support local wood products industries.
 Page 50       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    They cannot do it on their own because the bottom line is this stuff is not economical if they are bearing all of the costs of restoration in terms of preparation and some of the thinning. That is the bottom line. It has to be subsidized by this kind of restoration effort.
    So I would argue that this is not about resource jobs, the present, or nothing. I think it is a more mixed kind of thing. It is about a transition in which there will be a resource economy. It will be a different one.
    Mr. NETHERCUTT. It sure will be a different one, because the levels of harvest are so low under the plan, and the mentality in my region is that the Department of the Interior is seeking to move people from the forests and the small timber communities into the cities and retraining for, you know, waiter jobs, not retraining within the context of what these people know and where they want to live.
    So I am not going to assume that that is your policy, but I do not see anything in the study that is going to stop one lawsuit if someone does not like what the decision is. I do not see it anywhere.
    Secretary BABBITT. Well, I would respectfully differ with that, and my evidence would be the forest plan in the northwest. There is no litigation of any significance going on on the west side of the Cascades now. And the reason is that we put a big plan up front, took it in front of a judge, and got it approved.
    Mr. NETHERCUTT. I understand. And I heard your comment about HCPs, and generally I can agree. But there is a tremendous cost to that. I mean, those people that you mentioned who got their HCP spent literally millions of dollars dealing with your agency—and I do not mean that disrespectfully—dealing with Interior agencies costs them a fortune to do it. Little guys cannot do that.
 Page 51       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Secretary BABBITT. Little guys——
    Mr. NETHERCUTT. Big ones can.
    Secretary BABBITT. Little guys cannot do it. What we have to do for the little guy is put out a boilerplate kind of product which says, you know, ''Here is a set of guidelines. If those are workable, go do it.''
    Mr. NETHERCUTT. Thank you.
    Mr. REGULA. Mr. Moran?
    Mr. MORAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    My colleague here, Mr. Dicks, had mentioned that his forest lost 98 percent, so there are some other points of view on this.
    But first of all, I want to tell you, Mr. Chairman, what a great job you are doing. Because from day one, you have proven to be a terrific choice. You have the guts and the integrity and the intellect we need as Secretary of the Interior, and you have used that to guide this Department in a principled, common sense approach, in my estimation. I want you to understand that a lot of us appreciate the difficulties that you encounter, and we are proud of the job that you are doing.
    I am glad that David Obey gave you credit for making the right decision on that casino issue in Wisconsin. And that Republican candidate for State Senate who politicized that issue so much, he discredits the other Indian tribes that I think are very legitimately pursuing gambling interests.
    You know, the American law has worked throughout most of American history against the interests of Native Americans, and so it does not bother some of us that it finally is being used in their interests. We think you did the right thing.

 Page 52       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Let me get back to an issue here that probably would not come up if I did not mention it. But you have talked in your testimony about the watershed restoration, the fact that the Vice President is leading this effort to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Clean Water Act by funding these watershed restoration efforts in local communities and watershed councils, and your budget includes an additional increase for the U.S. Geological Survey to participate in that.
    They evaluate the impacts of pollution and non-point sources of pollution, Pfiesteria in the Chesapeake Bay, and so on, and you have additional funding for the Bureau of Land Management, for Office of Surface Mining, the Fish and Wildlife Service, to improve the quality of watersheds.
    What I want to get at is that since EPA is the primary agency for these efforts—and, in fact, they started this unprecedented effort to get manure out of our rivers and streams by regulating large livestock farms, just like factories and other waste-producing industries—that regulatory effort will affect, in a very positive fashion, those communities that are living downstream, obviously. But is EPA using the data that the U.S. Geological Survey is gathering? Because they have some great data, and there is a lot of effort going on across the Federal Government in this area. Do we have an umbrella coordination mechanism so that you are able to give the EPA the data it needs rather than repeating the effort over in their budget? How are we coordinating this and making it most efficient and using the good work that your various agencies are doing in pursuit of this initiative that the Vice President talked about?
    Secretary BABBITT. Congressman, I think that is a perceptive question, because I think of the USGS as doing the research out on the ground and EPA as formulating the regulatory response. I think at the field level, out of the regional offices, the level of coordination and use is really very, very good.
 Page 53       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    I would like to think a little more about whether or not we ought to be doing more at the top level to examine our budgets and see how they relate to each other and to ask whether or not we are doing the right job of setting longer-term priorities in terms of their regulatory need. So there is a nice example of that coming up right now with all of this farm stuff.
    Mr. MORAN. Yes. I have a suspicion that EPA is trying to reinvent a lot of wheels over there to carry out this initiative when you have much of the data and you have the professionals. And while they may be working at the local level, it does not appear that we have the kind of coordination we need at the top level.
    So thank you. I have some stuff on the Endangered Species Act, but I am not going to get into that. We probably have gotten into that enough.
    Do I have time?
    Mr. REGULA. You have a couple of minutes.


    Mr. MORAN. A couple of minutes. Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    You are setting up a new disaster information network within the U.S. Geological Survey. Tell us a little about how you are going to work with the local communities in advance of natural disasters.

    We are finding with El Niño, obviously, that this is becoming a concern for a whole lot of communities now across the country, and particularly those who are located in more active natural hazard areas from the impact of storms and the loss of life we have seen in Florida and other States.
 Page 54       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    You are trying to set up this multi-agency integrated program office, it said in the budget, and you put in an extra $15 million. Again, this is a similar kind of issue. We have FEMA over there, and we are setting up something here, but the objective is the same. The professionals seem to be coming from the same level of knowledge and interest. How are we coordinating at the federal level? What needs to be coordinated at the local level?
    Secretary BABBITT. Mr. Moran, before I answer that, I would like to respond to Mr. Kolbe's comments and say that I did not intend to impugn Mr. Skeen personally, and I have written him a note to that effect, because I admire him enormously. We have had a strong and mutually productive relationship, and I just want Mr. Kolbe to know that I have responded to his comments.
    Mr. SKEEN. Thank you.
    Mr. Chairman.
    Mr. REGULA. Mr. Skeen.
    Mr. SKEEN. Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary. There is no offense taken and no offense intended either way. It is just a good discussion.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Secretary BABBITT. Okay. Now, Congressman, I think the parallel is very interesting, because FEMA has the lead on disaster. They are the people who respond, and I might add they have done really quite an exceptional job I think of reinventing that agency and being out on the front lines. That is not our job.
    Our job is to get information. It really is an exact parallel—to get information out. And there is an interagency committee working on these information issues that has been established by the Vice President.
    The reason that this interagency committee suggests the Geological Survey as at the center of the funnel for the information is this: we have, and this committee has helped establish, an information center in Reston which deals with all of the satellite information and has the screens to scrub classified satellite information.
 Page 55       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    In these disaster scenarios, more and more the satellite technology is central not only to getting baseline data, but to real-time monitoring of what is happening. That is the reason that the plan that has been put forward is focused on that facility.
    But just as we do not regulate water quality in any way, we do not propose to be doing anything on the ground at the time of a disaster other than getting information out to FEMA and to the community.
    Mr. MORAN. Okay. My time is exhausted.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Mr. REGULA. I would say to the members, if you would like to submit questions for the record, you may. And I hope we can have a prompt response to those from your agency. We will try to get another round here and get finished at a decent time.


    After being out in the Headwaters with the BLM State Director last year, I am pleased to note that BLM is the designated manager of the property. Your 1999 budget includes a request for $400,000 in BLM's budget for development of a coordinated research management plan. Will this involve the State and county in the effort? And can I assume that these funds will not be obligated until the acquisition of the Headwaters has been completed? And as part of this, what is the status of the HCP vis-a-vis the land owner, MAXXAM Corporation?
    Secretary BABBITT. Mr. Chairman, I heard your suggestion. The funds will not be allocated, in accordance with your instructions, until the plan is complete. I think I can say that. I do not think we needed any force on the ground.
    The HCP agreement, the framework agreement, has been reached. I believe there will be a hearing either in April or May—there will be a public hearing—with some of the detail in the HCP. I am pretty confident that the deal will hold. It has got enough specificity in it that both parties' expectations coincide on that.
 Page 56       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    We have, to my knowledge, not yet worked out with the State of California how title to this land will be held when our money is put up and their match is put up. There is a lot of discussion going on. I would be interested in anybody's thoughts on that. Should we divvy it into two pieces? Should we take title in common? I am not sure that that has ever been done. I do not know if it is workable or not.
    Mr. REGULA. Well, then you get into management problems. It is bad enough that the access to this tract of land is not great, not good at all. And then if you diffuse the management, the public never will get to see it.
    Secretary BABBITT. Yes. I would agree that the real issue is what is in the management agreement.
    Mr. REGULA. But it is planned to have BLM the lead agency for the Federal government, is that correct?
    Secretary BABBITT. Yes.


    Mr. REGULA. The other day I spoke with the park superintendents, and they asked me if I had any one thing I would want and I said better management. And I hope you are focusing, at every opportunity, with a critical eye, to management, not only in the Park Service but all up and down the line. And particularly, I have some concerns with Denver, as you are well aware.
    I am waiting until the report comes out, but as I said to the park superintendents, I hope they are skilled people. I hope they are able to manage projects within their park on their own initiatives, with maybe some local A&E help. This is not a question, but I hope that you are taking a good look at management all across the board.
 Page 57       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    I do note that your budget request includes 1,463 more people. That does not quite square with the Vice President's downsizing that I can see, because, the elimination of the Bureau of Mines, which was an initiative of this subcommittee, comes out of there and we have still have 1,463 more employees. And I suspect a lot of those are in the centralized areas here in the capital and not necessarily on the ground. You might want to comment on that.
    Secretary BABBITT. Mr. Chairman, just a couple of thoughts. Our 1993 base was 78,000. We went clear down to 65,000 the biggest percentage reduction. Now, the important thing about this management efficiency is you cannot start from x and just keep cutting down forever——

    Mr. REGULA. No, I understand that.
    Secretary BABBITT [continuing]. Because we do have an enormous increase in workload and demands, out on these land management units particularly.
    Now, the 1999 request will bring us back up to 69,000, which is still 9,000 fewer employees than we had five years ago in light of all of the things that have moved.
    We made a huge headquarters reduction. I think we had the highest percentage of headquarters reduction of any agency, and these people are not going to be in headquarters. What percentage of these people are going to be outside of headquarters? 90 percent? I would guess 90 percent.
    And let me just say the BIA piece is driven by workload, and there is nothing——
    Mr. REGULA. No, I understand.
    Secretary BABBITT [continuing]. We can do there. We have to get additional policemen.
    Mr. REGULA. No, I understand. That is a special situation. But are you fostering, as much as possible, a management culture among the decisionmakers?
 Page 58       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Secretary BABBITT. The reason I raised the Menlo Park issue is because you do break some crockery in attempting to get people focused on management issues and to persuade them that there are rewards for doing that.
    I think we produced a huge savings out of the reconfiguration of that center and out of some hardball negotiations, both with private lessors and with the GSA. There are obviously thousands of ways to be doing that on the margin.


    Mr. REGULA. Well, that is why I have some skepticism about the California proposal of the Fish and Wildlife Service. That goes contrary to Menlo Park.
    Secretary BABBITT. I understand your concerns. The Fish and Wildlife Service is the most problematical of all of the agencies, and the reason is that these issues have just avalanched down on what was once a fairly quiet, reactive agency, and now, in the context of these larger——
    Mr. REGULA. It is the Endangered Species Act requirements?
    Secretary BABBITT. Yes, that is the bottom line. We find that an agency which grew up by hiring kids out of college who wanted to be biologists and go off and do biology is now really a regulatory agency that is way undergraded comparable to the National Park System and others. We are constantly having to import people skills, negotiation skills, management skills, to some shellshocked biologists who coming off these raucous public meetings are saying, ''You know, I just wanted to go out and study critters, and here I am.''
    Congressman Kolbe has just had a meeting to put them on the spot in front of hundreds of people—700 people in Tucson. So the agency is really moving, and I have acknowledged in the southwest that we have moved far less than elsewhere and we need a lot of attention. That is a long answer to a short question.
 Page 59       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. DICKS. If you would yield on that point just for one brief comment.
    The problem is there are so many people trying to do HCPs, and every one of them has to go in and consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service. So the time of this agency is being enormously stressed, I believe, and that is why I think we have to do something about this.
    Secretary BABBITT. Norm, if I could play off that just with one suggestion, because I am not sure whether we could do much of this in the short term. The Endangered Species Act is virtually the only Federal environmental law which was put up as a Federal operation without a systematic Federal-State delegation backed up by grants to States.
    If we are going to make this thing work in the long run and get these HCP things to work, we have to find a way to get a State grant program out to those Fish and Game Commissions to power them up, so that they can take some of this. It would make it work better and more efficiently for everybody. We do not do that.
    Look at the Clean Water Act. Basically, what Carole Browner does is set standards, hand out grants, and the States implement. The Endangered Species Act does not work that way. We are trying to push it out, but we find again and again and again that State agencies are underpowered and need some help.
    Mr. REGULA. Mr. Obey.
    Mr. OBEY. Mr. Chairman, I wish Mr. Wamp was still here. He indicated that he spent the first half of his life as a Democrat and then changed parties. I spent the first third of my life as a Republican and then changed parties. I do not know why one of us took a wrong turn. [Laughter.]
    I presume it is because of that well-known reluctance of the American male to ask directions. [Laughter.]

 Page 60       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Let me simply ask two questions, Mr. Secretary. One is a question I will submit to you for the record involving what is known as the Whittlesley Creek Project in my district. It involves the grass roots efforts of local people to establish a wildlife refuge in the Lake Superior area near Ashland.
    Unexpected controversy has arisen because of the long-term usage of part of that area as a snowmobile trail. No one locally objects to its being used, and there is some confusion about the decision of the regional office of the Fish and Wildlife Service to try to discontinue snowmobiling on a trail which has been used for a good 20 years.

    And then I would like to simply ask you to also get back to me with your reaction to the following. Mr. Livingston and I were in Alaska together this summer, and when we were on Kodiak it came to our attention that a critical and beautiful area of timber is under some pressure to be put up for clearcutting by the native corporation there.
    It was explained to us that the reason they are doing that is because they have very few other sources of revenue. And one of the reasons they do is because when the individual quotas were established for halibut fishing, that the particular years which were established as the base period to determine what the individual entitlement was to fish for halibut excluded the Native Americans because they, in that base period, had switched to salmon fishing and had not done any halibut fishing. And since salmon was selling for two cents a pound up there, that was hardly worth the effort.
    It appeared to an outsider that this was a case where some of your larger, more sophisticated commercial fishing interests were aware of what the long-term plans were on the part of Interior for establishing those rules and those base periods, and that the Native Americans, because of that, were substantially disadvantaged.
 Page 61       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    I would simply like to know whether, in fact, your understanding of that conforms with ours, and what prospects there might be for making adjustments in that base period so that you do not have pressures on the tribe to clear-cut an area which otherwise they would not be looking at because they would not need the revenue.

    We ran into people whose families had been fishing halibut for three generations and who, because of the peculiar base period, have been excluded from doing so. And it just did not seem equitable, and I think to most people on the trip it did not seem equitable.

    I do not expect you to respond now, but if you would look at that for the record, I would appreciate it.
    Secretary BABBITT. Certainly. I would be happy to do that on both Whittlesley Creek and the Alaska issue.

    [The information follows:]

    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."

    Mr. OBEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Mr. REGULA. Mr. Skaggs?


    Mr. SKAGGS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
 Page 62       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    A few things, probably mostly for the record also. Back in the early and mid '70s, the State of Colorado split up its Division of Wildlife and Department of Parks, and after some negotiation I believe got the blessing of at least regional Fish and Wildlife about that. The issue now, some 20 years later, is being revisited with the threat of some sanction against the State because of the current standards being applied for the use of funds from the Fish and Wildlife Service to acquire some of these lands.

    Anyway, all of us who went to law school are excited at the prospect of reviving our knowledge of laches and estoppel and things like that, so I hope you would take a look at whether the equities in this are ones that weigh in favor of letting the State alone.

    Secretary BABBITT. Good. I will have a look at that. I think this probably involves the apportionment of Wallop-Breaux funds, and the results of the audits that we are required to do under Federal law.

    [The information follows:]

    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."


    Mr. SKAGGS. Good. I was glad that you made mention of the USGS facility at Reston and the cooperation there, particularly on the use of remote sensing assets that the intelligence community has. Mr. Dicks and I both are on the Intelligence Committee. As I am sure you are aware, like everybody else, we have got our budget problems.
 Page 63       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    I am not sure of the extent to which there is any effort to kind of spread the budget hit among user agencies for the value of the product that is now coming out of the intelligence community, in scrubbed version as you described earlier.

    But I wonder if you might take a look at least at your agencies and whether they are being assessed or could stand to be assessed for some of what comes out of that cooperative venture, because there every year as we do our intelligence budget, there is, of course, a look at that program and the amount that is being directly funded out of the intelligence budget to sustain it.
    And I do not know whether you have any comment on that or would just respond for the record.
    Secretary BABBITT. Yes. I guess my view is, compared to the intelligence establishment, the USGS is sort of a 99-pound weakling. Be merciful. [Laughter.]

    Mr. SKAGGS. Oh, no. Do not misjudge my disposition on this. I just want to be prepared for the questions that are inevitably raised.

    Secretary BABBITT. It is an interesting area of endeavor, including this issue of, to what extent can you charge for products, and to what extent is that even desirable. There is a lot of discussion going on now in the entire GIS community about should we charge for derived products, or should we view that as a public service. It is a complex issue. I think it requires some attention, and I do not purport to have an answer.
    Mr. SKAGGS. Well, I think it is appropriate to say, in an open setting like this, I was very taken by one presentation that I heard at a session about a year ago, I guess, involving some Fish and Wildlife Service pilots that were spared some very risky survey flights in typically nasty weather up off Alaska, because we are now able to get through remote sensing much of the assessment of wildlife and habitat concerns that they otherwise had to go out and risk their life to get. So, presumably, that has value to the Department and we could find a way to measure and account for that.
 Page 64       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC


    A final question, particularly since you mentioned the impact on the agencies in your Department of natural-caused disasters, weather in particular. Mr. Kolbe and the Chairman and I also sit on the Commerce-Justice Subcommittee, where funding for the Weather Service is always a matter of interest.

    To the extent that the experience of you and your agencies might inform us of the appropriate budget decisions to be taken there on your sister agency, I just would invite, again, a submission that would help us judge the impact of the work done within that part of the Department of Commerce on saving lives and protecting property, and so forth, under your jurisdiction.

    Secretary BABBITT. Mr. Skaggs, if I can respond briefly. I think the interface between this committee and the committee of jurisdiction over NOAA really raises some interesting issues. All sorts of stuff is divided right down the middle, the Endangered Species Act being the most notable example. There are a lot of other issues there.

    The division of on-shore/near-shore functions, between marine sanctuaries and national parks, is another example of the division in research and administration between the Mineral Management Service off-shore and NOAA functions.

    I think there is an oceans bill moving somewhere that may affect some of this, but I think there may be some possibilities in all of that.
 Page 65       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. SKAGGS. Well, we would be glad to have your further advice.

    [The information follows:]

    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."

    Mr. REGULA. Mr. Dicks?
    Mr. DICKS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Mr. Secretary, just a couple of things. There is a great deal of interest in our State—I think a lot of it because of the Ambrose book on the Lewis & Clark expedition—and I just urge the Department to do everything they can to cooperate with the other agencies in order to make this a memorable occasion.
    Secretary BABBITT. Do you mean they could reach the Pacific Ocean in a reenactment to see a wolf howling in the Olympic——

    Mr. DICKS. That was my second issue. You anticipated me beautifully. [Laughter.]

    Now they will think there was a plot between you and me. [Laughter.]


    I am very concerned about the recent court decision that I think held that because this was an experimental population, the wolves that have been reintroduced—if this court decision is not overturned, I think in the Yellowstone area—maybe it is in Idaho—would have to then be taken and killed because they had not bureaucratically complied with the law just the way this Federal judge wanted it done.
 Page 66       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    What is the Administration's view of this? I think it is a disaster. I know we are appealing the decision, but do you have any comment on that?

    Secretary BABBITT. Well, yes. I take the decision seriously. When a judge says you have got to clear out the wolves, I get interested.

    We made a few inquiries, and the problem is this. Canada will not take the wolves back. We did a little inquiry of some of the zoos around the country, and the response from the zoos was, ''We have more wolves in zoos than we know what to do with. We do not want any of your wolves.''

    Colorado does not seem inclined to make an offer, and the bottom line is there is nowhere for those wolves to go.

    Mr. DICKS. So we do need some legislative relief here. Is that not correct?
    Secretary BABBITT. It is a real possibility, because the court decision is not a frivolous decision. There is a very sort of arcane issue there of how you judge populations.

    Mr. DICKS. Which, in fact, was raised by the environmental community, much to their embarrassment.

    Secretary BABBITT. Absolutely. So, yes, I think this Administration would very much appreciate a sentence somewhere which says, ''The wolves are not going to be evicted from Yellowstone.''
 Page 67       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC


    Mr. DICKS. Are you still committed to the Elwah Project? Take out the two dams, do—you know, wait, wait. Buy the two dams, take out one, and then have a period where we assess how we are doing? Are we going to negotiate on that point?

    Secretary BABBITT. That, I think, represents the possibility of common ground, and we would very much like to pursue that with all of the interested Washington parties, the Chairman, and others.

    Mr. DICKS. I would just point out to you that there is a very analogous situation with the Cushman dam, also in my district, that I may want to discuss with you, because we may need to have—may need to reason together and come to common ground on it as well.
    Thank you.

    Secretary BABBITT. Mr. Dicks, I remember you describing that to me in an airport as I was trying to get away from you to catch a flight. [Laughter.]
    Mr. DICKS. But I would not let you get away. [Laughter.]
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Mr. REGULA. Mr. Yates.
    Mr. YATES. Yes. Mr. Chairman, let me follow up on one of Mr. Skaggs' questions.
    Mr. REGULA. Okay.
 Page 68       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC


    Mr. YATES. We see the damage being done by El Niño to our physical properties all over the country. Has El Niño affected our national resources as much as it seems to have our private resources, to the point of where you may have to ask for more money of this committee?

    Secretary BABBITT. Mr. Yates, it obviously has had significant impacts in a lot of places that people are not necessarily aware of. There is a drought, for example, in areas of Hawaii that is having significant consequences for the land, the biota, the whole thing.

     Mr. YATES. I am thinking of the shorelines along the Pacific, and up in the northwest, the forests, and the parks along the area.

    Secretary BABBITT. You can see the park and refuge issues in the supplementals that are moving forward, most of that in the northwest, in California.

    We have a huge crisis in the Everglades, and it is traceable to El Niño. Normally, in the Everglades, the winter is a dry season. It has been raining nonstop down there. So, yes, I am not sure I could put a dollar figure on it, but this phenomenon is having effects everywhere. I rather like the ones in my neighborhood. I have not had to shovel any snow this winter.

 Page 69       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. YATES. But would it have an effect, for example, on Yellowstone, or is it having an effect on the parks and the natural resources that are centrally located rather than on the coasts?

    Secretary BABBITT. I do not want to get didactic and start into a long discourse here, but the effects of these kinds of weather episodes on ecosystems, in terms of lasting effects, is a very complex issue.

    It is hard to say, in terms of impact on the natural resources, that one episode or two or three are going to have lasting effects, except where you have endangered species which are already on the brink. That is the one
worrisome issue, I think.

    Mr. YATES. Does it have an effect, have you been told, on your water park at the Virgin Islands?

    Secretary BABBITT. Mr. Yates, you are going to have to enlighten me on that one, because that is a new one to me.

    Well, if there are changes in water temperature, you bet. The warming trend in some areas of the ocean has——

    Mr. YATES. I know it is happening on the Pacific side.

    Secretary BABBITT [continuing]. Has enormous consequences.
 Page 70       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    I will tell you one place where that is really causing a problem is with the Atlantic salmon runs. And we see this in Maine and Canada. The wild salmon runs are on the brink, and the best guess as to why is because the ocean temperatures in the North Atlantic actually are down. But it has affected the food chain and the food supply for the ocean piece of the salmon cycle.

    Mr. YATES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have questions for the record.

    Mr. REGULA. Thank you.

    Mr. Secretary, a couple of——

    Mr. YATES. Mr. Chairman, I should express my appreciation to the Secretary for the nice things he said.

    Thank you, Mr. Secretary.

    Mr. REGULA [continuing]. Questions, and we will close the hearing.

    The many things that you have said—and your request—show that you need additional funds. The President's total package, just for our subcommittee, is $1.1 billion above our 1998 allocation. I do not think that is reality. My guess is that our allocation will be substantially less than that.
 Page 71       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC


    My question is: can you reprioritize your request based on what we are finally allocated?

    Secretary BABBITT. Mr. Regula, I recall that you have asked that question once or twice before, and I think my response would be yes. I think that we have been able in the past, on the basis of informal discussions, to reach a——

    Mr. REGULA. We are sensitive to your priorities. You are the manager down there, and I think we want to have a measure of confidence in your being on the ground. But we will have to deal with what is given to us in terms of dollars.

    Secretary BABBITT. I understand that, and I am ready and willing to cooperate as much as we possibly can in that kind of exchange.


    Mr. REGULA. Number two, is the fee system working, in your judgment?

    Secretary BABBITT. Yes, absolutely. And, again, it's a nice example of how—without any external authorizing legislation and in the absence of the ability to get anything moving—we got it done through the committee process. It is, I think, a resounding success.
 Page 72       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    I would say two things. One, we need to keep track of the disposition and the use of the proceeds. I very much support the decentralized way in which that is being done. The condition of that I think is to make sure, both as a manager and you as overseers, we have a clear and good feeling about the priorities and how it backs into resource protection and maintenance.

    Second, we ought to make that permanent. Now, I do not know, but it probably takes authorizing legislation.

    Mr. REGULA. Yes, it does.

    Secretary BABBITT. It would be very nice to get that done.


    Mr. REGULA. Third, we had some discussion initially about the Biological Survey, and, as you know, we put it in USGS. I get an impression that it is working pretty well there in your statements about the GS providing good scientific information for a multitude of purposes. Is that a fair assessment?

    Secretary BABBITT. Mr. Chairman, I think that is exactly right. And let me just say in sort of a mellow mood as we wind up——

    Mr. REGULA. That is a good beginning.
 Page 73       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Secretary BABBITT. It is a nice example of how this process really can work. I know it was controversial. There was a knock-down, drag-out fight for two years, but the bottom line is I had an idea, and you had an idea, and we finally put the two of them together—after kind of shedding blood for a couple of years. I think it has been a really exceptionally good and theoretically correct end to a pretty contentious tale.


    Mr. REGULA. I am pleased to hear that it has worked out well.
    An Independence Park statement on the National Constitution Center is quite different than the regional office statement after the Senate hearing. The park says they want to take care of the needs of the park, i.e. backlog, before taking on a new, non-Park Service structure. Now, you have two different press releases almost. Do you have any comment on this?
    Secretary BABBITT. Well, in the spirit of the wrap up, yes. This is a fairly contentious issue.
    Mr. REGULA. I get that.
    Secretary BABBITT. It is a real contentious issue. The superintendent of the park is a very competent and very determined superintendent. She has a management plan. She thinks it is a good management plan, and she is not backing down.
    Mr. REGULA. That does not include the Constitution Center, am I correct?
    Secretary BABBITT. Well, no. It has a place for the Constitution Center. There is still some disagreement about whether or not the Constitution Center can come off the margins of block 3 out into the mall. The real source of contention is a hotel proposal behind the Constitution Center. That has not been worked out.
 Page 74       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Now, I know that there is a funding effort on many directions down here for that, and I think that the national response has been to try to let us reason together, rather than getting too contentious. It is a real issue.
    Mr. REGULA. Well, in terms of priority, it might not be number one, given the fact that we have limited resources coming along here. And we will not get into the Gettysburg issue, but that has some of the same implications.
    We will submit a number of questions for the record, and appreciate a prompt reply. I think we have had a constructive hearing this morning. Obviously, these are difficult issues, and I am quite sure you are challenged in your capacity as Secretary to referee among the agencies even in terms of establishing priorities.
    I hope we will be very careful on the use of the resources. I am troubled by the fact that movie companies use this land without paying anything, and I think you may share the same thing. I noticed the other day one of the major ski lodges plans to expand, and I suspect they are not paying what would be a fair market value for the use of these lands. I do not ski, but my friends tell me that the price of lift tickets has not gone down.
    And so I hope we, working together, can continue to enhance the management of these facilities and the responsibilities that go with them.
    Secretary BABBITT. Mr. Chairman, let me just say I greatly appreciate the relationship that we have had over the last six years on this committee. I think we have done a lot of really good things. In this sort of endless struggle to become more efficient, we have made progress.
    I think we have struck out in a lot of important new directions, and I very much appreciate my relationship with Mr. Yates, yourself, and the committee members. I think we have a lot to be quite satisfied about, that we have done our job as public servants.
    Mr. YATES. On that note——
 Page 75       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. REGULA. The committee is adjourned.

    [The following questions and answers were submitted for the record:]

    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."

Tuesday, March 17, 1998.




    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."

Opening Remarks

    Mr. REGULA. Well, we will get the hearing started. We are happy to welcome you, Mr. Director, and we are happy to welcome your wife, Mrs. Shea. Your statement will be made a part of the record and any summary you would like to give to us, we will welcome it.
 Page 76       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

Director's Opening Remarks
    Mr. SHEA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate this opportunity and would like to introduce the people who are seated at the table with me.
    On my left is Tom Fry, who is my deputy director. On my right is Larry Benna, who is responsible for much of the information that is here, our budget officer. To his right is Nina Hatfield, who is the deputy director, also. And then seated behind me are my assistant directors for each of the areas. And I hope to, when the question arises, defer to their expertise.
    Mr. REGULA. You should not have a crisis down there for the next hour or so.
    Mr. SHEA. We hope not. We certainly are electronically connected. I think all too often we are these days.
    We also have Mary Ann Lawler and John Trezise from the Department. So we are fully represented across the board.
    I do want to thank you for the time and I would like to present just briefly a summary of my testimony.
    In August when I became the 15th director, I introduced three themes for our organization. The first was to have the BLM be a good neighbor, the second was to practice best science and the third was to promote multiple use, much like the Secretary has talked about in terms of ecosystem management.


    The 1999 budget request is for $1.2 billion, $267 million or 22 percent of this is for pass-through money, including fire and hazardous material funds to benefit other departmental agencies. The budget proposes an increase of $96 million or a 7.8 percent increase. I think for many years the BLM has maintained a very high efficiency and what you are seeing in this budget request is an effort to implement our strategic plan in a meaningful way and follow much of the direction that you have given as the committee chair.
 Page 77       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    We will continue to improve how we operate and particularly focus on how we can improve our customer service. The Trading Post Initiative with the U.S. Forest Service is a good example of how the BLM is providing one-stop shopping to our customers. We are expanding that to have two pilots, in Oregon and in Colorado, and we believe we have realized about a $1.2 million savings.
    We would like to thank Congressman Skaggs for the language and this committee's language that was in the conference report that allowed us to go forward with that initiative. I was just with Mike Dombeck yesterday and we plan to expand those trading post operations in other areas of the West.
    I also want to mention that we are going to have a briefing on the 19th of March with the Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management relating to what we are calling a balanced approach on oil and gas responsibilities. Instead of issuing regulations sequentially and spreading it out over time, we believe it would be better to have a whole picture presented, so we will be doing that on the 19th of March with Bob Armstrong, the Assistant Secretary.
    We will also deploy, for the first time in New Mexico and then in Arizona, the Automated Land and Mineral Records System. Our 1999 request is for $34.6 million, which includes a program increase of $1 million for Release 2. It will allow us, in Release 2, to go on the Internet and truly make the more than one billion records that we have at BLM available to the public.
    Just to give you a couple of other highlights in the 1999 budget, we are, pursuant to an earlier hearing that I appeared before you asking for a $7 million increase for the Land, Resource, and Facilities Restoration Initiative. I have talked with each of the state directors in the last week and reaffirmed with them something that I told them in February. That is, their evaluations, in part, will depend on how we carefully monitor and use the appropriated funds for maintenance, and I heartedly endorse your effort there.
 Page 78       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    We also are asking for $6.4 million for the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. This is the same funding that was requested in 1998 and I think the help that we have been provided in Kane and Garfield Counties will show you essential field operations can be integrated between different governmental entities, counties and the federal government.
    We also have asked for a $2.4 million increase in the Wild Horse and Burro Program. We will be implementing two internal program management reports. We are going to increase our effort in the adoption area and I believe there is some scientific research on fertility control that we will be continuing in the 1999 budget.
    We also are asking for $16 million to implement the Clean Water and Watershed Restoration Initiative that the Vice President recently announced. We are paying particular attention to the abandoned mine problems in Montana and Colorado, and we have included Utah this year.
    Mr. REGULA. Are those strip mines or deep mines?
    Mr. SHEA. Deep mines. The strip mines were through the Office of Surface Mining.
    We are asking for $800,000 to address the growing conflicts over endangered species conservation land use in the southwestern states of Arizona and New Mexico.
    And then we are also asking for $298 million for the department's Wildland Fire Management Program, which includes a $15 million increase. Approximately half of this will be for BLM. Again our fire program, I think, is a great example of interagency cooperation in our Fire Center in Boise.
    There are several other significant issues. To implement the agency's mission, there is $800 thousand for reducing the rights-of-way backlog and withdrawal reviews that we have begun to experience with the increased population that is in the intermountain west, in particular. The rights-of-way problem is increasing.
 Page 79       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    We have a $3.5 million increase for improving rangeland health, to implement the standards and guidelines that the Resource Advisory Councils have put in place now.
    We ask for a $500,000 increase for expanding our recreation partnerships and our fee pilot programs. We had over 73 million visitors to the public lands that BLM is responsible for last year, so we are beginning to expand our fee programs.
    We are also asking for a $3.3 million increase for integrating noxious weed control measures on our western rangelands. In fact, we will be having in Denver a conference, a symposium on weed issues on the 8th, 9th and 10th of April and we are trying to get actual research scientists—Steve Dew is a Professor of Botany at Utah State University—with some of our field managers so we can get some meaningful interaction between what the range managers need and what the scientists in the lab are producing.
    The 1999 budget request, includes reauthorization of the mining claim maintenance fee. The current authorization expires at the end of 1998. Fees would be indexed to inflation and fees would be available in the year after they are collected. The budget includes $33 million for this proposal.
    Our 1999 budget supports the goals established in our strategic plan and requests the resources to allow us to progress towards meeting them.
    One of the reasons I was interested in naming Nina Hatfield as my deputy is that she has been the architect behind both the strategic plan and its interface with the GPRA and I do think it will make the appropriations process more efficient, frankly, in the future, because there will be very clear standards that can be used to judge whether or not what we said we would do has been fulfilled, and I think that is an admirable goal.
    So that is a quick summary of our 1999 budget request. I have introduced you to the deputies and to Larry Benna and the assistant directors, so I would be happy to take your questions.
 Page 80       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    [The information follows:]
    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."


    Mr. REGULA. What do you generate in revenues in BLM, all together?
    Mr. SHEA. Approximately $1.1 billion.
    Mr. BENNA. A little over $1.2 billion and a significant portion of that comes from mineral receipts generated from the public lands that are collected by MMS.


    Mr. REGULA. You are proposing new language to decouple payments to counties from production as opposed to payments based on timber receipts, as is currently the case. What is the rationale for this?
    Mr. SHEA. Let me give you an overview and then I would like Larry to address that specifically. We have found in some of the areas that we manage where timber is produced that the revenue has not been as predictable as it has been in the past, so we believe the decoupling would allow for a better predictive value for the revenue stream.
    Mr. BENNA. I think one of the advantages of this is that it would provide a stable level of funding for——
    Mr. REGULA. For the counties.
    Mr. BENNA. From timber. In the O&C counties, particularly, where the majority of BLM timber receipts are generated, payments to counties are now based on a declining payment scale that was put in place by the Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993.
 Page 81       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    So the payments that would be provided under this proposal would be higher than that declining scale and they would also be level over the next five years, as opposed to the declining scale.
    Mr. REGULA. Is your proposed cut about equal to the '97 number?
    Mr. BENNA. Yes.
    Mr. REGULA. So that you would have a uniform program of timber sales.
    Mr. BENNA. Right. In Western Oregon the allowable sale quantity is determined by the forest plan and we have been providing the full allowable cut of 213.5 million board-feet. As I said a little bit earlier, the payments to the western Oregon counties are no longer tied to receipts from timber. It is a payment from a special account from the Treasury.
    Mr. REGULA. So, as I understand it, the counties would get more money, on balance, out of the proposal that you have in the bill.
    Mr. BENNA. Correct, both in the O&C and from the public domain lands.


    Mr. REGULA. Wild Horse and Burro. A lady brought me a picture of one of her wild horses that she got at the auction, before and after. It was remarkable what a transformation. She said that the horses are used to being in a herd so they are looking to identify with someone and it is the owner.
    There has been controversy about this, as you recognize. What actions have you taken to deal with the management problems?
 Page 82       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. SHEA. Let me just observe that some of our biologists and veterinarians have said that when these horses are transported several thousand miles they may lose as much as 300 to 400 pounds. So the before and after shots, I think, reflect how quickly they can respond to proper care when they are adopted.
    We have asked for increased funding. That increase would largely go to focussing on the adoption program but also increasing the research side. I believe there are some fertility control studies that particularly Zoo Montana is in the midst of that would allow us to have, I think, better management of the operation there.
    In January we did name and conduct our first meeting of the Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Committee. It is allowed for under the 1971 act. We have nine individuals who are outside of government who are volunteers, but many of them have had literally years and years of experience with horses and we have people from the Humane Society.
    I am looking to them to make some very specific recommendations. We recently reorganized that area so that they report directly to the assistant director and I think that streamlining is going to have a positive effect.

    But our biggest problem right now, just to be very frank, is that we have several thousand horses that have been taken off the range and are waiting for adoption. We are going to have to mount, I think, a fairly concerted public relations campaign to get people interested in adoptions. I do have some adoption certificates if anybody would like to fill out some of the forms. We will be happy to facilitate that, providing you qualify.

    Mr. REGULA. I have enough already.

 Page 83       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    You mentioned you manage 73 million acres?

    Mr. SHEA. 264 million.

    Mr. REGULA. I am sorry; 264 million.

    Mr. SHEA. And 500 million mineral or subsurface acres.

    Mr. REGULA. That is, I think, the largest of the land agencies.

    Mr. SHEA. It is. We have been prone in the past to compare how much per acre we get but we won't do that today.


    Mr. REGULA. I am pleased to note that you are working with the Forest Service on a common building and I sense from your testimony that you hope to do more of working with other land agencies in joint efforts. That makes a lot of sense to me.

    Mr. SHEA. Jamie Clark (FWS), Bob Stanton (NPS) and I went through the confirmation process together and then we were sworn in together on August 4. We have taken a great deal of time to collaborate where we can. A great example is in Escalante, Utah, where we have a single facility. When a citizen comes in they can go to the Forest Service, Park Service or BLM, obtain permits or ask questions and I think it is one-stop shopping that makes a great deal of sense.
 Page 84       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. REGULA. I like that. I think government is government and we are all serving the same people. It lends itself to an efficient management. I hope we can do that on fees, where you get one permit that will take you to forests, parks, wherever.

    Mr. SHEA. I have been joking with Bob Stanton that we need to have the Golden Eagle pass so that it goes across all jurisdictions.

    Mr. Fry points out that the photograph you have is where we have actually consolidated our office with the Forest Service. And Elaine Zielinsky, our state director there, yesterday told me that on the Resource Advisory Committee we actually are doing it jointly with Forest Service and BLM together. So that is even across departmental lines.


    Mr. REGULA. That is great.

    Volunteers—do you use a lot of them?

    Mr. SHEA. We do, absolutely. We just, last month, had a wonderful ceremony recognizing seven volunteers from across the country. Two years ago, when I was in my preconfirmation cocoon where I couldn't have any official contact with BLM, I met one of the father-son volunteers down in Kanab, Utah. The father had been volunteering for 10 years. He was 72 years old and said this was absolutely one of the best things.

 Page 85       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    And the person from the BLM who is managing the office there—actually, it was in Bigwater—said they could not function unless the volunteers were there. So I think there are some real opportunities, both with senior citizens and with the student population, as well.

    Mr. REGULA. The Aging Committee hosted a luncheon of people who are seniors and are very actively working. One of them was 102 and goes to work every day. But the thrust of all this is that having a mission is vital in senior years. I think the volunteers are helping with a service, but you are helping the volunteers, too.

    Mr. SHEA. Absolutely. We need to provide the facilities and different opportunities. And interestingly, as we move more into the digital age with our ALMRS project, I think the senior citizens are going to lead the way in getting better educated by having more access to these public land records.

    I did have coffee with Senator Mansfield a month ago and yesterday was his 95th birthday. It was just before St. Patrick's Day. He is a great example of going to work every day and putting in a hard day's work, and I think it has a lot of benefit.

    Mr. REGULA. They had 50 of them, one from each state. My district happened to have the one senior from Ohio. He has two jobs and he is 72. So I think the volunteer program is great.

    Mr. Skaggs.

 Page 86       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. SKAGGS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    Good afternoon. Sorry I missed the first part of your presentation. Mr. Dicks said before he departed that you had said something nice about me while I was gone. I would like to give you an opportunity to do it again. [Laughter.]

    Mr. SHEA. I thanked you for your initiative last year in the conference report.


    Mr. SKAGGS. We need all the help we can get here with our fragile egos, as you know.

    Diving right in, I have some concerned word from home about the IG report and the review of mineral leasing receipts allocations and what the off-sets were for your costs, I guess.

    Do you agree with the IG's findings on those calculations? If so, what are you going to do about it? And if not, why not?

    Mr. SHEA. What I am going to do is defer to Larry and Tom on the receipt question. I have not seen the IG's report. One of the things I found in being new in office is that there are a number of IG reports that are coming through and I am having to deal with each of them as they come along.
 Page 87       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC


    Mr. SKAGGS. I am referring to report number 98–79.

    Mr. FRY. Mr. Skaggs, you have me on that one.

    Just very briefly, we have always had people who have been concerned about net receipt-sharing. Since we have been at BLM we have taken the position that our books are open, that anybody can come look and see how we calculate those numbers. And to anyone who is concerned about that, we would be more than happy to walk them through those numbers.

    The question of whether or not we have net receipt-sharing, of course, is a congressional question. It is an issue Congress has to cross about whether or not we are going to have that program. But to the extent we have it, we have a formula that we go by. We think we have followed the formula correctly and we are more than happy for anybody to look at those numbers.

    Mr. SHEA. We will get a response to you.

    Mr. SKAGGS. That implies that you disagree with the IG's assertion that the formula was not applied correctly over these three years.

    Mr. FRY. I will be candid with you. I haven't seen that report.
 Page 88       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. SKAGGS. Then if we could get some information for the record about that particular one and what you plan to do about it one way or another.

    [The information follows:]

    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."


    As I think you are aware, the DOD authorization bill for this year transferred some oil shale reserve lands into your jurisdiction and I don't know that that has been finally accomplished yet. I understand there are some negotiations going on about—I'm not sure what, exactly. I just want to get a status report from you on that transfer. Again, if it is easier to do for the record, that would be fine. If you are prepared to speak to it right now, that would be fine.

    Mr. SHEA. The transfer has been proposed. We have evaluated it. We have not gotten the final transfer. It has to be consistent with the management program and I would like to give you a full and complete answer on that. It is midstream and hasn't been completed yet.
    Mr. SKAGGS. And I will get you some additional questions that bear on that same transaction for a response for the record, too, if I may, please.

    [The information follows:]
 Page 89       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."


    Mr. SKAGGS. I do know that you know about the Tenth Circuit case having to do with your review of roadless areas, I guess as it pertains to Utah and presumably to similar exercises underway in Colorado. I just wanted to give you an opportunity to explain where things stand in the overall roadless review area and in particular what the Bureau is doing by way of public participation in this process.

    Mr. SHEA. Judge Murphy's decision came down last week. We were quite pleased that the plaintiffs in the case were determined not to have standing to proceed, to challenge the Bureau's right to reinventory wilderness areas. It will take approximately 52 days under the appellate court rules before that decision is, if you will, enforceable. It will take us at least that long to regather the BLM personnel that were doing the inventory in the first place in Utah.

    We were going about it in a very systematic and public manner, where we were very active in soliciting the opinions and expertise of the public. We will renew that effort. In Colorado we are following a similar effort with State Director Ann Morgan, identifying the areas, looking particularly at the roadless question.

    My own personal attitude is that we cannot fulfill our statutory mission of knowing what the inventory is if we haven't done that kind of scientific study. I think Judge Murphy clearly articulates the right of the BLM, as an administrative agency, to do that under its statutory authority.
 Page 90       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Now, the one question that remains is whether or not the management of an area, as a ''wilderness area,'' before Congress has acted, is an appropriate management tool. And Judge Murphy remanded that back to Judge Benson for determination at trial on that question or to subsequent motions.

    Mr. SKAGGS. Was there any hint from the circuit court opinion about what is to be dealt with at trial on remand on that issue?

    Mr. SHEA. Only the sixth cause of action remains and that is the question of whether or not BLM managing an area as a wilderness area without congressional delegation is beyond the scope of their authority.

    Mr. SKAGGS. That would have pretty broad implications through the other public lands agencies which do the same thing.

    Mr. SHEA. It certainly would and it does seem to me, again reading the appellate court decision, there are always a lot of different points of possible conjecture. Whether or not a motion for summary judgment would get the question removed from a trial I think is something that the Department of Justice attorneys and the solicitor's office in the Department of the Interior will be carefully following.


    Mr. SKAGGS. I was unaware of that pretty important twist.
 Page 91       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    I know a big hunk of your budget is dedicated to dealing with possible calamities and natural disasters, fires, whatever, and I have been trying to make a record with your colleagues from your sister agencies about the usefulness and value of whatever derived product you get out of the USGS operation out in Reston that tries to make intelligence product available after it has been scrubbed appropriately for use by our public lands agencies. I want to invite you to fill us in on that.

    Mr. SHEA. I received my clearances back. I had worked for the Senate Intelligence Committee back in 1975 and '76 so I renewed my clearances and went to USGS for a briefing, met with about five members of the Civil Application Committee that is an interagency group that do have clearances to look at what products are available.

    I told the Chairman the story that last year we had a fire in Alaska and were able to use some national technical means. But between the time of the satellite flying over and the actual information getting to the fire crew on the ground it was 20 hours.

    There is a group in Finland that has a contract with a French satellite company that can get it to you in real time. So some of our fire people were suggesting that we might contract with them.

    I met with Mark Schafer two weeks ago to explore how we, in the BLM, could better tie into the resource side of USGS, particularly on the inventory and monitoring side. I think there are some very interesting technological developments. We have been talking with the Air Force about using some of their unmanned aircraft surveillance out in Nellis Air Force Base to do some surveys in that area. But it is an area that I think there are some enormous savings that could be done and it is really a question of getting the cooperation between the federal agencies, specifically DOD and the Department of the Interior.
 Page 92       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. SKAGGS. Well, I would appreciate it if there is elaboration that you could include for the record on some stories that will flesh this out and any approximation of value received from that product. I think it would help Mr. Dicks and me in particular, since we are also on the Intelligence Committee, having to deal with that budget.

    [The information follows:]

    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."

    Mr. SKAGGS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. REGULA. Mr. Wamp.


    Mr. WAMP. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    My primary interest, being from the Southeast, is in this Clean Water and Watershed Restoration Initiative. I am interested in the $16 million request for that initiative for FY99. Reading your testimony and some of the back-up, I see there is coordination between Fish and Wildlife, EPA and other agencies. I just wanted BLM's perspective on how the Administration plans to carry out clean water initiatives throughout the country and how the $8 million for soil, water and air management within that $16 million request is disbursed across the country and how you coordinate those activities with these other agencies over the next few years.
 Page 93       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. SHEA. One of the problems that we have at BLM is that 97 percent or more of our acreage is really west of Colorado. We have approximately 300,000 acres of surface land east of the Mississippi. So most of the clean water activity that we will be following will be in the Western states.

    But as I said earlier, the interaction with Jamie Clark at the Fish and Wildlife Service, Bob Stanton at National Parks and Mike Dombeck at the Forest Service has increased an enormous amount in the last six months.

    I think the area where there will be the greatest collaboration will be in establishing protocols for appropriate monitoring and if there are successes, for instance, in cleaning up an abandoned mine site in Utah, for instance, or in Montana, that has some application for a source pollution problem in the Southeast, we will be exchanging that information in a more efficient manner than we would have in the past.

    In my judgment, in the past oftentimes what BLM was doing was not known in the Forest Service, for instance, or the National Parks. That will not be the case now.

    Mr. WAMP. I noticed where the Vice President has been working with the Department of Agriculture on this. Are they the lead agency in the clean water initiatives?

    Mr. SHEA. They certainly have been most involved in the architecture, if you will, of it, but in the implementation it will fall where the jurisdictional responsibilities are. So, for instance, on the acreage that BLM has, we will be the primary responsible agency there.
 Page 94       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. WAMP. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. REGULA. I would just like to follow up on Mr. Wamp's question.

    I notice that the BLM has been included in the Vice President's Clean Water Initiative. However, our analysis indicates that the majority of funds included under this initiative are programs that this committee has supported and funded in past appropriations bills. Other than the level of funding, is there any difference between the so-called Vice President's initiative and the programs that we have funded before he ever got into the act?

    Mr. SKAGGS. Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. SHEA. I don't want to decide who got in the act first. All I know is that we are going to have $16 million more and I do think, again on the science side and on the monitoring side, we are going to have a greater focus.

    Mr. REGULA. $16 million would help you to focus.

    Mr. SHEA. It certainly will and I want to thank this committee for its effort and I will thank the Vice President if I have a chance.

    Mr. REGULA. For adopting our program.

 Page 95       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. SHEA. Whichever is greater, I will be thankful for.

    Mr. REGULA. We call that a leading question.

    Mr. Kolbe.


    Mr. KOLBE. Thank you very much.

    Mr. Shea, welcome. You and I have had a chance to talk in my office, prior to your testimony today, about some of these issues. I thought I would get on the record a little bit of this.

    We have some very difficult and obviously very contentious issues, particularly in the Southwest, that deal with endangered species. Well, we have them all over the country, in the Northwest as well.

    I would like to get for the record what you see as the mission of BLM in terms of the purposes of the public lands that come under your jurisdiction. What do you believe your purpose is and what are the uses of those lands that come under your jurisdiction? That is a general question.

    Mr. SHEA. Let me, if I might, answer that in two parts. First, I think FLPMA is very clear that we, as a federal agency, are to promote multiple use; that is, both conservation and development. And I think some people of the more extreme varieties of the political spectrum would say that is a contradiction; you can't have conservation; you can't have development.
 Page 96       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    But I like to point to Oregon and Washington, where good conservation allows for appropriate development. I think the Secretary has been very clear in his sense of multiple use, that you have to look at the whole area because if you fix one part, and I think the weeds are a great example. If we go in and do an effective management of nonnative invasive weeds but we don't take care of the whole watershed area, it is simply going to repeat itself the year after that.

    So I think we are beginning to see a need to develop a regional approach to these things and I think the BLM is in a very good position, given its acreage in the West, to take that approach.

    So the short-term goal, in my judgment, is to promote responsible multiple use, which is both conservation and development. But I also have what I call the Michael and Paul standard. Michael is our 12-year-old and Paul is our 10-year-old. I want them to look back in 30 years and be able to say that their father, when he was Director of the BLM, did a responsible job, that there are sustainable economies there, that people can get meaningful employment but, at the same time, that the public lands that have been entrusted to the BLM were properly managed.

    So I think it does not have a single simple answer. I can't say we ought to be able to do X because if we do X consistently, then we are going to be harming Y.

    The one thing I will say after seven months in this job is the number of different tasks that the BLM is expected to do under its statutory and regulatory responsibilities is enormous. But if I do a good job, in 30 years Michael and Paul will be able to, I hope, have some pride in what we did.
 Page 97       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. KOLBE. I appreciate that answer. I know it was a general question. It comes from the fact that in the past perhaps BLM tilted more toward the user side. So now, as you go through, as we, and this has been on-going for several years, a shift in our thinking, the user side may think that the tilt is all in the other direction, but maybe it is towards more of a balance.

    I guess what I just wanted to make clear is that in your view, it makes good land management sense to talk about uses of public lands, as well as the conservation. Your goal is not to deny economic uses of those public lands.

    Mr. SHEA. No, not at all. Just this morning I met with the Public Lands Council and many of them were, as you were indicating, quite upset that many of the traditional uses, that livestock, for instance, are being lessened on public lands. But, as I also indicated, we had 73 million visitors last year on recreational use of the public lands.


    I would like, if I might, ask Nina Hatfield, my deputy, to speak about the GPRA, which, as I mentioned earlier, really is going to be a significant process that will allow the Congress and the executive branch to engage in a meaningful dialogue about what are the plans, what is the strategic plan, how are we implementing it? I think she has been the key architect for much of the BLM's progress and if she could say a few words about that, I think that would go further to answering your question.

 Page 98       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. KOLBE. Okay. And then I do have one other question before my time is up.

    Ms. HATFIELD. I think our strategic plan points out the two major goal areas that we are trying to serve current and future publics and that is primarily in the direction of providing opportunities for a variety of multiple uses that Director Shea referred to, like opportunities for environmentally responsible recreational use, as well as environmentally responsible commercial uses.

    But I think throughout the strategic plan we have recognized that those uses need to be done in an environmentally sound manner that allows us to maintain the public lands for future uses, as well.

    But it certainly does reflect in the strategic plan the fact that our user base is changing to some extent from those traditional users to recreational users, for example, who are coming out and expecting to have facilities in some cases or, in the case with BLM, a lot of open spaces that they can enjoy.

    And so our strategic plan, I think, tries to take us in a direction where you can have the uses but it is done in an environmentally responsible manner.

    Mr. KOLBE. Can I be indulged for just one more question?

    Mr. REGULA. Certainly.

 Page 99       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. KOLBE. Let me just bring this to a very specific thing. We have one of the most contentious issues going right now, and I am sure you are aware of it, the ferruginous pygmy owl in Southern Arizona. It is different from most of the other endangered species debates that we have had in this country because this one is an urban issue. It is affecting all urban development there. But it also affects some of the rural areas, including some of the BLM lands.

    I am puzzled because it is my understanding that we have two biological opinions, both written by the Fish and Wildlife Service but by different people, one for the BLM lands and one for the Forest Service lands, and virtually adjacent to each other—in fact, intermixed, I believe—dealing with some allotments on grazing in the area north of Tucson, in Pinal County.

    In the case of the Forest Service biological opinion, there was a decision that it would not in any way affect the grazing, not affect the habitat for the pygmy owl. In the case of the individual who wrote it for the BLM, the conclusion was that it did. The concern, of course, is that this is going to lead you, or force you, into a decision that will remove all grazing from these allotments.

    Can you reconcile for me the disparity in these two opinions and where you are going with this?

    Mr. SHEA. I can't, if you will, reconcile. I can tell you the process by which the reconciliation will occur.
 Page 100       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Secretary Glickman and Secretary Babbitt convened a meeting in Phoenix several months ago. They had representatives from the Forest Service, from the Fish and Wildlife Service, National Parks, BLM, Air Force. There were a number of federal agencies there.

    What we were finding in New Mexico and Arizona was a group of people from many different sides of issues were deciding that these issues should be resolved in courts and we were finding ourselves hit almost on a monthly basis with lawsuits. In fact, just last week we resolved one in New Mexico and when I met with Mike Dombeck yesterday I shared with him the terms of the settlement, I think because he is hoping to be able to resolve some of their disputes.

    Interestingly, this morning when I met with the Public Lands Council, one of the ranchers whose property is affected by the species you were mentioning was there and raised that issue specifically with me.

    I think the scientific hinge as to the different interpretations depends on whether or not the habitat that they are examining for purposes of the endangered species was manmade or whether it is a natural habitat. In the Forest Service, as I understand it, they determined that it was a natural habitat and in the BLM it was manmade and, therefore, there may be different applications.

    What we have to do between the Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Interior is give a consistent view. The Southwest Initiative is one of the forums in which that consistency is going to be approached. Obviously with the reauthorization of the Endangered Species Act one of the issues pending before Congress, we will be following carefully what the Congress determines the resolution to be there.
 Page 101       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    I do want to make it clear from a personal perspective that there is much merit to having the Endangered Species Act there because I think it otherwise can easily have critical flora and fauna disappear not because we intend them to do but worse, unintentionally let it happen.

    So it may be an owl in Arizona or a minnow in Utah, but I think the process that requires communities to come together to examine how their habitat is being affected is a very important one that BLM and the Department of the Interior subscribe to.

    Mr. KOLBE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. You have been very indulgent. I will have another couple of questions in another round.


    Mr. REGULA. Just to comment, I want to, Mr. Director, congratulate you on what you have done on the maintenance backlog. As you know, I have been interested in that and I see that you addressed it, I think, very effectively.

    Mr. SHEA. Larry and his staff have been extraordinarily helpful in putting that together. Nina and I, in each of our phone calls with the state directors each month, remind them that one of the points of evaluation will be how they have actually spent the money on maintenance.

 Page 102       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. REGULA. That is great.

    One question on fees. Are they working well for you?

    Mr. SHEA. Yes. We would like to be able and are proposing to expand those. There is a deep belief on the part of the public when they use that—Little Sahara in Utah is a great example—when the money is actually put to work there, people have a very positive attitude.

    One of the challenges that the Vice President made to 27 bureau heads on August 4, the day I was sworn in, was to have people believe in their government. And it is interesting that we talk about the different bureaus and departments. A citizen doesn't make any distinction between Forest Service or BLM and, frankly, doesn't make any distinction really between Congress and the executive branch. We are the government.

    So one of the things that we are doing with the fee program, I think, is finding ways of renewing a contract with the citizenry, that there is a relationship between what they are paying in taxes and what they are able to use on public lands.

    Mr. REGULA. Great.

    Do you have much of your land being occupied for ski resorts?

    Mr. SHEA. I wish. The Forest Service does.
 Page 103       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. REGULA. Not much BLM?

    Mr. SHEA. Actually I just want it noted for the record this is the first time in 42 years that I have not been able to ski. No, we don't have any ski resorts on BLM lands.

    Mr. REGULA. I noted they were going to expand and I think maybe the fees we are getting for public lands are a little skimpy.

    Mr. SHEA. Believe me, if we get in the ski business I will make sure that the fees are appropriate.


    Mr. REGULA. Do you have any movies being made on BLM lands?

    Mr. SHEA. We do and John Berry testified, I believe—he has proposed, as the Assistant Secretary for Policy Management and Budget, that we look at the possibility of having an agent to negotiate a fair market value, and I subscribe to that.

    Mr. REGULA. We would be pleased to help you on that one because I have never gotten a free ticket for a movie. [Laughter.]

 Page 104       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. NETHERCUTT. Mr. Chairman, I thought you were going to say you had never been in a movie. There is a chance here for that.

    Mr. Shea, welcome, sir, and thanks for being here.

    I notice in the budget that you have requested a $3.3 million increase for noxious weed management nationwide. About a third of that, $980,000 is intended to be used for the Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project.

    If that project doesn't reach a record of decision during fiscal year 1999, do you still plan to go forward with that noxious weed work planned in the area?

    Mr. SHEA. Yes. Our people tell me that the United States loses approximately $100 million a year to nonnative weeds invading areas. The story I tell is in Tooele County, just west of Salt Lake County, in 1927 there is a county record of the commission meeting and there was a two-acre parcel of land that was infected with knapweed and the county commissioners had to debate whether they would spend $100 to eradicate that two acres. They decided not to and we now have over 150,000 acres of knapweed in that area.

    So the $3.3 million is a modest start but the area where I want to stress, and before you came, we were discussing that the BLM is sponsoring a science symposium in Denver on weeds on April 8, 9 and 10 and we are getting actual research biologists, botanists, with field managers because oftentimes what happens, I think, is the field people know what they need to do but they don't always know what the scientific basis of doing it is. Then you have laboratory scientists who know answers to thousands and thousands of questions but not necessarily the ones that the field wants.
 Page 105       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    So I am trying to force some interaction there and the $3.3 million addition will go to that. If it is not spent directly in the Columbia Basin, there will be other places where it will be spent.

    Mr. NETHERCUTT. Would they be within the project areas?

    Mr. SHEA. Yes.

    Mr. NETHERCUTT. I want to be sure; if you don't get a decision, you are not going to take the money and spend it in Tennessee; you will spend it within—sorry to pressure you like that.

    Mr. WAMP. It won't be Tennessee, Mr. Nethercutt. We have already been down that road. We are east of the Mississippi.

    Mr. SHEA. The Secretary, I think, has developed a process that encouraged collaboration by different states and the Interior Columbia Basin is one that has moved the furthest. We can look at the southern part of California for the desert population. We can look in Arizona and New Mexico and the Southwest Initiative. We can look at the Colorado Plateau. But generally the money we are asking for will be spent in the region specified in our budget.

    Mr. NETHERCUTT. You are requesting an additional almost $6.8 million to implement the Interior Columbia Basin Project and I understand you are going to plan to dedicate about $16 million in existing funds for implementation. Is that accurate?
 Page 106       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. SHEA. That is correct.

    Mr. NETHERCUTT. How many FTEs do you plan to have dedicated to this effort in the next fiscal year?

    Mr. SHEA. I am going to defer to Larry Benna on the question of how many FTEs. I do not believe that there is a net increase.

    Mr. BENNA. There may be a small one, Congressman.

    [The information follows:]


    In 1999, the first year of implementation of the Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project the BLM does not anticipate a major need or increase in permanent employees. Over 80 percent of available funds are expected to be used for on the ground management including weed eradication, stream restorations, forest thinning, vegetative management and NEPA-related work. Remaining funds would support implementation transition activities including sub-basin reviews, watershed analysis and technology transfer to field units.

    Mr. SHEA. That is not the major part of what we are proposing to do. Most of what we are doing there is going to be contract work of a scientific and sociological basis, looking at how the impact will be felt in the area. We can get back to you, though, with the precise number.
 Page 107       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC


    Mr. NETHERCUTT. That would be great.

    I see Mr. Kolbe's book on ''Time Bomb 2000.'' I assume your agency is working—maybe that has already been discussed—on the Y2K problem.

    Mr. SHEA. Yes.

    Mr. NETHERCUTT. Are you prepared for that, and assuming you are under existing budget numbers?

    Mr. SHEA. We were just upgraded yesterday, my e-mail told me, by OMB from the ''at-risk'' category to ''if you can continue on this path, you will be prepared.'' And with ALMRS certainly being our major effort——

    Mr. WAMP. Would the gentleman yield?

    Mr. NETHERCUTT. Sure.

    Mr. WAMP. The day before they come here they all get upgraded. It is the second time in two weeks.

    Thank you.
 Page 108       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. SHEA. There must be a conspiracy.

    Well, I can tell you with the Automated Land and Mineral Record System, ALMRS, from day one that has been a 2000-friendly information system process.

    Where we worry, and I think any federal agency has to worry about this, we have an enormous amount of interaction with counties and states. So it is going to be fittingly ironic that we get prepared, spend the money in time to do it but then some external agency that is not within the federal umbrella will come in with a system that is not, and can cause some enormous problems.

    Mr. NETHERCUTT. I think my time is about expired, Mr. Chairman.

    I would just say, Mr. Shea, you bring up a refreshing attitude and a welcome one to the agency. I appreciate your involvement in the Midnight Mine issue out in our part of the country and I appreciate the background and practical experience, real-world experience you have had and I wish you well and look forward to working with you.

    Mr. SHEA. I do hope we will continue to seek a common solution with Midnight Mine. I think there is one there if we persist and get the federal family together.

    Mr. NETHERCUTT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. REGULA. Let me congratulate you on your cost-sharing partnerships. I would like to see a lot more of that in government and I think your agency is leading the way. That is a very positive approach.
 Page 109       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. Skaggs.


    Mr. SKAGGS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. A couple more items.

    I was intrigued with Mr. Kolbe's asking you about your mission statement and as I was listening to your response. It reminded me of a now fairly regular conversation we have with your colleague at the Forest Service about the extent to which the Forest Service contributes to GDP through its traditional role of timbering and managing the forest for harvest versus managing for recreation. I think it is something like a ten-to-one ratio of recreational uses and what is derived for the nation's economy from that kind of activity versus timbering.

    Do you have any comparable at least back-of-the-envelope sense about how things for BLM break down between resource extraction activities, on the one hand, and recreation on the other?

    Mr. SHEA. I don't have at the tip of my tongue the numbers. I know that we have them and I would like to prepare a letter response to you on that.

    [The information follows:]


 Page 110       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    The total estimated direct and indirect annual value of the BLM's commercial activities is $27.5 billion (source—1997 BLM Annual Report). The annual economic impacts of recreation on BLM managed lands are estimated to range between $8.0 to $15.5 billion (source—State and National Economic Impacts Associated with Travel Related Expenditures by Recreational Visitors to Land Managed by the U.S. Department of the Interior, 1/16/98). As part of the BLM's Strategic Plan, efforts are underway to further study and quantify the economic benefits from public land activities.

    Mr. SHEA. I do know that we are increasing our visitors, recreation visitors, by 7 to 12 percent per year. We just recently came out with a book which I think many of you have gotten called ''Beyond the National Parks,'' which lists over 200 different areas that people can go and visit public lands that are administered by the BLM.

    We have not done the economic extrapolation of how much economic activity that reflects. I know in some rural parts of Colorado or Utah the attitude is, ''Well, they come; they don't spend any money,'' but at least some of the camping equipment I have seen requires spending some money in the local areas.
I would like to give you a better answer if I might by letter.

    I do think we need to be, and that is where I think the Chairman's effort on the maintenance is so important, that if the public does come and they don't have a good experience, not only are they disgruntled about the government but they won't come back again. And we want to, as a good neighbor, invite them back with appropriate use, as Nina was mentioning.

 Page 111       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. SKAGGS. I think it is real important for us to have at least a rough fix on what the proportions are in this sense, in making good judgments about your budget. And my hunch is there is some lag time in what is really going on out there and what we think is going on out there.

    The other thing, and then I will need to leave for another committee assignment. I have been trying to get a similar record established with federal land management agencies of the significance of weather information that you receive in either avoiding costs because you are able to prepare for natural phenomena or however it may affect your agency's holdings. Again, Mr. Regula and Mr. Kolbe and I are all on the subcommittee that funds NOAA and I would like to get some sense of how it matters to you what goes on the NOAA side of the government.

    Mr. SHEA. The most critical area for us is the fire side. As you know, with the tragedy in Colorado, much of that was due to not the best weather information, particularly as it related to humidity, that was available. So we are heavily dependent on good weather and timely weather information.

    The tragedy that happened in Northern Arizona last summer with the French hikers is a good example, to me, where we could use some of the defense technology, specifically that the Navy has, to provide early warning situations for flash floods. And I think as we have increasing recreational use, there will be a reasonable expectation that kind of information be made available and we try to take some appropriate steps.

 Page 112       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    When we get into longer term questions as it relates to rangeland management and our implementation of standard and guidelines, then the weather information is again critical, not in real time but in terms of planning time. And I think there it is sort of the old cutting off your nose despite your face. If we don't adequately have the weather information, if NOAA can't provide it, then the longer term effect is going to be far more costly.
So I am a strong supporter of NOAA and a weather system that we can rely on.

    Mr. SKAGGS. Let me invite you to flesh out with examples and any further ability that you may have to actually attach dollar value, if you can submit that for the record.

    [The information follows:]


    The significance of weather information, to either avoid cost by preparing for natural phenomena or affect our operations, may be best illustrated by looking at fire management activities. Fire, be it a prescribed fire or a raging wildland fire, or the smoke from either is a weather driven event. Federal, state and local agencies spend millions of dollars annually in preparedness activities to reduce the risk to life, property and resources from wildfire, and improve the safety margin for the use of fire under prescribed conditions. One of the key elements in working with fire is the role the National Weather Service (NWS) fire weather meteorologist. Knowing short term and long term forecasting for local humidities, wind direction and speed, movement of fronts, possibilities of dry lightning, and upper air stability are just a few of the key meteorological considerations requested hundreds of times daily across the country. These components can spell the difference between success or failure on prescribed fires, and the loss of life and property on wildland fires. Beyond the issues of life, a single escaped wildland fire, that could have been prevented if accurate weather information was available, can easily cost the government tens of thousands of dollars to suppress and rehabilitate.
 Page 113       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    The National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG), an organization that represents the federal agencies, the 50 State Foresters, and the US Fire Administration, want the NWS to maintain its leadership role in the fire weather program. However, the user agencies in NWCG are concerned that this role, which is needed now more than any time in the past, is in jeopardy. Since an Intergovernmental Fire Weather Users Summit in Santa Monica, California in 1994, several events have occurred which caused serious concerns about NWS's ability to provide an acceptable fire weather program. The user agencies of this critical service are prepared to accept responsibility for portions of the program where NWS is unwilling or unable to meet the needs. Actions by wildland fire agencies in different areas of the country to allocate limited personnel ceilings and even more scarce funding for fire weather services illustrate the importance of a viable National Weather Service fire weather program.

    Mr. SKAGGS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. REGULA. Thank you.

    Mr. Kolbe.


    Mr. KOLBE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I just have one other question to ask.

    You had talked about the Southwest conservation strategy, and I just wanted to give you an opportunity to describe that a little bit more. It has been described as an effort to recover species at risk in the Southwest, particularly Arizona and New Mexico, such as the Southwest willow flycatcher. And also your testimony notes that we have had a tremendous increase in the number of appeals of decisions and lawsuits that have been filed, costing, I think, more than $10 million a year.
 Page 114       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Senator McCain and I introduced and sponsored legislation that was signed into the law by the President a month ago that creates—you and I talked about this a little bit in my office—the Udall Center as an environmental mediation organization for trying to settle some of these disputes. The idea is to bring together—to find a neutral place to bring together the different parties on some of these issues and I am hopeful that maybe we can find some ways that we can work with BLM on this to make this a going concern.

    Could you just give me some detail of how the Southwest conservation strategy would work and how the $800,000 that you would spend there might actually reduce some of the lawsuits we have?

    Mr. SHEA. Let me, if I might, first tell you that after our meeting I did call Denise Meredith, our state director there, and encouraged her to get in contact with the Udall Center, to use that facility.

    The alternative dispute resolution that represents, to me, is one of the prime points of coordination that will go on in the Southwest Initiative. When we met in Phoenix, it was the first time in, I think, several years, if not decades, that all of the federal agencies had gotten together in the field, as opposed to gathering in Washington, D.C.

    And the instructions from Secretary Glickman and Secretary Babbitt were very clear. They wanted to have field-based coordination. They didn't want the people in the Forest Service or Fish and Wildlife or BLM to be calling back to Washington, people in Washington having a meeting and then sending out instructions to the separate units. And the co-chairs, one from Fish and Wildlife and the other from National Parks, are actually there, one in Phoenix and one in Denver.
 Page 115       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    And the secretaries believe and certainly it has been the practice to date that getting the local BLM, Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife employees empowered to make decisions is going to resolve the matter much more quickly.

    I think one of the things that happens in litigation is that somebody brings a lawsuit, there is an established course of discovery, but much of the communication is not with the people in the field; it is with the people in Washington.

    So when we empower them, as the secretaries have attempted to do with the Southwest Initiative, I believe you will get those people making decisions that will facilitate locals coming together, through mediation, and avoiding litigation.

    I told the Public Lands Council—in fact, Assistant Secretary Bob Armstrong was the one who said this—he said, if we could get just one half of the amount of money that is spent in litigation and apply it to on-the-ground solutions, many of the contentious areas would disappear. They wouldn't all disappear. There would still be some litigation. But many of them, specifically in the Southwest, would go away and you could have the multiple use that was environmentally responsible.

    Mr. KOLBE. Thank you very much, Mr. Shea. I appreciate the approach you are taking and certainly a lot of us wish you well. There are a lot of others out there that are probably determined to see that approach fail, but I think ultimately it has to succeed if we are going to get beyond this kind of confrontation approach to land management, land use and conservation efforts.
 Page 116       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. Chairman, I have a whole series of questions which I will submit for the record dealing with the San Pedro National Riparian Conservation Area. We have again one of the most difficult battles going on down there over the water in that valley, as you know, and the growth of the Sierra Vista area and particularly Fort Huachuca, which is one of the most important military posts for the U.S. Army. I have some questions which go to the water use in that area and the management. But, Mr. Chairman, I will submit those for the record, and I thank you very much, Mr. Shea.

    Mr. SHEA. Thank you, Mr. Kolbe.

    Mr. REGULA. I think a number of members will have questions for the record and we appreciate a prompt reply on those.

    Mr. SHEA. We will get them back to you very quickly.


    Mr. REGULA. What is the status of your negotiations to transfer inspection and enforcement activities to the states? This kind of goes to this partnership sharing issue.

    Mr. SHEA. I will let Mr. Fry answer that.

    Mr. FRY. As the Chairman knows, a couple of years ago, out of the Vice President's office, as part of reinventing government, we started looking at the possibility of delegating some of the inspection and enforcement functions from the BLM to the states. We have had lots of discussions with the states about those delegations.
 Page 117       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    I think that it is fair to say that where we are today is that some of the states are not particularly interested in delegation but would like to have the entire program turned over to them, the entire operation of oil and gas on federal lands, as opposed to a delegation of just the inspection and enforcement program.
    So in some recent meetings that we have had with the IOGCC we have said we are willing to talk about some of those kinds of transfers, but we think that that needs to be on a state by state basis. We think we need to make sure that we meet some standards, some federal standards that have been set, that there is a net saving ultimately for the taxpayer. If you meet those kinds of standards, we are willing to work with states on an individual basis to look at the transfer of some of those additional functions that were not part of the Vice President's original proposal.
    Mr. REGULA. I assume some states are much better equipped to do this than others.
    Mr. FRY. Some are. We already have agreements with some states. We have agreements with California and Colorado, where some of the functions where we have been involved in the past, they are now involved in.
    There has been a lot of debate, though, about what it is people do. You kind of get into an apples-and-oranges discussion. We talk about transferring oil and gas functions but the federal government is involved in a lot of things. We end up doing a lot of NEPA compliance. Now, that is not something that the states are necessarily involved in.
    One of the things that I have been most concerned about is I do think it is bad government when you have two different pick-up trucks, one that says BLM on the side and another one that says Wyoming on the side show up at the same location, doing the same thing. It makes no sense to do that. We have to find a way where, whether it is the federal government that shows up or the state government that shows up to do some of this inspection and enforcement work, that it is consistent and is not duplicative of efforts.
 Page 118       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    So that is where we would like to end up at the end of the day and we are still hopeful that something can be worked out where we will avoid those kinds of anomalies.
    Mr. REGULA. Well, along those lines, I notice that the BLM has insisted on performing additional testing at the Ward Valley site when the State of California has indicated that it is willing to perform these tests. Is there a reason for that? I mean, Ward Valley has been around for years.
    Mr. FRY. Ward Valley testing—my goodness. There has been a continuing debate between the Department of the Interior of the federal government and the state about the testing. We want to make sure that the tests that are done ensure that there will be a safe environment for the nuclear waste disposal facility that is proposed right now by the state.
    We have never seen the standards by which the state wants to do their tests. There were lots of negotiations to try to work out a standard protocol but we have never seen exactly what the protocol of the state is, so we have never been sure exactly whether or not that safety standard would be met. That is something that I am sure your people would continue to be willing to talk about.
    Right now, as you are probably aware, we have some tribes who have raised not only some environmental issues but some tribal religious issues who have taken over camping at the site, so we are right now not going forward with anything.
    Mr. SHEA. Mr. Chairman, that is a situation that is very much in the stages of on-going negotiation. As Tom said, we attempted to come up with an agreement as to the protocol on the science that would be performed so that a single drilling operation could be done. We were not able to get that information from the state, so we are proceeding to approach it with deliberate speed. We are not going to be rushing on any of this until we can come up with some coordinated response.
 Page 119       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. REGULA. I assume you recognize the need to get the testing program moved, though.
    Mr. SHEA. The testing program must go forward. We need to have that information available.
    Mr. REGULA. What actions are you taking to ensure the cooperation and coordination of Kane and Garfield Counties at the Grand Staircase Escalante? Is it working out pretty well?
    Mr. SHEA. Last year we made available additional funding for search and rescue. They quite properly were concerned with an increase in visitation, that there would be an increased demand. That money was not used last year and we believe it is being carried forward.
    So Jerry Meredith, our person in charge of the Grand Staircase project, has a very good working relationship with them and, quite frankly, I think as we come into the final planning phase of the Grand Staircase, the areas of cooperation, both with the county and the state, will be of premium value in putting those as part of the plan.
    Mr. REGULA. The resource advisory councils have been in place and operating for several years. In your opinion, how effective have they been?
    Mr. SHEA. Very effective. A good example is in Colorado where a rancher from Grand Junction said that prior to the RACs being put in place he would not sit at the same table as a couple of people from an environmental group. In fact, it took the first two months for the State Director to cajole and convince some parties to actually sit around the table.
    What they found was that indeed they still had some areas of significant disagreement but they also had some very creative solutions for how the standards and guidelines could be developed and we believe they will have some great advice for the Secretary on how they can be administered.
 Page 120       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    So the Secretary is a strong advocate, as am I, of getting the local decision groups together, seated around a table, making decisions that are then recommendations to the Department for implementation.
    Mr. REGULA. I haven't looked in detail at your Land and Water Conservation Fund purchase requests. Are you trying to address the in-holding problem? And as a corollary to that, I notice you mentioned the right-of-way situation in your opening statement. I am sure that is also a somewhat similar problem that goes with in-holdings. Are you trying to get those areas into the BLM portfolio?
    Mr. SHEA. The checkerboard pattern is a wonderful legacy, in some sense, of opportunity but it is perplexing as to how you solve those problems, specifically in-holdings. I think Utah is going to be potentially, with the good work of the Secretary and the Department and Governor Leavitt and the delegation, a possible point of proud reference for resolving some of those matters.
    But Congressman Hansen, as you probably know, is having a hearing next week on land appraisals. One of the critical questions is how to appraise an in-holding and how to attach a value of the statutory right of gaining access to that property.

    So I think there are some solutions there. I think, quite frankly, if BLM and other land management agencies are able to come up with an inventory and monitoring process that is scientifically sound and can consolidate their lands around those that need to have the kind of conservation effort and development effort that is part of our statutory charter, we will be roads ahead, no pun intended, to get the problem behind us.
    We can't, in my judgment, go into the 21st century with as extensive in-holdings as we have, so that is going to be a high priority for us.
 Page 121       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. REGULA. So it is probably an overwhelming problem, but one you are very sensitive to and hope to address?
    Mr. SHEA. And I think as the press has been quick to report, there are a number of instances where people are actually purchasing in-holdings because of their potential leverage that they have with land management agencies to buy them out.
    Mr. REGULA. Yes, I can understand that.
    I will have a number of questions to submit for the record. We will get back to you on adjusting priorities, if necessary, because we are not, at this point, knowledgeable as to what the 302(b) allocation will be. Therefore, once we know that, we want to respect whatever adjustments you would suggest be made in your priority choices if there is a greater limitation on funding than we might know at the present time.
    Mr. SHEA. I appreciate that and we certainly will be working with you and the staff to make those adjustments as we are required to.
    Mr. REGULA. I like your good neighbor science and other programs that you suggested at the opening. I am quite sure you will implement it and this probably will go a long way in creating a better feeling on the part of the public that you deal with.
    Mr. SHEA. I do think the Interior Columbia Basin is a great example of good cooperation between county, state and federal government and I know there are quite properly some critics of how that program is going forward. But I think my response frequently has been what alternative do we have if we don't look at a regional planning process that involves all those levels?
    When I was in Boise in February I sat down with the multi-federal agencies that were around the table and was very impressed with their dedication to coming up with common sense solutions that didn't have jurisdictional boundaries behind them. It was what is going to make this habitat, what is going to make this river, what is going to make the land more available for public use or for conservation in some instances. So I think that will be a good example.
 Page 122       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. REGULA. Well, I am impressed with what you are trying to do, working with other agencies and trying to develop a cooperative program with the local groups. To the public, there is one government. We try to get the mission accomplished in the most effective way. It would appear to me that you are taking that approach.
    Mr. SHEA. Good.
    Mr. REGULA. We are pleased to see that.
    I think other than the questions for the record, that will conclude our hearing today. Thank you very much for coming and stay with it.
    Mr. SHEA. We will.
    Mr. REGULA. The hearing is adjourned
    [The following questions and answers were submitted for the record:]

    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."

Wednesday, March 11, 1998.





 Page 123       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."

Opening Remarks

    Mr. REGULA. Okay, we'll open the committee this morning. I'll say at the outset that all statements will be included in the record in their entirety. We appreciate your summarizing your remarks.
    And let's see, Director, I assume you're going to lead off.
    Mr. BARRY. Mr. Chairman, if I could, I just would like to make a general opening statement, and then Jamie will present the official testimony.
    Mr. REGULA. Okay.
    Mr. BARRY. I've spent 24 years working with Fish and Wildlife Service type issues. The one thing that I just wanted to highlight today, and particularly to thank the committee, has to do with the, I think, recent awareness and support that has occurred both with the appropriations committees and also with the substantive committees on behalf of the National Wildlife Refuge System.
    Last year, as you know, Congress passed the most sweeping refuge reform legislation in 30 years. And the appropriations committees followed suit and presented the refuge system with the largest increase in funding for operations and maintenance that they had received in many, many years, if not decades.
    That was money desperately needed and much appreciated. I should say that the budget this year the Fish and Wildlife Service has tried to build on the excellent base you provided in 1998. It asks for a significant increase for both operations and maintenance.
 Page 124       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    My one comment or observation would be that if Congress is able to provide the additional funding that's being requested in the budget for the Service for the refuge system today, when added to the base, will provide, in those two years alone, 1998 and 1999, probably the single largest infusion of resources into the refuge system in the history of the refuge system.
    I think it's desperately needed, and I should say the wildlife refuge system, in my eyes, is sort of the overlooked system, that is very well managed.
    Mr. REGULA. A well kept secret.
    Mr. BARRY. It is. I was down in the Florida Everglades this last week, had an occasion to go to the Florida Panther Wildlife Refuge. And I noticed a bathroom facility. It looked new, so I asked the refuge manager how much it cost. He said, $9,000. [Laughter.]

    Mr. REGULA. Probably not earthquake proof, though.
    Mr. BARRY. No, definitely not earthquake proof. And the point was, it was built with their maintenance people. That's an example of what I think the Service has proven it can do. They take the money that you provide them, they stretch it to the maximum. I think you can generally be proud of what they have done.
    I would just urge you to continue to look favorably upon the refuge system with the funding requests. These two years could really make a huge difference in the refuge system and be a real turning point in the health and vitality of the refuge system.
    The only other thing I'd like to mention, Mr. Chairman, is that there has been a past criticism that the Federal Government seems to buy too much land and doesn't take care enough of the land that it acquires. This year, if you take a look at the Fish and Wildlife Service's budget with regard to the refuge system, what you will notice is that the actual amount of money that is set aside for land acquisition, actual acreage acquisition, is almost equal in amount to the amount of money that the Fish and Wildlife Service is requesting for maintenance of the refuge systems.
 Page 125       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    So for the first time, those two activities are in balance. They're asking for as much money to maintain the refuge system as they are for the acquisition of new refuge lands. I think that's an example of where they've heard the message that we need to do a better job in taking care of what they have.
    Thank you very much.
    Mr. REGULA. Thank you.

    Ms. CLARK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and good morning.
    This is my first appearance before the subcommittee as Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service. I'm honored to be representing almost 8,000 dedicated Fish and Wildlife professionals who work for this agency.

    The Fish and Wildlife Service may be a small agency in terms of size, but our conservation mission contributes greatly to the overall quality of life to all our fellow citizens.
    Before discussing this morning the details of our 1999 budget, I'd like to take a moment to acknowledge a person who's been a great supporter of the Fish and Wildlife Service for many years. Though Mr. Yates isn't here this morning, I'd like to acknowledge him as a great friend and a great leader for the Fish and Wildlife Service. He's been instrumental in expanding the refuge system and in conservation of migratory birds and endangered species.
    Next year, when I appear before this subcommittee, Mr. Yates will not be sitting across the table. He will be sorely missed by the Fish and Wildlife Service. I hope, and I will invite him, to come back and help us celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Wildlife Refuge System in 2003.
 Page 126       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC


    President Clinton's fiscal year 1999 budget request of $1.4 billion is the highest funding level ever for the Service, reflecting the Administration's strong commitment to conserving our Nation's fish and wildlife resources. This request builds upon your work, Mr. Chairman, and that of this subcommittee in appropriating an additional $74.8 million in 1998.
    On behalf of the millions of Americans who enjoy and value wildlife, including all of us, thank you for that support.
    The Service's priorities in the coming year include continued improvement in the health and vitality of the National Wildlife Refuge System, effective management of the Endangered Species Act, and progress in focusing our expertise on helping restore degraded and depleted aquatic habitats and species. The President's budget contains increases for each of these priorities, and offers us a great opportunity to further shape the future of conservation in America.
    I've been gratified in recent years to see the increased commitment from both the Administration and the Congress to strengthening the refuge system. It's been a long time since things looked so good for the system. Thanks particularly to additional funding provided by the committee last year, we've begun to take care of the serious operations and maintenance backlogs plaguing the system nationwide. The additional $25.8 million that we seek in 1999 will increase the momentum needed to address these backlogs.

    The refuge system sets a proud standard for wildlife conservation around the world. I look forward to working with this committee in the future to ensure that it's healthy and vibrant for 2003, on its birthday.
 Page 127       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    The President's proposed additional $35.8 million for the Service's endangered species program will enable us to continue our efforts to improve the effectiveness of the Endangered Species Act. Every endangered species listing I sign represents failure, failure to prevent the slide towards extinction. We need to continue stretching our imagination and look for new ways to succeed and prevent the need to list species.
    Working with private landowners is a key ingredient in our search for success. The budget increases we have received and are requesting for this coming year will enhance our ability to work with partners outside the Fish and Wildlife Service.

    My experience has also shown me that reversing declines in species will be closely linked to our ability to restore degraded waterways. Invasive species like the zebra mussel and a little fish called the round goby are wreaking both ecological and economic havoc in our lakes and streams.

    The budget proposes an increase of almost $4.4 million for our fisheries program. With these funds, we will continue to expand our efforts to control invasive species, to address fish diseases like pfiesteria and whirling disease, restore native fish species in the southwest and lake trout and other sport fish in the Great Lakes. We'll also continue to address the backlog of fish hatchery maintenance and rehabilitation projects.


    Mr. Chairman, the Service also needs some organizational maintenance, to assure that the agency can manage and marshal our resources as effectively as possible. That's why the Administration is proposing to divide the Service's Pacific region into two regions, establishing a new Pacific Southwest regional office in Sacramento, California.
 Page 128       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    As I see it, the proposal does two things. It enables us to meet the increasingly complex conservation challenges in California and Nevada, including Bay Delta Restoration agreement, the Salton Sea, and the growing demand for habitat conservation plan technical assistance. It also continues to focus regional resources in the northwest and Pacific Basin to address things like the Pacific Islands extinction crisis, anadromous fisheries conservation and implementation of forest related habitat conservation initiatives.
    We need to make this organizational change, Mr. Chairman. I know you've worked hard to win budget increases for Fish and Wildlife Service programs and I wouldn't ask for this unless I felt it necessary to provide the support that our employees and your constituents deserve.
    In closing, I'd like to take this opportunity to invite the members of this committee and their staffs to visit our refuges, our hatcheries and our ecological field stations nationwide. You'll see first-hand the tremendous dedication of our people. And I think you'll return to Washington well satisfied with what we are accomplishing with the funding provided by this subcommittee and the Congress.
    Mr. Chairman, this concludes my statement, and I'd be happy to answer any questions you or other members may have.
    [The statement follows:]

    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."


    Mr. REGULA. Thank you.
    Mr. Ceccucci, would you like to make a comment?
 Page 129       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. CECCUCCI. No, thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Mr. REGULA. Okay. First of all, how much of your proposed increases are due to so-called uncontrollable fixed cost increases, such as pay?

    Ms. CLARK. About $12 million, Mr. Chairman.
    Mr. REGULA. Out of the increase that would be represented only by fixed costs?
    Ms. CLARK. Right. All covered within our increase request.


    Mr. REGULA. On the California situation, if this were to be done in the way which you've suggested, what would be the additional cost, and how many additional FTEs would you require?
    Ms. CLARK. For the California regional office, we have a reprogramming request before you today that asks for reprogramming of $4 million in 1998 and an additional request contained in the 1999 Administration's budget of $3.5 million, $3 million for the California regional office, and an additional $500,000 for Portland regional office to conduct the administrative cross servicing. So the Sacramento regional office is a total of $7 million overall, but only——

    Mr. REGULA. Additional?
    Ms. CLARK. No. Additional is only $3 million.

    Mr. REGULA. Plus the $500,000?
 Page 130       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Ms. CLARK. Plus the $500,000 for the Portland——

    Mr. REGULA. So $3.5 million additional cost?

    Ms. CLARK. Yes, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. REGULA. How many FTEs?

    Ms. CLARK. Eighty-eight for California.

    Mr. DICKS. Are those additional, or are they transfers from Portland?

    Ms. CLARK. Some of those are transfers. About half of those are transfers.

    Mr. REGULA. But I think overall it's an addition, is that correct?

    Ms. CLARK. Yes, Mr. Chairman, there is a net gain of about 47 FTEs. There will be some FTEs transferred from our Portland regional office. That portion of the operational program that does work in California and Nevada today.

 Page 131       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. REGULA. How do you feel about the Kempthorne bill? Does anyone want to express an opinion on it?

    Ms. CLARK. Yes, I have. On behalf of the Administration, I testified at a hearing before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on the Senate bill 1180, and provided, on behalf of the Administration, support for the bill. We did acknowledge the increased process associated with the bill, and acknowledged and recognized our concern about the need for increased funding. But overall, the Administration has acknowledged support for the bill.

    Mr. REGULA. Of course, you have the experience of having run the program. If you could write the bill, what would you change in the present Act?

    Ms. CLARK. In the present Act today? I think that I would take a lot of the work that the Administration has done over the last four or five years, a lot of the administrative reforms that have made the implementation of the Act much more clear, much more efficient, much more sensitive to private landowner needs and codify that into the statute. I would clarify and give up-front acknowledgement for the notion of candidate conservation, addressing species needs before they cascade onto the Federal endangered species list.

    I would build a law that was steeped in incentives for landowners. What we've found is that the American public really does support endangered species conservation and declining species conservation and habitat conservation. Their fear is regulation, and we need to find a way to allow private landowners to do good things without fear of regulation.

 Page 132       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. REGULA. I would assume you would support the expansion of HCPs, then?

    Ms. CLARK. Absolutely. HCPs are voluntary agreements. We provide a tremendous amount of technical assistance, and they are creating long-term habitat conservation across the country. We're looking to expand the success we've had in California and the southeast across the country.

    Mr. DICKS. Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. REGULA. I'll yield.

    Mr. DICKS. Could we hear from Mr. Barry? He is one of the true experts on the ESA, and I'd like to hear if he has anything in addition.

    Mr. REGULA. You take your time, Mr. Dicks, I'm finished.

    Mr. DICKS. Okay.

    Mr. BARRY. Actually, Jamie hit the exact same list that I was thinking of, the administrative reforms that the Administration has worked on to promote incentives for landowners, the expansion of habitat conservation planning as a conservation tool that makes sense.
 Page 133       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. DICKS. Multi-species?

    Mr. BARRY. Multi-species, ratification of the Administration's no-surprises policy. All of these things have provided encouragement to private landowners to step forward and work with us. I've worked on the Endangered Species Act for 23 years. I've never noticed a greater change in attitude on private landowner's parts in their willingness to work with the Fish and Wildlife Service based on these reforms.

    We have done it all based on our interpretation of current law. But it would be very helpful for Congress to ratify what we have done administratively and to provide us with clearer footing, more firm footing on a lot of these administrative reforms. Jamie's list was exactly the list that I would have provided.


    Mr. DICKS. What about smaller landowners? I mean, I think there's something we know, it's one thing for the Weyerhausers and the Plum Creeks and the Murray Pacifics to deal with these. What about the small, individual person, private landowner?

    Mr. BARRY. I think Jamie's budget acknowledges the value and the need for providing incentives that are targeted specifically to smaller landowners. The safe harbor grant program that is proposed is specifically targeted to smaller landowners. The Fish and Wildlife Service, Congressman Dicks, has also gone out of its way to try to develop ways of assisting private landowners through other creative means. For instance, in the south, the Fish and Wildlife Service is developing statewide habitat conservation plans for the red-cockaded woodpecker with State departments of forestry.
 Page 134       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    In which case, what happened in this instance is that the State agency would step forward, undertake the expense and the effort to negotiate an agreed-upon conservation plan for the red-cockaded woodpecker. They would step that down into their State forestry practices, and at that point, compliance with the State forestry practices would basically put you into compliance with the Federal habitat conservation planning requirements.

    You would not have to seek a separate HCP as a private landowner. You would just comply with State forestry practices. That would eliminate the burden of private smaller woodlot owners to have to negotiate separate agreements. Those are the types of things that Jamie and her agency have done.

    Mr. DICKS. I want to move over to this other issue. The thing I like about the HCPs is that they're voluntary.

    Ms. CLARK. Right.

    Mr. DICKS. This is not somebody being forced to do something. They do this because they think it's the best way for them to get certainty in the future. I think that's why it's worked, and I'm glad to hear that the no surprise policy is still there. That's crucially important.


    Let's shift to the regional office issue. I had reservations about this, as the Chairman well knows, initially, because I was concerned that this would weaken the Portland office. But now, after looking at the burden of the Delta Bay issue, which is huge in California and all the problems associated with everyone who's trying to do HCPs in the northwest and in California.
 Page 135       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    It's my judgment that there simply is no way to do this without having two separate offices and two separate regional directors. Mike Spear is spending almost all of his time working on the California issues, so we're left, in the northwest, leaderless, at a time when the Fish and Wildlife Service is under almost duress from all kinds of people who will need to have you do consultations and other things. And we need a leader.

    I just feel very, very strongly that on balance, after looking at this, that it would be a mistake if we don't go forward with separating this and having a good, strong regional director in Sacramento and one in Portland.

    I just wanted to give you one last opportunity to, and Don, if you want to step in here, too, it just seems to me that we have now delayed this long enough, we ought to go ahead and do it. We're not trying to take anything away from the refuges. But we've got to have an ability, with this increasing work load, to be able to deal with California and Nevada and then the issues in the northwest, which in many cases are somewhat different.

    Ms. CLARK. Well, I would like to respond to that, Mr. Dicks. The fact is, the Fish and Wildlife Service's responsibilities have tremendously expanded over time. We have refuge system expansions, we have tremendous regulatory responsibilities, and we have tremendous habitat restoration demands.

    Region I, our western region, comprises 21 percent of the total Fish and Wildlife Service operating budget, close to twice that of any other region. The explosive growth in California and Nevada is not going unnoticed, either by the general public, the Congressional constituency, or the species that are continuing to try to occupy those areas.
 Page 136       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    I was in the northwest last month, and I can tell you that the efficiency of Portland is severely compromised. Our Regional Director is always in California, in Nevada, addressing those issues. We can debate whether we have, as I chatted with the chairman about, the right number of regional offices and if they're in the right place.

    But without the kind of agony of moving one of our existing regional offices, which would be tough, our recommendation is to establish a scaled-down regional office in Sacramento that will sustain itself over time. There's a tremendous demand for senior leadership in the southern part of the western region to address and negotiate many of these very complex issues.

    It is being done at the expense of the northwest today.

    Mr. DICKS. Isn't it also hurting morale not to have a decision made here? I mean, don't we have to do something and clarify this so that people can kind of get on with their lives and sort out who's going to be in California and who's going to be in Portland?

    Ms. CLARK. The fear factor, as you might imagine, is quite high. It was the reason for my trip to the northwest, to assure all of our employees a couple of things. Number one, none of them would lose their jobs over this issue. And that we were working very hard to kind of relieve the stress on our northwest employees.

    So many of them are having to travel to California and Nevada on such a regular basis, it has just totally disrupted their personal lives. And so I've become very sensitive to this issue.
 Page 137       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC


    Mr. REGULA. How many FTEs are in Oregon now that live there?

    Ms. CLARK. In Region I, Portland, 246 FTEs.

    Mr. REGULA. How many would you contemplate having if this were to be consummated? How many would be left in Oregon?

    Ms. CLARK. Around 200, a little over 200.

    Mr. REGULA. And how many would be in California?

    Ms. CLARK. Eighty-eight total.

    Mr. REGULA. A regional office, if this were completed, of 200 in Oregon and 88 in California, then how many are in California now?

    Ms. CLARK. Zero. In the regional office, I'm sorry, we do have——

    Mr. REGULA. I mean the field office, whatever you want to call it. You do have an office in California?

 Page 138       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Ms. CLARK. We have a Sacramento Ecological Services field office. But we have 78 of those nationwide.

    Mr. REGULA. Why can't California be a satellite of Oregon or vice versa?

    Ms. CLARK. Well, we are looking at a regional office that would be cross serviced by the Portland regional office. We're looking at a scaled-down regional office, but we're looking at staffing it with all of the delegated authorities of our regional directors and having the senior leadership in there to negotiate and to respond and to manage all of our refuge, hatchery, fisheries and ecological services programs.

    Beefing up a field office doesn't allow for the leadership nor the delegated authorities that are attributed to our regional directorate.

    Mr. REGULA. Does Oregon have, what, the State of Washington?

    Ms. CLARK. Washington, Idaho, Oregon, and the Pacific Islands.

    Mr. DICKS. And Hawaii.

    Ms. CLARK. Right, Hawaii and the Pacific Islands.

    Mr. REGULA. So you——

 Page 139       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. DICKS. And California and Nevada. See, this actually works out to be a fairly good division. The problem is, you've got an explosion in the northwest of listings. And you've got an explosion in California of listings. So when everybody wants to come in and do their HCPs, they've got to have a top person in that department that they can work with.

    And I have become convinced that there's no way for the people in Portland to do everything in the northwest with the spotted owl, the marbled murrelet and all the salmon listings, and then you've got California with a whole series of other listings that you really need to separate this. You've got to have two strong management staffs so that people can get serviced in California and Nevada and in the northwest.

    That's why we think you've got to do this at this juncture.

    Mr. REGULA. Are you going to be able to stay? I'd like to go to the other members.

    Mr. DICKS. Right. My problem is, I've got the Intelligence Committee, and the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.

    Mr. REGULA. I want to talk about the priority choices given our allocation, but we'll discuss it more. Are you finished?

    Mr. DICKS. I'm fine. Thank you very much.

    Mr. REGULA. Mr. Kolbe. Mr. Skaggs.
 Page 140       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. SKAGGS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    It perversely occurs to me that we should link this issue that we were just discussing with splitting up the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and we could have a really exciting debate. [Laughter.]

    Mr. KOLBE. Let's do it!

    Mr. SKAGGS. I thought that would get Mr. Kolbe's attention. [Laughter.]


    Mr. SKAGGS. Anyway, good morning. Let me just start off with throwing a bouquet at the Service, and particularly the regional office that I deal with most in Denver. We're sort of in sight of the end of what has been a protracted and difficult negotiation dealing with the relocation of a water pipeline through a national forest, but one that implicates consultation with the Service.

    I just want to commend Ralph Morgenweck and the solicitor's staff that's worked with him in a very sensitive, subtle, complicated negotiation which we hope will be brought to fruition. It's reflected in some language that the Chairman's been kind enough to recommend possibly be included in the supplemental bill. So we're within reach. But it's only because both the Federal agencies and the City of Boulder have tried to go the extra mile to avoid this going to court. And I appreciate that very much.
 Page 141       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Ms. CLARK. Thank you, I'll be sure to pass that on to Ralph.


    Mr. SKAGGS. You may have heard that I brought this up with the Secretary yesterday. This has to do with the effort that is being made, as I understand it, for the Service to revisit an understanding reached with the State of Colorado, at the regional level, anyway, back in the early 1970s, when the Department of Parks and the Division of Wildlife split at the State level and an understanding was reached after a couple of years' discussion with the Service's, I think blessing, how to handle that split in terms of any issue of compliance with State properties and fees.

    Just this last winter, the Interior IG in a report that the Service asked for has concluded that these arrangements aren't adequate after all. I'm told that early in February, the Service issued some kind of edict to the Parks Department that they were going to have to do some give-backs or go back and reallocate—anyway, it is not an acceptable way of dealing with something that the State, I think, in good faith, thought had been dealt with adequately, now almost 20 years ago.

    I think we need to get this resolved in a way that honors people's good faith belief that they were in compliance over these couple of decades. I don't expect you to be fully briefed on it at this point. Maybe you are and want to respond. But I just want to give you my sense that this is something that needs to get worked out.

 Page 142       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Ms. CLARK. Mr. Skaggs, actually, the first I did hear about it was after the Secretary's hearing yesterday. But I did talk to Ralph Morgenweck, who assured me that it is clearly on his radar screen. In fact, he's involved in it personally with Colorado, and he is working it out. I know that there had been some confusion, and there's been some kind of miscommunication on not only the activities, but the expectations.

    I think it's early yet to figure out how it's all going to fall out in the wash. We'll be happy to keep you informed of the progress, but Ralph is very much involved in it.


    Mr. SKAGGS. Going back to some ESA issues, the subcommittee provided a $400,000 amount to fund a working group that's trying to develop a conservation for the Preble's Meadow jumping mouse, which is one of those little critters that can have great reach in terms of front range for Colorado development.

    I don't think there was anything in your budget that contemplates the continuation of that working group's efforts beyond the end of this fiscal year. It may well be that they can't get this done this year, and I just wanted to make sure that we would have your support, and I hope the Chairman's, if we need a little bit of continuation in the next fiscal year to get this job done.

    Ms. CLARK. Well, we are absolutely continuing support of the conservation of the jumping mouse, as I know you're aware. We are fast approaching a decision on whether or not we'll have to list the jumping mouse. We've been working very closely with the States involved.
 Page 143       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Regardless of the outcome of the listing decision that we're statutorily obliged to make, we plan very seriously to continue in the conservation arena for the mouse.


    Mr. SKAGGS. For the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Refuge the Administration's budget has a substantial request, but I'm told from folks that follow this closely at home that it may not be up to the task that awaits us. This is an area that, because it's close in to a major metropolitan area, is liked, and is already getting lots of visits.

    Would additional funding there be able to be put to good use? I realize you had to make some decisions with OMB, but I just want to lay the groundwork for trying to boost this a bit when we get to that point in the process.

    Ms. CLARK. The Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge is one of those really tremendous urban refuges. I've been there numerous times myself. They are slated for a portion of our requested increase, for sure. It's certainly safe to say that we have a significant backlog nationwide and we've been working with all of our refuge managers and regional offices to balance our targeted increase to achieve the greatest gain for wildlife and our dedicated public.

    I'd be happy to continue to evaluate that status, and certainly, all support from the committee is always welcome to further enhance the refuge system.

 Page 144       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. SKAGGS. I wanted to ask you to take a look, if you haven't already, at a bill I have in that's pending before the Resources Committee, H.R. 2291, it would, I hope, make life easier for the Service in being able to put to use the proceeds that you might realize from auctioning off otherwise restricted wildlife materials. I don't know whether you're familiar with it.

    We're hoping, since I believe it to be largely non-controversial, we might move that along and get you a few extra bucks that way.

    Ms. CLARK. It is, I hope, non-controversial. It is from our perspective. In fact, I have looked at the bill and think it's a tremendous step forward. We have a knot at the repository that needs to be fixed, not only for education purposes, but to respond to Native Americans that really need and use these parts for religious practices and ceremonial purposes.

    We have expressed support for this bill, and we continue to hope and to help shepherd it through and really do appreciate your leadership on this issue.

    Mr. SKAGGS. Thanks, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. REGULA. Mr. Kolbe.

 Page 145       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. KOLBE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    Ms. Clark, welcome. Let me ask a couple of questions here in general about the Endangered Species Act. I think in your statement you referred to the fact that there are about 1,107 species that are currently listed.

    What's the breakdown of those between threatened and endangered?

    Ms. CLARK. Boy, that's a great question. I don't know that I can answer that off the top of my head. But I'd be glad to get that back to you for the record, unless I can turn to one of our assistant directors.

    We'll be glad to get that back to you.

    [The information follows:]

    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."


    Mr. KOLBE. I think you also say in your statement that you plan to list about 100 species in the current fiscal year, and your plan is about 100 species in 1999. Is that correct?

 Page 146       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Ms. CLARK. Yes, it is.

    Mr. KOLBE. Yet your request for the listing activities is almost a 50 percent increase from 1998 to 1999. That can't be all just inflation and the normal inflation. So what's going on, if we're talking about listing roughly the same number of species, and we're having this kind of an increase in the listing program budget?

    Ms. CLARK. Right. And I think it's an issue of semantics. As I'm sure the committee is probably painfully aware, because we've talked about it on numerous occasions, we're still managing our way out of the moratorium. We have a significant backlog of proposed species that require final determinations, plus we still have a fairly sizeable hopper of candidate species that are waiting some reconciliation, a proposal or conservation agreement, to address their status.

    Mr. KOLBE. That's separate than the actual listing activities?

    Ms. CLARK. That's all part of the listing activities. But we're talking about resolving the status of 100 species, which is either adding them to the list or completing conservation agreements. But we also have the requirement to propose species as well. So it's proposing species and adding species to the list.

    Mr. KOLBE. So when you say you're adding 100 species, as threatened or endangered, that doesn't include the numbers that you might have under consideration for proposing?

 Page 147       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Ms. CLARK. That's correct.

    Mr. KOLBE. Is there going to be a huge increase? I'm still trying to understand why we're talking about a 50 percent increase from one year to the next.

    Ms. CLARK. We're also looking at part of that increase in helping us manage, quite frankly, the enormous litigation workload. Litigation surrounds this program and has increased in this program since the moratorium. It requires us to expend resources in quite frankly, managing the court system, along with our solicitors and the Department of Justice.

    Also, something that we have escaped in the past few years, in working through the court systems, is the current statutory requirement to designate critical habitat. Absent a reauthorized Endangered Species Act, that addresses the regulatory provisions of critical habitat, if that does happen, by 1999, we're going to be back in the critical habitat business, at least addressing critical habitat designation responsibilities.


    Mr. KOLBE. What would you expect to be your potential backlog? You talked about working through a moratorium. What would be your potential backlog at the end of 1999 if you list 100 this year, list 100 next year, and the others that you deal with through other methods? What is your backlog going to be at that point?

    Ms. CLARK. We currently have a backlog of about 100 proposed species, and we have a backlog of about just over 200 candidate species. Now, the candidate species list shifts. It's a dynamic list as we add species or we get petitions to respond to species.
 Page 148       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    I would imagine we will always have a candidate backlog, and we're fine with that. Because we've established a very strict and stringent priority system that has, if you will, a triage approach to addressing endangered species.

    I hope by 1999 we're back in a totally balanced program. I expect that if we keep on track, we will be. We will be hopefully in some managed litigation program, and that we'll at least have addressed our backlog coming out of the moratorium.


    Mr. KOLBE. If I might just shift for a moment to something else that's a little more parochial, I suppose, a little more specific to my area, the pygmy owl. But first, I want to ask you a question about the risk analysis that you do and how consistent you are with this.

    I'm referring to the fact that when you have a biologic opinion that finds that an action would jeopardize a species, but there are reasonable and prudent alternatives, I just want to know how you do the risk analysis. Let me give you the example which I know you're familiar with.

    Fish and Wildlife Service prepared a biologic opinion dealing with the Central Arizona Project, which stated that the proposed delivery of CAP water to water users that get water out of the canal is likely, that's your word, to jeopardize the continued existence of threatened and endangered species. The opinion reports that the possibility of the presence of water in canals that are in the 100 or 500 year flood plain of the Gila River, ''coupled with the opportunity to reach the channel of the Gila River provides the potential for CAP transferred non-native fish species to move from CAP to the Gila River channel, although the Gila River is usually dry throughout this reach.''
 Page 149       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    To me, this is like saying that if there's a great flood that happens every 500 years, and if this flood is great enough to cause the water to gush over the berms that are on both sides of the CAP canal, and if the Gila River has water in it, and if there is water between the canal and the Gila River, and if there are non-native fish at this exact point, and if there are native fish in the Gila River at that moment, then and only then are the native fish species in jeopardy.

    Without that perfect or imperfect, I suppose would be more correct, worst case scenario, it seems it's impossible that you could have jeopardy. So I guess my question is, what kind of risk probability do you put in these things? I could devise a scenario with a little creativity that would tell you that building an interchange here in New Jersey would affect a species in California. And yet the probability would be so ludicrously improbable that you wouldn't consider it.
    So I'm just trying to get some idea of what is the risk probability that you use in these things?
    Ms. CLARK. We do conduct, as you know, not only a tremendous introspection, but the development of reasonable and prudent alternatives. We work very closely with the action agency. They often are the experts, on not only what their authorities are, but what the specific, long-range operational outcomes of the proposed project will be.
    In that particular case, as you're well aware, we worked for a number of years with the Bureau of Reclamation to work out an acceptable arrangement.
    The entire endangered species program is one of risk assessment. And right now, the southwest is probably experiencing more stress ecologically than anywhere else in the country. We're trying to address that. The vast majority of the native fishes of Arizona and New Mexico are suffering from non-native species invasions. We continue to think it prudent to try to preserve what's left of the Arizona native fish community.
 Page 150       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC


    Mr. KOLBE. I don't disagree with that conclusion. But we're not talking really about risk assessment for the species. We're talking about the risk, the probability of a particular action that could have any impact whatever on that species. And the scenario that you've come up with in the case of the Central Arizona Project is so utterly remote, I think, by almost anybody's, that I've talked to, view of it, that it just doesn't bear even really considering as a real possibility.

    Mr. BARRY. Congressman, if I could just make one observation. As Jamie alluded to, when you go through the consultation process, the Fish and Wildlife Service will provide a draft biological opinion first to the action agency. That provides them with an opportunity to react to the Service's conclusions and to provide a differing point of view with some of the conclusions or with the factual material that they're relying upon.

    I'm not familiar with the particular biological opinion that you're referring to. I can't tell you on what basis or grounds the Fish and Wildlife Service drew the conclusions and arrived where they did. It does provide an opportunity, though, for the action agency, the Bureau of Reclamation, to come back to the Fish and Wildlife Service and to indicate that they disagree on this point or that point, and to engage the two agencies in further discussion.
    So again, I'm not sure in this instance what the give and take was back and forth between the agencies. But the reason the Service does provide draft biological opinions is to provide people a chance to review their analysis, critique it and provide different thoughts.
 Page 151       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. KOLBE. Well, just to conclude this, Mr. Chairman, I understand that's what you do. The truth of the matter is, in this case, the Bureau of Reclamation was a willing partner in all this, because there's an agency running out of things to do, and they were looking for other ways to spend their money. If there's a good opportunity to spend it on fish barriers in dry riverbeds that have only a 500 year flood chance of them jumping from one stream to another stream to another stream, they're happy to do that, because it's to their advantage, to their benefit, to increase their budget.
    So I would just say they were a willing partner in all this. I was trying to get at your responsibility for providing some reasonable kind of probabilities in this scenario.
    Mr. BARRY. The only other thing I'll just say is that in 1979, then Congressman John Breaux offered an amendment to the Endangered Species Act on the Floor of the House. Basically, it required Federal agencies, the wildlife agencies in the consultation process, to render an opinion at the end of the 90 day consultation process regardless of the adequacy of the data or information that they had.
    Congressman Breaux, on the Floor of the House, said that in situation of doubt, the Fish and Wildlife Service should give the benefit of the doubt to the species. So when the Service looks at the legislative history of the Endangered Species Act, what they were told was that they have to render a judgment at the end of 90 days regardless of how adequate they feel the data are. And if things are gray, it's expected that they are to provide the benefit of the doubt to the species.
    That may have in fact been part of the decision making process here.
    Mr. KOLBE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

 Page 152       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. REGULA. How about delisting? How many have you delisted? You said you added 100, am I correct?
    Ms. CLARK. We are working towards adding——
    Mr. REGULA. Adding 100?
    Ms. CLARK. Right, somewhere in that neighborhood.
    Mr. REGULA. How many would you anticipate you might delist?
    Ms. CLARK. Our delisting program has been on the shelf since the moratorium. We do issue public policy guidance on how we're going to manage the listing program. The listing priority guidance that goes out for public review and comment incorporates a triage approach to overcoming the backlog caused by the moratorium.
    We have the fiscal year 1998 and 1999 guidance out for public review today that does bring back the reclassification and delisting program into our balanced approach to implementing the Endangered Species Act. It's out for public comment, and our intention is to begin scaling up up the delisting reclassification program later this year.
    Mr. REGULA. You're not delisting any of them?
    Ms. CLARK. Not today. But we hope by, my hope is by later this spring and into the summer, we'll be back into the delisting program.
    Mr. REGULA. What's the total of endangered and threatened?
    Ms. CLARK. The total number of species is 1,126 in the United States.

    Mr. REGULA. That's just in animal life?

    Ms. CLARK. Animal and plants, that's both. It's around 1,126 species as of the end of Febuary. That's tilted a little bit, there's a little bit more plants than there are animals.
 Page 153       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. REGULA. Historically, how many have been delisted?     Ms. CLARK. Historically, I don't have that exact number. But very few.

    You're talking in the history of the Act. We can certainly get that list for you for the record.

    [The information follows:]


    A total of 27 species were removed from the endangered and threatened lists, including 23 species in the United States and four foreign species since 1978. A copy of a Special Reprint from the Code of Federal Regulations, which identifies the delisted species, is provided to the Committee.

    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."


    Mr. REGULA. I remember coming here and the snail darter was the big item. I understand they've found lots of snail darters in the meantime.

    I don't know if the snail darter is still on the list?

 Page 154       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Ms. CLARK. It's still on the list. There's more, but it's not recovered.

    Mr. REGULA. Jump in here anywhere, Mr. Skaggs.

    Mr. SKAGGS. I did that with the mouse. [Laughter.]


    Mr. REGULA. Or anything else that you'd like to pursue.

    First of all, I think it's unrealistic to think we're going to have $80 million extra. The President's total for our committee is $1.1 billion for fiscal year 1999. That's not reality. So what we get in the way of a 302(b) allocation I think will be substantially less than that.
    Therefore, we're going to have to make some tough priority choices. And we will consult with you as we do that, because we welcome your advice on what ultimately has high priorities with you, assuming that you won't have the $80 million. As you know from last year's experience, the committee feels that this is an important function, and we want to continue to recognize that.
    Is funding for the proposed new regional office in California a higher priority than fixed cost increases?
    Ms. CLARK. Somehow I knew this question was going to come up.
    Mr. REGULA. All your employees are waiting back there to hear the answer.
 Page 155       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Ms. CLARK. I know, I'm sure they are. Mr. Chairman, the budget that was submitted to the Congress represents the priorities of the President and our Secretary. What you have before you is our balanced approach to implementing natural resources management and land management expectations of us. I will be happy to continue to work with the committee in setting and balancing priorities.
    But we think that our entire budget is a priority.
    Mr. REGULA. Well, I have a series of questions along these lines, but I assume at this moment you'd rather not make any priority judgments.
    Ms. CLARK. I'd rather not.


    Mr. REGULA. What's your experience in using volunteers?
    Ms. CLARK. It's great. I actually was a volunteer on a national wildlife refuge early in my career. We have today over 28,000 volunteers scattered throughout the Fish and Wildlife Service, donating about 1.3 million hours of volunteer time to the Fish and Wildlife Service.
    I don't think we could run the refuge system without our volunteers. They're tremendously beneficial. Many of them have talents that just don't exist in the Fish and Wildlife Service and have been extremely valuable to us. I think we worked up the kind of person-hour costs and came up with over $13 million worth of donated time. Tremendously valuable, all over the refuge system and in other parts of the agency.
    Mr. REGULA. Well, I think it's a great program, to use volunteers. I know the Green Thumb people are in town this week, honoring those who've been involved. This is one form of that type of effort.
 Page 156       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Anything we can do that would enhance the volunteer program as far as the bill is concerned?
    Ms. CLARK. We have expressed our certain support for it. I think it's great, and our ability to get our job done is very much dependent on a strong volunteer work force.


    Mr. REGULA. Do you emphasize education? In other words, where you have facilities, do you have school groups coming in? Do you do outreach? Do your personnel go out to a school and talk about endangered species, talk about the importance of the programs to our environmental heritage?
    Ms. CLARK. If there's one thing our employees like to do, it's talk to school groups and talk to a lot of our constituents about not only our mission, but the value of fish and wildlife and plant conservation. We have tremendous capability in our agency and what we're working very hard to do is to target and prioritize our outreach.
    Some of our national wildlife refuges and our fish hatcheries are some of the best education tools going, living out there on the land and in the wild, helping people learn about the importance of conservation. Much of our approach to outreach is through visting our refuges and hatcheries.

    Mr. BARRY. Mr. Chairman, I'd also just add that when Congress passed the National Wildlife Refuge Improvement Act last year, environmental education was specifically recognized as one of the priority public uses on the national wildlife refuge system. So for the first time ever, environmental education has finally been recognized in terms of what the refuge system can contribute. And the Fish and Wildlife Service is, I think, stepping forward to the challenge and following through on that.
 Page 157       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. REGULA. That's great. Do you do publications that a teacher could get copies of?
    Ms. CLARK. That's what I was just going to follow up on. We are really beginning to focus our effort on teaching the teachers. By teaching the teachers and getting them involved in what we do, they go on to teach their classrooms. So adult learning and adult education is a big part of what we do.


    Mr. REGULA. What's your visitation experience? Is it going up? Most people don't have an awareness that refuges or Fish and Wildlife facilities are also available for visitation. At least in most areas, I'm sure that's true. Is it increasing?

    Ms. CLARK. It is increasing slightly. As I've had this conversation with you and others, our national wildlife refuges are a best kept secret, and we need to share them with the rest of the country. We have over 30 million visitors a year. Eighty percent of that visitation is concentrated on, I think, only 20 percent of the refuges nationwide. That is because of where many are located, given their remoteness. But where we can facilitate visitation and education initiatives, we really work hard to do that.
    Mr. REGULA. Are you using a fee program?
    Ms. CLARK. Yes, we are, 71 of our refuges currently are involved in the fee demonstration program. It's in its second year, and it's been tremendously successful. Our income has increased dramatically, and the bulk of it goes right back into upkeep of visitor services and facilities. It's been quite positive, and we're learning from the program and kind of expanding and extrapolating lessons learned to other refuges.
 Page 158       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. REGULA. You don't get any serious objection from the public, I assume?
    Ms. CLARK. No, we haven't. In fact, none to my knowledge. I've heard none at my level.
    Mr. REGULA. Mr. Skaggs.
    Mr. SKAGGS. Thank you. I wanted to continue a line of questioning with you and with some of your sister agencies that I started with the Secretary yesterday, again just trying to flesh out the value of the information you may get from remote sensing capabilities largely in the control of the intelligence community, but which are now being scrubbed and made available through the USGS center out in Reston.
    If you've got either survey data or anecdotal stories about the use to which the Service has been able to put that kind of satellite based information, I'd be very interested. If for the record you are able to come up with any approximation of its dollar value to you, and being able to get some things done that otherwise would have involved hiring people or whatever it may be.
    Ms. CLARK. I can give you some general response to that, and we'd be glad to provide you dollar amounts to the extent we can, and specific examples for the record. Alaska is a great place where techniques and tools like remote sensing and satellite imagery work well. In other parts of the country, it certainly saves costs of our own personnel going out on the land to survey wetlands areas. It's tremendously useful for documentating and monitoring of land use changes over time. It's extremely helpful in a lot of our environmental decision making. I started my career working as a wildlife biologist for the military, and know first-hand the tremendous utility of these defense technology tools.
    I was out at our USGS headquarters learning about the expanded capability they have in that arena. I believe we need to work a lot closer with them to make full use of this capability and make it available to our folks. But I'd be glad to get you more specifics for the record.
 Page 159       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    [The information follows:]

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is evaluating the use of National Technical Means (NTM) remote sensing capabilities in various natural resource management programs.
    The Service has determined that NTM data has significant potential for monitoring wetland losses and gains. This application is especially promising in wetland status and trend studies that use sample plots to measure changes in larger areas. NTM data is also suitable for updating National Wetlands Inventory maps for selected areas when conventional data sources (e.g. aerial photography) are not available. NTM unclassified digital orthophotos at two meter resolution are now being produced by the U.S. Geological Survey for Alaska and some other areas. A copy of the Alaska Wetlands and Hydrography (December 1996) report on the use of NTM data is provided to the Committee.
    Another potential use of NTM data is in monitoring walrus populations in Alaska. The Service is determining if walrus signatures can be detected in ice pack habitats to help monitor walrus populations in remote locations. If successful, remote sensing data could eliminate the hazardous risks associated with ground surveys. The annual savings would range from $150,000 to $200,000.

    Mr. SKAGGS. It will come as no surprise that this is a matter of some controversy, well not controversy, but at least it's under pressure, given the other demands on the budget of the intelligence committee and the intelligence community. So anything that you can do to supply me and others on the Intelligence Committee that care about this program with good information to share with our colleagues on that committee, it will redound to your benefit.
 Page 160       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    It may also redound to asking you to pay for it, but we'll cross that when and if we come to it.
    Similarly, I wondered if you could either extemporize today or add to your comments in responses for the record the importance to the Service's mission of good advance weather information. Again, this ties into the Chairman's and my other subcommittee, which funds NOAA and the Weather Service. I'd like to get an idea of how this affects the costs, either incurred or saved, to our public lands agencies and natural resource agencies.

    Ms. CLARK. I believe that as much advance warning as possible is hugely important for the safety of our employees. Also, it gets us in a position to batten down the hatches on many of our facilities, as well as get into an emergency response mode with other Federal agencies and the public in addressing emergency conservation needs and endangered species issues, without getting in the way of responding to health and safety issues.
    The El Niño, which everybody blames for the storm, incidents that are happening, has really done a great deal of damage to us on our refuges. We had major typhoons coming through Guam within the last year. Without the advance warning, the island and our refuge there would have been in deep trouble. It was only through the advance warning that our folks had enough response time so that no lives were lost.
    Mr. BARRY. Mr. Skaggs, if I could also just add something, I just came back from a tour of the Everglades area, where I know, Mr. Chairman, you visited the area just a few weeks ago. Because of the weather satellite forecasting capabilities, the Corps of Engineers, National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Florida Water Management District have, I think, had a significant heads-up as to what was heading their way with increased dramatic rainfalls during the dry season.
    They're now heading into the wet season. And they're about as saturated as they've ever been. They could see this coming, they knew it was happening. So it takes a long time for the agencies to work together to develop some strategies they can implement. They have been at it now for quite some time. But the reason they were keyed off that they had to really start planning when they did was because of the weather systems, and the projections as to what the El Nino pattern would be in South Florida in particular.
 Page 161       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. SKAGGS. I think, again, the artificial jurisdictions of appropriations subcommittees sometimes get in the way of important information getting from the right hand to the left hand around here. And I think if, again, you can flesh out for the record the case you would like to be made to the subcommittee that funds both long-term climate research under NOAA as well as more near-term weather prediction and what difference that makes, and what monies you either will save, or if you don't get warning, have to spend, it will help us make an informed judgment about budgeting on that side, as it affects some other area of the Federal budget.
    Ms. CLARK. Glad to.
    [The information follows:]

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service relies on advanced weather information to plan field operations, protect the safety of its employees and facilities, and protect endangered species and their habitats, such as the following:
    Aircraft Safety.—The Service uses light aircraft to conduct land inventories and wildlife surveys, such as determining spring wetland conditions over the prairie pothole country and identifying summer waterfowl populations for regulating the fall hunting season. Reliable advanced weather information is essential to the safety of personnel involved in this work.
    Habitat Management.—Habitat management is key to many of the wildlife conservation activities, such as special vegetation plantings to improve endangered species habitats, undertaken on Service lands. It is important to have advanced weather information to predict the appropriate scheduling of these operations.
    Refuge and Wetlands Management.—The Service requires advanced weather information to adjust water level controls for farming operations on refuges and to optimize wetlands for various fish and wildlife species.
 Page 162       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Endangered Species Protection.—Severe weather can devastate endangered species populations and their habitat. The Service uses various methods to protect limited habitat areas of endangered species when weather warnings are available. For example, the entire population of the endangered tree snail in South Florida was moved to safe quarters before Hurricane Andrew impacted the habitat.


    Mr. SKAGGS. I was intrigued, Mr. Chairman, with your inquiry about volunteers and what we might do. I'm aware that the Park Service relies extensively on volunteers, Forest Service maybe lesser involvement at some of the other public lands agencies.
    Is there any either departmental or Service program of recognizing and awarding recognition to volunteers?
    Ms. CLARK. There is. In fact, we acknowledge volunteers individually on refuges. It wasn't too long ago I attended a dinner and celebration for our volunteer work force at Patuxent National Wildlife Refuge, just up the road in Laurel. We also have a major award that we announce every year, coming up next week, as a matter of fact, at the North American Natural Resources Conference for ''Volunteer of the Year'' award.

    So we have all kinds of patches and all kinds of trinkets, acknowledgements of our volunteers that happen all over the country.
    Mr. SKAGGS. That's a volunteer of the year for the Fish and Wildlife Service?
    Ms. CLARK. Yes, there is.
 Page 163       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. SKAGGS. I wonder whether we should give some Congressional recognition in some formal way to those efforts as well, because it is typically so inspiring of good attitude and morale throughout to know that those efforts are recognized. If we can help, maybe that is something we can do that would be helpful to you in the volunteer program.
    What is your botanist staffing, and given the number of listings on the plant side, are we prejudiced in favor of animals?
    Mr. REGULA. If you will yield, I think you were here when the president of the Garden Club of America spoke. Maybe not. She raised that same issue, that the Service is heavy on biologists, but light on botanists. I'm interested that you're bringing that question up.
    Mr. SKAGGS. I was cued by Mr. Sloss, who was here for that.
    We're all just mouthpieces for our staff, you know that. [Laughter.]
    Ms. CLARK. Yes. Amazingly, botanists are biologists, too. But it was a couple of years ago that we actually had some committee report language that directed and encouraged us to increase our botanical staff nationwide. We have worked, through the funding increases that we've received, to ensure that we have botanical capability at all levels and distributed geographically throughout the country.
    We have expertise in a lot of areas. We have ornithological, or bird, expertise. We have herpetological expertise, and we have botanical expertise. But can we do better or could we use more botanists? Sure. We hire botanists in specific areas of the country, especially where there are great concentrations of plants.
    But I don't have the specific number of folks with botanical expertise.
    Another fact that I think I'd like to bring up is that while there is a career series entitled botanist, many of our folks that are labeled fish and wildlife biologists, or general biologist, actually have botanical expertise and have a career interest as well as a professional, technical interest in botany.
 Page 164       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    So how you see somebody classified and what they do don't necessary always mesh up in the civil service world.
    Mr. SKAGGS. Thanks a lot, Mr. Chairman.
    Mr. REGULA. I note in your statement you have 513 refuges, 65 hatcheries, 32 wetland management districts, with waterfowl production in 50 coordination areas, and you manage 93 million acres. That's a sizeable operation.
    How many of these are without someone at the facility?
    Ms. CLARK. Two hundred and nine. I too have valuable staff. [Laughter.]
    Mr. REGULA. That bothers me. And I have to say to you——
    Ms. CLARK. I agree.
    Mr. REGULA [continuing]. I'd much rather see some additional staffing there than to add any GS–15s. I know that you have a recommendation to add 21. And that's an expensive operation. I'm always concerned that these agencies get top heavy. If you have 209 refuges without even one full-time staff person, it seems to me that filling those vacancies ought to be a higher priority than adding GS–15s.
    Ms. CLARK. Mr. Chairman, I am, too, concerned about lack of staffing. I could debate all day long whether or not the Fish and Wildlife Service is appropriately staffed, and stay on one side of the discussion.
    But the fact is that there is an expectation from everyone, primarily the public, that we be responsive to their needs. And while I, too, support wholly the importance of our field projects and staffing our field as much as we can, the Fish and Wildlife Service runs on a three-legged stool. The Washington office operations, our regional office responsibilities and leadership, and our field units come together to support the mission of the Fish and Wildlife Service. We struggle daily to try to balance what that appropriate split is.
 Page 165       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    We are not a top heavy organization. We have folks working around the clock to try to meet our needs.
    Mr. BARRY. Mr. Chairman, if I could just offer one thought on that, too. The Service manages a number of their wildlife refuges through a complex headquarters system. In other words, you will find in certain areas a series of wildlife refuges that are small in scale, and may not warrant having a person permanently posted at that particular site. But they will be managed as a complex, out of one central headquarters.
    So frequently, the Fish and Wildlife Service believes that there is not an actual management need to have somebody on site for some of those smaller areas, and they'll manage them as a group.
    The other thing that I would offer in that thought, I want to go back to the tradeoffs that you were alluding to here with the California office. I've watched the growth of Region I over the last 20 years. I think the problem could be analogous to asking a 21 year old to continue to wear a 10 year old's clothes. The problems in this region have just grown too large. You can't fit them into the clothing any more.
    And when you consider what is going on on the ground in California, we have GS-14 biologists negotiating billion dollar real estate development issues that affect thousands and thousands of acres, that get into highly complex issues involving taxes, bonding, escrow accounts, things that they never encountered when they went to school.
    And we're expecting GS-13s and 14s to handle things of that magnitude, when you see the army of attorneys and development experts on the other side of the table, with some of these large scale projects. That's why I'm personally convinced that a case has been made that you need to have high level leadership down in California in particular.
    Because our folks are spread way too thin, and a lot of people who are dealing with these issues on the other side of the table expect to see somebody pretty high up in the food chain. And if they see somebody who looks to them pretty junior, who may be a world's expert on a particular activity, but needs the assistance of somebody with background and skills on a variety of other issues which you get when you are a regional director.
 Page 166       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    I really think you need to have somebody full time down there instead of a regional director who is constantly shuttling between airports, between Portland and Sacramento.
    Mr. REGULA. Well, I know you have a recommendation on 21 new GS–15s. If they anticipate doing anything, we'd like to deal with this by reprogramming, so that we have some awareness of how you're going to respond to that recommendation.
    Ms. CLARK. You're talking about our discussion a few weeks ago on how we're going to reorganize our regional offices? Okay.
    Mr. REGULA. Mr. Yates, Jamie had nice things to say about you. You should have come earlier. [Laughter.]
    Ms. CLARK. Good to see you, Mr. Yates.
    Mr. YATES. Thank you very much. The record will speak for itself. [Laughter.]
    Ms. CLARK. Yes, it will.
    Mr. YATES. Thank you very much. I appreciate all the kind things said about me, to make up for a lot of the other things.
    At any rate, what is the state of the Fish and Wildlife Service? Have any troubles?
    Ms. CLARK. We have no troubles, Mr. Yates, we have lots of challenges and opportunities.
    Mr. YATES. That's true. You have those anyway, along with your troubles. [Laughter.]
    Ms. CLARK. This is true. I'm trying to be an optimist.
    Mr. YATES. I see. Any troubles that you consider overwhelming? Like lack of funds?
 Page 167       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Ms. CLARK. Lack of funds, and we have a very ambitious budget request before the committee to address a lot of our——
    Mr. REGULA. Very ambitious.
    Ms. CLARK [continuing]. Opportunities. But fair budget request.
    Mr. YATES. When you say very ambitious, does that mean that, fair and ambitious, is it unrealistic?
    Ms. CLARK. Not from my personal perspective and the demands placed on the Fish and Wildlife Service. I will leave the reality of it to this committee and to the Congress. But it is in direct line and support of the President's and the Secretary's goals in achieving natural resources management and land management protection nationwide.
    Mr. BARRY. Mr. Yates, if I could offer just one other observation, too. In the area of endangered species conservation, the Fish and Wildlife Service in the last five years has truly undertaken a whole different tack. They have made it a priority to work with private landowners to negotiate proactive conservation agreements with those landowners.

    Those things take time and money. They require a lot of staffing effort to conclude them to the benefit of the species. And the alternative is to go back to the bad old days, when the Fish and Wildlife Service relied upon its regulatory program to try to enforce the Act, and had very few incentives for those private landowners.
    I think that's the tradeoff. If we're going to try the new approach, it's going to require, it's going to be much more staff intensive. That is reflected in the budget request that Jamie's agency has before the committee. The majority of the increases are in areas that involve close cooperation with private landowners, working with habitat conservation plans, safe harbor agreements and so on.
    So I think in that particular instance, what they have reflects the additional costs associated with an entirely different way of dealing with private landowners.
 Page 168       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. YATES. Has El Niño had any effect on your refuges?
    Ms. CLARK. Yes, it has, Mr. Yates. In fact, in parts of the country it's had some pretty serious effects.
    Mr. YATES. In parts of the country, is that all along the coast, or are there other areas?
    Ms. CLARK. Certainly along the California coast, the southeast, and up the Atlantic coast.
    Mr. YATES. Not in the center?
    Ms. CLARK. Not in the center, but it's amazing what we all blame on El Niño. There is some limited activity, like even snowstorms now in the central and midwest area that are being attributed to the reverberations of El Niño.
    Mr. YATES. How much more money will it cost you as a result of El Niño? Have you testified as to that?
    Ms. CLARK. We have provided for the record from Fish and Wildlife Service that there is about a $31 million storm and flood damage report at about 72 facilities for the Fish and Wildlife Service, from this recent El Niño event. A lot of these are continuing, and probably still yet to come.
    Mr. YATES. El Niño is supposed to be dying down, isn't it?
    Mr. BARRY. That's true. But I was just mentioning earlier, I just came back from a tour of the Everglades in Florida. The problem that we have is that El Niño sent off during the dry season unprecedented heavy rains.
    That soil is so saturated, their water control structures are at the maximum capacity, and they're now beginning to head into the wet season. The wet season normally arrives around May or June. They will have a spillover effect, the residual effects of El Niño, hitting the Florida area for many months to come.
 Page 169       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. YATES. How do you protect against it?
    Mr. BARRY. What the agencies are doing is, to their best ability to try to disperse the water that has come in, they have those canals right now outflowing water at the absolute maximum rate. And they are starting to run out of options, Congressman. They're trying to move as much of the water as they can out into the estuaries and out into the bays. But they can only pump so much through the canals.
    Mr. YATES. Will it be flooded?
    Mr. BARRY. There is serious flooding going on in parts of Florida right now.
    Mr. YATES. And how will that affect you?
    Mr. BARRY. Well, the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, for instance, is right near Lake Okechobee. And I was at the refuge——
    Mr. YATES. It's tough to use those two words in one sentence. [Laughter.]
    Mr. BARRY. That's right. I was at that refuge just last week, and they have, they're at very high water right now. They're very worried about the off-flow into the refuge that they anticipate coming from the lake.
    Mr. YATES. Thanks, Mr. Chairman.
    Mr. REGULA. A couple of things. I like the cooperative agreements program. I noticed the IG is somewhat critical, and I'm sure you're aware of his criticisms in this report. Do you anticipate that you will respond and correct these deficiencies? Because it is a very positive approach.
    Ms. CLARK. It's a very positive approach, and it's also very successful in achieving on the ground results. So we are working with the IG and addressing those concerns through national policy issuance and development, development and issuance, we expect that those will be easy to address.
 Page 170       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. REGULA. So you think this will smooth out?
    Ms. CLARK. Yes, it will.
    Mr. REGULA. It's a somewhat new program, and you've got a few bumps in the road.
    Ms. CLARK. Yes. And it's tremendously, wildly successful as well. And harnessing it and just keeping it with some sideboards and criteria is important, and we acknowledge that.
    Mr. REGULA. It sounds like you're trying to communicate with the private sector before you make a decision, rather than after.

    Ms. CLARK. Right.
    Mr. REGULA. Is that a fair statement?
    Ms. CLARK. Absolutely.


    Mr. REGULA. I think there have been some instances in the past where it probably was a little egregious, the way it was approached.
    At our oversight hearing on backlog maintenance, the Inspector General acknowledged that your service had the best maintenance backlog system of all the land management agencies. But he was critical of your lack of documentation for cost estimates, and a failure to link the backlog system with the financial system.
    So it's a positive, but——
    Ms. CLARK. We still have some work to do.
    Mr. REGULA [continuing]. A management challenge. Are you working on that?
 Page 171       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Ms. CLARK. Yes, Mr. Chairman, we are.
    Mr. REGULA. And I think you both acknowledged that you're catching up on backlog, that you have put that on a fairly high priority?
    Mr. BARRY. It has been very discouraging for our refuge managers over the years to watch the refuges sort of crumble around them. It's amazing to me what our maintenance people can do with very little money.
    As I mentioned, down in the Florida Panther Wildlife Refuge, the maintenance people down there built a comfort station for $9,000. They will stretch things as much as they can. It's one of the reasons why last year's appropriation, fiscal year 1998, was such a tremendous thing for the refuge system. The refuge managers really began to feel that they were, they had an opportunity to begin to turn the corner and repair a lot of the structures that had deteriorated over the years.
    Mr. REGULA. Well, I'm always impressed when I get out to these various facilities at how inventive employees are at making do.
    Ms. CLARK. It's amazing.
    Mr. BARRY. If you take a look at the new administrative center in the Elk Refuge in Jackson, that was built also by the maintenance people. And they say——
    Ms. CLARK. Volunteers.
    Mr. BARRY. Volunteers. And they saved thousands and thousands of dollars in that process.
    Mr. REGULA. I wish we could do an even better job of commending them, and I'm sure you do. But it's throughout all the services, volunteers are such a key element. And the esprit de corps that I sense in these land agencies is quite good, on balance.
    Ms. CLARK. Absolutely.
 Page 172       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC


    Mr. REGULA. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation leverages the funds it gets so that there are $2 in private money for every dollar we appropriate to them. Could you take more advantage of the Foundation, or would you, by requesting an increase for them in fiscal year 1999? Do you find them very helpful to you?
    Ms. CLARK. The Foundation is a tremendous partner. One of our, certainly most important partners. They do a lot of work on behalf of fish, wildlife, plant and habitat conservation. Actually, the committee got ahead of our FY 1999 budget. We were looking at an increase for the 1999 budget and you were generous in giving us, or the Foundation, that increase in fiscal year 1998.
    That doesn't mean, though that our other resource management funds don't and can't go towards initiatives and partnership efforts that we share and work with the Foundation on.
    Mr. REGULA. You've been very pleased with your experience with them?
    Ms. CLARK. Yes, we have.
    Mr. REGULA. Mr. Taylor.


    Mr. TAYLOR. Mr. Chairman, I have a number of questions I'll submit in writing. But I'm particularly concerned, in my district, about an industry in Rutherford County, and the reaction to it by the Fish and Wildlife Service.
 Page 173       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    For instance, do any of you have any knowledge about the relationship between fish and wildlife and chip mills?
    Ms. CLARK. I'm aware of chip mill issues, but I'm certainly not an expert. I'd be certainly happy to respond for the record to any——
    Mr. TAYLOR. In the great gaggle of bureaucracy that you have, has anyone informed you about the specific issues in western North Carolina? For instance, this letter states that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ''is very concerned about the current and developing increases in timber harvesting activities in the southern Appalachians to feed the ever-increasing demand for high quality paper products.''
    What was that based on? This is by the Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service's, your Asheville field office, and is signed by the State supervisor. We have a million and a half acres of public land, yet virtually none of it is being cut. How could you possibly, as a Federal employee, with any certainty, talk about ''ever-increasing timber harvesting activities,'' when it's virtually zero and has been for three or four years?
    Five hundred thousand acres or more of our federally-owned forests are in national parks and have never been cut. The other million acres, it's wilderness and a variety of other things. What concerns me more than anything is that you are passing judgment on a single chip mill in Rutherford County. And you're stating, ''at this time the Service recommends denial of this permit.''
    Now, this was based on the statement that ''the Service considers permitting activities relative to chip mills as constituting a 'major Federal action.' '' ''This opinion is based, in part, on the fact that timber harvesting for chip mills poses significant secondary and cumulative adverse impacts to fish and wildlife resources.''
    Do you have a clue about what you're saying here?
    Ms. CLARK. I have a clue what you're reading to me and what our state supervisor is saying in the letter. I don't know the specifics of the circumstance, nor have I seen that letter.
 Page 174       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    I'd be glad to look into it and get back to you for the record.
    Mr. TAYLOR. Well, let me say, the State supervisor made the statement, so it appears that it is the Fish and Wildlife Service's national position that you consider timber harvesting evil. That's in line with the Sierra Club's views, but it's not in line with sanity.
    The only way we can practice sustained forestry is to thin, and to utilize 100 percent of the tree, as you harvest it. And usually, the low-grade species, that is, small timber sizes, must go into chips.

    Now, in our whole end of western North Carolina, we have only one source for timber chipping, and this was a possibility for a second source. And yet out of the blue, you're recommending denial of this permit, not because the site is a problem—it isn't—and not because the water permit of the site it's on, the sewage treatment and so forth. There's nothing wrong with that.

    It's strictly because, all of a sudden, you think timber cutting is evil. And just out of the blue, because you object to nothing specifically about this one. I would say with virtually no timber being cut on Federal lands, Mr. Chairman, almost no part of this mill's harvest would be coming from Federal lands.
    Mr. REGULA. If you will yield, is this a denial of a permit on private lands?
    Mr. TAYLOR. It is a denial of a mill that was ready to be built. And it is a privately-owned mill that would service the entire end of the State.
    And what concerns me, Mr. Chairman, is just the callous disregard for the people of western North Carolina that this demonstrates. These aren't foreign jobs, no one's contributed to us, that sort of thing. These are jobs that are in line with good forest management practices. And out of the blue, your organization decided that you'll just deny this permit, or at least recommend its denial, because chip mills ''pose significant secondary and cumulative adverse impacts on fish and wildlife resources.''
 Page 175       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    And that is totally false. Our best schools of forestry point out that management of timber requires thinning and the maximum use of the timber taken. That comes through chipping the low-grade parts of timber and selling it.
    And for your agency to take this sort of a sweeping adverse position, that's what concerns me. I would like to have an insight from your office into this, and see if (a) your approach in this area is totally qualified, or (b) have your employees been smoking something funny. In what way does your insight here differ from all of our best universities in the southeast, who think this is a good idea?
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. REGULA. You should probably make a more comprehensive answer in the record, with a copy to Mr. Taylor.
    Ms. CLARK. Absolutely.
    Mr. Taylor, I would like to make one clarifying point, and that is that the Fish and Wildlife Service does not believe prudent forest management and appropriate silvacultural techniques are evil. In fact, we work all over the country with the Forest Service and private timber owners and the States to ensure a great balance between——
    Mr. TAYLOR. And I don't portend that you do. I only have your agents, and they feel that way, and I can't say for the entire organization.
    Ms. CLARK. But in this particular case, I do know that the whole kind of expansion of chipping mills throughout the southeast is an activity that is being evaluated. I'd be glad to respond to that letter and to your request for the record on the specifics of the case in this county.
    Mr. REGULA. Mr. Taylor, would you like that letter to be made part of the record?
 Page 176       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. TAYLOR. Yes, I would, and I have other questions, specifically, I know we won't have time.

    [The information follows:]
    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."

    Mr. REGULA. Make a copy to give to them.
    Mr. TAYLOR. Mr. Chairman, if this is an indication of the spread from the Fish and Wildlife, and it's totally inaccurate. And so disproportionate with the education of our best universities. I'd like to look into the budget of this organization and see if we can't look at that a little closer.
    Because out of the blue, we get this kind of Federal mandate on a permit that our local authorities, and moves along, and all of a sudden, someone has an agenda that sounds more like the Sierra Club than it does prudent forest management, I get very concerned about it.
    Mr. REGULA. I would hope you could respond to Mr. Taylor rather promptly——
    Ms. CLARK. I'd be happy to.
    Mr. REGULA [continuing]. So that when we do have to make budget priority judgments, he will, I know, want to participate.
    [The information follows:]


    The Willamette Corporation, Inc. applied to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on April 28, 1997, for authorization under nationwide permit number 26 to impact wetlands at a construction site of a proposed chip mill in Rutherford County. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provided comments on this wetlands permit application to the Corps on June 17, 1997, pursuant to the Clean Water Act, Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act, and the Endangered Species Act. The Service's statutory mandates are to help make sure that projects affecting natural resources are done in an environmentally sound manner that ensures that protection of water quality and fish and wildlife resources.
 Page 177       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Nationwide permit number 26 specifically authorizes activities above the headwaters of a stream for which there are minimal adverse effects. A nationwide permit is a form of general permit authorizing a category of activities throughout the nation. By contrast, individual permits are issued following a public interest review and analysis of project-specific impacts of a proposed action. The Corps can authorize activities under the nationwide permit system only when the conditions applicable to the nationwide permits are met.

    The Service's concerns and comments about the impacts of the proposed chip mill were based on a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) prepared by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) on three proposed chip mills in southeastern Tennessee and northwestern Alabama in 1993. In the FEIS, TVA provided a detailed analysis of effects of similar activities on the environment. The Service asked the Corps of Engineers to consider these same concerns with regard to the proposed Rutherford County chip mill.

    The Service recommended that the Corps treat the proposal to build a chip mill under the Corps' individual permit system, rather than as a nationwide permit, to provide for more thorough analysis, including disclosure of the potential impacts of the action under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). We did not believe that there was sufficient information to demonstrate that the nationwide permit criterion of minimal adverse effects was satisfied. The Service was opposed to treatment of the project under a nationwide permit which did not provide enough information to draw a conclusion on the project proposal. The analysis of impacts required under an individual permit would provide the information necessary to reach an informed position on the project. The Service considers the use of a nationwide permit inappropriate for facilities of this nature until additional information has been provided for review. In spite of our recommendations, the Corps authorized wetland impacts associated with the Rutherford County chip mill under nationwide permit 26, and construction is nearly complete. The Service and Willamette coordinated throughout the permit process, and Willamette addressed many of our original concerns. According to Willamette, our questions did not delay their project.
 Page 178       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    In October 1996, James Hunt, Governor of North Carolina, commissioned a study of the economic and environmental impacts of chip mills in North Carolina. The Governor's study raised the same questions which the Service asked the Corps. The Governor's study will be conducted by scientists at Duke University and North Carolina State University beginning April 1, 1998. We hope that this study will provide a better understanding of the ecological and economic impacts of chip mills, specifically in North Carolina. The chip mill in Rutherford County, which was constructed under the nationwide permit number 26 authorization from the Corps, may be used as a case study in the cooperative research project.

    The Service is not opposed to timber harvest or to the timber industry and, indeed, works very well with the timber industry across the Southeast. There are many examples of successful collaboration between the Service and managers of public and private forest lands that allow forest management activities to go forward while minimizing adverse impacts to natural resources. In particular, the Service's Asheville Field Office has been instrumental in working with owners of private forest land in North Carolina in designing the first Safe Harbor program for the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. This program, which is designed to eliminate conflict between forest management activities and endangered species, has been a model for addressing landowner concerns across the country.

    Mr. REGULA. Mr. Moran.
    Mr. MORAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    I have only positive things to say about what the Fish and Wildlife Service is doing. I want to again extend my appreciation to the Chairman for supporting that increase in the operations and maintenance part of the Fish and Wildlife Service, because I know it's making a tremendous difference.
 Page 179       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    I guess that's probably the way that we say thank you to all the volunteers, is by matching some of their volunteer effort with some money. I know it's made a real difference.
    Let me take a little different tack on the ESA than has been taken by some other members of the subcommittee. There's no question that the Administration's commitment to making the Endangered Species Act more flexible and workable has generated a greater willingness on the part of private landowners to work with Federal agencies in limiting developments that might harm endangered species.
    For the most part, the Administration has increasingly used the habitat conservation plans as the principal means of implementing the Endangered Species Act. Yet that approach toward species recovery is not without its critics. And one of the critics is the Defenders of Wildlife. [T]hey have that report, ''Frayed Safety Nets''. It criticizes the no surprises policy that assures landowners that once they have that habitat conservation plan that they will not have to provide more land or money than called for under the plan, even if new scientific evidence shows that species are declining, either because the original plan was flawed in some way, or because of natural changes in the landscape.

    It acknowledges that these habitat conservation plans are working in most cases, and they have tremendous potential. But in some cases, there is inadequate information going into them. Today, I understand, 225 have been developed, so you're really going full bore on this, and another 200 are being developed.
    But I think it would be useful to put into the record your response to the Defenders of Wildlife report. You might want to just address it in a summary fashion and then put a longer response into this record for the public record, if you don't mind.
    And then I had one other question dealing with the Fish and Wildlife Service, if I could. Do you want to answer quickly on this one?
 Page 180       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Ms. CLARK. Okay, I'd be happy to. The habitat conservation plan program is one that is continuing to go through a tremendous evolution. It has gone great strides to addressing private landowner needs and the potential for private landowner conflict between species conservation and economic development.
    We've worked very hard in developing the habitat conservation plan program and evolving it through time. You're absolutely right, it has grown quickly. And a lot of that growth is due to the Administration's commitment to providing certainty once a deal is made.

    We are looking and continuing to evaluate the program. The fact is, we make decisions based on the best available science we have at the time the decision is due. We are incorporating biological goals, continuing monitoring and evaluation of these decisions. And we incorporate adaptive management in the plans where there are significant biological gaps in all of these plans. We continue to believe very strongly that species conservation needs are being addressed.
    But for the record, Mr. Moran, I'd be glad to provide more information.


    Mr. MORAN. I think that might be useful, Mr. Chairman. You're always going to have tension, and you're trying to walk a fine line, I understand. Defenders of Wildlife is doing their thing, they're representing their point of view. We've probably got even some members on the subcommittee that can pretty well represent another point of view.
    [The information follows:]

 Page 181       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."

    Mr. REGULA. If you'll yield, isn't it a matter of providing some certainty?
    Ms. CLARK. That's the no surprises, absolutely. A deal is a deal.
    Mr. BARRY. Congressman, if I could also just add, the Defenders of Wildlife study was based on an analysis, I believe, of 24 or 26 HCPs out of 225. So it's basically one-tenth of the sample we have.
    You can draw different conclusions depending on which particular HCPs you draw into your samples. So I think in order to have a more complete picture, you really need to look at a broader sampling of the HCPs than the Defenders of Wildlife study included.
    Some of those HCPs, some of the HCPs we've done, we did many, many years ago. Some of the ones we're doing now are much more complicated, much more sophisticated, much more oriented towards large scale landscape based solutions.
    So it really depends on the selection process that went into picking the 24 or the 25. There are going to be some that we could have done a better job on, there are some that we're very proud of. It just depends on what's in that mix.
    Mr. MORAN. These are very important points to make. I just wanted you to be able to make it for the record.
    And as the Chairman says, there's going to have to be compromises made here, and that's one of them, that in return for complying with these plans, which in many cases means a great deal more commitment than we ever thought we would get from some landowners and developers, they need to know what the future holds.
    Ms. CLARK. Exactly.
 Page 182       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. MORAN. They need to know that this is the limit of what's going to be expected of them.
    So I understand that, I just think it would be useful to put a response to that into the record.
    Is there time for me to raise this other question, Mr. Chairman?
    Mr. REGULA. If you'll yield one minute.
    Mr. MORAN. Sure.


    Mr. REGULA. Are you involved in the HCP on the Headwaters Forest in California, or is that just BLM?

    Ms. CLARK. We are. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Fisheries Service, absolutely.
    Mr. REGULA. So you're part of that.
    Go ahead, Mr. Moran.


    Mr. MORAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Mr. Chairman, in Virginia, we had an interesting case. I think that maybe it raises a national issue here, too. Smithfield, everybody's heard of Smithfield hams. It turns out that the refuse from their pig farms was endangering the fish and wildlife habitat in Virginia. They were brought to court.
 Page 183       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    The head of Smithfield isn't all that excited about the result, because they got fined a lot of money.
    Now, the issue is, when they pay the fine, none of that money goes to mitigation efforts to address the problem. It just goes right back to the Federal Government, goes into the Federal Treasury, never to be seen again. The only person that sees it is CBO and OMB in their calculations.

    So my question is, can we make more constructive use of these fines instead of infinitesimally reducing the budget deficit, could it be used for mitigation efforts? Could not the Fish and Wildlife Service get this money from fines directly related to illegal actions degrading fish and wildlife habitat?
    For example, the Virginia Wildlife Federation, would love to be able to use the Smithfield fine to address the exact problems that Smithfield was creating. And yet, we can't get a hold of any of that money.
    Is there any way that the Fish and Wildlife Service could get that? I know you're going to have to work with OMB and so on. But it really seems to make sense.
    Mr. REGULA. If you'll yield.
    Mr. MORAN. I'd love to yield, Mr. Chairman.
    Mr. REGULA. We have another fee program, though. Prior to this committee's action, if they collected fees in Yellowstone, they went to the Treasury. Now they get to keep them. It has changed their dynamics.
    Mr. MORAN. And that was because of your leadership, and that's why this is a relevant issue to bring up.

    Mr. BARRY. Congressman, if I could address your point. It's a fair question to raise. First of all, the fines I believe were imposed under the Clean Water Act. EPA probably is the more appropriate agency to address that question to.
 Page 184       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    But there have been instances in the past, even in Virginia, where there was a creative solution, ultimately, to a large liability imposed upon a particular company. I can think back in the late 1970s, there was a large oil spill in the Chesapeake Bay. Instead of taking the usual tactic, where you would impose a fine upon the company responsible for the oil spill, the Department of the Interior and the Justice Department, and again, I can't recall EPA's particular involvement, but they worked out a settlement arrangement whereby the company, in effect, paid its fine off into a conservation fund, where the monies were directly applied back to help restore the habitat that had been affected by the spill.
    And the——

    Mr. MORAN. You have to get, I think, permission from the Federal Government.
    Mr. BARRY. Well, in particular, it's the Justice Department that becomes very critical. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation has in the past been utilized by other agencies to be the conduit for receiving monies of this sort for restoration purposes.
    Second, probably between EPA and the Justice Department, they would have the predominant voice in this matter. The Fish and Wildlife Service has seen very beneficial uses of these types of restoration funds in the past.
    Mr. MORAN. Yes. And what was cited was the degradation to the fish and wildlife habitat. That's the reason for the fine.


 Page 185       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. REGULA. I assume, in a journal entry a judge could order a fine, target the fine.

    Ms. CLARK. Right.
    Mr. BARRY. That was in effect what happened.
    Mr. MORAN. That's what happened previously. But it takes a Federal judge to insist upon that, I imagine.
    Mr. BARRY. Well, and it takes the Justice Department to decline.
    Ms. CLARK. Part of the negotiations.
    Mr. MORAN. I see. Well, I suppose it's possible that we could earmark, if there were any increase, use that as an offset, maybe, coming into the Treasury. The problem is, it's scored differently.

    Mr. REGULA. We get scored, that's what happened on the fee program. The fees they were collecting prior to our change were scored for the loss to the Treasury, and you have to do it year after year. But I think it's important, because the incentive then remains with the agency.
    Mr. MORAN. Well, thanks. And if you come up with any creative ideas, I'd appreciate your sharing them.
    Ms. CLARK. Be glad to, thank you.
    Mr. MORAN. Thanks so much, Mr. Chairman.


 Page 186       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. REGULA. I just have one last question, and that's about the Salton Sea. We put a million dollars in last year and asked the State to match it. My understanding is the State hasn't done anything.

    Ms. CLARK. The State of California has not been able to come up with the match thus far. We're still working on it.

    Mr. REGULA. Now the dynamics again have changed, because it's been named the Sonny Bono Salton Sea, or whatever the formal name is.
    Ms. CLARK. Headed that direction.
    Mr. REGULA. Headed that way, yes, there's a bill in to establish that.
    Ms. CLARK. Right.
    Mr. REGULA. Would you want to give us a ball park figure of what it would really cost to fix that place?

    Ms. CLARK. A lot. I was on the Salton Sea, and it is one of the most devastating examples of wildlife damage I've seen in a long time.

    Mr. REGULA. Shouldn't this really be a Bureau of Reclamation project, in terms of the overall scope of it?
    Ms. CLARK. I think it's a concerted effort among a number of Federal agencies and the State to address the long-term needs of the Salton Sea. It's the only wet spot left in Southern California that's so critical to the Pacific flyway for our birds that migrate. It's taking a lot of us, with our respective expertise, to figure out a creative solution.
 Page 187       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. REGULA. I assume the mechanics of trying to address that problem is a Bureau of Reclamation responsibility.

    Ms. CLARK. Partially. The USGS, with their science and monitoring capabilities, EPA, the State and our wildlife expertise.
    Mr. REGULA. I would hope it isn't entirely left to your budget.
    Ms. CLARK. I hope so, too.
    Mr. REGULA. Thank you very much for coming.
    Ms. CLARK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Mr. REGULA. We'll have a number of questions for the record. We have questions from Mr. Thomas on the California condor. I'll put this in as part of our questions.
    Ms. CLARK. Okay, we'll be glad to respond.

    [The following questions and answers were submitted for the record:]

    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."

    Mr. REGULA. Try to be as prompt as possible in your responses so we can complete the record and know where we're at when we have to make some of these priority calls.
    Ms. CLARK. Certainly. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Mr. REGULA. Committee is adjourned.

 Page 188       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
Tuesday, March 31, 1998.



    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."


    Mr. REGULA [presiding]. Okay, we will get started this morning. We have another busy day.

    We are happy to welcome all of you to the committee hearing. Your statements will all be made part of the record, and we will appreciate your summarizing. We do have a few questions.

    So Mr. Stanton, you are on.

Opening Remarks of Donald J. Barry, Deputy Assistant Secretary
 Page 189       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. BARRY. Actually, Mr. Chairman, if I could, I would like to make, again, as I did with the Fish and Wildlife Service presentation, a couple of very brief opening oral observations, and then Bob will make the formal presentation.

    Mr. REGULA. Okay.

    Mr. BARRY. I think that in the proposed Park Service budget that you have in front of you, the Department has again attempted to set the right balance that responds to the criticism we have received in the past that we have not been taking care of the Federal lands and property that we already have. When I look at the dollar figures in the area of maintenance, repair and rehab, I see a couple of interesting things.

    First of all, when you take a look at the budget's proposed park maintenance money and if you take into account the new demonstration fee money, where the vast majority of the new fee money will be used for repair and rehab type activities within the parks, when you also take into account the line item construction budget, where I have been told that roughly up to $100 million in that budget could be characterized as big ticket repair and rehab type things, you have a pot of almost $660 million in the fix it up and make it better category.

    In terms of brand new money alone—new money, not money that has been in the base in the past—this budget allocates approximately $60 million in additional funding for both cyclical maintenance and repair and rehab. Moreover, when you add to that the new fee project money which is estimated to be approximately $115 million or so, you are talking about $170 million to $175 million of new fix-it-up money.
 Page 190       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    The reason I wanted to highlight these amounts is that if you take a look at the amount of money in this budget for actual line item land acquisition, excluding Everglades restoration, the figure totals approximately $48 million. As is the case with the Fish and Wildlife Service's budget, we have almost a four to one ratio of ''fixing-up-things'' as opposed to buying more Federal land. That has been a past criticism, that we were acquiring a lot of additional land, but we were not taking care of the land that we already had.

    What we are doing is allocating on almost a four to one basis new money for doing a better job of maintaining and repairing what we have as opposed to acquiring new land.

    We also have additional money for the important restoration work in Florida. Mr. Chairman, I know that you were down and toured the South Florida restoration effort a couple of weeks before I got there. I hope that you were impressed with the scale upon which that restoration activity is being undertaken.

    In closing, what I would suggest is that this particular budget hits the right emphasis and tone in terms of trying to do a better job to take care of what we already have. I am very comfortable with the budget proposal we have in front of us. I would hope that in future years, we would be able to come back to you with a budget that had additional increases in the area of resource protection, and park operations, areas in which we have maybe not as robust a set of increases in this proposal as we would like. But I would hope that in future years, we can come back to you and make sure those areas are not overlooked as well.

Opening Remarks of Robert G. Stanton, Director
 Page 191       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. STANTON. Good morning, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I certainly appreciate the opportunity to appear before you to discuss the fiscal year 1999 budget request for the National Park Service. As the fifteenth Director of the National Park Service, I am truly privileged to serve the American people through the continued fine and hard work of the dedicated employees, volunteers and our many partners in the management of our national parks, and assisting the tribal governments, the States and their political subdivisions and various organizations in caring for our Nation's cultural, natural and recreational heritage.

    For the purpose of the appearance before you and to give you our testimony, Mr. Chairman, and members of the committee, I am pleased to be accompanied by Deputy Director Jacqueline Lowey to my left, Mr. Denny Galvin, Deputy Director, and our Comptroller, Bruce Sheaffer.

    Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I would like to summarize my testimony and present my statement for the record.

    As mentioned by Assistant Secretary Don Barry, the National Park Service budget for fiscal year 1999 is $1.75 billion, which represents nearly $100 million over the fiscal year 1998 budget as enacted. This budget proposal specifically addresses the needs to upgrade our park facilities and resources, and certainly to protect the irreplaceable natural and historical resources throughout the National Park System.

 Page 192       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    We have over the past several months been working very closely with the Department and certainly with your committee, Mr. Chairman, in addressing the backlog maintenance project for the National Park Service. To that end, we certainly look forward to the recommendations from the NAPA Review, the National Association of Public Administrators, which has been awarded a contract by Secretary Babbitt. We understand a report will be submitted to the Secretary and perhaps to the Committee simultaneously on June 15th.

    Again, we await the recommendations of that study and look forward to acting upon those recommendations to enhance our overall planning, design and construction program in the National Park Service.

    But in the interim, we have instituted a number of measures to achieve the highest level of efficiency in the administration of our planning, design and construction program. We have conducted a value analysis of the various projects. We are making sure that we are moving expeditiously with all environmental compliance, that we are looking at the best ways in which to conduct construction supervision, and furthermore, that all projects are being evaluated through our ''choose by advantage'' evaluation system, a system which we submitted to the committee and which we are very pleased to have received your concurrence in 1995.

    Furthermore, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, we are committed to working with the Department, working with your committee, in developing a comprehensive five year plan to substantially reduce over that period of time all deferred maintenance within the National Park System. We are also arriving at a working definition for deferred maintenance and a set of criteria that would allow consistency and validity in our program as we move forward.
 Page 193       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC


    Also, we are committed to developing our comprehensive, integrated data base system to facilitate identification, budget formulation, tracking and accomplishment of project requirements. Our budget includes $375,000 to get the system up and fully operational. But in fiscal year 1998, we are committing our own resources to moving in that direction.


    Also, Mr. Chairman, we are looking forward to working with your committee with respect to the Title V project listing, which includes a number of land acquisitions, as well as maintenance improvement projects. We would look forward to entering into discussions with you and others as appropriate with respect to final disposition of that program.


    We are very pleased with the authority that this committee and Congress as a whole has granted to us with respect to the fee demonstration program. As Assistant Secretary Barry pointed out, we anticipate realizing through the new authorization in the neighborhood of $140 million this year, which will be dedicated towards park improvements. This is a great opportunity for us. The American people generally have expressed their enthusiasm for the fee program, with the understanding, obviously, that the fees that they pay are dedicated to improving their national parks. And we will certainly keep your committee and others advised as to the progress we are making relative to improving park projects as a result of this new authority.
 Page 194       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC


    Also in our budget request, we are proposing that in due time, a legislative proposal will be developed that will authorize the National Park Service to retain franchise fees that are paid to us by concessionaires operating throughout the national parks. Currently, the fees paid by the concessionaires are deposited in the general receipts in the U.S. Treasury. But under the proposal as outlined in the budget request, we would seek authority through the legislative process that would allow us to retain those fees and dedicate them to park improvements.


    Also as mentioned by Assistant Secretary Barry, we are continuing a major effort on the part of the Administration, in concert with the State of Florida and many other Federal and local agencies, in the protection of the Everglades ecosystem. The funding requirements are specifically outlined in our budget request, totalling $128 million.


    Also, as we are preparing as a Nation to welcome in the new millennium, we are establishing a new funding category entitled Save America's Treasures. Under this new program, not only will other Federal agencies benefit, including the National Park Service, but also tribal governments and State governments to assist these very entities in the preservation of those irreplaceable cultural items that are held in high esteem or endearment by the American people. We are very excited about this program, and feel that it will result in a great deal of patriotic responses, if you will, by various members of our society at all governmental levels.
 Page 195       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC


    Also, two or three other areas I would like to mention very briefly. One is that we are continuing with our efforts to improve the diversity within the work force of the National Park Service. Certainly if one looks at the National Park System, the 376 areas, they truly speak to the rich cultural diversity of our Nation. Therefore it is only fitting, in my judgment, that the work force of the National Park Service also reflect the rich diversity of our Nation. And to that end, we are proposing to carry out a new initiative to achieve that objective.


    Also, we are continually concerned about employee injuries in the parks and in our offices. I have phrased the expression that is my objective to reduce, indeed if not to eliminate, human suffering in the work place. That is our ultimate objective. Also, one can certainly conclude that there are some budgetary implications to injuries on the job. But the philosophical idea is to reduce human suffering in the work place or in the parks.

    To that end, we have requested $2 million to carry out an aggressive evaluation with outside consultants, re-engineer our in-house training programs, provide our supervisors and employees alike with the best skills in risk management or in safety. We have also been using what we call distance learning, in which I had the opportunity not too terribly long ago to address via satellite communication to 600 employees located in some 40 different locations at one time, using that as a tool, to discuss the importance of risk management.

 Page 196       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Also, we are proposing an increase in our Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program with respect to engaging in increased partnerships in the various communities to link various organizations, various citizen groups, joining with their Federal Government in protecting our Nation's heritage, whether those heritages and resources be in the Federal, or State, or private domain, but as a partnership approach. And we are requesting $3 million toward that end.


    And lastly, we hope to work with the municipalities throughout the country in identifying innovative and exciting programs within the urban communities as a part of the Urban Park and Recreation Recovery grant program. We are requesting $2 million to serve as a catalyst to engage more individuals and organizational units of the governments at the State and local level in protecting their recreational resources, particularly in the urban environment.


    In closing, the National Park Service's fiscal year 1999 request, Mr. Chairman, represents our first opportunity to incorporate and relate performance goals and measures to our annual budget as required by the Government Performance and Results Act. This process, we believe, will help improve our operational efficiency, enable us to place greater emphasis on program delivery, and better respond to service needs as required by the visiting public. To this end, we do have an approved strategic plan as well as a fiscal year performance plan.
 Page 197       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    As we as a Nation and a people reflect on the century past, we truly can be proud of the legacy being passed on to future generations. As we transition to the new century, from this historical age to the next, let us be respectful that the National Park System, encompassing the 376 areas, is one of the great achievements, in my judgment, of this century, and that the decisions we make here will have long and lasting consequences to our culture and our country.

    Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, Congress, in the preamble to the National Park System General Authorities Act of 1970, perhaps best described the awesome responsibility that we have in these words, with which I will conclude:

    Congress declares that the National Park System, which began with establishment of Yellowstone National Park in 1872, has since grown to include superlative natural, historic, and recreation areas in every major region of the United States, its territories and island possessions; that these areas, though distinct in character, are united through their inter-related purposes and resources into one National Park System as cumulative expressions of a single national heritage; that, individually and collectively, these areas derive increased national dignity and recognition of their superb environmental quality through their inclusion jointly with each other in one National Park System preserved and managed for the benefit and inspiration of all the people of the United States.

    Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, this concludes my testimony. My associates and I would be more than happy to respond to any questions or comment you may have.

 Page 198       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    [The statement follows:]

    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."


    Mr. REGULA. Well, thank you very much. Of course I have many questions, but I will restrict my time so we can give all the committee members an opportunity.

    I am interested in your last statement there, you said the word ''manage'' was very much a part of the National Park System. We note that in nearly every instance throughout your budget regarding performance goals, the descriptions mention ''establishing baseline data in fiscal year 1998.'' I have here at least five GAO reports from over a period of five years. They all essentially have the same theme.

    I will just quote one of them. ''The Park Service has not been able to provide detailed support for its backlog for repairing and replacing housing.'' Almost each of these reports has identical language.

    And now you are saying you are going to have baseline data in 1998. Why for five years has nothing been done? I understand it was not on your watch, particularly, but I am just trying to get an answer as to why this is the case.

    Mr. STANTON. Well, we recognize that there has not been the level of accomplishment with respect to establishment or the accumulation and verification of baseline data. There have been, I think, however, Mr. Chairman, some successes with respect to some areas. We have committed ourselves, through our strategic plan, and certainly, in conformity with the letter and spirit of the Government Performance and Results Act, recognized that in order for us to measure our progress, through the use of appropriated as well as donated money, in taking care of the resources and providing for the visitors, we must in fact establish baseline data.
 Page 199       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    So that is a commitment that we have made, and we will continue to make progress in that area.


    Let me just mention with respect to housing, we have awarded two contracts. The contractor has joined with our National Park Service employees to make a definitive evaluation of all employee housing throughout the National Park System. We will have the concrete data base with respect to the condition of housing, the necessity of retaining that housing, and the alternatives for funding housing.

    So that is one critical data base on which we will have information, as I committed in October, within a 12 month period of time.

    Mr. REGULA. That is good. It seems to me one of the real challenges that confronts your organization is getting a management handle on it. I think that has not been evident historically, and now you have the fees to enhance the revenue stream.

    Mr. STANTON. That is correct.

    Mr. REGULA. In addition to your 6 percent increase here in your budget.

    Mr. STANTON. Yes, sir.
 Page 200       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. REGULA. I noted that several years ago, we allowed the Park Service to reprogram up to $1.5 million from administrative accounts to conduct professional training. We directed the Service to provide as much training as possible—via teleconferencing within the regions.

    How much of the training programs, and I would prefer you to call them education programs, are designed to enhance management skills? I am talking particularly about the professional staff.

    Mr. STANTON. We have developed what we call competency requirements for each of our major occupational categories, including the line managers. And the vernacular, or the definition of that term in the National Park Service, would be our superintendents, our regional directors, the Washington office associate director, those who have major decision making authorities.

    There is a competency requirement that the superintendents have a working understanding and appreciation for what it takes to design and to administer a project or a program. I recently have looked at the competency requirements, and it is my judgement, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, that we need to add additional levels of training in the business management arena with respect to the increasing complexity of managing parks. But that is something we recognize we need to build upon.

    Mr. REGULA. Well, I hope so, because I think the challenge prospectively in Government will be to make the use of funds available as cost effective as possible.
 Page 201       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Speaking of that, are you confident that you have a good oversight system on park fees? Obviously, this is an important program to you, and I would not want to see it get a black eye because somebody used these funds in an inappropriate way.

    Mr. STANTON. That is a recurring theme, as the associates and my two deputies and I interact with our regional directors, and they in turn with the superintendents, that the accountability of the revenues that are collected at the entrance station, at the campground, is critically important, not only to maintain the integrity of the system, but when the American public passes over a $20 bill at the entrance station, they expect that we are depositing that and we are managing it, as if it were appropriated money. So we recognize the importance of the accountability.

    Mr. REGULA. Is your teleconferencing system in place, so that if you want to relate something to your superintendents, you can do this rather quickly?

    Mr. STANTON. Yes, there are a number of universities, there are a number of other Federal agencies that have the capability, and I am not that conversant with the technical requirements, but in terms of the satellite linkage, we could easily move to a studio and telecast or broadcast a message to a number of employees at various locations.

    Of interest, Mr. Chairman, and I will not belabor this point, is that when we had the distance conferencing on risk management at Indiana University, some of our parks are far removed and they do not have these satellite connections. They have been able to go to other installations within a five minute or ten minute drive, and just sit there and get the same message. So the use of today's technology, I think, is just tremendous, and we are going to try to capitalize on that.
 Page 202       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. REGULA. Mr. Skeen.

    Mr. SKEEN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. Director, good to see you.

    Mr. STANTON. Same here, Mr. Skeen.


    Mr. SKEEN. As you know, we had a conversation about the vacancies in the Park Police.

    Mr. STANTON. Yes, sir.

    Mr. SKEEN. I am very much concerned about it, because of the inadequacies of the District Police. For a long period of time, the Park Police have been one of the cooperators and the deliverers of good policing action in the District of Columbia.

    You have about 150 positions you are authorized for, and it is my understanding that a significant number of your officers are due for retirement now. What is going to happen?

    Mr. STANTON. That is correct, Mr. Skeen. Just briefly, with respect to the U.S. Park Police, we are primarily located in three geographical areas: here in the Nation's capital and the environs; Golden Gate in San Francisco, including Presidio; and in New York at Gateway National Recreation Area and at the Statute of Liberty and Ellis Island.
 Page 203       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Also, we have a training component at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Service in Glynco, Georgia.

    Mr. SKEEN. I am familiar with it.

    Mr. STANTON. Right. We have a total of 636 sworn officers, again, with the lion's share being here in Washington, D.C., and also patrolling the parkways and Wolf Trap Farm Park for the Performing Arts.

    Mr. SKEEN. What is that figure again?

    Mr. STANTON. Six hundred and thirty-six. Those are sworn officers, but in addition to the sworn officers, we have some civilians. We do have vacancies, as you mentioned, totalling a little over 100. I discussed this recently with Chief Langston. We are in the process of recruiting for a new class, a class of 24. I will be the keynote commencement speaker at a current class of 24 that will be graduating at the end of May.

    We will be discussing with the regional director for our Northeast Region, Marie Rust, and our regional director for the Pacific West, John Reynolds, as well as Terry Carlstrom, here of the National Capital Region, to look at the relative resources that are available to ensure that the Park Police strength in those three central locations are at par, if not at the ultimate level at which they are authorized. But we do have deficiencies there in terms of funding to achieve that at this particular time.

 Page 204       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. SKEEN. What about equipment, such as automobiles, radios, things of that kind? Are you pretty well stocked with them?

    Mr. STANTON. We are pretty much holding our own, but there are a number of vehicles, because of the intense use that they get with respect to patrolling the parkways and what have you, we try to set up a system where we, through General Services Administration, purchase perhaps in the neighborhood of 20 to 30 new cruisers per year. Again, the cruisers are——

    Mr. SKEEN. They are new, not new-used?

    Mr. STANTON. They are new, and they have to meet full specifications with respect to the vehicle engine and what have you. But we are continuing to evaluate the equipment replacement needs. We do have a backlog, if you will.

    Mr. SKEEN. I think they have been a vital element, particularly in the Washington Area and, I am sure, Golden Gate, and some of the other places.

    Mr. STANTON. But it is, as you point out, Mr. Skeen, again, I will not belabor the point, it is a hand-in-glove relationship with the D.C. Government. We administer roughly 20 percent of the land base of the District, which is about 7,000 acres. But we also have concurrent jurisdiction in that on an as-needed basis, our Park Police can respond to the Metropolitan Police and vice-versa.

    So it is very important that we have a certain level of proficiency here.
 Page 205       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC


    Mr. SKEEN. Very good. I am very interested in that Vanishing Treasures program you started last year, particularly in the south, the southwest. As I understand it, though, the budget is 50 percent less this year. Can you explain why they are cutting a program that we are just getting off the ground?

    Mr. STANTON. We have to make some judgment with respect to the priorities. But by the reduction, sir, there is no indication, especially on our part, that this is not a critically important program. It is. To preserve some of the prehistoric and historic fabric of the various structures, particularly in the southwest, it is critical to us.

    The program basically had two components. One is the hands-on preservation of adobe structures and others in the great southwest, but also to train new employees in a particular skill, who have been able to preserve adobe structures and others.

    Mr. SKEEN. Restoration?

    Mr. STANTON. Restoration. And we recognize they need to continue that. But I think it is a little over $500,000 requested in the budget for this fiscal year, and we will be able to do hands-on preservation work, plus train a cadre of new employees in that particular skill.

    The amount requested for fiscal year 1999 for the Vanishing Treasures Initiative is $1,000,000, the same amount as enacted by Congress for fiscal year 1998. Of the amount, $547,000 is managed at the regional level and $453,000 has been placed in various park bases to further the initiative.
 Page 206       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC


    Mr. SKEEN. One last question. What is the National Park Service's position on the Baca location in New Mexico? It is a 95,000 acre ranch that is near Bandelier National Monument. Is the Park Service interested? Do they want the ranch or not? What is the position on it?

    Mr. STANTON. We have an interest in the Baca Ranch. I have not personally seen it other than through a video. And it is a magnificent piece of property.

    The Administration has included the acquisition of the Baca tract or a portion thereof in the Title V, the $699 million allocation. And that is before Congress with respect to any future acquisition.

    That acquisition would be carried out by the U.S. Forest Service, with the understanding that there may be some discussion between the U.S. Forest Service or Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Interior and the Park Service with respect to maybe some adjustment to the boundary of Bandelier National Monument.

    There is an interest in the Baca Ranch on the part of the Administration, no question about that.

    Mr. SKEEN. Thank you very much.

 Page 207       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. STANTON. Thank you, Mr. Skeen.

    Mr. REGULA. Mr. Wamp.


    Mr. WAMP. Mr. Stanton and Deputy Directors, welcome, thanks for coming back today.

    Three questions, and I will try to be brief. First, in this fiscal year, this committee approved almost $26 million for the parks that had the biggest shortfall for operational expenditures in the current fiscal year. Looking at your request for next year, that figure is about 25 percent of what it is this year, for operational shortfalls in some of the critical parks.

    Does that mean that there are not as many operational shortfalls heading into this year as there have been in the past?

    Mr. STANTON. We still have shortfalls, Mr. Wamp. The budget calls for a little over $6 million for 46 parks throughout the country. Particularly in some of the smaller parks, some of the parks that have increased responsibilities with respect to new facilities, and some of the newer parks that have been recently authorized by Congress, we want to preserve the resource and provide for visitor use.

    But the lion's share of our increase has been in upgrading the facilities in the parks and protecting the resources. We feel that this budget allows for the parks to maintain a quality level of visitor services and are able to preserve the resources. It is a little difficult for me at this point in time to speculate with respect to the markup or the makeup of our fiscal year 2000 budget. But clearly, it would be our objective to assure that all the parks have an adequate level of operational resources to begin to meet that twofold purpose of resource protection and ample visitor services for those expenses.
 Page 208       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. WAMP. Someone else may want to follow up on that, but it just looked strange to me. I know we have new fee revenues coming in to cover some of these operational expenditures, but seldom does the Congress approve $26 million one year, and the next year the request is only 25 percent of that amount for that particular area.


    Second question, and I know it is risky to get into these GAO reports but I want to ask a question about two of them. The one entitled Managing For Results Could Strengthen Accountability, the GAO report says, ''No expectations have been established for the goals that are to be achieved in the parks, and there is no process for measuring progress toward these goals. As a result, the agency lacks a means to monitor progress toward achieving its goals and to hold park managers accountable for the results of park operations.''

    In a one minute response, what are we going to do about that?

    Mr. STANTON. Mr. Wamp, may I ask what is the date of that report?

    Mr. WAMP. Yes, it was April of last year, 1997.

    Mr. STANTON. GAO recently visited us as a follow-up to that, with respect to our compliance with the letter and the spirit of the Government Performance and Results Act. If I may, I would request Mr. Galvin to respond to that.
 Page 209       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. GALVIN. Yes, I might just actually quote from the most recent report that GAO did. This is a draft, of course, by the way. The observation in 1997 is correct in the sense that these linkages are difficult. But here is what they said most recently:

    ''Park Service staff we interviewed said that critical factors for implementing the Results Act included:—combining strong central guidance and support—demonstrating visible support from top management—stressing the importance of strategic plans . . . , and—holding park managers accountable for the results of their plans.''

    They say, ''Although the Park Service is still at the early stages of implementing the Results Act, the progress it has made and the challenges that remain provide valuable insights that could prove useful to other agencies as they implement the Act.''

    ''This year is the first year of full implementation. The agency has a strategic plan approved earlier in the year, every park has a strategic plan and every park has prepared an annual performance plan.''

    The Chairman mentioned baseline data earlier and we feel that about half of it is good, but about another quarter is fair, and another quarter is poor.

    We certainly need to develop better data bases so we can measure our progress, and so that we can impart to the American public and the Congress what we are doing to achieve these goals.
 Page 210       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC


    Mr. WAMP. The third question is a transitional third question. Let me just say that as we held our hearings on a variety of issues, we lacked the ability to determine a person accountable for certain actions. Whether it is the park manager in some cases, or some person in the construction area of housing or toilets or whatever, the accountability is lacking. We need to monitor that as closely as possible.


    The third issue, which is a related issue, is this issue of backlog maintenance. Another GAO report from last month, February of 1998, says ''The Park Service's estimate of its maintenance backlog is not reliable. Its maintenance backlog estimates are compiled in an ad hoc basis, in response to requests from the Congress or others. The agency does not have a routine, systematic process for determining its maintenance backlog.''

    In all fairness, we find the same problem at other Interior agencies, and we need a comprehensive definition of backlog maintenance. You mentioned it in your opening statement, but can you go a little bit further? How are you coordinating with other agencies? When can we expect this?

    I understand—this is only my second year on the subcommittee—but I understand this issue has been lingering for a number of years now without a real clear-cut definition for what is backlog maintenance. We are not going to spend other dollars or backlog maintenance dollars in other areas, because the new definition will not allow it.
 Page 211       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. STANTON. Let me comment very briefly, Mr. Wamp, if I may, and then I would ask my supervisor, Assistant Secretary Don Barry, to comment in terms of his involvement with Secretary Babbitt and other members of staff with respect to the whole of Interior.

    I had the opportunity, as you well recall, to appear before this committee on two occasions with respect to an oversight on the planning, design and construction program. Out of that grew several commitments, not only on behalf of the National Park Service, but indeed, the Department of the Interior.

    One is that there would be a common, working definition with attending criteria with respect to deferred maintenance. And the second is that there will be a comprehensive plan developed over a five year period that will address not only Park Service, but also Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Land Management, so that all of that kind of data base, or that kind of information, could be readily displayed. There will be some consistency from year to year with respect to deferred maintenance and what the priorities would be.

    Mr. BARRY. Congressman, you are asking a very logical question. And it is one that the Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget, John Berry, is very interested in pursuing. John has the entire department to worry about. He has begun the process of trying to develop common, standardized definitions of the terms maintenance, repair, rehab, etc., to be applied throughout the entire Department. He sees the individual budget recommendations coming in from the different agencies, and what you will notice is that one agency defines maintenance one way and a different agency defines it a different way.
 Page 212       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    So right now in the department, there is underway, an effort to try to standardize the terminology that the different agencies are using. That way, it will be much easier for both the Administration and also members of this committee to get a sense of how all of the agencies are faring, since they will be using common terminology. That effort is just beginning.

    Mr. WAMP. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. REGULA. Well, it is obviously a good management technique.

    Mr. Skaggs.

    Mr. SKAGGS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    Good morning.

    Mr. STANTON. Good morning.

    Mr. SKAGGS. I was sitting here thinking, Mr. Stanton, that we are all pretty lucky to get to go to work every morning and look at the Capitol. And I think probably the only thing that even comes close in Government is getting to go to work every morning at the Park Service. Do we pay you or do you do this for free?

    Mr. STANTON. Well——
 Page 213       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC


    Mr. STANTON. I do get my rewards, as you say, looking at the parks daily.


    Mr. SKAGGS. You and I spoke when you came by the office the other day about what still is left to be done at Ellis Island, which I happened to visit a few weeks ago.

    Mr. STANTON. Yes, sir.

    Mr. SKAGGS. For the record, I understand you all do not need any additional authority to establish a donation facility of some kind at any of the parks?

    Mr. STANTON. That is correct. We have legislative authority to accept donations, restricted as well as unrestricted. And once a donation is received, we have the same obligation to manage that donation as if it were appropriated dollars.

    Mr. SKAGGS. And the donation, say in a collection box outside Ellis Island, would stay and be used to continue the rehabilitation and renovation?

    Mr. STANTON. Yes, Ellis Island has the authority to establish a special donation account. Donations are deposited in that account and could be drawn upon for a number of preservation or educational or visitor business services at that park.
 Page 214       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. SKAGGS. If the committee should happen to wish to provide some stimulus to the Park Service to establish such an activity at Ellis Island, I was going to invite you to submit for the record any other comparable sites around the country that might lend themselves particularly to a donation approach. Any startup costs of any significance in doing that? Buying the donation boxes?
    Mr. BARRY. Mr. Skaggs, if I could just offer one observation. The Park Service is very interested in doing all that it can to promote the donation of funds, private funds in support of the National Park System. There is one thing that we all need to be very careful of, though. And that is that we very quickly find ourselves dealing with First Amendment issues.
    What we need to do as we handle things like donation boxes in the parks is keep the First Amendment in our rearview mirror. We are advised by our attorneys that are specialists in this area, that if you are not careful and you allow one group to solicit donations in a donation box in the park, you have to be prepared to allow virtually every group to have the same access for their particular activities and causes as well.
    So it is just one thing that we need to keep in mind, that something as simple as a donation box, which sounds like something you would want to encourage, can frequently bring with it other problems. We just need to keep those in mind as we walk through this process.
    Mr. SKAGGS. I am talking about a donation that would remain at the park for park purposes.
    Mr. BARRY. Fair enough. But what we have been told is that there may be situations where it will not matter to a court what the purposes was, it is the act of allowing people to solicit funds in the park, eliminate the ability——
    Mr. SKAGGS. I do not want to burden the record with a lot of legal briefs. But if you would furnish personally to me whatever materials you might have that provide a legal insight.
 Page 215       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    [The information follows:]


    The National Park Service has authority to accept donations to benefit the national parks. This authority is the basis for the Service having installed donation boxes in more than 200 parks nationwide. The boxes complement fundraising campaigns carried out for some parks by non-profit organizations under agreement with the Service. (The most productive campaign has raised more than $400 million for the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island.) While the Service-managed donation boxes do not generate enormous sums of money, they do enable parks to enhance visitor services in small but important ways. There are strict accountability measures in place to ensure the security and proper disposition of these funds. While the Service is comfortable having its own donation boxes in parks, it does not allow other entities to do so—even when the other entities are non-profit park support organizations. This is based on our concern that if a park allows any one organization to install donation boxes, it would have to provide equal treatment to other organizations and allow them to do the same thing. The NPS does not want to create a situation where we lose control over in-park solicitation and are forced to allow fund-raising activities totally unrelated to the Service's mission.


    The Administration, the Park Service has asked for some money to continue to implement overflight management at Rocky Mountain National Park. I think that is a terribly important way of preserving the quality of that park, and acting before we are faced with the kind of problem you are trying to deal at Grand Canyon. I just wanted to invite your comment on that particular budget item. How is it going?
 Page 216       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. STANTON. It is going quite well. It is an interagency involvement, with respect to looking specifically at overflight regulations and other considerations at Grand Canyon, then a national regulation, that involves a bi-agency task force. The Federal Aviation Administration, National Park Service, and also the industry itself has an opportunity to make input with respect to how they perceive what the regulations might be.
    I have asked our Deputy Director, Ms. Jacqueline Lowey, to be the point person for the National Park Service with respect to working with FAA, and with our park managers at the regional and park level. Jackie may just want to comment very briefly on the purpose of that $400,000 request in the budget.
    Mr. SKAGGS. I am told she has some passing familiarity with this.
    Mr. STANTON. To say the least, yes.
    Ms. LOWEY. As you may know, we received the recommendations from the National Park Overflights Working Group this past December, and by all accounts, they achieved what many thought was impossible: a consensus recommendation for an overflights regulation. We are in the process of working with that working group and the FAA on a notice of proposed rulemaking.
    We anticipate that the process of implementing that rule and continuing to develop that rule and the technical information to support it will require additional resources for the National Park Service. That is the purpose of the $400,000.
    Mr. SKAGGS. Thank you.
    Mr. Chairman, I will be encouraging us to accommodate this with all that I can bring to the table when we start to get our bill put together.

 Page 217       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    A couple of other things very quickly. You have requested $150,000 to deal with various aspects of the Cache La Poudre area in Colorado. I have some information to suggest that that may not be enough for the task. If for the record you can just provide some further justification or indication, if things have developed so that we need to consider an additional amount there.

    Mr. STANTON. Yes, sir.


    Mr. SKAGGS. And also for the record, just a report on inholding acquisition at Dinosaur National Monument, how are things going on that.


    And I understand that some water rights are available from a willing seller in Rocky Mountain National Park, and might be an important item for us to consider, if you can provide something for the record on that.
    Mr. STANTON. Yes, sir.
    [The information follows:]


    Cache La Poudre Corridor Commission has not yet been established. The NPS currently is working with the Governor of Colorado to move through the necessary processes to establish this commission.
 Page 218       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    In February 1998, an Interpretive Planner from the National Park Service was assigned to carry out the National Park Service responsibilities for the Cache La Poudre Corridor. This employee is preparing as much as can be done for the interpretive planning needs of the commission prior to its establishment.

    FY 1998 accomplishments and plans include: preparation of GIS maps of the Cache La Poudre Water Heritage Area, with identification of interpretive sites and other corridor features; preparation of a draft charter, bylaws, and other operating documents for use by the commission, once established; coordination with local communities and organizations currently active along the Poudre Corridor in Larimer and Weld Counties. This will be an essential component of the success of the commission, once established; work with Governor Romer's Office to insure that prospective nominees to the commission are identified, kept informed, and remain interested. This has been done, and the Governor's Office is ready to submit names to the Secretary of the Interior when appropriate; work with the U.S. Forest Service to establish their representation and active participation; arrangement of meeting and office space for the commission, once established; preparation of a newsletter to inform local citizens, involved entities, and prospective commissioners of the current status of the Cache La Poudre Water Heritage Area; and developing a repository of information about the Poudre Corridor for future use by the commission.
    The NPS has requested $150,000 in its FY 1999 budget request for Cache La Poudre Water Heritage Area. Additional funding of $80,000 could be utilized to allow a full grant of $50,000 to the commission and support for the two employees to be detailed to the commission in FY 1999, including travel, geographic information system use, printing, vehicle rental, and supplies.

 Page 219       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Dinosaur National Monument is one of thirty-three inholding areas within the National Park System. An inholding area is a unit of the System that was authorized before July 1959 or fiscal year 1960. The National Park Service pursues, subject to the availability of funds appropriated for the acquisition of privately owned lands in inholding areas, an opportunity-purchase program by acquiring interests in tracts offered for sale by landowners. There are presently 65 tracts containing a total of 4,548 acres of privately owned land remaining to be acquired at the national monument. The Service is presently working on the acquisition of an 80-acre tract from a landowner and the acquisition effort has been complicated by a lengthy guardianship proceeding initiated by the landowner's child. In an ongoing land exchange effort, the Service is seeking to acquire fee and mineral interests owned by the State of Utah within the boundary of the national monument. the Service is also engaged in efforts to acquire two tracts containing a total of 520 acres that comprise the Mantle Ranch property within the national monument.

    The Park Service and the Mantle Family previously executed an agreement to resolve grazing disputes on Federal land within the monument. The agreement provides that the parties will engage in good faith discussions regarding the sale of the Mantle Ranch to the United States. The agreement further provides that, following completion of an appraisal, the parties would negotiate in good faith to reach a mutually agreeable price. Appraisals of the property obtained in 1996 and 1997 did not meet Federal appraisal standards and were not approved by the Service. The Service cannot proceed with acquisition until an appraisal of the property is obtained and approved. The NPS recently ordered a new appraisal of the property. The Service will seek permission from the owners for the current appraiser to inspect the property.
 Page 220       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC


    At Rocky Mountain National Park, the Service is seeking to acquire privately owned easement interests and water rights at Lily Lake. The owner owns the right to use and expand the reservoir at the lake. The Park Service recently took delivery of the appraisal of the easement interests to be acquired. Following review and approval of this appraisal by the NPS, the water rights will be appraised. When all necessary appraisals are obtained and approved, the Service will commence negotiations to purchase the interests.

    Mr. SKAGGS. And Mr. Chairman, if you will excuse me, I need to get to our other subcommittee.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Stanton.
    Mr. STANTON. Thank you, Mr. Skaggs.
    Mr. REGULA. Mr. Moran.
    Mr. MORAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Is it okay if I am a little parochial initially? I want to tell Mr. Stanton how happy we are that he is the Park Service Director, and welcome your fine staff.


    Arlington County, you may recall, Mr. Chairman, is the jurisdiction in which the leadership of this Congress renamed its airport against the overwhelming opposition of the community. So they are particularly concerned about an agreement that was made back in 1934, Mr. Director. The Federal Government came in and said, we want to build a highway along your waterfront, the George Washington Memorial Parkway. But in return, we are going to give you access, Arlington County, that is, to the area right around Teddy Roosevelt Island.
 Page 221       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    So now Arlington County has a terrific proposal where they would put a little boathouse that would fit right into the land, and Arlington County and Fairfax County schools would be able to use it, and it would be wholly in keeping with the recreational use of our national parks and so on, and use the existing infrastructure.

    Now, my question to you is, does equity not require the Park Service to transfer the site identified back on this 1934 agreement so that it can meet its commitment to Arlington County? You can answer that yes or no, obviously only one answer is correct. [Laughter.]

    Mr. STANTON. With all respect, Mr. Moran, I have asked our solicitor to move expeditiously in giving me the result of their review of the 1934 agreement. We have reviewed the proposal with Arlington County and interested parties. There are admittedly a number of concerns with the proposal from an environmental perspective.

    But we feel that, as you have outlined, there is an administrative, and indeed a legal, obligation to review the agreement that was struck in 1934, to make a judgment as to the result——

    Mr. MORAN. So there is a legal obligation there? Okay, good.

    Mr. STANTON. I am awaiting counsel on that obligation, yes.


 Page 222       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. MORAN. Okay, thank you, Mr. Director. Now, the second issue. Arlington Cemetery, we are all very familiar with this. We have an important issue coming up. The Department of the Interior has recently completed a staff study of the 24 acres that the Department of Defense wants near Arlington House. All of that land could be transferred to the Department of Defense. Or there is a second option to only transfer four acres, which strikes me as a pretty reasonable compromise. Or a third option of not transferring any of that site.

    Can you tell us where this process stands right now? There are a lot of people interested in it, obviously.

    Mr. STANTON. I appreciate that, Mr. Moran. Clearly, we understand the needs on the part of Arlington Cemetery to increase their capacity to provide final resting places to those who have contributed so much to our country. There had been an agreement reached between the Department of the Army, Arlington Cemetery and the Department of the Interior and National Park Service that would be the basis of transfer of property from our jurisdiction to the Arlington Cemetery jurisdiction. The property in question is administered as a part of Arlington House, the home of Robert E. Lee.

    Based on environmental examinations, archaeological values have been determined to be in abundance. So, the environmental document developed outlines several options. One of the options includes the transfer of a little over four acres that does not have significant archaeological value, and would not affect the historical setting of Arlington.

    Mr. MORAN. So that is the one you would most likely recommend?

 Page 223       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. STANTON. I do not anticipate a final decision to be made until late spring or early summer. There are ongoing discussions between our regional staff and the Superintendent of Arlington Cemetery.


    Mr. MORAN. The third item deals with another exchange in this area. There are 42 acres known as the Oxon Cove parcel in the District of Columbia that is supposed to be transferred to the D.C. Department of Corrections. There is some urgency to this, because Lorton Prison is closing down.

    This is a parcel that is supposed to house a prison that would be built by the Corrections Corporation of America. The D.C. Government wants this done. What would happen is the Corrections Corporation would transfer to the Park Service 84 acres on the Prince George's shoreline.

    It is a pretty good deal for the Park Service, it would seem. You get twice as much land, exactly twice as much land, and the land that you would be giving up is pretty useless. It has been suggested maybe somebody wants to put a golf course there, but I do not know how you could fit more than three holes.

    Anyway, what I want to know is what the status of that is. Because at some point, we are going to have a whole lot of prisoners without any prisons to house them, and we really do not want them running through Park Service land. We would rather have a prison there that might contain them better than that.
 Page 224       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    So do you have any updated progress report on that, Mr. Stanton?

    Mr. STANTON. Thank you, Mr. Moran. [Laughter.]

    Seriously, the exchange that you described has been directed by legislation, and the exchange is across boundaries of the District of Columbia and Maryland. In order for us to exchange properties across jurisdictional lines, the State of Maryland and the District, that exchange requires Congressional approval. That has been so directed.

    We are in the process of conducting an appraisal, because there has to be an exchange of like values. The land to be exchanged in Maryland, a lot of that is submerged lands, and it is difficult to get a true fix in terms of its value.

    It is my understanding through our regional officers that perhaps late spring or early summer, an appraisal will be agreed upon and presented to all the interested parties who are the owners of the property.

    Mr. MORAN. But you are aware that the fiscal year 1998 appropriations bill directed you to effect the transfer?

    Mr. STANTON. That is correct.

    Mr. MORAN. I have some national interests, Mr. Chairman, but I have a suspicion that these issues might not have come if I had not raised them. So I will wait until my next turn.
 Page 225       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. REGULA. We will take questions for the record and go around again.

    Mr. Dicks.


    Mr. DICKS. Thank you, Director Stanton, and Mr. Barry, good to see you.

    Can you tell us what the status is on the Elwha Dam project, in Washington State?

    Mr. STANTON. Yes. With respect to the funding for the acquisition and demolition of the dam, that is included in the Title V request that has been submitted on behalf of the Administration by Secretary Babbitt and Secretary Glickman. It does call for that funding to be available through that authority.

    Mr. DICKS. And it is $86 million, as I understand it, to acquire the Elwha and Glines Canyon Dams, and begin dam removal, and ecosystem restoration of Olympic National Park in Washington State. Can you explain what the Administration's approach is going to be on this project?

    Mr. STANTON. As described in the Title V request, we would acquire both dams and demolish one. Then there is discussion with members of the Washington State delegation and other interested parties with respect to whether or not one dam would remain in place for a number of years while we are conducting some ecological studies to determine the consequences of the removal of the first dam.
 Page 226       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    A firm decision on that, I believe, has not been determined or otherwise reached at this point in time. But clearly, the acquisition of both dams and the demolition of one is the Administration's proposal.

    Mr. DICKS. I support the idea of acquiring them, taking one out. I think I just would point out that there is some difference of opinion within the delegation about the timing on the second one. We need, I think, to look at that in terms of what is the best approach for that ecosystem. If we are going to do fish restoration, and that, I think we ought to do some scientific work on what will do the best for us in terms of the timing of taking out the second dam.

    Mr. STANTON. Mr. Dicks, I had the opportunity to personally tour Olympic National Park a month and a half ago, to take a look at Glines Dam and Elwha Dam. This would represent a magnificent ecological restoration accomplishment, if we were able to do this.

    Mr. DICKS. I would point out one thing, too, that is very important, protecting the City of Port Angeles' water supply. It was in the original legislation and we are very concerned about it.

    Mr. STANTON. Right.


 Page 227       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. DICKS. Let me ask you, Mr. Barry, you and I had a discussion earlier about the situation regarding goats in the Olympic National Park. As you know, this has been a very controversial item. I would like to know if you can tell me, or for the record, what the status is of our new study that is being done to look at the, well, I guess there are two issues. One, whether the goats are in fact native to the Olympic National Park, and number two, the question of—what was the second question? Yes, were they the cause of damage or is the current population such that the damage is basically de minimis.

    Mr. BARRY. If you do not mind, Congressman, as much as I would love to personally respond to this question that you and I talked about almost a year and a half ago, I have not personally received any updated briefings on the status of this issue in the last six months. So let me turn to Bob and see if he can give you more information on that.

    Mr. STANTON. Thank you, Mr. Barry, Mr. Dicks.

    We are in the process of putting finishing touches on a proposal that would invite various organizations, particularly in the natural resources and scientific area, to offer a response about how they could conduct a study to determine to our satisfaction once and for all whether or not the goats are indigenous, and further, what is the ecological impact of the goats on the native flora and fauna of the park, and whether or not there is an alternative for the management of the goats with respect to stabilizing a certain herd number, or what have you.

    I do not know how long this study will actually run before the results will be presented to the National Park Service and to the Secretary's Scientific Advisory Board. But that is the approach we are taking, to develop that scientific data base.
 Page 228       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. DICKS. As you well know, there has been considerable opposition to the idea of eliminating the remaining goats.

    Mr. STANTON. Yes, sir.

    Mr. DICKS. I just thought I would point that out.


    Let us talk about the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial. Can you tell us what the Park Service, in fact, what the Administration is going to do in terms of honoring the 200th anniversary of Lewis and Clerk?

    Mr. STANTON. Yes, I would ask Mr. Galvin to comment on that. The National Park Service is joining with a number of other land management agencies and the various States which are very much interested in the celebration. The National Park Service has committed resources to this planning effort. Denny, do you want to comment briefly?

    Mr. GALVIN. Yes, of course. We are the coordinators on the Lewis and Clark Trail, although much of the actual land in the Lewis and Clark Trail is either on Forest Service property or BLM land. Of course, it passes through towns and cities throughout the Western United States.

    Fort Clatsop was the termination of the journey, and we have had some ceremonies there. We have in this budget requested a fairly significant increase in the rivers, trails and conservation assistance program that would enable us to participate more actively in the celebrations across the trail, and also we received $300,000 in the 1998 budget, in the construction budget, for a construction of an interpretive center in Nebraska on the Lewis and Clark Trail.
 Page 229       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC


    Mr. DICKS. Let me ask you, last year we talked about a number of issues related to the management, the financial management of the agency. How are we doing on that, Mr. Stanton? Are we able to have good numbers, good reconciliation at the end of the year about how money is being spent at the Park Service?

    Mr. STANTON. We are making progress, Mr. Dicks. As I attempted to describe in my opening remarks, this budget calls for some additional resources to allow us to come up with a comprehensive project management system that will be reflective of our commitment to meeting the letter and the spirit of the Government Performance and Results Act. It would be one way in which we can hold managers and supervisors accountable in terms of the expenditure of appropriated and donated funds.

    I will ask Bruce Sheaffer to give us an update in terms of some recent audit reviews, and also the plan that we have underway to get this comprehensive system underway, as you described.

    Mr. SHEAFFER. Under the provisions of the CFO Act, there is an annual audit of agencies' financial plans. The Inspector General has finished the fiscal year 1997 audit of the National Park Service and given it, again, an unqualified audit. So we meet the requirements of the CFO Act without qualification.

    Mr. DICKS. Can you guys help the Forest Service? [Laughter.]
 Page 230       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. SHEAFFER. Certainly, we would be glad to do anything we can to help the Forest Service.

    Mr. DICKS. Well, they need help. Have you had any bad GAO reports recently?

    Mr. SHEAFFER. Well, not regarding the accounting issue that we just talked about. There are GAO reports involving a number of other issues. If I may, on the issue the Director mentioned, and also following up on earlier conversations, we are moving in the direction of linking our accounting system with GPRA requirements by having the lowest level organizations established and code accounts in such a way that they can be accumulated and summarized at the highest level.

    Also, we will be talking to you some time in the near future about budget restructuring, which would totally integrate the goals of GPRA and the accounting system.
    Mr. DICKS. What is GPRA again?
    Mr. SHEAFFER. Government Performance and Results Act.
    Mr. DICKS. Does the Vice President have something to do with this?
    Mr. SHEAFFER. It is a Congressional act, in addition to the Vice President's interests.
    Mr. DICKS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Mr. REGULA. Thank you, Mr. Dicks.
    I guess I would have to comment, Mr. Dicks, physician first heal thyself, before we encourage them to go to the Forest Service. [Laughter.]
 Page 231       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. Nethercutt.
    Mr. NETHERCUTT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and welcome to the witnesses.
    You testified a minute ago in response to a question by Mr. Wamp about the increase of $6.8 million for basic park operations, dividing that up by 46 different locations. I want to be sure I understand how that list was prioritized and to what extent urban parks versus rural, big parks are affected.
    Mr. STANTON. The listing primarily includes smaller parks, those parks that have some new responsibilities in terms of new facilities, and some of the newer parks that have been added to the system. Those parks that are larger with respect to their operating budget would have more flexibility to make some internal adjustments. But there are some smaller parks, maybe with a $500,000 or $1 million budget, that have limited opportunities in terms of adjustment of personal services or material supplies and other kinds of requirements. The calls have gone out to our regional directors, and they in turn provide their sense of priorities to the Washington office. There is a process that we go through with respect to the criticalness of the needs of a smaller park, whether it is the resource protection or whether it is to provide an acceptable level of services.
    Again, I would ask Bruce to comment very briefly on the process of those 46 parks.
    Mr. SHEAFFER. Mr. Nethercutt, we go through a process that is very much a bottom up approach, where the parks do their own internal evaluation and submit priorities through the line management of the Service, as the Director said. The emphasis in the budget this year is on relatively small park areas, in an attempt to give those park areas some reasonable cushion.
 Page 232       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    If the relatively small park areas go for too long without some increase in operating base, what tends to happen with pay costs and other inflationary pressures is their base budgets become inadequate to cover their staff. So they become somewhat of a burden on the larger parks and medium parks in attempts to try to help them through the year.
    So we have tried to remedy many of those situations with what you have pointed out is a somewhat modest increase in the 1999 budget for park operations.
    Mr. NETHERCUTT. Can you for the record, or can you state today which of the 46 are urban and which are rural?
    Mr. SHEAFFER. By all means.
    [The information follows:]

    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."

    Mr. BARRY. Congressman, if I could also add one thing. Another reason why the emphasis on the smaller parks, I think, is warranted and makes sense is that, with a lot of the larger parks, the more magnificent ones out west, they have had additional operational revenues made available to them through the fee program. To the extent that additional visitor facilities or services are being provided now due to an increase in visitor fees, that helps supplement the operational budgets they might otherwise have. A lot of the smaller parks do not have that same ability to supplement their operations budget through visitor fees.
    So I think it was a warranted move to try to emphasize enhanced funding at the smaller park level.
    Mr. NETHERCUTT. Do you have a sense of what the number or the breakdown is on rural versus urban?
    Mr. GALVIN. Just looking at the list, there are 46 parks. My guess here is that 35 of them are rural.
 Page 233       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. NETHERCUTT. What about the $37.4 million for repair and rehabilitation projects going to 36 parks. Is the same process that you go through relative to basic operations and funding increases, and is it rural versus urban? Maybe you can provide that for the record if you cannot answer it now.
    Mr. STANTON. We will provide a definitive listing of the allocation of those by region and by park. But there is no design at the front end of the process to make a distinction as to where that particular park is located. It is the merits of the project that is being proposed.

    [The information follows:]

    The selection process used by the NPS in developing the FY 1999 repair and rehabilitation listing consisted of budget calls to the parks through the Regional Offices for projects that met criteria as described and defined in the maintenance section of the current year budget justifications. Additionally, for purposes of this listing, the National Park Service as with all DOI bureaus were directed to focus on addressing critical health and safety deficiencies. These projects were evaluated and prioritized by Regional staff and submitted to the Washington Office for consolidation. The location of the park unit was not a consideration in the determination of the submitted project listing. The listing below represents the repair and rehabilitation priorities for the NPS in FY 1999.

    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."

 Page 234       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. NETHERCUTT. Let me ask you about the program called Save America's Treasures. It is a $50 million request, $25 million is dedicated to States and Indian tribes for preservation activities. You also have the Historic Preservation Fund, which is a separate program, for which you have requested about $800,000.
    What is the difference between these two tribal preservation grant programs?
    Mr. STANTON. The Save America's Treasures is authorized, or should I say, we are proposing that that amount be authorized under the Historic Preservation Fund, and be earmarked specifically to carry out the preservation of cultural resources that may be in public ownership at the Federal level or in public ownership at the State level or by tribal governments.
    It would represent a first time funding category, if you will, to emphasize the preservation of our Nation's heritage welcoming in the millennium. That is the distinction here.
    Mr. NETHERCUTT. I do not really quarrel with the mission, I am just wondering, with the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Archives and other government agencies, I am wondering, given your other needs, why you want to initiate a new program that is going to spend a substantial amount of money in light of your other ongoing needs.
    Mr. STANTON. I respect that. But it is our view that the amount of money that will be made available to other Federal agencies, to the States and to tribal governments, that this money will become somewhat of a catalyst or become a way of interesting others to contribute toward the preservation of resources throughout the country.
    It is not intended that the $50 million will meet the total preservation needs of our heritage resources. But the availability of some of this money would be on a matching basis, and again, it would be a way of developing a national interest in doing something nationwide for the millennium.
 Page 235       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. NETHERCUTT. Would it be possible to accomplish the same or a similar result by using existing capabilities within the Government, whether it is the humanities or the National Archives or other?
    Mr. STANTON. I feel awkward in responding to that. Suffice to say, however, that with respect to the percentage of the $50 million that will be allocated to other Federal agencies, there will be established an inter-governmental council that will make the decision as to how much of that funding the Park Service, as an example, will receive, or the Smithsonian, or the Department of Defense, or what have you, as a part of their preservation of resources entrusted to their care.
    Whether or not we could use some existing organizational entity to do that, absent an interagency council, that still, I think, could be considered.
    Mr. NETHERCUTT. One final question. I noticed your comments about the overflight issue. Is there dissatisfaction with the current policy relative to overflights? Are you inclined as an agency to make a change? Did you feel it necessary to undertake this examination? I assume that you were not satisfied with existing policy. Or is that an improper assumption?
    Mr. STANTON. I will ask Jackie to respond on my behalf.
    Mr. NETHERCUTT. You have requested to spend $400,000 for the program to try to develop a national strategy.
    Mr. STANTON. National standard. Regulation, if you will, yes.
    Mr. NETHERCUTT. Do we assume that the existing policy is not a good one?
    Ms. LOWEY. I think that is a fair assumption. Look at the Grand Canyon, which is an example of the ''existing policy'' and is a very complicated rulemaking. In response to the President's directive, we asked a working group to help us figure out how we can avoid situations down the road where you have such a tenuous situation, where we have Congress going in and saying, restore natural quiet.
 Page 236       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    What we are trying to do is develop a process to avoid problems in the future.
    Mr. NETHERCUTT. The President's direction, you say?

    Ms. LOWEY. Yes.
    Mr. NETHERCUTT. What was the direction you were given?
    Ms. LOWEY. The President issued an executive order directing the Federal Department of Transportation and the Department of the Interior to review processes, to appoint a task force to come up with recommendations on a new process. And a key part of that new process is to look at how we can avoid problems down the road.
    Mr. NETHERCUTT. When will that effort be finished?
    Ms. LOWEY. We have already received the working group recommendations and are working on a draft notice of proposed rule-making. It has been a public process involving both industry and conservation groups as well as both agencies. We are using a regulatory negotiation involving all parties, and are looking to have an NPRM this year.
    Mr. NETHERCUTT. What is their recommendation?
    Ms. LOWEY. The recommendation is a process-oriented rule that I will summarize for you briefly and can submit for the record. It would have the operators apply to the FAA for operations specifications when they sought to conduct a tour over the park. Then the FAA and the National Park Service would work together in a public process to come up with what the recommendations call an air tour management plan for parks.
    [The information follows:]

    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."

 Page 237       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. NETHERCUTT. And say again when you think that will be finished?
    Ms. LOWEY. We anticipate a notice of proposed rulemaking this year.
    Mr. NETHERCUTT. Before the end of the year?
    Ms. LOWEY. Yes.
    Mr. NETHERCUTT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Mr. REGULA. Mr. Yates.
    Mr. YATES. Mr. Galvin, I could not help thinking as you answered a question of Mr. Dicks about Lewis and Clark, how close are you to retirement? [Laughter.]
    Mr. GALVIN. Well, I am eligible.
    Mr. YATES. The reason I ask that question is, I could not help thinking, with all the experience you have had in the construction of the historic sites in the Park Service, what an excellent history professor you would make at some university.
    Mr. GALVIN. I appreciate that endorsement, Mr. Chairman, and I will be certain to put it on my resume.
    Mr. YATES. It is an endorsement. You have really been at the heart of the preservation of Independence Hall and Old South Church and all the battlefields and now Lewis and Clark. You have been in this for so many years. I do hope you will stay with the Park Service, because I think there are very few people in the Park Service who know as much about the Park Service as you.
    Mr. GALVIN. Well, Mr. Chairman, I certainly appreciate your high regard. These days, being associated with the construction program is not without its liabilities. [Laughter.]
 Page 238       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    However, you are absolutely correct that the opportunity to be associated with everything from the removal of facilities at Giant Forest at Sequoia to Independence Hall to the recent construction of the FDR Memorial really is a privilege.
    Mr. YATES. I would think so.
    As I listened to Mr. Dicks' further interrogation of the destruction of Elwha Dam, is this the project which had such a horrendous cost?

    How much money did it cost originally?
    Mr. STANTON. I do not know the original construction costs for Elwha and Glines Dams, but the proposed acquisition is included in Title V; it would be $86 million. But that is plus the——
    Mr. YATES. I saw that figure.
    Mr. STANTON. It is $113 million.
    Mr. YATES. For one dam?
    Mr. STANTON. No, for both.
    Mr. YATES. If it cost $86 million for one——
    Mr. STANTON. No, for both, I think.
    Mr. SHEAFFER. It is $86 million to buy two dams and remove one.
    Mr. YATES. It is $86 million to acquire Elwha and begin removal.
    Mr. STANTON. No, to acquire both dams.
    Mr. YATES. Where did I get the idea that it would cost hundreds of millions of dollars? Is that another project?
    Mr. SHEAFFER. No, I think there were early estimates that were considerably above this $113 million estimate, Mr. Yates. It has been discussed and refined a number of times. I believe it is quite accurate at this point.
 Page 239       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. YATES. And what happens to the lake that results? Are there any Indian objections to that?
    Mr. GALVIN. The Native American tribes are downstream. They have been involved. This has really been multi-agency, including Native American interests involvement. Mr. Dicks already talked about the Port Angeles water system.
    The objective of all this is to restore what was historically one of the richest salmon fisheries on the west coast, as I recall, something like eight species of salmon spawned in this river.
    Mr. YATES. What is the river?
    Mr. GALVIN. The Elwha River. And the Elwha Dam and the Glines Canyon Dam are both on the Elwha river. The Glines Canyon Dam is the one in the park. That is the one that the $86 million will not remove.
    Mr. BARRY. Mr. Yates, if I could also add something. The most significant portion of the cost will be associated with the restoration of the river system once the dams have been acquired. The cost of the dams themselves, comparatively speaking, is fairly small. We then have, as the case in Florida——
    Mr. YATES. Very small, $160 million?
    Mr. BARRY. No, no, that is for both acquisition and the restoration at least of the Elwha portion of it. I am just saying that if you parcel out the costs for the acquisition of the two dams by themselves and do nothing more, that proportionate amount is smaller. Where you have the extra costs is when you then go back in and restore the ecosystem that has been affected because of the dams. That is where there are significant additional costs.
    This is the case down in Florida, where we are finding that it is always more expensive to go back later to try to restore ecological systems that have been damaged.
    Mr. YATES. Who is going to pay the cost of the restoration of the ecosystem?
 Page 240       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. SHEAFFER. The cost of the restoration is included in the $86 million. Of the $86 million, $18 million is for the acquisition of the dams, and the balance is for the removal of one and the restoration of one.
    Mr. YATES. Why is the Park Service engaged in restoring the ecosystem? Should not that be Corps of Engineers or one of the other agencies do the restoration?
    Mr. SKEEN. The Engineers probably built the dams.
    Mr. YATES. Well, they are going to remove the dam, but once you remove the dam and you start restoring the ecosystem, are they going to remove the dam?
    Mr. SKEEN. I understand that they are going to eliminate one dam and make this——
    Mr. YATES. But why is the Park Service getting the money for it, then, if they are going to remove the dam?
    Mr. GALVIN. This is partially a result of authorizing legislation passed by the Congress and also the fact that the river rises and runs through Olympic National Park.
    Mr. YATES. That does not answer my question. They could still remove the dam, if that is their function. The Park Service is not going to remove the dam.
    Mr. STANTON. Well, the money will be appropriated to us.
    Mr. YATES. You are going to turn it over to the Corps of Engineers for removal?
    Mr. STANTON. We can arrange it with the Corps of Engineers or other private organization, or Reclamation within the Interior Department.
    Mr. YATES. Are they going to ask for the money, too?
    Mr. STANTON. Not in their budget, no.
 Page 241       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. GALVIN. We have been using Reclamation for the engineering studies on the dams, for the removal of the dams.
    Mr. STANTON. Right.
    Mr. YATES. Then you are going to be the banker for the restoration of the environment, are you not?
    Mr. STANTON. That is correct.
    Mr. YATES. Well, what is the view of the Indian people out there on this?
    Mr. GALVIN. They are anxious for the restoration of the fisheries. That is a major objective that they support strongly.
    Mr. YATES. Okay. Mr. Galvin, what is the condition of Park Service historic sites? You are in the process of finishing Independence Hall. Old South Church has just been finished. The Revolutionary War sites are going to be in good shape, are they not?
    Mr. GALVIN. Generally speaking we have made good progress there. Then of course for the bicentennial some years ago, we also had money going into the Revolutionary War sites.
    Mr. YATES. What about the Civil War sites?
    Mr. GALVIN. Civil War sites are influenced by a number of things that do not necessarily go to the condition of the infrastructure in those parks, particularly the Civil War sites here in the northeast; they are being influenced strongly by development on their boundaries or around them.
    Mr. YATES. Like Gettysburg?
    Mr. GALVIN. Gettysburg, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Antietam, Manassas, all are in areas that are rapidly growing, which results in a couple of things. One is, it results in development on their boundaries, and in other instances, it results in, because of congestion, requests to widen roads within the battlefield boundaries. So they really are influenced more by things going on around them than by what is going on in them. And that is a problem.
 Page 242       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. YATES. It is my understanding that you are cooperating with the restoration of the Vietnam Memorial Museum in Chicago.
    Mr. GALVIN. I believe we were appropriated money and are providing assistance on that memorial, yes. Last year, in 1998, we got money.
    Mr. YATES. Thanks, Mr. Chairman.
    Mr. REGULA. Mr. Skeen.
    Mr. SKEEN. Mr. Director, what is the current status of the Interagency Memorandum of Understanding between the National Park Service and the Department of Transportation regarding the transportation systems for Grand Canyon and Yosemite National Park?
    Mr. STANTON. We are very pleased to have the assistance of the Department of Transportation pursuant to that agreement. With respect to Yosemite, we have developed various alternatives and have presented them to the public in various workshops in and around Yosemite, as far as San Francisco and Los Angeles. And we are looking at alternate ways of accommodating visitors in the park minus their personal vehicles.
    Similarly, we are looking at alternate transportation in Grand Canyon, particularly to accommodate visitors to the south rim of Grand Canyon National Park. That, too, will provide for the movement of visitors in a bus or light rail, with their personal vehicle being parked at some designated area inside or outside the park.
    That is the alternate transportation system. We are not discouraging increased visitation to these areas, but we want to reduce private vehicle congestion in some of the more critical area.
    Mr. SKEEN. Will we be assured that these two parks will not purchase these vehicles until the report has been presented to the committee and an agreed-upon plan has been developed?
 Page 243       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. STANTON. Yes.
    Mr. SKEEN. Could we get that?
    Mr. STANTON. Yes.
    Mr. SKEEN. I would appreciate that.
    Mr. REGULA. I think you have an MOU on looking into alternate fuel vehicles for these parks. What has been done about that, if anything?
    Mr. STANTON. With respect to?
    Mr. REGULA. Alternate fuel vehicles, like natural gas buses.
    Mr. STANTON. That is definitely one of the major objectives here, is to not only provide for the convenience of the public, but use a vehicle or vehicles that are most conservation efficient, such as you pointed out earlier, alternate transportation——
    Mr. REGULA. You have not reached any conclusions?
    Mr. STANTON. No, we have not.
    Mr. GALVIN. One distinction that needs to be made is that in both parks, Grand Canyon and Yosemite, there are already in-park transportation systems, as opposed to the systems we are looking at through planning that bring people in from outside the park. And we have purchased vehicles for those in-park systems at Grand Canyon, and in fact, this budget includes a request to buy some at Zion.

    And for instance, in 1992, we bought three electric powered buses at Grand Canyon, liquified natural gas vehicles we bought in 1996, five compressed natural gas transit buses were bought in 1997, and seven natural gas buses in 1998. Those are all for the in-park transportation system that already exists.

 Page 244       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. REGULA. To take people from a parking lot in the park?
    Mr. STANTON. That is correct.
    Mr. GALVIN. Basically it runs around the south rim. The west rim drive is closed in the summer time, so the only way people can get out there is to take the transportation system.
    Mr. STANTON. The plans that are being developed for Grand Canyon and Yosemite would be on a much larger scale than the intra-park system that Mr. Galvin has described.
    Mr. SKEEN. I think the question was on those two specific instances. As I understand it, you may purchase some transportation, but you have already pretty much got your transportation plan in order?
    Mr. GALVIN. In both parks, there is a sort of regional system that has evolved in Yosemite. We are still working with the surrounding counties on that. We have made no final decisions on location of transit centers at Yosemite.
    At Grand Canyon, we have an approved plan. But we have not yet put any systems in place to park visitors outside the park in the nearby forest and bring them into the park. That has not been implemented, but the plans have been approved. So we have bought no vehicles.
    Our hope is that we will get a private concessionaire to run that system.
    Ms. LOWEY. Just pointing back to the question with respect to DOT and the memorandum of understanding, we have been working with them, we have had a project team from the Federal Transit Administration that has come out and done consultation looking at some of the operations and specifications to help us in the designing phase of some of what we're doing.
    So the MOU has helped the cooperative effort there.
 Page 245       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. SKEEN. It is of great interest to the committee, because of some of the problems with the types of vehicles and so forth.
    One last question. Norm Dicks mentioned something about goats. As an old goater, I'd like to know, are they hair goats or meat goats?
    Mr. STANTON. I could not comment, sir. [Laughter.]
    Mr. SKEEN. When I came up here, I was assigned to a subcommittee. They said, we understand you are in the sheep business. The Chairman said, would you like to handle the wool part of this thing. I said, I would not mind taking care of that. I will try to.
    It is gone now, so I took very good care of it.
    Finally, he said, tell me, what in the world is mohair. I thought he was kidding. I said, it comes from a little animal called a mo, and you shave it in the full moon, and gather all of those little particles up. And it makes some of the most exquisite clothing you could ever see. [Laughter.]
    I looked over and his mouth was way down, I said, I am only kidding.
    But they used to use goats a lot, in the Forest Service and the Park Service, to take care of some of the briars. They did a pretty good job. But some of the environmentalists decided they should not have any goats.
    You don't need to answer this question. But if you need a goat herder, holler.
    Mr. STANTON. Thank you, Mr. Skeen.


    Mr. REGULA. I have several questions. The committee has urged the National Park Service to review an offer made by a land owner on Cumberland Island National Seashore regarding a possible land exchange which could save the Federal Government nearly $19 million. What is the status of these negotiations, and when will the Park Service be prepared to report its recommendation to the committee?
 Page 246       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. STANTON. There are ongoing discussions with the land owner. There are some concerns that we have as to whether or not the exchange would be in the interest of the management of Cumberland Island National Seashore. And I have not gotten a final recommendation from our regional managers, who also have involved the land acquisition staff from my immediate office.
    I would anticipate perhaps within another two or three months we will have some idea in terms of whether or not the exchange would be in the interest of Cumberland Island National Seashore.
    Mr. REGULA. I might tell you, at the request of Mr. Kingston, I am going to go down and take a look at it in the next couple of weeks.
    Mr. STANTON. Very good.


    Mr. REGULA. Mr. Nethercutt touched on the $50 million millennium fund to save the Nation's treasures. When I look at the budget justification, it's rather vague, other than it is supposedly in the Park Service. But who is going to define the treasures? Secondly, is there any anticipation of leveraging this money with substantial private funding, as we did with the Statute of Liberty?
    It seems to me there is a lot of detail that needs to be worked out, if we're going to get into this.
    Mr. STANTON. The detail with respect to the criteria that will govern the selection has not been established. That will be one of the principal responsibilities of this interagency committee that will be established by the Secretary of the Interior.
    But it would be anticipated that funds that will be appropriated to the States, to tribal governments, as well as to other agencies, would be used to invite partners to carry out major projects. But clearly, as you point out, Mr. Chairman, the final ground rules have not been established at this point in time.
 Page 247       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. REGULA. Would the States have any limitation, or would it just be a pro rata distribution based on their population?
    Mr. STANTON. Yes, the distribution to the States would be in a similar manner of apportionment as with the normal or the regular Historic Preservation Fund.
    Mr. REGULA. Assuming that we may have some real constraints on our allocation, which would you feel would be more important if we have to cut back, States or the Federal?
    Mr. STANTON. Can I get back to you on that, Mr. Chairman? [Laughter.]
    Mr. REGULA. Okay. Maybe we can help you make that decision.
    Mr. STANTON. Yes, sir.

    Mr. REGULA. On the fee demonstration program, are we doing things with those fees that might not otherwise get done? I envision this enhancing the visitors' experience, not being a substitute for what we should be doing in our budget. Is that happening?

    Mr. STANTON. Yes. The condition of park facilities, as an example, I think, has a direct relationship with the visitors' experience. It could be the exhibits in the visitors center, it could be the conditions of the trails and facilities. There is a direct relationship between improved park facilities, their accessibility, to the visitor experience.
    Mr. REGULA. So it does enhance their visit?
    Mr. STANTON. It does indeed.
    Mr. REGULA. Do most of them put up some type of signage to indicate to the visitors that their fees are staying in the park to be used for that purpose?
 Page 248       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. STANTON. Yes. That is communicated verbally at the entrance station by park rangers. Because on many occasions, a visitor will have some question about why these fees, what are they being used for. And all our employees are trained to articulate the intent of the fee program as authorized by your committee and Congress in general. There are some printed brochures that are available that speak about the benefit of the fee program.
    And the public recognizes it is a three year program, and they have their opportunity to make comments about the merits of the program.
    Mr. REGULA. How are you distributing the 20 percent that is allocated to the parks such as Golden Gate, that do not, or cannot have a fee program as a practical matter, because of too many entrances and so on? How do you decide who gets what out of the 20 percent?
    Mr. STANTON. It is through a collaborative, cooperative effort, in that there are broad guidelines established at the national level. Then the individual parks, through their regional directors, submit their candidate projects to the national office. The decision is not made solely by those of us who occupy seats in the national office. But we invite representatives from the seven regions to sit at the table and determine the merits of any project in terms of its benefit to the park system as a whole.
    Mr. REGULA. Well, I would hope this would be helpful to these parks.
    Mr. STANTON. It is.
    Mr. REGULA. The urban parks are pretty heavily used. They're very popular.
    Mr. STANTON. That is correct.

 Page 249       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. BARRY. Mr. Chairman, if I could just mention one thing, since you and I were both recently down in Florida at the Everglades, one of the things that Dick Ring mentioned to me that Everglades was going to do with some of the visitor fee money was to replace much if not most of their interpretive signage. The interpretive exhibits that are out in the Everglades themselves, over time, have been damaged by sunlight, which has whitened out a large number of signs.

    They are planning on using the fee money to help replace the signage with a new technology, sort of a baked-on enamel approach, which will make them impervious to damage from sunlight. It also gives them an opportunity for them to go through and update and upgrade all of the interpretive exhibits and interpretive signs that will, I think, provide a richer experience to the people who visit the Everglades.

    That would be just one example where the park is utilizing its money in a way that will have a direct enhancement of the visitors' enjoyment of the park.

    Mr. GALVIN. Mr. Chairman, I might mention, the requirements of the Act require us to go back and survey visitors with respect to the fee program. That has been done in two phases. Last summer, we used a university to go out and do focus groups and interview park visitors. Eighty percent of the park visitors supported the fee increases, as long as those fees were used in the park system and stayed in the park.
    So we have encountered, in the 100 project parks, virtually no objection to the increase in fees.
 Page 250       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC


    Mr. REGULA. I was interested at Muir Woods when they said their vandalism has been diminished to some extent. Is that generally the experience throughout the system?
    Mr. STANTON. Yes.
    Mr. REGULA. People become stakeholders when they make contributions to the park.
    Mr. STANTON. Yes. I think there is a correlation between one's investment or contributions and how they look upon the value of that which they are contributing towards. We have not analyzed it in terms of any empirical data. But we have recognized that people respect the parks when they pay a fee to enter.
    Mr. REGULA. No question. If you are paying something, somehow it takes on greater value to you.


    We have a unique, rather innovative arrangement at the Presidio with the Trust. Have you had any problems in making this new situation work? Is it working well?
    Mr. STANTON. It is a little early for me to comment about the benefits or the status of the various management accomplishments on the part of the Trust, in that the Trust, as it is presently composed, has been only in the business for a short period of time. The Trust has recently appointed a new executive director who is working closely with the National Park Service.
 Page 251       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    My sense is that the Trust and its new executive director have identified some priorities and some goals which I think will fulfill what was envisioned when Congress authorized the Trust. Obviously, the National Park Service will continue to be a partner with respect to our obligation of managing certain lands and certain facilities at the Presidio. And certainly, we have a cooperative relationship with the Trust with respect to law enforcement services and what have you.
    But I cannot comment just in terms of what has been accomplished with respect to preservation of the buildings, getting occupants into the buildings, getting revenue returning to the Government for the preservation of the building, what have you. Mr. Galvin and Mr. Sheaffer have been associated with it much longer than I have, Mr. Chairman. If you do not mind, maybe they have comments.
    Mr. REGULA. Go ahead.
    Mr. GALVIN. Mr. Chairman, we are working through a whole series, obviously, this is the transition year the Trust takes over Area B in July. I know you are going to be out there later this year. Probably the most recent development has been discussions about who will do the ongoing maintenance in Area B when the Trust gets up and running. We have a letter from the Trust that says, at the end of fiscal year 1999, they will take over the maintenance function.
    Mr. REGULA. This would be within the housing area?
    Mr. GALVIN. Yes, within Area B, the 80 percent of the Presidio that they control. Obviously they are going to take over the housing and other issues. We are working through those issues one by one.

    The maintenance function issue is one that we will have to watch very closely. Because currently, the maintenance force is mostly Bay Area based. Many of them came from other military bases within the Bay Area during the shutdown of those. And the Presidio legislation, as you may recall, requires us to employ them if they lose their jobs at the Presidio.
 Page 252       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    So it is a little bit difficult to predict exactly what the outcome of that will be. Each of these employees will probably be offered jobs by the Trust. Whether those jobs have the same kind of benefit package is unclear at this point.

    If they opt not to take a job with the Trust, then the National Park Service will be required to find them employment.

    Mr. REGULA. Have you resolved the hazardous waste sites with the Army?

    Mr. GALVIN. We have recently concluded a new memorandum, a three-way memorandum between the Army, the Trust and the National Park Service that sets up a process for further work with the Army on the cleanup of the Presidio. I would say, and I think you know, Mr. Chairman, that the Army has done an enormous amount of work out there at Crissy Field, which is outside of Area B. We are very satisfied with the cleanup efforts that they've done and with the cleanup efforts that remain.

    There are questions in areas like lead paint removal and asbestos removal that need to be worked out principally in Area B with the Trust. We have signed a new memorandum with the Army that sets up a process to solve this.

    Mr. REGULA. I do not know what to do with those barracks, for lack of a better term; there was some talk about housing.

 Page 253       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. GALVIN. Wherry housing. It looks like the Trust is interested in most of the Wherry housing as income producers. They are categorizing it in three different categories. Some of the units would remain there for a long time, some would be medium term and some would come out pretty quickly.

    But the Trust is very definitely——

    Mr. REGULA. It is part of Part B, then?

    Mr. GALVIN. Yes, that is right. In fact, one of the things the Trust is looking at as an income source on the Presidio is the housing, and Wherry is part of that mix.

    Mr. REGULA. I note that they just got a $10 million gift, for rehabilitation along the waterfront.

    Mr. GALVIN. That is Crissy Field, right, from the Haas family. On that particular development, which is in accordance with the general management plan, well over 50 percent of the fund raising is complete. We expect that we will do all the work with donated funds.

    Mr. REGULA. It was an innovative solution to a difficult problem.

    Fort Baker, do you get that one?
 Page 254       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. GALVIN. Yes, we do.

    Mr. REGULA. Do you have any innovative ideas?

    Mr. GALVIN. Well, we have another group that's interested in developing Fort Baker. And they have done some feasibility studies that indicate that Fort Baker, which already is partially occupied by a non-profit museum, could work as a conference center. They were in, in fact, last week, and we discussed it with them. There are some questions about upgrading the infrastructure there.

    Mr. REGULA. I was there, and it looks like a big ticket item to me.

    Mr. GALVIN. That is a big ticket item. The development of the conference center is a bigger ticket item. But we have not yet figured out how to make the infrastructure work. It does not look like the conference center would pay for itself if they have to bear the infrastructure costs.

    Mr. STANTON. The key for the conference center idea would be the location. It is a magnificent location.

    Mr. REGULA. Is the Coast Guard still at the facility?

    Mr. STANTON. Yes, but I think the plan is for them to phase out over a period of time.
 Page 255       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. GALVIN. But we're looking to try to find an innovative solution there, so that the buildings are occupied, used, and pay for themselves.


    Mr. REGULA. You recall we had a hearing about management of construction projects, and of course you use the Denver Service Center. The Forest Service has a different program, as does the Fish and Wildlife Service. Your approach has been much more a control system from Denver.

    When was the system of financing Denver created as opposed to baseline funding? It seems to me that by rewarding a facility by saying, you get a percentage of the cost, does not enhance a frugal attitude. What does that system put in place? Denver does not appear here anywhere in your budget request. It is not baseline.

    Mr. STANTON. It is not baseline. The concept of what percentage of a project estimate would be earmarked for design or for construction or construction supervision or for contingencies, I do not know the origin of that distribution.

    But as far as I know, in the history of the National Park Service, a centralized design and engineering arm existed, and at one time we had an eastern and a western center. These centers I think, were project funded, as opposed to being base funded.

    Mr. GALVIN. The current system has been in place at least since 1971. I have a feeling its historic origins go as far back as the Civilian Conservation Corps, when the Park Service had an enormous design and construction capability, because they were working in State parks, too.
 Page 256       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. STANTON. Mr. Chairman, again, we await the recommendations of the National Association of Public Administrators, and it is my understanding they are looking at how that kind of funding can be restructured.

    Mr. REGULA. That is true. It has the characteristics of the cost plus system that the military used. And that approach does not invite an attempt to be really efficient, because you are rewarded for high costs.

    And I guess you're not going to try and make any recommendations until you have heard from the NAPA?

    Mr. STANTON. That is correct, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. REGULA. Are you continuing your moratorium on new construction, which resulted a little bit from the Delaware Water Gap situation?


    Mr. STANTON. The only moratorium that I have established is on requesting appropriation funding for new housing until we have completed our comprehensive evaluation. That is moving quite well, and we will have a comprehensive report for you, Mr. Chairman, and the committee, in the next year. So the moratorium is on that.

 Page 257       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    But we are continuing to execute, if you will, the line construction program as appropriated by your committee. But what we are doing is making sure that the scope of the project is sound and that we go through a value analysis review, so that when the project is awarded, it represents the most efficient project that we think we can develop.
    Then once the contract is underway, we want to make sure we are employing the most efficient measures to supervise the project and make adjustments where appropriate to again realize some of the most efficient ways that project can be accomplished.
    Mr. REGULA. I have been told there is a second facility in Delaware that was scheduled but it is on hold. Is that correct?
    Mr. STANTON. There has been a project brought to my attention which was designed some years back that has not been awarded, because it has not met the test, if you will, through our value analysis. And so the system is working. Had we not put it in place, I think, absent stringent review, as we have committed ourselves to, we probably could have gone through the actual contracting process. But you are correct.


    Mr. REGULA. How about the chalets at Montana? Are they going forward? What is the status of those?
    Mr. STANTON. There were two chalets in Montana. We are nearing completion of one. And the other chalet has been held in abeyance pending some donated funds through partnership involvement, which was the original agreement.
    Mr. REGULA. I think the original agreement was that either, a State or local entity was going to come up with half the money. So far it has been pretty thin, maybe $30,000 or so. Certainly they have not kept their half of the bargain.
 Page 258       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. STANTON. That is correct.
    Mr. REGULA. And I suppose on a per person usage, the chalets are pretty expensive, really.
    Mr. STANTON. If you were to look at it on that basis, that would be correct. But they are extremely significant. They are historic facilities within Glacier National Park. But also, their location, the remoteness, they do not get heavy traffic. But we do have a mandate to preserve them.
    Mr. REGULA. A mandate from whom?
    Mr. STANTON. With respect to the historic structures.
    Mr. REGULA. Are these designated as historic structures?
    Mr. STANTON. Yes, they are. But there was a question about their use for bodily functions, if you will, with respect to making sure that the treatment met today's health standards. That was a major consideration.
    Mr. REGULA. I am sure they are quite nice to use. But in the great scheme of things, I think you have to think about the millions of people that are not going to use them. There is a question whether that type of thing is cost effective, in terms of the millions of potential visitors to the system.
    Mr. STANTON. Yes, I appreciate that.
    Mr. REGULA. I assume your criteria prospectively will take that into account.


    Are you, taking additional steps in making superintendents more aware of management responsibilities? The fee money is, one mention of that, and the long term restraint on what will be available on appropriations.
 Page 259       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. STANTON. Yes, we are doing that through a number of ways. One is communicating my objectives and conveying the basis on which I hold superintendents and regional directors accountable for their performance. Then as a part of the personnel management program of the Federal Government, in particular the Park Service, we reinforce that to their performance standards.

    Then we ensure that our managers have the necessary training and skills commensurate with the responsibility that they have in managing large sums of money, managing complex projects. So we realize at all levels of the organization, we need to have the checks and balances to assure we are accountable for the use of resources entrusted to our care.
    Mr. REGULA. How do you get your personnel? Do you have people that get degrees in park management? Do universities have such a curriculum? How do you get people that eventually are going to become superintendents?
    Mr. STANTON. There is no positive educational requirement, per se, that you must have had this kind of training, necessarily, to be a superintendent. However, by and large, most superintendents either have spent a number of years in park management, conservation, recreation, historic preservation types of work or in training programs. Many proceed on the career ladder to become a superintendent.
    We do have a number of superintendents who are civil engineers, who are landscape architects.
    Mr. REGULA. No university is offering degrees in park management, is that correct?
    Mr. STANTON. There are a number of colleges and universities that offer undergraduate as well as advanced degrees in park and recreation administration. We do have a number of superintendents who have those degrees. But that is not a specific requirement.
 Page 260       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    What we attempt to do, however, is that once you become a superintendent, there are still certain competency areas that we expect the superintendent to have. In order to sort of stop gap that, we have a required course for new superintendents. Plus, they have a competency requirement that they need to be conversant in resource preservation, in managing and designing projects, community relations, legislative affairs, budget and what have you.
    Mr. REGULA. I guess historically, there has not been a defined parameter as to what qualifies you, like to be a lawyer who has to pass the bar exam, or the teachers now have to meet certain standards. You have not quite had that approach on your management people historically, have you?
    Mr. STANTON. Not truly defined in that sense. But there are certain levels of knowledge, skills and abilities that a superintendent should have. In other words, the superintendents should be capable of managing and supervising and developing programs and leading employees. To the extent you have a degree in park management, I think it is better for us. But we do have those who have degrees in business administration, and as I said before, in the professional disciplines.
    So there is a mixture of backgrounds and academic training of our superintendents. Each of them should have, at some point in time, early on in their superintendency, competencies within a certain core area.
    Mr. REGULA. Do you have any program of continuing education?
    Mr. STANTON. Yes. We encourage that on the part of all our managers. Under the Government Training Act, there are certain courses that, if they are job related and they assist an employee in performing a job better, then the Government can reimburse for those classes.

    Then of course, many employees, for their own career development, their own career growth, invest in their own academic development.
 Page 261       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC


    Mr. REGULA. Well, thank you all very much. Let me note that we may get back to you, depending on our 302(b) allocation. We may get back to you and say, we cannot do all this. We want you to participate in scaling back priorities if the need exists, rather than for us just to arbitrarily make cuts in what you are proposing in your budget.
    We want to make the dollars available, so they are used as effectively as possible. So thank you very much.
    Mr. STANTON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Mr. REGULA. The committee is adjourned and will reconvene at 1:30.

    [The following questions and answers were submitted for the Record:]

    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."