SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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AMERICAN LAND SOVEREIGNTY PROTECTION ACT
COMMITTEE ON RESOURCES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED FIFTH CONGRESS
TANNERSVILLE, NEW YORK, MAY 5, AND WASHINGTON, DC, JUNE 10, 1997
Serial No. 10526
Page 2 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCPrinted for the use of the Committee on Resources
COMMITTEE ON RESOURCES
DON YOUNG, Alaska, Chairman
W.J. (BILLY) TAUZIN, Louisiana
JAMES V. HANSEN, Utah
JIM SAXTON, New Jersey
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
JOHN J. DUNCAN, Jr., Tennessee
JOEL HEFLEY, Colorado
JOHN T. DOOLITTLE, California
WAYNE T. GILCHREST, Maryland
KEN CALVERT, California
RICHARD W. POMBO, California
BARBARA CUBIN, Wyoming
HELEN CHENOWETH, Idaho
LINDA SMITH, Washington
GEORGE P. RADANOVICH, California
WALTER B. JONES, Jr., North Carolina
WILLIAM M. (MAC) THORNBERRY, Texas
JOHN SHADEGG, Arizona
JOHN E. ENSIGN, Nevada
ROBERT F. SMITH, Oregon
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCCHRIS CANNON, Utah
KEVIN BRADY, Texas
JOHN PETERSON, Pennsylvania
RICK HILL, Montana
BOB SCHAFFER, Colorado
JIM GIBBONS, Nevada
MICHAEL D. CRAPO, Idaho
GEORGE MILLER, California
EDWARD J. MARKEY, Massachusetts
NICK J. RAHALL II, West Virginia
BRUCE F. VENTO, Minnesota
DALE E. KILDEE, Michigan
PETER A. DeFAZIO, Oregon
ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American Samoa
NEIL ABERCROMBIE, Hawaii
SOLOMON P. ORTIZ, Texas
OWEN B. PICKETT, Virginia
FRANK PALLONE, Jr., New Jersey
CALVIN M. DOOLEY, California
CARLOS A. ROMERO-BARCELÓ, Puerto Rico
MAURICE D. HINCHEY, New York
ROBERT A. UNDERWOOD, Guam
SAM FARR, California
PATRICK J. KENNEDY, Rhode Island
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCADAM SMITH, Washington
WILLIAM D. DELAHUNT, Massachusetts
CHRIS JOHN, Louisiana
DONNA CHRISTIAN-GREEN, Virgin Islands
RON KIND, Wisconsin
LLOYD DOGGETT, Texas
LLOYD A. JONES, Chief of Staff
ELIZABETH MEGGINSON, Chief Counsel
CHRISTINE KENNEDY, Chief Clerk/Administrator
JOHN LAWRENCE, Democratic Staff Director
C O N T E N T S
Hearings held in Tannersville, NY and Washington, DC:
May 5, 1997
June 10, 1997
Statement of Members:
Cannon, Hon. Christopher, a Representative in Congress from the State of Utah
Chenoweth, Hon. Helen, a Representative in Congress from the State of Idaho
Hinchey, Hon. Maurice, a Representative in Congress from the State of New York
Radanovich, Hon. George, a Representative in Congress from the State of California, prepared statement of
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSolomon, Hon. Jerry, a Representative in Congress from the State of New York
Young, Hon. Don, a Representative in Congress from the State of Alaska
Young, Hon. Don, a Representative in Congress from the State of Alaska
Statement of Witnesses:
Araoz, Gustavo F., Executive Director, United States Committee of the International Council of Monuments and Sites, Washington, DC
Barber, Patti, Northeastern Regional Director, Pulp and Paperworkers Resource Council
Beaver, Betty Ann, Hot Springs, Arkansas
Chandler, William J., Vice President for Conservation Policy, National Parks and Conservation Association, Washington, DC
Chase, Sherret S., Shokan, New York
Childers, Hon. Charles P., Wyoming State Representative, Cody, Wyoming
Cobb, Thomas, President, Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks
Cook, Hon. Charles D., New York State Senator, Fortieth Senatorial District, prepared statement of
French, Dale, Supervisor, Town of Crown Point, New York
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCGalvin, Denis P., Acting Deputy Director of the National Park Service
Harmon, David, Deputy Executive Director, The George Wright Society, Hancock, Michigan, prepared statement of
Howard, David B., Adirondack Blueline Confederation, Gloversville, New York
Jeannette, James, Alaska State Representative, North Pole, Alaska
Jordan, Jack, Lexington, New York
LaGrasse, Carol, President, Property Rights Foundation of America, Inc.
Lamb, Henry, Executive Vice President, Environmental Conservation Organization, Hollow Rock, Tennessee
Lanzetta, Cynthia, Biosphere Study Group, Mid-Ulster League of Women Voters
Lindsey, Steve, Canelo, Arizona
O'Donnell, Michael C., on H.R. 901
Pomerance, Rafe, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC
Powers, Sheila, Albany County Farm Bureau
Rabkin, Jeremy A., Associate Professor, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
Roth, Ronald, Director, Greene County Planning Department
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCTrain, Russell E., Chairman Emeritus, World Wildlife Fund, Washington DC, prepared statement of
Vogel, John, Land Commissioner, St. Louis County, Minnesota
Wesson, Donald, Pulp and Paperworkers' Resource Council, McGehee, Arkansas
Prepared statement of-
Additional material supplied:
American Land Sovereignty Protection ActH.R. 901, Briefing Paper
Constitution of the State of Minnesota
Text of H.R. 901
AMERICAN LAND SOVEREIGNTY PROTECTION ACT
MONDAY, MAY 5, 1997
U.S. House of Representatives,
Committee on Resources,
The Committee met, pursuant to notice, at 1:03 p.m. at Hunter-Tannersville High School, Tannersville, New York, Hon. Don Young (Chairman of the Committee) presiding.
The CHAIRMAN. The Committee will come to order. I want to thank all these kind people who are here today to hear the testimony. Under the Committee rules, we will have 5 minutes of testimony. It is my discretion to try to keep it within the 5 minutes. We do have a plane to catch later on this afternoon, so we'll try to go with the schedule. We're starting on schedule.
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STATEMENT OF HON. DON YOUNG, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF ALASKA; AND CHAIRMAN, COMMITTEE ON RESOURCES
The CHAIRMAN. We're here today to hear different witnesses, and I welcome those witnesses. Today we will hear testimony on the U.S. Man and Biosphere program. Over the last 25 years, an increasing expanse of our nation's territory has been incorporated into United Nations Biosphere Reserves. Under Article IV, Section 3 of the United States Constitution, the Constitution of America, the power to make all needful rules and regulations governing lands belonging to the United States is vested in the U.S. Congress, the Congress of the people.
Yet United Nations Biosphere Reserve designations have been created without the authorization or input of Congress, and public or local governments are rarely consulted. I have introduced H.R. 901, ''The American Land Sovereignty Protection Act,'' which will allow creation of a biosphere reserve only if it is specifically authorized by Congress.
This should guarantee that local and regional concerns are considered. H.R. 901 now has almost a hundred and thirty co-sponsors, including Congressmen Solomon, Paxon and McHugh. I understand that the Biosphere Reserve program is controversial in upstate New York. Congressman Solomon invited the Committee on Resources to come to this district and listen to the concerns that local residents in New York have about this program.
This hearing will focus on the following issues: The process by which biosphere reserves are created; how this program affects the relationship between Federal, state and local governments; how creation of a biosphere reserve could affect use of surrounding lands and impact property rights; the effectiveness of the U.S. Man and Biosphere program. At this time, I will yield to the gentleman from New York, who has an opening statement.
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[The prepared statement of Hon. Don Young follows:]
STATEMENT OF HON. DON YOUNG, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF ALASKA
I am pleased to welcome our witnesses. Today we will hear testimony on the U.S. Man and Biosphere Program.
Over the last 25 years, an increasing expanse of our nation's territory has been incorporated into United Nations Biosphere Reserves. Under article IV, section 3 of the United States Constitution, the power to make all needful rules and regulations governing lands belonging to the United States is vested in Congress, yet United Nations Biosphere Reserve designations have been created without the authorization or input of Congress. The public and local governments are rarely consulted.
I have introduced a bill, H.R. 901, ''The American Land Sovereignty Protection Act,'' which will allow creation of a biosphere reserve only if it is specifically authorized by Congress. This should guarantee that local and regional concerns are considered. H.R. 901 now has almost 130 cosponsors including Congressmen Solomon, Paxon and McHugh.
I understand that the biosphere reserve program is controversial in upstate New York. Congressman Solomon invited the Committee on Resources to come to his district and listen to the concerns that local residents York have about this program.
This hearing will focus on the following issues:
(1) the process by which biosphere reserves are created,
(2) how this program affects the relationship between Federal, state and local governments,
(3) how creation of a biosphere reserve could affect use of surrounding lands and impact property rights, and
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC(4) the effectiveness of the U.S. Man and Biosphere program.
STATEMENT OF HON. MAURICE HINCHEY, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Mr. HINCHEY. Yes, Mr. Chairman, I do, and I thank you very much. First of all, let me say that it is a distinct honor, and I regard it also as a privilege to have the opportunity to welcome you here. This is not my district; this district has the good fortune to be represented by my friend and neighbor, Jerry Solomon; but my district and my home, in fact, is just a short distance from here, about 15 miles or so.
And this is an area with which I am very familiar, having grown up here and spent a long part of my life in these Catskill Mountains. So, it's a pleasure to have you here, Mr. Chairman, and you bring with you the prestige of your office, and we're delighted that you have chosen us to have a hearing on issues that affect our community. And I am very pleased to be able to be here with you.
As you know, as I've just stated, I'm a resident of the Catskill region. My home is just a short distance from here. I hope that you'll have the opportunity while you're here to see this part of New York, and to recognize that not all of New York is paved-over asphalt. Not all of it is traffic congestion. What we have here are our own forests and wild lands.
I know that some of my colleagues may honestly think that we Easterners don't have any wild lands or forests, but you can see for yourself, this is obviously not the case. It is true that we have very little Federal land here in New York, and that our wilderness areas in New York are protected by state law, and by the State Constitution and not by the Federal Constitution.
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Much of the land within the Catskill Mountains, however, remains under private ownership, and many private landowners here have taken the lead in land protection and preservation and good forest husbandry practices. That's true in the case of the matter at hand today.
I understand that we're here to discuss the proposal, which, by the way, was withdrawn almost 2 years ago, to nominate the Catskill region as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The proposal originated right here in the Catskills, with local residents and landowners. No one from the Federal Government was involved. No one in Congress was involved.
One of the sponsors of the application was Sherret Chase, who is, I believe, here with us today as a witness. Mr. Chase is a resident of the Catskills. He worked with several non-profit organizations, including the Catskill Center, and the Mohawk Reserve, in developing the application, and I am pleased that he will be here and have an opportunity to explain the process and the ideas behind the application.
That application was, however, as I indicated, withdrawn almost 2 years ago. And when it was withdrawn, it was done so in the words of Janet Crenshaw, the Executive Director of the Catskill Center at the time, and she said it was withdrawn because of misinformation and misunderstanding, and, quote, ''mixed reaction.''
She noted that the Biosphere had served in other areas as a vehicle for jobs and money for upgrading water and sewage systems, for economic development studies, for agricultural systems, and other worthwhile projects. Although the proposal originated locally, some opponents were quoted, in fact, at the time as saying that it would give, quote, ''outsiders,'' unquote, control over the region, and that would impose unnamed new land use regulations.
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However, in all of the background material and documents submitted on this issue, no one has been able to find any indication that Biosphere Reserve designation imposes any kind of land use regulation. It clearly does not give the United Nationsfar from itany legal authority over an area or any land use control authority, as some people seem to fear.
Most interestingly, one local citizen was quoted in the press as saying the Biosphere Reserve program, I quote, ''Is something we don't know enough about, and we don't want to know about it.'' I hope that that attitude will not prevail here today, and that with the current legislation on the Biosphere Reserve program and the World Heritage program, it is based on facts, not on fear or innuendo or misinformation.
Specifically, we should ask, does a Biosphere Reserve or World Heritage designation have any affect on U.S. law or local land use authority? As you know, we already have extensive experience in this county with such designations.
I understand that there are four Biosphere Reserves in the district that you represent, Mr. Chairman, all of them designated under the administrations of President Reagan and President Ford. So, we should ask whether such designations have limited United States sovereignty, or caused any tangible harm, or whether they have produced benefits, and we have the experience of those areas to tell us. In this particular instanceI'm almost finishedI have another concern.
The bill before us today, H.R. 901, would prohibit Federal officials from nominating sites for Biosphere Reserves. It would also prohibit nominations of sites for Biosphere Reserves unless it consisted solely of federally owned lands, and that requires Congressional approval. In this particular case, this law would mean that even if an overwhelming majority of Catskill residents supported such a designation, they could not obtain it, because the people in control told them they had no right to seek it.
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In short, we have to ask what need there is for such legislation, and what real affect it would have. And with that, Mr. Chairman, I look forward, as you do, I'm sure, to very the informative testimony which will be given. And I'm delighted to be in this position and to have an opportunity to listen to my learned and respected colleague, Chairman of the House Rules Committee, and my neighbor, the Honorable Gerald Solomon.
[The prepared statement of Hon. Maurice Hinchey may be found at end of hearing.]
The CHAIRMAN. The gentlewoman from Idaho.
STATEMENT OF HON. HELEN CHENOWETH, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF IDAHO
Ms. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. In the essence of time, I will submit my statement for the record, and I look forward to hearing the witnesses and to having a very interesting and informative hearing here. It is wonderful to be up here in the Catskills. Mr. Solomon, Mr. Hinchey, it's a pleasure to join you. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Hon. Helen Chenoweth may be found at end of hearing.]
The CHAIRMAN. Are you ready, Mr. Cannon?
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSTATEMENT OF HON. CHRISTOPHER CANNON, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF UTAH
Mr. CANNON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'll just take a couple of moments to present the issue as well. I appreciate being here with the Committee. I am a co-sponsor of this measure. I'm from Utah, and I had the pleasure of being in Binghamton a few weeks ago, and met with a woman who was interested in Utah and what it's like.
And finally, she asked to see a picture, one of the staff had a picture, and she looked at it and said, ''Where are the trees?'' And the staffer said, ''There are no trees.'' She said, ''Who cut them down?'' ''God didn't put them there. He didn't put enough water to grow trees.'' So, to be here, this area is just beautiful, and very, very different from the area that I'm from.
I think we have some beautiful areas out there, and also lots of it; and unilaterally, without talking to anyone in Utah, including the elected officials in Utah, the Clinton Administration nominated 1.7 million acres as a monument, the designated area as big as Rhode Island and Delaware combined, and without talking to people.
We're a little sensitive in Utah, of the Federal Government, and how it affects our lives withoutwithout feedback. And I think that's the kind of thing we're looking at, and I'm anxious to see how this process of biosphere designation is going on, and how it affects locals, what the role of local residents is in effecting process, and what kind of constraints you put on the power to make these kinds of designations. Thank you.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The CHAIRMAN. Thank you. Now we'll hear from Congressman Gerald Solomon. As Chairman, it is indeed a pleasure to have you here. I'll recognize you; go ahead, sir.
STATEMENT OF HON. JERRY SOLOMON, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Mr. SOLOMON. Mr. Chairman, I want to thank you and the other members of the Resources Committee for giving me the opportunity to speak today at this field hearing for H.R. 901, the American Land Sovereignty Protection Act, that I am privileged to co-sponsor along with you and the other members of your Committee. Mr. Chairman, I would first of all just acknowledge you.
You've been a Member of Congress even longer than I have, and I've been there for a couple of decades now; and I can't think of any Member of Congress who has been more helpful to me in helping me represent the people in the Hudson Valley, all the way to the Catskills, all the way to the Adirondacks. You've been a tremendous help, and we hope you're going to stay on for a number of years to make sure that we continue to have this kind of representation.
Second, Helen Chenoweth is a relatively new member; she has come to us from the state of Idaho and she is a dynamic member of your Committee and Congress, as is Chris Cannon. And certainly your interests and those of the people I represent are the same. So, we really do appreciate your coming here. And, of course, Maurice Hinchey, my good friend and neighbor to the south, he represents part of the Catskills, and we appreciate all of his input here today as well.
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As theand incidentally, Mr. Chairman, just for those who are here today, I'm Chairman of the Rules Committee, I set the floor debate, and we were ready to postpone all the votes today so that we could be here. So, we'll try to make up for the votes on Tuesday. You and I and the rest of us have to catch a plane back this afternoon, so I understand the limitations that you have on the hearing today.
Just two things: Let me just say, as a representative of this beautiful Catskill Mountain area, as well as the Adirondack Mountains, I have a personal interest in this legislation and strongly support its passage, because it addresses the concerns many of us have with the U.N. Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Sites programs. Like my good friend, Maurice Hinchey, I grew up just across the county line in Albany County and have worked many summers, as a young boy, in Greene County, and now I live in the Adirondacks.
I've been hunting and fishing in this area all of my life, and we have to do all we can to preserve this area. As many of you know, the U.N. Biosphere Reserve program has operated with little or no public or congressional oversight. Under agreements with the United Nations, the United States promised to manage lands under international guidelines, and more often than not, local governments and property owners are not even consulted.
And although the U.N. program receives well over $700,000 in Federal funding every year, there has never been authorization or approval given from Congress, nor has the issue ever been debated on the floor of Congress. This issue has never been debated, and that's why I appreciate the fact that you've introduced this legislation and will be bringing it to the floor, so that we can have this debate.
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Forty-seven Biosphere Reserves were established before the public began to be aware of just what was happening. One of these was established in the northern part of the congressional district which I have the privilege of representing, without me or local government officials ever knowing about it. And there are 6 million acres of land involved, and it is private property in the Adirondacks. The Champlain-Adirondack Biosphere Reserve was created in 1989 at the request of a quasi-governmental agency, the Adirondack Park Agency, and the Governors of New York and Vermont. Without congressional hearings or any input from any of the local citizens of the Adirondacks, this area was designated as a U.N. Biosphere Reserve.
In many cases in this country, I would submit that with congressional oversight as well as public input, many of these U.N. sites would not have been designated. In fact, in 1994, as my good friend Maurice Hinchey mentioned, the Catskill Region was nominated for designation as a U.N. Biosphere Reserve. When Federal, state, and local officials and residents expressed their opposition, believe me, the nomination was withdrawn.
This legislation, the American Land Sovereignty Protection Act, unequivocally states that no land in this country can be included in international land use programs without the clear and direct approval of Congress. Most of all, this bill protects individual property rights. Executive branch political appointees cannot now, and they should not, be making property decisions in the place of individual landowners and local governments. These Biosphere Reserves are a part of a much larger pattern of furthering a left-wing agenda, of accomplishing the goals through unelected bureaucrats, liberal judges, and international organizations like the United Nations. We cannot and will not allow that to happen.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Let me just sum up, Mr. Chairman, by saying that this bill is the first step in the right direction in returning power to the elected representatives in Congress, as well as to the local citizens and officials. Most importantly, this bill reasserts the constitutional rights of property owners to control their land without interference from some international organization.
And believe me, Mr. Chairman, the intent of various factions within the United Nations is obvious. There are even promisesproposals out there to levy a national tax on the American taxpayers to pay for these New World ideas, including land use prohibitions. Having served 2 years as Ambassador/Delegate myself to the United Nations under Ronald Reagan, to the United Nations, I can tell you we must always be diligent and extremely wary of these kinds of proposals.
The last thing we would want to do is for the U.S. Federal Government, at the request of the United Nations, to usurp some of the rights of local governments and settle for some kind of legal zoning. That is really my concern; that's why I really appreciate you coming here today to listen to the witnesses, and perhaps on both sides of the issue, but at least so the public is made aware of just what the ramifications of these reserves are. And I salute you and thank you.
[The prepared statement of Hon. Jerry Solomon follows:]
STATEMENT OF HON. JERRY SOLOMON, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK
I want to thank my colleagues, Chairman Don Young and the other members of the Resources Committee, for giving me the opportunity to speak today at this field hearing for H.R 901, the American Land Sovereignty Protection Act. As the representative of this beautiful mountain area, I have a personal interest in this legislation and strongly support its passage. H.R 901 clearly addresses the concerns many of us have with the U.N. Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Sites programs.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As many of you know, the U.N. Biosphere Reserve program has operated with little or no public or congressional oversight. Under agreements with the United Nations, the United States promised to manage lands under international guidelines. Many times, local government and property owners are not even consulted!!
Although the administration for this U.N. program receives well over $700,000 in Federal funding every year, there has never been authorization or approval given from Congress, nor has the issue ever been debated on the floor of Congress.
Forty-seven biosphere reserves were established before the public began to be aware of what was happening. One of these was established in the northern part of the congressional district I represent without me or local government officials ever knowing about it.
The ChamplainAdirondack Biosphere Reserve was created in 1989 at the request of a quasi-governmental agency, the Adirondack Park Agency, and the Governors of New York and Vermont. Without congressional hearings or real input from any of the local citizens of the Adirondacks, this area was designated as a U.N. Biosphere Reserve.
In many cases in this country, I would submit that with congressional oversight as well as public input many of these U.N. sites would not have been designated.
In fact in 1994, the Catskill region was nominated for designation as a U.N. Biosphere Reserve. When local officials and residents expressed their opposition, the nomination was defeated.
This legislation, the American Land Sovereignty Act, unequivocally states that no land in this country can be included in international land use programs without the clear and direct approval of Congress.
Most of all, H.R 901 protects individual property rights. Executive branch political appointees cannot and should not be making property decisions in the place of individual landowners.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC These biosphere reserves are a part of a much larger pattern of furthering the left wing agenda of accomplishing goals through unelected bureaucrats, liberal judges and international organizations like the United Nations. We can not allow that to happen!!
H.R 901 is a first step in the right direction, returning power to the elected representatives in Congress as well as to the local citizens and officials. Most importantly, this bill reasserts the constitutional rights of property owners to control their land without interference from some international organization.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you. I do thank you, Mr. Solomon, and I'm going to ask you, I'd like to have you join us as a Committee member. Thank you. On the first panel is Mr. Dale French, Mr. Tom Cobb, Ms. Patti Barber, Ms. Sheila Powers and Ms. Cindy Lanzetta. You may take your seats respectively, please.
Mr. HINCHEY. Mr. Chairman, may I ask, for the record, it might be interesting for those who are not as familiar with the process to hear from counsel, perhaps at this moment, how did the current circumstances of these Biosphere Reserves come about? What is the process by which they came about?
The CHAIRMAN. We're not going to take the witnesses' time to get into that question. This is not the time to do that.
Mr. HINCHEY. It seems as though ''in the dark'' might be a description of what the current process is.
The CHAIRMAN. This bill was created, and it is our responsibility to go back to the Congress where we will either say yes or no. Now is not the time; we're here to hear from the people who do not believe it should be done, or do believe it should be done; that's what we're here for. Mr. French, you're up.
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STATEMENT OF DALE FRENCH, SUPERVISOR, TOWN OF CROWN POINT, NEW YORK
Mr. FRENCH. Thank you, and good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Dale French and I'm the Supervisor of the town of Crown Point, Essex County, and I'm here on behalf of the Board of Supervisors of Essex County, and we unanimously support this bill, and thank you for being here.
Essex County is, geographically, approximately in the center of the Champlain-Adirondack Biosphere Reserve, created in 1989. It is 10 million acres in size, the fourth largest in the world, the largest in North America, and the heaviest populated in the entire world. The process of nominating our region as a Biosphere Reserve started in 1984 by the famous ad-hoc U.S. and Canadian panel.
This ad hoc Committee defined the area to make the Champlain-Adirondack Biosphere Reserve, creating this biosphere, in the process during this 5-year period, no local officials were notified, nor has local official or business people or any property owner ever been notified that this process was going on; absolutely none.
The CHAIRMAN. Can you lean closer to the microphone, please?
Mr. FRENCH. In March 1989, the nomination was submitted to UNESCO and the region was designated as a Biosphere Reserve. Most of us didn't find out until a year later that we were a Biosphere Reserve. We didn't know what it meant; but at that time, there were regulatory pressures added to the Adirondacks by the state government. Down-staters called it a plan, we called it pressure.
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We then started researching what this meant, to be a Biosphere Reserve. At the same time, in 1990, was the Lake Champlain Special Designation Act. It was at about that time, $25 million, was earmarked to reduce pollution in Lake Champlain. Then the Adirondacks Reserve was 10 million acres, 7 million in private property and about 3 million in Vermont and about 7 million in New York State. And there's no Federal lands.
As we researched these other initiatives, the Northern Forest Lands Council also came into being in 1990. They said their council was made to look at the large-scale conversion of forestland to development. There were processes in both of these initiatives; there were regulatory structures, regulators comprised the program. That's how the process goes. They like to be in place before they designate. Now, the same thing is going to happen.
I've got a bill that Congress plans; I've included this in my written testimony. It was a House bill, H.R. 2379. And this bill passed in 1983 buy a large majority in the House, with the International Biosphere program given jurisdiction over Biosphere Reserves in this country.
In 1983, the Biosphere Reserves were primarily public property, Federal lands. In 1984, the Biosphere Reserve program took off in earnest, including private lands, extensively, considerably higher in our region: Seven million acres in private land, no Federal lands to speak of. I'll read one excerpt from this bill in 1983. ''It is the sense of the Congress that with respect to any international park located within the United States and any adjacent nation which has been recognized and designated a Biosphere Reserve under the auspices of the international conservation community, the responsible park management officials of the United States and such nation, in conjunction with appropriate legislative and parliamentary officials, establish means and methods of ensuring that the integrity of such Biosphere Reserve is maintained.''
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These things can happen. This is at issue. This came from our own Congress. If that had been enacted, gone through the Senate, our private lands would, at this time, today, under the National Park Service, would have been under the United Nations. I may be wrong on this. Maybe it's just a sign of lack of communication, and I'm wrong. But we all want to be involved in this; we all want to be a part of the process.
If this program goes forward, it's a sad time in our country when we need a bill like this. We also believe that we don't have the dollars and resources that this program can tie up across this nation, and the private property rights that could be subjected at this time to international scrutiny, and international involvement that is not wanted or needed. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you. Mr. Cobb; Thomas Cobb.
STATEMENT OF THOMAS COBB, PRESIDENT, ASSOCIATION FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE ADIRONDACKS
Mr. COBB. Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, thank you for your invitation to appear before you today for the purpose of presenting the views of the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks on H.R. 901, the American Land Sovereignty Protection Act.
My name is Tom Cobb, and I am President of the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks. I'm a founder and also former chairman of the Adirondack Research Center Library, which is now a part of our organization. Our staff, board members, advisers and volunteers devote their time to public outreach, education and research on the natural and cultural heritage of the Adirondack and Catskill Parks, and including some 3 million acres of state-owned Forest Preserve lands protected under the Forever Wild covenant, Article XIV, Section One, of the State Constitution. The constitutional protection given to the New York State Forest Preserve is the strongest such law in the United States.
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The primary focus of my remarks today is to provide citizen support for the U.S. Man and Biosphere program, and particularly to address the merits of the Champlain-Adirondack Biosphere Reserve established in 1989 as the 45th designated site in the United States, and the largest Biosphere Reserve in North America.
This 6,000-square-mile area encompasses the entire Adirondack Park and the Lake Champlain watershed. The Adirondack Forest Preserve and four wilderness areas within the Green Mountain National Forest in Vermont provide the core areas of the Biosphere Reserve and serve as natural benchmarks for monitoring the ecological health of the Reserve as well as human impacts on the environment.
The significance of such global environmental problems as acid deposition, loss of wetlands and biodiversity, ozone depletion, climate change, and degradation of lake and river systems can be monitored through the network of this and some three hundred Biosphere Reserves worldwide. The Man and Biosphere program is one of the few programs directed at promoting both the economic and environmental well-being of a region.
The Lake Champlain Management Conference, a cooperative agreement signed in 1988 by Quebec, Vermont and New York, is a successful offshoot of the larger Biosphere Reserve, and provides policy justification for Congressional enactment of the Lake Champlain Special Designation Act in 1990. Over a 5-year period, this law authorized the expenditure of $25 million in the Champlain Basin for demonstration projects and a variety of educational and training programs.
Now, with regard to citizen involvement, the question posed is what good can come from public forums that offer opportunities for expression of diverse perspectives from people interested in dialog and in partnerships within a designated Biosphere Reserve? The Champlain-Adirondack Biosphere Reserve has proven to be a good vehicle to find out. In 1995 and 1996, the Association launched a series of four forums, ''Adirondack Northern Forest: A Common Stewardship,'' to seek answers to this question.
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We received financial support in the amount of $5,000, provided by the U.S. MAB Directorate, with an additional $10,000 matching sum received from the New York Caucus of the Northern Forest Alliance, Camp Fire Conservation Fund, and Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation Foundation. The forums resulted in 23 constructive actions, variously associated with enhancing citizenship and governance, eco-tourism, forest and farm-based economies, and landscape ecology.
So, where do we stand?
Where the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks stands on the Champlain-Adirondack Biosphere Reserve was publicly shared with our members, friends and colleagues in conservation during the 1992 Centennial Year of the Adirondack Park. The Trustees of the Association adopted the position that, and I quote: ''This 10 million acre international Biosphere Reserve in Vermont and New York can play an extremely important, nonpartisan, nonregulatory role in increasing levels of trust, fair and open participation and coordinated action among all levels of government and the private sector that leads to improved economic and environmental quality in the region. The organization of the Champlain-Adirondack Biosphere Reserve should be carefully fostered and enthusiastically supported.''
And our position has not changed since 1992.
It is our view that the provisions of H.R. 901 would impose unnecessary restrictions on both governmental and nongovernmental organizations to participate together as partners in conservation.
The legislation would needlessly impair the ability of the Champlain-Adirondack and other U.S. Biosphere Reserves to effectively function and provide the array of educational, scientific and economic benefits made possible by the Man and Biosphere program.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Association therefore strongly opposes H.R. 901.
The Biosphere Reserve title is an honorary designation: There is no treaty, no United Nations control, no extra layers of management, and poses no threat to the sovereignty of American lands.
The designation is simply a symbol of international and national voluntary cooperation for the study, conservation and responsible use of our natural resources in sustaining society. Indeed, the Association sees the Champlain-Adirondack Biosphere Reserve presenting new opportunities, and helping focus national and international attention on the region in a manner similar to the 1980 Winter Olympics, where the Adirondack setting and events of the Olympics were seen by some 600 million people throughout the world. Past generations of New Yorkers have been faithful trustees.
The CHAIRMAN. How much more time are you going to need?
Mr. COBB. I'm almost finished. Past generations of New Yorkers have been faithful trustees. They have repeatedly rejected propositions to demean the Adirondack Park, and have consistently supported measures to enhance it. And that concludes my prepared statement. Mr. Chairman, I very much appreciate the invitation to appear before you today.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Mr. Cobb. Ms. Patti Barber.
STATEMENT OF PATTI BARBER, NORTHEASTERN REGIONAL DIRECTOR, PULP AND PAPERWORKERS RESOURCE COUNCIL
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. BARBER. Thank you very much for inviting me here today. My name is Patti Barber; I'm from Ticonderoga, New York. I am here today representing the Pulp and Paperworkers' Resource Council, Northeast region.
I have worked in the pulp and paper industry for the past 20 years at International Paper Company. I have also been active in the United Paperworkers International Union for the past 20 years, the last 4 years as recording secretary for Local Number Five.
The Pulp and Paperworkers' Resource Council is a grassroots organization representing more than 300,000 workers of the nation's pulp, paper, solid wood products and other natural resource-based industries. We are dedicated to preserving the environment while taking into account the economic stability of the work force and the surrounding community.
The bill, H.R. 901, American Land Sovereignty Protection Act, is desperately needed for the survival of the pulp and paper industry and our jobs. This bill is needed to restore Congress's role in governing Federal lands, to protect our private property rights. Our country must be governed by our elected officials according to the Constitution of the United States, and not by the rule of the United Nations. The United States is not a third-world country that needs the United Nations' help to preserve our country's resources.
As American people, we are one of the most educated and the United States is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. I find it hard to believe that we need the United Nations to decide when and where our land areas are transferred to World Heritage Sites and Biosphere Reserves. Just think about the long-range scenario. If we set aside the Biosphere Reserves and all of the World Heritage sites in the United States, plus all the buffer zones within a ten- to 20 mile radius, where would that put the American working people? Where would the working people live, their families live and survive? Do we set up a reservation? Is it fairis it far-fetched, unreasonable?
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I have been reading all I can get my hands on about the Biosphere Reserves for the past few weeks. Reading about Yellowstone National Park being a World Heritage site upset me, but what I have been reading about in our own area, the Adirondacks, has made me very angry. The Adirondacks have been cited as a part of the United Nations Biosphere Reserve, and the fact that very few people in our area are aware of this happening is totally out of control.
We, the people of the United States of America, cannot let this happen to our land. The United Nations World Heritage Sites and Biosphere Reserves must be stopped now. It is important that these treaties be approved by Congress. The Pulp and Paperworkers' Resource Council and United Paperworkers International Union are in support of H.R. 901. If anything is to be accomplished today, please let it be the approval of this bill, H.R. 901.
Let's keep our environment, natural resources and people in the labor and industry working. Thank you for your time.
The CHAIRMAN. I know we are all eager to do that, [applause] and we do appreciate that, and I do compliment you; but each time you do that, you take up that much more time from those who are here to testify, and I am going to adjourn this hearing at 3 o'clock. So please hold your applause down to the end. I understand your enthusiasm, believe me, I do, but unfortunately we have to catch an airplane to get back to Washington, and when you do that you take away from the time we have to hear you.
Ms. Sheila Powers.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSTATEMENT OF SHEILA POWERS, ALBANY COUNTY FARM BUREAU
Ms. POWERS. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen and Honorable Members of Congress. My name is Sheila Powers; I am president of Albany County Farm Bureau, I reside at 250 Larry Hill Road, Schoharie, New York, where I have lived for about 23 years.
I'm here today with the belief that we are all responsible for our government, and I believe that those who govern rely on the governed for feedback and input, as well as accountability. I'm sixty-five years old and I'm a retired farmer. I am grateful for the opportunity to testify today, not only to thank you for the bill and its contents, which we strongly support, but to urge the rest of the Committee to please support it and vote for it, in the interest of protecting our national strength and beliefs.
I must tell you that the farmers that I represent have expressed grave disapproval and dismay at the lack of respect shown by the President in signing the Biosphere Diversity Treaty [Convention on Bilogical Diversity]. We congratulate Congressman Young and his staff, along with all of the co-sponsors, for moving along this bill and remaining steadfast about its protections, regardless of the posturing of environmentalist and globalist behavior.
It is indeed reassuring for a step which reaffirms the traditions upon which America was founded. Our American Farm Bureau Federation grassroots policy about global treaties can be found in our 1997 manual on page 116, number 128, lines 1 through 22, and I have included that in your copy. I might add that our ancestors of Albany, Montgomery and Schoharie County farmers, were Palatines who left middle Europe to escape the tyranny of the feudal system.
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Their lives were entirely controlled by the Palatinate, unable to own their own property, to pass on to their children the results of their own labors. They couldn't control their own lives. So, when Queen Anne offered them the opportunity to travel across the sea to the New World, they gathered up what moneys they could and they fled to the New World. They sailed up the Hudson, they crossed over mountains into the hinterlands, on foot I might add, and settled in Berne, Schoharie and Middleburgh, where private property was protected from intrusion by the government and others.
Our information downloaded from the Man and Biosphere program suggests that local communities would benefit and that local and global common interests would be preserved; we are of the belief that the training promised has not only successfully already been handed down from father to son, but it has been the choice of the farmers to invest their time, money and efforts into producing a food supply which feeds much of the world.
The scientists, they say, will produce new ways of farming, on property we would no longer own. We are told this ownership of land should be removed and replaced by public ownership for the global common good. We in the Farm Bureau do not think so. What we do believe is that the American farmers have done a remarkable job of feeding large portions of the world's population, carefully stewarding their land, which must last forever, and all of them do this with their free will and their desire to achieve excellent results.
Sections two, three, four and five of H.R. 901 will protect our American sovereignty from diminishment. It will ensure that U.S. citizens do not suffer the loss of individual rights. It will protect private interests and real property from diminishment, and will provide a process which the U.S. may, when desirable, designate lands for inclusion under certain international agreements after due process has been observed and laws enacted by individuals who were elected to perform that task.
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As spokesman for the Albany County Farm Bureau, the Columbia, Delaware, Fulton, Greene, Montgomery, Schenectady, Schuyler and Washington County presidents have personally assured me that they support this position about H.R. 901. This testimony is not just the opinion of a private citizen, but the representative voice of 2,832 family farm bureau members and represents at least nine counties in New York State.
We think the U.N. was right to withhold comment on whether or not the biodiversity treaty should be ratified, when they said that this was a sovereign decision for the American people; it certainly is. Honorable Representatives, Members of Congress, the people urge you to pass this legislation for the good of our nation, while we, on our part, will do everything in our power to urge your fellow Members of Congress to co-sponsor this legislation, and to pass it when it is presented for a vote.
If this bill were not to pass, if the president, UNESCO, Secretary Babbitt and all the rest were to have their own way with the biosphere regions within the U.S., the way of life in this country would reverse itself and go right back to the feudalism which our ancestors left behind. Not only would there be no property rights, but also we would not be a strong sovereign nation, able to protect its citizens.
It is time to stand up, accepting authority and responsibility, and refuse to allow the properties in this nation to be governed by those outside the U.S. The founding fathers, who worked very hard at great sacrifice to tailor a constitution which would fairly stand the sands of time, would be saddened that we have forgotten their words only a few hundred years later, and that we are ready to accept tyranny again through strong outside interests.
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Thank you for the opportunity to include our opinions regarding this legislation, and God bless you.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you. I apologize for the feedback on the mike. Ms. Cynthia Lanzetta.
STATEMENT OF CYNTHIA LANZETTA, BIOSPHERE STUDY GROUP, MID-ULSTER LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS
Ms. LANZETTA. My name is Cynthia Lanzetta. Mr. Chairman and Committee Members, it is a privilege to appear before a group such as yourselves, to share information to enlighten each other for the common welfare of our citizens.
I am a representative of the Mid-Ulster League of Women Voters. Because we are a nonpartisan group, we are often approached by individuals, organizations and agencies to conduct studies into issues that affect our locality and region. In June 1995, Rick Fritschler of the Ulster County Environmental Management Council requested the League research the Man and the Biosphere Program.
This was after the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development had withdrawn an application to designate the Catskill Region a Biosphere. We agreed to do a study, and in November 1995 began to meet on a regular basis. In our attempt to educate ourselves, we read information available from the Man and the Biosphere Program.
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We collected and read newspaper and magazine articles as well as literature from groups who oppose United Nations involvement in American affairs. We contacted New York State Senator Cook, Congressman Maurice Hinchey, Man and the Biosphere Director Mr. Hubert Hinote, Ulster County Planner Herbert Heckler and Rick Fritschler, Chairman of the Ulster County Environmental Council.
We reviewed the Biosphere application and asked Janet Crenshaw, then director of the Catskill Center, to address our League members about the process. Based on this body of information, we put together a questionnaire that we sent to the nine American Biospheres we identified as somewhat similar to our own region. We also developed and sent out a series of questions to our Conservation Advisory Councils in Ulster County.
C.A.C.'s are appointed by town officials to oversee matters of environmental concern for their communities. We continue to gather information, for this is an ongoing study, but we would like to share these findings with you. The Man and the Biosphere Program, as administered in the United States, offers an honorary designation for regions that already meet their criteria of protected space, unique biodiversity, and a population interested in finding practical strategies to deal with the complex and interrelated environmental, land use and socioeconomic concerns of that region.
There are no regulatory mechanisms associated with this designation, and the existing Biospheres are overseen by supporting Federal agencies or state and private institutions, the same as managed them before the designation. The most cited benefits include improved research, educational and interagency networking, which often led to increased funding, and the ability to work more efficiently. The drawback seems to be the affiliation with the United Nations and the negative response that that engenders in a small populationin a small portion of the population.
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We have furnished several attachments, and we urge the public to pick up copies of the statement that I made that are on the press table, after the hearing. I hope they will be of use; and I would like to thank you for your interest in this matter.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Lanzetta may be found at end of hearing.]
The CHAIRMAN. All right. Thank you. At this time, we'll turn to the delegate from Idaho for questions.
Ms. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Ms. Lanzetta, you were involved in this program, then, from the beginning; right?
Ms. LANZETTA. Yes.
Ms. CHENOWETH. You know UNESCO stands for United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization. I don't know whether you are aware of that or not. But were you aware that UNESCO in the mid-'80's was accused of gross financial mismanagement?
Ms. LANZETTA. Well, I wasn't, no.
Ms. CHENOWETH. Would that have made any difference to you? I think you should have been informed, and if you had been, would that have made any difference to your personal involvement and the involvement of the League of Women Voters?
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. LANZETTA. I don't think that would have any bearing on this particular study.
Ms. CHENOWETH. In your involvement from the beginning, did you involve the pulp and paperworkers and the farm bureau? Because the League of Women Voters has such a long history for public participation, do you remember working with those other interest groups?
Ms. LANZETTA. Well, as I outlined the process that we used for the study, as far as we have an ongoing study, we reviewed the information and read over the material that is outlined. And at this point it's an ongoing study, and we're also making a lot of notes here at this hearing, and there will be other people that we'll be contacting to learn more about their views.
Ms. CHENOWETH. Thank you. Mr. French, as a town supervisor, were you ever contacted or asked to comment on the Champlain-Adirondack Biosphere Reserve before it was officially designated?
Mr. FRENCH. I wasn't supervisor then, but I found out from the people that were there at the time that there was no elected officials contacted at all. None at all.
Ms. CHENOWETH. No elected officials were contacted. Mr. Cobb, could you explain that, for the record, why interest groups such as the pulp and paperworkers and the farm bureau and the elected officials were not contacted?
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. COBB. To the best of my knowledge, the designation of that Champlain-Adirondack Biosphere Reserve was the result of years of involvement by citizens of Vermont, as well as New York State. The application process, as I understand it, has a strong requirement for local involvement by local government officials and state agencies, including our Department of Environmental Conservation, Adirondack Park Agency and those in Vermont, including its atural Resource Agency. These had a primary role in this designation process. So, obviously there's an inconsistency here. To the best of my knowledge, that groundwork was done.
Ms. CHENOWETH. Mr. Cobb, in your position and in the work that you have done, particularly in this area, are you aware of the operational guidelines for the implementation of the World Heritage Convention, and how that impacted this? Are you aware of those guidelines?
Mr. COBB. Not really. I'm aware ofI'm generally aware of the World Heritage Treaty, which was ratified by the U.S. Senate. But in this context, primarily on the Biosphere Reserve Program, the World Heritage designation is associated with many of our national parks. I am also aware of the World Heritage designation of the Statue of Liberty in New York City, and Constitution Hall in Philadelphia, I am sure, that we all can be proud of.
Ms. CHENOWETH. Sir, I just need a yes or no. Actually, the operational guidelines state that in all cases, it has to maintain the objectivity of the evaluation process and to avoid possible embarrassment to those concerned.
The statepardon me, that's the United States of the America, should refrain from giving undue publicity, and in fact recommends restriction pending the decision. Now, knowing that, would you have continued to work, as you did, and invested so much, excluding such groups as the pulp and paperworkers and farm bureau? Because this is exactly
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Mr. COBB. Yes. Our position favors citizen involvement, particularly in this forum. Again, I'm aware that this hearing primarily deals with Biosphere Reserve designation. So, I'm not that well prepared to talk about World Heritage.
Ms. CHENOWETH. Well, I think you're very closely involved. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. From New York.
Mr. HINCHEY. I think it's important to note that I think it was back in 1983, the then Reagan administration, because of concern over the way in which UNESCO was handling its finances, and there has been a continual concern among a variety of Administrations, including this one, with certain aspects of the financial arrangements within the U.N. It is a concern of Congress, about the way the U.N. finances are being handled.
As a result of that, frankly, there's a new head of the United Nations. But back in 1983, there was this concern by the Reagan administration, specifically with regard to UNESCO. But, at that time, there was a conscious decision made by the Reagan administration to continue to participate in the Biosphere Reserve program.
And, in fact, the Reagan administration made several nominations to the Biosphere Reserve program during the 8-year tenure of that administration. I stipulate that, just for the record, to make it clear that there is no connection whatsoever between the expressed concerns that some members of the administration had over U.N. finances and the Biosphere Reserve itself.
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The Biosphere Reserve has had nominations from every president since Nixon, including Nixon, Reagan and Bush, and the present administration. Most of the nominations have come from local governments. The concern is with regard to land regulations that may be imposed by the Biosphere Reserve. And let me ask our panel if they have come across any tangible evidence of land regulations on the part of the Biosphere Reserve, or in the many Biosphere Reserves that exist in this country, are there within those Biosphere Reserves any land use regulations currently in existence? Mr. French, let's start with you.
Mr. FRENCH. As I said in my testimony, we're getting, right along with the state of Maine, 3.1 million acres on the Canadian border, by their own state legislature was ear-marked for local governance. It's private land. Between that Biosphere Reserve and our Biosphere Reserve, is a Biosphere Reserve in Quebec.
Mr. HINCHEY. Who marked that land for
Mr. FRENCH. The Maine state legislature.
Mr. HINCHEY. The Maine state legislature?
Mr. FRENCH. Exactly.
Mr. HINCHEY. But that has nothing to do with the Biosphere Reserve.
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FRENCH. It soon will.
Mr. HINCHEY. It soon will?
Mr. FRENCH. It soon will. That's the plan.
Mr. HINCHEY. I see.
Mr. COBB. Really, lands designated by the Biosphere Reserve designation, are particularly for scientific research and educational purposes. The point that's made, I think, in terms of this region in New York State is the fact that we have a body of law already in place for environmental protection. With private lands and the State-owned land, the Adirondacks are guided by a State land master plan and a private land use and development plan.
So as far as that goes, it's just the state laws, local planning and involvment of the local government review board, just as I pointed out in my earlier testimony. There is no outside regulation by the United Nations whatsoever.
Mr. HINCHEY. And you found no indication whatsoever, under the Biosphere Reserve?
Mr. COBB. That's correct.
Ms. BARBER. I think right now, I'm not really sure. I'd want to research this.
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Mr. HINCHEY. Thank you.
Ms. POWERS. We don't believe that you'll see hard evidence of land use regulation until the designation, as a matter of fact, is done. And however, we think that if the treaty were ratified and the designation was complete, that then you would be able to see that. And that's based on language directly out of the Biosphere Reserve Treaty, which the President, after all, has signed.
That, most certainly, is very, very clear, not only about its proposed goals of reduction of the population, of not using fertilizers, agriculture as it stands now is dangerous for nature. It needs to be put in the mode ofmore ecologically sound. Fertilizers are a good thing, we know. We all know that, or anyone knows that if you took fertilizers out of the process of growing food, you would reduce the productivity of the production of food by at least 50 percent. Now, given the other suggestions, of reduction of population, Mr. Hinchey.
It sounds possibly it could lead to only half that amount of food produced. Is there a regulation that says something like that now? No. You mean, do we think they will follow? Yes. Do we want the matter done with due process? Absolutely. That's why we want this bill.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you. The gentlemen of the next panel haven't spoken yet. Make it good and short. Ms. Lanzetta, do you want to add anything?
Ms. LANZETTA. Well, we haven't found that there have been any additional regulations that aren't already in place for a designated Biosphere Reserve.
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The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman's time has expired. You can come around the next time.
Mr. CANNON. Let me take the microphone from my colleague from New York. I don't think that the concern here of people on this subject and those in the room is that there have been abuses of the regulatory scheme.
In fact, that a regulatory scheme has been put in place, which at some point could be abused. Mr. Cobb, you talked about four forums or hearings that were held on the Champlain-Adirondack Biosphere. Were those before or after the designation?
Mr. COBB. Those were subsequent, subsequent to the designation.
Mr. CANNON. As you say subsequent to the biosphere, I'm reminded of the Secretary of Interior, Bruce Babbit, who had a very hard time making distinctions between before and after. In Utah, we had 1.7 million acres designated as a national monument. On September 8, 1996, there was a story in the Washington Post that suggested the possibility of a monument in Utah, between September 8th and September 18thI'm sorry, September 7th and September 18th, 11 days, there were 13 denials to our Senators and the Utah Governor by people like Mr. Babbitt himself, that anything was going to happen.
And lo and behold, on the 18th, September 18th, the President appeared across the border south of us at the Grand Canyon, and with no Republicans present, with maybe a handful of Democratic delegates, home delegates in the Western states having been told, designated 1.7 million acres.
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And Mr. Babbitt, in his testimony, he talked about trust, he talked about fair and open communication, he talked about the process that's now ongoing with the feds in Utah, to study these findings in the next 3 years. And during that period of time, there would be fair and open communication on all levels of government involved, we're partners in this process, you'll be happy to know that Utah is a partner in the process of this monument, and it's all going to be based on scientific and economic evidence that's going to be accumulated, as to how this monument should be run.
Let me say to the district, I'm on the soap box here, but I have a little problem with the way these Biosphere Reserves are designated. I think it has a lot to do with the philosophy of the people who are in power, who have the authority to act unilaterally, as the President does, which allows the President to designate an unlimited amount of territory as a monument.
We believe, I think, Americans, in an open and fair process, where we consider things in advance. In eleven days, there was no consideration of what was going to happen to the farmers and ranchers in that area, who depended upon that land for their livelihood. And in addition, many of my environmental friends are now deeply concerned, because there are aboutat least 350,000 acres that probably should have been designated as wilderness area in the sense that they should be kept free of vehicles and people, because they're delicate ecosystems.
Now we find that the environmental extreme groups want about 1.4 million acres. Now you're going to have hundreds of thousands of people trampling that whole area, because it's been advertised in every travelogue in America. And there's just something wrong on both sides, when you don't have a process. Just one more question: If a community votes against being included in the Biosphere Reserve, would your group support that solution?
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Mr. COBB. Again, we're a citizens' group. Basically, we establish our own initiatives, our own rules and regulations and by-laws established by our trustees and our members. And so we decide by vote in our organization, on the merits of the program, including weighing of all the pros and cons of those designations accordingly.
As far as your proposal for a national monument in Utah, this procedure is by initiative of the President, and we're not involved in that procedure. We're talking about in this case a very exhaustive process of local, state involvement, citizen involvement that works all the way up to the Department of Interior.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from New York, Mr. Solomon.
Mr. SOLOMON. Mr. Chairman, my good friend Maurice Hinchey posed a question to the panel. I think the question was, have there been any new regulations that have been imposed because of the U.N. Biosphere. And the panelists did not know of specific regulations that have been imposed, but I can tell you that, because of the pressure from the representatives and supporters of the U.N. Biosphere, that great pressure was brought on the Adirondack Park Agency, which is regional zoning, state zoning imposed on the people of the Adirondack Mountains, which resulted in what I believe, and what the elected representatives of Warren, Washington and Saratoga and Essex County believe, to be excessively restrictive regulations on the paper industry, for one, on the tourism industry for another, and on the general public, as a rule.
Mr. French, you said you did not know of any officials who were contacted, but I happen to have represented the Adirondacks since 1978, and I can tell you, to my knowledge, that none, and I will say this to Mr. Cobb as well, none of the elected representatives that I know ofand I served as a member of the town government, town supervisor, as a county legislator, and as state representativein the last 30 years, none of them have been contacted in any way, to my knowledge.
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Mr. Cobb, you made mention of a number of grants and dollars that were spent, and you, I think, insinuated that was because of the U.N. Biosphere. You mentioned $25 million that was brought about, and I would just tell you none of that money came from the United Nations. As a matter of fact, we're not getting any money from the United Nations, and we don't expect any, nor do we want any.
And Mrs. Lanzetta, I would just like to say to you, you mentioned that this was just honorary, and that you had contacted many people, you know, with your survey. And certainly I believe that you did. But as I look around the audience here and I look at people from Hunter Mountain Ski Area, I look at various representatives, various business people, and a lot of concerned taxpayers, and I don't know of any of them here today that you contacted, maybe there are some, but I would just say as far as we're concerned, it is not an honorary issue today, it's a mandatory issue tomorrow. And I mentioned that I served at the U.N. under President Reagan for 2 years back in the early 1980's. And at that time, myself and a Democrat, Congressman Michel, who served with me at the time, we were just appalled at what we saw and what we heard about what the proposals were with the United Nations. And it is frightening. I'm just talking about the new world order and what they would like to saddle the people throughout the world with.
And we just have to remember, I think, at all times, that thisyou know, this is not a Federal Government. You know, we are a republic of states; look at your Constitution. And when we formed this republic, we reserved certain rights. We reserved the right to set speed limits; we reserved the right to deal with the insurance issues; we reserved many rights. And one of those was zoning. And there is nothing in the constitution that allows the Federal Government or some international organization to use their influence to place regional zoning on top of local zoning. That should be left up to the local representatives of the people, like town supervisors, like some of the folks that I see here in this room. And that's what we're concerned about. And that's why this bill is so badly needed, because it simply gives congressional approval before you do this, and that gives us the input later on down the road if we want to change that. And that's what really local home-rule government is all about. Thank you.
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The CHAIRMAN. I have one short statement to make and one question. Mr. Cobb, this concept of expansion, this process is not a long process; I have four biosphere reserves in my state that there is absolutely no public awareness, no input, no direction, no one knew anything, including myself, and I am in the U.S. Congress. I went back to the record, and found out that there was a letter submitted telling me that this has been done. That was my frustration. I just want you to know that. Now, second, Mr. Cobb, and you, CindyMs. LanzettaI want to know what's wrong with my bill? Why can't you support my bill? All I'm asking for is an opportunity, that we have some process, although President Nixon, Reagan was involved, what's wrong with getting the Congress involved, and the House of the people? Mr. Cobb; Cindy?
Ms. LANZETTA. Well, I would have to say, as a representative of the League, that we wouldn't make comment on it until we've had an opportunity to study it. And being that we are asked to comment and comment on the study that we did do, which I have done, if you, you know, would like us to go through the process of having the League look at this legislation and comment on it, we can do that. But I just can't, you know, comment from the League perspective.
The CHAIRMAN. That's fine, if you can't do that. I just don't know why people say this bill is bad when they say a designation is honorary to begin with. Why can't we, as the House of the people, have something to say about designation of land? I mean, that's the thing. I'm serious. Mr. Cobb, your statement said you were opposed to it, but why are you opposed to it?
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. COBB. Again, I stand on my statement as I presented it. And so, I'd just repeat what I've already stated for the record. I would bring to your attention, though, Mr. Chairman, I have with me a publication of the U.S. Man and Biosphere program on Guidellines for Idewntification, Evaluation and Selection of Biosphere Reserves in the United States. This document is 38 pages long.
The CHAIRMAN. But they don't follow recommendations. I mean, we have pages and pages of policy, but you have responsibility to uphold it, but we can't uphold it, we can't do it unless it's signed into law. You see, we have no authority over this unless it's a law. This is a treaty signed by the President, confirmed by the Members of the Senate. And to me, that is neglecting of the constitutional responsibilities of this Congress. That's all I'm asking. To me, this makes me wonder why anybody would oppose this, including some of my environmentalwhat's wrong with the American people talking about our land. That's all I ask.
Ms. LANZETTA. Mr. Young, I, as an individual, would have a question. In the Catskill Region, using the current process, it became apparent that the people in this area did not want the Biosphere in this area at this time, and because of it, the process came to stop. You know, the application was withdrawn. Now, why would we, here, want an additional layer of oversight to tell us what to do or not to do, when we can determine this on our own?
The CHAIRMAN. This is a representative form of government. Your representative, if he would come to me and say, this is, in fact, is what we want, that would happen. I believe in a representative form of government. There are those in Congress who do not believe so. They believe in the national interest. If you do not believe in representative government, you would not elect me again. This is a representative form of government. This is what this is all about. I'm saying you, not some state department, but the people. That's all I'm asking. My time is up. I want to thank the Panel, and we'll have our next panel up. Ms. Chenoweth will chair until I get back.
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Ms. CHENOWETH. [presiding] I just want to state for the record that the Convention on Biological Diversity, which is the operating mechanism under which the Biosphere Reserves are implemented, have never been ratified by the Senate. So with that, I would like to turn to Ms. Carol LaGrasse, of the Property Rights Foundation of America, Incorporated.
STATEMENT OF CAROL LAGRASSE, PRESIDENT, PROPERTY RIGHTS FOUNDATION OF AMERICA, INC.
Ms. LAGRASSE. Representative Chenoweth and the other members of the Committee, thank you for the privilege of testifying today. I am Carol LaGrasse, the president of the Property Rights Foundation of America, a Stony Creek, New York-based organization dedicated to the defense and enhancement of private property rights as guaranteed in the United State Constitution.
I am also a retired Stoney Creek town councilman and a retired civil engineer, having spent some years in the environmental field. Stony Creek, where I reside, is located in the Adirondack Mountains within the UNESCO Champlain-Adirondack Biosphere Reserve. It was precisely in the middle of my 9-year term of office on the Stony Creek Town Board when the U.N. designation took place in 1989. Neither the town board nor anyone else I know, either officials or private citizens, had heard at the time about the designation.
People got riled up about the Biosphere Reserve designation when it was announcedunwittingly, I believein fine print in a 1990 set of recommendations to bring about extremely onerous regulations over the 3 million acres of private land in the Adirondack region. The Commission on the Adirondacks in the Twenty-First Century, which was chaired by Peter A.A. Berle, then president of the National Audubon Society, and directed by George Davis, a New York environmental planner who cut his teeth on the original Adirondack Park Agency Law, recommended strict additional restrictions in the Adirondacks; just one example, 2,000 acre per house zoning. Mr. Davis has gone on to be an international planner and he's done planning in Lake Baikal in Russia.
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There he remarkedI should say, back in New York, that he didn't have the problems there, that people didn't have conniptions about zoning, because they weren't used to having private property. At the end, the recommendations by the Twenty-First Commission were three, the 243rd, 44th and 45th, that called for a transition zone. And this was straight out of the Champlain-Adirondack Biosphere Reserve plan. Ed Hood, who now is the Adirondack co-chair of the Biosphere Reserve Committee, at the time said there was no connection, but it was written in black and white, in words, that that recommendation of the Biosphere Reserve was going to be fulfilled in the plans of the Twenty-First Century Commission Report, and the recommendation of other really outrageous ideas, such as establishing land bridges, which is a Biosphere Reserve wildlands term, between the park and Canada and other typical Biosphere Reserves type of effects.
The Adirondack environmentalists would give speeches and say that because of the Champlain-Adirondack Biosphere Reserve, we needed these new regulations to be passed by the legislature. Young people came from out-of-state and staged a protest at Crane Pond Road in the Adirondacks. At the time, I was writing for the local newspaper, and I asked them why on earth were they there from all these out-of-state places, and they said because it is a Champlain-Adirondack Biosphere Reserve, and is nationally and internationally significant.
So it brought in those pressures for more regulations, I should say, and it also was part of the framework for a very formal set of additional regulations. Now, the elements of the Biosphere Reserve were specifically applied, then, to the Adirondacks, but the tie between the elements as in numerous U.N. documents, through the Department of State, was never made particularly clear.
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I only have a minute or two left. But the very zones don't fit either the state land, which has highways and which, for instance, where we would have fire protection, that wouldn't be allowed in the Biosphere Reserve core area, or the private lands, which have a hundred-odd towns and villages. The type of agriculture and the type of use of land that is typically allowed on a biosphere reserve is very inappropriate for the buffer area in the Adirondacks, where the towns and villages are located. They speak of hunter-gatherer occupations, pastoral and nomadic peoples; it's totally inconsistent with the developed area and the amount of space.
How could such goals come into place without more rules? It's inconsistent. The claim doesn't jibe with either what happened; of course, these new rules for the Adirondacks came in at the same time and in the same document where the Biosphere Reserve was designated, and new rules would be required to bring about the depopulation that would result in such economic strictures. So, it's an impossibility.
In addition, the Department of State did a case study of the Adirondack-Champlain Biosphere Reserve, and in it they took pride in the fact that the Lake Champlain Basin Program is bringing in more, as they call it, Federal ''protections'' over the watershed of the Adirondacks and Vermont where it feeds Lake Champlain. And they took pride in the Northern Forest Land Project, because it would give more protections over the area. And they said that that Northern Forest Lands Project came about because of the Adirondack-Champlain Biosphere Reserve designation. So, that is definitely more regulatory pressures from a Federal level.
Ms. CHENOWETH. One of the more unpleasant jobs that a chairman has to do is make sure that everyone has equal time.
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. LAGRASSE. I'm sorry. I have to finish, and I apologize that I couldn't be less wordy, but thank you for the privilege of testifying.
Ms. CHENOWETH. It's very interesting testimony, and we would look forward to you submitting it for the record. Thank you very much.
Next, I'd like to welcome Mr. Chase, from Shokan, New York. Mr. Chase.
STATEMENT OF SHERRET S. CHASE, SHOKAN, NEW YORKCAROL LAGRASSE, PRESIDENT, PROPERTY RIGHTS FOUNDATION OF AMERICA, INC.
Mr. CHASE. My full statement is 8 minutes. If I have as much time, I would have my whole statement out to you and some of theseseveral of these might be available, that I would otherwise cut out. Do I have 8 minutes?
Ms. CHENOWETH. We must hold you to five.
Mr. CHASE. All right.
Ms. CHENOWETH. Thank you.
Mr. CHASE. I'm starting now. Chairman Young of Alaska and Committee members, welcome to the Catskill region of New York state. Thank you for providing this forum for presentation of the merits of Biosphere Reserve designation of the Catskill Region, and thank you for the inflow of U.S. taxpayer dollars this hearing brings to our depressed economy. My name is Sherret Spaulding Chase. My home is here in the Catskills.
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I support biosphere reserve designation of the Catskill Region. We of the Catskills are fortunate in having highly competent resident representation in Congress; namely, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Representative Maurice Hinchey, and Sherwood Boehlert. Your staff is misinformed. There are no significant Federal holdings in the Catskills. The stated objectives of your bill, the American Land Sovereignty Protection Act, are to preserve the sovereignty of the United States over lands owned by the United States, and to preserve state sovereignty and private property rights in adjacent non-Federal lands.
Again, your staff is misinformed. There are no significant Federal holdings in the Catskills. We have no Federal grazing lands, no Federal timber lands, no Federal mining lands, no national parks. Further, we are a home-rule region. We do not look kindly on Federal takings or interference. For local matters, we prefer to work through our own private and public organizations. In working with several organizations for Biosphere Reserve designation for the Catskill Region, I, myself, had three major thoughts in mind:
First, I am a botanist. Designation would facilitate obtaining funds for scientific studies of the Catskills; second, designation would help encourage a more successful, financially sound tourism industry. Biosphere Reserve designation would provide a superb advertising tool; and third, it would personally please me to have the world recognize that the Catskill Region is, indeed, a special place of man and nature. Biosphere Reserve designation is merely honorary, a little like being named man of the year by the Rotary Club.
Being named man or woman of the year is often helpful. It is an endorsement. Being named a world biosphere area is also an endorsement. It would be helpful for those of us who live and work in the Catskills. The Nobel Prize Committee does not ask permission of Congress to award a Nobel Prize to a U.S. citizen, thank God; nor should Congress muck around with biosphere reserve designations. Catskill people, no matter what our origins, tend to be suspicious, one of another, and skeptical of the motives even of our own elected officials. Each valley and town here has its own special history and loyalties.
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Catskill people are suspicious of outsiders, even those from just across the river to our east and to our north, from Albany and the Adirondacks. We have reason. We are particularly skeptical of the motives of powerful and power-hungry outsiders who come here with their own agendas. First, way back, there were the grantees, Dutch and then English, with their vast non-resident ownerships of land with resultant harsh tenancy farming. This led eventually to the rent wars.
More recently, before Pearl Harbor, there were hate groups of paramilitary structure exercising themselves here in the Catskills, nasty bush bullies. Some of the leaders of these groups received their funding and encouragement from local fascists, others from European fascists, including the Nazi government itself. After the war, during the depth of the cold war, power-seeking individuals from the west, with their agendas, such as Senator McCarthy and Robert Welch, the organizer of the John Birch Society, again panderedwith some initial successto local ethnic hatreds and to the paranoias of the gullible.
Two years ago in Kingston, a public biosphere reserve hearing sponsored by the kindly Republican Ulster County Legislator, Vincent Dunn of Kerhonkson, was most effectively disrupted by a large, thuggish group from the Adirondacks who claimed connections with the Utah militias. I am ashamed that two of our most powerful local elected officials, State Senator Charles Cook and Ulster County Majority Leader Philip Sinagra, did not bring their wisdom and political skills to the discussion of the merits of biosphere reserve designation of the Catskill Region.
Ms. CHENOWETH. Mr. Chase, we're going to have to ask you to submit the balance of your testimony for the record.
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Mr. CHASE. I will do that. If anyone else would like a copy, I have some extra copies available.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Chase may be found at end of hearing.]
Ms. CHENOWETH. Thank you very much. The chair now recognizes Mr. Ronald Roth, Greene County Planning Department. Mr. Roth.
STATEMENT OF RONALD ROTH, DIRECTOR, GREENE COUNTY PLANNING DEPARTMENT
Mr. ROTH. Thank you. My name is Ronald Roth, and I'm the Director of the Greene County Planning Department. I am testifying before the Committee on Resources today as a representative of Mr. Frank Stabile, Jr., Chairman of the Greene County Legislature. Mr. Stabile is the highest ranking elected official in Greene County. Tannersville is one of the 19 towns and villages located within Greene County.
In 1994, Greene County was included, along with six other New York State counties, in the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development's application to designate a seven-county area of the Catskill Region as a Biosphere Reserve. Mr. Stabile asked me to let the Committee know that the Greene County Legislature opposes the Biosphere Reserve designation. Greene County Resolution 13695, a copy of which I've submitted, notes that the applicant, quote, ''Never discussed the application for Biosphere Reserve designation with the Greene County Legislature,'' unquote.
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Further, the resolution concludes that, quote, ''Such a dramatic application for Biosphere Reserve designation should not have taken place without input from the elected governmental representatives of the citizens of the Catskills.'' I've also provided a copy of the Greene Countythe Greene County Planning Board's, quote, ''Resolution Opposing Designation of Catskill Region Biosphere Reserve.'' This resolution admonishes the applicant for filing the Biosphere Reserve application without consulting with key Catskill Region stakeholders, and notes that adequate information on the implications of Biosphere Reserve designation has not been provided to any saidto the key Catskill Region stakeholders.
Finally, I've presented a copy of an article in our local newspaper titled, ''Hunter Joins Prattsville, Durham in Opposing Biosphere.'' The article relates that three Greene County towns, Durham, Hunter and Prattsville, all oppose the Biosphere Reserve designation. Greene County's message to the Committee is a simple one: Organizations that fail to let the local people know what they are up to, and organizations that fail to bring the local people into their decisionmaking process, can only expect to face the sternest of opposition. I did it under the green. Thank you for letting me testify today.
Ms. CHENOWETH. Thank you very much. The Chair will now recognize Mr. Jack Jordan. Mr. Jordan.
STATEMENT OF JACK JORDAN, LEXINGTON, NEW YORK
Mr. JORDAN. Thank you. My wife's and my involvement in the property rights movement began in late January 1995, when we learned about something called the Heritage Trail that was being put together by the Catskill Center.
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First, we found out that no one in the area ever heard of this. And second, it was being portrayed as a local grassroots effort with local support. The fact was, the Catskill Center was trying to revive a House of Representatives Bill, the American Heritage Areas Partnership Program. In this, Gerald Solomon had written a letter to Congress in big, capital letters that said, ''Oppose Another Federal Land Grab; Vote No on American Heritage Partnership Program.'' Well, at this meeting, the woman from the Catskill Center bringing the information about the Heritage thing told everyone there that Mr. Solomon was in support of this bill and had introduced the bill.
However, we had received a fax from Mr. Solomon's office, a copy of this letter, which at that meeting we held up and showed the people that this was, in fact, a lie. Mr. Solomon was against it. My wife and I knew that in order to protect our rights, we had to get active, but what we didn't expect was the attack that would come against us and others with us, trying to support our own rights. We learned that the Heritage Trail was not the only program the Catskill Center was involved in. During the same time, they had put together an application to designate this area of the Catskills Biosphere Reserve, without so much as even talking to the local governments that this designation would affect. We soon became aware of the tactics used behind the Biosphere Reserve. They were usually either unannounced or after the fact. We tried to put information together against the Biosphere Reserve. One of the local papers tried to mislead the readers by putting in things trying to link us with the Oklahoma City bombing, and things such as that. Later on, this same reporter was to admit privately to my wife and I that he did this only to sell newspapers.
Using fictitious writers, the same newspaper would put in articles such as, ''Dangerous waves of bad information being passed around,'' and calling us right-wing anti-environmental extremists, about us and those in our group. We believed that the people had the right to know what the Biosphere Reserve was about. We contacted a local legislator in the area; he knew nothing about it. No one could get a copy of the application, and even the Attorney General's Office was unable to get a copy. It wasn't until State Senator Cook, a State Assembly Majority Leader, became involved that we were able to get portions of this application and more information. At an unadvertised meeting on the Biosphere Reserve, the first copy of the application was being shown, only after it had been submitted to the U.N.
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On the very front cover was a list, called the mailing list for Biosphere. My wife copied down these names in the front of it. We gave it to our local newspaper who published it the next day. What we found out was that these names were names of local elected officials, some of them never even heard of the Biosphere Reserve, nor had given the right for their names to be used in support of it. Later, the Catskill Center was to state that some of the people in the region had misinterpreted the meaning of list, and this has caused problems for some individuals on the list.
However, what it did was for anyone at the U.N. reading this, it made it appear that the local politics was in favor of the designation. The funny this is, on April 6th, 1995, there was a hearing in Kingston, New York, on the Biosphere Reserve. While at this meeting, we passed around a copy of a U.N. draft document entitled, ''Global Biodiversity Assessment Section Ten.'' One passage states in it, during the initial stages of the park and reserve establishment, there may be a transitional phase where local inhabitants are provided with options for relocating outside the area.
Yet we were being told that this is nothing more than a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. After this meeting, a three-page letter was sent to local newspapers. In it, it stated, ''Here in the Catskills, there are hate groups of paramilitary structure, bush bullies. Some of the leaders of these groups received their funding and encouragement from local fascists groups, others from European fascists, including the Nazi government itself.''
However, because of public awareness, Ulster County voted it down. After this, and in fact, the Biosphere Reserve and the Heritage Trail, this application went on. This rhetoric about the Biosphere Reserve goes on even today. On May 1st, 1997, another long dead writer came back from the grave to mislead people. Daniel Shays, who is an insurrectionist from 1787 wrote in our local newspaper that he had dinner with Congressman Boehlert the other night. And according to Shays, he's sick and tired of so many crazies getting control of agendas such, as the upcoming Congressional-U.N. meeting here in Hunter.
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The Catskills is a mighty wonderful place to live. You can just ask Nellie Bly, who died in 1922, Ned Buntline, who died in 1886, or Daniel Shays, who died in 1825. Apparently it's so wonderful that they've come back from the dead to live here. It is sad that here in America we have to have a bill like this, but we ask you, please, we're very much for it. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. I want to thank you. Ms. Chenoweth.
Ms. CHENOWETH. Mr. Chairman, thank you. I'm glad you're back. I do want to state, for the record, Mr. Hinchey had asked, have there ever been any ramifications with regards to the change of any status of any private property as a result of Biosphere Reserve designation; is that correct?
Mr. HINCHEY. Not exactly, but that's close enough.
Ms. CHENOWETH. Is it close enough that we need to see it?
Mr. HINCHEY. Well, I'm anxious to see where you're going with it.
Ms. CHENOWETH. Do you want to restateit's still my time. Do you want to restate your question in ten words?
Mr. HINCHEY. Well, let me just see where you're going with this.
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Ms. CHENOWETH. As I understand it, my colleague asked the question, if there's been any ramifications on private property with regards to Biosphere Reserves.
Mr. HINCHEY. Have there been any restrictions on private property; if the Biosphere Reserve has had any impact on the ability of local governments to regulate land use control and planning.
Ms. CHENOWETH. For the record, I do want to state that in my area of the country, Yellowstone National Park is a Biosphere Reserve. There was private property located outside of Yellowstone National Park called the Crown Butte Mine. A Canadian company had that mine. They were in the process of developing an environmental impact statement that our government required them to do.
The Department of Interior called the U.N. in and that environmental impact statement was interrupted. They were not able to complete it, and so, therefore, they were not able to go ahead and develop their mine. As a result, this company was $65 million in debt in trying to move through this process. That was private property. And do you know who promised they'd pay for it? President Clinton.
And do you know how he promised he was going to pay a Canadian company $65 million? Yeah, you've got it right. Your taxpayers' dollars. And do you know what program it was going to come out of? The C.R.P., Conservation Reserve Program, for farmers and ranchers to set aside lands for conservation. Now, that's a pretty dramatic story. And Mr. Hinchey, that is right on point, and that is exactly what we're worried might happen here in New York State.
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Mr. HINCHEY. If you are contending that that is an answer to my question, and if you are contending that the Biosphere Reserve had the ability to regulate land use on private land in and around Yellowstone Park, then your contention is clearly false, because there has been no ability by the Biosphere Reserve to regulate land, either in Yellowstone Park or on private property adjacent to it.
Now, I would challenge you to submit to this Committee the documentation to support your allegation that the Biosphere Reserve in any way regulated land use either in Yellowstone or adjacent to it. I would like to see that documentation.
Ms. CHENOWETH. Mr. Hinchey, this is my time and I'm reclaiming my time. The fact is, in our Committee we heard testimony on that. I'm not talking about vague concepts. I'm talking about facts. And yes, I will submit the entire record for you to review again in this Committee. And I thank you, Mr. Jordan, and all of you who are good, strong fighters for private property rights. Just keep it up.
Mr. CANNON. We did have a slight distinction, I think, in the statements by Mr. Hinchey that Ms. ChenowethI think that Ms. Chenoweth is thinking about more affecting by the property ramifications, that fact, as opposed to the narrower regulating. I think, most of us here are concerned about the broader affect of the Biosphere Reserve.
Now, Mr. Jordan, you said some deep and disturbing things. First of all, you suggested that the process for the Biosphere Reserve here was hidden, that means unannounced, or announced after the fact; that names were given as supporting the Biosphere Reserve and the people didn't know about it; perhaps the most serious, that there was a smearing campaign against you personally.
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That is, you were called a right-wing anti-environmentalist, and that you were somehow linked to the Oklahoma City bombing?
Mr. JORDAN. Oklahoma City bombing, and that we had
The CHAIRMAN. Speak into the microphone. We can't hear you.
Mr. JORDAN. That we were somehow connected to the Oklahoma City bombing, and that we had ties with the Utah militia. My wife and I have never been to Utah, nor do we know anybody in Utah.
Mr. CANNON. I am from Utah.
Mr. JORDAN. I apologize. I have nothing against Utah. Just, I was connected to them and their militia. Like I say, we had no connection. And the funny part is, at this meeting Mr. Chase is talking about, he said a group from the Adirondacks came down. He, himself, stood up and asked who was from the Adirondacks.
There was one gentleman there that was from the Adirondacks, on my wife's and my invitation. Everyone else at that meeting was either from Ulster County themselves or from within the Catskills region. There was no one represented from the Adirondacks, officially. Just the one man was the only man that had come down from the Adirondacks. Mr. CANNON. Mr. Chase, you talked about, in your testimony
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. CHASE. Yes.
Mr. CANNON. Let me finish my questionabout mysterious Utah militia connections. Can you describe what those were?
Mr. CHASE. Yeah. At that hearing I was informed afterwards by one of this group that came mostly from the Adirondacks, I think there were a few Catskill people, three, in that group, and I was told that they had a dossier on me and they read off, I thought rather a complimentary list of organizations that I had belonged to, but they mentioned their connections with a Utah militia. And then this upset me quite a bit and
Mr. CANNON. I'm concerned about the reputation of Utah.
Mr. CHASE. All right. I just
Mr. CANNON. Pardon me, sir. We haveI think that it's pretty clear that there's no link with these radical militia groups.
Mr. CHASE. Well, this was not my information.
Mr. CANNON. Pardon me, sir.
Mr. CHASE. This was information that was given to me
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. CANNON. Pardon me, sir. I just want to be very clear about the issue in your statement. I would like to know who referred to Utah militia types? Because, again, I don't believe we have any radical people. We have people who are very concerned about property rights, but we have never, in Utah, ever been linked to the more radical militia types. And I would like to know who it was that said that and what foundation or whatyou had actually referred to that in your testimony before Congress.
Mr. CHASE. That is correct, and by golly, I'll have to say it was second-hand given to me by people at that Kingston hearing. Now, the letter that was referred to, I wrotethe hearing was on April 6th, of 1995. On Mayexcuse me. I've got the wrong document here.
Mr. CANNON. While you're looking for that, you said that
Mr. CHASE. On Mayexcuse me. On May 12th, 19May 12, afternote, that's a month later, I wrote a letter, and you can have a copy of that letter.
Mr. CANNON. I would like a copy of that, please. You said that you had a hearing on May 12th or April 6th. There were people there from the Adirondacks and the Catskills who said they had a relationship with the Utah militia?
Mr. CHASE. Exactly.
Mr. CANNON. And who are the people?
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Mr. CHASE. I don't name people.
Mr. CANNON. You don't name names, or you don't know?
Mr. CHASE. I don't know their names. They were at the hearing. You check the list of people who were at that hearing.
Mr. CANNON. They actually claimed they had some association
Mr. CHASE. They came down to break the hearing up, which they did rather effectively, and afterwards, a woman came up to me and said, you know, I have a dossier on you, and she said she got it from Utah.
Mr. CANNON. She said she was from Utah?
Mr. CHASE. No, no, no. She said she got ither contact, her informationthe dossier on me. I've been trying to find a dossier on me
Mr. CANNON. Are you suggesting
Mr. CHASE [continuing]. on the Internet, and I can't find it.
Mr. CANNON [continuing]. that there are people in Utah that ever collected a dossier on you?
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Mr. CHASE. Precisely. That's what I was told. I don't have any knowledge beyond what I was told.
Audience MEMBER. May I defend myself?
The CHAIRMAN. Sit down.
Mr. CHASE. That's the woman, right there. That's the woman right there. This is the woman right there who told me this.
The CHAIRMAN. Cool down. Mr. Hinchey.
Mr. HINCHEY. Well, Mr. Chairman, I think it's a good opportunity to air these kinds of issues, and try to get at the real truth of the matter. I think it's been clear, as a result of both the testimony, the questions and responses to those questions, that first of all, the Biosphere Reserve is an honorary designation.
As some people have described it as, it's like registering your dog. You can show your dog, you can train your dog, or you can do nothing at all and still have a registered dog. That's what the Biosphere Reserve is.
The CHAIRMAN. Now, I will shut this meeting down right now. This is a hearing of the Congress. Gentlemen, proceed.
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HINCHEY. Thank you. So we're discussing here an honorary designation which has absolutely no force of law whatsoever. It doesn't require anything. It can't possibly require anything. There's no force of law. It's merely honorary. Can't regulate man, can't regulate anything.
It's simply an honorary designation. With regard to the Yellowstone situation, which was kind of an interesting and unique situation, you had a Canadian company, I think in that particular case. In any case, it was a foreign company that owned a piece of land adjacent to Yellowstone National Park. Now, the people of this country have come to regard Yellowstone National Park as a pretty important place, and as they proceeded with the environmental impact statement, which has to be honored in the case if you're going to be mining land, or do something destructive to the environment, you have to lay out all your plans and programs.
As they proceeded with the environmental impact statement, it became clear that this particular mining operation, if it were to go forward, would have a major impact on Yellowstone National Park, and particularly on the watershed of Yellowstone National park, and with all the character of a place that's very, very important to the American people. And so when that became clear during the process, the comments that were made, made it clear to the people who owned the mine that it might not be in their best interest to go forward with this mine, and so they made an arrangement with the Federal Government for the exchange of some lands and some payments for that land.
The CHAIRMAN. Just a second.
Page 66 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HINCHEY. And this was really initially done by something called the 1872 Mining Act, which is a provision whereby mining can take place on lands which were or formerly were owned by all the people of the country under conditions that existed shortly after the Civil Warin fact, during the Grant administrationso they could extract minerals from land which is now or was formerly publicly owned land and really at bargain basement prices.
So as all of this proceeded, people became more and more aware that this was really a bad deal. It was a bad deal because of the fact that resources were going to be taken from formerly public land at bargain basement prices, and at the same time it was going to be ruining, to some degree, Yellowstone National Park; this arrangement was made. Now that has nothing to do with the Biosphere Reserve, because this was not a Biosphere Reserve. It was something else, called a National Heritage area. It's not a Biosphere Reserve at all.
So, the fact is, that particular example has nothing to do with the bill that is the subject of this hearing. It has nothing to do with the concerns that have been expressed by the people at this hearing. It's an entirely different matter altogether. But basically, this is really the final point, not that I wish to agree whole-heartedly with the chairman, there's an important thing about representative government, and there are issues upon this Congress, certainly, and it's very appropriate for Congress to make statements on things.
But Biosphere Reserves are originated locally, for the most part. By putting the Congress in it, if you wanted to do that, that would simply say the people in Washington are going to make decisions with regard to land use, or decisions like this at the local level. Whether you want to do that or not is the question, but the fact of the matter is, is that Biosphere Reserves do not, in any way, restrict anyone's ability with regard to use of their property.
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The CHAIRMAN. Your 5 minutes is up. The gentleman from New York.
Mr. SOLOMON. Mr. Chairman, we're running out of time, and let me yield just briefly to the young lady from Idaho.
Ms. CHENOWETH. Mr. Solomon, I thank you for yielding. Again, I just want to say that all of this discussion, all of these activities have been predicated upon the Convention on Biological Diversity to which the United States is not a party, or which the U.S. Senate has refused to ratify. So there is no legal mechanism in place to be suggesting Biosphere Reserves here or any place else.
Mr. SOLOMON. Thank you. Mr. Chairman, before I ask the question, I just want to thank the members of the panel for coming. We appreciate it very, very much, because I think it is enlightening. I'd like to submit for the record the resolution by the Greene County Board of Supervisors, in which they say that the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development never discussed the application for Biosphere Reserve designation with the Greene County Legislature and those on the Board.
If I might have this appear in the record of the hearing.
[The information referred to may be found at end of hearing.]
Mr. SOLOMON. And Mr. Chairman, one last thing, I wasn't even aware that the President had said that he would take $65 million out of the Conservation Reserve Program for farmers. We are being short-changed in New York State right now, because there is not enough money in that fund. If he wants to give away taxpayers' money to the Canadian industry, that he do so out of his White House budget. There's plenty of money there to spare. Thank you.
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And having said that, let me just personally thank everybody for coming. If you want to see an interesting debate, I'm the Chairman of the Rules Committee that controls what legislation reaches the floor. Ladies and gentlemen, this legislation will reach the floor, and it will be one hell of a debate. Come and listen.
The CHAIRMAN. I, too, would like to thank the panel and the participants in the program; I would like to thank the staff and the recorder. It takes a lot to put on one of these hearings. In closing, I'd have to suggestI asked the question of the last panel and I will ask this question to this panel: What's wrong with my bill? What's wrong with it? Anybody got any reason why the Congress shouldn't be involved in it?
Mr. CHASE. I think it should not be involved. I think it is a local thing. I think the fact that the executive government has to be part of the nominating structure that protects the local industryI think Congress is simply too unyielding to deal with a process of this sort and it becomes too political.
The CHAIRMAN. Under our Constitution
Mr. CHASE. Too political.
The CHAIRMAN. Under our Constitution, Mr. Chase, Congress can only designate land, and especially, our bill is nationwide. You said there's only a few thousand acres of Federal land
Page 69 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. CHASE. This has not changed. This has not changed.
The CHAIRMAN. This is our responsibility.
Mr. CHASE. This does not change the rules on the land.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, I believe it does. I believe that any outside group, especially with an administration, and I've been under many, this is my sixth administration, they do not take public input from the local community.
Mr. CHASE. Well, public input was provided
The CHAIRMAN. Not according to
Mr. CHASE [continuing]. in quantity in the Catskills. It was just that people didn't want to listen.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, that is a matter of opinion.
Mr. CHASE. No, it is not. It's a matter of record.
The CHAIRMAN. Please let me finish my comment.
Mr. CHASE. Excuse me. Excuse me. You asked a question. You asked a question.
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The CHAIRMAN. I know that in my state, there was no public input. There was no correspondence. There was nothing by letter, or state department, or hearing, notifying us until this occurred. That's my frustration.
I am deeply disturbed that a state department or any branch of the government can reach an agreement with the U.N. without consultation of the people concerned.
This meeting is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 3 p.m., the Committee was adjourned; and the following was submitted for the record:]
HEARING ON H.R. 901, TO PRESERVE THE SOVEREIGNTY OF THE UNITED STATES OVER PUBLIC LANDS AND ACQUIRED LANDS OWNED BY THE UNITED STATES AND TO PRESERVE STATE SOVEREIGNTY AND PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS IN NONFEDERAL LANDS SURROUNDING THOSE PUBLIC LANDS AND ACQUIRED LANDS, ''AMERICAN LAND SOVEREIGNTY''
TUESDAY, JUNE 10, 1997
House of Representatives,
Committee on Resources,
The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 1:06 p.m., in room 1324, Longworth House Office Building, Washington, DC, Hon. Don Young, Chairman of the Committee presiding.
Page 71 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSTATEMENT OF HON. DON YOUNG, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF ALASKA
The CHAIRMAN. The meeting will come to order. Today, we are having a hearing on the American Land Sovereignty Protection Act, H.R. 901. I want to welcome our witnesses.
My bill gives Congress a role in approving international land designations, primarily, the United Nations World Heritage Sites and Biosphere Reserves. H.R. 901 has 153 cosponsors.
We were going to hear from Dr. Jeane Kirkpatrick today, but she just informed us about an hour ago that she is bedridden with the flu, and I do offer her my sympathy. Hopefully, at a later time she will be here.
So that everybody understands, my concern is that the U.S. Congress and therefore, the people of the United States have been left out of the domestic process to designate Biosphere Reserves and World Heritage sites. H.R. 901 makes the Congress and the people of this country relevant in this process.
The Biosphere Reserve program is not even authorized by a single U.S. law or even an international treaty. I believe this is wrong. Executive branch appointees cannot and should not do things the law does not authorize.
We as the Congress have a responsibility to ensure that the representatives of the people are engaged in these important international land designations. As I read the U.S. Constitution, referring to article IV, section 3, the power to make all needful rules and regulations governing lands belonging to the United States is vested in Congress. Yet these international land designations have been created with virtually no congressional oversight, no hearings, and no authority. The public and local governments were rarely consulted.
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Until now, no one has lifted an eyebrow to examine how U.S. domestic implementation of these programs has eaten away at the power and sovereignty of the Congress to exercise its constitutional power to make the laws that govern what goes on on public land. Today, we again will begin looking at these issues.
Just so everyone knows, one preservation and one environment group, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Conservation International canceled after accepting an invitation to testify. Unfortunately, there was not enough lead time to find replacement witnesses. I regret that, because I will soon be evaluating with the cosponsors and committee members whether to move this legislation through the committee. Very frankly, I have made up my mind that we will move this legislation with additions recommended by the witnesses we will hear from.
I am pleased to welcome all our witnesses who will testify today, and will the first panel please be seated. That consists of Mr. John Vogel, Land Commissioner of St. Louis County, Minnesota; the Honorable Charles ''Pat'' Childers, Wyoming State Representative, Cody, Wyoming, the great State of Wyoming; and the Honorable Jeannette James, Alaska State Representative, North Pole, Alaska, the greatest state in all the union. I had to get that in. That is one prerogative of the chairman.
Please take your seats.
[The prepared statement of Hon. Don Young follows:]
STATEMENT OF HON. DON YOUNG, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF ALASKA
Page 73 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Welcome to our witnesses. Today we will hear testimony on H.R. 901my bill that gives the Congress a role in approving international land designations, primarily United Nations World Heritage Sites and Biosphere Reserves. H.R. 901 now has 153 cosponsors.
We were going to hear today from Dr. Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, former Ambassador to the United Nations, who served under President Ronald Reagan. Unfortunately she is ill today and had to cancel.
So that everyone understands, my concern is that the United States Congressand therefore the people of the United States have been left out of the domestic process to designate Biosphere Reserves and World Heritage sites. H.R. 901 makes the Congress and the people of this country relevant in those processes.
The Biosphere Reserve program is not even authorized by a single U.S. law or even an international treaty. That is wrong. Executive branch appointees cannot and should not do things that the law does not authorize.
We, as the Congress, have a responsibility to ensure that the representatives of the people are engaged on these important international land designations. As I read the U.S. Constitution, referring to article IV, section 3, the power to make all needful rules and regulations governing lands belonging to the United States is vested in Congress. Yet these international land designations have been created with virtually no congressional oversight, no hearings, and no authority. The public and local governments are rarely consulted.
Until now, no one has lifted an eyebrow to examine how U.S. domestic implementation of these programs has eaten away at the power and sovereignty of the Congress to exercise its constitutional power to make the laws that govern what goes on on public land. Today we will begin to look at these issues.
Just so everyone knows, one other preservation and one environmental group, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Conservation International cancelled after accepting invitations to testify. Unfortunately, there was not enough lead time to find replacement witnesses. I regret that because I will soon be evaluating, with the cosponsors and Committee members, whether to move this legislation from the Committee.
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC With that it is time to begin. I am pleased to welcome all of our witnesses who will testify today. Will the first panel please be seated.
[Briefing Paper on H.R. 901 may be found at end of hearing.]
[H.R. 901 may be found at end of hearing.]
The CHAIRMAN. Is there any other opening statement before I proceed? If not, at this time, I will proceed on the order, and I will inform the witnesses that after this panel, I do have to go to another meeting, but I expect Helen Chenoweth to take over the chair, and she will be running the committee after that time.
The first witnesses will be Mr. John Vogel, Land Commissioner of St. Louis County, Minnesota.
STATEMENT OF JOHN VOGEL, LAND COMMISSIONER, ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MINNESOTA
Mr. VOGEL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. My name is John Vogel, and I am a longtime professional natural resource administrator. For the last 18 years, I have administered nearly 1,000,000 acres of trust lands and resources as land commissioner of St. Louis County, Minnesota.
I am here today on behalf of several counties in northeastern Minnesota, a region that is clearly rural and not urban but also not significantly agricultural. Logging, mining, and recreation tourism are the mainstay of our lives and economy. We have national forests, including a prominent wilderness area; a national park; several state forests; and several million acres of county forests. The majority of Minnesota's public lands are located in this region.
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The matters under consideration here today are matters of serious concern to many of my associates and people of our region, having had numerous experiences over the preceding decades with a plethora of ever-changing programs, regulations, and dictates which profoundly and often adversely affect our lands, resources, and lives.
All too often, many of our citizens and local elected officials have found themselves attempting to react to far-reaching new laws and regulations, virtually helplessly, after it was too late to be real participants in considering major and far-reaching proposals affecting our region, virtually dozens of ever-changing complex programs ranging from wilderness to the biosphere.
It seems we have to devote an impossible amount of time and effort just to get information before it is too late, rather than have an opportunity to be an informed part of our own future and to be seriously listened to.
One such situation occurred in 1984 when our state-sponsored citizens committee on Voyageur National Park was offhandedly informed by the then-park superintendent, Russell Berry that Voyageurs, along with the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in the Superior National Forest and the adjacent Quetico Provincial Park in Ontario were being proposed for status as the Northwoods International Biosphere. The whole story of that proposal is much too long to describe here. I have described that event in more detail in my written testimony.
It should be sufficient to say that after devoting much time and effort to that nomination, we became aware by a 1987 letter from the State Department to the then-director of the National Park Service, William Mott, that the State Department had withdrawn the application. That letter clearly states that it was withdrawn because of local opposition.
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Mr. Chairman, I believe that was the first time that a nominated area had been withdrawn. Because of the very amorphous nature of such designations, and by that, I mean the unclear boundaries and potential far-reaching and progressive impacts, it becomes very difficult or impossible to find any comfort level with the Biosphere Reserve despite good qualities which might be associated with them, particularly after reading a statement quoted in 1987 in the Omaha News Herald attributed to the now former assistant secretary for fish and wildlife and parks, George Frampton, where he was reported to have stated there ought to be biosphere reserves around every national park and wilderness area where roads would be closed, development limited, and resources returned to their natural condition.
Also, the Voyageur National Park superintendent stated at a public meeting, and I quote, ''I would like to be in as strong a position as possible to influence activities outside our boundaries that would adversely affect the park in the context of things that would be detrimental to the ecosystem within the park.'' Based on our experience regarding the lack of oversight and public involvement, we find that sort of statement very scary.
Today, I believe it is more important for me to simply speak in support of H.R. 901, the American Land Sovereignty Protection Act. We believe that if we are ever truly going to find solutions to protection of the environment and special places, we can and will find the best support and best methods through congressional oversight and consensus-building at the grass roots level. My counties have made significant formal commitments and are now undertaking long-term programs to carry out new and better planning and programs so that we might achieve the principles contained in the 1969 National Environmental Policy Act that man and nature can live together in productive harmony.
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Unlike the past process of establishing these international areas, we believe the process needs to be more open and certainly more inclusive of the legislative process. People in our region are not likely to support outcomes which bypass or ignore our elected officials at all levels of government.
That is why, Mr. Chairman, I am here today to urge passage of H.R. 901, and thank you for the opportunity to speak on behalf of the bill.
[The prepared statement of John Vogel may be found at end of hearing.]
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, John, and I wish your Minnesotan Congressman was here to hear your testimony, but unfortunately, he chose not to participate. Usually, he does. He is very good about that.
The Honorable Pat Childers is up next.
STATEMENT OF HONORABLE CHARLES P. CHILDERS, WYOMING STATE REPRESENTATIVE, CODY, WYOMING
Mr. CHILDERS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee. My name is Charles P. ''Pat'' Childers. I am Wyoming representative for House District 50 in Park county. As an introduction, this testimony is offered to support passage of H.R. 901.
My input is a firsthand account of how a World Heritage Site, Yellowstone National Park, was and is being used to sabotage public law, the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA, and circumvent an ongoing legal public process for development of an environmental impact statement or EIS that was being scrupulously followed to determine the suitability of the proposed New World Mine located outside the park.
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Additionally, the public information presented to establish the forums for evaluating the reclassification of the park to a World Heritage Site in danger was a classic example of minimizing the involvement of interested parties, i.e., the State of Wyoming, in the process.
As fine and strong a public law as NEPA is, it was no match for the political leverage that a World Heritage Site carries. My testimony is an example of an abuse of power. This abuse came from some within the Clinton Administration, including the Interior and Park Service; environmental organizations; as well as an abuse of prestige and public trust by UNESCO's World Heritage Committee.
All of these groups were drawing on Yellowstone's designation as the United States' first national park and a World Heritage Site. The members of this Committee should make every effort to prevent this from happening again in this nation.
For background, in 1970, NEPA was passed by Congress and signed into law. It is a structured, environmental assessment process, and it is a public process. In 1978, Yellowstone was designated a World Heritage Site, about 6 years after the U.S. signed the World Heritage Site Convention of UNESCO.
In 1989, data collection began for the mine near Cooke City.
In 1990, an attempt to establish the Vision document was defeated. This document, coordinated by the Park Service and Forest Service, also proposed a buffer zone around the park similar to the Heritage issue. It also did not go through the scrutiny of proper public process as required by law.
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In 1993, the EIS for the New World Mine was initiated as required by NEPA.
On February 28, 1995, 14 environmental groups, opponents of the mine, sent a letter to the chairman of the U.N. World Heritage Committee requesting the committee initiate an investigation to determine if the park should be included on the List of World Heritage Sites in Danger. The letter listed the reason for the request as the serious threats presented to the park and the larger ecosystem by the proposed New World Mine, and other activities.
It is important to note that those other activities were not widely publicized in any public notices for the hearing by the World Heritage Committee. Creation of the buffer zone is also part of the treaty language.
On June 27, 1995, Assistant Secretary of the Department of Interior, George Frampton, by way of a letter to the chairman of the committee, stated that he believed that there was potential danger to the park and that the committee should be informed that the property inscribed on the World Heritage list is in danger. Our own Department of Interior is arriving at its own conclusion before compliance with NEPA is met.
On September 8, 1995, the World Heritage Committee arrives at the park with the stage being set by the Department of Interior and President Clinton. I managed to speak at that forum and encourage you to question me about this.
My position as a state representative speaks of my respect for public law and public process. Please remember World Heritage Sites have significant negative collateral fallout to the areas around them. They create an unstable economic climate discouraging free enterprise and subject the surrounding areas to an inappropriate and unfair sphere of influence.
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I encourage you above all that what needs to be protected are not more World Heritage Sites, but our own congressionally passed public laws. This is what H.R. 901 will help achieve. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Charles P. Childers may be found at end of hearing.]
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Pat. Now, we have Jeannette James, Alaska state representative from North Pole, Alaska. Jeannette.
STATEMENT OF JEANNETTE JAMES, ALASKA STATE REPRESENTATIVE, NORTH POLE, ALASKA
Ms. JAMES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Committee members. Thank you for this opportunity to testify in support of H.R. 901. For the record, I am Jeannette James from North Pole, Alaska, a member of the Alaska State House of Representatives, and my testimony is on behalf of the Alaska State House leadership.
This issue is extremely important to my state, and I request my entire written testimony be entered into the hearing record.
The CHAIRMAN. Without objection.
Ms. JAMES. H.R. 901 is a policy issue. We believe Congress must assert its authority under the Constitution. Considerable confusion is mounting about the intent and vision of these international agreements. Overlapping international zoning impacts without a good public process could stifle any reasonable economic opportunities available to our fledgling state.
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I feel confident that the testimony you will hear today will support your efforts to guarantee a legislative process on these issues. I opened the Washington Post this morning, and there was a three-page paid advertisement. How do you protect an earth in the balance; with a balanced approach, was the answer. The sponsors signed this presentation saying we are committed to a healthy environment and a healthy economy. Mr. Chairman and committee members, I am, too, and so should you.
This country was founded on the principles of democracy. We, the people, know our government. It is us. Our precious freedom is built on property rights and liberty and both are threatened by the international agreements that are the subject of this hearing.
One is the World Heritage Site Convention which was ratified by Congress, and quite frankly, needs to be reviewed as to its implementation and the effect on our lands, people, and resources. We question if Congress had such intent when it ratified this treaty or is this just a case of good intentions gone wrong.
The other is the Convention on Biological Diversity and the International Conference on Biosphere Reserves which is being implemented by executive order but has not been ratified by the Senate. Our three-part system of government, legislative, executive, and judicial, are purposely established for checks and balance. There are executive powers identified in the Constitution; however, basically, Congress writes the law and the executive administers the law. Any blurring of law-making between these two branches of government is partly by one usurping power over the other, and partly by one branch giving power away to the other like a hot potato by specific action or no action at all. We see it happening every day.
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I commend you, Congressman Young, and all the cosigners for H.R. 901 and your effort to bring back a process representing the public interest as it relates to property rights.
I am an environmentally concerned person. No one can afford not to be. However, it costs a lot of money to protect the environment, and these efforts can only be supported by a healthy economy. Social unrest as well can only be healed when each person is able to sustain themselves and their families with pride and accomplishment.
The underlying need is to create wealth. To create wealth, we must utilize and enhance our natural resources and this can only be done with care and consideration, not with fear and distrust which is the basis of extreme environmentalism.
I want to give the environmental movement credit for promoting new and modern methods of harvesting, extracting, manufacturing, and marketing; however, the time has come when reality must dictate. Continued meddling and intolerant attitudes must be tempered. Property rights must be protected, and the American dream must not be destroyed.
The hype and rhetoric used by zealous environmentalists includes warm and fuzzy statements about good will and sharing as well as buzz words like culture, lifestyle, and salmon spawning. These emotional words won't support a paycheck. Without a paycheck, warm and fuzzy does not exist.
Paychecks are possible when wealth is created, and we ought to be conservative and respectful of ourselves and the planet, but understanding that human needs are as much a part of biodiversity as the air we breathe is absolutely necessary.
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Mr. Chairman and Committee members, there is a natural tendency to resist change, but living in the world, change is inevitable; to not change is death.
No, thank you, I am not interested in any tyranny, and in order to orchestrate biodiversity, we must expect tyranny.
Alaska is a young state, not yet 40 years old. Our people are hardworking, intelligent, talented, and caring. We enjoy a potpourri of race, religion, and ethnic background. We respect one another and we love our land. Alaska is like a mother to us; she teaches us how to live, and no one can understand and care for her better than we can.
Thanks again for this opportunity to testify. I would be happy to answer any questions, and I have additional backup material for the record.
[The prepared statement of Jeannette James may be found at end of hearing.]
The CHAIRMAN. I want to thank the panel and I am going to have a couple questions, and then open it up for questions to the rest of the committee.
Jeannette, was the Alaska legislature consulted in any way by the State Department of the Federal Government when 47,000,000 acres of Biosphere Reserves and the World Heritage Sites were designated in Alaska?
Ms. JAMES. I know of no contact whatsoever, and the fact is I only found this out by research.
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The CHAIRMAN. Well, I appreciate that, because I made the statement once before in the last hearings that we had in this room, and they said, well, we sent you a letter. It was copied to the chairman of the committee that time, copied to me, and I never saw that letter. That is the only notification I had. Very, very little, if any, type of public input or consultation or anything, and one of the things I got interested in, 40,000,000-odd acres of our State are in this biosphere classification.
Have you seen any advantages with this designation? Has it helped us out, helped you out? Has it done anything for the state?
Ms. JAMES. Well, certainly, I haven't found anything that it has helped out at all, but it sure has caused a lot of harm.
We are having a lot of problems in Glacier Bay right now with the fishers and the crabbers there, and you may be familiar with that issue. The people on the Seward Peninsula have been threatened and are fighting hard to keep out the international park that is on both sides of the Bering Strait, and had the Cape Kreusenstern Monument been a biosphere reserve like they would like it to be, we wouldn't have Red-Dog Mine now, which is the world's largest zinc mine with 400 employees.
So we have the harm, and it has been felt.
The CHAIRMAN. I appreciate that, and again, that is another thing. I keep hearing from different people that oppose my legislation that there is really no harm in this, it is just a designation, it is an advantage. But if Pat is correct, and I think you bring up some good points, was it New World Mine or what mine was that now that you said was involved?
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Mr. CHILDERS. Pardon me?
The CHAIRMAN. Which mine was involved when you said the World Heritage Committee came over? I want to ask you about when they came over.
What was the name of the mine again?
Mr. CHILDERS. What was?
The CHAIRMAN. The mine that you said that they had been invited over to the park to see and then they decided it wasn't appropriate to have any mining activity.
Mr. CHILDERS. The New World Mine.
The CHAIRMAN. New World Mine.
Mr. CHILDERS. They did not think it was appropriate to be mining at that site, but it is a dead site as it is now.
The CHAIRMAN. Now, you attended that hearing, Pat?
Mr. CHILDERS. Yes, I did. I testified.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you believe thathow many people such as yourself testified?
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Mr. CHILDERS. How many people what?
The CHAIRMAN. Such as yourself testified.
Mr. CHILDERS. There were only two like myself allowed to testify and we had to, let us say, be careful in how we answered questions to be able to testify.
The CHAIRMAN. Now, how many did testify?
Mr. CHILDERS. There were approximately 30 to 40 people.
The CHAIRMAN. And those people were made up of?
Mr. CHILDERS. The environmental organizations, the mining community. The day that I testified, it was technical input. I was testifying as an engineer in the oil and gas industry and my companion was testifying as a geographer.
The CHAIRMAN. And what you are telling me that actually, the hearing was held by UNESCO and the EIS process was brought to a halt at that time by the Secretary of Interior?
Mr. CHILDERS. More or less. It influenced the EIS process.
The CHAIRMAN. What did you find, Pat, or your constituents find the most offensive about the World Heritage Committee's visit to Yellowstone? What would you say was the most offensive?
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Mr. CHILDERS. It was not a proper public process and the advertising about them attending and investigating it. They implied that they were going to just talk about the mine, but once you got there, you found that they were covering a lot more than the mine. They covered tourism and other commercial activities.
The CHAIRMAN. John, my time is up, but you mentioned a state-sponsored commission that investigated a proposed Biosphere Reserve designation in your area. Was the commission divided at all regarding this proposed designation?
Mr. VOGEL. No, that was a unanimous decision. That is a state-sponsored commission. The chair is appointed by the Governor. There are 13 members, and the decision was unanimous.
The CHAIRMAN. It was against it?
Mr. VOGEL. It was against it.
The CHAIRMAN. In your opinion, if this type of investigation and security that took place in Minnesota had occurred in other regions of the country relative to this proposed designation, do you think the outcome would be similar?
Mr. VOGEL. Yes, Mr. Chairman, I certainly do. Our experience with Minnesota would indicate that there was virtually no support for it, and there was a tremendous amount of opposition.
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The CHAIRMAN. This is why I am bringing this up. I just mentioned to Jeannette, and a lot of these areas that we are designating in the United States, there was no public input at all. There was nobody that really realized it, and what I am worried about and have been worried about, under our Constitution, it says only Congress can designate, and this is done by the executive.
The intent of this bill is very, very minimal. All it says is that if there is in fact an area that is to be designated, yes, we still have to have public input, but after that is done, it has to come back to the Congress and we should have the right to approve or disapprove it.
Of course, some people object to that, and I think that is incorrect. My time is out.
Mr. KILDEE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for calling the hearing. I have to leave for a budget reconciliation meeting. Both of us have difficulty with that budget for various reasons, and sometimes, some of the same reasons.
I want to thank the panel for their testimony, all the panel, but particularly the two state representatives. I served 10 years in the Michigan House of Representatives and I realize the importance, the enormity, and sensitivity of your job, and thank you for your testimony today.
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I will leave, but I will try to come back before the end of the hearing. Thank you, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Nevada.
Mr. GIBBONS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I also would like to join the Chairman in his remarks and also welcome all of you here to this Committee hearing as well.
Mr. Childers, you were present at that hearing, obviously, and there were members of the Yellowstone National Park agency there or the park authority, the superintendent. Can you tell this committee what your testimony was at that hearing?
Mr. CHILDERS. My testimony was because of my background in trying to encourage that the United States should be following the process on the mine which is NEPA, because that is my recent education, and that is the type of environmental things that I handle for my company.
Then also from a practical standpoint, since I did tour the mine site and have some thoughts about what was happening in the mineI am a chemical engineer by education. I basically thought that it was ridiculous in some of the public statements that were being made about the mine site. I didn't think they were very accurate at all, and that also, they were circumventing the process, and I thought it was an insult that the committee shows up when we have very stringent laws that are being used to investigate the mine now, and that is NEPA.
Page 90 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GIBBONS. What was the reaction of the Park Service to your testimony?
Mr. CHILDERS. In particular, the park superintendent, Mike Findley, got up and gave his summary concerning the program, he thanked everybody for coming, except he singled out myself and my companion and basically told us he didn't care what we had to say.
Mr. GIBBONS. So in essence, you felt that your testimony and your presence was irrelevant to the decision and the process that they were undertaking at the time?
Mr. CHILDERS. Well, I could hardly see how it was irrelevant when we were just basically asking that United States laws should be followed and that from a practical standpoint, there doesn't appear to be a real problem with the mine as there is now at the mine site.
Mr. GIBBONS. How many sites, and maybe if I could go to the state of Alaska, Representative James as wellhow many acres did you say Alaska has under this designation?
Ms. JAMES. 40,700,000 acres.
Mr. GIBBONS. Near 41,000,000?
Page 91 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. JAMES. Near 41,000,000.
Mr. GIBBONS. And Wyoming?
Mr. CHILDERS. In Wyoming, the park is the only one that I can think of right now. It is strictly the park.
Mr. GIBBONS. And how many acres is that?
Mr. CHILDERS. The World Heritage Committee excluded the buffer zone.
Mr. GIBBONS. Do you have an idea of how many acres that encompasses?
Mr. CHILDERS. I cannot remember offhand.
Mr. GIBBONS. I have been told it is about 2,200,000 acres.
Mr. Vogel, in Minnesota, how many acres are covered by this sort of a designation?
Mr. VOGEL. We haven't any at this point because we became aware of that in 1984 and prevented it.
Page 92 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GIBBONS. To either Representative Childers or Representative James, has this had a direct effect on any of your state's management of these areas? Has it required you to change the course or the direction or the type of management you would have had over these areas?
Ms. JAMES. Well, I guess that I could respond to that, especially in the Biosphere Reserves, that it appears to me that they have made this identification, but I don't think they have been doing anything about it yet.
Quite frankly, that is a huge, huge job. I don't know how or where the money would come from to do all the things that were planned, so I think it is more of a threat now than it is where they have actually done things.
We have talked to the Park Service, and it was interesting. In my committee meeting in the Alaska House this year that the Park Service person did indicate to me that we do have something to worry about when we have the international committee coming into our localities and helping change the voices of the people.
Mr. GIBBONS. Is this an unfunded mandate to the state of Alaska?
Ms. JAMES. Well, it does say that the state parties are supposed to be the ones that fund it. We certainly don't have any money to do it, so I don't know who they are talking about doing it.
Page 93 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GIBBONS. Mr. Childers, is that your opinion also?
Mr. CHILDERS. Mr. Chairman and Congressman, we are having more restrictions proposed in the park itself. Since the buffer zone was excluded, there haven't been any changes in the National Forest Service.
Mr. GIBBONS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman. The gentleman from California, Mr. Dooley.
Mr. DOOLEY. I guess I would be interested, and I don't have a great deal of expertise on this issue, but I am struggling a little bit, and Mr. Childers, when you get to the New World Mine situation, what would have happened differently if you didn't have Yellowstone being declaredI guess it is a World Heritage Site? What would have happened in the absence of that differently?
Mr. CHILDERS. Without the Heritage Site being declared in danger?
Mr. DOOLEY. Yes.
Mr. CHILDERS. Well, hopefully, there would be more proper use of the park. As far as the buffer zone, the proposal in the guidelines for that committee, through that committee, there would be a lot more restrictions on the use of the National Forest lands.
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Mr. DOOLEY. Are you assuming then that they actually influenced the process? You don't think there would have been domestic interests that would have been advocates for a similar policy?
I am just trying to separate out and identify what is the real problem and the real threat that people feel they are under with the World Heritage Sites and the Man and the Biosphere international program.
Mr. CHILDERS. Well, the presentation for the committee being there actually provided additional input outside the normal process with the environment impact statement for the mine.
I don't think the data was justified in what they were presenting, because a lot of the data was not concerning the mine.
Mr. DOOLEY. But that would be comments though that anybody could make. They could make those comments even if this wasn't part of the World Heritage Site, couldn't they? Any party can make comments during a NEPA process, can't they?
Mr. CHILDERS. That is correct, but if the Federal Government took their designation as a World Heritage Site in Danger, then the Federal Government or the state party as implied or as stated in the guidelines, the Federal Government should be responding in providing more restrictions to address what the World Heritage Committee is proposing, and that is not public process.
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Mr. DOOLEY. Ms. James, you wanted to make
Ms. JAMES. Yes, I did. I wanted to respond to that. You have to understand that you have a World Heritage Site, and this was private property three miles outside the park. So our legislative system that we have for an environmental impact statement should have been all we needed to determine whether or not that was an environmentally sound application.
The fact that it was a World Heritage Site brought in the international community to interrupt that whole process, which is unfair, and then beyond that, what happened and the net result that there is no settlement at this time, the mine just gave up because of the overwhelming whatever, and decided to take some alternative land somewhere else.
Mr. DOOLEY. I guess I need further clarification. How did this international group interrupt the process?
Ms. JAMES. Because they came over and put the World Heritage Site in Danger; therefore, they came and held the hearings that were held, and had the permission from Frampton to do it. It was an interruption in the process.
Mr. DOOLEY. I am still trying to clarify a little bit. I guess you are assuming then that this information would not have been provided by any other party, and I guess I would be a little surprised if these arguments weren't similarwhat we have, I think I read in one of the testimonies that we had 14 environmental organizations that wrote to the World Heritage Committee or whatever it is asking them to declare this.
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Those parties probably were saying the same identical thing as this international body, so my question is, what new information? Are you just saying because of it being an international body, it has more prestige so that it can have more influence on the outcome?
Ms. JAMES. Have you ever experienced an environmental impact statement in your area?
Mr. DOOLEY. Yes, I am a farmer.
Ms. JAMES. Don't you think that is a good process? This is a different process, and we don't like it.
Mr. DOOLEY. But it is part of the existing process, isn't it?
Ms. JAMES. No, it is not. It is not at all part of the existing process.
Mr. DOOLEY. So you are saying that this
Ms. JAMES. I have some information I can provide to you
Mr. DOOLEY. What you are saying is that this group is providing information that is being considered that no other party would have provided.
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Ms. JAMES. I don't think that is the issue, sir. I think it is their voice that is the issue, and their voice is not our voice.
Mr. DOOLEY. So the issue is then having the opportunity for an international body to participate in the process is the problem.
Ms. JAMES. You are right.
Mr. DOOLEY. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. Go ahead, Pat.
Mr. CHILDERS. Congressman Dooley, I think that the Congressmen here in the House do recognize that public opinion can influence a process. Speaking after 30 years in the oil and gas industry, I will guarantee you that public input can improperly influence a process.
The CHAIRMAN. I would just like to suggest one thing to the gentleman from California.
The real crux of this matter is that this group was invited to come over. They spent 3 days. They had 2 days of hearings and went back and wrote the report in 1 day, if I am correct, and said that this needs a buffer zone, there is a definite need for a buffer in this World Heritage Site area.
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Then this Administration came down immediately and made an offer to buy out the New World Mine for $65,000,000not the owner, just the mine. If the mine did not accept that, then they were told on the QT that you will never, ever get a permit processed, because we will never finish the EIS, which they never have. Thus, by designation, they used this as an excuse to have the mine closed.
My concern about this whole thing was they should have followed the process. If it was in fact environmentally unsound to have the mine, that would have been stated in the process. That was not going to happen, because the finding would have been that it was perfectly all right.
It was used as a crutch, and by the way, $65,000,000 of taxpayers' dollars, made by this Administration with a companywith a company, not the owner. The owner is an 89-year-old woman that does not want to sell her property, yet now she has property that has no value at all, and that is a taking because of the threat of the Federal Government.
By designation, we have devalued by use of a foreign outside influence in the United States. Now, there are people that disagree with me. If it was the right thing to do, they should have at least had the decency to come to Congress and say there is a need for a buffer zone. They didn't do that.
They went through this process, and this is what I am trying to change, so we have something to do with it.
Page 99 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The gentleman from Louisiana.
Mr. TAUZIN. I thank the chair. Let me just read to you from the Billings Gazette earlier this year a story entitled park needs buffer zone, delegation tours gold mine site. ''The president of the World Heritage Committee said he is inclined to suggest that the international panel urge the United States to expand Yellowstone Park and encompass millions of acres of national forest that surround it. Certainly, the forest areas around Yellowstone belong to the same ecosystem, said Adul Wichiencharoen of Thailand,'' I am sure I mispronounced that, ''who heads the World Heritage Committee which operates under the administrative umbrella of the United Nations. All these lands must have protection so their integrity is not threatened.''
Here we have a fellow from Thailand now coming in and literally instructing the United States on protecting an ecosystem around Yellowstone Park.
I suggest that that has something to do with this Congress' authority and the people of the United States' decision, and yet we find folks from Thailand coming in and now trying to direct this process.
Is this what you are talking about, Ms. James? Is this the problem?
Ms. JAMES. That is the problem, sir.
Mr. TAUZIN. And the other thing that concerns me is that we have an Administration that decided to take executive action to establish land set-asides in one of our states without even informing or discussing that process with the Governor of that state.
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I am very deeply concerned that this process is just one more where the Administration can engage an international organization in making decisions that compel the United States to keep its faith, keep its honor, and therefore, do something that we agreed to do by executive action somewhere with an international agency.
The concern goes deeper than that. I was reading in the committee analysis of the bill and the issue here that in regard to the Catskill Mountains area, the Biosphere Reserve recommended in the Adirondacks, local officials from both of these regions testified that they have never been consulted about plans to designate these biospheres.
That seems to be the routine, that these designations occur, these recommendations occur, executive action occurs, and local officials never get invited literally to participate. But even worse than that, the private landowners never have a chance for a community hearing, a right-to-know process.
The right to know is a very popular environmental theme that I think has rendered some pretty good effects for America. The fact that you know what is happening tends to make everybody behave better.
When the government can do things without the private landowner and the public having a right to know, a right to a public discussion, without even Congress in some cases being invited to participate in the decision, the executive reaches back for some obsolete language and makes an executive decision without a community process, then it creates this tension and this battlefield where we ought to have cooperation and compromise and good will and conservation agreements dictating the process.
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It seems to me that without this bill, the Administration is literally setting itself up in these international agreements to continue what I think is a very bad trend in the way of America making its decisions in consultation with local officials and local private property owners as an effect of conservation and multi-use decisions in regards to lands.
Am I hitting it right? Can you add to this?
Ms. JAMES. If I might, sir, I think that I have heard testimony in Alaska when I had my joint resolution supporting this bill from the people around the state, and the question is why do we need this bill, because technically what is going on is unconstitutional. Why do we need this bill, but it is cheaper to put a bill through than it is to take them to court.
I think that you have hit right on the subject.
Mr. TAUZIN. Let me make another point. We are going to be offering some bills very soon that also deal with some of these issues about communities' right to know and people's right to know about what is happening to them in some of these areas.
Land ownership doesn't have rights in America. The Constitution doesn't accord a single civil right to a piece of land, but it does accord it to citizens. The right to own private property and to own it in possession without a government taking of that private propertyas the Supreme Court said in the Dolan case out west, it is a right that is no less sacred than any of the other rights in the Bill of Rights.
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It seems to me when we fail to protect America's civil rights in regard to some of these issues by turning over power to international organizations or even to chief executives without having a process to protect civil rights, that we ourselves are at fault in allowing the civil rights of citizens to be degraded in this country.
I want to applaud you for coming to help us hopefully make some good decisions to protect America's civil rights when it comes to private property in this country.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman from Louisiana. The gentleman from Guam, Mr. Underwood.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. At the outset, I want to point out that I have problems with the Federal Government coming in and telling me what to do with my land on Guam, so I am not really amused at the idea of international organizations participating in that.
I wanted to commend the first panel, but I also wanted to just for my own understanding of the issue as you see it, ask you to comment on one point. In the course of your testimony, there was a great deal of emphasis on the lack of public input or the lack of appropriate process or perhaps going around existing Federal legislation so that how you framed it is that you are really calling for the enforcement of existing Federal process for this.
Then there was some discussion about the practical effects or the consequences of these restrictions that may be imposed by these designations.
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If I could just get a brief comment from each of you about maybe making a distinction, and maybe it is not a good distinction to make, but if we could distinguish between where the more serious problem is.
Is the more serious problem the impact of these restrictions by these designations, or is the more serious problem the fact of lack of public participation in the process of making these designations?
Ms. JAMES. If I could begin, sir, I think that the last part is more the big problem, and that is not identifying these set-asides, if we call them set-asides, by a public process.
Beyond that, of course, is that it isn't just setting aside an area. It is the surrounding area that is affected, which is sometimes private property and state property, and the people not knowing it.
If you want to look into the rule of establishing things, it specifically says they don't want public policy in establishing whether or not these are to be set-asides, and they only want comments from local people only and if only they don't affect the committee's decision.
It is a matter of sucking it out and putting it up here on another plane where a totally different approach is given and a totally different group of players play.
Page 104 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. CHILDERS. I would have to agree with the statement of the representative from Alaska that lack of public input and balanced inputif you are familiar with the NEPA process, which is a gathering of data and balancing, and economics are part of that balance.
But if you read through the guidelines for the World Heritage Committee, there is no balance brought into it. It is on the side of the environment.
The National Environmental Policy Act, our United States law, asks for balance. It doesn't say you have to weigh the environmental issues. It doesn't say you have to weigh the economic issues. It is simply a balance. It provides the data, and then the authorized officer makes the decision based on all that data.
That did not allow data on all sides of the issue.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. Mr. Vogel.
Mr. VOGEL. Thank you. My impression is very much the same as the other panelists. However, I work at a level that is very, very close to the people that are represented in these areas.
The county commissioners in my region, for example, have formed a joint powers board where there are ten counties now serving together on a special board, and I see their constant frustration with the lack of information available that is brought to them. Frequently, they have to dig hard to find this information and react to it.
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In the case of the Northwoods Biosphere Reserve that was proposed in 1984, as a matter of fact nominated in 1984, it was only quite by accident that it came to light that the nomination had been made. After some 3 years of investigation and hard work, the citizens clearly rejected the idea of the proposal, and fortunately, the State Department withdrew the nomination at that point.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Tennessee.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and first of all, I want to say that I commend you for this very reasoned, balanced, and moderate legislation, which if I understand it correctly simply would give the Congress some voice in these major land use decisions.
I agree with the gentleman from Louisiana that it is incredible that we give a man from Thailand more say than our own Congress or even the local citizens most directly affected.
In light of this and in light of the comments by the gentleman from Louisiana about the importance of private property, let me read for the record a portion of a column by Austin Chase which was in last Friday's Washington Times, and it says, ''Why do elected representatives continue to nationalize real estate when as the experience of the former Soviet Empire demonstrated, public ownership is a recipe for economic and ecological disaster? Why do greens want more public land when they know governments have black thumbs? Why do the media characterize private ownership as reactionary when it is the principal institution that distinguishes the United States from say, North Korea?''
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Mr. Chase goes on in this column, and he says, ''So long as the cold war raged, Congress had plenty of excuses to extend the powers of central government. Now that socialism has capitulated, politicians embrace a new enemy whose presence justifies an even greater expansion, the environment.''
We need to realize in this country that environmental extremists have become the new left, the new socialists, the new radicals of this day, and there is a real threat in this country to private property. I think now that the Federal Government owns 30 percent of the land and state and local and quasi-governmental agencies own another 20 percent, but what is even more disturbing is the rate of increase of that ownership and perhaps just as disturbing, the restrictions that are being placed on our remaining limited private property.
I think that is something that you are concerned about, because you have testified you are as concerned about what is happening to the private landowners near these areas or adjacent to these areas as you are to these designated areas themselves. Is that correct?
Mr. CHILDERS. That is correct in Park County where thisI hate to say it, fiasco took place. Seventy-eight percent of the land in Park County is Federal land. Only 2 percent is state land, and then the rest is private.
Most of the living area in Park County is in the drainages coming away from areas like the park. What happens on public lands affects the economy in the area and then the influence of the World Heritage Site in Danger according to what we see in the guidelines would influence what would happen on private land.
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We are very concerned about that.
Mr. DUNCAN. We just had a hearing a few weeks ago, Representative Childers, about the secrecy involved in the Utah land grab, and from your testimony, I understand your concern about the secrecy and the lack of input, true input, in the process of the local citizens.
It seems as though a lot of these people know they would lose if there was a real airing of the ramifications of these decisions, so they try to do as much of this in secret as possible.
I notice Mr. Vogel said in his testimony we find ourselves having to devote an impossible amount of time and effort just to get or dig out information before it is too late to react.
Mr. VOGEL. That is correct.
Mr. DUNCAN. Was this being done in secrecy or private? Did youI know the Governor of Utah testified on that other hearing that he found out about this major decision in his state by reading about it, I think eight or 9 days ahead of time in the Washington Post.
Mr. VOGEL. Well, the proposal was revealed to the citizens committee on Voyageurs National Park and four of the members of that committee, including the chairman, are appointed by the Governor who obviously didn't know that there was a proposal.
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Mr. DUNCAN. My time is about to run out, but let me ask Representative Childers this.
Did I understand you correctly to say that when you testified in this very unfair, rigged hearing with the two witnesses more or less on your side and 38 or 40 on the other side, did you say the chairman of the committee or somebody told you that it didn't matter what you said, and you said something about how you thought you had to be careful in the way you answered questions?
Mr. CHILDERS. We had to be careful in the way we answered questions when we tried to be on the panel or the group to be able to testify before the committee.
If you said that you were for the mine, they said we will call you back. If you were against the mine, then they were more receptive to talking to you.
Then as far as the type of testimony that was provided during the hearing, we were the only ones that provided testimony that was more of a balanced nature, in my opinion.
Mr. DUNCAN. We had one of these designations in Tennessee, and there was no local input there either. This apparently has been going on all over the whole United States.
Mr. Chairman, I would like to place this column from the Friday, June 6, Washington Times into the record.
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The CHAIRMAN. Without objection, so ordered.
[Column from the Washington Times may be found at end of hearing.]
The CHAIRMAN. I just want to thank the gentleman for his comments, and I have not brainwashed him. I have not talked to him about this.
This came from his own feelings. I happen to agree. This whole concept of landownership and the Federal Government is a socialist move, and I have not seen any Federal land make any money yet or support a local community or provide for schools or even set up an infrastructure, and yet the constant quest for more land is occurring.
Even during my tenure, without my help, there was about 35,000,000 acres that have been put in restrictive classification. I think that 837,000,000 acres are owned now by the Federal Government, and it does not include cities, it does not include any municipalities, and that is a huge chunk of land, and yet it has a brown thumb.
Show me where the government has managed the land right. Show me where they have managed the parks right or even the Forest Service. The Forest Service is in the worst shape it has ever been in history, not because of logging, but because they have stopped managing. We will let God take care of it all and Mother Nature, and by the way, they are very cruel taskmasters.
I just want to thank the gentleman for his statement. At this time, if the lady is not too busy down there, Madame Chairman, would you mind taking over this chair for me?
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Mr. TAUZIN. Would the gentleman yield before you leave on a point of personal privilege?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes, go ahead.
Mr. TAUZIN. I just wanted to congratulate the Chairman on his tabasco tie. When you are hot, you are hot.
The CHAIRMAN. The reason he is saying that, under our gift rules, we can't accept gifts at all, and the gentleman contributed this to me, and from one member to another member, you can offer little recognitions. This comes from his district, so it is tabasco, and I do thank you.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. [presiding] The chair now recognizes the gentleman from Pennsylvania, Mr. Peterson, for 5 minutes.
Mr. PETERSON. Thank you, Madame Chairman. I find this hearing very interesting today.
As I was running for Congress, I had people coming to me and telling me that we now had to fight the world influence on how our parks were being managed and the land around them was being used, and I absolutely did not believe them. I absolutely thought they were erroneous in their comments.
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Since then, I have found out they were not. They were accurate. That is not well known out in the public.
I come from the most rural part of Pennsylvania, the most rural district east of the Mississippi, and I find it, I guess, a little alarminga lot alarming. In my district, people do not trust the Federal Government. They do not feel they are reasonable. They do not feel they have adequate access to decisions that are being made by administrations and Federal bureaucracies.
If the general public understood that they now have to react to and be affected by world organizations on how our private property is going to be used, I think the potential for a rebellion is out there. People will not take kindly to that, and I don't blame them.
I find it interesting that we are at a point in time when we have a Federal Government who I think has run roughshod over property rights and people are starting to fight back. States are starting to fight back, and now, we suddenly realize that we have world organizations having impact.
As has been shared here today and in each of these hearings, they avoided any public process or any public input from those affected, and that is so far to the left of what America is all about. I thought it was fantasy when I was first confronted with this issue, but it is not.
Page 112 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I find it also interesting that just a few weeks ago, I have a company in my district, and this is veering from the issue a little bit, but it shows you the ever-reaching hand of the Federal Government.
This company went to a conference, and this is a very good company, a small company but growing, and found out there was a form that they should have been filling out and sending to EPA annually, a simple report of a product they handled. They immediately went back, called the agency, got the form, filled it out retroactively since they had been using that product, were instantly given an $87,000 fine, and up to this date, we have been unable to help them with that $87,000 fine, when they reported themselves for not filling out a form.
That is a pretty hard over-reaching Federal Government in my view, and when you multiply that into the issue that we are dealing with, I guess I would like to ask the panelists.
I want to thank all of you for coming, but is there any positive or real need for a world organization having input when we don't really have state and Federal Government working as a team?
Can you think of any positive influence that if we can't get the states and the Federal Government on track, if we let the world come in and tell us how to run our private landdoes that make any sense at all?
Mr. VOGEL. Congressman, no, it makes no sense at all to me. As a matter of fact, I think it is not well known that many local units of government in recent years have recognized their responsibilities to change the ways they do things, to improve their planning processes, to recognize their responsibility to the environment, and that is part of the reason that I alluded to a moment ago about the ten-county joint powers board.
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The title of that board is Northern Counties Land Use Coordinating Board. Their purpose is to do better planning, to recognize the relationship between a good environment and the place where people live and thrive and work. We are seeing that kind of thing occurring all across, at least our region in northern Minnesota, where folks are taking very seriously, and local elected officials are taking very seriously their responsibility to the environment and are improving that environment significantly.
We see no reason for this kind of intervention that you describe.
Mr. PETERSON. Mr. Childers.
Mr. CHILDERS. I see no advantage of them coming to the United States when some of the people that were on the committee, such as from Germany, and you hear about the horror stories in East Germany, environmental horror stories.
It seems to me they ought to be approaching those countries and working with them. If the countries are not receptive to improving the environment, then possibly a committee such as this would come in, but as I mentioned earlier, the United States has the most stringent environmental laws in the world, and we are doing our part to improve the environment.
If you have ever been through the environmental impact statement process, NEPA, you can rest assured that it is a very strict process. I see no reason.
Ms. JAMES. Just briefly, I can say that we do have some international organizations for peace, and we have lots of international organizations that are private organizations which have different functions, but I see absolutely no use for any kind of a international organization to manage our land and our people and our resources that are within our borders.
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I think that is the problem that we have here, and we ought to be sure that we have congressional action before any of these decisions are made.
Mr. PETERSON. I thank you all very much for coming. I congratulate the chairman who has left for raising this issue. I am not sure his bill goes far enough, but it is certainly a step in the right direction.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Peterson. The chair recognizes the gentleman from California, Mr. Pombo.
Mr. POMBO. Thank you. Mr. Childers, you talked about the public hearing or the hearing that was held in your area that you testified at. What was the hearing on, what was the purpose of the hearing?
Mr. CHILDERS. The purpose of the hearing was to determine if Yellowstone National Park and a buffer zone around the park which is basically all the national forests that are adjacent to the park, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, should be considered as a buffer zone.
One of the reasons that, at least, was advertised in the newspaper was that it was to consider the New World Mine and a possible buffer zone, but the other activities that were brought up in the letter from the environmental community to the World Heritage Committee were not mentioned to the general public.
Page 115 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. POMBO. And that is the list you have here on tourism, population, road building, timber harvests? Those were some of the other issues that were discussed at the hearing?
Mr. CHILDERS. Yes, sir, that is correct. In the letter that the environmental community sent to the World Heritage Committee, those problems, so-called problems, were brought up and testimony was received on that, but it was not widely advertised in the proposal for the public hearings.
Mr. POMBO. You state in your testimony that the Department of Interior, I believe it was George Frampton, had sent a letter encouraging the area be declared a World Heritage Site in Danger. In danger of what?
Mr. CHILDERS. In danger from the activities from not only the mine but the other activities. He supported what the environmental community
Mr. POMBO. So our government was asking for an international designation that the site was in danger from activities, human activities in the area?
Mr. CHILDERS. Yes, sir, that is correct.
Mr. POMBO. And was itI don't know if you can answer this or not, but is it their opinion that our laws were not sufficient to protect the site from environmental damage, so therefore, they were going to an international body?
Page 116 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. CHILDERS. I can't answer how they were feeling. It was flabbergasting that they were proposing that, at least, on the mine site before the environmental impact statement was complete.
Mr. POMBO. It would appear to me that with all of the environmental laws that we have in this country to protect the environment, that once we went through the environmental impact statement and let science determine whether or not there was a danger that there would be the path that we would take and not go beyond Congress, not go beyond our laws, but go to an international body.
I am trying to figure out what they were trying to accomplish by sending a letter supporting naming the area in danger.
Mr. CHILDERS. My opinion is that it was simply to influence the EIS process.
Mr. POMBO. To influence an internal process, to influence the environmental impact statement?
Mr. CHILDERS. Yes, sir. Part of it, according to the committee guidelines, if that was accepted and the state party, the United States, started implementing what the World Heritage Committee recommended, there would be severe restrictions on the use of the Forest Service lands bordering the park, and that would be avoiding the NEPA process as required by law on what the use of those lands would allow.
Page 117 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. POMBO. So it is your opinion that they were using this process to influence U.S. law or the United States process, an internal process; they were using the international designation to influence our laws, or not necessarily our laws, but the process.
Mr. CHILDERS. I think it goes further than that, Congressman. I think it was to actually circumvent the law with the treaty.
The way I understand the treaty, they would be required to address what the treaty was between the state party, the United States, and the United Nations or UNESCO, and if they addressed that, they would more or less bypass our U.S. laws and place restrictions on those lands under that treaty rather than going by the NEPA process where there is a proper evaluation.
Mr. POMBO. There is one more question I wanted to ask you on that. I know my time is up, but you say in your written statement that the Park Service was involved with the selection process of who was going to testify at this particular hearing?
Mr. CHILDERS. You called the Park Service to offer your testimony, to get permission to come and testify before the committee. Now, who all was involved in the final selection process, I am not sure, but it was a Park Service representative that was asking the questions and taking the answers.
Mr. POMBO. So if you wanted to testify, you called the Park Service?
Page 118 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. CHILDERS. The Park Service in Yellowstone, in Mammoth. That is correct.
Mr. POMBO. Thank you.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Pombo. Mr. Doolittle, I apologize for overlooking you in the transition to the chair.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. That is all right, Madame Chairman. I just wanted to get a couple questions in before we go to the vote.
Sir, you refer to this as a treaty, and it is my understanding this is not a treaty. This is merely an executive agreement which is something less than a treaty.
Is that your understanding?
Mr. CHILDERS. In my understanding, it was a treaty, but if I am mistaken, I misread the heading of it.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. As I understand it, a treaty must be ratified by the U.S. Senate, and that, I do not believe, has occurred in this case.
We are a participant in the Convention on World Heritage, of which Yellowstone is one.
Page 119 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC From my law school days, it seems to me that a treaty is paramount over the laws of the United States, but less than the Constitution. I wish we had a constitutional lawyer out here, because I think we have to get to the bottom of this.
We have a volunteer who says they are on the same level. You mean an agreement and a treaty or the laws and the treaty? The problem is that we don't have anybody here who is officially designated as a witness, but I would submit it goes right to the heart of the matter.
Where you have one supreme law of the land in conflict with another supreme law of the land, we need to find out which is the supreme of the supremes.
This bill by Mr. Young is a very interesting bill to read, because you will get a lot of feel for it just by reading it. It appears to me that the executive branch of our government is actively working with the international bodies to impose its will upon this land and really circumventing the Congress.
Let me just ask, you three witnesses represent three different jurisdictions that potentially could bring suit and try and get it to the Supreme Court to try and challenge these actions; have you considered taking this action?
Ms. JAMES. If I could respond to that, we discussed that, but we think maybe this bill works a little faster.
I wanted to make the point that the Biosphere Reserve issue, which also includes the Yellowstone National Park, is the real problem that came from this New World Mine site because of the buffer zones. There are no buffer zones around World Heritage Sites.
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There are buffer zones around Biosphere Reserves. That agreement has never been ratified. That is a convention that has never beenand the Senate has refused to ratify it, so we even have a more serious problem in Yellowstone than the fact that there is a treaty and whether or not it has the force of law of our constitution.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. Let me just say that there is a great chance then to strike and file a suit on it. I think we should support this bill, but I think you ought to get a suit going
Ms. JAMES. I agree.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. [continuing] challenging this, and yes, that is going to take some time, but thisobviously, when you read this bill or you look at a map and you see things called Biosphere Reserves, you discover that there is a lot of internationalism that has gone on here that most of us haven't been aware of.
Ms. JAMES. I agree, and I would hope that we can find enough people that would be interested to do that, because it is a serious concern.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. It is indeed, and I thank our witnesses for appearing, and I thank you, Madame Chairman.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Doolittle. The chair has some questions for you, but we have two bells followed by five bells, which means we have four votes up.
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Mr. Doolittle, there is a 15-minute vote, and it will be followed by three 5-minute votes, so if I can still add correctly, I think we should recess until quarter to 3, but I would like this panel to return for my questioning.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. The committee will come to order. I just had a couple of questions that I wanted to ask of Mr. Childers.
Do you know if they ever finished the EIS on the New World Mine?
Mr. CHILDERS. I have never seen the document. I understand there is a draft environmental impact statement that has been printed. It was never distributed.
That would be one thing that I would say that this World Heritage Committee hearing did, is it stopped the environmental impact statement. It would be nice to at least know whether there was a problem or not. It should be released.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Also, Representative Childers, you had mentioned that you had to be very careful about how you testified, and if I understood your answer, you had to be careful about what you said so that you would be asked to testify.
There were only two of you who testified for private property rights and against this proposal?
Page 122 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. CHILDERS. Yes, madame. If we said we were for the mine, I seriously doubt if we would have been asked to testify.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Was the testimony and the hearing open? Was there public notice? What kind of audience was there?
Mr. CHILDERS. The audience consisted of the news media, a lot of the environmental community, mining people. I really thought that it was flabbergasting.
My testimony was on Monday, September 11. I called the Governor of Wyoming and asked him if he was aware that the input being received on this program went far beyond the New World Mine, that it was concerning tourism, et cetera, and he was not aware that the program was going beyond the mine.
He has since found out that the Department of Environmental Quality was notified about the program, but it was a vague reference of what the program was going to cover. The DEQ and the State of Wyoming were involved somewhat in the process, because the waters do flow into the State of Wyoming.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Who was the entity that called the hearing?
Mr. CHILDERS. The press release came from the National Park Service in Yellowstone Park.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Who were the hearing officers? Who did you testify in front of?
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Mr. CHILDERS. A Park Service employee was the moderator for the hearing.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. So there were no hearing officers; there was a moderator.
Mr. CHILDERS. Other than a moderator, no, madame. The committee itself receiving input asked the questions and so forth.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Was there ever an expression from the National Park Service as to how they felt about open public opinion or involving the public?
Mr. CHILDERS. The park superintendent, when he was summarizing, said he was pleased with all the input that he received from everybody with the exception that he wasn't too pleased with our input.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Representative Childers. Representative James, thank you so much for coming so far. Mr. Vogel, thank you. You have come a long way, too. All of you have, and I appreciate you very much.
With that, we will call the second panel, and there will be four on this panel, and because two people have planes to catch, I would like to call Steve Lindsey and Denis Galvin, Betty Beaver, and Dr. Jeremy Rabkin.
Page 124 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Denis Galvin is the Acting Deputy Director of the National Park Service from the U.S. Department of Interior here in Washington, DC. Mr. Lindsey is from Canelo, Arizona. Betty Ann Beaver is from Hot Springs, Arkansas, with the Take Back Arkansas organization; and Dr. Jeremy Rabkin is Associate Professor, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.
I would like to begin the testimony with Mr. Lindsey.
STATEMENT OF STEVE LINDSEY, CANELO, ARIZONA
Mr. LINDSEY. Thank you, madame. I do appreciate the chance to get here, and it is a good thing I took an airplane from Canelo, because I don't know if there is a road that goes this far.
I am not really educated. I am not a lobbyist at all. My name is Steve Lindsey, and I am from Canelo, Arizona. I am a fifth generation rancher. I don't really have anything prepared, but I am just going to talk to you from my heart and what we feel, where we are right now on the land.
Like I said, I really appreciate the chance to come to Congress and stand here. My family has been in southern Arizona on that ranch in southern Arizona. They settled there in 1866 or 1867, somewhere in there.
My great-great-grandfather, he homesteaded up there in what is now Parker Canyon. He was a Parker and my grandma was a Parker.
Page 125 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC My great-grandfather then homesteaded in Canelo, Arizona, on the Turkey Creek, which is about ten miles from where his father homesteaded, and then acquired another homestead in 1923. He got that first homestead in 1910. He started running cattle there in 1910, and we have been running a successful cattle operation ever since then on that same piece of property on Turkey Creek, 87 years, five generations on that piece of property.
That sure speaks a lot for how we have been doing and what we have been able to accomplish on that property, and we are still running a good, successful cattle operation.
The ESA, Endangered Species Act, they listed a species that grows on our property, the Canelo Hills ladies tresses. We are the Canelo in the Canelo Hills ladies tresses.
They listed that as endangered on January 6, 1997. It went through after much public outcry and there was absolutely no scientific data, but they went ahead and did it, and we accepted that.
Then February 1, 1997, we received word that an extreme prohibitionist outfit there wanted to list us under the Ramsar Treaty, and that is why I am here. The Ramsar Treaty is a little known wetlands treaty signed in 1971 in Ramsar, Iran, and doesn't that give you a warm fuzzy, but it was aimed at protecting wetlands worldwide, and I would like to quote here from this paper.
It says, ''By protecting these Arizona wetlands through the Ramsar convention, we get international oversight, and that is exactly what the developers don't want,'' said Kieran Suckling, Executive Director of the Southwest Center for Biological Diversity. The coalition also includes the Southwest Forest Alliance. Suckling contends that wetlands, especially the few remaining sites in the desert southwest are being systematically drained or polluted by urban sprawl, mining, livestock grazing and timber cutting.''
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We are the No. 10 on that map that you have in that testimony, Turkey CreekTurkey Cienega, they state there. That is our private property.
As I said, we have been raising cattle there for 87 years. The Ramsar Convention is not yet covered in H.R. 901, and what we desire is for that bill, H.R. 901, to now cover that Ramsar Convention.
We do not believe as a family that we need that international oversight. We do not need that global oversight as it states in this paper. We have been doing a good enough job the past five generations. I am raising the sixth generation.
If we do get this international oversight, if we do lose that land, then my children have no inheritance and that really bothers me.
Again, I thank you for letting me come.
[The prepared statement of Steve Lindsey may be found at end of hearing.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I appreciate you very much, Mr. Lindsey for being here. Thank you very much.
The chair now recognizes Mr. Denis Galvin of the Department of Interior.
STATEMENT OF DENIS P. GALVIN, ACTING DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
Page 127 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GALVIN. Thank you, Madame Chairwoman. I have a prepared statement that I will submit for the record and simply summarize the statement.
It is our view that this legislation would impose inappropriate and unwise restrictions on the ability of Federal agencies to work cooperatively with states and other levels of government to achieve the benefits of international recognition for U.S. conservation and research sites.
We strongly oppose this bill, and if this legislation passes Congress, we will recommend that the President veto it.
The Administration does not have the authority nor the intention of ceding sovereignty over U.S. lands to international organizations, nor have the five previous Administrations, both Republican and Democratic, which have participated enthusiastically in the international conservation agreements targeted by this bill.
H.R. 901 is an attempt to fix alleged problems which do not exist. It is not a sovereignty issue.
Many of these lands have been preserved by law in the United States as national parks through acts of Congress. They include, to name a few, our first national park, Yellowstone; the complex cave and karst system of Mammoth Cave, and the Indian cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde.
These international agreements have in no way been utilized to exclude Congressin fact, World Heritage has been authorized by Congress, from land management decisions, nor do they have the ability to do so. The nomination processes are generally consultative, and are usually based on demonstrated initiative and commitment at the local level.
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International site recognitions defer land use decisions to the management entity within the nation, subject to the domestic laws in place, and they do not add any legal restrictions on land use. The United Nations does not have any authority to dictate Federal land management decisions.
International site recognitions do not restrict land use or stop economic growth. On the contrary, many local areas see them as value-added designations. They provide opportunities for increased partnership and mutual benefit.
Earlier, there was considerable discussion about the listing of Yellowstone Park as a World Heritage Site in Danger. Listing of a World Heritage Site in Danger has no legal implications on the domestic management of the site, and as several of the previous witnesses have pointed out, it was not just the New World Mine issue that resulted in that designation. There were also visitor use issues. There were exotic species issues, and the well publicized brucellosis and bison issues, and my testimony goes into that in some detail, Madame Chairwoman.
With respect to the discussion of buffer zones, virtually all of the designations in both World Heritage sites, which are authorized by law and then biosphere reserves, which are authorized under an executive agreement, are confined to the boundaries of existing protected areas.
For instance, the boundary of the World Heritage Site at Yellowstone is synonymous with the existing boundary of Yellowstone National Park.
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In one instance in the National Park system, Mammoth Cave, the boundary of the Man and the Biosphere site is larger than the boundaries of the park. That was because of local initiative. Local authority wanted a larger boundary so they could use it to clean up polluted water.
The Congressional Research Service said in its May 3, 1996, report on the World Heritage Convention and U.S. National Parks, the Convention has no rule or authority beyond listing sites and offering technical advice and assistance. The solicitor of the Department of Interior wrote on March 20, 1996, ''In our view, this obligation is discharged entirely within the framework of the appropriate U.S. and state laws.''
Biosphere Reserves established in connection with UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere program similarly admit no international control of U.S. lands.
The Convention on World Heritage, a foreign policy initiative of the Nixon Administration, has been a cornerstone of U.S. national and environmental policy for nearly a quarter of a century. In fact, the United States was the first signatory in 1972. It has benefited parks and adjacent communities. The widespread international acceptance of these designations is a continuous advertisement of America's prestige and global influence.
Other World Heritage Sites internationally include the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China, the Serengeti Plain, and Vatican City. Additional information is contained in my prepared testimony.
Page 130 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Madame Chairwoman, I see that my 5 minutes is up, and I will be glad to answer any questions the subcommittee has.
[The prepared statement of Denis P. Galvin may be found at end of hearing.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Galvin. The chair recognizes Mrs. Betty Beaver.
STATEMENT OF BETTY ANN BEAVER, HOT SPRINGS, ARKANSAS
Mrs. BEAVER. Good afternoon. It is an honor to be able to come and to address you today.
I want to tell you that I have no hidden agenda. I do not work for anyone. No one paid my way to Washington.
I came because a group of citizens in the State of Arkansas discovered that they were about to be included in a biosphere reserve.
In 1989, it appears that people from Federal agencies and state agencies, without the knowledge of any elected officials as far as we can determine, decided this would be a good designation to have. They put together a feasibility study, and then they put together a draft. This was to be signed September of last year, in 1996.
On August 20, a little lady went to church and found out that there wassomeone was talking about this, and she endeavored to go to the Park Service to find out. After a period of time and a lot of struggle through several intense days, she received a copy of the feasibility study.
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Part of the pages were not there, and this brought her to be very curious when she found out that some were missing. She went back and got the rest of the pages and put it together, and we put together a book. If you have not seen a feasibility study for a biosphere reserve, there will be a copy in the Resources Committee office. I could not afford to make you 100 copies of this book. I am sorry about that.
I do have a copy of my testimony that is written that I hope will be in the record.
I would like to answer a few of the questions about people knowing about this ahead of time. I have heard an awful lot today from very knowledgeable people stating that everybody knows about it, but the 2,500,000 people that would have been involved in this Ozark Biosphere Reserve, and over 55,000 square miles of land in Missouri and Arkansas and possibly a corner of Oklahoma and Kansas and Illinois, and it states in the feasibility study that hopefully it will stretch all the way to Kentucky and to the sea and touch the land between the lakes. They just have to hop across the Mississippi to make that happen.
That is all in this feasibility study. It will be there if you would like to read it and check the accuracy of my words.
I would like to share with you just a few statements directly out of this book. On page 53, it states, and this is concerning the steering committee that was steering this thing through a sovereign state, ''With concurrence from the steering committee, the interviewer decided that public meetings would not be a part of the interview process because such meetings tend to polarize the views of the public and may capture negative attention from the press.'' Indeed, I would think that it would polarize the views when they find out that they are involved in this without any voice.
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Also, it states, ''Interviewees were chosen to target the kinds of individuals, organizations, businesses, and special interest groups whose cooperation would be crucial to a Biosphere Reserve project,'' and it goes on to state in here that areas of land that might not be as nice as others, and maybe there won't be such an outcry from the people. In other words, if you are backward, in a backward part of the country, possibly they can designate this and fool the people part of the time.
I appeal to the Congress to take the reigns of government back firmly in your hand, to do indeed make the laws of this land. For our 55,000 square miles, and we have heard millions of acres discussed today, please, please, you decide, because we can elect you or not. We have no voice in agencies and State Department people that are appearing in our communities. We have no voice there. We only have a voice in the people's House.
[The prepared statement of Betty Ann Beaver may be found at end of hearing.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mrs. Beaver. The chair now recognizes Dr. Rabkin.
STATEMENT OF JEREMY A. RABKIN, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, CORNELL UNIVERSITY, ITHACA, NEW YORK
Mr. RABKIN. Thank you. I want to talk about the principle at stake in this, because I think there really is an important principle. People talk about sovereignty, and some people talk about it with great passion, and other people's eyes glaze over.
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Let me just give you quickly a hypothetical. Think about it in this way. Let us say that the Presidenta Republican president, a different presidentsays, ''Moral issues are very important; therefore, before any American cabinet department issues any regulations dealing with sexual matters, the family, abortion, birth control, any of those controversial issues, I am issuing a directive that they first consult the Pope in Rome and get his advice.''
People would go berserk. Our friends in the ACLU would certainly go berserk, and if the President said in response, ''No, no, no, it is just consultation, the Pope has no authority at all, don't worry, he has no authority, we are still sovereign''they would still go berserk, because they would say, ''This is an outside authority, why is it being brought in?''
It won't impress the ACLU if thye President says, ''No, no, we are going to broaden it. It won't just be the Pope; it will be the Archbishop of Canterbury, a few Ayatollahs in Iran, and the Chief Rabbi of Israel.'' They will still go berserk. They will sayrightly, I thinkthat the American people elect their government, the government should be accountable to the American people, and the government should not be bringing in foreign spiritual authorities.
The only thing that is different about these programs, essentially, is that instead of religious authorities, we have 150 other governments, and in fact, we do have the Vatican as was mentioned before, and the Vatican is there with 150 other governments.
Page 134 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC These governments are not talking about moral issues; they are talking about environmental issues. But essentially, there is the same objectionwhich is that we are a sovereign country. Our government should be accountable to our people and should not be bringing in foreign authorities and parading them around as if they have some important say-so about what the American people do with their own resources in this country.
I really think the principle is serious, and if it had been about religious authorities rather than international authorities, people would just expect that it would go to the Supreme Court and advocacy groups wouldn't say, ''Don't get excited, calm down.'' Instead they would say, ''Oh, yes, of course, this is an important principle, let us litigate it.''
This is an important principle and if people are not ready to litigate it, I think it is fine that Congress asserts the principle. But let me just quickly mention what I think are also some practical considerations.
The real problem here is not that these international authorities are so overbearing. It is actually that they are so weak and so loose that they are easily manipulated, and I think that there is a good deal of evidence thatparticularly regarding the World Heritage Committeeis very politicized and very easily manipulated. What I am concerned about and what I think the Yellowstone affair illustrates is not that international authority would be manipulated against the United States, but that it would be manipulated by the United States, and then presented to the citizens of the United States as an independent international ruling.
The government may then say, ''Gosh, this international authority told us we have to.'' That is essentially what happened in the Yellowstone affair, and I think there is evidence that this goes on in a systematic way.
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Before I finish, let me cite you two statistics that I think are very telling. There are 506 sites around the world listed as World Heritage Sites. Eighty percent of them around the world are cultural sites. They are historic buildings, works of art, some man-made monument. Only a minority of the sites, only 20 percent of them, if you take a global inventory, are natural areas, scenic areas, like wilderness preserves.
In the United States, it is almost exactly the reverse. The overwhelming majority of the American sites are scenic areas. So the United States has a completely different set of priorities in the international listing, and that is clearly because we are nominating natural areas such as national parks, like Yellowstone, and not historic buildings, at least not to the same extent that other countries do.
Why is that? I think it is pretty clear. That is our priority, and whose priority is it really? I think the priority of environmental advocacy groups, such as those involved in the dispute about mining near Yellowstone Park.
One other figure that is really striking, there are 22 sites listed as being ''in danger.'' Of those 22 sites which the World Heritage Committee has recognized as being threatened by some decay or degradation, two of them are in the United Statesvirtually 10 percent of them.
If you look at where the other sites are, they are in really wretchedly poor, miserable countries. They are in countries that have recently experienced civil war, epidemics, massive floods, or some other natural disaster. They are in countries which are basically a kind of ''Who's Who'' of international charity cases. There is no other Western country, there is no other First World country, there is no other developed country which has a site on this list.
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How is it possible that the United States is in the same category as Bulgaria or Benin in terns of taking care of its World Heritage Sites? I think the only explanation can be that the United States is eagerly going to this committee saying, ''Put us on the list, put us on the list.''
This is not an impartial international judgment. This is a committee that is manipulated, and if we have time, I can give you other evidence indicating that is so.
I think it is very reasonable of Congress to put its foot down and say we don't want to be involved in this, and certainly, we don't want to be involved in this without congressional say-so, case-by-case.
[The prepared statement of Jeremy A. Rabkin may be found at end of hearing.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Dr. Rabkin. The chair recognizes the gentleman from Colorado, Mr. Schaffer.
Mr. SCHAFFER. Thank you, Madame Chairman. I have a couple questions for Mr. Galvin.
I would like you to comment on this New World Mine up in Montana and the relationship that it has to any of these international agreements that you may be aware of.
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Mr. GALVIN. The New World Mine was onthe environmental impact statement that has been mentioned previously was being done by the Forest Service because the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management had to issue the permits to allow the New World Mine development to go forward. It was not a development that was going forward at the time.
It was very controversial. One of the earlier witnesses mentioned the fact that one of the effects of the World Heritage listing as in danger was on public opinion, and indeed, I believe that is an accurate observation.
But it was not absent public opinion in the first place pro and con for the mine. It was a controversial issue.
The reason the environment impact statement was stopped was because of an agreement between the mine operator and the U.S. Government that the U.S. Government would buy out their interest, thus preventing the mine development.
Mr. SCHAFFER. Let me interrupt you there and ask, was there any relationship between any of these international agreements and the decision that the United States made to purchase the mine?
Mr. GALVIN. Only as it affects public opinion, and with respect to the negotiations, the negotiations actually started out, to be perfectly accurate, as a land exchange for the rights contained at the New World Mine. Those negotiations had started before the World Heritage Committee came to Yellowstone.
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Mr. SCHAFFER. The answer isyou said there seemed to be a relationship. I am not clear what it means when you say the relationship is only as it relates to public opinion.
Can you clarify that?
Mr. GALVIN. There was no legal relationship between the decision on New World Mine and the World Heritage designation, no sovereignty question.
The ultimate solution for the New World Mine proposed by the Administration was done entirely within the framework of U.S. law.
Mr. SCHAFFER. Mr. Rabkin, you seem to be familiar based on the report from the staff and I know nothing of it other than your name is on the cover.
Mr. RABKIN. I wrote it.
Mr. SCHAFFER. Do you have anything to add to the questions I just raised about the relationship between these international agreements and the government's motivation to purchase this mine?
Mr. RABKIN. This is true of most international agreements that they don't have direct effect in domestic law. Nonetheless, we are constantly being told that we have to do this because we promised in an international agreement, and we have to do that, because we promised in an international agreement.
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I think it is silly to say that because it doesn't go directly into U.S. law, an agreement has no meaning. An agreement is a promise by the United States to live up to certain standards, although, if you go back and actually look at the language of this particular treaty, it is rather ambiguous.
The gist of it does seem to be that we take seriously our obligation to protect these sites, and that we agree to submit them to the scrutiny of this international committee. The implication is that we agree to do what they tell us to do. We are not absolutely required, but certainly, we have committed ourselves at least to take very, very seriously what they tell us to do. You can say, yes, the international committee is just an appeal to public opinion here, but I wouldn't say just public opinion.
It is rather important when you present it to the public that an international authority has required us to do it or asked us to do it.
Mr. GALVIN. Just to set the record straight, the World Heritage body did not ask us to buy the New World Mine. They concentrated on water pollution issues, visitation issues.
Mr. SCHAFFER. Mr. Galvin, let me ask you, you mentioned with the case of the Mammoth Cave land in Kentucky thatwas this a biosphere reserve?
Mr. GALVIN. Yes, that is a biosphere reserve, sir.
Page 140 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SCHAFFER. You said it exceeded the park boundaries
Mr. GALVIN. Yes, it does.
Mr. SCHAFFER. [continuing] but that was with the consent of the localsomebody, I don't know
Mr. GALVIN. Right, actually, the Barren River area development district supported the enlargement of the boundary. I have a letter I can submit for the record here dated August 29, 1996, that supports the notion thatI will just quote from it. ''We have never been able to do this, that is, get all these organizations that were involved in cleaning up that watershed together until we received the Biosphere Reserve designation.''
Mr. SCHAFFER. Let me ask you, did that group include the property owners?
Mr. GALVIN. I will read out who it is. Certainly, property owners were affected by the solutions, because this got into putting sewer lines in, cleaning up pollution in Mammoth Cave, but the actual organizations cited in the letter are the National Park Service, the Army Corps of Engineers, the state Transportation Cabinet, Western Kentucky University Research Facility, and our area's chief locally elected officials.
Mr. SCHAFFER. No property owners that you are aware of?
Page 141 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GALVIN. Well, no. They are not mentioned in the letter, but chief locally elected officials are, and private property owners were affected in the sense that the water pollution issues
Mr. SCHAFFER. With all due respect, the local elected officials don't own the land in this case. It is the property owners that I am most concerned about.
Mr. GALVIN. The problem here is a water pollution problem that required a large scale solution. It did not take anybody's property.
Mr. SCHAFFER. But the question is, who owns the land?
Mr. GALVIN. Well
Mr. SCHAFFER. This could be a fundamental disagreement between
Mr. GALVIN. Well, there is a lot of different kinds
Mr. SCHAFFER. [continuing] Congress and the White House.
Mr. GALVIN. [continuing] of ownership there, but private property, I don't know that private properties were within the boundaries of the Biosphere Reserve here. It is unusual for it to be that way, by the way.
Page 142 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SCHAFFER. Thank you, Madame Chairman.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Schaffer. The chair recognizes Mrs. Smith from Washington.
Mrs. SMITH. Thank you, Madame Chair. Mr. Lindsey, I will first state that I have been ever concerned about the way the agencies have treated individuals.
In my state there have been several instances where individuals find out later that they were a part of consideration and not able to represent themselves in private property decisions.
With that in mind, I didn't hear and have not read all your testimony, so this might be redundant. How did you first learn of the environmental group and how they had filed a petition against you? Who notified you of this, that you were nominated, actually?
Mr. LINDSEY. Madame, a friend of ours sent us an article out of the Republic, the Arizona Republic. It is a Phoenix newspaper, February 1, 1997.
Mrs. SMITH. So you weren't officially notified in any way that your property was going to be nominated as this wetland?
Mr. LINDSEY. No, madame, in no way.
Mrs. SMITH. Could you tell by that how long that process had been going on before you found out you were chosen?
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Mr. LINDSEY. I have no idea, madame. I am sorry, I have no idea.
Mrs. SMITH. I just came across one in my area that they had been setting up for a long time to decide that there was going to be a trail head that encompassed these people's property, and they really didn't just tell them to the end, they didn't want to, but they had designated and planned for some time to take their property.
Unfortunately, it didn't give them much of a chance to fight or even have their voice heard, because they were just had by the time it was all organized.
That is as a big a concern that there is no due process.
Mr. Galvin, would you be able to comment on that, why he would read it in the paper that his property was going to be basically confiscated for wetland, which means he couldn't use it?
Mr. GALVIN. I am just simply unfamiliaryou mean in Mr. Lindsey's case or in the case you talked about?
Mrs. SMITH. Yes, for Mr. Lindsey's case.
Mr. GALVIN. I just am not familiar with
Page 144 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. SMITH. Why he read it in the paper as a
Mr. GALVIN. I would offer that that is obviously very bad practice. I am notI just simply am unaware of that case, of the listing or the designation.
I would be glad to provide something for the record.
Mrs. SMITH. I would be very interested in it.
The thing that always troubles me is, when there is an environmental impact statement, when I do one for property or we do one in our community, it is done over a period of time with public hearings. So much of that includes economic impacts to the community as well.
Was there an economic impact to the ranching? It appears to me ranching would be a thing of the past if that was designated. You couldn't really use your property.
Was there any impact statement on that?
Mr. LINDSEY. Not that I am aware of, madame. Not that I am aware of.
Mrs. SMITH. So that was not a consideration at all, the loss of income or the ability to manage your own property?
Page 145 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. LINDSEY. No, madame.
Mrs. SMITH. Mr. Galvin, now this probably has a legitimate purpose, but I still haven't figured out why a meeting that you were holding or was being held on the Florida Everglades was held in Maine.
Mr. GALVIN. Held in?
Mrs. SMITH. Held in Maine. Now, this is just a news report, and I will say to those on my right at the table, news is not always accurate. Somebody might have written this and it isn't true, but a news report on the U.S. Man and the Biosphere program, according to the report, says the program has funded a grant concerning the restoration of the Florida Everglades.
Now, this is in Florida, and the meeting is called to be at a resort in Maine. Can you give me some idea of how that has relevance to anything connected to Florida? Why would you have an overall meeting on the Florida Everglades in Maine?
Mr. GALVIN. Actually, I am not familiar with the meeting, but let me suggest this, that the U.S. MAB group probably meets fairly regularly at different locations in the United States.
Since Everglades is a Biosphere Reserve, perhaps one of the agenda items on their meeting was the Everglades.
Page 146 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. SMITH. So this resort in Maine, maybe it was a more central location?
Mr. GALVIN. Not necessarily. It may have been just one location of a number that the U.S. MAB group meets at.
Mrs. SMITH. So there are national group meetings on the concern of the Florida Everglades which probably would mean the folks in Florida didn't have much to do with that meeting?
Mr. GALVIN. Well, if there are 47 Biosphere Reserves in the United States, and if the U.S. map committee meets on a regular basis, and a subsequent witness may be able to amplify that, then I would assume that they meet near some Biosphere Reserves, but far away from others.
Mrs. SMITH. That is probably the reason people feel so left out of it, that they don't feel that they are a part of the process. That might be part of it.
Mr. GALVIN. Well, there are requirements in World Heritage for public notification, and there are also requirements in Man and the Biosphere for local support.
Mrs. SMITH. It is awfully hard for the folks I know to go to Florida or Maine, if they are dealing with one on the West Coast. I guess what I am saying is that that might be the reason that so many people feel alienated or don't know what is happening, then when it hits them, they go
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Mr. GALVIN. I would agree with you. There should be good, local communication at the local level regarding these decisions.
Mrs. SMITH. Thank you.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mrs. Smith. Dr. Rabkin, has Congress ever conferred power on the Department of Interior to acquire property under the Biosphere Reserve?
Mr. RABKIN. No.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Has the Biosphere Reserve ever been ratified? Has that treaty ever been ratified by the Senate?
Mr. RABKIN. It isn't even a treaty. It has not been ratified by anybody. It is just an international venture in cooperation.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Is there any umbrella of law that protects the agency or individuals operating inside the agency in moving ahead in this procedure?
Mr. RABKIN. No.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Have you ever heard of the Supreme Court decision, Bivins v. Six Unknown Agents?
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Mr. RABKIN. Yes.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Do you think that that may apply here?
Mr. RABKIN. If some official of the Interior Department went and tried to seize someone's land, yes, the landowner could sue under Bivins and have a lot of fun and maybe collect a lot of money.
I would say more power to the landowner who did that, but I don'tlet me just anticipate Mr. GalvinI don't think the Interior Department is doing that, going out and seizing people's land.
I think what people are worried about is that we are organizing a community of interest groups which is a very carefully selected community, including some local officials and perhaps some kinds of landowners and not others, and trying to orchestrate certain kinds of policies so that you use this program as a way of either encouraging or steamrolling local officials into making zoning changes and things like that.
I don't think it is unreasonable for people to say, ''Whoa, wait, what is going on here? Why are Federal agencies coordinating local zoning changes, why are they doing this without any kind of statutory formula, without any involvement of Congress.'' I think it is reasonable for people to ask questions like that.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you. Thank you very much. Either Dr. Rabkin or Mr. Galvin, I would like to ask you, in Yellowstone National Park, the park itself is considered a World Heritage Site, right?
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Mr. GALVIN. That is correct.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. And that treaty was ratified in 1952?
Mr. GALVIN. Nineteen seventy three.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Nineteen seventy three. But outside the boundaries, the park itself and outside the boundaries is considered a Biosphere Reserve, right?
Mr. GALVIN. I believe some of the forest territory is included in the Biosphere Reserve.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. And the New World Mine was outside the boundaries of the Yellowstone National Park, correct?
Mr. GALVIN. That is correct.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. So under the Biosphere Reserve
Mr. GALVIN. It was surrounded by forest.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Under the Biosphere Reserve agreement, the New World Mine was seized, right?
Page 150 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GALVIN. No, that is not right. The New World Mine wasthe operator came to an agreement with the U.S. Government about either a land exchange or a purchase which is going forward.
Mr. RABKIN. Could I just say a word about this?
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Yes.
Mr. RABKIN. What Mr. Galvin said before was technically correct, that only the park itself is the World Heritage Site. But what got people upsetand I sympathize with them; I think it is upsettingis that the World Heritage Committee came in and said although the park itself is the site, this mine which is outside the parksome three miles outside the parkis going to have an effect on the park, and since it is going to have an effect on the park, it is under our international jurisdiction.
No, they don't have jurisdiction to seize it, they don't have jurisdiction to order anyone to do anything, but they did claim the authority to come and review it, to come and talk about it, and then to make a recommendation, which I would say was more than a recommendation.
It was saying this mine is a danger to Yellowstone. They took it upon themselves to review what happens outside the site, and that is what is upsetting to people.
We never said that we were submitting areas outside of Yellowstone to international supervision. Nonetheless, we had international supervision of an area outside Yellowstone Park.
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Mrs. CHENOWETH. Were the operators the individuals who approached the government about having the government buy the mine?
Mr. GALVIN. I don't believe so. I believe the government approached them.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Yeah. So you do change your testimony from your last statement?
Mr. GALVIN. No, I didn't change my testimony. I believe the word you used was seized. This is a transaction. They are getting consideration for the value of their mine. They agreed to it.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Let me understand this a little better, Mr. Galvin.
So the government comes in and stops the environmental impact statement, the process that is a lawful process on the expansion
Mr. GALVIN. The government
Mrs. CHENOWETH. [continuing] and development
Mr. GALVIN. [continuing] approached the mine owners and struck a deal with them. Negotiated is the verb I would use.
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Mrs. CHENOWETH. Well, is the operator the owner?
Mr. GALVIN. There is a question of title to the ground and title to the mining rights. The government worked with the people who own the mining rights.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. But there was another owner, wasn't there?
Mr. GALVIN. There is, I understand, another owner who has some legitimate title.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. And according to a national magazine, she was not dealt with and does not want to sell her mine.
Mr. GALVIN. That is what I have read in the press, not sell the mine, sell her interest. I believe the company owns the mineral interests.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. But you are not sure?
Mr. GALVIN. I can provide that.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. So if the owner of the mine owned the land and the mine was patented under her name
Mr. GALVIN. I don't believe that is the case.
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Mrs. CHENOWETH. Are you positive?
Mr. GALVIN. Clearly, the Canadian mine company has a property interest there. There is no dispute about that.
There is another property interest here that needs to be dealt with, yes.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. So you had indicated there never was private property seized or taken?
Mr. GALVIN. That is right.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. And you still maintain it wasn't?
Mr. GALVIN. That is right. It is a negotiation and it was purchased or it is being purchased. It has not been purchased yet.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. How was the mine to be paid for?
Mr. GALVIN. How is it to be paid for? In the budget agreement, I believe there is an agreement that it will be paid for with land and water conservation funding.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Is it not true that the first agreement with the operators, not the owner but the operators, was to pay $65,000,000 to a Canadian company out of the CRP funds that Congress had designated for CRP, not for mining interest?
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Mr. GALVIN. I believe the initial agreement was for land exchange. The current budget agreement calls for land and water conservation funds to pay for it.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Originally, it was to be paid for out of the CRP funds?
Mr. GALVIN. That could be. I am not aware of that.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Yes, that is the case. Are you familiar with the UNESCO policy dealing with Biosphere Reserve called the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention?
Mr. GALVIN. Generally.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Do you realize that their guidelines state, ''In all cases as to maintain the objectivity of the evaluation process and to avoid possible embarrassment to those concerned, state parties,'' which means national parties, ''should refrain from giving undue publicity to the fact that a property has been nominated, inscription pending the final decision of the committee on the nomination in question. Participation of the local people in the nomination process is essential to make them feel a shared responsibility with the state party in the maintenance of this site, but should not prejudice future decisionmaking by the committee.''
Mr. Galvin, do you know who the committee is? Do you know what countries are represented on the World Heritage Committee?
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Mr. GALVIN. I don't know right now, no, but I know that the United States has chaired the committee.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Did you know that the country of Benin and Red China and Cuba and Cyprus, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco are all part of the committee?
Mr. GALVIN. And France, England, Germany, yes. It is indeed an international committee.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. And you still maintain after we have gone through this exercise of reviewing the process of how the New World Mine was going through the NEPA process was interrupted midway; money was to be taken out of an appropriated fund by the Congress, and you still maintain that nothing that has been done has ever bypassed congressional authority?
Mr. GALVIN. No, I am saying that what has been done is under existing congressional authority.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. And what would that existing authority be?
Mr. GALVIN. Section 401 of the National Historic Preservation Act recognizes and directs, in fact, the Secretary of Interior to participate in the World Heritage Convention, and in fact, H.R. 901 amends that act, so itthere is existing law for World Heritage. It is clear. This act we are considering amends the National Historic Preservation Act.
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Mrs. CHENOWETH. Let me go back again. We are looking at Yellowstone National Park. The World Heritage area is within the boundaries of Yellowstone National Park.
Mr. GALVIN. That is correct.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. The mine was outside the boundaries and it is under the Biosphere Reserve agreement, which has never been ratified by Congress.
Mr. Galvin, do you still maintain that this is not going outside the authority of Congress?
Mr. GALVIN. Yes, I do.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Would you like to
Mr. GALVIN. I believe all the authorities used in the purchase of the New World Mine were legal, were appropriate under existing law, and were authorized by the Congress. Yes, I do maintain that.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Then would you send this Committee a written legal opinion that your department is willing to stand on legally?
Mr. GALVIN. I would be happy to do that.
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Mrs. CHENOWETH. Will you have it in here in 30 days?
Mr. GALVIN. I think I can do that, yes.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you. Mr. Schaffer, do you have any other questions for the committee?
Mr. SCHAFFER. Yes, I do. Again, for Mr. Galvin, there is a staff briefing that was prepared for the committee regarding H.R. 901. It says that the Champlain-Adirondacks Biosphere Reserve is located in upstate New York, and another Biosphere Reserve encompassing the Catskill Mountains was proposed recently.
It says local elected officials from both of these regions testified that they were never consulted about plans to designate the biospheres.
Are you familiar with that particular proposal and can you comment
Mr. GALVIN. Generally speaking
Mr. SCHAFFER. [continuing] on why they were not
Mr. GALVIN. Champlain-Adirondack is a Biosphere Reserve. Catskills is not, and because of lack of local support for Catskills, I believe the nomination was withdrawn, which is the case with a couple of the other areas that were testified to earlier.
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There is some indication that local support has an influence on the decision, because at least three areas have been withdrawn from nomination as a result of local opposition.
Mr. SCHAFFER. That is encouraging, because the state of Kentucky just 2 weeks ago passed a resolution that they forwarded to the Congress asking Members of the Congress of the United States and I will quote, ''to oppose ratification of the treaty and the inclusion of any land within the Commonwealth of Kentucky in any biosphere program of the United Nations.''
Is Kentucky's resolution going to be compelling with the Department of Interior?
Mr. GALVIN. I certainly would think it would be influential. Yes, absolutely. As I said
Mr. SCHAFFER. Just for the comfort level of the people in Kentucky, in what way do you think this resolution will be influential?
Mr. GALVIN. Well, Kentucky has a Biosphere Reserve right now which has a lot of local support, Mammoth Cave. I guess a decision would need to be made about whether that is going to stand or not.
I don't know of any proposed additional Biosphere Reserves in the state of Kentucky.
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Mr. SCHAFFER. The state legislature, being the prevailing authority in Kentucky and having the prevailing opinion, according to the Constitution, anywayI still believe it is relevant, believe it or not. Do you anticipate there will be a hearing? When would a decision be made on something like this by the Department of Interior?
Mr. GALVIN. I don't anticipate there will be a hearing if there are no nominations for new Biosphere Reserve sites, but
Mr. SCHAFFER. I mean with respect to repealing or not including any land in the Commonwealth of Kentucky in any biosphere program.
Mr. GALVIN. Then we have got a decision to make about Mammoth Cave that is going to require some local consultation.
Mr. SCHAFFER. So you do have a decision to make about Mammoth Cave?
Mr. GALVIN. I would say so, because they have got existing Biosphere Reserve recognition in Kentucky that the local authorities seem to be pretty happy about.
Mr. SCHAFFER. Well, the state is not.
Mr. GALVIN. Apparently not.
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Mr. SCHAFFER. They are the ones that matter in this case. In fact, I would submit they are the only ones that matter at this point.
Do you think the Department of Interior would disagree with that?
Mr. GALVIN. I would say there is a disagreement at the local level that will have to be dealt with.
Mr. SCHAFFER. But with respect to the understanding we have about the role of states, the proper role of states in relationship to the Federal Government, do you agree that this is the only opinion that matters in Kentucky presently?
Mr. GALVIN. It matters in the sense of new Biosphere Reserves, yes. Matters in the sense of Mammoth Cave, we will take the case very seriously under consideration, but there are local development authorities that support that Biosphere Reserve, so we would have to get those parties together to see if in fact they want that designation repealed.
Mr. SCHAFFER. Is it fair to say that your department's concern for public opinion values the opinion of the state as much or less than the local opinions?
Mr. GALVIN. As much, certainly. We take state action very seriously and always do.
Mr. SCHAFFER. So you view it as equivalent?
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Mr. GALVIN. I don't think I said that.
Mr. SCHAFFER. You said as much.
Mr. GALVIN. We take it very seriously. I think you have got to look at the individual cases to see where we would come out on an individual case.
Mr. SCHAFFER. Mr. Lindsey, I would like to ask you just briefly. I was going through your testimony, and this group that you mentioned, the Southwest Conservation
Mr. LINDSEY. The Southwest Center for Biodiversity.
Mr. SCHAFFER. Do you know how they are funded? Do you know where their funding comes from, that organization? They are the ones who filed for the endangered species designated ofI can't remember. Is this an animal or plant that lives on your land?
Mr. LINDSEY. It is a plant, sir.
Mr. SCHAFFER. This is a plant?
Mr. LINDSEY. Yes, sir.
Mr. SCHAFFER. They are the ones who filed for the designation?
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Mr. LINDSEY. Yes, sir.
Mr. SCHAFFER. Do you know how they are funded?
Mr. LINDSEY. No, sir, I do not.
Mr. SCHAFFER. Thank you, Madame Chairman.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Schaffer. I just have a couple more questions. I did want to make a statement also.
The Canadian mining company's interest in the New World Mine is a lease interest. Now, I know that for a fact, and if you presume, Mr. Galvin, that it is a lease interest, why is it then that the government is negotiating with an entity that has no ownership interest for the sale of the property?
Mr. GALVIN. I am sure that the lease interestexcuse me. The lease interest has a value, and basically, with respect to mining, the government would buy out whatever the value of that lease is.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. If there is a lease without the value of the minerals and if that site has been patented, do you think the lease is worth $65,000,000 to go to the operators in Canada?
Page 163 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GALVIN. Not if all those conditions exist. Certainly, if there is not mineral value attached to that lease or the value to extract the minerals, then the site is of considerably less value, but the government purchase of any right is subject to an appraisal.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. You mentioned with regard to the Mammoth Cave that there were some outside interests, development interests that were nudging this ahead.
Could you indicate for the record who those interests are?
Mr. GALVIN. Yes. It is the Barren River Area Development District.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. The Barren River
Mr. GALVIN. Area Development District.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. And what kind of entity is that?
Mr. GALVIN. It is a state-chartered organization that is a regional organization to deal with regional problems in the Mammoth Cave area.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Is
Mr. GALVIN. It was chartered by the state legislature.
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Mrs. CHENOWETH. Did you say it is funded by the state legislature?
Mr. GALVIN. I don't know where they get their funding.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Mrs. Beaver, I wanted to call on you just one more time to see ifI noticed sometimes you had an answer for the questions that weren't directed to you.
I want to give you a chance to speak.
Mrs. BEAVER. I was frustrated about the local people who are initiating this.
In the Ozark biosphere, the lead people were the park superintendent at Buffalo National River, and I assume he could be transferred, so he works for the Park Department, and the Forest Service people who are transferred regularly in and out of districts.
True, they are temporarily local, but this gives the feeling that it is government agencies doing this. This was a total surprise to the people, if you take the grass roots people of the state of Arkansas.
It was also a total surprise to the Governor. It was a surprise to the elected state representatives and the county officials that were talked to, and it was a surprise to Tim Hutchinson, then U.S. Representative, and now U.S. Senator, when he was handed this notice at a church service one morning.
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I don't understand the local thing. I guess I have a real problem. All through this feasibility study, it states in several places that we should keep this low key, not to arouse the natives, so to speak, and I think that needs to be brought out.
That is all I have heard all day long, that the local people want it. I happen to know the people over by Mammoth Cave. I got a phone call from a man over there, and he is not thrilled at all about that, and he is local. Where is his voice? He is going to have a meter put on his well out in the country because he is using natural resources. Excuse me?
We have a problem in the local area.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mrs. Beaver. Mr. Lindsey, I understand that you recently wrote a poem about government threats to your private property. Would you mind sharing that with the Committee?
Mr. LINDSEY. No, madame. I will give it a try.
This is all about my family. It is about my ranch, and it is about the ranch that my family has and the ranch that we have had for years. It is aboutI have nine kids, and five boys, good boys, and what it means to me.
''We were riding on the mountain above the Old Page Place; smack dab on top of Page Peak overlooking a lot of space; to the Northeast lay Algerita, and to the south there lay the Rough, gathering cows in this country is usually pretty tough.
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''But today, I wasn't worried, because I knew I had the best; I had my five boys with me, there was Joshua and Jake and Nest; and Little Joe and Nathan, they were riding with us, too, and when it comes to catching wild cows, those boys have caught a few.
''So I sent Joshua and Jake to the northeast, and the rest, they all went south; that left me and my cow dog, Sally, and she's a-foaming at the mouth.
''But I says wait a minute, Sally, I need some time to think, and I leans across my saddle, and my heart begins to sink.
''There goes the sixth generation to ranch this old rock pile; the country life is what they want, they don't want that city style.
''But it seems some armchair ecologists don't think six generations is enough, because they got all that college learning and that book-reading stuff.
''Well, they found an endangered orchid and a water dog and a floating plant, and next, you know they will find a bug or some endangered ant.
''They want to take away my ranch and take away my right to graze, and now an international treaty has been added to this maze.
''Soon one nation indivisible will be governed by foreign laws, by countries that can't even run themselves, they got too many flaws.
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''Well, my great-great grandpa, my great-grandpa, my grandpa and my dad each passed this ranch on to their boys, and be it good or bad; this ranch is in good enough shape to run Javelina and lions and deers, things I see most every day and their extinction isn't near.
''I guess I will just quit worrying; Sally is chomping at my legs; she wants to catch a cow so bad, she is like a powder keg.
''Look, them boys caught a cow and got her underneath a tree; I guess I will just quit worrying and ride on down and see.''
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Lindsey. Thank you, Mr. Galvin. Mrs. Beaver and Dr. Rabkin, thank you all for being here.
The chair recognizes the next panel. We will be hearing from Mr. Rafe Pomerance, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC.
Mr. Pomerance, I thank you for your long wait and your patience. Between a lot of other committee hearings and votes and so forth, we have been kind of depleted, but your testimony is exceedingly important and the record that we are building is very important.
I would like to offer the next few minutes to you for your testimony.
STATEMENT OF RAFE POMERANCE, DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR OCEANS AND INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL AND SCIENTIFIC AFFAIRS, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE, WASHINGTON, DC
Page 168 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. POMERANCE. Thank you very much, madame. Madame Chairman, I have testified a number of times before Congress but never after a poet, so it is a particular pleasure to appear here this afternoon. Actually, it was useful and informative to listen to the previous panel, so I was glad to be here.
Thank you for providing the opportunity for us at the Department of State to comment on H.R. 901, and I would like to submit my prepared statement for the record.
I am here today because your bill includes specific provisions relating to oversight of the World Heritage Convention and the U.S. Man and the Biosphere program.
The Department of State supports both of these initiatives. They are components of the Administration, and I might say previous administrations' international environmental diplomacy.
Today, as has been building over past decades, environment issues are an important component of U.S. foreign policy. This is because previous administrations and this one understand that investments on behalf of the environment, at home and abroad, bring significant payoffs to our national economy, our health, domestic environment, and quality of life.
The World Heritage Convention and the U.S. Man and the Biosphere program contribute to this overall mission. Both function well at minimal cost. Aside from aiding in international environmental diplomacy, they provide economic benefits to the U.S., especially with regard to tourism. Our U.S. Man and the Biosphere program provides a valuable framework for international scientific cooperation.
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The World Heritage Convention is a landmark conservation treaty that helps draw international attention to the unique natural or cultural significance of sites such as the pyramids, Serengeti National Park, the Taj Mahal, and our own Grand Canyon.
The United States was the principal architect of this convention. At that time, then-President Nixon stated, ''It would be fitting by 1972 for nations of the world to agree to the principle that there are certain areas of such unique worldwide value that they should be treated as part of the heritage of all mankind and accorded special recognition as a World Heritage Trust. Such an arrangement would impose no limitations on the sovereignty of those nations which choose to participate, but would extend special international recognition to the areas which qualify.''
The World Heritage Convention, with its 148 signatory countries, has very broad participation and provides a mechanism for U.S. leadership and influence with many of its international partners.
Man and the Biosphere was established by resolution of the 16th Conference of UNESCO in 1970 as a program of scientific research, education and training to promote the better understanding of the interaction of the earth's human and natural systems.
When the U.S. left UNESCO in 1984, the Reagan Administration continued to provide funds to allow for a wholly independent U.S. Man and the Biosphere program. The Department of State oversees a small administrative secretariat to coordinate the U.S. Man and Biosphere program with the collaboration and support of 15 Federal agencies.
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U.S. MAB program promotes the development of scientific information-sharing among MAB sites for biosphere reserves around the world. U.S. MAB's various software innovations have been adopted in North America, Europe, and Latin America, making U.S. MAB a leader in efficient data exchange among protected areas.
U.S. MAB coordinates the network of U.S. Biosphere Reserves, which are entirely independent of U.N. oversight. Biosphere Reserve is not a land-use designation. I think this is an important difference, but instead, is a recognition to protected areas or a series of protected areas that conduct exemplary programs in conservation, science, and management of natural resources.
A typical reserve is coincident with a national park or national forest. Nominations for U.S. Biosphere Reserves are prepared by locally established committees which coordinate the initial planning for the nomination effort, including letters of concurrence from local and state government representatives.
The U.S. Biosphere Reserve program is voluntary and focuses on generating, sharing, and disseminating reliable scientific information collected from the reserve network.
As with World Heritage and Ramsar wetland sites, the MAB sites in the U.S. are managed under the relevant Federal and/or state laws and regulation. MAB also supports a range of projects that further U.S. interests including, for example, a project that fostered an agreement between Arizona and the adjacent Mexican state of Sonora to promote cooperation among Biosphere Reserves of the region. This cooperative decree was recently signed by the Governor of Arizona and his counterpart from Sonora.
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I shouldn't be more than two more minutes. I notice the red light is on. Is that all right?
Mrs. CHENOWETH. You may continue.
Mr. POMERANCE. It is clear, however, that MAB is often misunderstood. We are committed to both clarifying the program's operations and ensuring appropriate congressional notification and consultation during the nomination process.
We believe that recently submitted H.R. 1801, supported by Congressmen Brown and Miller, addresses these issues and provides a good legislative base for improved functioning of U.S. MAB.
For its part, H.R. 901 appears to be based on the mistaken belief that World Heritage Convention and U.S. MAB seriously impact U.S. sovereignty and private land rights and ignore local decisionmaking in the process.
Instead, looking back historically, we can see that these initiatives have worked well and with ample local involvement.
U.S. participation and leadership in the World Heritage Convention, and identification of U.S. Biosphere Reserves encourages other nations to similarly cherish and care for such significant sites in their country.
Page 172 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In conclusion, the Department of State strongly opposes H.R. 901 and believes that H.R. 1801 resolves many of the issues that have been addressed.
This concludes my statement, Madame Chairman, and I would be happy to answer any of your questions.
[The prepared statement of Rafe Pomerance may be found at end of hearing.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, sir. Could you advise me what H.R. 1801 is? I haven't seen that.
Mr. POMERANCE. It is a piece of legislation that has been recently introduced. I think we may have a copy that we could give to the committee.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I just asked the counsel, and they hadn't seen it.
Mr. POMERANCE. I think it has been recently introduced.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. And is it the Administration's legislation?
Mr. POMERANCE. No, I think it was introduced by Congressman Brown and joined by Congressman Miller.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. From California?
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Mr. POMERANCE. Both of them are from California, I think, George Brown.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. There are two Millers, too. You mentioned in your testimony, sir, that when the U.S. left UNESCO in 1984, why did the U.S. leave UNESCO?
Mr. POMERANCE. Well, I was not involved in the decision, but I think we had problems with the management and decisions that were being made at UNESCO, and therefore, we left. When we did, we decided that some of their programs had value, and we continued to maintain those.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Now, didn't the Reagan Administration pull out of UNESCO because
Mr. POMERANCE. Yes, and also stayed in MAB.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. [continuing] of gross financial mismanagement?
Mr. POMERANCE. That may have been the reason.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Yes, I think it was. You talked about the MAB program moving ahead in spite of the fact that the Reagan Administration pulled out of it, that there was
Page 174 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. POMERANCE. No, I think they pulled out of UNESCO, not out of MAB.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Pulled out of UNESCO.
Mr. POMERANCE. Right.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Then you tied UNESCO with MAB in your testimony here on page 3.
Mr. POMERANCE. I think what I meant to say is that MAB was generated or originated at a UNESCO meeting and was a program of UNESCO at the time and still is.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I think your statement says there will be continued cooperation between U.S. MAB and the UNESCO MAB program.
Mr. POMERANCE. Right. I think we do that still, even though we are not in the overall UNESCO organization.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Under the U.S. Man and the Biosphere program, you talked about the collaboration and support of 15 Federal agencies.
Mr. POMERANCE. Right.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Since this is an agreement that has never been authorized by Congress, never been ratified as a treaty, where is the authority for 15 agencies to engage in this?
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Mr. POMERANCE. Well, I think the reference is focused on the MAB research effort which funds a variety of research on the relationship between natural areas and their conservation and human activity, and these agencies have research components, and they put up or they contribute a small, relativelyreally a very small amount of money to conduct research mainly on Biosphere Reserves.
Their authority stems from their ability, which is a function of all the natural resource agencies to continue to do research.
The MAB program was established under a directive of the Office of Management and Budget, I think in the late 1970's, and is a program that we operate like many interactions with other countries or international institutions under the executive branch of the government.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. If the New World Mine was taken over by an entity, and of course, as you well know, we have newspaper reports that it was not indeed just the Park Service, with the initiation under Interior of bringing in UNESCO; of course, that mine's process under NEPA was interrupted.
What authority is there to interrupt the process and what authority is there to expend $65,000,000 and give the money to a foreign country?
Mr. POMERANCE. Well, I shouldn't comment on a matter that is before the Department of Interior. The State Department doesn't get involved in U.S. land use decisions certainly of that sort, and let me just say thatI can tell you this, that the World Heritage Convention has nothing to do with the regulatory decisions of the U.S. Government through the Department of Interior, the Forest Service.
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Those decisions are made on the basis of U.S. law.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Well, but just to make sure, Mr. Pomerance that we are not going off in a direction I did not aim my question, the New World Mine process was interrupted under the Man and Biosphere reserve agreement.
Mr. POMERANCE. No, I don't think that is possible.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Let me go back over this then.
Mr. POMERANCE. OK.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. The Yellowstone National Park is under the World Heritage Site, right?
Mr. POMERANCE. The Yellowstone National Park is a World Heritage Site. It is not under it; it is a site.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. And the New World Mine was outside of the boundaries of Yellowstone, right?
Mr. POMERANCE. As best as I know. I think so.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. The World Heritage Site and its authority did not extend to the New World Mine. What authority did extend?
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Mr. POMERANCE. I don't think that the World Heritage has any authority to manage Yellowstone National Park or any areas or sites.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. But I didn't ask that. What I did ask was what authority is there to extend an activity into the New World Mine?
Mr. POMERANCE. Well, under U.S. law?
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Under U.S. law or even international law.
Mr. POMERANCE. Well, under international law, I don't think there is any authority to regulate that mine. Under U.S. law, I assume that the Department of Interior, in order to do the negotiation that the previous witness testified, has the authority to do that. If they didn't have the authority, they couldn't negotiate an agreement, and they couldn't pay off those who have the lease.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. In your capacity in the State Department, are you familiar with the Seville Strategy for Biosphere Reserves?
Mr. POMERANCE. I think that was a meeting of Biosphere Reserve managers to discuss issues of Biosphere Reserves. I am not familiar with it in detail, no.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. It has been stated for the record here that it was never the intent of the government or anyone to really deal outside of certain boundaries or impact private property, but under this Seville Strategy for Biosphere Reserves, it does say promote Biosphere Reserves as a means of implementing the goals of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and, of course, we haven't ratified that.
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It further says, ''establish, strengthen, or extend Biosphere Reserves as necessary, giving special attention to fragmented habitats, threatened ecosystems, and fragile and vulnerable environments both natural and cultural.''
It further says, ''Encourage the establishment of trans-boundary Biosphere Reserves as a means of dealing with the conservation of organisms, ecosystems, and genetic resources across national boundaries.''
Do you still maintain that this is all very lawful and that Congress indeed has been notified of all of these activities?
Mr. POMERANCE. Any action taken by a U.S. land agency on the ground to implement or do anything would have to come under the laws that the Congress has authorized that were under their authority.
That document sounds like it was a document agreed to by a committee that makes suggestions for national governments, Biosphere Reserve managers to consider as part of their efforts.
There is nothing mandatory about that. It is at the discretion of national governments or local governments.
The other thing I would say is that you are correct. The United States has not ratified the Convention on Biological Diversity; therefore, no actions that we take in this country would beas a result of such ratification.
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President Clinton did sign the Biodiversity Convention. The Administration supports it. We have sent ratification legislation to the Senate, but it has not been agreed to.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. So then let me just wind up my questions by asking you under what authority was the action taken on the New World Mine?
Mr. POMERANCE. Which action are you referring to? The purchase of the lease?
Mrs. CHENOWETH. The purchase of the lease and the interruption of the NEPA process.
Mr. POMERANCE. I actuallylet me just say that I thinkI would love to answer the question, but it would be an impression of mine, because I am not at the Department of Interior, so I don't actually literally know. I would just be guessing.
I will just assume that whateverif they did act, they had the authority to do so, and I would just be guessing under the authority and what I know about Federal law, but I think that is a question that they should really answer as our partners in the Federal Government.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Mr. Pomerance, would you mind having your attorneys from the State Department write a legal opinion for the committee as to the authority under which this action was taken on the New World Mine?
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Mr. POMERANCE. I will certainly do my best to respond to that. I will consult with our legal department and we will get you an answer on that issue.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Would you mind having the opinion in within 30 days?
Mr. POMERANCE. Right. Let me just say that the issue ofI don't mean to be difficult about this, but that is really not an area ofI believe your question is not in the area of State Department expertise but has to do with the management of U.S. Federal lands and private lands nearby which is nothingthe State Department has nothing to do with it.
I will ask our legal department to do their best. I just don't want to promise something that we don't know anything about.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. In your capacity on international environmental and scientific affairs, it is within that capacity that I am asking for the opinion.
Mr. POMERANCE. I appreciate that. I will do my best.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you very much.
Mr. POMERANCE. Thank you.
[The information referred to follows:]
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This matter involves domestic legal authorities administered by the Department of the Interior. The Department of the Interior, therefore, is in the best position to provide the requested information and analysis. The Department of the Interior is preparing a legal opinion on the matter. The Department of State is coordinating with the Department of the Interior as appropriate.
In this regard, the Department of State notes that, although Yellowstone National Park has been designated since 1978 as a World Heritage site pursuant to nomination by the United States of Yellowstone as a site of outstanding universal value, such designation does not include land outside of the national park area and does not alter state or private property rights over any land in the United States. such as the New World Mine in Crown Butte, Montana. Article 6 of the Convention for the World Cultural and National Heritage expressly provides for full respect of the sovereignty of the Nation on whose territory the heritage site is located and provides that the Convention is ''without prejudice to property rights provided by national legislation.''
Yellowstone National Park had also been recognized as a biosphere reserve. This recognition applies solely to the national park area and does not cover any non-park property. Recognition of the Park as a biosphere reserve has no legal bearing on the New World Mine matter.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. With that, we will call the next panel. We look forward to hearing from Mr. Donald Wesson, Pulp and Paperworkers' Resource Council, from McGehee, Arkansas; Mr. William Chandler, Vice President for Conservation Policy, National Parks and Conservation Association, Washington, D.C.; Mr. Gustavo Araoz, Executive Director , United States Committee of the International Council of Monuments and Sites, Washington, DC; Mr. David B. Howard, Adirondack Blueline Confederation, Gloversville, New York; and Mr. Henry Lamb, Executive Vice President, Environmental Conservation Organization, Hollow Rock, Tennessee.
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We will begin the testimony with Mr. Donald Wesson.
STATEMENT OF DONALD WESSON, PULP AND PAPERWORKERS' RESOURCE COUNCIL, McGEHEE, ARKANSAS
Mr. WESSON. Thank you, Madame Chairman. Good afternoon. My name is Don Wesson. I am the Vice President of United Paperworkers' International Union, Local 1533, located in McGehee, Arkansas.
I serve as the Southern Pine Regional Director of the Pulp and Paperworkers' Resource Council. I am currently employed by the Potlatch Corporation Pulp and Paper Mill located in McGehee, Arkansas, as an industrial maintenance mechanic.
I am a constituent of the fourth congressional district in the state of Arkansas.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Chairman Young for inviting me to attend and testify before this hearing. I am very pleased with the fact that an electrician from a paper mill located in southeast Arkansas would be allowed to testify before you today on such an important issue.
I am here today for several reasons. I am a third-generation paperworker who is very concerned about not only losing my job but also my industry. I am one of over 300,000 pulp and paperworkers, and some 900,000 wood products workers throughout this country. We are growing deeply concerned over how our natural resources become locked up or given away in Biosphere Reserves.
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Due to various other government regulations which Congress does have control over, we have lost about 100,000 jobs in our industry in the past 6 years. Now, we are being faced with a new problem, and we want to know where is it all going to stop.
I became aware of the American Land Sovereignty Protection Act due to several different meetings that I have attended during the past year. I have seen maps and read stories written by Dave Foreman, co-founder of Earth First. I have read the book entitled the Rewilding of America. I have even read Vice President Al Gore's book entitled Earth in the Balance. All of these, I always attributed to someone's fantasy or dream world and just shrugged them off.
Last September, my eyes were opened through a different arena. I went to Winnipeg, Canada, and testified before the World Commission of Forestry and Sustainable Development. I went there to represent labor, because our voice is seldom heard in this type of arena.
We are not an established NGO and cannot obtain this status due to certain governmental regulations, so therefore, we are not part of the equation.
During this meeting, there were four representatives from the PPRC who testified. We did make our input known. During this meeting in Canada, my eyes became opened.
There were many discussions concerning the United Nations controlling the world's forests and the paying of stumpage fees to the United Nations. There were also many maps and graphs either on display or shown by overhead projector relating to this.
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There were maps showing the United States, Canada, and Mexico being all one country divided into biosphere regions. On thinking back to Dave Foreman's book entitled Rewilding of America, this seemed to hit home.
Then came the final blow that really put the icing on the cake. I returned to my home in Arkansas only to find that they were trying to turn 50,000 square miles of mostly private land in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri into a United Nations Ozark Man and the Biosphere Reserve.
Due to the fine work of grass roots such as Take Back Arkansas, this hopefully has been stopped, at least until Congress can do something about it, and that is why I am standing before you today.
It has been brought to my attention that two major designations of international status by the United Nations currently take place with no need of congressional approval or any public input, that being Biosphere Reserves and World Heritage Sites.
Over 68 percent of the land currently in our national parks, preserves, and monuments are designated as United Nations World Heritage Sites, Biosphere Reserves, or both.
Biosphere Reserves are part of the U.S. Man and the Biosphere program, which operates in conjunction with the worldwide UNESCO reserve program, operating under the Statutory Framework of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves.
Page 185 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This U.S. MAB program operates without any legislative direction and has no authorization from Congress.
A Biosphere Reserve is federally zoned and coordinated region consisting of three areas or zones that meet certain minimum requirements established by the United Nations. The inner or most protected zone, or the core zone, is usually Federal land where the outer two zones contain mostly individually owned private property. This is a direct violation of the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution.
The United States currently has 47 Biosphere Reserves which contain a total area larger than the size of the state of Colorado, our eighth largest state. When the two zones outside the core zone are included, millions of additional acres potentially lie within these Biosphere Reserves.
That is why it is very disturbing to me and the workers in our industry as well as millions of other people. The natural resources that keep America working, keep the food on our tables, and a roof over our heads could all be taken away from us by the stroke of a pen from the President or any of his Administration.
Congress, the people who we elected to take care of us, cannot do anything about this until H.R. 901 is passed. It is hard for me to understand why anyone would be willing to give any of our precious American soil to the United Nations or anyone else, for that matter.
This country was founded by honest, God-fearing, hard-working men and women who plowed the fields, cut the timber, raised the cattle, and worked the mines that developed this nation under God into the greatest nation in the world.
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Now, our leaders are wanting to stop the farmers, stop the timber harvest, shut the mines down, do away with our grazing rights and give our precious land to the United Nations, land that our forefathers and some of us have fought many battles over, land that many people have lost their lives trying to protect, land where if properly managed could sustain this nation for many, many generations to come.
We have enough problems in this nation concerning land rights. We do not need to get Third World countries involved.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Sir, we are limited to a 5-minute testimony, so I will give you a little time to wrap it up.
Mr. WESSON. I am on my last page.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. All right.
Mr. WESSON. I am here this afternoon to ask all of our congressional delegates, including all of those who are not present, especially the friends of laborI want you to ask yourself where is it going to end?
I was raised in a small town in Louisiana and grew up in a yellow dog Democrat society. My father would turn over in his grave if he knew I was trying to help a Republican get a bill passed.
Page 187 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC By the same token, however, my father fought in World War II, was a union leader for 26 years, and an honest, God-fearing, hardworking man. He would really understand why I am trying to get this bill passed. It would be very hard for him to understand why this bill is even needed.
We have already seen the coal mine closed in Utah, the gold mine near Yellowstone Park be shut down. We have witnessed millions of acres of timberland be locked up.
We see this also happening to the Land Between the Lakes of Tennessee and Kentucky, the Southern Appalachian MAB, the Everglades, Big Thicket in Texas, just to name a few, and all of this just in the past few years if not months that have been designated or locked up.
In closing, I would like to ask for complete bipartisan support of H.R. 901, the American Land Sovereignty Protection Act. Keep in mind, I do not represent the industry, but I represent the workers who work in those mills. I also represent the veterans and the honest hardworking men and women who helped shape this nation into the greatest nation on earth under God.
If there ever was a time for all of you elected officials to get together and vote on a bill that would save our American sovereignty, the time is now. If you care anything about your country, there is absolutely no reason not to vote for this bill.
If all you want to do is give away our precious land, then please resign from your office, move away from this great land, because I don't believe you truly represent the people who elected you in the first place.
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If a yellow dog Democrat such as myself has the nerve to stand up before you with a Republican for something he believes in, then why can't you have the nerve to vote for this bill?
It is time for us to put parties to the side and vote the way our hearts tell us. Remember, the American people and this great country is what we will lose if you vote the wrong way.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Wesson. The chair recognizes Mr. Chandler for your testimony.
STATEMENT OF WILLIAM J. CHANDLER, VICE PRESIDENT FOR CONSERVATION POLICY, NATIONAL PARKS AND CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION, WASHINGTON, DC
Mr. CHANDLER. Thank you, Madame Chairman. My name is William J. Chandler, and I am vice president for Conservation Policy with the National Parks and Conservation Association, a nonprofit, citizens organization of about 500,000 members. I am pleased to present our views on H.R. 901 today.
NPCA opposes enactment of H.R. 901 because we believe it would straitjacket U.S. implementation of the World Heritage Convention and other international treaties, and voluntary programs designed to conserve our natural and cultural heritage.
We do not agree with the bill's underlying assumptions that international conservation and preservation programs or the MAB program are violating U.S. or state sovereignty, lowering property values, or restricting the use of private property anywhere in the United States. There is simply no credible evidence that I have heard today or seen that those results have occurred.
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First, let me talk about the World Heritage Convention, if I might. There are 20 World Heritage Sites in the United States, including 17 areas within the national park system. This is a convention, Madame Chairman, ratified by the U.S. Senate, which the last time I checked was a Member of Congress, was one of the two bodies of Congress.
To say that the convention has no authority, I think is an error. This convention does have congressional authority. It was approved by your colleagues in the Senate.
In hearings held last year on H.R. 3752, the predecessor bill to the current one, concerns were expressed that adding a site to the list somehow threatens local economies, private property, and individual freedom. I challenge the opponents of the program today to produce credible evidence that those consequences have occurred. I know of no documented case where the designation of any World Heritage Site in the United States has led to those consequence.
Fears also were expressed that restrictive buffer zones would be created around listed sites. Again, Madame Chairman, I know of no instance in the United States where that has occurred.
There does appear to be some need to get out the word publicly about these areas and sites, and NPCA supports public involvement in the nomination process and would support reasonable means to engage the public in their consideration. We believe it would be a mistake to alter the U.S. nomination process as specified under H.R. 901.
Page 190 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Let me move on to the Biosphere Reserves. This is a program that is voluntary and that involves partnerships between Federal, state, and local agencies. You asked, Madame Chairman, about what authority this program has. I have attached to my testimony a paper entitled misinformation about the MAB program. In that paper, prepared by the executive director of the U.S. director of MAB, is an answer to that question. There are a number of general authorities under which Federal agencies can do cooperative things with each other, with other Federal agencies, and to support programs that they think reinforce their legally constituted authorities.
There is, however, as has been noted today, no specific legislative authority for MAB.
What happens when a biosphere gets designated? We have heard in the past and today about several efforts around the country where Biosphere Reserve designation processes were terminated because local citizenry came in and said they didn't want them. Well, that is the way it works. If the local citizens don't want it and the local government authorities don't support it, then the MAB committee, according to the regulations I have read, are not going to be approving any Biosphere Reserves in those areas.
But there are a lot of good things happening, Madame Chairman, around the country in MAB areas, and we haven't heard from anybody today from places like the Southern Appalachian Biosphere Reserve designated in 1988 or the Mammoth Cave Biosphere Reserve.
Both of those efforts have local governments, academia, industry, landowners working together to conserve their natural resources, their cultural heritage, and to implement programs voluntarily that they all agree are necessary for their own socioeconomic development.
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I would urge this committee to go to the field again and visit some of these sites, and listen to some of the programs that are working. I think that if you do that, you will conclude that the Biosphere Reserve program is playing a constructive role in the conservation and management of our nationally significant resources, state and local environments, and local economies. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of William J. Chandler may be found at end of hearing.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Chandler. Mr. Araoz.
STATEMENT OF GUSTAVO F. ARAOZ, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, UNITED STATES COMMITTEE OF THE INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL OF MONUMENTS AND SITES, WASHINGTON, DC
Mr. ARAOZ. Thank you, Madame Chairman, and I would like to thank the committee for inviting me to testify here.
My name is Gustavo Araoz. I am the executive director of US/ICOMOS, the United States Committee of the International Council on Monuments and Sites, a nongovernmental, nonprofit, U.S. membership organization, and also the U.S. component of ICOMOS, the world's only nongovernmental organization of professionals who work together to preserve and protect historic properties and buildings and archaeological sites.
Because of this expertise, my testimony is limited to those aspects of the bill that concern the World Heritage Convention.
Page 192 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The World Heritage Convention is a benign convention. It presents none of the threats or limitations that the proposed bill will allegedly dispel.
Insofar as the convention is concerned, H.R. 901 appears to solve no problems but will create many new ones.
In contravention of our obligations under the Convention, the bill diminishes the effectiveness of the current professional process of identification and nomination of U.S. sites for the World Heritage List as well as its reporting mechanisms.
By requiring complex, nonprofessional approval for endangered U.S. sites to be placed on the List of World Heritage in Danger, the bill diminishes the capability of the United States to manage professionally the threats that endanger our nation's World Heritage Sites.
Most far reaching of all, H.R. 901 seeks to weaken the overall protection of our cultural sites by requiring elaboration of what is in substance an unrestricted economic impact statement for an area of ten miles around the site boundaries prior to its nomination to the World Heritage List. The proven universal and enduring value of these most important sites are made subservient to more immediate and transient economic concerns that often benefit only a few.
Existing procedures for implementing the Convention in the United States already limit our participation. Such limitations, for example, prevented the enthusiastic city and citizens of Savannah, Georgia, from achieving the listing of their extraordinary city on the World Heritage List 2 years ago.
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Contrary to the claim of Mr. Young that World Heritage Sites are proliferating in the United States, the U.S. roster of World Heritage Sites remains small and has little growth, especially in view of our vast territory and our cultural and natural riches.
To illustrate, there are 20 World Heritage Sites in the United States. Mexico, with one-eighth of our territory, has 16 sites. France has 22; Spain has 23; Great Britain, 16; Germany, 19. Even India, renowned for the zealous protection of its internal affairs has 21 sites.
As guaranteed by articles 4 and 6, the World Heritage Convention does not threaten the sovereignty of any of its ratifying nations. The Convention only obligates participating countries to apply existing legislation to protect its cultural and natural sites.
In this sense, we Americans are fortunate that over the past century, our leaders in Congress have enacted a great corpus of law that reflects the unwavering popular support for our natural and cultural heritage.
Our preservation laws and institutions are examples admired and emulated by many other nations in the world, but more relevant to our topic here today, those Federal, state, and local laws and institutions not only provide the protection required for inclusion in the World Heritage List, they exceed it.
Any and all development limitations imposed on a U.S. World Heritage Site derive exclusively from existing Federal, state, or local legislation and not from any internationally imposed standards under the Convention. All U.S. World Heritage Sites are protected because and through their listing in our National Register of Historic Places, their designation as National Historic Landmarks, and from other Federal, state, and local designations.
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Limiting our World Heritage Sites, even withdrawing from the Convention, if you will, will have absolutely no effect in diminishing their protection which is solely the obligation of existing Federal, state, and local law, but it will limit the many practical benefits available to all World Heritage Sites, such as enhancement of foreign tourism, which helps our country's balance of trade, and fostering financial support from the private sector who seeks to associate their name with the prestige of World Heritage designation.
[The prepared statement of Gustavo F. Araoz may be found at end of hearing.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, sir. At this time, I must ask that we recess the committee temporarily. I think I will be gone for about 20 minutes. They have called for two more votes, one 15-minute vote and one 5-minute vote.
I am very sorry that the House floor is not cooperating with us today, and that you are having to wait, but I will be back just as quickly as I can. Thank you.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. The committee will come to order. I thank the panel again for your patience. I know this isn't what you had planned on doing at this hour. It isn't what I had planned on doing either. I am missing a speech and two receptions, but this is very important, so I just share this enduring race that we have here.
Page 195 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC With that, I would like to call on our next witness, Mr. David Howard from the Adirondack Blueline Confederation in Gloversville, New York. Mr. Howard.
STATEMENT OF DAVID B. HOWARD, ADIRONDACK BLUELINE CONFEDERATION, GLOVERSVILLE, NEW YORK
Mr. HOWARD. Madame Chairman, I would like to thank this committee for the opportunity to comment in support of H.R. 901.
My name is David Howard. I am here as a member of the Adirondack Blueline Confederation of Bleecker, New York, a small grass roots property rights organization, and as a director of Liberty Matters, a national grass roots educational and communication organization.
Having been immersed in the issue of property rights protection for the last 7 years, it has become increasingly evident to me that the original constitutional guarantees pertaining to the ownership and enjoyment of property are no longer sufficient.
We have noted the destruction of local control first through county regional arrangements such as the Adirondack Park Agency, which has progressed to a proposed interstate regional authority, the Northern Forest Lands Project, and now to the ultimate in unelected and unresponsive planning bureaucracies, the United Nations.
The primary goal of these programs seems to be the replacement of any kind of elected authority with appointed ones. They include but are not limited to Biosphere Reserves and World Heritage areas.
Page 196 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The most revealing part of these programs is the process through which they are created and implemented. At each state of the delocalization of authority, the method of operation is one of stealth. Notice of public meetings, when there are any, are advertised primarily within the environmental organizations whose assignment it has been to implement these programs, coupled with some small, innocuous note in the newspaper with phone calls to only ''sympathetic'' local officials.
We have found that quite often, the designations are made by unelected bureaucrats within the state and county governments. This pattern, I believe, has become quite clear in prior testimony.
One of the common threads binding all of these programs seems to be the inclusion of everyone in the process except the people most impacted, the individual landowners. It should be noted here that the individual's right to own and hold property for his or her personal benefit is the cornerstone of a free society and has provided the foundation upon which this great nation has become the envy of the world.
As these undercover international designation projects proceed, they are discovered from time to time by concerned landowners and exposed. The operations then shift to the denial phase.
The most generally used press barrage will include statements touting ''what an honor it is to have our region internationally recognized for its uniqueness,'' coupled with statements that indicate that the designation doesn't signify anything, and that there are no enforcement mechanisms provided.
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Questions that must be asked and answered are, if the designation means nothing but a feel-good recognition, why are these operations not completely open to the community for discussion and referendum; why is there so much grant money allocated to push these designations; why are these designations not presented to the full elected body of the local legislative jurisdiction for debate and consideration; why are these commissions and management plan architects not elected by the people of the affected area; and finally, why is an international body even considered when it comes to the management decisions of lands within the borders of the United States.
As you ponder these questions, it may be instructive to understand how the United Nations and its myriad of agencies regard the concept of private property. The following is excerpted from the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements, otherwise known as Habitat 1.
''Land cannot be treated as an ordinary asset controlled by individuals and subject to the pressures and inefficiencies of the market. Private landownership is also a principal instrument of accumulation and concentration of wealth, and therefore contributes to social injustice. If unchecked, it may become a major obstacle in the planning and implementation of development schemes. Public control of land use is therefore indispensable.''
Add to the mix the statement of the former president of the Audubon Society, Peter Berle, an organization that is an active supporter of Biosphere Reserves in the Adirondack region through the Adirondack Council, when he stated, ''We reject the concept of private property.''
Page 198 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC If this were not bad enough, the executive branch seems to believe that we Americans can't handle our own affairs and must surrender our independence in this and all other matters. This paradigm shift seemed to be outlined by the President's response to a reporter in a March 7, 1997, press conference when he seemed to question whether we should even by a sovereign country, stating, ''How can we be an independent sovereign nation leading the world in a world that is increasingly interdependent?''
Given that this country is by definition still a constitutional republic, and that government is instituted to protect the rights and property of its citizens, these proposals, plans, and programs of international intervention in the internal affairs of this country are not only reprehensible, they are by classical definition treasonous.
Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of David B. Howard may be found at end of hearing.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you very much, Mr. Howard, for that testimony.
The chair now recognizes Mr. Henry Lamb, Executive Vice President, Environmental Conservation Organization, Hollow Rock, Tennessee.
STATEMENT OF HENRY LAMB, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION ORGANIZATION, HOLLOW ROCK, TENNESSEE
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Mr. LAMB. Thank you. I really appreciate the opportunity to be here today speaking in support of H.R. 901. I think it is a vital piece of legislation that will provide three extremely important functions.
It will allow Congress to take back its constitutional authority to manage Federal lands, and it will provide landowners recourse to elected officials when their private property rights are infringed by U.N. designations. It will allow Congress rather than an agency of the United Nations to determine the appropriate use of American land and resources.
Now, we have been told repeatedly and here today that United Nations designation of land as Biosphere Reserves or World Heritage Sites has no real authority. It is a benign, honorary designation.
I want to take some exception to that, because according to the Seville Strategy for Biosphere Reserves, which you referred to earlier, each and every Biosphere Reserve must meet a minimal set of criteria and must adhere to a minimal set of conditions before being admitted to the World Network of Biosphere Reserves.
Now, these criteria and conditions are established by UNESCO, or the international community, not the Congress of the United States. We feel that it is absolutely imperative that the Congress review the land management policies established in the United Nations community, because quite frankly, there are concerns that are not expressed by the opponents to this bill.
Page 200 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC While the opponents of this bill say that there is no authority, the United Nations sees the Biosphere Reserves, for example, as the primary means for implementing the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Mr. Peter Bridgewater appeared before the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity and said we have 328 Biosphere Reserves that will be very useful in implementing the articles of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
The land management scheme expressed in the Seville Strategy for Biosphere Reserves is precisely the same land management scheme presented in the last 300 pages of the Global Biodiversity Assessment, which is an 1140-page publication of the United Nations Environment program that was prepared especially for the people who are involved with the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Because the Biosphere Reserve designation requires adherence to these criteria and conditions, all of the 47 Biosphere Reserves in this country are being managed to implement the provisions of the Convention on Biological Diversity which has not been ratified by the Senate of the United States.
I call your attention to some of the land management concerns expressed in the Global Biodiversity Assessment that I think Congress needs to be aware of.
The United Nations believes, for example, that we should accept biodiversity as a legal subject and supply it with adequate rights. This could clarify the principle that biodiversity is not available for uncontrolled human use. It would therefore become necessary to justify any interference with biodiversity and to provide proof that human interests justify damage caused to biodiversity.
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Now, America has prospered in the belief and in the practice that biodiversity should be controlled by its owner without interference by government unless the owner's use is demonstrably infringing upon the property rights of another person.
The idea of having to justify the use of private property to any government, especially to the United Nations, is an idea that has absolutely no place in America.
The Congress of the United States is the only authority high enough to stop the intrusion of land management practices that are formulated by the international community, being implemented by ''voluntary agreement by the Administration'' infringing on private property rights of people surrounding the area and buffer zones that are designated by a variety of U.N. designations, particularly the Biosphere Reserve.
Therefore, the organizations that I represent urge this Congress to not only pass this bill but to do so with a majority sufficient to override the threatened Presidential veto. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Henry Lamb may be found at end of hearing.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Mr. Lamb, thank you very much. In your testimony, what you are saying is there may not be laws, there may not be policies that adhere to the Biosphere Reserve agreement, but there are conditions that are laid down. Does that have the same force and effect of enforcing policy?
Page 202 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. LAMB. The Seville Strategy clearly says that these criteria and conditions must be met and adhered to before Biosphere Reserves can be admitted to the World Network of Biosphere Reserves.
It is pretty clear, reading the Seville Strategy, that this strategy includes very extensive land management practices and principles.
True, the United Nations organization has no authority to enforce those rules, but by voluntary agrement, the Administration is implementing through existing statutes and regulations the provisions of not only the Seville Strategy but of the Convention on Biological Diversity without ratification of the Senate or without congressional oversight or involvement.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you. Mr. Howard, I have here attached to your testimony a letter to a Dr. Gregg, written by an Edward Hood. To your knowledge, Dr. William Gregg, the recipient of this letter, and Edward Hood, the author of this letter, do they receive their salary from the Federal Government?
Mr. HOWARD. They do not. As far as I am concerned, Mr. Hood is an employee of the Adirondack Park Agency; Mr. Gregg, I believe at the time this letter was written was indeed an employee of the Department of Interior.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. How big is the Biosphere Reserve program in the Adirondacks?
Mr. HOWARD. It is approximately 10,000,000 acres. It takes in part of the state of New York as well as part of the state of Vermont. It is known as the Champlain-Adirondack Biosphere Reserve, and it is Lake Champlain that is basically the center of it.
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Mrs. CHENOWETH. Has it had any impact on private ownership, private property?
Mr. HOWARD. It has had a chilling effect in terms of the way the Adirondack Park Agency manages private land within the park. The Adirondack Park Agency basically is the zoning agency for the 103 towns within the boundary of the state park.
A lot of the policy that is being brought down by and enforced by the Adirondack Park Agency is taking into consideration those wishes of the Biosphere Reserve program, and they openly state that.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. How does that impact the purchase of property or the selling of one's property?
Mr. HOWARD. The property values have been extremely depressed. It is incredibly difficult to find funding for either businesses and in some cases homes because of the oppressive way in which these regulations are administered.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I have heard it testified to this afternoon that there has been absolutely no impact with regard to the Biosphere Reserve agreement on private property.
Mr. HOWARD. I believe that to be false. It is rather hard to quantify it, but I can tell you as a resident of the Adirondack Park and someone who has been there for 15 years, that the property that falls within this biosphere designation is severely impacted. Its value has plummeted, and the ability of people to start businesses and make a livingthe economy of the entire area is basically just falling apart.
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Mrs. CHENOWETH. Mr. Chandler, your testimony states that H.R. 901 would straitjacket U.S. implementation of Biosphere Reserves and World Heritage Sites.
Would you please explain in detail how this is so?
Mr. CHANDLER. I will. Thank you for the question.
Let me start with the Biosphere Reserve program first. This is nothing more than a tool for voluntary cooperation among consenting agencies, academics, governmental units to do a better job of managing their environment, and for the Congress to step in and say you cannot do that, you cannot voluntarily get together as state and local agencies, as Federal agencies, and try to conserve your resources and try to build a sustainable economy, I think someone looking at that situation could argue very strongly that that is interfering in these folks' daily lives, which seems to be a major concern of this committee, and it should be so.
The gentleman brought up the Barren River Area Development District in Kentucky. That is a local unit of government, Ms. Chairman, which has been duly constituted at the local level, and all they are doing is trying to do a better job of managing their natural resources, protecting their environment, and trying to be consistent with the goals of the national park in the area so that Mammoth Cave doesn't get polluted by runoff waters that leak into the cave or that go down into the cave.
Nobody's property has been affected, and nobody's property has been taken away, and if somebody doesn't like what these local units of government are doing, they can certainly step forward and unelect these people, but this has been a very successful program.
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I have been there. I have seen the area. I have attached to my testimony a description of what is going on down there, the successes they have achieved, and I think that this committee ought to hear from these folks to see what a successful program does and how they seem to be happy with their program.
As to the World Heritage Site, just briefly, let me say again, I know of no specific evidence that has been presented today or that I have ever seen that says the fact that 17 national parks also have been called World Heritage Sites has diminished the value of any private property outside the park.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Now, the Adirondacks' 10,000,000 acres is not a World Heritage Site, is it?
Mr. CHANDLER. No. I am not as familiar with that particular example as I am with some of the others. It is my understanding today that this is a biosphere planning area.
Again, it has got to be implemented by somebody under local, state, and Federal laws, and the fact that they are a Biosphere Reserve has got nothing to do with the U.N. telling them what to do. It is simply their planning device to try to figure out how to build a sustainable economy and manage their lives better there.
As to the question about the local economy being in a tailspin, I would have to ask the gentleman what other factors, other than the Biosphere Reserve designation, might be contributing to the area's poor economic showing.
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Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Chandler. I will ask the questions.
Mr. CHANDLER. Thank you.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Mr. Araoz, your organization's worldwide web site states that, ''The sponsors of H.R. 901 have enlisted the strong endorsement of tremendously powerful economic and commercial interests whose sole aim is financial gain through the unrestricted exploitation of the land.''
Would you please tell the committee which of today's witnesses represent those powerful economic and commercial interests?
Mr. ARAOZ. At the time, I did not know the list of witnesses. However, based on the testimony last year, the interests that are represented here are basically commercial interests.
We have not seen anybody speaking for the true American values which are the value of our heritage and the value of our country's natural sites, and also the value of this country as it will be deeded over to the next generation of Americans.
The mining industries, the logging industries, these are indeed justifiable concerns and concerns that affect us all because we all have to survive. We all have to feed our children and we all have to pay for a roof over our head.
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But the fact is that our basic values are so broad and so broadly accepted that in order to bring the people who support our National Park system, for instance, we would have the entireperhaps not the entire, but most of the population of this country here. These values are so broadly shared that nobody feels that it is in their specific interest to come here and testify.
The people that we have here testifying, or most of the people I would say, and many of the people who support this bill, from my understanding, are the ones who have an economic interest, a selfish economic interest, I might add, which is valid, because that is indeed what is guaranteed by our Constitution.
But at the same time, our personal gain has got to be measured by the public good and it has to be weighed against it, and that is what I would have meant.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Do you own your own home?
Mr. ARAOZ. Yes, I do, madame.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. So you are a private property owner?
Mr. ARAOZ. Yes, I am, and I have in fact in the back of my land, I abut a National Park, and in order to respect the National Park, there has beenI have been told, I haven't actually checked, but we have been told that we are not to cut trees, and I agreed with the restriction that I am not to cut trees in the rear part of my property because it would affect the landscape value that is for public enjoyment.
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I gladly yield the specific right that I would have to cut down the trees in my back yard for the public good, for the enjoyment of the public good which cannot be measured in dollars, because this is the recreation aspect that actually enriches us and enables us to become human beings and to think better and to understand a little better the greatness of this country.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. So by your answer, we have pretty well eliminated private property owners, homeowners, from that special interest?
Mr. ARAOZ. Well, I would point out
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I think I just need a yes or no.
Mr. ARAOZ. Could you repeat the question then?
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Yes. By your answer before, we have pretty well eliminated private property homeowners from the list of special interests, right, that you were referring to before?
Mr. ARAOZ. I would have to think about that. I am not ready to say a yes or a no, because I believe that I am not understanding very clearly where we are going with this or where you are coming from or what the intent of the question is.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. So that pretty well leaves loggers and miners as the special interests?
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Mr. ARAOZ. The special interests are broad and many. I mean, they can be the tourism industry, they can be people who live off the land, they can be people who exploit the visitation to the sites.
The interests are many, and obviously, people who are bound to scream the loudest are the ones whose toes are stepped on the hardest.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Mr. Howard.
Mr. HOWARD. I would like to respond to this. I guess I am here because of personal greed.
For the last 5 years of my life, I have fought for property rights in local and national organizations, have started national organizations, and have funded it out of my own pocket, a small inheritance I got from my mother, and the fact that my wife refused to let me stop and went back to work.
If that is personal greed, so be it, and I would like to ask the gentleman sitting next to me who just made those statements, do you consider these people who exploit the land who are so horrible, they happen to be the people who feed you and house you, and with that, I will end my statement.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you. Mr. Lamb.
Page 210 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ARAOZ. Was that a question?
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I will ask the questions.
Mr. LAMB. I just want to clarify that the Environmental Conservation Organization and Sovereignty, International are certainly not among the rich and famous and powerful organizations that support this bill.
The 700 and more grass roots organizations that the Environmental Conservation Organization represents has a great deal of difficulty just keeping the lights on and their organization operating.
The values that we want to pass on to our children include not only the trees and the environment and biodiversity, but those values of individual freedom and private property rights and free markets, and above all, national sovereignty.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you. Mr. Wesson, could you briefly tell us about the Pulp and Paperworkers' Resource Council, please?
Mr. WESSON. Yes, madame. We got started four or 5 years ago in the Pacific Northwest due to the endangered species and the spotted owl. We have lost over 100,000 jobs in the last 6 years due to government regulations.
We do not represent the industry. When you have an industry lobbyist come up here, he is not speaking for me, but at the same time, if we don't show up, the environmental extremists say they are speaking for me, and that is not true.
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The environmental extremist wants to put me out of a job. If I am here for personal greed also, I don't even have a family anymore. I spend three-fourths of my time working on these issues so I can keep working, and I would like some of that personal greed, really.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Mr. Wesson, has the Pulp and Paperworkers' Resource Council adopted a formal position on H.R. 901?
Mr. WESSON. Yes, madame, we have.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. And what is that?
Mr. WESSON. We are endorsing it wholeheartedly, because we feel like it is an avenue for at least Congress to have control before our private land is locked up in United Nations reserves or any other Biosphere Reserve.
We are endorsing H.R. 901, and that is labor endorsing a Republican bill. Keep that in mind.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I don't think your dad would really mind that. Mine wouldn't either.
You have all waited so very long, and I want to make sure that you have had ample opportunity to speak to the record.
Page 212 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Is there anyone else who would like to add anything? Mr. Chandler.
Mr. CHANDLER. First, thank you for allowing me to testify today. Second, I would like to go back to an issue raised by a number of the members of this committee, and that is that it appears that not the best job is being done to publicly explain what these programs are about, what they mean, and what effects they really have.
I can certainly understand that people would show up here today and be concerned that their property values or rights might somehow in some way be impacted by these designations. To the best of my knowledge, they are not, but these folks deserve to know that, and as I pointed out in my testimony, we believe a much better job needs to be done in explaining what a Biosphere Reserve is, what it does and doesn't do, and I would point outand the same thing with the World Heritage nominations and designations.
I would point out that the process, Ms. Chairman, does seem to be working in that when people get angry or unhappy about these things, they don't happen, but we do have 47 of these that have been established, so I don't know how much mail you are getting from all these other areas where these sites exist and these reserves exist, but to my knowledge, they seem to be working very well, and I would call the committee's attention to look at those as well.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Chandler, and we will. My concern still remains that the Biosphere Reserves do not have any legal underpinnings, and so we will pursue this, and I do want you to know that the record will remain open for 10 days, and any of you who would like to supplement your testimony or add to the record are certainly welcome to do that.
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Again, I want to thank you all for your patience. I want to thank the witnesses for your valuable testimony. Thank you very much, and the hearing is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 5:37 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]
[Additional material submitted for the record follows.]
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