SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS Tables
Page 1 TOP OF DOC47765 CC
HEARINGS ON THE INTERIOR COLUMBIA BASIN ECOSYSTEM MANAGEMENT PROJECT
SUBCOMMITTEE ON FOREST AND FOREST HEALTH
COMMITTEE ON RESOURCES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED FIFTH CONGRESS
TUESDAY, MARCH 10, WASHINGTON, DC, AND APRIL 14, NAMPA, IDAHO, 1998
Serial No. 10588
Page 2 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCPrinted for the use of the Committee on Resources
HEARINGS ON THE INTERIOR COLUMBIA BASIN ECOSYSTEM MANAGEMENT PROJECT
HEARINGS ON THE INTERIOR COLUMBIA BASIN ECOSYSTEM MANAGEMENT PROJECT
SUBCOMMITTEE ON FOREST AND FOREST HEALTH
COMMITTEE ON RESOURCES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED FIFTH CONGRESS
TUESDAY, MARCH 10, WASHINGTON, DC, AND APRIL 14, NAMPA, IDAHO, 1998
Serial No. 10588
Page 3 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 4 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 5 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
Subcommittee on Forest and Forest Health
HELEN CHENOWETH, Idaho, Chairman
JAMES V. HANSEN, Utah
JOHN T. DOOLITTLE, California
GEORGE P. RADANOVICH, California
JOHN PETERSON, Pennsylvania
RICK HILL, Montana
BOB SCHAFFER, Colorado
MAURICE D. HINCHEY, New York
BRUCE F. VENTO, Minnesota
DALE E. KILDEE, Michigan
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, Am. Samoa
BILL SIMMONS, Staff Director
ANNE HEISSENBUTTEL, Legislative Staff
JEFF PETRICH, Democratic Counsel
C O N T E N T S
Hearing held in Washington, DC, March 10, 1998
Statements of Members:
Chenoweth, Hon. Helen, a Representative in Congress from the State of Idaho
Faleomavaega, Hon. Eni F.H., a Delegate in Congress from American Samoa
Hill, Hon. Rick, a Representative in Congress from the State of Montana
Statements of witnesses:
Decker, Charles, Libby, Montana
Prepared statement of
Dombeck, Mike, Chief, Forest Service, Department of Agriculture
Prepared statement of
Hahn, Martha, Idaho State Director, Bureau of Land Management, and Chair, Executive Steering Committee, Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project, and Susan Giannettino, Project Director
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCPrepared statement of Ms. Hahn
Haislip, Tom, Senior Project Manager, CH2M Hill, Boise, Idaho
Prepared statement of
Additional material submitted by
Additional material submitted by
Harp, Aaron, Cooperative Extension Rural Sociologist, University of Idaho, Agriculture, Economics and Rural Sociology, Moscow, Idaho
Prepared statement of
Poulson, Mike, Chairman, Environment and Natural Resource Committee, Washington Farm Bureau, Connell, Washington
Prepared statement of
Reynolds, Hon. Dennis, Grant County Court, Canyon City, Oregon
Prepared statement of
Rimbey, Neil, Extension Range Economist, University of Idaho, Caldwell Research and Extension, Caldwell, Idaho
Prepared statement of
Additional material supplied:
Hill, Lawrence W., Director, Forest Policy, Society of American Foresters, prepared statement of
Hearing held in Nampa, Idaho, April 14, 1998
Bachman, Cindy, Chairman, Owyhee County FSA
Prepared statement of
Bass, Richard, Chairman, Board of County Commissioners, Owyhee County, Idaho
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCPrepared statement of
Response to questions by Mrs. Chenoweth
Beck, Sharon, President, Oregon Cattle Association
Prepared statement of
Bliss, Steve, Chairman, Northwest Timber Workers
Prepared statement of
Response to questions by Mrs. Chenoweth
Church, Phil, Co-Chairman, Resource Organization on Timber Supply
Prepared statement of
Response to questions by Mrs. Chenoweth
Cook, Adena, Public Lands Director, Blue Ribbon Coalition
Prepared statement of
Response to questions by Mrs. Chenoweth
Cuddy, Charles, Representative, Idaho House of Representatives
Prepared statement of
Response to questions by Mrs. Chenoweth
Dayley, Thomas, Executive Vice President, Idaho Farm Bureau Federation
Prepared statement of
Response to questions by Mrs. Chenoweth
Dwyer, Tom, Deputy Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Prepared statement of
Response to questions by Mrs. Chenoweth
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCEiguren, Margene
Findley, Charles, Deputy Regional Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency
Prepared statement of
Response to questions from Mrs. Chenoweth
Gaar, Elizabeth, Assistant Regional Manager for Habitat Conservation, National Marine Fisheries Service
Prepared statement of
Response to questions from Mrs. Chenoweth
Prepared statement of
Grant, Fred, Nampa, Idaho
Prepared statement of
Response to questions from Mrs. Chenometh
Hays, John, Oregon Cattle Association
Holmberg, Pat, President, The Independent Miners, prepared statement of
Liddiard, Ed, President, Treasure Valley Chapter of People for the USA
Prepared statement of
Additional material submitted by
Additional material submitted by
Muse, Robert, Nampa, Idaho, prepared statement of
Nielsen, Pete, Chairman, Elmore County Republicans
Priestley, Frank, President, Idaho Farm Bureau
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCReimers, Diane
Skaer, Laura, Executive Director, Northwest Mining Association
Prepared statement of
Additional material submitted by
Response to questions from Mrs. Chenometh
Prepared statement of
Additional material supplied:
Idaho Farm Bureau Federation, Pocatello, Idaho, prepared statement of
Bureau of Land Management, Baker Area Office, ''Lower Grande Ronde Subbasin Review''
HEARING ON THE INTERIOR COLUMBIA BASIN ECOSYSTEM MANAGEMENT PROJECT
TUESDAY, MARCH 10, 1998
House of Representatives, Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health, Committee on Resources, Washington, DC.
The Subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:05 a.m., in room 1324, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Helen Chenoweth [chairwoman of the Subcommittee] presiding.
STATEMENT OF HON. HELEN CHENOWETH, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF IDAHO
Mrs. CHENOWETH. [presiding] The Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health will come to order.
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Subcommittee is meeting today to hear testimony on the Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project. We have heard many concerns about this project in hearings over the past 2 years. Now that the public has had the opportunity to review the Project's two draft environmental statements, it is time to reexamine the objectives, the costs and other concerns that have been raised.
My colleague from Montana, Representative Rick Hill, has worked very hard on this. I want to thank you, Congressman Hill, for working so diligently on this and with me to plan this hearing. In addition to two Administration witnesses, we will hear from scientists, local elected officials and citizens who have participated in this project since its inception in 1993 or who have reviewed the project information in great detail.
We have now invested 5 years and some $40 million in a project that is not authorized by law and is simply too big to work. In April 1997 the GAO reported that the Forest Service has not given adequate attention to reducing the costs and time of its decisionmaking and improving its ability to deliver what is expected or what it has promised.
Even a 1995 Interagency Task Force chaired by CEQ ''cited potential drawbacks of broader-scoped analyses'' like the Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project. That task force expressed concern with the inefficiencies and the ineffectiveness in the uses of resources because of the added level of NEPA documentation, and it found limited usefulness and vulnerability to legal challenges. So why does this Administration continue to work on a decision that is not authorized by law, leads to greater inefficiencies and has limited usefulness?
I am told that forest managers working in the basin believe the plan cannot be implemented due to the top-down constraints it would impose, and that the alternatives will not achieve the project objectives. For example, the Preferred Alternative described in the Draft EIS imposes hundreds of new, vague and conflicting management standards on land managers, creating an atmosphere of uncertainty and confusion for managers and the public alike, leading to excessive and costly delays in decisionmaking.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Even the Project admits that due to the very broad scale of the ICBEMP, the impacts of changes imposed on local plans cannot be accurately assessed. To use another example, the Preferred Alternative proposes to close thousands of miles of roads in the Columbia River basin, decreasing access and recreational opportunities across the region. Yet there is no consideration in the Draft EISs of the economic, cultural or recreational damage to surrounding communities by closing roads, and there is no factual justification for the closures.
The National Forest Management Act and the National Environmental Policy Act together required the Forest Service to prepare land and resource management plans for each unit of the National Forest System and to analyze and disclose the impacts of any proposed decisions. By all accounts, the ICBEMP does not meet these requirements.
The CEQ Task Force suggested that this type of broad scale analysis should be used only as ''guides'' during the agencies' decisionmaking processesit should not result in a one-size-fits-all decision. We should heed this advice and halt this incredible waste of taxpayer's dollars. The Draft EISs note that by following traditional land management practices, ''many ecological conditions and trends have improved over the past two decades.''
If that is the case, as I believe it is, then the current management plans must be working, and there appears to be no clear ecological reason to require a single, basin-wide decision. Instead of funding completion of the Columbia Basin project, Congress should direct the agencies to forward the vast scientific information that has been collected to local National Forest and BLM District Managers so that they may use it where it can best be appliedat the local forest and district level.
The chairman now recognizes Mr. Faleomavaega, if you would like to contribute an opening statement.
STATEMENT OF HON. ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, A DELEGATE IN CONGRESS FROM AMERICAN SAMOA
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Madam Chairman, thank you. I do not have an opening statement, but I would like to request unanimous consent at the point of time that our Ranking Member will submit a statement for the record.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Without objection. So ordered.
STATEMENT OF HON. RICK HILL, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF MONTANA
Mr. HILL. Thank you, Madam Chairman, and I'd ask unanimous consent that I revise or extend my opening statement.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Without objection.
Mr. HILL. Madam Chairman, first let me compliment you for holding a hearing on this very important issue. This is an extremely important matter for the people of western Montana. As I travel the State I hear frequently from my constituents about their concerns with regard to the Interior Columbia Basin Management Plan.
It is clear to me that the plan, the Draft EIS, and more specifically the most recent Report on Economic and Social Conditions of Communities still fails to recognize what the social and economic impacts will be to the communities of western Montana and northern Idaho.
It is clear that no effort was made in the development of this additional analyses to modify or even provide any meaningful analyses of the various alternatives in the Draft EIS, which tells me that the Forest Service continues to ignore the concernsthe economic concernsof the people who live in western Montana and northern Idaho.
Now particularly with regard to the role of recreation, which is given high priority in the Draft EIS but only casually analyzed in the most recent report, Madam Chairman, I would agree with you. I think there is some valuable science that has been developed in this process, but it would be a tragedy for the communities and the people who live and work in western Montana if this Draft EIS goes to a Record of Decision and opposes onerous standards that don't even meet the science and would actually inhibit the ability of the Forest Service to meet the goals and objectives that are described in the EIS.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Madam Chairman, again, thank you for holding this hearing and hopefully we can flesh out some of these issues today.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Hill, and the Chair now recognizes the first panel. We'd like to call Mike Dombeck, Chief of the Forest Service, Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC; and Martha Hahn, Idaho State Director, Bureau of Land Management, Department of the Interior. Welcome, Martha, and I think you will be accompanied by Susan Giannettino, Project Director, and if Miss Giannettino is going to be giving any kind of testimony, we'd like for all of you to take the oath.
I do want to explain for the record that I intend to place all the witnesses under oath. This is a formality of the Committee that is meant to assure open and honest discussion and should not affect the testimony given by the witnesses. I believe all the witnesses were informed of this before appearing here today, and they have each been provided a copy of the Committee rules, and so if you will rise and raise your right hand.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, and under the Committee rules, witnesses must limit their oral statements to 5 minutes, but your entire statement of course, as you know, will appear in the record. We will also allow the entire panel to testify before questioning the witnesses. The chairman now recognizes Chief of the Forest Service, Michael Dombeck.
STATEMENT OF MIKE DOMBECK, CHIEF, FOREST SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Mr. DOMBECK. Thank you, Madam Chairman and members of the Committee. Thank you for the opportunity to discuss the Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project. I am very pleased to be sharing this panel with Martha Hahn from Boise who is Chair of the Executive Steering Committee and with Susan Giannettino, also from Boise, who heads the implementation of the Project there.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I believe the Project is the best management tool to create a common vision for the long-term management of the Interior Columbia Basin. I believe the Project is a wise investment in the future of the Basin, and that we will complete this effort, and let me explain why.
As directed by the President, the Forest Service, and BLM are developing a scientifically sound and ecosystem-based strategy for the management of the ''East Side forests.'' We are responding to several broad scale issues, including forest and rangeland ecosystem health listings and potential listings under the Endangered Species Act, economies of rural communities and treaty and trust responsibilities to Native American Tribes in the Project.
The Project Area encompasses 24 percent of the National Forest Service System and 10 percent of BLM-administered lands in the Nation. Approximately 72 million acres of lands managed by the Forest Service and BLM are addressed by the management decisions that will result from the plan. A scientific assessment including all lands within the Interior Columbia Basin was published last year.
Two key factors shaped this Project:
First, issues such as ecosystem health and anadromous fish populations could not be efficiently and effectively addressed in independent Land and Resource Management Plans. Judge Dwyer stated in a rule that, and I quote, ''Given the current condition of the forest, there is no way the agencies could comply with the environmental laws without planning on an ecosystem basis,'' closed quote.
Second key factor that shaped the project, land managers must work together to assure that management of public land base provides the maximum benefits to public lands. And as we move forward the Executive Steering was developed to manage the project and is composed of BLM State Directors, Regional Directors of the National Marine Fisheries Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, Forest Service Research Station Directors and Regional Foresters.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And I do not envy them of their task and believe that they deserve our greatest appreciation and respect. They're working hard to balance the needs of seven states, 100 counties, 22 tribes, partners, interest groups, and individuals with a statutory responsibilities of five Federal agencies regarding management of the 72 million acres of public lands.
Despite its complexities, I believe that this planning effort is the best opportunity to develop a consistent framework for public land management and to respond to critical issues facing the interior Columbia Basin.
Completion of the Project decisions, including Plan amendments, will significantly improve our situation and appeals and lawsuits in response to the need to restore and maintain long-term ecosystem health and support to economic and social needs of the people in the Project area. The decisions will lay out a broad scale condition needed to assure sustainable populations of species, to provide a framework for future management, and to create consistency regarding broad scale issues, creating a better expectation for goods and services.
I believe that one of the most important things the Project will do is share with leaders of all agencies involved in a planning effort. We are committed to facilitating this planning effort in a manner consistent with the Administration's objectives within the President's budget priorities.
My colleagues, the directors of other agencies, and I stand together in our support for this effort, and national-regional resources have been committed to the completion of this project, with interagency teams here in Washington, DC assisting the Project by providing policy coordination, by providing budget coordination and congressional coordination.
You asked us to provide some specific information about the project's budget. The President's 1999 budget includes specific funding to implement the final EIS and records of decision. Funding projections were developed based upon the Draft EIS Preferred Alternative and the actual 1999 projects that will be developed, consistent with the documented decisions.
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The President's Clean Water Initiative provides $10 million in new funds in addition to the $113 million that represents the regular Forest Service program for units within the Project area.
In closing, Madam Chairman, I'd like to reinforce my commitment to the Interior Columbia Basin Management Project. I think that this effort provides the best opportunity to maintain long-term ecosystem health in order to support the needs of people into the future and protect many of the species at risk and the long-term health of the land.
The Executive Steering Committee members and I remain faithful to our promise to work with local communities. I believe that the Steering Committee has the knowledge, relationship, and resources to complete this planning effort successfully. I ask that my full statement be entered into the record, Madam Chairman, and that concludes my opening statement. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Dombeck may be found at end of hearing.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Dombeck. I'd be interested if you could provide for the Committee the cite that you used of Judge Dwyer's comments, the case, and the number at a later date
Mr. DOMBECK. Yes, we'll be happy to provide that for the record.
[The information referred to may be found at end of hearing.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you very much. It's my pleasure to welcome our Director of the Bureau of Land Management from Idaho, Martha Hahn.
STATEMENT OF MARTHA HAHN, IDAHO STATE DIRECTOR, BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT, AND CHAIR, EXECUTIVE STEERING COMMITTEE, INTERIOR COLUMBIA BASIN ECOSYSTEM MANAGEMENT PROJECT, AND SUSAN GIANNETTINO, PROJECT DIRECTOR
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. HAHN. Thank you, Madam Chairman, and members of the Subcommittee. I appreciate this opportunity to update the Subcommittee on the status of the Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project. I am Martha Hahn, Idaho State Director for the Bureau of Land Management.
Today I appear before you in my capacity as Chair of the Interagency Executive Steering Committee which oversees the Project. My comments today stress the importance of the on-the-ground activities that would be conducted under the Project, such as more aggressive weed treatment and stand density management. I will begin by addressing cost and funding issues.
The Interior Columbia Basin Project is a scientifically sound and ecosystem-based management strategy for Federally managed lands within the east side of the Columbia Basin. By the end of fiscal year 1998, the Project will have spent a total of approximately $40 million to research and produce the Scientific Assessments released in September 1996 and May 1997, and the Draft Environmental Impact Statements for the East Side of Oregon and Washington and for the Upper Columbia River Basin in Idaho and portions of Montana, Wyoming, Utah, and Nevada, which were released in May 1997.
In fiscal year 1998, the BLM and the Forest Service expect to spend about $5.7 million on the Project planning activities related to the Draft Environmental Impact Statements. These activities include holding public meetings, briefing State and local governments and Tribal officials, and analyzing public comments on the Draft EISs.
Following the public comment period on the Draft EISs, which at its close will have spanned nearly one year, the Project team will complete its analysis of all public comments and prepare the final EIS and Record of Decision. Public comments may result in changes to the EIS, including changes in the Preferred Alternative. Previous funding estimates likewise may change.
As the final EIS and Record of Decision are developed, the agencies will reassess implementation funding needs and will forward these to Congress. Whatever the final decision on the ROD, we will implement it to restore long-term ecological integrity to the federally managed lands in the Project area.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We expect implementation costs may first be incurred in fiscal year 1999, with full implementation expected in fiscal year 2000. In the fiscal year 1999 Budget request, the BLM is seeking an increase of $6.8 million for project implementation, the Fish and Wildlife Service an additional $1.5 million, and the Forest Service an increase of $10 million. This additional funding would be used to restore lands in the Basin to healthy conditions by combating invasive weeds, improving fish and wildlife habitat, and restoring riparian areas.
The Project's aim is to minimize potential risks that were projected by the Scientific Assessment. These would include the continued decline of salmon and many other species toward endangerment; an increasing threat of wildfires, endangering human life and dwellings; insect pest population growth; declining rangeland productivity; and non-native weed invasions, threatening both native plants and grazing livestock health.
Project funding will be used to reduce the risk of fire, insect infestation and disease, and improve aquatic and wildlife ecosystem health by thinning dense forest stands, completing prescribed burns, initiating integrated weed management and restoring riparian areas.
Some of the funding will be used to complete prerequisite work that must precede on the ground restoration, including sub-basin reviews and ecosystem analyses at the watershed scale that will help to identify priorities and provide the context for making decisions at the local level.
Additionally, we will address backlog work that has been known for some time, such as treating weed infestations, reducing high fuel building, and improving poor riparian conditions.
Let me turn now to discuss public involvement, which has been a cornerstone of the Project. Throughout the planning process, the Project team has emphasized collaboration with stakeholders in order to facilitate the evaluation of new information about socioeconomic and environmental conditions. It's taking more time than we had originally estimated, but we believe the additional time required to include all interested parties in our process is a worthwhile investment.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Since the beginning of the public comment period in May 1997, the Executive Steering Committee members and Project staff have participated in over 30 public meetings across the Basin. More meetings are scheduled to occur before the close of the comment period. Last July we produced a satellite teleconference which was broadcast to 56 sites in the region. Over 700 citizens participated.
In addition, we have met with the representatives from State and local governments, Tribal officials, over 26 businesses, conservation and civic groups, Federally sanctioned advisory groups, and local citizens. The Project team has a mailing list of over 8,000 individuals and organizations. It sends out a newsletter and maintains an Internet home page where the public can find Project documents.
In part to address issues raised as a result of this extensive public involvement, the Project team released last week a report, ''Economic and Social Conditions of Communities.'' As you may recall, when the Draft EIS's were released last May, the Eastside Ecosystem Coalition of Counties expressed concerns about the potential social and economic effects on small rural communities due to changes in Federal land management resulting from the Project.
On April 21, 1997, Judge Dale White, Chairman of the EECC, and I jointly released a letter which stated in part, ''the Regional Executives and the EECC have agreed to work together between the Draft and Final EISs, particularly on the sections related to social and economic effects.''
Several months later, in Section 323 of the Department of Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 1998 the Congress directed the Project to ''analyze economic and social conditions, and culture and customs, of the communities at the sub-basin level within the Project area and the impacts and the alternatives in the Draft EISs would have on those communities.''
Our goal was to produce a report that would meet Congressional direction and allow the public to have ''a reasonable period of time'' prior to the close of the comment period in which to review and comment on this Report in the Draft EIS's. The comment period has been extended until May 6, 1998, to give the public such time.
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The socioeconomic report expands upon information in the two Draft EIS's and provides additional data and economic and social conditions of communities in the Project area. It discusses potential impacts of management alternatives presented in the Draft EIS's on communities specializing in industries, such as agriculture, wood products manufacturing, and mining, for which standardized industry category data were available.
Economic impacts associated with industries that do not collect standardized economic data, such as recreation, and non-resource-related industries that locate in the region because of resource-related amenities, such as high-tech firms, are not fully addressed in this report.
In conclusion, we must manage public lands to provide for sustainable populations of plant and animal species on behalf of present and future of Americans and we must create a sustainable flow of goods and services that can support our local communities over the long-term. The members of the Executive Steering Committee are committed to achieving these goals through the Project. We ask for you support.
This concludes my statement. I will be glad to answer any questions.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Hahn may be found at end of hearing.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Miss Hahn. And I want to thank both the members on the panel for your testimony. I want to remind the members that the Committee Rule 3(c) imposes a 5-minute limit on questions, and, after my questioning, the chairman will begin to recognize members for any questions they may wish to ask of the witnesses.
Before I begin my questioning, I do want to submit to the record a series of resolutions which came in from western counties, from the States of Washington, Idaho, Montana and Oregon.
From the State of Washington: Adams County, Benton County, Columbia County, Perry County, Lincoln County, Okanogan County, and Pend Oreille County. From Idaho: Bonner County, Elmore County, Kootenai County. From Montana: Powell County. From Oregon: Wheeler County.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Generally, what these resolutions have said is they have adopted the resolution put forth by the Western Legislative Forestry Task Force of the Association of Counties, and generally what that task force has stated in this resolution is that the Project should be terminated with no Record of Decision being approved.
It says the ecosystem management data developed by the Project should be communicated to the BLM District Managers and National Forest Supervisors for consideration of public input and statutorily scheduled environmental land and resource management plan revisions, and the Western Legislative Forestry Task Force also strongly supports natural resource planning and environmental management featuring site-specific management decisions made by local decisionmakers, local citizenry and parties directly and personally affected by environmental land and resource management decisions.
So without objection, I'd like to enter this into the record.
[The information referred to may be found at end of hearing.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I do want to direct my first questions to Chief Dombeck. I'd like to ask you, Chief, was the scientific assessment in the document and the Preferred Alternative peer reviewed?
Mr. DOMBECK. Let me ask Martha Hahn who was closest to the Project the details of how it was peer reviewed?
Ms. HAHN. It actually took place in what's called a double blind review, which means that there is a first reviewer who reviews it and then a second reviewer, and the blind part has to do withthe names are withheld in terms of who the authors are and who actually developed the research.
So it went throughso the second reviewer doesn't know who the first reviewer was in terms of the assessment that was done on a particular science piece.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. Who were the individuals who did the peer review?
Ms. HAHN. There were quite a handful of reviewers, and I do not know all of the names. We can get you a list of all of those reviewers.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. All right. How were they chosen?
Ms. HAHN. I think that they were chosen through the universities and processes of whatever issue was at hand, whatever the science was behind, and then through the universities and other type of science entities those reviewers were recommended or identified as specialists in the field.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. All right, so you will provide the Committee with the names of the participants in the peer review studies.
Ms. HAHN. Yes, we can provide that.
''The science has been double blind peer reviewed. This means that the author of a particular paper is anonymous to the reviewer, and the reviewer is anonymous to the author. This process is managed by a Science Review Board co-chaired by Richard Everett and Evelyn Bull. Individuals selected to participate on the Science Review Board were individuals knowledgeable in resource management and have expertise in specific areas. A list of the individuals on the Science Review Board is attached.
''The Science Review Board established a process of double blind peer review, where the autonomy of both the authors and the reviewers is maintained. Even after the process is complete, the autonomy and anonymity of the peer reviewers is maintained. The Interior Columbia Basin Project, and the Science Advisory Group (SAG) does not have information on the individual scientists who reviewed documents. This process of peer review is a standard protocol for the review of scientific information prior to publication in scientific journals.''
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Were the Draft EISs peer reviewed?
Ms. HAHN. The Draft EIS's are being reviewed right now in the public arena. So all review is taking place right now in this 1-year time period.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. We've gotten word that they aren't being peer reviewed. You are certain that they are being reviewed right now?
Ms. HAHN. They're out for comment right now and can be reviewed, yes. They are available for that.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. OK. They're out for public comment or peer review?
Ms. HAHN. The EIS's are out for public comment and can be reviewed, yes.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. OK. Have you directed peer review studies on the Draft EISs?
Ms. HAHN. I am not certain what you mean by peer review for EIS's. Do you mean it in terms of the scientists reviewing EIS's?
Mrs. CHENOWETH. In terms of the scientific credibility.
Ms. HAHN. Those, on the EIS's, as far asthey're out for review for anyone who has a desire to review and comment on those.
SCIENCE REVIEW BOARD MEMBERSINTERIOR COLUMBIA BASIN ECOSYSTEM MANAGEMENT PROJECT
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Mr. Dombeck, could you tell me what role have the Forest Supervisors played in this, compared to the Project leaders?
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DOMBECK. Again the Forest Supervisors have been and will continue to be a close part of this process, and from the standpoint of providing information from the standpoint of keeping abreast with what the various aspects of the projectfor example, when I was in Orafino last July I sat in with Jim Caswell on one of the broadcasts that was broadcast throughout the Basinas one of the efforts to continually keep the public informed and involved in the project but also as a way to keep Forest Service employees and Forest Supervisors involved in continually knowing the various steps we were at and obtaining their input.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. My concern is not specifically about Mr. Caswell but all of our Forest Supervisors thatwere they in on the development of standards and alternatives and selections of the Preferred Alternatives, not just advice after the fact? Have they been active participants?
Mr. DOMBECK. Yes, I believe they have.
Ms. HAHN. Yes, actually we had several different settings with not only Forest Supervisors but other local decisionmakers such as area managers and the Bureau of Land Management District Managers in which alternatives, standards and objectives were discussed and then went through in terms of their opinions on which would be a Preferred Alternative that would be selected, that they would like to see selected, as going out in the Draft.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. My question to both of you on this, and thank you both for answering it, is prompted because I have heard a lot of concerns by both of your land managers who believe the Project can't be implemented. And these are very wide and numerous concerns.
How are these concerns being addressed? Would you both mind answering?
Mr. DOMBECK. Well let me say that the challenges that we're faced with in the Columbia Basin are significant, and what we have is we have a process here through the Project to gather the most up-to-date information to get the broadest public comment and to include employees in probably one of the moreone of the more if not the most comprehensive manner that we've done in addressing an issue like this because the challenges, the risks for injunction and the fact is when we're dealing with landscape issues like we are dealing with in the Columbia Basin, where we are talking about endangered species and anadromous fish, cumulative effects and water qualityand the more and better information we can get, as we move forward, the more effective we will be.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC However, I want to point out that there's always dialog and debate as we move forward in any issue because many of these challenges are not clear-cutwe wish they werebut we feel the most effective way of getting input is byand every employee, every Forest Supervisor has the opportunity to be involved and as Martha has described, has been involved in the many, many aspects of the Project.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Miss Hahn.
Ms. HAHN. Yes I'll speak specifically for Idaho BLM because that's what I am most familiar with in terms of my process. The managers have been brought together several times previous to the release of the Draft, as well as during the release of the Draft, in which we've sat down and talked about areas of the Preferred Alternative that we feel could have some change to it or would have better wording and so forth. And we've gone through that type of dialogue together.
In fact, when I return to Idaho next week we will be working on further discussions and how we can make that work well for Idaho BLM and those land managers.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I see my time is up, and I may want to return for more questioning. Miss Giannettino, did you have anything that you would like to add?
Ms. GIANNETTINO. Not at this time, Madam Chairman.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you. Mr. Hill.
Mr. HILL. Thank you, Madam Chairman. Mr. Dombeck, have you read theI guess I would call it an indictment of the Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project by Mr. Thomas Haislip? Have you read his testimony for this hearing and his comments with regard to ICBEMP? Mr. DOMBECK. I am not sure I am familiar with the specific document. I have read lots of testimonials, both for and against.
Mr. HILL. I'd just like to ask you a few questions that he raises in his testimony. I wishperhaps if the testimony had come in a different order, it might be a little easier to go through this process, but basically his recommendation isand incidentally this is the recommendation that I'm hearing from people who are on the ground in Montana, people who incidentally who work for you, who will speak privately about this but are concerned about speaking publicly.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC He states that if you go forward of the Record of Decision based upon anything similar to the Preferred Alternative that you recommend, that we are going to have greater conflict, not less conflict, and that we are going to make it more difficult to reach the goals and purposes of what we set out to do in the beginning.
And he suggests this: He says there are two options before us. One is to completely rewrite the Draft EIS and publish supplements, and that would be necessary in order for this document to be legally sufficient, to be able to pass muster.
The second option would be to simply not go to a Record of Decision. Abandon the idea of implementing top-down standards, and just move forward using the science that we have to develop individual forest management plans.
Would you comment on those recommendations and whether or not you are considering either of those two alternatives, and if so, who is going to make the decision in terms of considering those two alternative ideas?
Mr. DOMBECK. Let me state to your last question that our position has been and will continue to be that the decisions need to be made within the region by the Regional Executives, of which Martha is the current Chair of that group.
Mr. HILL. Could you identify for me who those people are?
Mr. DOMBECK. There are 11 members of the Executive Committee, and Martha is the Chair. Why don't I ask Martha to. I might leave somebody out.
Ms. HAHN. This is a quiz on names for me. We have the State Directors in BLM, which would be myself, Elaine Zielinski from OregonWashington, Larry Hamilton from Montana. We represent the concerns and interests of the other State Directors for Wyoming, Utah and Nevada.
There are the three Regional Foresters. There's Dale Bosworth, and I don't remember the region numbers, so you'll have to help me on that part; Bob Williams, Pacific Northwest, and Jack Blackwell in the Ogden area.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Then there are two Station Directors for the Forest Service, and that's Denver Burns and Tom Mills. And then there is the Regional Director for Fish and Wildlife Service. Right now it's an ActingTom Dwyerand for Environmental Protection Agency they also have an Actingis Chuck Finley, and National Marine Fisheries is Will Stelle.
Mr. HILL. And this group will make the decision on whether to move forward with the Record of Decision, whether to move forward or not?
Mr. DOMBECK. That's correct.
Mr. HILL. And then also if we need to go back and start over the Draft EIS, this group would make that decision?
Mr. DOMBECK. They're responsible for the decisionmaking of where the Project goes, the analyses of the comments and moving into final, yes sir.
Mr. HILL. And this group would be empowered to make the decision to not move to a Record of Decision, if that was how they felt?
Mr. DOMBECK. I believe so. Yes.
Mr. HILL. OK. So let me go forward then. I guess it would be better if they were here than you perhaps then if they are the ones that are going to be making the decision with regard to that.
Let me just go through some of the comments that Mr. Haislip makes, and I would ask you if you could respond to them specifically.
First, he talks about the identification of forests require and priority treatments, and he says, ''the key feature of a forest ecosystem assessment should be to identify the types and locations of forests needing various types of treatments or prescriptions.
For example, the standard structures that offer the greatest opportunities for forest ecosystem health risks reduction appear to be dense intermediate aged forests with multiple canopy layers in the high and medium risk categories. These are forest structures that could provide the basic components for producing the older forest structures that are stated to be in relatively short supply.''
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC ''However the DEIS fails to provide sufficient analyses of these basic issues and available methods for assessing risks to forest health and displaying the risk radiants were not used.'' Could you address that? Is that accurate or inaccurate in your view?
Mr. DOMBECK. Since I'm not the technical expert on the issue, I would defer to technical experts for specifics like that, but what I would comment on in general is that the important thing is that we have an overarching framework, so decisions are not made in isolation with one another, which is one of the risks we run by individual units making decisions, because we have in partas I mentioned in my opening statement Judge Dwyer's commentbut to achieve the greatest efficiencies in prioritizing projects, in spending money, in prioritizing the sequence of projects, this is best done, I believe, under an overarching framework that we have here produced by the Project.
Mr. HILL. In essence, that's what you're saying? You're saying we'll ignore what the situation is in any individual forest and in any individual area of the forest, but we'll adopt some general standards, and that's going to produce a healthier forest. Is that what you are saying?
Mr. DOMBECK. No. I don't believe it is. I think what I am saying is that the individual projects and individual forest health situationswatershed healthare nested, you know, as part of a larger framework in the condition of the landscape.
Mr. HILL. Do you believe in the gathering of data for this Draft Environmental Impact Statement, that that was accomplished through what you've just described, which is nesting local data and then developing a larger picture because I will say to you that that is exactly the opposite of what the people in the local forests in Montana are telling me?
They're telling me that this data may be fairly accurate in the general terms, but it is off by a matter of several factors on a local forest-by-forest basis.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. HAHN. Sir, the EIS does provide a broad framework for the desired, what they call ''potential vegetative groups,'' that we would like to see over time throughout the Interior Columbia Basin. Each alternative approaches that somewhat differently, but each alternative has a description for broad forest types and the seral stages of vegetation that would be desired.
That provides an integration and a broad picture of the vegetative condition and the forest composition that would be desired over time by alternative. Then each forest or each BLM District would work within that framework at their local planning level through their forest plan and then through project planning to actually do the site-specific implementation that makes the vegetation move in the direction that this broad direction states.
It's no problem using broad scale information to provide broad scale framing of direction. The forests will use local data to develop the specific projects that translate that broad direction into actual happenings on the ground.
Mr. HILL. So in other words, this is going from general to specific rather than going from specific to general? Is that correct?
Ms. HAHN. Within the context of the EIS the data is broad scale. It is general as is appropriate for something that covers 72 million acres.
Mr. HILL. Thank you, Madam Chairman. I will have another group of questions.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Hill. Mr. Faleomavaega.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Thank you, Madam Chairman. I would like to offer again my personal welcome to Director Dombeck here this morning and his associates. So that I may somewhat be descriptive of what we are trying to explore here this morning, and I don't know for want of a better way of pronouncing this acronym. Is it ICBEMP? How do you pronounce it? Is that the best way I can pronounce it? ICBEMP?
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DOMBECK. I think that will do.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Columbia Basin. OK.
Mr. DOMBECK. We get so familiar with acronyms. Maybe we're talking about it too much.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. I guess the concern that my friends here and the majority have is that since President Clinton announced this project in 1993this is 1998we've expended $40 million in the project; but it seems that you're running ahead, and the Congress is still waiting for this report or whatever it is, through the Environmental Impact Statement, which is in a draft form, and yet we'reyou see the concern that seems to be ringing here.
And I just wanted to ask some questions along these lines because there is some legitimate concern in terms ofwe're talking about 144 million acres involving some 4 or 5 states. I mean a tremendous undertaking. Involvement of some five Federal agencies. I mean this is a significant undertaking.
For those of us who sit here on the Committee, it becomes very difficult. Of course, you know, every year we pass an annual budget of about $1.6 trillion. Fiscal year 1999 alone, the Forest Service budget is about $2.5 billion, but here we're talking about a $40 million expenditure over a 6-year period, and yet we still haven't heard a sense of finality of where this project is, nor received the bottom line so that we can then make a decision on this side of the downtown scale, if you will.
So, I don't know if this is where things just seem to be running, but I do have just a couple of questions. I suspect that more than anyone, Miss Hahn, you probably have absolutely the experience since when this project first started in 1993, and you've heldwhat? 900 hearings or meetings, town meetings, and not just with the State of Idahoyou've done it in Washington, you've done in Oregon, you've done it in Wyoming. I suspect also in Utah as well. Is Utah involved?
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So here you're doing a hearing process that we're doing here too, and I guess for a sense of not wanting to duplicate efforts in the sense that maybe the Federal agencyjust give us the bottom line. Where are we? You've included the scientists. You've included development issues. You've included the ecosystem environmental issues. You've included conservation measures. So, you know, put them all in a pot. It's a mess.
And so what we're trying to define exactly is where are we going. And I thinkI am just trying to give you this sense of perspective, Mr. Dombeck and Miss Hahn, and maybe you could help me with this.
You have in your report here, for example, Economic and Social Conditions of Communities, issued this year, in fact last month. Is this part of the Draft EIS report that is being discussed now this morning?
Ms. HAHN. Yes, it is.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. OK, and you have here on page 5, for example, you were looking at the factor like what is the jobs involvement, and you have here this circle that says if you're to look at the whole basin, this 144-million acre project that you've undertaken now for 5 or 6 years, you're looking at the timber and ranching industryyou're talking only about 4 percent jobs involvement in this, and the rest of other in terms of the impact is 96 percent. Can you explain that, Miss Hahn?
Ms. HAHN. Yes, I will attempt to.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. I mean, it's an interesting configuration.
Ms. HAHN. When we started out, we were looking at the broad scale. Before doing this, we needed more step down analysis, that's the type of indication we got. Once we stepped down and started looking at counties and then communities, we recognized that the 4 percent becomes a very critical factor when it becomes almost 100 percent for a small community.
And so that's the type of information that was brought out in this report that you are referring to here. It starts to recognize that in a broad scale that can be masked, but in a real specific scale it can become very important for a small community.
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. My time is limited I know, but if I represent a rural area that 4 percent means a lot to me. So I think there may be some further explanation needed of this statistic because it could be misleading. That 4 percent of employees would mean a lot to me if I were to represent a rural district because it could be that 4 percent of the employment provides hundreds of jobs or thousands of jobs when you talk about the trickling effect, the impact that the timber, the mining industry could have in other job-related industries.
So I want to get a better clarification of that, Miss Hahn.
Ms. HAHN. And that's exactly what this report begins to get intooriginally in looking at that broad scale, 4 percent is what came up, but then once you look through the report you'll see how significant that 4 percent is. Like I said, for example in one community it may be 100 percent, and that's brought out in this report.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. OK, and here's my problem. If I come from a rural district, and I do. My district is so rural you wouldn't even find it on the map. It's a small little speck out there somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, but I have 300 million lobsters; 100,000 sharks, you know all kinds of stuff like that.
Now I notice for the President's fiscal year 1999 Budget you're adding $10 million, $73 million for green timber, $18 million for a station, $8 million for fuel treatment and fire expenditures. Now these $10 million, this is part of the fiscal year 1999 Budget I notice in Mr. Dombeck's statement.
Now were these proposals in the President's Budget based on the recommendations of the EIS statement panel group?
Mr. DOMBECK. Let me say that the $113 million is the natural resources part of the base program or the Columbia Basin, and thein fact this represents 24 percent of the land base managed by the National Forest System. The $10 million is part of the President's Clean Water Initiative and those
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. I don't question what you've got on your statement, Mr. Dombeck, but the point I am making is that this is after a result of conducting a series of a thousand meetings among the four states for the last 6 years. Am I correct that this is the result of this?
Mr. DOMBECK. Yes, but the important thing is that the decision has not been made. The Record of Decision has not been signed. We're basing some of the projections that we're making on the Preferred Alternative, but as Martha indicated, the public comment period is still open. So this is at this point a project in progress.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. See my preference would be is that the President makes an announcement, ''I am going to do this project study, 1 year or 2 years,'' then you bring back the final results of that project study, let us look at it so we can hold hearings in Idaho, in Washington and whatever it is, but it seems that we're reversing the process.
You're holding the town meetings, you're going out there at the concerns of some of the members who represent those districts and those constituencies, and they're getting conflicting messages. And the message you're giving us here is quite different from what they're hearing from their constituents.
So I think this is a concern that we're having here. So the bottom line question I have: When are we getting a final report on this, after expending $40 million in a 5- or 6-year period that this project has been ongoing, as it was announced by the President since 1993?
Mr. DOMBECK. The largest proportion and let me ask Martha of the expenditure to date has been for the science. Is that correct?
Ms. HAHN. Yes, 55 percent.
Mr. DOMBECK. Fifty-five percent has been for the science. The remainder has been for the public involvement process, the NEPA process that we would normally go through, and again the key point is: The decision will be made at the time the Record of Decision is signed.
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. I feel bad about it because the Forest Service isn't the only agency involved. You've got the BLM, you've got the EPA, but the fact is that the President has made this decision administratively without any Congressional mandate, no enactment, no law whatsoever, but we've expended $40 million of the taxpayer's money on this project, and I just think that there's got to be some sense of finality at one point in time.
So that give us what you found out, and then we'll do our job and see if it takes another $73 million to do this and that or whatever. I don't know. Maybe I'm wrong, but I sense the concern that my colleagues seem to have on this issue.
My time is over, Madam Chairman. Thank you.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Faleomavaega, and we will return for another round of questioning if you would like.
I would like to ask both Mr. Dombeck and Miss Hahn, what law authorizes this new level of decisionmaking?
Mr. DOMBECK. The National Environmental Policy Act and the National Forest Management Act are the framework under which we move forward with our planning processes.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Could you consult with your attorneys here and ask them the specific cite of the NEPA?
Mr. DOMBECK. I am not sure any attorneys here, but we'd bewe'll get back to you very quickly with a specific citation and a response and an interpretation of that, yes.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Because as I read both of those laws, I don't see it at all, but I would be interested knowing what their and your thoughts are. Miss Hahn.
Ms. HAHN. It would be FLPMA.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. It would be FLPMA. Under what section?
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. HAHN. I'd have to get you that citation.
Section 202 of the 1976 Federal Land Policy Management Act (FLPMA) sets out the requirements for the development and revision of land use plans for the public lands. Since current land management plans were completed, new information on natural resource issues such as forest health, rangeland health, and listed and candidate species has surfaced. Section 201(a) of FLPMA requires Federal land managers to deal with significant new information and incorporate it into natural resource management. Also, Federal agencies are required to identify and disclose the environmental effects of any proposed activity on Federal land. Specifically, NEPA requires Federal agencies to identify and consider the direct, indirect, and cumulative effects of activities on Federal land. The impacts of these activities must be examined both singly and in conjunction with the activities of other agencies and landowners.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Could you do that please? Do you have anything new to add? Anything additional? OK. Now, we're moving on ICBEMP to a single Record of Decision and the EIS. Is the decision appealable?
Ms. HAHN. Yes it is.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Do you believe it is?
Mr. DOMBECK. I believe so, yes.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Under what process is this one decision appealable? Forest Service or BLM's processes?
Ms. HAHN. Both processes will be considered, so they will be melded together in terms of the opportunities that exist under both processes.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. They'll be melded together. Do you have anything to add, Chief?
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DOMBECK. No I don't.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. All right, do you believe then that this can be litigated?
Mr. DOMBECK. Yes.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Under the melding together of the processes of appeal?
Ms. HAHN. In the melding together of those processes, both processes will be considered or used so they can either be litigated under the Forest Service process or the Bureau of Land Management process.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. And it's your opinion that there's a clear, bright line to enable people to appeal these decisions?
Mr. DOMBECK. Yes, in fact the process of appealing and the process of litigation are essentially separate processes. Typically the appeal process would follow first, whereby the appeal would be made to the next level of decisionmaking authority in the agency, which in the case if this is made by the Regional Executives then the Chief's Office would be the next of decisionmaking that would occur.
And if the appellant is not satisfied with the resolution then of course it can go to litigation.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Chief, you understand my concern, I am sure, that this is one single Record of Decision. We are having the processes that normally people could appeal a BLM decision through the BLM processes or Forest Service through the Forest Service processes. They're multiple agencies and their processes are being melded together, and it's not addressed in the Administrative Procedures Act.
And so even if a Forest Service decision is made that is appealable, we'd still have to refer it to other agencies. Our concern is that it would take forever to get through the appeals process. Don't you think we have a legitimate concern about that?
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DOMBECK. Well, what I would do is I would be happy to provide a legal opinion to the Committee on those concerns.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. All right, I'd appreciate that. Will the plan be implemented during an appeal if an appeal is filed?
Mr. DOMBECK. There is typically an appeal period. In this case would it be 90 days? There would be a 90-day appeal.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Would that hold up the implementation of the plan?
Mr. DOMBECK. I believe the Record of Decision, the appeal period starts when the Record of Decision is signed, and at that pointlet me ask one of the staff the specific point as to where the implementation beginsat the Record of Decision or theit starts with the Record of Decision. I have my planning expert here.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. My concern is what the impact will be if we find ourselves in litigation, and everything is halted by the courts, everything, in a multi-state area. So will your people please address that, and also I'd like it if they would address: How does the agency or the ecosystem benefit by this result of having absolutely everything stopped in all of the agencies?
So with that I will recognize Mr. Hill for the next round of questioning.
Mr. HILL. Thank you, Madam Chairman. I want to go back to this issue that I was discussing earlier, and that is that in my reading of the Draft EIS and my more recent reading of the material I was delivered I think last Friday on the update on the Economic and Social Conditions of Communities.
Again this all seems to be generalized data. This was an effort I think to get a little more community-specific, but it's still very generalized data. I think you would agree with that, wouldn't you, Chief Dombeck?
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DOMBECK. Yes.
Mr. HILL. And so the whole idea of this study is to be general in the development of the Draft EIS with the idea, as I understand it, that would be more specifically applied within each forest management plan that would be updated. That's the scheme here is that is contemplated. Would you agree with that?
Mr. DOMBECK. Yes, it provides an overarching framework; however I do believeand I read the socioeconomic analyses just recently myselfand where we have information with regards to job sectors and so on, it does get into some specifics there that I believe will greatly a decisionmaker in looking at what specific sectors are important to a community.
Mr. HILL. Which decisionmaker are you referring to when you say ''decisionmaker''?
Mr. DOMBECK. I am referring to our local field managers.
Mr. HILL. The individual forest managers?
Mr. DOMBECK. Yes.
Mr. HILL. Is it your view that the social and economic issues should be an integrated part of the Draft EIS and integrated part of the various alternatives?
Mr. DOMBECK. I wouldI guess I am not sure what you mean what integrated. I think it's very important information to be considered in the
Mr. HILL. Well in the development of alternatives under the Draft EIS there are a number of factors that you have to take into consideration. Is it your view that the social and economic factors ought to be integrated into the alternatives? Or do you believe that you simply have to assess the impacts, the social and economic impacts, on the various alternatives in the Draft EIS and in the final Record of Decision?
Mr. DOMBECK. Well again, from a matter of semantics I think that we need to use the most and best information we can get in arriving at the conclusions.
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HILL. This isn't semantics. This is substantial, and it's very significant on whether or not the social and economic considerations are built into the EIS and into the alternatives, or you simply draft alternatives and then do an assessment of what those impacts will be on the economy and the culture of those communities.
That is substantially different. Do you see the difference that I'm trying to
Mr. DOMBECK. Yes, I believe so.
Mr. HILL. And so which of those do you believe is your responsibility under the Federal Land Management Act and under NEPA? Do you believe that those considerations need to be an integrated part or do you believe that it's just your responsibility to assess the impacts?
Ms. HAHN. In this project we have integrated it into the Purpose and Needs statement as well as the development of the alternatives, and you'll see in Alternative Four, which is the Preferred Alternative, I think is a good example of how the economic portion of it is actually what's driving a lot of the balance between having the sustainable type of output over the long-term in relation to the issues at hand.
Mr. HILL. More specifically, do you believe that the social and economic considerations are an integrated part of the proposed alternatives under the Draft EIS or not?
Ms. HAHN. I think that they have been integrated into the alternatives, yes.
Mr. HILL. So then why did you do the Supplemental Economic and Social Study?
Ms. HAHN. The integration was at the broad scale level in which we're talking about.
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HILL. So we were general rather than specific with regard to economic and social impacts again, correct?
Ms. HAHN. To look at the broad scale area and then we did what I termed a step down process, going from that broad scale to the county level, then to the community level in this newly released publication.
Mr. HILL. And did you then revise any of the alternatives in the Draft EIS based upon this more specific data?
Ms. HAHN. We analyzed how that would affect it and found that the alternatives, the assessmentor the analyses of the alternatives do not change specifically, that those changes are going to occur more at the project level.
Mr. HILL. So, whatI want to be real clear here because this is a real important issue as far as I am concerned. Is that what you found then would you say that in analyzing this data on a more specific basis, that you did not have to change any of the alternatives in the Draft EIS as a consequence of what those impacts might be on those individual communities?
Ms. HAHN. The Draft Alternatives, those alternatives in their draft situation then willthat analyseswill be placed against those as we move into a final decision. As far as impact analyses, that did not change.
Mr. HILL. My judgment, having read all of these documents, on more than one occasion, you did some kind of generalized impact analysis on individual communities, but in terms of the impacts of the various alternatives of EIS I mean casual statements like ''Alternative One would cause a slight increase of impacts on wood products,'' or et cetera. And I am not quoting exact from the document.
There is no analyses. There is no data here in terms of what that will do to those individual communities with regards to jobs, with regard to recreational opportunities. I saw none in this report, and I mean itI will say to you that it looks to me as though this was an effort to address the criticism that has arisen from those communities in as general a way as you could.
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And the reason for that is, is that if you take this proposed Record of Decision, this proposed alternative, and you start translating it into the impacts it's going to have on individual communities and individual forests, it would frighten the people in those communities if you told them the truth.
And so what this is an effort to do is to generalize that impact, generalize that analyses, rather than to tell the people what is really going to happen to their communities, and I hope that you don't consider this a delivering on the instructions that Congress gave you with regard to analyses of impacts because this doesn't even come close to what Congress was asking you to do.
Thank you, Madam Chairman.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Hill. Mr. Faleomavaega.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Thank you, Madam Chairman. I just wanted to clear up a couple of questions that I had asked earlier. Let's say that President Clinton never made an announcement in 1993 to set up this project. What would have happened if we had maintained the status quo?
Mr. DOMBECK. We would likely have been shut down on projects and actions in many areas. There would be a high level of instability. We would not have a good ability to predict a variety of projects, the goods and services that might come out of the whole area, the Columbia Basin.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. As an example even this year, what would have happened to the funds that are being requested for this fiscal year Budget? Would that have an impact?
Mr. DOMBECK. Are you saying would the
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Yes, I mean the recommendations, the President's recommendations for this fiscal year alone would not have come about if it had not been for the recommendations by the Project.
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DOMBECK. Well certainly the findings, the science and so on, helped us determine what the greatest needs were.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. I guess one of the questions I have too is the time factor involvement here of the projects. Since the President's announcement in 1993 to set up this interagency group working on these specific issues, when did this thing really take off? When did these Federal agencies actually become actively involved in doing whatever the mandate is that the President wanted since 1993. Miss Hahn, can you help me with that?
Ms. HAHN. Specifically it began in January 1994, and so after the President made his announcement, which was based on the Everett Report and other information coming about in terms of the Northwest issues, then we began in 1994.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. So since 1994 it has been a collective recommendation from these 4 or 5 agencies involved, that has been part of the President's basic policy decisionmaking as it is translated into the budget that this is how we've done the budgetary process for the last maybe 3 or 4 fiscal years.
In other words, if you had been doing this since 1994, after a 6-month's study you make recommendations. That recommendation then becomes a basic Administration policy decision. That policy decision then is translated intoor integrated intothe budget process as part of the President's proposed budget.
Am I correct in saying that this has been going on now for 3 or 4 years since this interagency group was founded?
Mr. DOMBECK. Let me say on your first point, about gathering data for a 6-month period and on certain types of projects, I think that kind of example, it could possibly be, but the thing that's important with the Columbia Basin that as we analyze this project, which I think is very, very important that we do; and I too have been very concerned about the cost, but if wewe also need to step back and think about where we found ourselves in the early 1990's when we started dealing with this issue.
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And let me just mention a few points of where we found ourselves
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Please.
Mr. DOMBECK. [continuing] the agencies and the people that lived in the Columbia Basin
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. That's what I wanted to ask you initially: Where were we then and where would we be now without this project starting in 1993?
Mr. DOMBECK. Well where we found ourselves is a situation where wildfireswe were beginning to have wildfires or were having wildfires of unprecedented intensity and size. We were dealing with damaging noxious weeds issues across the rangelands. We were concerned about wildlife habitats. Rural communities could no longer depend upon a predictable flow of wood, of other goods and services from the public lands.
We found ourselves in a situation where these natural resources, the issues were being debated. We found ourselves in a situation where expectations had changed. We found ourselves in a situation where we were facing serious endangered species problems and in a situation where we were near injunction and gridlock on many, many projects.
And the important thing to realize is this is an effort to move out of that situation, to move into a situation of greater predictability and stability based upon the best science and knowledge that we can have.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Well maybe you can help me this way, Mr. Dombeck. Give me, and I would like to ask for the record, a mini economic impact statement. Our investment of $40 million to this project for the last 5 years has also saved the taxpayer's money. How much would have been prevented? For all the good things that you're explaining, at least substantively, what would have been the savings to the taxpayer.
The fact that we've invested $40 millionsure the report is not final yetbut how much really has this been a plus for the American taxpayer? I think I would appreciate some kind of an analysis on that, if a question is helpful.
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DOMBECK. Let me say under a normal planning process for the Forest Service, and Martha can speak for BLM if she wishes, we would typically invest $3 to $4 million per plan or revision, and it would normally take about a 4-year timeframe to do that, and we have 31 forest plans.
So if you multiply the 31 times $3 to $4 million you have a significant amount of money involved in what we believe is that by having this frameworkand I might add the best science that would be applied to any of the planning that we have done in the Forest Service to date I believe is coming out of the Columbia Basin, that we will get a substantially better product as a result of that and a greater probability of dealing with the endangered species issues, being able to strengthen our position in court as we move forward in implementing the results of the Project and all projects.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. If you don't get the $124 million the President is requesting for fiscal year 1999 Budget, what happens?
Mr. DOMBECK. Well, first of all let me say that of the $113 million that'sa portion of that, that's part of the base program. It's part of the Natural Resources Programs of those National Forests. For example, about $70 million of that is for our forest management, timber harvest, salvage, other programs like that.
It's part of thethat support the grazing on the public lands, the recreation opportunities, other kinds of opportunities and services that we provide. So it's part of the core program.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Thank you, Madam Chairman.
Mr. HILL. I thank the gentleman, and I will go out of order, and I'll ask a round of questions again. Again I want to go back to this issue with regard to general and specific.
There are some analyses, Chief, that most of the alternatives propose that between 20 and 40 percent of the forests would be allowed to naturally burn each year as part of the prescribed burning effort in this plan. Would you agree with that or would you disagree with that?
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DOMBECK. Well, I'd say I'm not prepared to talk about specifics; however, let me ask Martha or Susan to correct me if I'm wrong. I'm assuming that prescribed fire is and that fire is part of the natural system, and that where we would do prescribed burning, that would be integrated with other kinds of treatments. That could be thinning; it could be timber harvest; it could be other kinds of mechanical treatments. In a typical inner-mountain situation, we would go ahead and implement the appropriate tool, whether it's a timber sale, a thinning, to get the fuel levels down to the point that we could do accrual burn. And, typically, the timeframe for something like that is you would go in and do your sale, your mechanical treatment, and then anywhere, say from maybe about 3 to 6 years after that, you would go ahead and do the prescribed burn to finally achieve the situation in getting the forest health trends in the way you want them.
Mr. HILL. Many of the areas of the West, and many of the communities in western Montana, are having serious difficulty complying with the particulate matter standards associated with the Clean Air Act today. Could you identify for me what analysis was incorporated into the development of these alternatives to take into consideration the impacts prescribed burning will have on air quality issues in those communities?
Mr. DOMBECK. Let me ask either Martha or Susan to address that.
Ms. GIANNETTINO. Sir, I don't have the specific numbers with me, but we did, in the development of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, model, using two or three particulate air quality kinds of models, all the alternatives, including the Preferred Alternative, which does significantly increase the amount of prescribed burning that would occur throughout the Project area, and found that in all the alternatives we modeled, we were well below the threshold, or constraint. Now, I have to say that since the comment period opened on these draft EIS's, there has been a change in EPA particulate size rule, and we're doing some additional modeling during this comment period to make sure that those alternatives are still within the threshold of what is acceptable. With the prescribed fire we do have the opportunity to time that burning better than if it was just a wildfire situation. So that gives us a little bit better opportunity to stay within constraints.
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HILL. Would you characterize those again as general rather than specific?
Ms. GIANNETTINO. Yes, by the nature of the decisions that are being made, those, we didn't specify specifically on which acres the burns would occur.
Mr. HILL. Or what communities might be impacted?
Ms. GIANNETTINO. Only to the extent that certain habitat types would be more appropriate for prescribed fire than others.
Mr. HILL. OK. With regard to the recreational impact, and recreational considerations, it seems to me that the draft DEIS contemplates that there is going to be an increase in demand for more primitive types of recreation on the forest. Would you agree with that statement, or would you disagree with that statement?
Ms. GIANNETTINO. The increase in demand, I don't believe, was specific to certain types of recreation. We simply said that demand would increase as a result of population growth in the West.
Mr. HILL. But almost all of the alternatives, in terms of what the objections of those alternatives, are, would be to increase the amount of forest that would be available for more primitive types of recreation, as opposed to motorized recreation. Would you agree with that?
Ms. GIANNETTINO. Some of the alternativesyes, that's true. Some of the alternatives, I don't know that you could say that specifically.
Mr. HILL. Did you do any analysis, any kind of surveying, with regard to what kind of demand that is out there in the current population, and what they think the recreational needs of the forest are going to be? For example, there was just a poll published in Montana that indicated over 50 percent of the people of Montana think there should be as much, if not more, recreational, motorized recreational access. This plan certainly doesn't contemplate increased motorized recreational access, in my view. Does it in yours?
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. GIANNETTINO. We left the decisions on access management to the local managers.
Mr. HILL. General to specific. The interesting point about all that isand the reason I've asked a lot of questions this, it may be my last round of questions, is that I agree with youthere should be a general plan. And if it was that, I think I could probably be more supportive. The problem is, is that in adoption of the standards that are proposed to be adopted, it's not so general. As a matter of fact, it's quite specific. For example, let's take the riparian area standards. Have you done any, have you made any maps available on the individual forests, other than the Kootenai Forests, with regard to how the adoption of those riparian area standards would impact future management of the forests, and if so, could I get copies of those maps for the other forests in Montana?
Mr. DOMBECK. Yes, if they are available.
[The information referred to may be found at end of hearing.]
Mr. HILL. Have they been done, Chief Dombeck?
Mr. DOMBECK. I'm not sure.
Ms. GIANNETTINO. No, they have not, and the Kootenai ones simply took a very broad-brush approach, assuming more general application then would actually happen on the ground where the local manager would tailor the standard to the local situation.
Mr. HILL. Who prepared the Kootenai maps? Were those maps prepared by the local forest?
Ms. GIANNETTINO. Yes, they were, with the Project's involvement.
Mr. HILL. Chief, would you have any objection to the other forests preparing similar maps, for citizens to review?
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DOMBECK. I can see no reasonI'm notwhy don't I respond for the record and let me check, and unless Susan has an opinion. We can provide you with the information that's available.
[The information referred to may be found at end of hearing.]
Mr. HILL. Well, it goes beyond that, Chief, and that is, that I think that one of the things that we have a responsibility to do here is to provide communities with as much data as we can, and as much information about the impacts as we can. And those maps were very, very useful. Unfortunately, and it appears to the citizens of Montana as though, that the other forests have declined to produce those maps because they were so startling in terms of the impacts, that it might create negative reaction to the whole management plan. I'm hopeful that that's not the strategy of the Forest Service, to deny citizens access to quality information.
I would like you today to say that you're going to direct the individual forest supervisors in each of those forests to prepare similar maps, to provide that kind of information to the communities that are going to be impacted, so that all people who use the forest, and are dependent on the forest, can have that information. Could you give me that assurance today?
Mr. DOMBECK. We will certainly have that information when theyou know, the point I want to make is that the EIS is in draft at this point.
Mr. HILL. All we want to know is what the preferred alternative, or even all the alternativesthat would be even better yetif you could prepare maps that would show the impacts of the adoption of these standards. Chief, that's the problem here. The problem here is that you make the argument that this is a generalized approach to providing a road map, if you will, a general road map to the development of individual forest plans. But then in the adoption of standards, you take all the flexibility away from those individual forest supervisors.
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC If you think that this is going to reduce gridlock in forest management, I think you're wrong, because any individual forest management plan, or any timber sale or road management plan, that was outside the proposed standards in this Record of Decision, would be appealed that fast. And that's the problem, and so I think that the people of Montana deserve the right to know, and if that information is available to the Kootenai forests then it ought to be available to the other forests, and I think that it ought to be put into a format that the people of Montana can understand, which is maps, and I would certainly urge you to direct the regional forester in those individual forests to make that information available to the people of Montana.
Mr. DOMBECK. I will get back with my staff on that and make a determination as toand we'll deliver the best, the most detailed information we can.
Mr. HILL. Thank you.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, and the Chair recognizes Mr. Faleomavaega.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Thank you, Madam Chairman. I only have two-and-a-half more questions, if I could.
Just to help me out, Mr. Dombeck, the scientific study task force that is part of the project has made an assessment with reference to roadless areas, I think basically to the effect that the conditions are OK ecologically; it has met scientific standards. I'm not a scientist. Can you help us with that? What does this mean, that it's OK?
I notice that Governor Kitzhaber of Oregon seems to offer some common-sense advice about let's not talk about the controversial aspects of what you're looking into, but look into more practical solutions, related situations. In fact, even suggested here, in terms of the short run, avoid operating in roadless areas near fish habitat and old growth areas. Can you reconcile this report, Ms. Hahn, if there's any contradiction in this about the
Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DOMBECK. Well, let me start out by saying I believe where we're headed, and where we need to be headed philosophically, is to integrate timber harvest, integrate all of the tools that we need to achieve the condition that we want.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. And I want to say for the record, Mr. Dombeck, it's really unfortunate that it's only your agency that is represented here in the hearing, because we don't have the benefit of hearing from BLM and their problems, because you're looking at this as, you know, as a totalI'm sorry, Martha. You're with the BLM. It sounds like you're forestry to me.
Ms. HAHN. I'm representing the
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. OK, I'm sorry. I thought you wore two hats. OK, go ahead. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to
Mr. DOMBECK. So, with that as a context, we need to integrate all of the tools available to arrive at a desired future condition. In fact, and I believe a lot of the controversy that we have been in, and the topic of many hearings, and we will continue to work through this as to make sure that we understand that we need to be arriving at a condition and integrate fuel treatment, a fire management, the urban wild land interface to get the fiber where we can in a more integrated manner. But, then, that's one part of the philosophy.
The second part of it you mention as the importance of roadless area, or low road density areas, and let me say that some of the most thorough science that we have associated with roadless areas has come out of this projectthat about 60 percent of the best aquatic habitats are within, found in roadless or low road density areas.
Another interesting statistic that we have from this is that about 87 percent of the acres with high potential for fire, particularly crown fires, insect disease problems, other mortality, are within already roaded areas, and we have a tremendous amount of work that we need to get on with in these areas.
Page 52 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And I think this project helps us move forward with the, knowing that we've got to make investments in land, and none of us are happy with the conditions that are out there that I indicated in the earlier round of questioning and some of the challenges that we face. But I do believe we have the technologies to be able to move forward, and in an integrated way, to active management.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. I want to share with you a statement issued by this gentlemen, which I think it's very interesting, and I certainly would like your comment of this, and I'd like to quote the statement. ''The Federal agencies' preferred alternative for managing Federal lands in the Columbia Basin does not present a sound, science-based management strategy. Most important, it does not adequately protect the region's remaining old-growth forests, roadless areas, and stream habits. It does not ensure wildlife liability as required by law. It calls for excessive amounts of logging and grazing. It presents a skewed economic analysis that ignores the changing role of public lands in the region's economy, and moreover, the draft environmental impact statement fails to present any alternative that fairly represents the views of the environmental community. Instead, it presents the public with a false choice of active versus passive management.''
This is a statement by Mr. Michael Anderson, Senior Resource Analysis of the Wilderness Society. Can you comment on that?
Mr. DOMBECK. Well, what I would say is the project focuses on habitat, on water quality, on moving forward through active management and achieving the objectives set forth, and, I would rather not speculate on individual projects, but there are situations where you would have various projects implemented. There are other situations where you might not. But the focus that we need to look at is the outcome that we want to achieve.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. So it's your feeling that the administration is carrying out a balanced view between development and ecosystem, the environment. Everything is being held on an equal basis. Does that seem to be your best opinion and response to this statement?
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DOMBECK. Yes.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. This gentleman is saying, ''you're not doing your job. Environmentally it's way off the bat.'' But you're saying, ''No, this is not true.'' You're doing a better job than what this gentlemen is observing, his observation.
Mr. DOMBECK. Well, I think we've got a good balanced, science-based approach.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Thank you, Madam Chairman. Thank you, Mr. Dombeck.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, and the chairman will take her third round of questioning, and then we'll move on to the second panel.
Congressman Hill was asking some very interesting questions about maps, and the impact by definition of the riparian zone. If, indeed, in the Record of Decision or in the final EIS, by definition a riparian zone takes into consideration certain setbacks of several hundred feet, from even intermittent streams, as well as flowing streams, that could mean every little potential rivulet, intermittent streams and so forth.
So, by definition, one of the reasons we're most concerned about having the map show the impact is that virtually from ridgetop to ridgetop, where there is an intermittent stream, it could be locked up in riparian zones. So that's why it's important to us to receive the maps that will clearly delineate the definition of riparian, and I really think that public comment should not even be considered, really, until we have the maps in hand, so people will know what they're commenting on in terms of the definition of riparian.
So, I join Congressman Hill, as Committee chairman, in urging that the maps be turned into the Committee, and also made available to the public as soon as possible.
Any further comment?
Mr. DOMBECK. No.
Page 54 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. All right. And my final round of questioning involves how this was financed. Of course, we have allocated $40 million from the Congress, but more funds than that have been expended because in testimony that this Committee has received, funds have been taken from other agency funding allocations and transferred into the project. Are you prepared to give to the Committee a dollar amount of the funds that have been transferred out of other allocated projects, such as grazing, or timber harvesting, or whatever it might be, into the project? I think our staff indicated to you I would be asking this question.
Mr. DOMBECK. In checking with the regional budget staffs on that question, that the primary dollars came from the planning dollars, fire management and roads, the planning portions of the areas that are most influenced by the activities and the outcome of the plan. And let me just ask my budget expert. Is thatthat's correct. We are not aware of moneys being moved without following appropriate guidelines.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I realize that it may be read that there were appropriate guidelines, even within what may be considered appropriate guidelines, as set forth by the Congress. It was very vague, but I can see where they could read that. And these were set forth in 1994, I believe. I'd like to know, for instance, how much money that had been allocated to say grazing, was allocated to the project, and all other categories. So I'm not inferring that something improper was done legally. I think that the language was unclear and it occurred, Mr. Dombeck.
Mr. DOMBECK. The information that I have indicates that a grazing, timber, a watershed program dollars, have not been used to fund the project. However, I believe all program areas, or most program areas, are also part of the planning process that are administered through our planning line items, and, what I am told, is that the dollars used for the Columbia Basin Project, came from those planning dollars.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. OK. However, they were labeled, we have had testimony from agency personnel in the Committee that moneys were reallocated after the Congress had allocated them to a certain project, and that is what the Committee wishes to see. Whether it's planning or what, I mean, there's nothing but planning now. So we'd like to see what moneys were moved from other projects, and what is the total amount of money that has been expended for the planning to date.
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We'd also like to include in that the interagency teams in Washington, DC that, Chief, you described in your testimony. I'd like to know how many people are working on the ICBEMP here in DC, and how much of their time is spent on the ICBEMP.
Ms. Hahn described the requested funding increases for fiscal year 1999 budget. I'd like to know what is the total cost of the fiscal year 1999 for the ICBEMP, and how does the breakdown by agency and subject area occur?
I would also like to ask you why in the other projects, the Appalachian project, which I think cost maybe $2 million, and some of the other projects, have notI mean, why is this one costing so much? Now, the Southern Appalachian Project and, whereoh, here we areyes, the Southern Appalachian project, I think, is about $1.9 million, and there are other projects involving the Dakotas and the Midwest. Why has so much money been expended on this compared to the other projects?
So, I see my time is up, but if you could prepare an answer for the Committee, I would appreciate it very much, and the Chair is going to recognize Mr. Hill for further questioning.
Mr. HILL. Thank you, Madam Chairman.
[The information referred to may be found at end of hearing.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. And that will be the end of our questioning.
Mr. HILL. Thank you, Madam Chairman.
I would like to talk a little bit about the riparian standard. Is it your view, Chief Dombeck, that the riparian area standards should be universally applied throughout the region?
Mr. DOMBECK. I'm not personally familiar on a technical standpoint from each and every standard, however, let me make a statement and then ask Martha to correct me, as I understand, or Susan, as I understand, that what the objective of the standard is to achieve a particular condition, whether it's water quality, reducedprevent sedimentationthose kinds of things. And the activities within those areas, then would be governed basically by our ability to do whatever it is that one might want to do in that area, or not do, based upon that desired, that product we want, is that correct?
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HILL. I'm talking about the buffer areas that are, the buffer area standards, specifically. Do you believe that those should be universally applied to the individual forests throughout the Interior Columbia Basin, to all the area that is included in the study?
Mr. DOMBECK. I believe those buffers would vary, depending upon the watersheds and the geology of those kinds of things.
Mr. HILL. But those standards are set; that's the point, is that the proposed standards are already set. And so if you were going to manage outside those standards, are you suggesting that we could manage outside those standards, or are you saying that we would not manage outside those standards?
Mr. DOMBECK. The standard does not preclude management.
Mr. HILL. OK. There are some folks who, well, the EIS suggests that, I think about 24 percent of the forest would be restricted through the applications of the riparian standards. There are some independent analyses that would indicate that it could be as much as 40 to 80 percent in some areas. The question that I have is, again going back to the maps that we made reference to, I would appreciate it if you would prepare those maps using the standards that are suggested in the proposed EIS.
But I guess the next question I have is that, if, in fact, those standards would impact a greater area of the forest than the 24 percent that is recommended, is it your judgment that we should go back then and do an additional analysis on the economic and social impacts, and as well as an effort to incorporate those particular effects into the various alternatives proposed in the draft EIS?
Mr. DOMBECK. I would say that typically if there is a significant change, for whatever reason, then that would be addressed at some point, and let me ask the planning experts where that would occur.
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. GIANNETTINO. If we found through our internal review, or through the public review that people are doing right now, we would certainly make significant changes between draft and final. But if we had inadequately predicted the application of those standards, that would certainly be something that would have to be corrected. But, I also would caution that the standards are specifically written to take into account a lot of local variability, so that local managers have flexibility to deal with local circumstances.
Mr. HILL. Substantially, these standards arepart of the objective here with this whole management plan is to try to gain more predictability, would you say, with regard to particularly the consult of process with the Fish and Wildlife Service with regard to impacts on endangered species? Is that a fair characterization of one of the objectives of doing an ecologically, ecology wide management plan? Is that one of the outcomes that you anticipate?
Mr. DOMBECK. Yes, I believe so, and let me say that the more we can do upfront from the standpoint of consultation and our interaction with regulatory agencies, essentially the easier our job becomes, and I think we've learned a lot with our experiences with the Northwest Forest Plan and our having reduced a significant backlog of consultations in that are by working up front in more of a parallel process, rather than a serial process, and by this I mean where the agency would propose a project, go through a significant amount of analysis, and then consult with a regulatory agency.
And we might have three or four outcomes as a result of that consultation. One might be that, a typical one, well, maybe we have to go back and get some more data, or maybe we have to modify the project to mitigate some of the concerns, or maybe the project is OK. And by having the regulatory agencies up front, as we have in this case, that significantly streamlines that process.
Mr. HILL. Would it be fair to say that substantially the standards that are being recommended here are being driven by the regulatory agencies, rather than the land managers?
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. HAHN. No, the standards were developed jointly; we've all sat in a room for many days and used the information that came from the scientists as well as
Mr. HILL. The people I talked to in the field tell me that these rigid standards are substantially being driven by the Fish and Wildlife Service. Is that an accurate or inaccurate conclusion?
Ms. HAHN. They were developed jointly.
Mr. HILL. Well, I understand they were developed jointly, but the drive to adopt standardsis it your view that the land managers that are out there on the land want to have these standards adopted, or is it your view that it's more being driven by the regulatory agencies?
Ms. HAHN. They were developed together and we, basically, put that as a part of
Mr. HILL. That's not a responsive answer
Ms. HAHN. [continuing] projection.
Mr. HILL. [continuing] to the question that I asked. I guess, perhaps, I'm not going to get a responsive answer to it. I can tell you that the people that I talk to out there in the field don't believe what you've just stated. At least they haven't expressed it to me. I think it's extraordinarily unfortunate, Madam Chairman, is that those people that are going to have to implement this management plan aren't here, and don't have the freedom to be able to express publicly what they all express privately with regard to the hazards associated with moving forward with the proposed Record of Decision and the proposed alternative. It is not going to achieve the results that we are setting out to achieve, which is less gridlock and better management, and a better environment, and a better ecology. As a matter of fact, it will do the opposite, in my view, and the view of the people that are going to have to implement it.
Page 59 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Thank you, Madam Chairman.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Hill. And this really is a conclusion that I would like to ask Mr. Dombeck and Ms. Hahn, if you could submit for the record, where, or even answer, where you are with this Sierra Nevada Ecosystem Project, the Southern Appalachian Assessment, the Great Lakes, the Ozarks, and Ouachita Highlands Ecosystem Plan, and the Northern Great Plains. We'd like to know moneys expended on those projects, what the timelines are, who's going to be the next ICBEMP, where will the focus of the administration be on developing a major plan, and any additional ecosystem plan, if you could submit that to the record.
Mr. DOMBECK. We'd be happy to.
[The information referred to may be found at end of hearing.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you very much, and I want to thank this panel very much for your time, and you are dismissed, but I would appreciate your staying to listen to the rest of the testimony, if you possibly can.
And with that, I would like to introduce the second panel. The Committee welcomes Judge Dennis Reynolds from Grant County, from the Grant County Court in Canyon City, Oregon; Mike Poulson, chairman of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee of the Washington Farm Bureau, from Connell, Washington; and Charlie Decker, from Libby, Montana.
I wonder, gentlemen, if you would rise and raise your right hand.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you.
The Chair notes that, in spite of my request, the agency personnel did not remain. We will now change the method in which we will call agency personnel. We will now call agency personnel last.
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We will proceed with the testimony. The Chair recognizes Judge Dennis Reynolds.
STATEMENT OF HON. DENNIS REYNOLDS, GRANT COUNTY COURT, CANYON CITY, OREGON
Judge REYNOLDS. Madam Chairman, it's with great pleasure that I appear before you today on this Subcommittee on Forest and Forest Health. I guess I'll deviate slightly from the previous style.
I want to admit that I am humbled by the environment that I am seated in today. I'm only so pleased to be able to represent the citizens of Grant County. My name is Dennis Reynolds, and I am the Grant County judge, and I represent approximately 7,950 people in an area 2,897,920 acres in size. Of that area, 64 percent of it is federally managed and, unfortunately, that 7,950 people is 150 people less than it was in the last census.
In our area, the entire acreage falls within the ICBEMP planning area. Our principal industries are forestry, livestock, agricultural, and recreation. I first need to explain from where I'm coming. I describe myself as a forester by education, a sawmill manager by experience, a contract logger by choice, and a county judge by means of temporary insanity.
Unemployment in Grant County is another noteworthy element. Currently, at 1997, Grant County finished with a whopping 12.5 percent unemployment, while the State of Oregon was at 5.3. Six times in the year 1997 Grant County topped the highest rate of unemployment in the State of Oregon. We currently have 3,300 jobs. Our entire work force includes 3,300 jobs; 2,890 of those are jobs associated with non-farm employment, while 410 are farm jobs. Forty-one percent, or 1,200 of those jobs, are government jobs. Grant County's average annual pay in 1996 was $21,831. That's 25 percent less than the national average of $28,945. Oregon's, Grant County's is 19 percent less than Oregon's average. Grant County, Oregon has been identified by the Oregon Economic Development Division as the second most likely county to encounter economic collapse in the years to come.
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Let it be understood that Grant County shares common goals with the Eastside Ecosystem Coalition of Counties. Those goals include our desire for vital communities, clean water, clean air, healthy forest lands, and a functional Federal County relationship. However, we respectfully disagree on how to obtain these objectives.
The ICBEMP, I should remind you, is dealing with representation of county associations, not representation from counties themselves. Grant County, be assured, has not delegated its representative authority to the EECC.
I should also like to have it recognized that counties are not alike. Like ecosystems, they have different needs and different desires. A plan that comes down with a multitude of objectives and 166 specific standards does not appropriately, and can't begin to appropriately, address the needs of communities. Nothing in this plan is being done to address the high degree of non-resiliency.
The new social economic study talked about here today is not yet in the hands of the counties; it was promised that we would receive it this week. But it is my understanding after visitation with Judge White in December 1997, that again, Grant County's nine incorporated cities have risen to the top of the list. That only goes to show that not all counties are the same.
The environments in which we exist are not all the same. The question comes to mind, why is the planning process so involved with the Endangered Species Act and the National Forest Management Act of 1996, while it ignores the Sustained Yield Forest Management Act of 1944, that was established to provide even flow sustained yield policy for timber harvest with focus on community stability? Federal county collaborative effortsGrant County feels that those collaborative efforts are in vain. Presidential roadless area moratorium is one example; the Governor's enactment of 26 timber saleshe endorsed 26; Governor Kitzhaber endorsed 26 timber sales, saying they were environmentally sound and should proceed to sale. One of the first of those offered is one that's now in litigation.
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Also, the Governor of Oregon has proposed the Oregon Plan, the plan designed to prevent the listing of the coastal coho salmon. Two weeks ago, the National Marine Fisheries Service stepped in and demanded additional constraints that jeopardized private Forest industry.
It's been difficult to obtain information. First of all, the draft documents were denied to counties specifically. We were told maybe the RACs would leak us a copy of information.
Forest reviewsI was able to obtain two forest reviews, the internal documents where the Forest Service looks at the ICBEMP EIS document. One of the concluding comments of one of them on the nice side of things, it said, ''they have nice sideboards, good fonts and colorful maps.''much to say, they were not very complimentary.
The maps that we've discussed here today, I also have brought to your attention in my written documentation. I understand they've been sequestered. At the time I obtained my copies, I was told not to share a copy with you for fear that the person responsible for their formation would be drug in or expelled from the Forest Service organization.
I question, also, the right, and under which law, that executive sessions are held by counties, of the EECC in denying other counties' participation in these executive sessions.
I'd also like to point out that they can't answer the simple questions; the simple question: What does this plan do to Grant County? What effect will this plan have on Grant County?
There are a mirage of overlapping Federal laws. The Summit Timber Sale is a classic example. On August 13 of 1996, over 571 days ago, 38,000 acres burned. In a 2-hour discussion held recently with U.S. Forest Service, we discovered that the reason it's still being discussed is that an area equal to this blue square that I hold up, compared to the surface area of an 8.5by11-inch piece of paper, represents the riparian area, while we're arguing whether we leave 4 snags per acre or 6 snags per acre and the entire paper, 8.5by11 surface area, is nothing but snags. In this particular summit sale, it is estimated that approximately $28,600,000 will be lost to the American taxpayers, and an additional $8 million will be lost in economic income to the citizens of Grant County.
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So, in summary I would conclude, Grant County asks you to ask the U.S. Forest Service in this planning process to codify the science, peer review, and peer approve the scienceand it's important to approve it because just peer-reviewing it isn't the answer. Place it in the hands of the forest supervisors and the BLM managers, charge these individuals with compliance, provide a degree of litigation insulation, and proceed with revising forest and district plans. Don't let the ICBEMP go to the Record of Decision.
I leave you with just one example of a movie: where Indiana Jones was confronted with an individual who put on a fantastic swordsmanship display, and he simply stared him in the eye, pulled a pistol, and shot the person dead. This fantastic display, after $40 million worth of work and effort, is simply going to come to the end of the line where it will be litigated to the disadvantage of communities like Grant County. Grant County's people, and the fragile nature of their existence, deserve better than the impending ICBEMP will provide. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Judge Reynolds may be found at end of hearing.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you very much, Judge.
And the Chair now recognizes Mike Poulson. Mr. Poulson is chairman of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee of the Washington Farm Bureau. Mr. Poulson?
STATEMENT OF MIKE POULSON, CHAIRMAN, ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCE COMMITTEE, WASHINGTON FARM BUREAU, CONNELL, WASHINGTON
Mr. POULSON. Madam Chairman and Committee, I thank you for this opportunity, and, like Dennis, I am humbled to be able to represent the Washington State Farm Bureau in front of this body. I am the chairman of the Environmental Committee of the Washington Farm Bureau, a committee that came into being largely because of the interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management project.
Page 64 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Essentially it was the Eastside Ecosystem, I believe, when we started. It was going to be an assessment. We took an interest in it and thought that the goals that were there originally were worthwhile goals. Our understanding that the original goals involved developing a science-based plan that would reduce litigation and empower local communities and create some certainty in the ability to use resources. In addition to that, the plan, through a science-based plan, was going to reduce the number of ESA listings, or insulate against ESA listings.
As we look at what we have today, in contrast to the original goals, our assessment says that this plan is not science-based, will increase litigation, does nothing to empower local communities, and along that line will increase the tribal authority across the entire project area without requiring any responsibility of tribal members to help in creating environmental protection.
In addition to that, we don't believe that, in fact, the plan states itself that it would have a small value in species liability, to a small number of species. I think that you've probably heard these things, and I think you're going to hear them over again. I think that you're going to hear some of them from other panelists.
I want to spend just a little bit of time on what we consider to be fundamental flaws in this project. There is an assumption that we can transfer former resource industry communities into recreational economies. And that may be true. We can, maybe, transfer. We no doubt have some recreational economies that are expanding in these areas. But what isn't considered is the fact that as human beings, we are not becoming less dependent on resources, but more so, and when we make decisions to eliminate resource use in one area, that automatically makes a decision that you're going to increase in another. It does not make a decision that we are no longer going to use that resource or the products that come from that resource. This isn't the first time, but this is a time in a large number of areas and it's most obvious that we are assuming that we can reduce resource use in this area, and there's been virtually no effort to look at the environmental consequences in other areas because of transfer of that resource production. That kind of a decision is environmentally and economically irresponsible.
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Another area that we feel is a major, major issue, and a fundamental flaw of the discussion within this project, is in the regulatory system itself. We have, obviously, numerous laws over the last 30 or 40 years that have been created to protect the environment, as well as agencies that have been the essence of business growth, if you call that business growth. It's the American system. The problem is, when we out in the country look at management of our environmental resources, there's conflicts within these laws and with these agencies, and when you look at why we're not addressing bug kill, why we're not addressing nauseous weed, and the various issues that this project and the Chief of the Forest mentioned earlier, it's not because those in the local community don't support doing that; it's not because the local agencies don't support doing that; it's because the conflicts of the laws and regulations and regulatory agencies that we have don't allow us to do that, and agencies spend all of their time responding to 32 Senate appeals and doing environmental assessments.
We feel that this project is not repairable; that it's not a question of going through this EIS and deciding how you fix it. We do feel that the original goals were worthy. We feel that the coalition of counties is a worthy coalition, assuming that all counties are represented in that coalition. We feel that the management needs to be brought back to the local area, for the same reason that we finally brought welfare reform, to take that responsibility back to those who could best accept that responsibility.
We ask that this project be terminated, that Congress demand that this project be terminated, but we also ask that Congress take on this issue of examining the regulatory system we have built, the set of regulations we have built in the name of environmental protection, that now may be the biggest obstacle to being able to manage and protect our resources in a sustainable way. Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Poulson may be found at end of hearing.]
Page 66 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you very much, Mr. Poulson, and I appreciate your testimony.
The Chair recognizes Charlie Decker. Mr. Decker is from Libby, Montana, and I'd like to call on Mr. Hill to introduce Mr. Decker.
Mr. HILL. Mr. Decker, thank you for being here today.
I would like to introduce Mr. Decker to our panel. He is a small business owner, a private citizen, more importantly, or as important, he's a founder of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, a conservation organization which has broad support within Montana. He has served as a commissioner on the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. He brings a balanced view. I welcome Mr. Decker.
STATEMENT OF CHARLES DECKER, LIBBY, MONTANA
Mr. DECKER. Thank you. Thank you, Madam Chair, members of the Committee. Good day.
My name is Charlie Decker. I live and work in Lincoln County, Montana. I am here as a small business owner and resident. I am not representing the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, although I am a founder and board member. Neither am I representing Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, although I have been a commissioner for 6 years, the past 6 years. I hope I represent common sense. The people who have been writing the draft EIS on the Upper Columbia Basin have more degrees than a thermometer. You would figure with all that education and the time and money spent, the draft EIS might make sense. It doesn't. The way I understand it, it makes northwest Montana into an outdoor theme park. It takes management decisions out of the hands of the people closest to the land. It guarantees employment for environmental lawyers and unemployment for local citizens. Worst of all, it hurts the land.
I realize that what I am saying does not agree with the experts. During my 6 years on the Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission, I have, on occasion, tangled with professional biologists and other experts. Too many times, I have seen a study to support an agenda. The experts don't seem to realize that I work, hunt, fish on the lands of Lincoln County. I talk to loggers, hunters, fishermen, and other folks on a daily basis. If we are losing the moose population in the Yaak, I hear about it. If big rainbows are biting in the Kootenai, it takes a few days longer, but for some reason, I still hear about it.
Page 67 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I know we aren't harvesting enough timber in Lincoln County. We are growing 500 million board feet a year in the Kootenai National Forest, and we are harvesting about 80 million feet. Somewhere around 300 million board feet just plain dies. I see it every day. We are creating a huge tinderbox. A couple of lightning strikes after a dry winter like we've had, and we will have thousands of square miles of stumps and ashes. Now, I may be wrong, but a burn does not provide much recreation or economic value. Eventually, the burn grows back. This is how the Upper Columbia Basin has managed itself for the, since the last ice agecomplete with erosion and damage caused by major forest fires.
Using common sense, we can manage the forest, harvest the timber, avoid catastrophic waste. Sensible logging opens the forest canopy, increases food supply for wildlife, and reduces the loss due to fire and disease.
I am not here because harvesting a few more trees will make me rich. You can ask my wife. After 40 years of hard work, we are just about breaking even. I am here because most folks don't have the time or money to fight the bureaucracy behind the draft EIS. We run the country on a Constitution you can fold and put in your pocket. Instead of a thousand pages of a draft EIS, we need broad principles that balance environmental concerns with local economies. Then, local managers need the power to make decisions. Most important of all, we need to move beyond studying the situation.
If the U.S. Forest Service had existed in Jefferson's day, we would still be studying the Louisiana Purchase. If there are problems in the Upper Columbia Basin, let's put them in plain English; let the local people have their first round at solving them, rather than have answers dictated by the bureaucracy and biased experts. And let's start managing our resources before they burn to the ground. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Decker may be found at end of hearing.]
Page 68 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Decker.
The Chair recognizes Mr. Hill for the first round of questioning.
Mr. HILL. Charlie, as I mentioned, you're a founder and board member of Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and have served on the State Fish and Wildlife Agency. If the Interior Columbia Basin Plan was implemented with the standards as proposed in alternative 4, would that increase elk habitat in Montana?
Mr. DECKER. No.
Mr. HILL. How about habitat for other wildlife?
Mr. DECKER. No, I could cite an example, I believe, in my lifetime that I have witnessed that's neat. Mid-1950's, we had no moose in our country. We had spruce dying off, and we went in and cut some major, clear cut some major areas, and starting in the mid-1950's, we started to see moose. And as those clear-cuts, the regrowth occurred, why, our moose did very well. In the last 5 years, our moose are dropping like a rocket. They're not doing well at all, and it's because, in my mind, and I think the biologists agree, that it's a lack of management out there. If you don't log it, you're going to burn it. Logging is a good habitat tool for all wildlife.
Mr. HILL. We've got, as you may know, we've got huge fire-load building up. I mean, it's, this is at a catastrophic level, isn't it?
Mr. DECKER. That's correct.
Mr. HILL. And, if those forests burn, is that going to have a favorable impact on habitat?
Mr. DECKER. Well, long-term, depending on how hot the fire burns. If the fire burns hot enough, it will sterilize the soil. Burn is a goodburning is a good tool, done in a controlled manner. But the fuel-load that we have in our forests out there nowI've happened to fought forest fires, and you don't fight them; you get out of the way, until you kind of catch them somewhere. It's a tough deal, and our fuel-load is such that we probably won't stop it until it hits some natural, big barrier that's open. The fuel-load is that great.
Page 69 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HILL. And if this preferred alternative is selected, in your view, will that increase or decrease public access to the forest?
Mr. DECKER. Probably decrease.
Mr. HILL. Go ahead. It proposes to further restrict roads, further barricade roads, remove roads.
Mr. DECKER. Yes, I'm trying to think of another road they could close. With a grizzly bear, you can't hardly get anywhere now, but I guess they could close a few more that run up to bottoms. But we do have a significant number of closures already to meet standards that were put down because of the grizzly bear recovery in our area.
Mr. HILL. You've made note that it's as though this plan contemplates northwestern Montana becoming a theme park. I guess I would suggest, that perhaps, that would be a theme park that nobody could get to, because there would be no roads, no access to the theme park. Would you agree with that?
Mr. DECKER. I would agree. It's our economy that 90 percent resource-based. I don't know what the rest of them are, but I know what ours is.
Mr. HILL. And the recreational base that's thereI mean, the recreational use of the forests up there is people who live there, go hunting and fishing, and berry picking and camping and hiking, and that's it, isn't it?
Mr. DECKER. Yes, I would say that's correct.
Mr. HILL. And, because of the grizzly bear, impacts of the grizzly bear, a lot of that access has been already restricted, hasn't it?
Mr. DECKER. Yes. It, I don't know. It's reduced by, I'm guessing, I don't know all those numbers, but I would say 70 percent would be a fair assumption.
Mr. HILL. And, so can you, can you tell me how in the world we're going to replace those resource jobs with recreational jobs if people can't use the forest to recreate?
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DECKER. We're not.
Mr. HILL. Have you figured that out?
Mr. DECKER. We're not. The one thing we are is survivors. We'll make her.
Mr. HILL. I would agree with that.
Going back to habitat, because I think that, you know, one of the things driving this management plan is the sense that if we manage on a regional basis, we can improve habitat. And, certainly, I think that there's some sense to that. Do you see how the adoption of these one-size-fits-all standards is going to allow for management that's going to improve wildlife habitat in the Kootenai Forest up there?
Mr. DECKER. It can happen. There's a domino effect no matter what you do out there. You do something to help something, you maybe hurt something else. In our area, it's unique. The Columbia Basin is a large area, but you've got all kinds of habitat types through that whole region. You've got practically desert in Washington, to our high mountain timber type, and one size can't fit all. You've got to manage it in a smaller scenario, and you've got to think about what the consequences, when you do one thing, what the consequences are to another thing. You can't do it in one, big fell swoop.
Mr. HILL. Thank you very much, Charlie. Thank you very much, Madam Chairman.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Hill.
I wanted to begin my questioning with the Judge. What kind of restoration activities are needed in Grant County to really bring it back to where the county is able to generate from the tax base, the necessary taxes to support the necessary services?
Judge REYNOLDS. Madam Chairman, it's a question oftentimes asked by citizens within Grant County. The common suggestion that everything is wrong, and the only answer is to restore, I think is a common assumption by the ICBEMP process that's not commonly shared by all those present. We too, like the gentlemen from Montana, have growing deposits of heavy, woody material. You, yourself, witnessed the summit fire and the destruction that it caused on those 38,000 acres. We fully anticipate the continuance of that until there aren't any of those heavy, woody deposits.
Page 71 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The ICBEMP process does not offer us any resource management or resource product production. When you invite them to tell us what we can look forward to a sustainable yield, consistent with the 1944 Act, they tell us that if restoration activities should occur in your area, adjacent to your community, yes, you might benefit. But, in fact, if they don't occur next to your benefit, next to your area, you may not benefit from them.
From a forester's standpoint, I've learned since graduating, that, in my mind, forest management is nothing more than man's attempt to mimic mother nature to mankind's benefit, and when you apply that, you find that the only thing that's necessarily deteriorating our forests around Grant County, is the lack of action, the lack of doing anything, the lack of an ability to do anything on the ground.
The timber sales that are being offered are being appealed and litigated. Our timber companies that do still exist have less than 6 months' total of volume under contract. We have virtually 125 direct employment, family wage jobs of our 3,300 jobs in jeopardy right now.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Well, that's startling. Can you tell me why Grant County was excluded from the information provided to the Eastside Ecosystem Coalition of Counties?
Judge REYNOLDS. That's the question I was looking for an answer to. Recognizing that the document was going to be awesome, and I think we underestimated that as it has progressed, our interests were to become involved because we have so little time as county managers. We don't have large staffs. If you want something done in Grant County, you have to do it yourself. And, so we attempted to get our hands on documents as early as possible, so that we could try to stay attuned to it.
And, I believe it was in July 1996, the first draft document was released to the RACs, and also the EECC. I contacted the Association of Oregon Counties and invited a copy of that for our review, and was told, no, they had signed an agreement with the Federal Government and they could not release that document.
Page 72 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Upon further pushing, the individual then advised me that I might appropriately approach the RAC; they might ''leak'' a copy to the counties. This troubled me, because I understood that counties individually were FACA-free and had the right to work with their Federal Government on issues of resource management, and I couldn't understand how delegates of an association, to whom which we may or may not have belonged, could represent us at the table.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I wonder about that, too, and, I thank you very much for your statement for the record.
I wanted to ask Mike Poulson, you mention problems with the laws and the regulations, and that they will, in practice, prevent environmental protection. Can you elaborate on this?
Mr. POULSON. I believe that if you go back with 30-year or 35- or 40-year history that we have of today's modern environmental movement, and look at the laws that we have created, and examine how that they, how they work together, I think that you are going to find that that is the case.
And I will take the endangered species as an example. Endangered species is obviously a law that's supposed to protect specific species. In addressing that law, you don't look at the best interests of human beings, or any other species. Now, how can that fit into what is called ecosystem management?
And I'll give you a very simple explanation that I was given of ecosystem management from a wildlife biologist in Canada. He said, ''if you want to understand what ecosystem management would be, imagine a lake, where it is raining, on an otherwise calm lake. Each of those drops is a species, and the ripples that those drops make are how the species interact with each other.''
Obviously, this is a very complex mathematical equation to achieve what we're now trying to call achievable in ecosystem management. But, if, in fact, in the process, you have to give special recognition to ignoring other species, obviously you can't come to that kind of an equilibrium. I don't believe that in this document that they do. But, if you look at the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act, those are also laws that operate independently with almost whole agencies to carry them independently at, while ignoring, you know, other interests.
Page 73 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I think that we have to go back and look at the overall mechanism of laws that we have made, as well as the agencies that, in my opinion, tend to operate not only independently, but antagonistically to each other. This document didn't address that. I think that's a large portion of where our problem is. Until Congress is willing to go back and accept that challenge, I don't think that any plan is going to be functional or workable.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Mr. Poulson, can you tell me what impact ICBEMP will have in farming in the Columbia Basin?
Mr. POULSON. How it will affect farming in the Columbia Basin. I'll give you an example ofand there are several areas where this plan is being implemented as we speak, has been, being implemented for the last, nearly a year. When questioned were asked about that, there was some defensiveness after the first round of questions, and some originally admitting that they were implementing this plan. Then they went back and said, ''No, we can't implement this plan because it's in the draft stage. We are implementing the science documents from this plan.''
But, as far as how it will affect private property in the Columbia Basin, one of the areas where this plan is being used for watershed management is in Okanogan County, Washington, on what is called, ''salmon creek recovery,'' where there have not been salmon for 80 years, and they would like to have salmon back, 84 percent, I believe, and that's close, of the watershed is on Federal land, but the water that comes out of that watershed does two things. It forms a lake, which is the foundation of a little town called Concanelli, which is a reservoir lake that feeds an irrigation district, that is clear outside of the watershed, or at least at the bottom of the watershed, but, I believe, clear outside of the watershed. That's where the economic impact is going to come in anything that influences that water in that reservoir, or that lake, and how that water is used on private property. And that's a very, very simple connection. The Columbia Basin, potentially, has the same connection. What I have told people when they ask me about this, as long as you don't use water and are not located in a watershed, this plan will not affect you.
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. Mr. Poulson, Mr. Decker, and Judge, I wonder if examples could be provided by any one of the three of you, or all of you, with regards to the implementation of the plan, ahead of the filing of the Record of Decision. If you could provide the Committee with examples, I would appreciate it very much.
Judge REYNOLDS. Will do.
[The information referred to may be found at end of hearing.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Mr. Hill, do you have further questions?
Mr. HILL. Thank you, Madam Chairman.
Judge Reynolds, I took great interest in reading your testimony of your experience with regard to the maps, with regard to how the application, I think, of riparian areas would impact management of the forests. We were able to obtain a similar map on one of our forests, but when we asked for maps on the other forests, once they gauged the impact of it on the public, on the release of the first set of maps, they didn't want to make them available anymore.
I guess that you're a judge, and I'd just ask you that in your courtroom, if people suppress evidence, how do lawyers get treated when they suppress evidence?
Judge REYNOLDS. Well, first of all, I have to clarify the fact that ''judge'' in Grant County is synonymous with a chairman of the board of county commissioners.
Mr. HILL. Oh, I see, I'm sorry.
Judge REYNOLDS. So, recognizing that I'm only a judge for probate issues, that's not necessarily pertinent in my case.
Mr. HILL. OK. Well, thank you.
With regard to the maps, in essence, the maps that we saw, as they evolved, basically meant that the area that would be managed, diminished, and diminished, until there was hardly any area that was going to be aggressively managed 15 and 20 years out. Is that the experience that you had with the maps?
Page 75 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Judge REYNOLDS. That's correct.
Mr. HILL. I guess I would ask you, has there been any assessment of how, if that management plan is implemented, how that would impact over that period of time the economy of your county?
Judge REYNOLDS. The plan has failed, pitifully, to provide an answer to that question, and that's the common question that Grant County citizens are asking: How will it materially impact us?
Mr. HILL. And, having not read the plan with my eye on your particular region, is it similar to our area, and that is, is that the plan contemplates this massive expansion of recreational use of the land? Is thatI mean, the plan in general suggests that we're going to make up this loss of revenue and loss of income to our communities by increasing recreational use of the land?
Judge REYNOLDS. Yes, I think that's a valid assumption.
Mr. HILL. And has anybody identified what kind of recreational use that would be for your county?
Judge REYNOLDS. Only the vague terms that you heard testified earlier this morning in diverse, remote recreational opportunities. I think that we're going to find quickly that those efforts run a straddle of the 401, and also the 303(d) listings. I think we're going to have to have a permitting process in place that I don't think they're fully anticipating at this time.
Mr. HILL. Thank you very much, Judge. Thank you very much, Madam Chairman.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Hill.
Gentlemen, I want to thank you for your testimony, and for coming so far. Your time is valuable, but your testimony has been very valuable for the record, and I want to personally thank you very much.
Page 76 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Judge?
Judge REYNOLDS. Yes, ma'am. I, again, would like to thank you, and the Committee for your invitation, but there was a couple of things I'd hoped had come out in the questioning that didn't, and I would just like to state that Grant County doesn't see that the plan is going to reduce litigation; it doesn't see that there is any resource offering, there's no way to tell whether or not there's going to be a resource offering in Grant County; and that it also lends itself to circular logic, in that we were told in the beginning the reason we do this process is to prevent the lawsuits that we've found ourselves historically in. So, we set standards, we make it rigid, we make a more rigid plan, we implement that, and then as communities, we ask why, where's the flexibility? And they say, oh, it's built into the model. I argue this: If we had flexibility after the plan, are we going to be therefore accused that we are making decisions inconsistent with the overall directive, the same as we were before the planning process went in place?
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you very much. Judge, I do want to let you know that we will be submitting questions to you for the record.
Judge REYNOLDS. OK.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. And that the record will remain open for you to supplement your testimony, and we probably will be sending you copies of the hearing transcript, also.
So, I want to thank you very, very much for being here, and if you wish to supplement your testimony, like I say, the record will remain open for 10 days. Thank you.
[The information referred to may be found at end of hearing.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. You are dismissed.
The Chair now recognizes the third panel, one that I am very happy to introduce personally. Tom Haislip, senior project manager of CH2M HILL in Boise, Idaho; Aaron Harp, Cooperative Extension rural sociologist, University of Idaho, Agriculture, Economics, and World Sociology, in Moscow, Idaho; and Neil Rimbey, extension range economist, University of Idaho, Caldwell Research and Extension in Caldwell, Idaho.
Page 77 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Gentlemen, I'm so tickled that you're here. So with that, Mr. Haislip, I'd like to recognize you for your testimony.
STATEMENT OF TOM HAISLIP, SENIOR PROJECT MANAGER, CH2M HILL, BOISE, IDAHO
Mr. HAISLIP. Thank you, Madam Chairman. Again, I'm Tom Haislip, and I'm a senior project manager for CH2M HILL, which is an international environmental consulting and engineering company.
I lead a team of scientists and planners who have been studying the Interior Columbia Basin project since it's inception. As you can see on the boards that I've presented to you, we have been involved in this project for over 4 years now. We've been monitoring the scientific assessment that was developed, as well as the DEIS's, or draft environmental impact statements. And, we have reviewed the two DEIS's that have come out last summer, and we have submitted our comments to the project. Let me tell you just a few things about what we have found as a result of our review.
First area of great concern for us, is the riparian conservation areas that were mentioned earlier, and one of the biggest concerns we have is the size of the area that they cover.
Let me draw your attention to the board over here on the other side. This is a picture of a hillside that I took last summer. It's from a place in central Idaho, up near a town of Grandgene. This is somewhat of a typical hillside, nothing special about it. We took that hillside, though, and tried to show what the riparian conservation areas would look like around that hill, and in this particular case, the hillsides are fairly steep slopes, intermittent streams, in a dry forest.
If you go to the DEIS and you take a look at what that means, it means that these riparian conservation areas will be 400 feet on each side of that stream. If you take a look at what that actually does, then you've got this fairly wide area there, fairly wide area there, and this one over here, and the area then, of this hillside, that's not covered, are these little strips along the ridge tops. In this particular case, 80 percent of that hillside is covered by a riparian conservation area.
Page 78 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC You know, my concern here is that, while I think we do need to protect our riparian areas, we need to not protect them to death. And a big concern is that the management of those areas is severely limited, in terms of the kinds of things that you can do there. These areas are just as subject to forest fires as any other area is. And our concern is that, ultimately, these may burn.
Also, I note in some of my other testimony, that we project that probably 40 to 60 percent of the area is going to be covered by riparian conservation areas, depending on where you go, and it could get higher in some places. I won't talk much about the impacts to communities, because I know these gentlemen will be doing so, as well, but, basically, I think you've heard the story that communities really are not addressed in the DEIS, and, quite frankly, communities were not considered, in my opinion, part of the alternatives. They were part of the impacts.
The other item I'd like to talk to you about is ecological integrity, and the ecological integritythis is a measure of forest health that the project tried to addresstended to focus on rare species, or species that are on the edges of their ranges, or species that are in some sort of trouble. And, so, by looking at that narrow a band of species, you don't get a very good perspective on what the whole ecosystem looks like. You get somewhat of a biased view. We think that's a real problem.
We also found that they used surrogates to try to project what health of the environment was, and, so, they used things like road density to equate to aquatic conservationexcuse meaquatic health. And, there's some real problems in trying to translate from road density to the health of an aquatic ecosystem. There are a couple of cases where you can see some impacts, but, quite frankly, you can't generalize across this broad a scale to say one equals the other. They also don't recognize the fact that roads are not roads, are not roads, because the best management practices that are being developed by State programs are significantly improving the way we build roads. And, so what happened in the past is not necessarily a reflection of what's going to go on in the future.
Page 79 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In terms of the plan itself, we find that the plan is, as you've heard, is very, very heavy on standards, somewhere between 150 and 200 of them in each one of these DEIS's. When we first started watching this project, the pledge was that we were going to be light on standards and heavy on guidelines. Well, what's happened is exactly the opposite. Now we're very, very heavy on standards and very light on guidelines. We think that's an inappropriate thing to do for a lot of reasons, but at a basinwide level we think it's particularly inappropriate, and it constrains what goes on at the local level in terms of implementation.
I'd also, then, like to comment a little bit about the rates of restoration, which is another area that we've got a concern about. The DEISs talk about levels of activity, but they do not talk about the rates of restoration and how this is going to get accomplished. I've got a figure here that shows what our projections of what the rates of restoration might be over time, and what you find here is that, even in the most aggressive alternatives, such as alternative 4, it's going to be 70 years before we get to a fully restored condition. We just find that unacceptable. That's way too long a period of time out there. We think that a much more aggressive program needs to be done. Consequently, none of the alternatives are going to meet one of the important purposes and needs, and that is to restore the health of our forests.
We also note that there are lots of studies that are going to be required before any kind of action has occurred, such as the subbasin reviews and the watershed studies that are going to be required, and then NEPA for any kind of a project. So we've got lots and lots of studies yet to do. They tell us those are going to only take weeks to months to do; we think months to years is probably a better assessment.
We also have the issue of multiple agencies, the regulatory agencies who are part of this process. We think that's going to bog this thing down, because they're going to need consensus. We just don't have a lot of hope that that's what's going to happen.
Page 80 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Finally, I guess I'd comment about the recommendations that we have. We sat back and said, gee, where's this project go from here, given a lot of its flaws? And I guess we have three options. One of those would be to take away the standard and redo this as a supplemental DEIS, make it more like a regional guide, which is documents that already exist. Then they could go on to a final.
Another option is to not to do that, go into much more detail, fix this EIS, which it desperately needs, get down to a lot more detail than it's got in it right now, and make another supplemental DEIS and go to an FEIS. Then, finally, to stop where they're at right now, use the material that's been providedand there's some pretty good stuff out there, particularly in the scientific assessmentuse that to go do the forest plans, which are now upon us. Four years ago, when this project started, we had some timeframe. Now we don't have any timeframe left. The forest plans are going to need amending immediately.
My personal feeling is the one option that shouldn't be followed, and that is to try to fix this DEIS and go to an FEIS. I think we need to take a look some place else.
That concludes my testimony. Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Haislip may be found at end of hearing.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Mr. Haislip, that was very well done, and I just wonder, the handout that you gave the Committee, we don't have a copy of the picture of the ridgetops and the riparian zones.
Mr. HAISLIP. You're right, but I'd be very happy to provide that to you.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Would you?
Mr. HAISLIP. Yes.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I'd appreciate that.
Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [The information referred to may be found at end of hearing.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Dr. Harp?
STATEMENT OF AARON HARP, COOPERATIVE EXTENSION RURAL SOCIOLOGIST, UNIVERSITY OF IDAHO, AGRICULTURE, ECONOMICS AND RURAL SOCIOLOGY, MOSCOW, IDAHO
Dr. HARP. I'd like to thank the Committee for the opportunity to speak today. I have a bit of a cold, so for both your sake and mine, I'm going to try to keep this short.
I would like to begin by commenting that this draft EIS represents an unprecedented social impact assessment attempt on the part of the agencies. I would say that it far exceeds their normal effort in that area. And for that, they should be commended.
I would also provide a caveat that, having said that, no one benefits from doing a bad job at that particular effort. So my main questions today will deal specifically with the social impact assessment and our core conclusions about its validity. I'll try to not get into too much of the economics and leave that to my colleague.
My primary concern, as a professional sociologist, is the fact that EIS completely ignores the community issues of stratification. When they talk about the future of the communities in the Basin, they seem to have an unquestioned reliance on recreation as the chosen or the most valuable future for these communities. In my professional opinion, that ignores the impact of recreation economies on things like living wages, the ability to have futures for your children that are economically viable, and the ability of communities to live in a way that is not stratified, where you have the very rich, the very poor, and an extremely high property tax base.
So to be more specific about that, I'm going to talk a little bit about the issue of community resiliency, which kind of forms the core of the social impact assessment that was done. This particular choice of concepts actually has virtually no sociological content that I can find. A perfect example would be one of the four dimensions used to define resiliency is the presence of amenities in the community or near the community. I can't find any professional literature that would obviously link that to any known social process. Instead, I think that represents a value judgment on the part of the investigators that that was something that any community who had amenities would, therefore, be more socially resilient, because they could then capitalize on those for their economic gain.
Page 82 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC To make matters worse, the individuals who carried out the social assessment took a random sample of approximately half the communities in the Basin with populations under 10,000. Then they went to those particular communities and they interviewed anywhere from three to nine individualsI believe the average was sevenin each community. They then took that small basis, treated it as if it was a statistically valid sample, pooled all of those communities, and then did the statistics that resulted in the resiliency analysis.
That begs two questions. The first is: Why are any given chosen group of three to nine people representative of a community, (a)? And, (b), what validity do you ascribe to putting all of those people together, as if they all came from the same pool of individuals? That, to me, is the stake in the heart of the social assessment in the Interior Columbia Basin. It essentially provides an empirically and conceptually invalid basis for looking at the alleged resiliency of a given community.
And, finally, I'd like to point out that there is an unfortunately normative tone to the social impact assessment, particularly the scientific documents that back up the work in the Draft EIS. That tone essentially takes a few forms. The first is that everybody in these communities is sufficiently resilient to take everything that's thrown at them. I would necessarily disagree, as we heard on the previous panel, ''We're tough and we can probably take anything.'' The social impact assessment did say as much, that the very existence of some communities in extremely difficult economic and social circumstances speaks to their resiliency. However, that does not extent to taking the agencies off the hook for figuring out what the social impacts might be, resilient or unresilient.
Further, the assumption that recreation takes over economies in these rural communities, to me, strikes me as poor public policy. I think that it is incumbent on him to look at all of the possible economic alternatives from all the possible resources at our disposal. We owe it to our rural communities to realize that jobs are important, no matter what they are, but they also come in a variety of qualities and a variety of impacts on individuals, and they will have different impacts on the social structure or social organization of any given community.
Page 83 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So, in conclusion, my professional assessment is that, particularly the resiliency work, but the social stuff in general that is in the EIS should probably be stricken. I don't believe that it's empirically valid or conceptually acceptable. That would be my suggestion.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Dr. Harp, thank you very much for that excellent testimony.
The Chair now recognizes Dr. Rimbey.
STATEMENT OF NEIL RIMBEY, EXTENSION RANGE ECONOMIST, UNIVERSITY OF IDAHO, CALDWELL RESEARCH AND EXTENSION, CALDWELL, IDAHO
Dr. RIMBEY. Thank you, Congressman. Again, it's a pleasure to be here. Like the previous panels, I would imagine it's a humbling experience for this economist from rural Idaho.
Estimating the benefits and costs of alternative management strategies for an area this expansive and extensive is a monumental undertaking and presents some major problems, but
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Dr. Rimbey, I wonder if you might halt the testimony. I don't want the time clock to go.
I want to recognize Mr. Nethercutt, George Nethercutt, from Washington, who will be joining us here at the panel, and will also be joining us in questioning.
We're on our final panel, Mr. Nethercutt, and we have two economists from the University of Idaho and Tom Haislip, who just gave testimony. He works for CH2M HILL.
Sorry to interrupt you. Please resume your testimony.
Dr. RIMBEY. No problem.
In our reviewand I guess I should explain our review. We were requested by the Governor of the State of Idaho to work with a panel of individuals to help formulate Idaho's response to this project. The scope of the alternatives, the length of the planning horizon of 50 years, and the geographic area to be covered potentially expose the Draft EIS to many criticisms. We believe that there are four major critical issues relating to the economic assessment that need to be raised and addressed in this review.
Page 84 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC First, the evaluation of long-term benefits and costs is somewhat biased due to the heavy reliance on nonmarket measures of economic benefit.
Second, there's no provision for including estimates of costs, either market or nonmarket, agency or private, direct or indirect, in the analysis.
Third, the tabulation of benefits includes no estimate of when they will accrue to society during the 50-year planning horizon, nor are they discounted to present-value terms.
And the fourth major term, the Draft EIS makes significant, and we believe erroneous, assumptions about how community economies function.
Let me attempt to address each of those, time permitting. The nonmarket benefits is an interesting one. The values that are used in the Draft EIS are based upon contingent valuation methods. Contingent valuation is a well-established procedure in the economics field. The problems come from a couple of different perspectives. First and foremost, the values that were used to come up with these market-value market-basket values for the acreages were derived from published reports from Utah, and then a national study conducted out of Colorado, I believe. I'm not going to quibble with the dollar values, but I think it's important to give you some perspective of how much those contribute to those market-baskets.
For example, roadless existence values account for 47 percent of the total 1995 value of the market-basket for BLM- and Forest Service-administered lands in the Basin. By comparison, timber accounts for 11.5 percent of the total.
Those values are based on some pretty critical assumptions. They were implied, as I said, from that national study and the study in Utah. It's uncertain whether these values are within the realm of possibility for the Basin. We have not donenor am I aware of demand studies that have been done in Idaho, Oregon, and the rest of the Basin to validate those values.
Page 85 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Second, there may be some very substantial differences between stated and actual willingness to pay figures. A recent study by Loomis and some other folks stated that hypothetical and actual willingness to pay, there may be some substantial differences there.
Another study that was done in Colorado found that the process will not work for valuing or attempting to value public land forage.
I mentioned briefly the budgetary cost aspects. One of the references in the supporting material of the EIS stated that it is impossible to estimate its budgetary cost. Lack of discounting and presentation of benefit flows over timewhat they have done is essentially summed the benefits over time without any aspect of when they may accrue to society. This is a pretty difficult statement to make and to overcome in the analysis. Just a strict summation is going to give you a very faulty view.
Community economicsthe major points there are that jobs are not jobs. Jobs probably should be converted to some full-time-equivalent basis, adjusted for wage rates, some of those types of things, to show that, for example, increases in recreation have this kind of impact.
And with that, I would close and stand for questioning.
[The prepared statement of Dr. Harp and Dr. Rimbey may be found at end of hearing.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Dr. Rimbey, very much for your excellent testimony.
The Chair recognizes Mr. Hill.
Mr. HILL. Thank you, Madam Chairman.
Mr. Haislip, first, let me compliment you on the quality of the material that you've provided the Committee. It's extraordinarily helpful to me and helped me understand even better some of the issues here.
Page 86 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC One of the things that you point outand I don't know if you were here when I questioned the Forest Chief about this, but is it your view that the social and economic considerations have to be integrated into the alternatives, or can we just, as they have, try to address the impacts of those alternatives onthe social and economic impacts on the community?
Mr. HAISLIP. We believed, from day one on this project, that people should have been part of the alternatives, and were led to believe that that's what was going to happen, and we watched as those alternatives evolved. Our first reaction was, what about the people? And so my sense here continues to be that people are not part of the action that are described in the alternatives; they are an impacted entity, rather than made part of it.
Mr. HILL. And if you look at the supplemental work that was released, I guess, last week, in February, with regard to social and economic impacts, does that change your view any?
Mr. HAISLIP. I'm sorry, we haven't had a chance to look at that material.
Mr. HILL. Well, my view is that it doesn't, but I'll be curious of what your view will be when you're done with that.
[The information referred to may be found at end of hearing.]
Mr. HILL. In your judgment, does the science and the data that has been collected with regard to the environmental aspect of this, does it require the adoption of these standards in this process? I mean, is that a logical conclusion, in your judgment?
Mr. HAISLIP. I think that science is a basis on which you make judgments. In this case, creating standards is somebody's decision about how he's going to manage. So I don't think that there is any overpowering reason why you have to have standards out of this. The issue of standards is, to me, more of a policy issue, whether you're going to use them here or you're going to use them in the forest plan level. We think it's appropriate at the forest plan level to have standards, but standards that are adopted to the local conditions. To do it on a Basin-wide basis, I don't think there's anything in the data that would say you have to use standards.
Page 87 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HILL. In the material you suggested that you, in fact, challenged the legality of the whole process on the basis of whether or not the DEIS addresses the consequences of adoption of those standards, because it clearly doesn't; at least it doesn't from my perspective. Would you comment on that?
Mr. HAISLIP. Well, I guess I agree that it doesn't seem to have much of an impact analysis on what the standards are really going to be, and I think part of it has to do with their ability to truly expand or to truly access impact on a Basin-wide level what a standard would be. Part of it has to do with problems that I see in here, where they are misassessing the areas that are impacted, the size of the area that's being impacted, but I don't think they made much of an effort, quite frankly, to truly do much of that impact analysis.
I guess I'm not an attorney. So I don't know how far I want to go in terms of the legality of that. We did have some attorneys that helped us take a look at some of that material, and there may be some issues in law that I'm unfamiliar with that would say you can't really do that legally. I believe that to probably be true.
Mr. HILL. You make note that the plan at this point concentrates on a few endangered, primarily endangered species, almost to the exclusion of everything else or all other species. And I don't know whether this is a fair question to ask you, but one of the things that I've asked, and I've asked individual forest supervisors this question, is: What's the impact going to be on wildlife such as elk, deer, moose, as a consequence of this? Is this management plan compatible with increasing, improving habitat for those kinds of game animals or not? Or, to your knowledge, does this even make any kind of effort to evaluate the science?
Mr. HAISLIP. Unfortunately, we can't tell from the DEIS what the impacts are going to be to the more common species, because they're not really addressed.
Mr. HILL. Yet, this whole plan suggests that recreation is going to be the future economy of this area, and today I would suggest that hunting and fishing are two of the primary activities that occur on these public lands, both from the standpoint of outfitters bringing people in, but also the recreation of the people who reside in those areas. Am I wrong? Did the fact that they were deficient in evaluating the impact on the thing that generates the greatest in these lands now, that there's some inconsistency there?
Page 88 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HAISLIP. I think you're right.
Mr. HILL. Well, thank you very much. I really, again, appreciate the work that you've done here, and I certainly want to agree with you; I think that Congress has got to act on this because I really believe that this is a step in the wrong direction. If this goes to a Record of Decision and these standards are adopted, I think it will cause more conflict. I think it will provide less environmental protection, less habitat. It will damage our economies. It will upset the communities that we have, change the character of the whole region. So I appreciate your comments. Thank you very much.
Thank you, Madam Chairman.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Hill. Mr. Nethercutt?
Mr. NETHERCUTT. Thank you, Madam Chairman. I'm very grateful to you for allowing me to join this panel. I'm not a member of the Committee, but I'm delighted to have a chance to listen and appreciate your leadership on this whole issue of ecosystem management.
Gentlemen, welcome also. I'm sorry not to have been able to hear all of your testimony. I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but I want to recite to you and the Committee that, just about an hour ago or so, I was in a hearing with Secretary Babbitt on the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, and the Secretary was there seeking funding assistance for his agencies for the next fiscal year. And my questions to him related to the Interior Columbia Basin and the ecosystem management project. He made a statement early on, before I got there, but it was related to me, that he was concerned that the Draft EISs had been met with such unacceptance, such concern by a lot of sectors in the Northwest, but yet he also felt that this would be a way to solve the litigation problems that have existed relative to timber sales, and so forth.
And he also made a statement that said, words to this effect: that we can never have a full understanding of ecosystems. And I couldn't agree more with his comments about not having an understanding of ecosystems. I think that the word itself has now become artful language that allows government policy to take any form that it may want in the name of ecosystem management.
Page 89 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So I'm especially grateful for your comments and your testimony, and the fact that you've raised some concerns in general about, and in specific about, this project.
My question to you, each of youand if you've answered it already, forgive me for asking itbut I'm on the Appropriations Committee, as I said to you. We look at the funding under the Interior Appropriations for this project and others. I've in the past been dismayed by the amount of money that's been spent and the amount of money that I expect will be spent if there is any implementation as the agency seemed to want this project to be implemented. So my question to you is: What advice do you have for me, as a member of the Appropriations Committee, relative to this project? What do you think we should do with it on the funding side and in any other fashion? What would be your recommendation?
Dr. HARP. Speaking solely to the social and economic assessment, to try to stay at least marginally within my area of expertise, I had mentioned earlier that, particularly as a sociologist, I think the project should be ceased.
I would agree with Mr. Haislip that perhaps turning the information gathered, which is an enormous quantity of information, over to the local area managers and allowing them to use it in making local decisions seems like a reasonable cutting of the losses. To go forward to a Record of Decision and perhaps implementation, with the way the social and economic work was done, strikes me as irresponsible.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. Anybody else care to comment?
Mr. HAISLIP. Yes, I'll comment on that. I guess you may not want to hear what I say here, but while I have problems with the project, I do believe in the goals of the project, and I think it started out in the right direction, and we were strong supporters of this project for the last three-and-a-half years. It was toward the end that we got disillusioned with it, quite frankly. But I think they're kind of on target.
One of the things that I think this figure over here shows you is that we're not even going to get where we want to go with the kind of budgets that we're talking about. So I think there's a couple of things that need to be done. One, we need to get a realistic estimate of what it's really going to take to restore our forests in a reasonable amount of time, and 70 years is not a reasonable amount of time. Maybe our grandkids, our great-grandkids are going to be able to see that, but I'm not satisfied with that. So I think we're going to have to spend a lot of money on restoration. That's item No. 1.
Page 90 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Item No. 2, I think we'd better find some ways, which the documents don't show, how we can do that in an economical fashion. One of the things that I'm concerned about is the document doesn't talk about use of private sector timber interests, for example, or others that could actually make a living out of doing this restoration. It doesn't seem to be part of the plan, and I think it needs to be part of the plan.
So we need to find out what the real price tag is going to be, and then we'd better be ready to pay for it, because if we don't, we're going to spend it all on fighting forest fires instead of on restoring lands.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. Comments, sir?
Dr. RIMBEY. Do you want me to respond or are we out of time? My crystal ball in terms of the basic assumption that we will minimize litigation is pretty hazy, but I think it's a pretty heroic assumption, given the way that our society has progressed.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. Thank you, Chairman.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Mr. Nethercutt, we can return for another round of questioning, if you so wish.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. Sure. Great.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Dr. Harp, you indicated that there may be some ability of communities to convert to a recreation-based economy rather than resource-based, but how can we reconcile that with the new roadless area moratorium?
Dr. HARP. In my experience, in impact assessments, when there's an engineering type of thing or there's something tangible, it's easy to say, easier to say, what an impact would be, and perhaps, if necessary, mitigate. With social impacts, it's much more difficult.
In my experience with communities in Idaho, one of the primary forms of impact has been a reductionin their minds, they see a reduction in access to public lands near their communities long before the Interior Columbia Project came along. So they view that, they view the public land as integrated into their social lives, and so as access decreases, they don't view recreation as a business; they view it as part of their lives. So I think that would be an almost intangible, but fairly concreteit's kind of obviously a tension. If you can't get up into the forest to do your own personal recreation, that would be a social impact. If when coupled with not being able to get up into the forest to do your business as recreation, that would be what I would consider to be a double-whammy. So I'm not clear what type of recreation is compatible with access reduced to on-foot, backpacking types of recreation.
Page 91 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As Dr. Rimbey mentioned, jobs are not jobs, and in recreation sectors, how people spend money differs greatly across the type of recreational activity, and traditionally, where you spend it is the $64 question. If you fill up your backpack at home and drive 100 miles to a community, go up to the trailhead, backpack, come out, and go home, that community may have a lot of recreation going on around it, but the economic impact would be very limited. I think that is one of the things that was very much overlooked in this economic and social impact here, is the where, how much money, and if you can't get the kinds of recreation that do leave money in communities, like outfitted recreation, because of access issues, then recreation offers you very little as a rural community.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Dr. Harp, I also want to probe a little bit on the very human, personal, social aspects of the impacts of plans such ICBEMP. We have known or made the assumptions for quite some time that it's not easy to retrain loggers, and it's not easy to retrain people who choose to live in smaller communities. That's their choice for a lifestyle.
In your studies, have you delved into the actual social/psychological impact that this may have on individuals and families?
Dr. HARP. A little bit. One of the terms that I didn't use earlier, because I try to be non-jargon, if possible, but in the legal literature there's a term in takings literature called ''demoralization costs.'' I think that has quite a bit of currency as a social term, and essentially, it boils down to feeling demoralized when someone else's property is taken, for fear that you might be next or that it presents a pattern of diminution of some socially acceptable good. I think that's essentially a good metaphor for a lot of the impacts on individuals and families in these areas.
Luckily for a lot of folks in Idaho, Idaho's rural communities, they have a reasonable mix of things that they do. And so if you can't log over herefor example, when I worked in Bonner's Ferry, quite a few of the loggers up there had been precluded from the woods there, but they were working over in northeastern Washington or over in western Montana, but still living in Bonner's Ferry. So they got kind of a reasonable compromise, if you will, in terms of their lifestyle.
Page 92 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But when it goes away completely, it does lead to quite a bit of very low building up of issues that are a lot of times very hard on families, particularly when you lose a breadwinner, and then there's nothing; you end up with families holding three, four, or five jobs, all of them fairly low pay. That produces quite a bit of stress. In communities, they have a tendency to have a fracturing of their identity, and that also is fairly well-documented, particularly in timber communities.
And with regard to the Interior Columbia effort, I think one of the things that goes in hand with what I've just been discussing is the way that humans are dealt with in this EIS. In my reading, they're dealt with as a source of disturbance, an awful lot like fire or a landslide or anything else. They're something to be managed as opposed to something that's integrated into the process through which decisions about their own communities are being made. I found that kind of sad. It produces a discourse where the scientists and the professionals are the ones doing all the talking, and these folks living in these rural communities essentially are treated as a board foot or an AUM or something else to be managed. I think when you live in those communities and you see that from your professional land agencies, I would consider that demoralizing.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Very interesting.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. Thank you, Chairman.
A couple of quick, followup questions, gentlemen: Would you say that the public comment period and the structure of the study, and the other procedural operations of the project, have resulted in enough public comment? Do you follow my question? In other words, has it provided a maximum opportunity for the public to comment and for the public to understand the consequences of this study and the Draft Environmental Impact Statements? Mr. Haislip, I heard you say that you had faith in the beginnings of this effort, but you lost some confidenceif I'm not paraphrasing improperlythat you lost confidence a little bit as the project moved on.
Page 93 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Did the availability and the communication with the public and the need to have public comment enter into that conclusion that you have reached?
Mr. HAISLIP. Actually, I would compliment the project on that aspect of it. I think they did a fine job of getting lots of input, From day one, they've been very open and willing to talk, lots of public meetings. The Draft EIS now, gosh, it's been 9 months, or it's going to be 9 months or 10 months since the thing was out on the street. So I've got to say they've provided plenty of opportunity for people to comment. It's a good thing they did because it's a complex project and hard to understand, but I can't fault them for any of that.
I have to say that they didn't always listen to what we were telling them during the period of time, but certainly they listened. They didn't act on it, but they listened.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. What do you think is the reason for their not acting on what they heard, if you care to speculate?
Mr. HAISLIP. I can't speculate. It's individual kinds of things. Either they disagreed with us or they chose not to, or they had their minds made up when they started and they were just smiling and listening. It's hard to know for sure.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. How about the other gentlemen, any comment?
Dr. HARP. I would agree with Mr. Haislip that the quantity of the solicitation of public input matches the complexity of the project. Those Draft EISs are long, detailed documents, and if you have to delve into the scientific documentation behind it, it's quite an undertaking, and I think they've been very generous with the opportunities to comment on it.
Dr. RIMBEY. I would agree also. I was inhibited at first to try to wade through the stack of material, but I think the comment period has been sufficiently long, with the extensions that have been granted, in anticipation of the new release last week, some of those types of things. You know, if most people are like me, they get a deadline, and then right at the last minute they try to work through it.
Page 94 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. NETHERCUTT. I understand. Do any of you perceive a bias or a preconception about what the final product would be in the agencies, you know, the project participants? Have you sensed that they had their minds made up? Mr. Haislip, do you have any evidence of that or any sense that that has been their attitude along the way?
Mr. HAISLIP. I guess I kind of have always felt that to be the case, largely because we weren't getting very much response, but I couldn't prove it to you. But that's been my sense all along, is that they knew what they wanted to do.
I think, quite frankly, that that might have gotten stronger as time goes on. It's typical, when you study something, when you start into it, you're pretty open-minded; as you start forming opinions about it, they become more and more sedentary in your mind or harder and harder for you to move off of dead center. So early on, they probably were pretty open, but I don't think they gotthey didn't stay that way, would be my guess.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. Did either of the other witnesses detect any bias along the way?
Dr. HARP. I think, in general, there were a few in the social and economic stuff, but I think they're fairly standard, I guess. I wouldn't say that they were specifically ginned-up for the Interior Columbia effort.
And I would also agree with Mr. Haislip that, as you get down to any one detailed part of the chosen alternative, for example, it probably jelled over time. So as you do get down to public comment, it looks like it's kind of case-hardened. So it's very difficult to assess that.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. On the socio-economic side of all this, it appears to me, in looking at it, that there is greater value placed on the recreational use of the natural resources and less on the commercial use. Secretary Babbitt said today, well, we're going to have an acceptable level of resource use in the forest. Perhaps I have a bias, but I don't sense that. I think there's an intention to redirect the use of our natural resources away from the multiple-use concept that we've had over the years, and an attempt at sort of directing people away from any kind of commercial use of the forest, instead of maintaining that which we've had over the years.
Page 95 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Would you agree or disagree?
Dr. RIMBEY. I think in some cases you're right. It's difficult for me to say from the Draft EIS and some of the figures there, but, you know, just the magnitude of, for example, the amenity values versus commodity values would lead one to say, yes, that has potential of coming.
Dr. HARP. I would agree there's some kind of quirky things in the Draft EIS that would lead me to believe that the recreation judgment is kind of shot through the social and economic analysis. And looking at the new information that was released last week relative to what's in the draft, the tact taken on recreation is about an 180-degree turn. It goes from asserting that ''X'' percentage of jobs in each of these labor market areas is associated with recreation, with no reference as to how you created that number, and it flips over to, we can't now evaluate recreation on an individual sector. I agree, it's very difficult to assess it, but the different kind of how you would draw policy conclusions, depending on which of those do you show, they're very drastically different courses of action. If you do have 70 percent of your jobs represented by recreation, well, your policy choices are substantially different if you can't get a handle on it.
So I find on the social side kind of this quicksand approach that just boils down to, yes, I think there's a definite normative value judgment that communities ought to move to a recreation base, and that was the basis partially for my criticism of the whole undertaking. I think that's a value judgment, and I'm not sure it's borne out with empirical support.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. Thank you very much.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Nethercutt.
I wonder if we might bring the chart back that shows the effects of riparian zoning.
Page 96 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HAISLIP. Incidentally, I'd be happy to leave that here for you, if you'd like to have it.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I'd be happy if you would. Thank you very much.
Now, assuming that the only thing left in these areas are the two narrow bands between the white lines here, the only areas that are not within the riparian conservation areas in the landscape context, it looks to me like in that landscape context there's about 5 to 10no, no, no20 percent of the land base that may be available for multiple use. Is that correct?
Mr. HAISLIP. That's correct, if you could get to it.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. If you can access it?
Mr. HAISLIP. Yes.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Yes.
Dr. Harp and Dr. Rimbey, have you had the opportunity to view Mr. Haislip's work? Have you had the opportunity to view this mapping?
Dr. HARP. No, not me.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Dr. Rimbey?
Dr. RIMBEY. Nor I.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Do you feel that it would substantially change your testimony at all, since you have here at the hearing had the chance to review it?
Dr. HARP. I probably would have added that it would be now even more incumbent to look at. Give me an impact assessment of outcomes such as this, the socialI mean, there are no judgments about the social impacts in any of the proposed alternatives, and a detailed examination like this, getting back to the issue of access, kind of demands an assessment of how it would impact social organization of the community that's used to using those watersheds for things that perhaps now are precluded.
Page 97 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. Dr. Rimbey, do you have anything to add?
Dr. RIMBEY. Well, a similar sort of thing in terms of the economics. You know, if there is a reduction in land base, there may be a reduction in production that comes off of that, whether it be AUMs or whatever, and that can be translated readily into dollars and cents.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I wanted to ask you also, Dr. Rimbey, have you had the opportunity to review the project's new economic and social analysis, the new one?
Dr. RIMBEY. I did a pretty cursory review yesterday on the plane out here. It isn't detailed.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Does it raise or address any of the concerns that you have raised here?
Dr. RIMBEY. I think it moves more toward the community. The initial Draft EIS had one paragraph in there related to essentially that the impacts are going to be felt by these small, resource-dependent, rural communities, whereas the larger regional economies can adjust. They have the diversity within their economy to adjust to impacts of changes in public land policy. This moves in that direction. However, it's still not to the point where it is quantifiable of this is a benefit or this is a cost to a specific community.
I still have problems with pluses and minuses being construed to be costs or benefits, and those are prevalent in this new draft.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Could you also indicate for the record what is wrong with the use of contingency values in the economic assessments?
Dr. RIMBEY. The contingent value stuff I covered a little bit earlier, but I think the big thing is, when they create these market-baskets of value from the public lands, there's a whole bunch of apples and oranges that are going into it, and to allocate resources from that base, I think you're on pretty weak ground, particularly when there has been no ground-truthing of the values used to derive those market values in terms of the amenity values within the Basin.
Page 98 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [The information referred to may be found at end of hearing.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Well, gentlemen, I want to thank you very much for your testimony.
I do want to say, for the record, I appreciate the individuals who remained in the hearing room from the agencies, and particularly Ms. Giannettino, if you could review the map hereI know that you haven't had access to it, nor could you see it from where you're seated, but if you could review it and maybe coordinate with Mr. Haislip with regard to the visualization of what the riparian definition does, I would appreciate that very much.
And then with regard to the work that Mr. Haislip has submitted here, if you could submit a comment for the record with regard to whether you, as project manager, feel that this comports with the definition of riparian areas?
[The information referred to may be found at end of hearing.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. So, with that, I do want to say that this ends our hearingand Mr. Nethercutt?
Mr. NETHERCUTT. Madam Chairman, may I just interrupt and ask, if I may, for the record, since I missed the first two panels, I have a couple of questions I would want to submit to one or two of the witnesses. If the chairman wouldn't mind, I might submit those and then ask that they be responded to in writing.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Without objection, so ordered.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. Thank you.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I do want to say that the hearing record will remain open for 10 days, and we will be submitting more questions not only from the Committee, but also from Mr. Nethercutt. So we would appreciate your prompt response to the questions, because certainly the committee Mr. Nethercutt serves on will be using the information that has been gathered here.
Page 99 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [The information referred to may be found at end of hearing.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. And so if there is no further business, the chairman again thanks you, Mr. Nethercutt, and the other members who joined us in the Subcommittee, and I thank the witnesses. You've come a long way. It's been a long hearing, and I appreciate your time.
This Subcommittee stands adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 1:30 p.m., the Subcommittee adjourned subject to the call of the Chair.]
[Additional material submitted for the record follows.]
STATEMENT OF MARTHA HAHN, CHAIR, EXECUTIVE STEERING COMMITTEE, INTERIOR COLUMBIA BASIN ECOSYSTEM MANAGEMENT PROJECT (ICBEMP)
Madam Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee:
I appreciate this opportunity to update the Subcommittee on the status of the Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project (Project). I am Martha Hahn, Idaho State Director for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Today, I appear before you in my capacity as chair of the Interagency Executive Steering Committee which oversees the Project.
My comments today stress the importance of the on-the-ground activities that would be conducted under the Project, such as more aggressive weed treatment and stand density management. I will begin by addressing cost and funding issues.
The ICBEMP is a scientifically sound and ecosystem-based management strategy for federally-managed lands within the east side of the Columbia Basin. By the end of fiscal year 1998, the Project will have spent a total of approximately $40 million to research and produce the Scientific Assessments, released in September 1996 and May 1997, and the draft Environmental Impact Statements (EIS's) for the Eastside of Oregon and Washington and for the Upper Columbia River Basin in Idaho and portions of Montana, Wyoming, Utah, and Nevada, which were released in May 1997.
Page 100 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In fiscal year 1998, the BLM and the Forest Service expect to spend about $5.7 million on Project planning activities related to the draft EIS's. These activities include holding public meetings, briefing State and local governments and Tribal officials, and analyzing public comments on the draft EIS's.
Following the public comment period on the draft EIS's, which at its close will have spanned nearly one year, the Project team will complete its analysis of all public comments and prepare the final EIS and a Record of Decision (ROD). Public comments may result in changes to the EIS, including changes in the Preferred Alternative. Previous funding estimates likewise may change. As the Final EIS and ROD are developed, the agencies will reassess implementation funding needs and will forward these to the Congress.
Whatever the final decision on the ROD, we will implement it to restore long-term ecological integrity to the federally-managed lands in the Project area. We expect implementation costs may first be incurred in fiscal year 1999, with full implementation expected in fiscal year 2000. In the fiscal year 1999 budget request, the BLM is seeking an increase of $6.8 million for project implementation; the Fish and Wildlife Service, an additional $1.5 million; and the Forest Service, an increase of $10 million. This additional funding would be used to restore lands in the basin to healthy conditions by combating invasive weeds, improving fish and wildlife habitat, and restoring riparian areas.
The Project's aim is to minimize potential risks that were projected by the Scientific Assessment. These would include: the continued decline of salmon and many other species toward endangerment; an increasing threat of wildfires (endangering human life and dwellings); insect pest population growth; declining rangeland productivity; and non-native weed invasions (threatening both native plants and grazing livestock health.)
Project funding will be used to reduce the risk of fire, insect infestation and disease, and improve aquatic and wildlife ecosystem health by thinning dense forest stands, completing prescribed burns, initiating integrated weed management and restoring riparian areas. Some of the funding will be used to complete prerequisite work that must precede on the ground restoration, including sub-basin reviews and ecosystem analyses at the watershed scale that will help to identify priorities and provide the context for making decisions at the local level.
Page 101 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Additionally, we will address backlog work that has been known for some time, such as treating weed infestations, reducing high fuel buildup, and improving poor riparian conditions.
Let me turn now to discuss public involvement, which has been a cornerstone of the Project. Throughout the planning process, the Project team has emphasized collaboration with stakeholders in order to facilitate the evaluation of new information about socioeconomic and environmental conditions. It's taking more time than we had originally estimated, but we believe the additional time required to include all interested parties in our process is a worthwhile investment. At the end, everyone has ownership.
Since the beginning of the public comment period in May 1997, Executive Steering Committee members and Project staff have participated in over 30 public meetings across the basin. More meetings are scheduled to occur before the close of the comment period. Last July, we produced a satellite teleconference which was broadcast to 56 sites in the regionover 700 citizens participated. In addition, we have met with representatives from State and local governments, Tribal officials, over 26 businesses, conservation and civic groups, federally sanctioned advisory groups, and local citizens. The Project team has a mailing list of over 8,000 individuals and organizations. It sends out a newsletter and maintains an Internet home page (www.icbemp.gov) where the public can find Project documents.
In part to address issues raised as a result of this extensive public involvement, the Project team released last week a report, Economic and Social Conditions of Communities. As you may recall, when the Draft EIS's were released last May, the Eastside Ecosystem Coalition of Counties (EECC) expressed concerns about the potential social and economic effects on small rural communities due to changes in Federal land management resulting from the Project. On April 21, 1997, Judge Dale White, chairman of the EECC, and I jointly released a letter which stated in part: ''. . . the Regional Executives and the EECC have agreed to work together between the Draft and Final Environmental Impact Statements, particularly on the sections related to social and economic effects.'' Several months later, in Section 323 (b) of the Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-83), the Congress directed the Project to: ''analyze the economic and social conditions, and culture and customs, of the communities at the subbasin level within the Project area and the impacts the alternatives in the draft EIS's will have on those communities.''
Page 102 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Our goal was to produce a report that would meet Congressional direction and allow the public to have ''a reasonable period of time'' prior to the close of the comment period in which to review and comment on this Report and the Draft EIS's. The comment period has been extended until May 6, 1998, to give the public such time.
The socio-economic report expands upon information in the two Draft EIS's, and provides additional data on economic and social conditions of communities in the Project area. It discusses potential impacts of the management alternatives presented in the Draft EIS's on communities specializing in industries, such as agriculture, wood-products manufacturing, and mining, for which standardized industry category data were available. Economic impacts associated with industries that do not collect standardized economic data, such as recreation, and non-resource related industries that locate in the region because of resource-related amenities, such as high-tech firms, are not fully addressed in this report.
In conclusion, we must manage public lands to provide for sustainable populations of plant and animal species on behalf of present and future generations of Americans and we must create a sustainable flow of goods and services that can support our local communities over the long-term. The members of the Executive Steering Committee are committed to achieving these goals through the Project. We ask for your support.
This concludes my statement and I will be glad to answer any questions you may have.
STATEMENT OF HON. DENNIS REYNOLDS, GRANT COUNTY, OREGON
Thank you, Chairwoman Chenoweth for inviting me to testify before this oversight hearing. I am humbled by my surroundings and the stature of your Committee. My name is Dennis Reynolds, Grant County Oregon, Judge. My county is entirely included within the planning boundaries of the Interior Columbia Basin Project. I have monitored the project since I was first elected in 1995.
Page 103 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I was not always an elected official. I often say: ''I am a Forester by Education; Sawmill Manager by Experience; A Contract Logger by Choice; and a County Judge by means of Temporary Insanity.''
I will share with you the status of the ICBEMP from the eyes of an elected official of an impacted county. Grant County is specifically asking that the peer reviewed and peer approved science assembled in the ICBEMP process be codified and made available to all National Forests and BLM districts to be incorporated in each of their respective plans. We are asking that the ICBEMP not proceed to a Record of Decision.
Nothing within this testimony should be construed to imply that Grant County wants anything less than vital communities, clean water, clean air, healthy Federal lands, and a functional Federal/County relationship. While we agree with the Eastside Ecosystem Coalition of Counties on these wants we respectfully disagree on how to obtain them.
I speak to you today as an elected official of Grant county, representing 7,950 residents residing on 2,897,920 acres of land of which 64 percent is publicly managed. Our principal industries include Forestry, Livestock, Agriculture, Hunting, and Recreation. Grant County was created in 1864 and contains the headwaters of the John Day River, which has more miles of Wild and Scenic designation than any other river in the United States.
Grant County also is known for its exceptionally high rate of unemployment. An article titled ''Grant County's jobless rate highest in state.'' The Oregonian on February 17, 1998 reported Grant County finished 1997 with an unemployment rate of 12.5 percent. Its jobless rate was the worst in Oregon while the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Oregon stood at 5.3 percent in December. ''Six times during 1997 the Eastern Oregon county's unemployment picture is the worst in the state.''
Grant County's average annual pay per job in 1996 was $21,831 while Oregon's was $27,031 and the United States was $28,945. (Oregon Employment Department 1998 Regional Economic Profile Region 13, pg 40)
Page 104 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Grant County's economy has been identified by the Oregon Economic Development Division as the second most likely county to suffer economic collapse in future years.
My county Assessor reports real estate prices are booming in Oregon. They sure aren't in Grant County.
I am convinced Federal laws provide a place at the land use management table for local government involvement and joint planning. I am not convinced the intent of the law is served when the Federal agencies plan with delegates designated by an association of counties to which our county may or may not belong. The Eastside Ecosystem Coalition of Counties represents the state associations of counties of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana.
Grant County has not delegated planning or representation authority to either the Association of Oregon Counties or the Eastside Ecosystem Coalition of Counties.
Counties are distinctively different. For every variable you can list there is little chance another county is exactly the same. Because we are different our needs are not the same.
A major concern we have for the implementation of the ICBEMP relates to these differences. Like ecosystems our counties have specific subsistence needs. The ICBEMP attempts to address all of these specific ecosystem needs and county needs with the same ''one size fits all'' Objectives and 166 Standards. These Standards we fear will not provide the flexibility local managers will need to accommodate the individual needs of our county.
Grant County identified this issue early in the process. Other counties agreed and became more concerned. Thankfully, Congress responded and invited additional socio-economical analysis. Near the end of January 1998 a member of the Association of Oregon Counties and a second member of the Oregon delegation to the EECC explained they had previewed the additional analysis and reported additional matrixing had reviled, as we had professed, there were ''low resiliency'' and ''low, low resiliency'' counties. Again I was orally assured all nine incorporated cities in Grant County had risen to the top of the list of the lease resilient communities.
Page 105 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As of March 4, 1998 I have yet to see a copy of the new socio-economical analysis document. It was to be released in mid February.
All of the extensive and 40 million plus dollar planning done thus far for the ICBEMP and the economic team leader Mr. Nick Reynahas been unable answer the question foremost in the minds of Grant County citizens. What does all of this mean specifically to Grant County? On two occasions I asked the question. In response if was told if our communities happen to be close enough to an area where restoration activities might occur, they might receive a benefit, if they were not close to an area where the restoration activity occurred then they more than likely would not benefit. Page 4-181 of the DEIS concentrates restoration within the wildland/urban interface. The wildland/urban interface is generally highly resilient. Restoration activity needs to be directed toward areas of least economic resiliency.
Nothing within the DEIS is specifically clear on how the lowest resiliency communities will be addressed, now that they have been further quantified and delineated.
Why are the ICBEMP planners not equally concerned with how they are complying with the Sustained Yield Forest Management Act of 1944 which established the even-flow sustained yield policy for timber harvest with a focus on community stability (emphasis added) as they appear to be with complying with the Endangered Species Act and National Forest Management Act of 1976?
Grant County has been skeptical of the Federal/county collaborative relationship from the onset of the ICBEMP. On January 22, 1998 the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Chief of the Forest Service, Mike Dombeck proposed to halt all road construction in roadless areas on National Forests. A definite violation of trust by the absence of collaboration. On February 10, 1998 he held a private meeting with county commissioners John Howard and Pat Wortman and Association of Oregon Counties staff and apologized for proceeding with the proposal without first having involved the counties in the basin. He termed it a serious mistake. (EECC 24th Report 2/18/98) On February 13th in LaGrande USFS Chief Dombeck by phone apologized again to attendees of an open forum assembled by Oregon Governor Kitzhaber. Yet the proposal continues with little to no respect given the betrayed counties.
Page 106 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Grant County had been told this collaborative technique was the only way to go, for so long, it was difficult for us not to say we told you so.
Grant County continues to fear and predict that in spite of all the planning efforts exhausted on the ICBEMP, if it goes to a Record of Decision, it will be appealed and subsequently litigated. The planning process will simply consolidate and stop all proposed activities on 144 million acres in one litigation.
On February 13, 1998 Oregon's Governor Kitzhaber invited all counties to embrace the notion of collaborative consultation. At the same time a member of his forest health task force reported that with the aid of the task force Governor Kitzhaber had identified 26 USFS timber sales that he felt should continue in the sale process to harvest. The Badger timber sale on the Malheur National forest was one of those 26 sales. Even with the intensive scientific review and considerable scrutiny and site visit by the Governor's task force and subsequent endorsement by the Governor of the State of Oregon the sale is now in litigation. Its award is uncertain much to the discouragement of the citizens of Grant County.
Frivolous litigation must be legislatively stopped. The situation can not be resolved until the weakest link in the chain, which is now an inevitable litigation at the end of any planning process, is removed. In the words of an elderly forester friend of mine, ''When the tail starts to wag the dog, it's time to cut the tail off.''
Management decision makers must be legislatively empowered to make decisions consistent with their professional expertise and required to utilize codified, peer reviewed and peer approved science. These managers deserve a degree of litigative insulation if they have applied the science consistently.
In another valiant and respectable effort Governor Kitzhaber pushed to completion The Oregon Plan, a Coastal Salmon Restoration Initiative designed to avoid the listing of the coastal coho salmon runs. The plan was put in place in spite of much local opposition. It received the endorsement of the National Marine Fisheries Service. Last week less than a year into the plan that was in the making since October of 1995, the National Marine Fisheries Service unilaterally decided to mandate additional restrictions on harvest of private timber administered by Oregon State Forestry. A substantial amount of private timber harvest appears now in jeopardy. So extreme are the proposed restrictions some industry representatives are indicating some lands will be totally lost to management.
Page 107 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Can we trust these Federal/County collaborative efforts? Grant County thinks not. The only hope for these efforts is to bring the decisions home to the situations and apply codified science with participation from local planners, both Federal and county and local stakeholders.
Grant County is concerned about the degree of secrecy surrounding the ICBEMP.
The first draft of the ICBEMP was dated July 12, 1996. I asked the Oregon Association of Counties for a copy. They indicated the EECC had signed an agreement not to share any of the information with the outside. My contact indicated I might get my local Regional Advisory Council to ''leak'' a copy to me. After much effort I received a draft copy labeled ''(for FACA-Exempt Agency Review Only)'' on December 31, 1996 from the USFS. I am of the opinion counties are FACA exempt.
If counties are FACA exempt, what authority did EECC members have to conduct executive meetings and deny other impacted county participation? To the extent my personal knowledge can relay executive meetings were held on October 7, 1997 at Walla Walla, February 12, 1998 in Boise, Idaho, and February 13, 1998 in LaGrande, Oregon.
I attempted to obtain copies of forest reviews of the draft EIS. I obtained copies of comments from the Wallowa-Whitman and Umatilla National Forests. Each review was comprehensive raising serious questions and providing suggestions. One review when responding to the positive stuff reiterated ''Nice Sidebars, good fonts, Colorful maps.'' The reviews were not particularly supportive of the draft EIS. Suddenly availability of review documents similar to these became unavailable from any other forests.
Computer GIS systems were seen as a visual management tool. I obtained a set of three draft computer overlay maps that attempted to pictorially project the impact effect of Alternative 4 implementation. The first map displayed the management intensity in 1987 according to the Forest and Land Management Plan of that year. The second map displayed the 1996 timber management opportunities after implementation of all applicable laws and direction. The third map displays the potential ecosystem restoration intensity preliminary as of August 20, 1997. In each case the higher degree of intensity is displayed by a darker color. The no management areas are white. All ranges of management between are a lighter shade of the darker color. It is vividly obvious that as you progress from 1987 to 1997 the map becomes very light with a great deal of white visible. The other major difference is the buffer strips becoming white and wider. These areas take on the appearance of veins in leaves. The legends change from intensity of management in the first two maps to intensity of timber based restoration in the last map. It's my understanding these maps have been sequestered. If so; why are the authors of the ICBEMP afraid of this information becoming common knowledge in the area of impact?
Page 108 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Current management decisions continue to be plagued by conflicting and overlapping Federal laws and regulations. ICBEMP does nothing to reduce the overlap but compounds the problem with an additional 166 Standards. A case in point is the Summit fire salvage sale on the Malheur National forest. On August 13, 1996 a lightning storm started what was to become the Summit Fire. It was eventually controlled at 37,961 acres on September 16, 1996. The Long Creek district of the Malheur National Forest contained 28,286 acres or 75 percent of the burned over area. The district immediately began an Environmental Impact Statement to analyze recovery alternatives. A draft EIS was published in April of 1977. A Final EIS with Record of Decision was published September 1997. Two appeals were filed on the last day to file appeals, one by the Tribes and one by a coalition of 10 environmental groups. The forest supervisor announced his intent to withdraw his decision on December 12, 1997 and formally withdrew the decision on January 8, 1998.
In a recent meeting with the forest service the forest service team members discussed with the crowd the pros and cons of how many standing dead trees to leave to meet Management Indicator Species constraints. The area in question was about 7 percent of the proposed activity area which was about 11,000 acres, which was about 29 percent of the total area burned. Therefore, if you allow the surface area of this page to represent the 37,961 acres burned the square at the top of this page represents the proportionate size of the area in question. What covers the remainder of this page? More standing dead trees. This makes no sense to the rational thinking person. In the meantime we are days down the road from the death of the trees. They have deteriorated in value to the American taxpayers approximately $13,000,000 in value and continue to decline in value until about the end of the year when they are likely to be of no sale value to the American taxpayers. At that time the American taxpayers will have lost an additional $15,600,000 including an estimated $1,600,000 in sale analysis. The laws then require the American taxpayers to fund the reforestation project to the tune of numerous more millions of dollars. While all this transpires the stream continues to run chocolate brown. Salmon spawning beds continue to silt. The county will have lost a little more than $8,000,000 of family wage payroll not including the in county turn over benefit. I ask you, who wins in this scenario? If only the American taxpayers knew what was being wasted!
Page 109 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC From Grant County's perspective, given the above information, the ICBEMP should not proceed to a Record of Decision.
STATEMENT OF CHARLES DECKER, PRESIDENT, CRD TIMBER & LOGGING, LIBBY, MONTANA
Good Morning. My name is Charlie Decker and I live and work in Lincoln County, Montana. I am here as a small business owner and resident. I am not representing the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation although I am a founder and board member. Neither am I representing Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks although I have been a commissioner for the past six years.
I hope I represent common sense. The people who have been writing the draft EIS on the Upper Columbia River Basin have more degrees than a thermometer. You would figure with all that education and the time and money spent, the draft ElS might make sense. It doesn't. The way I understand it, it makes Northwestern Montana into an outdoor theme park. It takes management decisions out of the hands of the people closest to the land It guarantees employment for environmental lawyers and unemployment for local citizens. Worst of all, it hurts the land.
I realize that what I am saying doesn't agree with the ''experts.'' During my six years on the Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission, I have on occasion. tangled with professional biologists and other experts. Too many times, I have seen a study to support an agenda.
The experts don't seem to realize that I work, hunt and fish on the lands of Lincoln County. I talk to loggers, hunters, fishermen and other folks on a daily basis. If we are losing moose population in the Yaak, I hear about it. If big rainbows are biting in the Kootenai, it takes a few days longer for some reason, but I hear about it.
I know we aren't harvesting enough timber in Lincoln County. We are growing 500 million board feet a year in the Kootenai National Forest and we are only harvesting 80 million board feet. Somewhere around 300 million board feet just plain dies. I see it every day. We are creating a huge tinderbox. A couple of lightning strikes after a dry winter like this and we will have thousands of square miles of stumps and ashes.
Page 110 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Now, I may be wrong, but a burn area does not provide much recreation or economic value. Eventually, the burn grows back. This is how the Upper Columbia River basin has managed itself since the last ice agecomplete with the erosion and damage caused by major forest fires.
Using common sense, we can manage the forest, harvest the timber and avoid catastrophic waste. Sensible logging opens the forest canopy, increases the food supply for wildlife and reduces the loss due to fire and disease.
I am not here because harvesting a few more logs will make me rich. You can ask my wife. After forty years of hard work we are just about breaking even. I am here because most folks don't have the time or money to fight the bureaucracy behind the draft EIS.
We run the county on a constitution you can fold and put in you pocket. Instead of the thousand pages of draft EIS, we need broad principles that balance environmental concerns with local economies. Then, local managers need the power to make decisions.
Most important of all, we need to move beyond ''studying'' the situation. If the U.S. Forest Service had existed in Jefferson's day, we would still be studying the Louisiana Purchase. If there are problems in the Upper Columbia River Basin, let's put them in plain English. Let the local people have the first run at solving them, rather than have ''answers'' dictated by bureaucracy and biased experts. And let's start managing our resources before they burn to the ground.
INSERT OFFSET FOLIOS 1 TO 100 AND 339 HERE
INTERIOR COLUMBIA BASIN ECOSYSTEM MANAGEMENT PROJECT
Page 111 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCTUESDAY, APRIL 14, 1998
House of Representatives, Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health, Committee on Resources, Nampa, Idaho.
The Subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 1 p.m. in City Hall Council Chambers, 411 3rd Street South, Nampa, Idaho, Hon. Helen Chenoweth (chairman of the Subcommittee) presiding.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Today the Subcommittee is meeting today to hold an oversight hearing and hear testimony on the Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project.
After numerous hearings in Washington, DC on this subject, I am especially pleased to hold this Subcommittee meeting in Idaho to hear directly from the many people here who I know have many concerns of their own. We will hear from as many of you as possible this afternoon, immediately following the fourth panel.
Please be sure to sign up at the table in the back of the room if you would like to speak. If we run out of time at 6 p.m. before we get to you, please submit your statements so that we can include them in the record. And, frankly, I am as willing to stay here and listen to you as you are willing to sit through this hearing in order to offer us your testimonies.
Both the House and Senate authorizing committees have reviewed the process and the progress of this project since shortly after it was initiated in 1994. In 1996 the Forest Service assured us that these ecoregion assessments would ''save time and money in the long run.'' Since that time, however, the projected cost has risen, and the estimated completion date has been delayed year after year.
By 1995, the agencies estimated it would be an 18-month project costing $31 million, only 18 months costing $31 million. Now we are in the fifth year with the cost to the taxpayers of $40 million and counting. The agencies now estimate project implementation will cost $125 million per year in addition to funds that are already allocated to the agencies or management activities within the basin.
Page 112 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Just last month, the chair of the executive steering committee, Martha Hahn, testified before my Subcommittee that the BLM and Forest Service will spend $5.7 million this year on the draft EIS. This does not even include what the regulatory agencies are spending. These continually rising costs have been a concern to the appropriators as well as to those of us who are the authorizers. They recognize that the price tag is unreasonable and out of reach and that the project has never been authorized by Congress.
I am afraid we have reached a point of paralysis of analysis. In 1995, an interagency task force chaired by the Council on Environmental Quality cited potential drawbacks of broad-scale analyses like the Columbia Basin Project, expressing concern with the inefficiencies and ineffectiveness in the use of resources because of the added level of NEPA documentation.
It also found both limited usefulness and vulnerability to legal challenges. More recently, even the agencies involved in the project have echoed these concerns to varying degrees.
So I must seriously question why this administration continues to work on a decision that is not authorized by Congress, leads to greater inefficiencies with ever increasing costs and has limited usefulness?
I am told that forest managers working in the basin believe that the plan cannot be implemented due to the top-down constraints it would impose on them, and that the alternatives will not achieve the project objectives. And we have been told that many of these rigid standards were added last year because the regulatory agencies did not trust the management agencies.
Yet there are no performance standards governing the regulatory agencies in this process. Similarly, the project managers admit that due to the very broad scale of the Columbia Basin Project, the impacts of changes imposed on local plans cannot be accurately assessed.
Page 113 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The National Forest Management Act and the National Environmental Policy Act together require the Forest Service to prepare land and resource management plans for each unit in the National Forest System and to analyze and disclose the impact of any proposed decision.
By all accounts, this management plan, the ICBEMP, does not meet these requirements. The CEQ task force suggested that this type of broad scale analysis should be used only as guides during the agency's decisionmaking processes. It should not result in a one-size-fits-all decision. We should heed this advice and halt this incredible waste of taxpayer dollars.
One of the key findings of the science assessment was that the Interior Columbia Basin is highly variable both in terms of ecological conditions and social and economic structures. Therefore, instead of funding completion of the Columbia Basin Project, Congress should now direct the agencies to forward the vast scientific information that has been collected to local national forest and BLM district managers so that they may use it where it can best be applied, at the local forest and district level.
The chairman notes that the Ranking Minority Member from New York was unable to attend this Subcommittee hearing, but the Subcommittee will accept any statements he may have for the record.
I do want to also say for the record that my staff, including Anne Heissenbuttel from the Committee staff in Washington, DC, and Jim Gambrell, who is my district director here in Idaho, who will join me up here to help with these hearing processes, have gone to great lengths to try to make sure that we have been able to hear from everyone. And we contacted and, of course, worked with the Minority staff and asked them to contact those people who would favor this ecosystem planning process.
To date we have not been very successful. We also asked Steve Holmer from the Western Ancient Forest Campaign to suggest people here in Idaho who would be very interested in testifying. We do have just a handful.
Page 114 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But I do want to say for any of you who are in the audience, you would be more than welcome to be heard, and your testimony will be made a part of the record. We will have to limit the oral testimony, as we do with all of our witnesses, but your entire testimony will be entered into the record and will become a part of the permanent record that I will take back to Washington, DC, as we analyze and determine future congressional actions on this particular project.
And now I would like to introduce our first set of witnesses. I wonder if they might take their place at the table. I ask that Representative Chuck Cuddy from the Idaho State Legislature join us, Commissioner Dick Bass, Chairman of the Owyhee County Commission in Murphy, Idaho, and Frank Walker from the Ada County Commission. Are Mr. Cuddy and Mr. Walker here?
They aren't here yet. If they arrive later, we will take their testimony then. Mr. Bass, I am awfully glad to see you join us today.
But before we continue, I would like to explain that I intend to place all of our witnesses under oath. This is a formality of the Committee that is meant to assure open and honest discussion and should not affect the testimony given by the witnesses.
I believe all of the witnesses were informed of this before appearing here today, and they have each been provided a copy of the Committee rules. So if you will rise and raise your right arm.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Mr. Bass, will you please proceed.
STATEMENT OF RICHARD BASS, CHAIRMAN, BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS, OWYHEE COUNTY, IDAHO
Mr. BASS. Thank you, Representative Chenoweth. I come here with the blessings of my fellow commissioners in Owyhee County on the subject.
Representative Chenoweth, members of the Subcommittee staff, it is my pleasure to have the opportunity to testify today regarding the Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project. I want to specifically direct my testimony to the failure of the Federal agencies to coordinate the development of the project with Owyhee County and other counties engaged in the local land use planning process.
Page 115 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I know the agencies have told Congress that they have extensively coordinated the project with local government, and I know that the draft EIS makes the same representation. But that representation is misleading and does not tell you or the public the truth about coordination, especially as coordination is required by Federal statutes.
FLPMA, the Federal Land Management Planning Act, specifically provides that the Secretary of Interior ''shall,'' it is in quotes, coordinate land use inventory, planning, and management activities with the land use planning and management program of other Federal departments, agencies, and of the state and local governments within which these lands are located. And that statute is 43 USC 1712(c)(9).
FLPMA further provides that if after coordinated planning, a Federal plan is inconsistent with local county plan, the secretary ''shall,'' that is in quotes again in the code, assist in resolving the inconsistencies. The statute also provides that the secretary must assure that the Federal plan is consistent with state and local plans to the maximum extent possible.
These mandates are required coordination of development of the draft EIS and the selection of a preferred alternative and with those counties in Idaho which have a land use planning management program.
Owyhee County is such a county. We adopted a land use plan setting forth guidelines for management of the Federal lands in our county in 1993.
Our land use planning and management program, as to the Federal lands, has been in existence and actively developed since 1992. The BLM, Boise district, the Boise state office, the Secretary of Interior, have all been specifically advised of the Owyhee County plan and the planning management program. Repeatedly, agency personnel have told Members of Congress that there was extensive coordination with local county government in the development of the draft EIS and alternatives. This is simply not true.
Page 116 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The ecosystem project staff working with the association of counties in both Washington, Oregon, and Idaho established a coalition of members of the association to work with the project staff in developing the draft EIS. But such work with the coalition did not include coordination with the counties who have a planning and management program.
And such work with the coalition is not an adequate or even satisfactory compliance with the congressional mandate of coordination. I want to tell you here today, as I have made myself clear to the association of counties, that the Idaho association of counties is simply a lobbying and informational association which counties may join on a voluntary basis. The association has no authority to speak for the citizens of Owyhee county. And the association has no authority to substitute for Owyhee County and planning activities with the planning teams.
Owyhee County has repeatedly voiced its objection to the failure of the ecosystem project staff to coordinate with the county. It has repeatedly voiced its objection to the attempt of the project staff to substitute the coalition of counties for local government officials of Owyhee County and other counties which have land use plans and programs.
I have personally stated our county's objection to the process, used for development of the draft EIS on many occasions. I have personally stated and written our objections to the BLM staff, to Steve Mealey, who was the former project director, and other members of the project team in Boise and Walla Walla, and to the Secretary of the Interior and the association of counties, and the members of the coalition.
In spite of the repeated protests and objections, there have been no coordination with our county. We believe that the same failure to coordinate occurred with each of the counties throughout Idaho, which have a local planning and management program for the Federal lands.
We made our request for coordination from the inception of the project, and our requests were ignored. We made demands for coordination and specifically set forth the statutory provisions requiring coordinations.
Page 117 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Now, Congressman, we make our objections to the project process to you as the oversight authority over management of the Federal lands.
That ends my oral testimony. I have written testimony that I prepared and gave to your Committee, your staff. I also have some copies of our county land use plan that I will leave with your staff. I was informed that we only needed five copies and, if we need more, I will certainly provide them to you.
But I need to tell you how frustrating it is to, in this time in our lives, be subject to the spin of the Federal Government, and about coordinating with the counties when they don'tthey say they are. They have a selected few commissioners that they will talk to. But when it comes down to talking to the counties, they justthey won't.
They are not telling you the truth when they say that they are. They are not doing what the Federal law, that you have helped to pass, they don't want to follow that. And we want to follow it to the letter of the law. We are not making any of these things up. I would be glad to answer any of your questions that I can. If you need additional information, I will certainly give it to you.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Commissioner Bass. It was very interesting testimony. And without objection, your entire written testimony will become a part of the record as well as an addendum, that being the written Owyhee County plan. And I have not seen the latest plan, but usually they are very well done, and I appreciate you bringing the copies for us.
I do have some questions for you. Is it pretty clear to you, or do you have any evidence at all, that the management team that put this plan together, do you have any evidence at all that they ever reviewed your Owyhee County plan?
Mr. BASS. No, not really.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Did they ask for a copy of it?
Page 118 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BASS. Yes, they have a copy. I personally talked to Mr. Mealey. And on one occasion he did come out. He came over to Boise and met there in the post office and talked about coordination. He was advised that day by staff from the bureau, that he need not include us in coordinating until the draft was out.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. He was advised by staff from the Bureau of Land Management?
Mr. BASS. Yes, ma'am. I also talked to, personally talked to, one of the project leaders in Walla Walla. Being naive as I am sometimes, I called Walla Walla thinking maybe they really had not read our letter, and they were not informed of what the law required them to do in coordination.
And the gentleman I talked to thereI believe his name is Mr. Blackwitzsaid, Oh, yes, he was very familiar with the law. He said, In fact, I can quote the law to you, and it is the statute that I give to you.
And he did.
And I said, Well, then, why not coordinate with the counties where we have a county land use plan?
We are not trying to tell the Federal Government what they can do and what they can't do. We only want to coordinate and cooperate with them. And I don't say the word ''collaborate,'' because I have the image of a collaborator as a traitor. I saw that in the Second World War, the people that collaborated had their heads shaved and they were considered traitors.
But, anyway, he said, well, you really can't expect us to go to each county that has the Federal lands in them and sit down and coordinate with these folks.
And I said, well, I certainly do expect that. And the Congress expected that when they put this into law.
Page 119 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. Who did decide which counties should be included or excluded from the east side coalition of counties, do you know?
Mr. BASS. I am not privy to that information. The coalition was formed through a memorandum of understanding with the Forest Service, the BLM, and the counties that are associated with those, and those folks on the public lands committee selected the people that would represent the coalition.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. On what basis did the BLM and the Forest Service decide to work with the association of counties and not with the Owyhee County and other counties?
Mr. BASS. It is very puzzling. First they said that one of the reasons why they couldn't coordinate with the counties, that we were not FACA free, whatever that means. Well, they said that they couldn't coordinate with us because of FACA. But that is for an agency or an advisory group, and the counties are not an advisory group. We are a form of local government.
That was the excuse for a long time, and now they say there is a ruleI am not sure, I don't know what it isthat was passed, or regulation that made these associations, these counties, these coalitions there ''FACA free,'' so they can use these folks.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. You are absolutely correct when you say that the agencies tell us in Congress that they are coordinating with the counties, and you are certainly not the first county commissioner and board chairman to assure me that the agencies have not worked with the counties. This is a serious problem.
And do you believe that the biggest problem is the Forest Service's interpretation of FACA, the Federal Advisory Committee Act? Do you think that is a big problem?
Mr. BASS. I think that is a big problem where it concerns coordination with the local counties.
Page 120 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. In your opinion, do you believe that they somehow believe that FACA supersedes FLPMA and the Federal Land Management Act?
Mr. BASS. I am pretty sure they must believe that. Let me relate a little story of the arrogance of some of these folks. And some of them are really nice people, and I consider some of them my personal friends.
We had a meeting last fall and last winter in Boise, our conference of the Idaho Association of Counties. And it was right after the big flap of the road closures, and it came right out of this project. And we had these three gentlemen from the Forest Service come and talk to us. They really had, one of the few times I have seen the Idaho Association of Counties, the Public Lands Committee upset, but they were terribly upset.
These three gentlemen came and told them, you know, we have explained three times why we have closed the roads, proposed closing these roads. We are not planning on doing it anymore. And then we are not going to inform you about it. We didn't inform you before. We are not going to inform you again. And we would do it the same way that we did it before, in secrecy. And that is the way they did it. They are not about to talk to local government.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Doesn't Idaho have an open meeting law?
Mr. BASS. Yes, ma'am. We do.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Well, Mr. Bass, I am certain that after today's hearings, I will have more questions for you, and I will be submitting the questions to you in writing. I do want to tell you that the record will remain open for three weeks. And I will get my questions to you just as soon as humanly possible. And then you will have up to three weeks to answer them for me in writing.
And should you wish to add anything to your testimony, you are welcome to do so within that period of time. Do you have anything else you would like to add for the record?
Mr. BASS. No, not at this time. We have several other people here from the county and our planning committee that I know that will want to make some comments later on this afternoon or will be submitting written comments to you. I assure you when I get your questions, we will faithfully answer those questions and get them back to you as quick as possible.
Page 121 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And I thank you very much again for having your Committee hearing here in Canyon County, which we just border Canyon County, as you well know. But we do appreciate you being here today.
[The prepared statement of Richard Bass may be found at end of hearing.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Commissioner.
I want to call the next panel of witnesses. I welcome Adena Cook from the Blue Ribbon Coalition, Scott Bosse from Idaho Rivers United. He did cancel. Right? Scott Bosse will not be here.
Phil Church from Lewiston, and Laura Skaer from the Northwest Mining Association in Spokane.
Is Mr. Church here? There he is.
Well, I welcome you all. It is very good to see you.
Just as you did sit down, I am going to ask you to stand and rise your right arm.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I look forward to hearing from Laura Skaer. I do want to explain that we have sort of a stop and go light system up here. As long as the lights are green, you are free to testify. By the time the light turns red, your 5 minutes are up, so we like to have you begin to try to summarize and conclude your testimony. I do want to remind you that your entire testimony will be admitted to the record, and of course, after you testify we will be asking you questions.
So with that I would like to begin hearing from witness, Adena Cook.
STATEMENT OF ADENA COOK, PUBLIC LANDS DIRECTOR, BLUE RIBBON COALITION
Page 122 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. COOK. I really appreciate the opportunity to be here. I am here to offer you a perspective of recreation on just what the ICBEMP document says.
Its treatment of recreation is schizophrenic, like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. On one hand, it acknowledges the importance of recreation to the region, and that recreation on public lands is increasing. And it states in positive language that recreation contributes to local economies. Its general guidelines are warm and fuzzy sounding, but when the implementing details are sifted from the interior of the document, oh, that Mr. Hyde showed his face.
Mandated road densities will eliminate access. Riparian conservation areas will close roads, trails, and campsites next to streams. And active restoration, the key theme of the selected alternative, is but a euphemism for closure of roads and access.
The document itself has some very positive things to say about the importance of recreation to the region. It says: Roaded, natural settings receive about 75 percent of all activity days. And it acknowledges that roads apply or enable the majority of winter recreation use and recreation use in general.
It says that the area-wide recreation supports around 200,000 jobs. And categorically, it states that recreation generates more jobs than any other uses of Forest Service or BLM lands.
Now, you may dispute this, yes or no, but that is what it says. And so what are the policies, then, that it builds upon these facts, that recreation is so important in the region?
Well, one guideline, it is fairly warm and fuzzy. It says: Supply recreation opportunities consistent with public policies and abilities.
Well, I can't argue with that. It sounds good to me. And it apparently supports tourism. It says that tourism opportunity fits well into the ecosystem, and the natural environment is a central attraction.
Page 123 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Well, I have got to go along with that because I am a snowmobiler, and I am going across the fresh powder in the Stanley Basin with the Sawtooths above me and, indeed, the natural environment is the central attraction.
But this guidelines makes me a little bit uneasy. Construction management and visitation take place with the goal of minimizing energy usage and encouraging people involved with the tourism opportunity to be environmentally sensitive.
What in the world does that mean? Does that mean they are going to turn down the thermostats in the visitor centers? Well, what does this mean in terms of actual standards that translate from these guidelines?
It really means closures. The standard RM03 states: Reduce road density where roads have adverse effects. Standard RMS8 proposes road closures and obliteration in area forest and range cluster. Now, this is defined. In Idaho it is defined so that there will be around 50 percent reduction of roads in most forest and range clusters.
Riparian conservation areas will close roads, trails, and camping areas in areas next to streams. Now, what do people like to do? They like to take their kids and go camp or picnic next to a stream.
The standard AQS24 states: Recreation facilities should be located outside of RCA's if at all possible. It states that if the effects to the RCA's can't be minimized, then the recreation facility would be eliminated. There goes your camping, picnicking, trails next to streams, roads next to streams.
And, finally, the active restoration policy that they say is going to provide so many jobs and benefit the region will actually be used to close roads.
It states categorically, this means decreasing the negative impacts of roads.
Now, if recreation accounts for around 200,000 jobs, and they close half the roads, do you think there would be an economic impact? Yes, I would assume that would be so.
Page 124 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But, amazingly, the new $30 million social and economic report mandated by Congress, which you asked them to do, fails to address the impact of these standards on recreation. It merely says that the impact across the basin will be limited.
Well, are they or are they not going to close all those roads?
As I have described from a recreation and access perspective, there is a logical disconnect between ICBEMP's direction and description of the area activity, its vague guidelines, and the actual standards. Now, the science may have been applicable in other situations, but no good science emerges from these documents on recreation. Good recreation planning, integrated with the productive use of our natural resources, remains to be done.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Adena Cook.
[The prepared statement of Adena Cook may be found at end of hearing.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Mr. Phil Church?
Mr. CHURCH. Good afternoon, Madam Chairman.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Good afternoon.
STATEMENT OF PHIL CHURCH, CO-CHAIRMAN, RESOURCE ORGANIZATION ON TIMBER SUPPLY
Mr. CHURCH. My name is Phil Church. I am a co-chairman of ROOTS, Resource Organization on Timber Supply, and I am here representing organized labor. Dave Wailee sends his hellos, president of the State Fed.
I am here today before you thankful to both organized labor and the industry I work for, specifically Potlatch Corporation. I work for Potlatch as a machinist apprentice. The benefits and wages that have been negotiated helped me through a series of very serious surgeries recently. The same benefits and wages that ICBEMP, I believe, would take away from me and my family.
Page 125 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Clearly the basin's rural communities' economic base is greatly dependent on the Federal lands that surround them. This plan has become a political football. The environmental industry has no incentive to work cooperatively toward resolution, rather they are out to build controversy. Alternative Four has much promise but faces so many constraints by the regulatory agencies, I believe it would be dead on arrival.
I would encourage this Committee to take the time to review the efforts of Idaho citizens' efforts, which will be released around the first of July. This task force was set up by Governor Phil Batt to explore the possibilities of the state taking over management of Federal lands in Idaho. Not ownership, simply management.
These lands belong to the American people, and who better to manage them than those native to the area? My membership is the first to cry foul should any wrongdoings take place in our national forest. The union membership I represent not only derive their livelihood from these lands but also recreate to the fullest extent; i.e., hunting, fishing, camping, backpacking.
One area I personally believe would be beneficial to our forested lands, and one that I would encourage this Committee to look into, is to convert the Federal lands into trust lands. To date, to my knowledge, there are no subsidies given to trust lands, and given time I believe these Federal lands of Idaho would not be subsidized; rather, contribute to the overall responsibility of our nation's economy.
Trust lands must also meet all of the Federal laws put before them.
Please take the time to read the work of this task force. Again, it will be released the first part of July. With that, I would be pleased to answer any questions, and also I am submitting my oral comments. I also have some written comments that I have submitted in addition to this. Thank you.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Church. It was a pleasure hearing from you. Thank you for coming all the way from Lewiston. I appreciate all of you who have traveled so far to be here and to participate in this hearing.
Page 126 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [The prepared statement of Phil Church may be found at end of hearing.]
STATEMENT OF LAURA SKAER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NORTHWEST MINING ASSOCIATION
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Laura Skaer from the Northwest Mining Association.
Ms. SKAER. Good afternoon, Madam Chairman. I am Laura Skaer. I am the Executive Director of the Northwest Mining Association. We are a 2800-member trade association representing mining throughout the west. Many of our members live in the communities that are included in the acreage covered by the ICBEMP plan, and many of our members, a significant number, make their living from the land by exploring for and developing and mining the minerals that our western public lands contain.
Essentially our position has changed a little bit, Madam Chairman. From the very beginning, we have tried to work with the agencies, cooperatively at the table, to point out defects in the analysis, and we have done that for over four years. And frankly, the DEIS's and the Preferred Alternative stand as moot testimony that our efforts have fallen on deaf ears.
Most significantly, the recent attempt to repackage the socioeconomics, which did not meet, in our opinion, the mandate of the Interior Appropriations Bill. It also did not meet the mandate of the agreement with the counties. It just essentially took the old data, repackaged it and put a new cover on it and said, ''Well, we are done.''
I think there are an awful lot of mining companies whose headquarters, either exploration or corporate, are in Spokane County, Washington would be surprised to learn that according to this new economic analysis, there is no mining employment in Spokane County. And I could go on and on through the various counties.
Our written testimony points out a number of flaws in this whole process, but we have come to the conclusion that it can't be fixed. And it is time for Congress to pull the plug, to terminate the funding, to disband the ICBEMP team, and to take some of the good science that has been developed and to allow it to be used at the local land management level.
Page 127 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But we must be careful that the bad science, the political science, namely the socioeconomic science, does not get used.
According to these documents, 42 percent of the value of 72 million acres of Federal land is from the nonuse of the resource. They claim that the nonuse value, we call it the value of daydreaming, where someone sitting in a 60-story office building in New York City dreaming about wilderness in the west or free flowing salmon, has a value that is equal to wealth-creating value provided by mining, by agriculture, by oil and gas, by grazing, by recreation.
We disagree. If you take their conclusion to its logicalor you take this analysis to its logical conclusion, you theoretically could increase the entire value of the 144 million acre ICBEMP area by shutting everything down. Absurd. They show the nonuse value to be higher than timber, mining, and recreation combined. Yet, it is only a fraction of a 1995 study by the Western Economic Analysis Center, just south of Phoenix, Arizona, that concluded that the direct and indirect impact of mining alone in the Interior Columbia Basin was $18.2 billion in 1995. According to these documents, their analysis is that it is a fraction of that.
There are so many flaws in this document, and we will let our written comments speak on that. But what I really want to talk to you about is the fact that the people are left out. We believe that this is just part of an overall philosophy of this administration to deny access to the public land. A precursor of what ICBEMP would bring us is the recent roadless moratorium announced by the Forest Service.
There are a number of other examples as Madam Chairman, you are aware. The American Heritage Rivers Initiative, the 3809 rulemaking on hardrock mining, the Clean Water Initiative, EPA's hardrock mining framework, and it goes on and on. There are currently more than 60 regulatory initiatives affecting mining coming out of this administration.
And what we see in this is that this administration is sending a clear message. It is a message that people don't count and that Congress doesn't count. It is clearly an attempt to circumvent the will of Congress and impose a different philosophy other than multiple use on how the Federal lands are managed.
Page 128 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We believe Congress was very wise in providing for multiple use management of the public lands. By doing so, they have ensured the economic diversity of the West. They have assured that our western rural communities that depend on mining, on agriculture, on timber, on grazing, on recreation survive.
We believe that this plan would bring that to a halt, would deny access to the lands, and would ensure the economic destruction of our western rural communities. And so we ask, Madam Chairman, that Congress take immediate steps to terminate this project and let us go about managing the land at the local level where the people who live on the land truly do know what is best for the land. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Laura Skaer may be found at end of hearing.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you. And Laura, if you have any additional comments, written comments that you would like to have added to the record, you certainly are welcome to. Mr. Church, your additional comments, the written comments, will be added to the record.
Mr. CHURCH. Thank you.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Adena, do you have written comments, additional written comments?
Ms. COOK. If I have extra, I will add them, yes.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. And I do want you to know that the record will remain open for three weeks for you to be able to supplement your testimony.
So with that, I would like to ask you all a question. Adena, does the ICBEMP suggest that recreationalists should use other lands instead of the Federal lands if they want to continue to drive to their destinations of recreation? Did you find that in your analysis?
Page 129 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. COOK. Actually, not. It confined itself, as far as I could tell, to management of recreation. It said very little, actually, on management of recreation on public lands. And what I found, I had to look very hard for it. In fact, other people looked for me as well, but it did not address what kind of recreation would occur on other than public lands.
As you well know, public lands in this ICBEMP area is a majority of the land base. So when you are talking about backcountry recreation which is what our members enjoy, as opposed to organized recreation, like soccer games or baseball games or things that people would do in the suburbs or the city. When you are talking about backcountry recreation, you almost have to talk about Federal lands. Because other than Federal, there is not a lot out there.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Well, regarding the riparian conservation areas, do the alternatives identify how many miles of roads and trails and how many campgrounds and other recreation sites are within the riparian areas?
Ms. COOK. They have not done that assessment. They have just made the categorical broad statement that adverse impacts to the riparian areas will be either mitigated or eliminated. And whether they intend to follow through with this, it is anyone's guess.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you. Mr. Church, one stated objective of the Columbia Basin Project was to improve inter-agency coordination. Do you think that is a valid goal?
Mr. CHURCH. A realistic goal, no. A valid goal, it would be nice, but I don't think it could ever happen. The agencies within themselves are trying to hamstring themselves to the point of where they try to then hamstring the other agencies to the deadlock. And I don't think it is a realistic goal, no, not with the current system we have.
Page 130 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. You mentioned the conflict between the land management agencies and the regulatory agencies. Do you think that there is a valid role for the regulatory agencies in land management decisionmaking? And in your mind's eye, what role should each agency play, if we had the best of all worlds?
Mr. CHURCH. If we had the best of all worlds, I think they could advise, give advice only, and then the land managers could then make an informed decision based on that. But they should not hold them to hard, fast rules so that they can't be flexible to do what is best for the land. Because some agencies may only look at a small portion of the forest or land, and not look at the total impact of what they are doing to the land.
Therefore, no, they should just be advisory only and keep to that role.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Recognizing that Congress has not authorized the type of land planning that we see in the ICBEMP process, do you think that the current planning process with decisions made one national forest or BLM unit at a time, is still valid? Or do you think that the kind of planning process that we have, say, in the National Forest Management Act, needs to be changed?
Mr. CHURCH. Well, it needs to be radically overhauled. It is completely broken as it is right now. That is what I am asking you to, please, take a look at the work that the task force has done because I think that is an idea that maybe it is too early to be coming up with this kind of an idea, but something has to happen. They are derailing themselves as the process goes on.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Something has to happen to break the gridlock.
Mr. CHURCH. That is it exactly.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I think that you really touched on something that is so important for the Congress to look at. And that is, that the land management agencies must be responsible for managing, and that the other regulatory agencies should be advisory only. That is very good testimony. I think it is key to what we must decide in the future, and I thank you for that.
Page 131 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. CHURCH. Thank you. Before I let you go, can I make one
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Yes.
Mr. CHURCH. Thank you for having this hearing here because it is very difficult. It is hard enough to come from Lewiston here. It is more difficult to go from Lewiston to Washington, DC. And I want to say thank you very much for taking the time to come out west. Thank you.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. You are welcome.
I am told everyone should be advised to speak right into the mike. We are not able to pick it up apparently, as easily for the record.
Laura, I wanted to ask you, what is the economic value of mining within the Interior Columbia Basin? And what is the value attributed to mining by ICBEMP? What is the comparison there?
Ms. SKAER. I don't have the exact number in front of me attributable to mining, but it is a fraction. It is less than 1 percent of the $18.2 billion that a 1995 study of the combined direct and indirect impact attributed to the four-state area.
And I might add that that $18.2 billion does not include any value of Nevada or Utah, but the northern part of Nevada that is within the ICBEMP area is an area which isthere are several gold development projects going. So I think $18.2 billion is a very conservative number.
The problem for mining with this document, Congresswoman, is that it is virtually ignored. And when that is pointed out to the agencies, they acknowledge that it is. But they have done nothing toso far we have seen no evidence of any attempt to correct that.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. That is incredible.
Ms. SKAER. As you well know, the Mining and Minerals Policy Act of 1970 requires that the Federal lands be managed to encourage the development of Federal mineral resources. Yet this plan, because of its denial of access and its prescriptive standards, would actually discourage the development of Federal mineral resources, not encourage them.
Page 132 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But that doesn't surprise me when you listen to the public statements of Chief Dombeck and BLM Director Shea. Chief Dombeck has made it clear that there is no room for multiple use for mining, for oil and gas, for recreation, for grazing, for agriculture, and his vision of the Forest Service going forward.
And Director Shea tells us that it is time to get used to a new West where tourism and service industry replaces mining, logging, and agriculture, and grazing, and timber. I translate that to mean that our members should give up their $30- to $45,000-a-year jobs with health insurance benefits and be willing to accept $5- to $7-an-hour seasonal jobs.
I don't think our members and I don't think the timber workers and people who make their living supplying the products that society demands are ready to have someone in Washington, DC, tell them that they have to lower their standard of living.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Very well said. And I think it is very important to America's future that this nation remain resource independent. Do you in your opinion, believe that this Alternative Four, the recommended option, will lead to America's resource independence even in terms of our national security?
Ms. SKAER. There is no question, in my opinion and in the official opinion of our association, that Preferred Alternative Four will lessen America's independence from a resource standpoint because it will deny access. It is a self fulfilling prophesy. They say that we are moving away from resource production. But when it takes 6 to 10 years to permit a project that is being micro-managed by the regulatory agencies from the very beginning, they are creating a self-fulfilling prophesy.
I believe the result ofwe have to recognize that our society is demanding more minerals every day. And if you just think about how you got to this hearing, and think about this room, and the lighting, and the sound system, and the air-conditioning, and the heating, these are all products of the natural resource industries. And without our natural resources, our society as we know it grinds to a halt.
Page 133 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I believe that Alternative Four would, essentially, make the United States vulnerable to where we may be fighting another resource war in the future, when we have an alternative right here, and that is to produce the minerals and the products that our society demands from the public land. And we have proven over and over again that we can do it in an environmentally responsible manner.
And we create the new wealth that gets spread through society. I think that is what we need to be doing. We need to be looking at policies that encourage the development of our natural resources in an environmentally responsible manner in order to ensure that our nation stays resource independent. I think it is critical to our future and the future of our freedoms.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you very much. I want to thank this panel for their exceedingly interesting testimony. And thank you, all three of you, for coming so far to offer your opinion for the record. And you can count on the fact that I will have more questions for you. You will be receiving them in the mail, and you do have three weeks to either supplement your testimony and to answer our questions. So with that I want to thank you very much.
I would like to welcome Mr. Cuddy, Mr. Chuck Cuddy, Representative from Orofino. And I would like for him to come forth to offer his testimony. Before you sit down, Mr. Cuddy, I am going to ask you to remain standing so I can swear you in.
STATEMENT OF CHARLES CUDDY, REPRESENTATIVE, IDAHO HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Mr. CUDDY. Madam Chairman, it must be kind of nice to be back in Idaho for a few days.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Oh, it is wonderful.
Page 134 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. CUDDY. And I will apologize at the onset for probably not being as good a student of ICBEMP as I should be, but, Madam Chairman, I am not fond of fiction.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I have known you for a long time, and I have noted that about you.
Mr. CUDDY. As you know, in 1993 and as probably been said before, President Clinton decided that he would direct the Forest Service and the BLM to do a study of the Interior Columbia Basin, which is the Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project, better known to all of us out here as ICBEMP. In that effort, I think the original idea was very good if it would, in fact, turned out had it been intended, and that was that we would manage by sound science.
There was a lot of enthusiasm, Madam Chairman, for that to occur. And there was a lot of time and a lot of effort and a lot of expense by various organizations, companies, et cetera, et cetera, to try and make this work. And as it proceeded, they fell by the wayside, one by one by one by one, including me.
Madam Chairman, the difficulty with the project is that it encompasses 144 million acres, not all of it Federal land, a lot of it private land, a lot of it tax land. It also is another layer of bureaucracy over the top of those existing laws such as NEPA, and FLPMA, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, et cetera, et cetera. So it does nothing to solve the problem.
Had this been implemented as originally intended, and had it superceded some of these laws, or taken them off the books as we had hoped, then it would have been something that we could have all looked at as a success. The way it is observed now is not a success, it is just another layer of bureaucracy.
And to give you a little idea, Madam Chairman, and Phil Church touched on it, I heard, briefly, and maybe went into it more extensively while I wasn't here. But I co-chair the public lands task force in Idaho. And we did extensive touring this year of Idaho in regards to the management of state, Federal, private lands. We took testimony in every place, every area that we were in. What we found that everybody concurred the current Federal system is broke.
Page 135 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC What we also found when we were out on the ground observing practices on the land, once the money actually got to the management people on the ground, they were very, very similar in all cases. I think the difference being, the resource is there, the value of it is there, the value of the jobs are there.
The main difference is, it is taking instead of a year or 2 years or 6 months to implement a project and bring it to fruition, it is taking 6 to 10 years. It goes through a long, long process that costs everyone an immense amount of money. Consequently, the land is suffering now from the bureaucracy.
I am going to cut mine a little short because I know it is a long day, and I have submitted my written testimony. But to simply say it is an administrative policy, that the Federal Government, that the administration decided to implement, it has not been authorized by Congress, and it should be stopped now with no record or decision being issued.
I would like to go into the economic side of it a little bit and some of the fallacies in it. The Draft Environmental Impact Statement, called the DEIS, represents seven alternative themes for the basin-wide strategy for the management of forest and BLM lands. The strategy direction would add to and supercede in many ways multiple-use management direction already contained in existing land and resource plans for the National Forest and BLM districts.
Each alternative represented in the DEIS is supposed to represent two stated needs, first, ecosystem health and integrity, and sustainable and predictable levels of products and services. The preferred alternative theme identified by the agencies is aggressive restoration of ecosystem health.
Many people are seriously concerned about whether this proposal strategy will meet the needs for the project or will instead increase uncertainty and polarization over management of Federal lands in the basin and create hardship on rural communities.
The agencies who evaluated the DEIS alternative estimated that 3,100 timber jobs would be lost from management delays while the Forest Service and the BLM institute watershed analysis on the Eastside DEIS.
Page 136 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It is estimated that 12 eastern Oregon and eastern Washington sawmills will close while the analysis is being completed. In Idaho and Montana the effects of the project will be a loss of 1,700 jobs and six or seven more sawmills. Basin wide, the ICBEMP DEIS estimates a decrease of 4,800 direct timber jobs and 13,400 additional jobs associated with timber, a real impact for workers and their communities.
The social and economic information analysis contained in the Upper Columbia River Basin Draft EIS contains two major conclusions. First, smaller resource-dependent rural economies and social systems are more diversified and will absorb the impacts of changing public policy.
Now, I would like to tell you a little definition of this that I gleaned from the hurried addendum to the economic analysis that they did. And since you are very familiar with Orofino and Lewiston, I will use that example.
A timber-dependent community that is within 35 miles on a state highway from a town of 20,000 or more, their theory is that that community could be absorbed.
In the case of Lewiston, which is over 20,000, and primarily also depends on the timber industry, in my town, which is small enough that it could be heavily impacted, I would have to pick up my business, move to Lewiston while those people in Lewiston who lost their jobs are moving to Seattle. I guess that is how it is supposed to work, Madam Chairman.
It doesn't make any sense to me the methods that they have went about to determine the economic impacts. And just to give you some statistics, I will talk about Clearwater County a little bit since we are both very familiar with it. And as you know, it is a county with approximately 10,000 people. And 54 percent of that county is owned by the Federal Government.
In 1980, workers in that county earned 89.5 percent of the national per capita income and 105.5 percent of the state's average per capita income. Today in Clearwater County, it fell to 76.9 percent of the national average and 91.4 percent of the state average.
Page 137 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC During those years a supply of timber from national forest has decreased rapidly, as we all know, from about 170 million a year off of Clearwater to 16. And at 9 jobs per million forest feet, I think the answer is obvious.
Historically, forest wood products has driven the economy of Clearwater County and there is more than a casual relationship between the Federal land management policies, the change in health of rural economic dependence upon the resource change. The lives of real Americans and real American towns change when Federal policy changes.
The authors of ICBEMP need to look no further than at the county profiles that are provided on each county in Idaho to find real economic impacts of Federal policy change, which they have chosen to ignore.
Now, you hear a lot about recreation taking the place of the timber industry and the resource industry. Well, Madam Chairman, in Clearwater County, the 1986 revenues tax receipts from Clearwater County was $7,487. And we all know that as far as recreation amenities, Clearwater County nearly has them all.
But in 1995, it was only $12,594. Now, if you include inflation for that 11 years, you can't really say it has done anything. And if you look at the population, that is about $1.25 a person. Not very supportive of the county. If that is the tax revenue, I don't know how we are going to survive if we are supposed to do it on recreation.
Before the ICBEMP committee declares it too difficult to make these kind of economic analyses I think there is plenty of information out there including these county profiles that they have ignored. I also know that the University of Idaho, the state of Idaho through legislation, which I was a part of passing, did an extensive study and paid for the impacts on timber-dependent communities.
There are also other studies done at the university, I think, that are very explanatory and do a much better job of defining the economics than was done with ICBEMP.
Page 138 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In fact, just yesterday, Madam Chairman, and I think it is ironic, I was at a meeting with the NRCS, and the other farm services that the Department of Agriculture offers. And they were telling me that within the next year or two, they will have completed a total soils profile on 1 million acres of land in Clearwater County. That is to say that they have had soil people out there, technicians, et cetera, et cetera.
I asked two questions. One is that you are into basalts, basalt formation, yes, it is. That is pretty similar to what probably you would find in the Blue Mountains in Washington and some other areas of the lower part of the Columbia Basin. I said, did you go into the granitics? No. We just touched on the edge of the granitics, which would go on up to the Continental Divide or at least to the Bitterroot Divide.
But I said, this study would be pretty representative of the soils around here and the capabilities and water quality, et cetera, because they are doing both. Yes, it would.
Madam Chairman, my second question was, has the ICBEMP team ever contacted you for your information? No.
Madam Chairman, I think Congress should put a stop to this. I think the $40 million should have been spent to protect our resources on the ground, see that they don't burn up or dry up.
[The prepared statement of Charles Cuddy may be found at end of hearing.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Cuddy. Very interesting testimony. I want to ask you, when you testified to the fact that in the documents it talks about communities like Orofino being absorbed. What does ''being absorbed'' mean?
Mr. CUDDY. Well, I think, Madam Chairman, I took it for one thing. And it didn't say Orofino, but it said timber-dependent communities. But using that as a method of demonstrating what it means, first, they automatically have admitted that there is going to be a turn down for these timber-dependent communities. I take that as an admission when they say that the larger towns will absorb them.
Page 139 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So when you take that all into perspective, and when they say, Well, the larger communities will absorb them because of a change in philosophy and a change in the economics of the West, then I used Orofino and Lewiston because they are very both very timber-dependent. There are so many holes in it that I could probably spend an hour discussing it.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. You know, it is recognized that you are one of the leaders in the state legislature on those issues and highly respected. Would you tell me what an ecosystem is?
Mr. CUDDY. Yes, I think I can. It is probably not the analogy that the Federal Government has, but I think it is somewhat on the order of someone shouting in an empty gym.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Mr. Cuddy, what business are you engaged in in Orofino when you are not serving in the legislature?
Mr. CUDDY. Madam Chairman, I have operated a business there for 20 years in the surveying and engineering industry.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. So your work is not directly dependent on the timber industries then necessarily?
Mr. CUDDY. That is true, but it certainly is indirectly.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. OK. Can you tell me if in the best of all worlds, if this ICBEMP project were to work as good people like Steve Mealey had envisioned it, will it grow a more sustainable, healthier forest? Will it provide for cleaner rivers and streams? Will it provide for a better return of our anadromous fish? I mean, what do you see to be the end result of this entire project?
Mr. CUDDY. Well, Madam Chairman, I appreciate the if's because I think that is what everybody had hoped for. And I think it is possible that we could have the amenities out of the forest and out of the public land that we all desire.
Page 140 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And I don't think there is anyone in this room that you wouldn't consider an environmentalist. We all want clean water, we all want clean air. I love to fish. In fact, one of the things that I have said all along is, when we are done with our project, I want to see my grandchildren still be able to catch cutthroat trout out of the North Fork of the Clearwater River.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Me too.
Mr. CUDDY. Anyway, I think it is very possible. And I can give you some really good examples. In about 1970, the Idaho Fish & Game Department came to Orofino, Idaho and my brother and I were there. At that time, I saw Kelly Creek go from an excellent cutthroat stream, when I was young, to where it was, just basically it wouldn't take Rainbow Stream with an occasional cutthroat.
My brother and I asked them about putting some regulation on to keep them from taking all of the fish home. And they said, Well, Kelly Creek has been so desecrated, and on and on, and it is so sterile that it will not support a native fish population. This was the Idaho Fish & Game Department in about 1970.
Well, Madam Chairman, we finally got them to do that. They made a catch-and-release. And two years later you could go in there and just have a ball and now it is nationally advertised as a blue ribbon cutthroat stream.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. My goodness, the wisdom that abides outside the agency. Isn't it wonderful?
Mr. CUDDY. The other example, Madam Chairman, is the elk population, and you know how desecrated it is right now in our high country, which was world renowned. And our elk population now is down in the managed forests because there is feed there, there is reproductive things that they need for winter habitat, et cetera, et cetera, that is grown out of their reach in the higher country.
Page 141 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. Very interesting. Well, Mr. Cuddy, I want to thank you so much for offering this very valuable testimony, very colorful and interesting too. You can believe I have several questions that I want to submit to you in writing, and I will be doing that. The record will remain open for about three weeks. And we will be getting the questions to you right away.
But I want to commend you on the work that you have done on the task force. You have spent hours and hours outside of the legislative session working on these projects. I thank you very much for offering your testimony today.
Mr. CUDDY. Well, thank you, Madam Chairman. And I would tell you that the state legislature passed a state resolution that I carried on the House floor, and opposing ICBEMP. The vote was 67 to nothing and three absent.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. My word.
Mr. CUDDY. It was very similar in the Senate. We also did the same thing with the Western States Legislative Forestry Task Force, that I am a member of. And I want to thank you very much for inviting me here, and I apologize for forgetting the time zone change.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. That can happen. I realize that. Thank you very much.
The Chair recognizes the next panel, Mr. Fred Grant from Nampa, Idaho; Cindy Deacon-Williams from the Pacific Rivers Council; Jay Anderson, Professor of Ecology, Idaho State University in Pocatello; Steve Bliss, Northwest Timber Workers Association, Horseshoe Bend, Idaho; and Tom Dayley, Executive Vice President of the Idaho Farm Bureau. If you could join me up here at the witness table.
It appears that Cindy Deacon-Williams from the Pacific Rivers Council is not here, neither is Jay Anderson, Professor of Ecology at the Idaho State University.
Page 142 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I do want to say that the record will remain open by virtue of the fact that the Chairman has asked that we accept their written testimony. We want to give every opportunity to every individual to let their thoughts be known and for their thoughts to become part of the record that we will be making our decisions on.
So with that, I thank the gentlemen for remaining standing.
STATEMENT OF FRED GRANT, NAMPA, IDAHO
Mrs. CHENOWETH. We will open testimony by hearing from Mr. Fred Grant from Nampa.
Mr. GRANT. Madam Chairman, first of all, last evening, I was at a meeting in Bridger City, Wyoming. There were five Wyoming counties represented there, all of whom are about to engage in developing a county land use plan similar to that that I think probably Commissioner Bass has talked about earlier today.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Good.
Mr. GRANT. Representatives of Representative Kugen's staff were there, and their staff members asked me to express their greetings to you. And that group last night, and again at a breakfast meeting this morning in Wyoming, wanted me to express to you their thanks for your continued protection of private property rights.
They believe that you and Representative Kugen together have kept their interests first and foremost. And they wanted me to say that to you that they oppose a record of decision in this ecosystem plan. And I am sure that is contrary to most of what you have heard today already in testimony.
My written testimony, I won't go over again because I want to stress today my problems with this whole process with regard to the Constitution, the power of the Congress, and its impact on private property.
Page 143 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC First of all, and I go into this in some length in my testimony, I resent the fact that these 20 agencies following the refusal of the U.S. Senate to ratify the Biodiversity Treaty, entered into their agreements to bring about the same result by evading the authority of the Congress to manage the Federal lands.
I am just tired. I am tired through the last 7 years of watching agency after agency evade the authority of the Congress. That was one of the main topics of my presentation last night, and that group also agreed that they are tired of it, that Congress manages the Federal lands.
It should have been the Congress to determine if every inch of land in Idaho was going to be included in a project, the report on which is so complex and convoluted, that one of the wisest men in range work that I know, Dr. Chad Gibson, can't begin to fathom what this project is talking about in many instances.
But aside from that, and I am sure that the Chairman and most members of the Committee were aware, that the Congress is the only body of government that is given the constitutional authority to manage the Federal lands. I resent the fact that the people who drafted this EIS think that we are so unaware, that we don't understand the adverse impact that this project is going to have on private property in the name of trying to better the Federal lands and the environment on the Federal lands.
First of all, people who hold private property have been denied access to the NEPA process because they have been told by this document that it does not apply to private land. Therefore, a lot of people whom I have discussed this with, a lot of people haven't even bothered to study the plan. People in Canyon County and Ada County have not bothered to study it because, after all, it doesn't apply to private land.
Now, the first problem with that is that it defies common sense to think that you are going to try to impact the environment on every acre of Federal ground in Idaho without impacting the adjoining state ground. For example, when the EPA, as it will, issues even firmer regulations regarding clean water and once a record of decision is down, they have a wide open highway to do whatever they want. And I am sure those regulations are already drafted and in some room waiting to be applied.
Page 144 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC When they require a certain degree of clean water on Federal land, what are they going to do about the private land that sits next to it? They are going to impact it. We heard for years that the Endangered Species Act would not adversely impact private land, and so there was no reason to worry about compensation. Well, this week the water case, the Sweet Home Case in the U.S. Supreme Court said what many of us knew and had professed for years, it will impact private land the first time. It is the desire of the Federal Government to impact it.
So you cannot do all of the things that this project calls for, for the Federal lands without impacting private land. So it is false, it is a false and misleading statement for this document to profess that it will not adversely impact private land.
And third, it is not even true, consistently, inherently in the document because there are places in this document where they say, Well, there are certain things that are barriers to implementation of the ecosystem plan, and one is private property ownership. And they refer specifically to mining claims and rights-of-way and water rights as being some of those rights where there must be reasonable changes made in order to make this thing work. Now, if that isn't
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Excuse me, Mr. Grant. Water rights too?
Mr. GRANT. Yes, Madam Chairman. And in view of that, let me remark just another thing about water.
Our Idaho Supreme Court, unfortunately, within the last few days has, I think, attempted to give away private rights on Federal stock water claims to the Federal Government in a decision that could have gone just as well the other way. And many of us think it is more consistent with U.S. Supreme Court's decisions to have gone the other way.
They decided that in some executive order, that related to reserving land around water holes, that that was a reservation of all the water in those water holes and springs in 1926. Now, what in the world, if that is the case, what will be the result the first time the Federal Government says after a record of decision is issued in the ecosystem project, we have reserved all of the water that we need to make this ecosystem project work?
Page 145 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And anyone who thinks they won't do that should look at the Snake River Adjudication and remember that within a week after we were assured by the Secretary of Interior that the Congress was assured, that the Federal Government had no intention of claiming water in the states.
They filed hundreds of claims everywhere they could to claim water in the Snake River Adjudication area, including some on private property. So not only do they say that there must be reasonable changes in those private property rights, but we can fully expect that without any more specifics that are in this document, there will be a claim that all of the water that is necessary to make this project work will have been reserved by any record of decision.
And that is one of the reasons why from a private property standpoint as well as the standpoint of the written testimony and the other things that I have heard, I know Commissioner Bass is going to talk to you about the economy of Owyhee County.
You know, at one point in one of the preliminary drafts of this thing, and I will be honest with you, I haven't read the final draft to see whether they ever changed that, they talked about Owyhee County being available for high-tech jobs. And so far we haven't seen any evidence that Hewlett-Packard or any of the other companies are making real inroads to get out there into those grazing lands.
Ms. CHENOWETH. Well, they don't even have the roads to get out there that are that easy to travel.
Mr. GRANT. Well, they really aren't. As a matter of fact, if they tried to get up into the Hardtrigger allotment and some of those allotments, their highly technical scientific equipment wouldn't be worth much by the time they got there.
So all of these reasons and the reasons that you have heard today, but primarily from my testimony right now, primarily from the standpoint that they are impacting private property, they have denied that they are, and therefore, I think they have cutoff the NEPA process to private property holders.
Page 146 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC They have not done a takings implication assessment as required by the executive order that has been on the books since President Reagan was the president. And yet they say there must be reasonable changes in private property.
They have evaded the congressional authority again in the Regulatory Flexibility Act in Title V of the United States Code. They haven't made special consideration for the rural counties in exempting them from some of the things that they would do otherwise in this project.
They have evaded the Congress and, frankly, they are trampling all over the Fifth Amendment and what ultimately we will have to be forced to do to prote
ct private property rights if a record of decision comes down.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you very much, Mr. Grant.
[The prepared statement of Fred Grant may be found at end of hearing.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Mr. Bliss, Mr. Steve Bliss.
STATEMENT OF STEVE BLISS, CHAIRMAN, NORTHWEST TIMBER WORKERS
Mr. BLISS. Good afternoon, Madam Chairman. My name is Steve Bliss. I am the plant fire chief and relief sawyer at Boise Cascade, Horseshoe Bend Sawmill. I am also Chairman of the Southern Idaho Chapter of the Northwest Timber Workers Resource Council, and I represent the employees at our mill on timber supply issues.
As part of the council's efforts, I have had a chance to review the Columbia River Basin Draft EISs. I will focus my comments today on what I see as potential effects of the Interior Columbia Plan's DEISs on timber workers and rural communities.
One of the key purposes and needs of this project is supporting economic and social needs of people. Yet this is the area where the DEISs fail the worst. The cultural, economic, and social needs of natural resource-based communities have not been addressed to anyone's satisfaction. The DEISs treat economic and social needs as impacts rather than integrating them into management approaches.
Page 147 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Furthermore, the amount of detail and number of specific economic and social programs within each alternative, were conspicuously out of balance with other programs. There is no assurance to local communities that government policies will assist them in being more economically resilient. Little or no consideration has been given to the fact that reducing the timber supply by at least 40 percent and in some cases up to 100 percent, will have on timber-dependent communities.
The region-wide scale at which these economic studies were done makes the impacts to timber-communities appear to be minimal. Well, as a resident of one of those small timber-dependent communities, I can assure you that the impacts on my town will be disastrous.
Employment estimates shown in the DEIS are flawed. All of the alternatives contain timber harvest at every commodity production levels that are significantly below those projected in the forest plans, which are considerably less than historic levels. These lower production levels will not be able to support the 400-plus resource-dependent communities located in the Interior Columbia Project area. Yet the document contains few, if any, provisions for economic stability of these communities.
The DEIS drastically discounts the number of commodity-producing jobs and eagerly inflates the number of jobs that are attributed to recreation, reflecting the writer's biases against logging and ranching. For instance, the DEISs indicate that the preferred alternative would produce only 5,944 wood products manufacturing jobs and 243 ranching jobs, but generate 108,000 recreation jobs. These numbers are just not credible.
Additionally, the DEIS does not account for the indirect jobs that will be affected by this plan. Each timber job supports at least six other jobs in the community. This cumulative effect has not been accurately accounted for in the document. Not only will the DEISs have a negative effect on local economies through the loss of resource-related jobs, they will impact county and local taxing bodies.
Page 148 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The DEISs with their drastically reduced timber and range output levels will result in the reduction of the local tax base. Income and property taxes will be reduced, causing additional problems in financing local infrastructures. The DEISs admit commercial timber harvesting has not been incorporated into the forest restoration programs. This implies the reliance on congressional budgets will be the funding source for all restoration projects.
We believe commercial timber sales could greatly reduce the overall cost to taxpayers while providing on-the-ground expertise needed to accomplish environmental enhancements. The cost analysis provided in the DEISs for implementation of this project is understated to the tune of billions of taxpayer dollars.
The terrific forest health problem on many of the forests covered by this plan is well documented, but there are no credible plans to deal with the problem. If the funds to do restoration projects aren't available, then we may lose these forests to fire and disease. We believe this plan provides the basis for destroying the economies of our rural communities and the destruction of the forests at the same time.
As you can see, we have many serious concerns about the DEISs and their unacceptable negative impacts on the economy and the cultures of small communities in the Interior Columbia River Basin area. We believe ICBEMP should be stopped at this point and the efforts be redirected to its original intent, that of providing broad-scale information to guide managers in revising forest plans and implementing local projects.
Proceeding with the implementation of this plan without significant changes will further undermine the credibility of the forest service and BLM with local communities, cause additional degradation of the ecosystem, additional bureaucratic gridlock, and increase social and economic problems for the rural citizens of the Interior Columbia Basin.
I would like to thank you for taking the time to listen to the concerns that rural timber-dependent communities have with this plan.
Page 149 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you. I appreciate your testimony, Mr. Bliss.
[The prepared statement of Steve Bliss may be found at end of hearing.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. And the Chair now recognizes Mr. Tom Dayley, Executive Director of the Idaho Farm Bureau.
STATEMENT OF THOMAS DAYLEY, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, IDAHO FARM BUREAU FEDERATION
Mr. DAYLEY. Thank you, Chairman Chenoweth. I would like to start by saying that you have heard a lot of good information here. I know that is why you came to Idaho. As I used to say, while I was having to live outside of Idaho for a few years, I came back to Idaho for a dose of reality. I think that is what you are getting here today.
And I hope as you share that with the Committee and with the Congress, they will get the real impact of what Idahoans are feeling about this whole process.
As you said, I am Executive Vice President of the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation. We have approximately 50,000 members in Idaho, and of those we represent about half of the farmers and ranchers in this state. About 11,000 of our members are farmers and ranchers.
As I discuss this, I would like to go through a couple of different things, and some of the things might be repetitious, but I would like to emphasize them. One is the process of how we got to even having this hearing, and two is the product of that process.
As Representative Cuddy said, the president started this process. I think it is instructive to understand even from the briefing document that they use, he, the President of the United States, directed the Forest Service ''to develop a scientifically sound ecosystem-based strategy for management.'' That was the direction.
If one goes through the process of analysis after that, it is all directed from Washington, DC, from the President then on down. I think that is one of the most serious parts of this flawed process, how it was started.
Page 150 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Their own document, the paper passed out at their briefings says, ''Coordination with affected state and tribal government leaders is essential. In addition, local governments, key, interested, and affected parties and other Federal state agencies will be encouraged to participate.'' That is what they think of the rest of us, encouraged to participate?
Back to what some other people have said. The impression is that private landowners should not be encouraged to participate because it ''is not affecting them.'' So they really aren't being fair to the process that they started. It is being directed from the top down. The plan of what is to be accomplished is in place before anything is even started.
It gives every appearance that the decision was made in advance. The decision was made about what to accomplish and then a methodology was developed for accomplishing it.
We are now in, as you pointed out, the fifth year, $40 million, and we really have no more substantive information than before. The information we do have is questionable. It is based on an ''ecosystem.'' And you asked the question of Representative Cuddy that I would like to get into a little bit further.
What is an ecosystem? Well, Jack Ward Thomas, who was head of the Forest Service at the time ICBEMP was initiated by President Clinton said, ''I promise you that I can do anything you want to do by saying it is ecosystem management. It is incredibly nebulous.'' Those were his words and he was the head of the Forest Service when this whole project started.
The entire process puts science, in the traditional sense, in limbo. The Keystone National Policy Dialogue, a group of 50 individuals from state and local government and private individuals, took 18 months trying to come up with a definition for ecosystem.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Mr. Dayley, before you go any further, could you move closer to the mike? Thank you.
Page 151 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DAYLEY. They couldn't come up with a definition of ecosystem. These were people who were put together for the expressed purpose of coming up with a definition of ecosystem. The group did not even define what ecological integrity was. The Ecology Society of America says, when they talk about an ecosystem that ''a pile of dung and a whale carcass are ecosystems as much as a watershed or a lake.''
When you have that kind of ambiguity in what we are talking about, the whole premise of the discussion is flawed before we start. There is no Federal statute that requires the Forest Service, BLM, or any other Federal agency, to use ecosystem management as a tool of management. There is no Federal law, as you know, Madame Chairman.
Current law requires multiple use and sustained yield on Federal land. That is the standard that should be required.
The whole concept of ecosystem management is awash with uncertainty. It will allow land managers to be more arbitrary and more capricious if we establish this as a standard of how we manage our Federal lands.
The White House Interagency Task Force on ecosystem management, they had one, interestingly enough, said, ''No single Federal statute contains explicit overreaching national mandate to take an ecosystem approach to management.''
Congress has never declared that a particular Federal agency has the ecosystem approach as its sole or even primary mission. The White House even admits the same, and yet the President directed ecosystem management for the managing of Federal lands.
If ICBEMP is allowed to be implemented, it will become the basis for land management decisions in the Northwest. It will increase the uncertainty of our management process, not alleviate some of the problems we are already having.
We have to ask ourselves this question, if this plan had been in place 100 years ago, what would this area be like today? What would the Northwest be like today? Would our people and our land be better off?
Page 152 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I have sent the Committee a copy of a conference at Tufts University in Massachusetts where ag and the envirnonment was evaluated. It shows how the environment has been enhanced by agriculture. They went through several things, including Lewis and Clark's record and some records of people that were on this land 100 years ago.
There are a couple of quotes from that proceeding. Many accounts report on how many buffalo actually grazed the western planes. A reliable estimate is about 60 million. However, we do not need an exact count to visualize the impact buffalo must have had on the riparian zones during the presettlement era.
Their trampling of banks and the effect of their grazing must have been very great compared to what we observe today. Evidence of their impact on the riparian vegetation is supplied by a trapper, Osborne Russell.
''The bottoms of the rivers are heavily timbered with Sweet Cottonwood, and our horses and mules are very fond of the bark, which we strip off the limbs and give them every night, as the buffalo have entirely destroyed the grass throughout this part of the country.''
Captain Fremont said it this way in July of 1842 in his report, he said, ''We have found no grass today, striking evidence of the state of the country.'' This was along the Platte River in Nebraska.
So we have to ask ourselves, what is the premise of ecosystem management? They say they are going back 100 years to analyze what the land was like 100 years ago and what we can do for it today. They haven't given a fair shake even to what 100 years ago was, much less what it is today.
The team has made incorrect assumptions about where we were 100 years ago, and that is brought them to a 180-degree differential of where we are today and what we should do about it. ICBEMP is too large, it is too speculative, the whole process they used is inadequate.
Page 153 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It imposes 166 new standards, 398 new guidelines, the public wasn't involved adequately as has already been discussed. There is a lack of credible science in the whole process. The farm bureau strongly opposes the methods currently being used as exemplified by ICBEMP in the adoption of the complex and far-reaching proposals by Federal agencies. We would recommend that this entire document be withdrawn. At one point in time I said we should use some of the science that is in the document.
I would contend, especially based on some of the other testimony we've heard today, that at this point it is all questionable anyway, even the science in the document.
It isn't science, really, is what it amounts to. It is vague and ambiguous. The standards lack objective and quantitative analysis. It opens itself up for court challenges all by itself. The contention is that it would help us get away from the court challenges. But I contend that it would actually be more prone to court challenges.
Not even the term ecosystem management is defined. There are no maps. If we don't know where we are and where we are going, how do we know when we get there? There are no maps of how we want to get there.
The ICBEMP draft EIS represents a significant, if not radical change in the direction of Federal land management. It is outside the law, as I already said. It is a blatant attempt to move land management into a process that eliminates human uses, as you have already heard from other witnesses.
The inescapable conclusion is, that whatever humans do that is inconsistent with the shifting toward natural landscapes must be prohibited or limited by government. That is totally ludicrous.
The ICBEMP draft EIS would try to shift the landscape to a natural condition without the vaguest idea of what a natural condition should be. Terms such as road closures, slope adjustment factors, prohibited and restricted uses, are all very subjective in their use throughout the document.
Page 154 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It only leads to the point that I have just made. It is just opening ourselves up to more dispute and more discussion about what is or isn't the process that we should be using to manage our land.
An ecosystem map does not exist and no one has attempted to draw a map. Some say a map is not necessary. We feel that this ICBEMP draft EIS is totally unacceptable and, if adopted, will lead to less public use and enjoyment of the public lands, massive economic impacts to local communities, and reduce grazing, mining, recreation, and timbering.
Chairman Chenoweth would like to read from our policy book. It suggests what we feel about ecosystem management and this document. This is what it says.
''We ask that Congress investigate Interior, Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife, and any other agency who has a compelling interest in promoting ecosystem management for misappropriation of taxpayer dollars in their planning process. Congress must restrict funding for ecosystem programs and prosecute those who are responsible for circumventing the authority of Congress.''
That is what we believe as an organization.
Therefore, we believe that this process should be shelved and actually trashed. Really, you could compare it to a piece of tainted meat. We wouldn't consider attempting to cut out E-Coli and use the rest. If we have a piece of tainted meat, don't put it on the market and say, Well, let us see what we can get out of it that would be useful for the public.
If we have a tornado or earthquake, we rush to help the citizens that are injured. That is the impact this document could have on the Pacific Northwest. It could be worse than a tornado and earthquake. What we are asking is that the Congress help us to deal with it. Thank you.
Page 155 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [The prepared statement of Tom Dayley may be found at end of hearing.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you very much, Mr. Dayley. Could you let us know, for the record, how the other farm bureaus feel in the seven affected states?
Mr. DAYLEY. Yes, we will do that.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. How long has the Idaho Farm Bureau been involved in this project?
Mr. DAYLEY. We have been involved for quite some time. We had a specialist from Washington, DC, come and give us a synopsis of this document. He condensed the 4,000 pages down to about 100 pages, and showed us some of the flaws in the document and so forth. I have submitted that document for the Committee record.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. You recommended in your written statement that the process should be started all over with adequate public involvement and more in-depth analysis by the scientific experts. Are you suggesting that we should do a new study at this same broad level covering the entire Columbia Basin system?
Mr. DAYLEY. Absolutely not. Thank you for asking the question, if that was the interpretation.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Can we have local forest supervisors and district managers of the BLM proceed with decisions at the forest and district level as required under NFMA and FLPMA? Those laws are adequate?
Mr. DAYLEY. Yes.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Wasn't the preferred alternative supposed to provide an aggressive approach to management already?
Mr. DAYLEY. That is correct.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. What will happen to the ecological conditions of the basin under the more passive approach that the project has actually developed?
Page 156 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DAYLEY. Well, I would contend, as I said in my testimony, that what they are proposing would be devastating to the economy and the well-being, even of the ecology of the Northwest.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Interesting.
Mr. Bliss, I understand that the Northwest Timber Workers supported the project initially. At what point and why did you withdraw that support?
Mr. BLISS. We initially supported it. The company that I worked for supported it from the beginning. They spent millions of dollars putting scientific folks with the Forest Service to try to come out with a good outcome.
We, I think, were a little naive in believing that what they said they were going to do was what they actually were going to do. They said that they were going to give us sound science to be able to manage for healthy forests. We knew that that would mean, because of the shape that our forests were in, that we needed to harvest more trees, not less, to put the forest back into the shape that they could survive.
So we thought long and hard amongst ourselves because our group represents many different companies. None of the other companies but mine were in favor of this project. But we, amongst the workers, decided that this was our best shot at keeping our jobs.
And so we voted to support this project. And when it went to the printers from the Forest Service, we wouldn't have liked it much, but we probably could have lived with it.
But then the administration reached into the printers, pulled it out, and gave it to the agencies. At that time, all the science left. And the hard standards that are in the document, that is where they entered.
And the plan now is total. That means there would be no management on the ground in our opinion. And also the opinion of many forest supervisors, who have told us, that if they were given all the money they needed to do the studies that are called for in this, that there would be two years without any outputs from the forest whatsoever. And in two years my job will be gone. We can't wait two years.
Page 157 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And then we are only talking aboutthey are saying that they can't even get the 60 percent or less of the forest plan levels out for sure then. So there is no certainty whatsoever that after two years that there would be any output.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. How much have timber harvest levels already declined in the Columbia Basin, say, since 1990or 1989, when we were harvesting maybe 60 percent of the ASQ?
Mr. BLISS. I don't know what that exact figure is, but I can tell you that we have closed around 400 sawmills in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and northern California in that time between the spotted owl controversy, the Forest Service, and a lot of forests were only putting out 15 percent or less of their allowable sales quantity from the forest plans that many of us spent 10 years in public meetings with the Forest Service to develop. And so we see no future in this at all.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Has there been a sharp decline in the amount of timber sales in the board feet since 1989?
Mr. BLISS. In many of the forests, that is the case. The two forests that we get our wood off of, because we have had fires since 1990 that have destroyed 25 percent of the entire Boise National Forest, and they have put up for sale about 10 percent of what burned, our allowable sales quantity has stayed pretty much where the forest levels are. The administration went as far as to actually try to punish the forest supervisors for doing a good job of getting that salvage out.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. We have heard testimony that the preferred alternative was supposed to have provided an aggressive approach, but if it actually did provide an aggressive approach to the forest restoration, how would it be changed? How would we change the preferred alternative to make it an aggressive approach to forest restoration, and would it provide a more certain timber supply?
Page 158 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BLISS. If they actually did what they said they were going to do and actively go for forest restoration, we have the ability and the knowledge to go in and mimic Mother Nature to make healthy forests by thinning the trees, taking out the timber, returning low intensity fires to the ecosystem, to return minerals and stuff to the soil.
But that would take changing some of the multitude of restrictions and stuff that the Forest Service has to go through now, put on them by the other agencies who are not land managers and don't know what is good for the land.
There is no way that we can get there with this plan. It only leaves less than 10 percent of the entire forests open for harvest by all of the data that I have seen. And that is mainly on the ridge tops. And they are planning to forbid entry into roadless areas over 1,000 acres inside, which will in itself tie up the majority of the forests. They haven't even been inventoried yet.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Mr. Bliss, are you a hunter?
Mr. BLISS. Yes.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. We heard testimony earlier from Mr. Cuddy, and I had heard an indication that our elk herds were declining. Are you seeing evidence in your area around Horseshoe Bend?
Mr. BLISS. Not in my area because we live close to managed forests, and the elk herds are actually increasing in our area because the forests are managed. We have some state land around us. We have the land that the Boise National Forest and the Payette National Forest has managed.
In the backcountry, in the wilderness areas, the herds are declining drastically. They are moving down. I think we are actually benefiting in elk populations from the Forest Service's mismanagement of the other areas.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Very interesting. Mr. Grant, I would like to ask you a couple of procedural questions. Didn't you work in the Reagan Administration?
Page 159 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GRANT. Did I work in the Reagan Administration? I was in theno, when I was in the Federal Government, Madam Chairman, it was during the administration of President Johnson.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. So you worked for President Johnson in the White House?
Mr. GRANT. I worked under Attorney General Katzenback in the United States Attorney's office. I worked in the Johnson Administration.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. So you didn't work as a member of my party, did you?
Mr. GRANT. Unfortunately, no. I was in Maryland at the time and not many people worked in the Republican Party in Maryland in those days. I was Republican but not working in the Republican Party.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Is it your understanding that the agencies intend to use a single decision under ICBEMP, that simultaneously amends all of the applicable forest land and resource management plans?
Mr. GRANT. I think in answer to that, Madam Chairman, it is very clear from the documents and from what was done by the steering committee to the document when they pulled it back, as Mr. Bliss has said, that one record of decision is intended.
And that record of decision is also clear and has been made clear to the management agencies and they have said so, that their management plans, their local management plans, will then have to be amended to become consistent with the record of decision which is issued.
Now, what that means, of course, is that NEPA has violated at least twofold with this project. It is violated, I firmly believe for the reasons that I stated briefly and Mr. Dayley stated, and I stated in my written testimony. Because the public was never adequately involved in this.
Page 160 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC There are case decisions from the Ninth Circuit, even, that say that the public must be involved. One of the prime purposes of NEPA is to involve the public so in the decisionmaking process and in the implementation process. And I asked that the Congress, the Members of Congress take this document and look at it and see whether you can participate meaningfully, in the decision to be made as to the alternative and in the implementation of it.
And the second place that I think it is violated is that these local plans then can be amended without going through another NEPA process. And so, for example, and we have been told from the beginning that the Owyhee Resourceand proposed the Owyhee Resource Management Plan could be amended to be brought consistent with the ecosystem plan.
The Resource Advisory Council in this area has been told that the local plans would be made consistent by amendment. And one of the features of that is that they won't have to go through the NEPA process again because it will already have been done.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Well, under the scenario, how effectively can they analyze and disclose the effects of the decision on each plan? How can they do it?
Mr. GRANT. Well, they can't. It is absolutely impossible, in my view, and I think in the view of the people that I have talked to who have studied NEPA, and who have studied the process of management of the resources.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. And in your opinion, as an attorney, the very requirements of NEPA require full disclosure and openness. Right?
Mr. GRANT. Absolutely.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. To the public?
Mr. GRANT. And the only full disclosure that I see in this document is that it is a way of implementing Earth in the Balance. I think that is where it was devised, and I think that is the flow of it.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Does the APA, the Administrative Procedures Act, also come into play here?
Page 161 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GRANT. I think it does. And unfortunately, the way the APA has been interpretedwell, in fact, the way it is written and way it has been interpreted by the courts, the only way that you can, in any way, attack this project in court is to argue that whatever decision is made is arbitrary and capricious and that there is no evidence supporting it.
Well, there is evidence supporting it. It is just not sound evidence. But you see, the courts have said they will not go into the substance. They will only go into the procedure under the APA. They will not look at the substance of the material that is supporting the record of decision.
Well, one of the pieces of evidence in this document is, that allowing grazing is a compromise because grazing is obviously not a tool to improving the range. Now, that just flies in the face of everything that we know about grazing, including the evidence of an administrative law judge or administrative judge or the secretary in the Department of the Interior himself, who in the infamous Mercer case said, I am going take this permit away from the conservationist group because it needs grazing it hasn't had for 8 years.
And that was the case when Secretary Babbitt tried to invade in rangeland reform, those portions that Jack Bremmer set aside.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. After the decision is made, is it your understanding that additional forest and resource plan amendments, conforming amendments, would be necessary according to the agencies?
Mr. GRANT. Yes, we have been told that. The Forest Service has made those statements in counties throughout the state that rely on timber. What we have been told by agency personnel by the BLM is that if amendments are necessary, they will be made. And we know they are necessary because we have the management framework plans that are currently the land use plans, and they are not consistent with that amorphous alternative that is the preferred alternative.
Page 162 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. Well, then, if that is the case then what opportunity will there be to develop a reasonable range of requirements, or reasonable range of alternatives, as required under the NEPA?
Mr. GRANT. Well, there won't be. And that is the point, I think, that they are trying to evade the NEPA process at the local planning level by arguing, we have already done that. We did it on this whole great ecosystem throughout the state.
You have asked before, what is the definition of an ecosystem and I remembered the definition that Mr. Bacus tried to make when he was head of the BLM, and they asked him to define a ecosystem. And his definition was only in size. He said it could be a patch as big as the land under the heel of your left foot or it could be as big as three states. And that was his only attempt at a definition.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. My goodness. Given the broad nature of the decision expected under ICBEMP, would the land management agencies be able to issue project decisions tiered to the ICBEMP plan? Or how many additional levels of analyses and decisions and appeals will be needed to tier down the site's specific projects, and what will this process cost in added time and money based on what it has cost to date?
Mr. GRANT. Well, I think the costslet me break the costs down first. I think speaking from a legal standpoint, the first and the most prohibitive cost will be to the individuals, the individuals who are adversely impacted in their use of the Federal lands, and to those people who have to file a takings action because there will be private property that the use of which will be taken.
And we know what the costs of those things are. They are astronomical. The people of the Bruneau Valley had to pay over $180,000 in their attempt to get the Bruneau Snail delisted, which they were successful in until they hit the Ninth Circuit block.
We know the cost of the Owyhee permittees in fighting an injunctive action. You see, the cost to the individual is going to be multiplied not just by what they have to do to appeal the actions that are taken by the land management agencies, but to resist the appeals and lawsuits taken by the nonuse extremist environmentalist groups.
Page 163 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And to the government, the cost is going to be extreme because you are going to haveI can tell you that we are going to try to make it a multi-tiered appeal process. Because when they come down with these decisions, which we know they willthey have made no bones about this.
A BLM representative sitting in a water adjudication attempted settlement conference, said to me, to the attorney for the permittees, and to several of the permittees, the stress to get the cows off the Federal lands is going to increase. And when they are finally off, we don't want the water right to be convoluted or made more complex by having your name on it.
So there is no question of what the real intent of all this is. They can say whatever they want to. We know what it is. We know it is to reduce the timber usage. We know it is to reduce grazing. We know it is to reduce recreation.
So we will make the appeal process as multi-tiered as we can. We will appeal in every direction that we can. It will be costly, but the people have no alternative.
From the Federal Government standpoint, therefore, the cost is going to be astronomical because I can guarantee that whenever one of these appeals is taken, we are going to try to subpoena every Federal agent that had anything to do with the ecosystem project as well as the local decision based upon that project.
And they are going to be tied up in court. It is just that simple. We are not going to let them escape if we can help it. If we had done as individuals, what the Federal agencies have done in this ecosystem project, we would be under Federal indictment, and we would be facing embezzlement charges, fraud charges, and virtually every other charge that they can think of because that is what this is. This is a fraud. It is a fraud on the Congress and it's a fraud on the people who use the natural resource lands in the western states.
Very technically, what they could argue is that we will have no appeal from a land use decision that is made based upon the ecosystem project, because what agency would you go to to appeal it? The EPA? One of the other agencies that makes the decisions?
Page 164 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Those 20 agencies didn't sign that agreement just out of the spirit of goodwill. They are going to be actively involved in implementing this thing in every way possible.
We know that under the Safe Drinking Water Act, the time is going to come in a couple of years when every municipal water system has to report to its users every possible area of contamination in its watershed. That is already been said to us.
We know that all these regulations are sitting there just waiting to be applied under the ecosystem project with it as the big panoply of legalism and it is not.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Well, Mr. Grant, you have given us an awful lot to think about. All three of you have. And I do have more questions for you. I will be submitting them in writing. I would ask that you return your answers as soon as possible. We are appropriating funds and will be in that process of making these analyses when we get back. So I would appreciate that the balance of the questions will be very helpful.
Mr. GRANT. Thank you, Madam Chairman, for the opportunity to testify, and we will be very blunt in our answers.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Sometimes it takes that to get our attention. I don't think when it comes to the survival of the Northwest and those of us who are resource-dependent community people, I don't think there is any other way than to be very, very direct. And I appreciate that directness. It is honest. It is realistic. And I appreciate all of your testimony very, very much. Again, thank you very much.
We call the next panel, Tom Dwyer, Acting Regional Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service, in Portland, Oregon. Is Mr. Dwyer here? Elizabeth Gaar, Assistant Regional Administrator for Habitat Conservation for the National Marine Fisheries Service in Portland, Oregon; Charles Findley, Deputy Regional Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency from Seattle, Washington.
Page 165 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I appreciate all of you for coming so far and being here. I wonder before we begin hearing from you if you would stand.
STATEMENT OF TOM DWYER, DEPUTY REGIONAL DIRECTOR, U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Mr. Dwyer, we welcome your testimony.
Mr. DWYER. Madam Chairman, I am Tom Dwyer, Acting Regional Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the Pacific Region. Thank you for the opportunity to provide the Subcommittee with updated information on the Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project, including the role of the Fish and Wildlife Service, both currently and historically.
The Service's role in this project is to bring its expertise to collaborative efforts to assess the impact of land use activities on whole watersheds and ecosystems, and to help move beyond simple species maintenance to the ecosystems restoration.
The Fish and Wildlife Service views the project, if implemented, as providing significant long-term benefits not only to the overall management of fish and wildlife resources and their habitats in the Columbia River Basin, but to the local communities within the area as well.
The service views the project as a high priority and has placed a great deal of effort into working with the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, the National Marine Fisheries Service, and the Environmental Protection Agency. The development and implementation of the project is truly an interagency effort.
Development of the two Draft Environmental Impact Statements are based on a broad landscape perspective. These drafts describe what we all want to see happen over a very long period of time in the basin and on Forest Service and BLM land. At these scales, these drafts provide only minimal direction on how land managers will actually achieve this broad-scale vision and apply it at the local level.
Page 166 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Service has, therefore, worked closely with the project EIS team and local executives at the Forest Service and BLM to incorporate into the drafts an approach that would provide for a greater level of assurance, predictability, and accountability in project implementation, while avoiding undue delays.
The Service's current support of the project has been based on inclusion of three basic but critical elements that must be firmly founded, we feel, in the final EIS and Record of Decision, if those circumstances come about.
The first of these is that we feel proactive contributions to the recovery of listed species under the Endangered Species Act and prevention of future listings as a result of any actions on Forest Service and BLM lands that are under the plan.
Secondly, we believe we must integrate into the plan a comprehensive approach to analysis plan at the subbasin level and at the ecosystem and watershed level.
And third, we feel that the collaborative process we are now experiencing should allow the service to participate in basin-wide midscale and project level planning and design and implementation. The Forest Service and BLM executives have supported this concept and advocate this new approach to interagency collaboration with the Federal regulatory agencies.
For more than three years the Pacific Region of the Fish and Wildlife Service has provided technical and policy level assistance to the project. We have worked in partnership with the EIS teams to ensure the integrity of the scientific analysis and promote compliance with Federal laws, such as the Endangered Species Act.
In addition, we have served on and provided staff assistance to a variety of science teams, ad hoc teams, and policy level teams, in particular the Executive Steering Committee, which consists of the executives of the Forest Service, BLM, National Marine Fisheries Service, EPA, and Fish and Wildlife Service at the regional and state levels.
You asked in your letter of invitation about budgets and efforts we have devoted to this project. During the developmental stages of the two Draft EISs the Fish and Wildlife Service has annually provided approximately six to eight field office employees dedicated only part-time to support of the project. We estimate that this has cost us perhaps in the neighborhood of $250,000 a year for the past couple of years.
Page 167 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC There are, of course, other ongoing Fish and Wildlife Service actions in the basin and funding for these activities, particularly those related to Endangered Species Act Consultation, probably total about $1.2 million dollars a year.
Once the project begins its implementation phase, then of course these funds would then go in support of the project. Thus, in total, we have probably spent roughly $1.4 million a year from our budgets to support project implementation.
The President's fiscal year 1999 budget includes an increase of $1.5 million in the ESA consultation area to be our first incremental increase in funding for this project. During implementation the Service has assumed that field level collaboration will occur similar to that currently used in our streamline Section 7 consultation process.
This involves, basically, assigning local Fish and Wildlife Service biologists to work with one or more BLM resource areas or Forest Service districts in a consultation and collaboration role.
I expect the Service's role in working with BLM and the Forest Service and land managers in the future to be the following:
One, we will help identify in early stages projects that would adversely affect candidate, proposed or listed species and help them develop alternatives. We would provide a landscape perspective on listed species status. We would help identify mechanisms to improve conditions for these candidate species and species of concern to avoid the need for future listings under the Endangered Species Act. And we would help them develop habitat and resource information.
Thank you, Madam Chairman, for allowing me to speak this afternoon before this oversight hearing. I would be glad to answer any questions.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Dwyer.
Page 168 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [The prepared statement of Tom Dwyer may be found at end of hearing.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Elizabeth Gaar.
STATEMENT OF ELIZABETH GAAR, ASSISTANT REGIONAL MANAGER FOR HABITAT CONSERVATION, NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE
Ms. GAAR. Thank you. Madam Chairman, I am Elizabeth Holmes Gaar. I am the Assistant Regional Administrator of the Northwest Region of the National Marine Fisheries Service, which has the common acronym of NMFS, which I will use from hereforth.
I am responding on behalf of NMFS to your request as Subcommittee Chair for testimony on the Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Projects or project, including the role of regulatory agencies both currently and historically, as well as the impact of the project on local communities.
The project is a unique undertaking that will guide future land management decisions, and will significantly increase the involvement of government and nongovernment partners and stakeholders in the resource management decision process.
The primary NMFS role in the project is to help ensure that conservation needs of salmon and steelhead listed under the Endangered Species Act and proposed for listing under the Endangered Species Act are realized as actions are taken across the broad expanse of the project area.
The NMFS is committed to working for a successful planning and implementation of the project. We believe our early and full involvement is needed to help avoid and to minimize costly, last-minute conflicts that could affect both short- and long-term outcomes.
The collaborative interagency approach to project planning is working. We have made it work for the last 5 years in the Columbia Basin. Our experience with ESA salmon issues in the Northwest has shown it is more efficient and cost effective to involve all interested parties early and often during large scale planning exercises such as the ICBEMP or the project.
Page 169 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The NMFS is, therefore, participating in development of key components of the DEISs and those areas requiring additional efforts to complete a final EIS and record of decision. This early interagency involvement was critical to the development and release of the Draft EIS to the public for their review and comment.
The NMFS continues to work collaboratively with our Federal partners in moving from a Draft to Final EIS and record of decision. A major interest in NMFS is the interagency commitment to hierarchical, step-down planning as a primary tool for incorporating scientific information into project implementation. This type of planning will provide assurances for conservation of listed salmonids and their habitats.
You did ask about NMFS ICBEMP budget. Successful ICBEMP implementation depends on continued interagency participation in the collaborative step-down planning process that does promote ecosystem management. The ability to deliver project planning flexibility also depends on a strong adaptive management approach, strong science, and NMFS involvement.
The NMFS budget for ICBEMP currently focuses on interagency participation in the development of the DEISs and supporting implementation strategies. As the project transitions to implementation and the application of new science to the step-down planning process for project design and implementation, NMFS interagency participation will increase in those areas where conservation of anadromous salmonids are of concern within the project area.
The President's fiscal year 1999 budget for NOAA Fisheries includes a west coast, Alaska, Northwest and Southwest, which is California Region, salmon funding initiative which includes approximately $2.8 million for Natural Fisheries Service to support the project.
Now, to date, we have spent in fiscal year 1998, our budget is $200,000 for ICBEMP FEIS development and we are looking to the 1999 budget increase to get us in a position where we can actually participate in the implementation.
With regard to the role of the NMFS during ICBEMP implementation we intend to build on the successes of interagency collaboration and planning to date, as well as that gain through the present ESA Section 7 streamlined consultation process.
Page 170 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Early and complete involvement by NMFS is essential for continued successful application of the streamlined ESA consultation process. The integrated collaborative effort and commitment by the Federal agencies will serve to reduce nongovernmental legal challenges and other efforts often required during a formal ESA Section 7 consultation process.
In closing, I want to express my appreciation to you, Madam Chairman, for your continued interest in this multi-agency, broad-scale Federal land management planning process. I sincerely believe that this project has worked and continues to work diligently to bring all involved parties together.
Now we begin the difficult task of assessing the interrelationships of Federal land management decisions within the Interior Columbia River Basin. By jointly approaching the problems identified in the ICBEMP science assessments, many of which are too large for any one agency or land unit to address alone, we can collectively apply newly analyzed scientific information that was unavailable in the past. And begin the restoration efforts with confidence that many of our highly valued public resources need.
Thank you, Madam Chairman, for allowing me to speak before this Subcommittee and this concludes my statement. I would be happy to answer questions.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Ms. Gaar.
[The prepared statement of Elizabeth Gaar may be found at end of hearing.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. The chair now recognizes Charles Findley. Mr. Findley?
STATEMENT OF CHARLES FINDLEY, DEPUTY REGIONAL ADMINISTRATOR, ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
Mr. FINDLEY. Madam Chairman, I am Chuck Findley, the Deputy Regional Administrator for Region 10. I am here at your request to provide the Subcommittee with additional testimony on the Columbia Basin Project, including EPA's regulatory role.
Page 171 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I would like to begin by expressing EPA's strong support for the purpose and the needs that have been established for this project, restoring and maintaining ecosystem health and ecological integrity, supporting the economic and social needs of people, cultures, and communities, and providing sustainable and predictable level of products from Forest Service and BLM-administered lands.
Satisfying these purposes and needs is key to healthy watersheds, aquatic ecosystems, and ultimately the communities. Our philosophy has been, and will continue to be, to put effort into up-front work to ensure that the overall objectives and standards and guides are protective of our air and water resources.
This is simply more efficient than being involved on a project-by-project basis. We believe it also helps provide a more constant flow of goods and services to the communities and public because projects will less likely be challenged.
If protective land management practices are not dealt with adequately up front through the EIS process, they likely will be dealt with later through other forums. History tells us that this will be a likely scenario if we are not successful up front. EPA's decision to invest resources in the project is based on the premise that it is far more cost effective to collaborate and address concerns early on in the process than it is to wait and attempt to resolve differences that are identified on a project-by-project basis. That is the way it used to be done.
We have had some disagreements and differences of opinion over the past four years on this project. That is understandable given the different mandates that each of the agencies have. But at the executive level, there continues to be a firm commitment to forge agreements that meet each agency's mandate and interest in stewardship of our country's natural resources. Decision-making at the policy level has been a joint and collaborative process among all five agencies involved. And I am confident that this mode of operation will continue.
Page 172 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC EPA's current involvement in the project remains one of strong support. We committed the resources necessary to assure that it moves forward as quickly and efficiently as possible to a final decision. Reaching resolution will mean that the critically important environmental restoration work can begin to protect the region's land and water.
EPA will commit resources and continue to work with the land management agencies in a collaborative manner for the duration of this project. Assuming the production of a final EIS and record of decision, EPA expects to participate in the implementation of the project with a level of resources sufficient to provide the Forest Service and BLM with technical assistance and support in their planning, assessment, and decision processes.
We want to ensure the clean water and clean air and other EPA responsibilities are appropriately addressed. We would expect our level of involvement to decrease over time as we gain confidence that these responsibilities are being carried out satisfactorily. EPA's approach is to be more involved initially on selected projects, but then to reduce our involvement as we gain confidence that the standards are applied consistently across the landscape.
We believe we can accomplish our goals in the collaborating process by focusing our limited resources on the most sensitive and complex environmental issues. Our goal is to provide staff and resources sufficient to assure success of the project that are appropriate to the nature of the issues and challenges that arise.
In closing, we believe the direction and goals of the Interior Columbia Basin Projects are worthy of continued support, both by the communities, the public, and interest groups that will be most impacted by it, and by government at all levels. EPA is committed to supporting the project and assuring its success.
The strength of the project is its framework of broad public participation, ability to address regional landscape scale issues, default standards that can be changed to fit local conditions through the conduct of ecosystems analysis at the watershed scale, and finally intergovernmental collaboration opportunities.
Page 173 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Thank you, Madam Chairman, for inviting me to address this oversight hearing. This concludes my statement, and I would be happy to address any questions you might have.
[The prepared statement of Charles Findley may be found at end of hearing.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Findley. I want to ask all three of you the same question. I will start with Mr. Findley, so be thinking of your answer.
ICBEMP has a dual purpose and need as stated in chapter one. It is to, first, develop science-based sound strategies for the environment, and second, support economic social needs of people, communities, and jobs. Is your agency equally committed to both of these goals?
Mr. FINDLEY. Our agency is committed primarily to the satisfaction of environmental laws and regulations. That is our primary purpose. We carry out those responsibilities in a common sense way, in a way that blends the different aspects of community needs with environmental protection. And we try to do that in a balanced way.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you. Ms. Gaar?
Ms. GAAR. Yes. The Natural Marine Fisheries Service does have obligations for conserving the fishery resources. That is our primary obligation and mandate.
However, we understand that we are not the ones who ultimately are responsible for and cause the conservation of the resources. It is the people. It is the people on the ground, the people in the local communities, and the people who are working in the agencies, states, counties, and tribes.
We try to make fish conservation happen. And so our interest is, specifically, for the resource. We fully understand that management strategies need to be designed in a way that people are able and willing to implement.
Page 174 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. Mr. Dwyer?
Mr. DWYER. I think I would answer absolutely, that the Fish and Wildlife Service is committed to both protecting our responsibilities under environmental laws, but also allowing reasonable use of commodities and reasonable extraction of commodities from the public lands.
I think what we see in these Draft EISs that we feel strongly about, is the fact that we are dealing with landscape level planning, collaborative interagency efforts what we hope is a broad-scale public input to this. I think the fact that the drafts have now been out for some 320 days for public review is some evidence of that.
Then also, the whole idea of balancing the economic and environmental focus in this plan is really where we think the action needs to be in the future. You don't have to have the conflicts is you have early, and adequate consultation up front between regulatory agencies and land management agencies.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. And the next question I would like to ask all three of you, and I will start with Mr. Dwyer this time, is on the issue of risk, how your agency views risk. Do you believe that the risks are balanced or are long-term risks discounted in the documents, in favor of a short-term risk?
Mr. DWYER. I think if you are asking are we reasonably comfortable with the preferred alternative and does it balance those kinds of issues, I think at this point, yes. I think we, like the other agencies, are undergoing, in a sense, our own internal review of really what all the words do say and do mean in the document.
But we were a party to developing that preferred alternative and what we thought was a balanced reconciliation of the need for economic development, essentially, and protection of the environment.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Ms. Gaar, how does your agency view the issue of risk? Are risks balanced or is the long-term risk discounted in favor of the short-term risk?
Page 175 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. GAAR. Well, if I understand your question, I think it is a good one. I hope I am answering it. Let me know if I am not.
We are concerned about both the short- and the long-term risks. But we put the short-term risk in perspective and that perspective, is that our ultimate goal is long-term survival of the species. And we do have the Endangered Species Act responsibilities.
We also have many others, communities and tribes, that are interested in going beyond the Endangered Species Act to fisheries again and sustainable populations. So there needs to be a proper balance of the short-term risks and the assurance in the long-term, that survival does occur.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you. Mr. Findley, how does your agency view the risk?
Mr. FINDLEY. Let me give you a practical example. I appreciate the opportunity to go third rather than first this time.
The issue of air quality, for example, is probably a good example of how risks are balanced in the Draft EIS. If you take a look at what has happened over the last few years, particularly with all the heavy duty forest fires we have had in this area, we have had dramatic impacts on air quality.
In the long run, the goal of the project is to get forests in their proper functioning conditions so that that isn't quite as big of a factor as it is now. So in the long run, you will have much better air quality.
In the short run, we are going to pay a little bit more of a price for that because we will have more prescribed burnings to thin out areas where there is heavy accumulations of flash. That is a balance and we think that the approach that is used in the EIS has achieved the proper balance between long and short run.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Ms. Gaar, I would like to ask you, do you believe that Alternative Four actually takes care of the needs of the fish to your satisfaction or your agency's satisfaction?
Page 176 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. GAAR. Well, Alternative Four is now out in the draft form in the Draft EIS. Its final form will be determined after an in-depth review and consideration of public comment. So that is where we are with Alternative Four. The framework is good. The ultimate outcome is going to depend on the consideration of the public comments.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Do you believe that more is needed to add to Alternative Four than what is now provided?
Ms. GAAR. The framework of Alternative Four is good as a comprehensive aquatic strategy for salmonids. I do believe that what is needed is some refinements. For example, implementation. The agencies need to articulate how the implementation process will work. For example, if we have a subbasin assessment or watershed analysis, how is the information from that transferred to the project level for decisionmaking? We do have some work to do on those refinements still.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I wanted to ask you, Mr. Findley, does your agency have a communications memo, a policy by which your personnel is directed to link implementation with Vice President Gore's Clean Water Initiative?
Mr. FINDLEY. Madam Chairman, I am not sure I can answer that question. I honestly don't know whether we do or don't. The Clean Water Initiative was developed largely in Washington, DC, with not very much regional input. I am not saying it is a bad initiative. Just simply given the time, it was done in that way.
And now they are expanding it to give public comment on it and to get the states' reaction and whatnot to see how it can work. And I am not sure what our communication strategy is in terms of any deliberate memo. I doubt that we have one.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. To your personal knowledge, you do not know of any?
Mr. FINDLEY. To my personal knowledge, that is correct.
Page 177 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. Do the Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Marine Fisheries Service, and the EPA plan on adding staff to each ranger district or national forest to provide input to land management decisions? Mr. Dwyer, could you answer that first?
Mr. DWYER. I think after full implementation of the preferred alternative, or some changes to that which may come about because of the public input and even the agency reviews which we are going through. Once we get that done, I think what we see as the best way to implement whatever is a preferred alternative is, in fact, to have, as Elizabeth mentioned this, early and often consultation with the land management agencies.
Yes, that will mean in the end, I think, an addition of staff; whether we would actually put staff at each ranger district or at each BLM district, I doubt it. I think it would be more an upgrading of staff that we have now in some key areas and key offices that we have throughout the region.
We don't anticipate this as a terrific number of people, but we want to make sure that we have enough people there to answer the questions, to consult early on, to help avoid conflicts later on, particularly related to the Endangered Species Act.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Mr. Dwyer, does your agency have a communications memo or a policy by which your personnel is directed to link implementation of the ICBEMP policies with Vice President Al Gore's Clean Water Initiative?
Mr. DWYER. To my personal knowledge, we don't have such direction.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Ms. Gaar, do you know of any typed memo that your agency has developed, a communications memo of policy, by which the personnel is directed to link implementation of your activities to Vice President Al Gore's Clean Water Initiative?
Ms. GAAR. I do not have personal knowledge of such. I would be happy to inquire with different levels of the agency.
Page 178 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. Would all of you please inquire?
Ms. GAAR. Sure.
After looking into the matter, the National Marine Fisheries Service has no knowledge of a communications memo by which the personnel are directed to link implementation of our activities to the Clean Water Initiative.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Can you tell me if the National Marine Fisheries Service is planning on adding staff to each ranger district or national forest to provide input to land management decisions?
Ms. GAAR. Yes. My answer would be nearly identical to Tom's, except that we would limit our involvement to areas that have salmon and steelhead. We would upgrade staff, but would not actually locate them at each ranger station. Right now we just have an office in Boise, Idaho, and it is possible that we may try to expand because our guys spend way too much time on the road because they do go out on the ground meeting with the Forest Service people, getting to know the ground and the area.
So we might locate a field office or two to become more knowledgeable of the area. But my answer is identical to Tom's. We do anticipate that early and often involvement so that we avoid roadblocks when it comes time to really get the activity out.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you. Mr. Findley, do you anticipate adding staff?
Mr. FINDLEY. We will add some staff, but will we have staff in each district? No, we won't. We are not staffed that way. We simply don't have that quantity of staff to do that. We will pick and choose in areas where we have fairly significant degraded water problems or where there is likely to be some significant coordination problems between land management agencies and local air authorities, for example, or state air authorities.
Page 179 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. Mr. Findley, what impact will the requirement to collaborate with Forest Service have on annual budgets of your agency?
Mr. FINDLEY. We are developing estimates at this point. We made preliminary estimates. I don't have them with me. I would be happy to share them with you.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Have these been disclosed in the DEIS?
Mr. FINDLEY. I don't believe so. I can't answer that for sure.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Could you find out for me and if they have not been disclosed, could you let us know why?
Mr. FINDLEY. Yes, I would be happy to. I just simply can't answer the question.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. All right. Ms. Gaar, what impact will the requirement to collaborate with the Forest Service have on the annual budgets of National Marine Fisheries Service and are these figures disclosed fully in the DEIS?
Ms. GAAR. OK. The first question about the impact on the National Marine Fisheries Service budget, I would go back to the figures that I reported earlier in my testimony. You probably did notice a definite increase between fiscal year 1998 and fiscal year 1999. Indeed it would take resources in addition to what we have now because we are just covering the existing consultations, and we feel, barely.
And the reason we would need additional staff is because it is true that Alternative Four envisioned a very analytical framework or process that is nested, beginning with the large, the subbasin assessment, and then the watershed assessment, and then the project scale, and in order for the land managers to retain local flexibility, the assessment is focused, zeroed in, on the local area.
So that is a change in the way business has been done presently and in the past, which has been that there are programmatic standards and guides and everybody implements them. So part of the cost of local flexibility depending on the conditions, both environmental and socioeconomic, is the need for that assessment and the analysis as we step down to the decisionmaking on the ground.
Page 180 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. Do you envision, then, in the future for, say, a timber sale, or a grazing permit in our region, do you think that it will be incumbent upon the agencies to analyze a region-wide impact as well as a watershed-wide impact in order to come down to the project impact? Will we have to develop a process by which we go through all of those steps for every individual project?
Ms. GAAR. Well, part of the reason, a big part of the reason for the ICBEMP are these forest and rangeland health issues. And what we have learned a lot about through the science assessment is the urgency of attending to the forest and rangeland health issues.
And so in order to do that, in a way that we are able toor the forest and BLM are able to prioritize and get to the most pressing rangeland health issues, and do so in a manner that also conserves the precious habitats that we are concerned about, those assessments are what provide the information in order to help the land managers know where to go first.
In fact, some of the science assessment work has already helped identify some of those priority areas where we should go first at this large scale. So the large scale will be done when the FEIS is done. And my understanding is that the subbasin assessments and watershed analyses are kicking up and are underway.
I also wanted to answer that there are specific triggers for the watershed analysis process. I don't know that it is 100 percent of the area that requires the watershed analysis. There are specific triggers, like the presence of endangered species.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Can you tell me if these agencies will be analyzing the potential historic areas that will impact the potential historic salmonid runs, as compared to the recent historic salmonid runs?
Ms. GAAR. In forest land management for the Forest Service and BLM?
Page 181 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. In making the decisions under ICBEMP.
Ms. GAAR. Your question is will we be analyzing the current extent of use by fish?
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Let me frame the question differently.
Ms. GAAR. I think I understand it.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I am taking my question from a comment that you made that you would have to be focusing on those areas that would be impacted by historic salmonid runs. The areas of your jurisdiction are the areas that impact salmonid runs.
Ms. GAAR. I don't recall using the word historic. But certainly, yes, our area
Mrs. CHENOWETH. You may not have, and that is my question.
Ms. GAAR. OK. Our area of jurisdiction is the extent of the salmonid runs presently and historically to the extent that it is practicable, meaning reasonable and prudent from both the biological and economic standpoint, to regain historic habitat that may be above a barrier. And that decision is really made on a case by case basis.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I see. You know, I have three pages of questions I would love to ask you. Mr. Findley, I do want to ask you, how much has EPA spent to date on ICBEMP, what is your budget for fiscal years 1998 and 1999 for this project, and what are your future budget needs during the implementation?
So I am asking you what has been spent to date, what is your budget for 1998 and 1999, and what do you anticipate your future budgets needs will be during implementation?
Mr. FINDLEY. I think I indicated in an earlier response to a similar question. I would give you some information back on what that is. Let me try to give you as best as I can right now and then try to clean that up with a written response later.
The historical part I don't have. I can tell you that right now, we are spending on the order of 2FTE in order to participate at the level that we are. And as we go into implementation, we have provided a preliminary estimate to our own headquarters of something in an order of 30FTE in order to fully implement the responsibility we think we have. We don't expect to get all of that. And that is the negotiation, or the discussion we are having with our budget office right now as we prepare for the 1999 budget and the year 2000 budget.
Page 182 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. I think, I was hoping that you would have that because we did send it out in the invitation. And I am disturbed that you don't have the information. I know it is not your fault, but I am disturbed that the agencies
Mr. FINDLEY. I will promise you a very prompt response on that, Madam Chairman. I must admit we had an oversight on that.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you very much. And I will look forward to receiving that information from the other two agencies as well.
I am fully aware that people have to catch airplanes, and so I will excuse this panel now. But I do have three pages of questions that I will be submitting to you. And we have three weeks that we will keep the record open, so I appreciate having your responses within three weeks. All right? Thank you very much for your time.
Ladies and gentlemen, next the hearing process will go to the open mike. I do want to let you know my staff is asking for a break. And I imagine some of you need a break too. So we will recess for a 10-minute break and then we will be called back to order.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. The Committee will come to order. The hearing will come to order.
I have been sent copies of many questionnaires on the Interior Columbia Ecosystem Management Plan on ICBEMP that were submitted to the Columbia Basin EIS team. Many include additional comments written by the submitter, and I want to make sure that you have received all of these. And I will include them in the record by reference. That is all of these comments.
I would also like to mention for the record that I have received a copy of a petition signed by more than 250 people that was sent to the Forest Service expressing opposition to both the roadless area moratorium and the preferred alternative of ICBEMP.
Page 183 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC They express concern that the moratorium and the road obliteration plan by ICBEMP will restrict access to our public lands. I have a copy of the cover letter for the record and will provide a complete copy of the petition after the hearing. So without objection, I will enter that into the record, also.
I do want to say that this is a time when we will ask people to come to the podium there, that is placed there. We have an open mike, and we have people who have signed up to be heard.
I want you to know that we ask that you limit your testimony to two minutes. After your two minutes, the red light will come on.
If you have not completed your testimony during that time, I do want you to know that your entire written comments will be made a part of the record and will be reviewed by all of us. We do have to limit this time so that we can hear from as many people as possible.
Some of you have come from other states. Most of you have traveled long distances. And so with that, I want to call on Sharon Beck first. Sharon Beck is president of the Oregon Cattle Association. We are very pleased and honored that she is here.
Before you begin, Sharon, I do want to say that I believe you were issued a little slip of paper with a number on it. Do you remember that? Any of you who were issued the little piece of paper with the number on it, if you could give it to Kathy Crook, our Committee clerk, here in the black jacket before you testify. We would appreciate it.
So with that, again, I want to welcome you, Sharon Beck. It is an honor and privilege to have you here. Thank you for coming.
STATEMENT OF SHARON BECK, PRESIDENT, OREGON CATTLE ASSOCIATION
Ms. BECK. Thank you, Madam Chairman, for letting us cross the border into Idaho here today, and especially for having those last three panelists. It looked like the rest of us might cause meltdown to ICBEMP there for a little bit.
Page 184 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Thank you for holding this hearing so that you could get a feel for what real people feel about the impacts of ICBEMP and living under such a plan.
I know it is not politically or socially correct to be judgmental about anything these days, so I am taking a big risk by saying that we believe this administration has done some really absurd things.
ICBEMP is the mother of all absurdities. In November, the Idaho Cattlemen's Association passed a resolution which was later passed by the National Cattlemen's Association which basically said that the citizens of the western states have a direct interest in the management of public lands that produce payments in lieu of taxes and contributes significantly to funding the public schools and roads.
And the citizens of the United States and communities throughout the western states depends on the managed stewardship, sustained yield, and even flow of goods and services for multiple use management of public lands located in these states.
There is increased demand in the United States and in the world for natural resources: Recreation, wildlife, fisheries, food, fiber, clean air, clean water, and minerals. The ICBEMP draft documents fail to adequately and truthfully disclose the economic, environmental, and social effects of implementation of ecosystem management practices embodied in the draft DEIS documents.
And, clearly, the preferred alternative intends to take livestock off many areas now in use and will require new standards for grazing. ICBEMP represents a top-down management paradigm which reduces or eliminates effective local input in natural resource management and environmental decisionmaking.
The resolution goes on to say that it should be terminated with no record of decision being approved. The ecosystem management data developed by the project should be communicated to BLM district managers and National Forest supervisors for consideration of public input in statutorily scheduled environmental land and resource management plan revisions.
Page 185 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And that we strongly support natural resource planning and environmental management featuring, site specific management decisions made by local decisionmakers, local citizenry, and parties directly and personally affected by the environmental land and resource management decisions.
The Cattlemen's resolution recognizes that the project has topped down the public land management plan. Although it has declared for several years that it was using the best science available, it displays an ineptitude for separating the facts of science from the myths of popular belief. The Dairymen and Cattlemen's Association has had a formal review of the DEIS that we will be mailing to the Committee within the next few days. Thank you again.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you very much, Mrs. Beck. And thank you for making the trip over here.
Next is Ed Liddiard. And then after that, we will call on Jack Streeter.
STATEMENT OF ED LIDDIARD, PRESIDENT, TREASURE VALLEY CHAPTER OF PEOPLE FOR THE USA
Mr. LIDDIARD. Good afternoon, Madam Chairman. My name is Ed Liddiard. I am president of the Treasure Valley Chapter of People for the USA.
This morning I had mailed my comments to Washington, DC, attention to Kathy Crook.
Madam Chairman, the Interior Basin Columbia Ecosystem Management Project, ICBEMP, this plan affects nearly 150 million acres in the Upper Columbia Basin management and spans areas in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming. The draft environmental impact statement, EIS, the procedure used to evaluate processed management alternatives is flawed.
Specific ecosystems to be protected by land managers are not mapped, though convincing legal rationale for shifting ecosystems-based management is offered, and the key terms lack plain definitions.
Page 186 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Federal Government is trying to tell us that the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, will work together to make ICBEMP a workable project.
It has entirelyit has already been proved that it can't work together. Just look at the grizzly bear plan and the 18-month road moratorium.
As a miner, the ICBEMP project will close many roads in the West. We who depend upon roads in the West. We who depend upon roads in the National Forest and the BLM areas depend on roads to get to our mines.
The draft of the economic and social conditions of communities says it will not be affected. I do not agree with the EIS on economics. With the help of the Idaho Council, just to give you an example, over a 5-year period, between 1991 and 1995, the mining industry in Idaho paid $833 million to its 4,714 workers. In 1995, the industry paid $190 million in wages to 5,081 workers. The average miner earned $37,500 in 1995, which is 60 percent greater than the salary of the average Idaho worker. These benefits have an impact on the whole state.
What is going the happen to recreation workers? The average wage range for a recreational worker is $5 to $11.50, with a minimum of $6.75. Mining involves large companies and small businesses and individuals. Quite often mineral extraction is carried out by individuals, prospectors who look for the minerals to sell to the mining companies which mine the materials used out here in the United States and throughout the rest of the United States.
The rest of my statement in it's entirety has been made available, and I do thank you, Madam Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Ed Liddiard may be found at end of hearing.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you. I really look forward to reading your entire statement, and I thank you for submitting it ahead of time for the record.
Page 187 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The chair recognizes Jack Streeter.
STATEMENT OF JACK STREETER
Mr. STREETER. Let it be known that I will submit written comments. Congresswoman Helen Chenoweth, it is wonderful to see you here.
I understand there are 26 letters in the alphabet. You better get a bigger alphabet for these government wheeling and dealing people that like to take the rights of the American people away from them.
I will tell you what I think. I think we ought to investigate the possibility that maybe this is unconstitutional. The way I look at it, Congress should have brought this or something to the President, and then he could have looked at it, but it is the other way around. He is bringing it to you. I don't think he has that authority.
We have spent $40 million on that guy already. I am not going to tell you what for, but now I heard about another $40 million that we spent stupidly. Listen, melt that ICBEMP down to our size, and throw the dirty water over this administration in Washington, DC.
Now, 144 million acres, no group like that can manage it. The people closest to the ground and closest to the government of the local statesas a matter of fact, they should have already released their authority on all of the grounds within the states.
It implies in the Constitution, when a state has the money and the resources, they should manage the ground and kick the Federal Government out except for a few parks.
I have got one other little thing here, that I think we should use common sense, and there should be a law passed that it is all right to use that.
There are two words I like: Posterity and prosperity. Now, our kids aren't going to have any of that if we don't get off our duff and tell this government where to go and how to get there.
Page 188 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Now, I mentioned common sense, ladies and gentlemen. We have been doing this for 6 years. We had the Swan Falls Guffey Project. If we could have got that through, it would have taken care of about 80 percent of this bull, because we would have utilized the water in Idaho.
You have always heard that the staff of life is bread. That is true. And water, by golly, is the blood of life, and we have got to protect it. You cannot do anything without water. Nothing. You can't grow anything. You can't do anything without water. Protect it. My last blast.
''I think, myself, that we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious.''
I wished I would have said that, but a fellow by the name of Thomas Jefferson did. Thank you.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Streeter.
Mr. STREETER. If you have any questions, I am available.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you very much.
The chair recognizes Commissioner Pete Nielsen.
STATEMENT OF PETE NIELSEN, CHAIRMAN, ELMORE COUNTY REPUBLICANS
Mr. NIELSEN. Madam Chairman, I am Pete Nielsen. I am chairman of the Elmore County Republicans. We didn't prepare a statement. My friend Jack Streeter contacted me early this morning and told me this was going on and asked me to come, and I have been educated a great deal. I am also a candidate for the Senate race in the Republican Party for Legislative District 20, and Jack is a hard act to follow.
Page 189 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I agree with Farm Bureau, and the good ladyshe was sitting there by methat this is a Jekyll and Hyde proposition. There is no definition of it, of where they are going, how they are going to get there, or anything about it. I have to agree currently with that.
As Representative Cuddy said, the current Federal system is broke. I agree with that. He also stated that local control can make the decisions and implement the plans quicker. I agree with that, and the reason I agree with that is this: Locally we care more than the Federal can possibly care, because it is where we live. It is where we have our families. It is where we raise our grandchildren.
I personally want this to be a place for my children, and my grandchildren as good as it was, if not better, than the one I was raised in.
And I can see where this is going, and it is not going to be the case. And I will move heaven and earth in order for that to happen. Mining, as we have reported today, has tried to get along with this. ICBEMP you call it? And what was their final say? It should be ended, period. No qualifications about it. Just stopped.
The Federal agencies that reported here took the approach that I have heard many, many times, and that was this, they are trying to keep their jobs intact. They are always asking for more funding, as your questions, when they ask, Are you going to have to hire more people? Inside of two of those statements, it also asks for increased funding. The third one didn't address that, but that is always the case. They always ask for more funding.
I wish they would take a more objective approach. If ICBEMP was in place and followed to its completion, they would be without a job, because the tax base would be very limited. And there wouldn't be any taxes for them.
The real objective of this plan, I honestly feel, is one of control. And as long as the Federal Government owns the ground, we will always have to be on the alert to fight that, because they will always invent contrived means to maintain that control either through ICBEMP or some other thing. We have always got to be on the alert.
Page 190 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And it pleases me very much to see that there is a coalition being built out here amongst the miners, the recreational people, the ranchers, farmers, labor, all against this proposition.
And may I conclude this way, if ICBEMP was in existence in the day of Horace Greeley, Horace Greeley would have said, Go east, young man. Go east. And when you are to the ocean, you will have to swim, because a boat wouldn't meet EPA requirements. And I hope a shark eats you, because you don't even belong there. Thank you.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Nielsen.
Now we call on Frank Priestley, president of the Idaho Farm Bureau.
STATEMENT OF FRANK PRIESTLEY, PRESIDENT, IDAHO FARM BUREAU
Mr. PRIESTLEY. Congresswoman Chenoweth. We appreciate you being here and taking your time to hear our feelings and our concerns about ICBEMP.
As you know, Idaho depends greatly on our public lands. Our livelihood, our schools and our local governments and our recreation depend greatly on public lands. And we strongly support the multiuse of our lands.
As you know, that when the tax bases have gone, and the jobs that are created in our public lands, whether it be timber or grazing or mining or whatever it may be, that all comes clear down into the communities, and that is very important to us.
They say that this ICBEMP won't affect private properties. There is 144 million acres, and that surrounds, half of it, about 75 million acres as private. We cannot have that much public land without affecting our private lands, also.
The whole thing totally ignores the economic impact of what it does to our communities, how it creates money, and just a total cost not only to individuals but also to total communities and to our state and, really, to our nation.
Page 191 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Part of this book, the Economic and Social Conditions of a Community, presented by this, and in that there is a couple of little things that I would like to point out to you, that they are wrong.
I live in a little community of Franklin, which is in the very southeast corner of Idaho. We have 500 in our community. It points out there that within a 20-mile radius, there is no public lands. Approximately five miles to the east is a whole mountain range. In fact, we live down into the foothills of it, but up about five miles from town is the forest line. And that whole range of mountains comes clear all the way up through that valley, and that is public lands.
On the other side of the valley, which is about 12 miles, approximately 12 miles across, is another range of mountains that the publicthat the forest is in that, also.
It points out in here of cities that is impacted or has association with the Indian tribes. It has Pocatello that does, right next to that, to the Indian tribe there, the reservation, and then it has Chubbuck, that has no association at all, what to do with the Indians. You have to go through Chubbuck to get to the reservation from Pocatello. That is a community of about 8,000, I think it has.
So those are just two little things that I picked out in here that I would like to point out to you, and if they make a mistake on something that easy to find the answer, I will bet you, we could find another one. Thank you, ma'am.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Priestley.
The chair recognizes Diane Reimers. Diane? And then we will call on Pat Larson.
STATEMENT OF DIANE REIMERS
Page 192 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. REIMERS. I would like to thank you, Madam Chairman, for having the hearing in Idaho. I am from John Day, Oregon. I am here to represent the community of Grant County, a small rural community. We are 6 percent federally owned. So this project will have a direct effect on the economy of our county. ICBEMP strategy does not meet the stated purpose, particularly in the support of the economics of the small communities.
We view ICBEMP as further gridlock in management, because of the following flaws: The range of alternatives is inadequate. All action alternatives effectively adopt the same standards. All action alternatives adopt similar goals, so there is no choice.
The DEIS adopts management standards without considering an adequate range of alternatives in disclosing the effects of the standards. Environmental consequences of ICBEMP discusses decisions are not adequately reviewed. The environmental and economic consequences of decisions are not fully disclosed. The prospects of catastrophic fires and wildfires are not adequately addressed, nor are the effects of wildfires on sediment production, fish, and wildlife.
The DEIS is based upon insufficient data and inventories of our vegetation. In my written comments, I will enclose documentation thathow far off the project is on the inventories. What they claim is small vegetation is only 4 percent of theis 60 percent of the total vegetation within the project.
Official documentation from county agriculturalstates that it is 4 percent. So the data is way off, and I will furnish that information to you. It is something that the county extension services are working with to come up with this information. And I will furnish that within my written comments. Thank you.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you very much, Diane. I will look forward to your written comments being submitted for the record.
Pat Larson? And then next we will call on Margene Eiguren.
STATEMENT OF PAT LARSON
Page 193 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. LARSON. Madam Chairman, thank you very much for having the hearings here. It is such an opportunity for anyone, any citizen out of the 250 or 260 million who live in the United States, to actually be able to in person address a representative on our side of the Mississippi River.
I am a natural resource consultant for private landowners in northeast Oregon, and I helped and participated with the Oregon Cattlemen's Association in their review of the ICBEMP.
The ICBEMP should be abandoned. The citizens of the country have allowed too much money to be spent on this process. The quality of the planning is poor. There will not be a return to the citizens for the dollars already spent, and there should not be any more given to the project.
The ICBEMP is a philosophical plan for land restoration instead of land management. It has layers and layers of concepts that have buried the details of science and management techniques, which are the backbone of successful natural resource management, and has been for decades.
Science does not become good because a group of scientists sit in meetings and write their opinions of science. Science is fact. Forest and rangeland management cannot be practiced without facts. The management techniques natural resource personnel must use to nudge nature in a direction that meets the needs of the country relies on established scientific principles. There is not a need for this kind of plan. It should be abandoned, and the Federal agencies should be free to resume the planning they are already conducting.
The National Forest Management Act is satisfactory, and it is at the local level where it is kept honest and must meet the scrutiny of the local citizens who use and visit the sites that are receiving management prescriptions. Thank you.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Pat.
Page 194 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Margene Eiguren from Jordan Valley, Oregon.
STATEMENT OF MARGENE EIGUREN
Ms. EIGUREN. Honorable Helen Chenoweth, it is a pleasure to be here today, and I also wanted to thank you for having this hearing on our behalf.
My comments on this draft, on the draft EIS, will address these points which illustrate why the documents are extremely difficult to comment on.
No. 1, the sheer volume of the material presented and, No. 2, the complex and convoluted manner in which it was drafted. Just one of these documents is over 600 pages long and at least two inches thick. It is like a college textbook.
To myself and to many of the people that I have talked to, the length itself of the document is a deterrent to even reading it, let alone commenting on it. I believe the technical nature of the draft and its complexity have prevented meaningful input.
And this idea is substantiated even by Steve Mealey, who is a project team leader for the Upper Columbia River Basin Project who was reported to have admitted as much at a public meeting in Libby, Montana on May 8, 1996. Mr. Mealey acknowledged that it would not be an easy document for the public to review.
Mr. Mealy stated that he had trouble reading the EIS, and that review would not be an easy task and implied that people would merely look at the size of the document and throw it down without even reading or commenting on it.
Dr. Chad Gibson, who has been mentioned here before today, is a member of the University of Idaho Agricultural Extension Service, is a veteran skilled range expert known throughout the western states for his knowledge and his objectivity.
He attempted to review the preliminary EIS and reported that it was very nearly impossible.
Page 195 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Fred Grant, who served on one of the panels today, is a constitutional lawyer, states: Having devoted most of my adult life to either the practice of law or related fields of legal and planning research, I have never seen a document designed for public use which is so technically and structurally convoluted.
I am speaking for myself; as I began to try to read and form thoughts for commenting, I became frustrated and very annoyed by the convoluted and complex language in the document, as well as the volumes of meaningless information.
I had to outline the different sections. I just had to actually sit down with a piece of paper and pencil, and try to outline it so I could try to follow a train of thought. I believe it was the intent of the ecosystem management planning teams to make these documents extremely lengthy, complex, and convoluted, so as to discourage comments from the people who will be most affected by the plan.
For example, in reviewing the Economic and Social Conditions of Communities, EIS, I found it very difficult to understand not only the content presented but how the material presented applied to or was relevant to the question of economic effects on communities.
It was stated that Dr. Harris of the University of Idaho provided a variety of information for use in the Draft EIS, and of the three types of information he provided, only the employment data is used in this study.
It was stated that employment data enabled an analysis of industry specialization at the community level, an analysis useful to achieve study objectives without introducing excessive complexity. That is a rather understatement.
But, anyway, then it goes on to say that employment analysis examines the employment specialization that communities have in 12 broad industry categories, and that these broad industry categories exert some limitations on the level of detail possible for study results.
Page 196 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC An example of that would be the aggregation of industries under the agricultural umbrella, which includes both agricultural crops and agricultural livestock. It then says that it is apparent from the specialization analysis that not many communities are specialized in agriculture.
However, because employment in the livestock industry was not collected apart from the larger agricultural industry, an analysis of the employment specialization for the livestock industry could not be done. How could all the tables, figures, and maps used to display findings have any relevance for the livestock industry?
And since the livestock industry is left out of the analysis, wouldn't that skew the results of the EIS as a whole?
It became obvious to me that in order to read, comprehend, and comment on these documents, that it would be necessary to be a range consultant, constitutional lawyer, economist, and a scientist, all in one, with a lot of time on my hands to do nothing but study these documents.
It is also obvious that the constitutional authority of Congress to manage Federal lands has been usurped by the executive and judiciary branches of this government. This is no longer a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you very much.
The chair recognizes Cindy Bachman.
Next we will call John Hays.
STATEMENT OF CINDY BACHMAN, CHAIRMAN, OWYHEE COUNTY FSA
Ms. BACHMAN. Thank you, Madam Chairman, for the opportunity for those of us to testify here in Idaho, and welcome home.
My name is Cindy Bachman. I live at 118 Hot Springs Road in Bruneau, Idaho. My husband Frank and I, along with our children, ranch and farm in the Bruneau Valley and have BLM permits in the Jarbidge and Shoshone Resource Areas.
Page 197 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We are currently being impacted by the endangered Bruneau Hot Springs snail, the proposed listing of the Jarbidge population of the Bull Trout, the declining Sage Grouse population, the United States Air Force requested a enhanced training range at Juniper Butte, the court-ordered Idaho TMDL process, a minimum stream flow application for the Bruneau River, and the BLM's rangeland reform regulations.
Today, though, I will focus my comments on the final BLM Idaho standards and guides that were required by rangeland regulations and signed by Secretary Babbitt August 12th, 1997, and how only the proposed standard and guides are incorporated into the UCRB draft EIS, appendix M, pages 367 through 372, and the inconsistencies of the two documents.
There were changes made between the proposed Idaho Standards and Guides and the final Idaho Standards and Guides document. So the UCRB draft EIS incorporates outdated information.
The BLM Resource Advisory Council, which I am a member of the Lower Snake River Resource Advisory Council, were not invited to participate in the incorporation of the Idaho Standards and Guides into the UCRB draft EIS. The EIS interdisciplinary team interpreted and incorporated the Idaho Standards and Guides with only BLM personnel input.
Word definitions in the UCRB draft and Idaho Standards and Guides are very different. UCRB draft EIS, chapter 3, page 1 and page 59, gives definitions.
The definition of a BLM standard equals the definition of the UCRB desired range of future conditions. A BLM indicator equals a UCRB objective. And a BLM guideline equals a UCRB standard. And, hopefully, you are as confused as I am, because when I went through this process of trying to determine how the BLM was going to be managed under this ICBEMP project with all these different acronyms and the different usage of words, I had a very difficult time. The UCRB draft EIS, appendix M, page 368 states: ''Please refer to the section titled Features Common to Alternatives 3 to 7 in chapter 3.'' This section incorporates Idaho BLM proposed standards into UCRB as ''desired range of future conditions.''
Page 198 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Lower Snake River RAC and the TriRAC were adamant, that when the Idaho Standards and Guides were used by BLM land managers, the introduction be a crucial part of implementation. There is no mention of the Idaho BLM Standards and Guides introduction in the UCRB draft EIS, chapter 3, and some of the Idaho BLM guidelines for grazing management are incorporated as UCRB standards.
All Idaho BLM land use plans were found to conform with the final Idaho Standards and Guides. If a record of decision is issued, all current BLM land use plans that are found inconsistent with the UCRB ICBEMP/EIS document will be modified with no further public input. The NEPA requirement has been met through the UCRB/ICBEMP process.
As I read this UCRB/ICBEMP draft, EIS, I believe the implementation impact of this document and the preferred alternative will be devastating. I strongly urge you to convince the Congress that there should be no record of decision issued for this document. Thank you.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Cindy.
[The prepared statement of Cindy Bachman may be found at end of hearing.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. We call on John Hays. Mr. Hays is president-elect of the Oregon Cattle Association. It is good to have you here, Mr. Hays.
STATEMENT OF JOHN HAYS, OREGON CATTLE ASSOCIATION
Mr. HAYS. Thank you. I want to thank you, Congresswomen Chenoweth. It is a pleasure to come over and be able to testify, because in Oregon, you are a champion in our eyes, and we appreciate all you do for the worker out here on the block.
This is a very, very, very bad plan. I have never seen a more shoved-down-the-west's throat in management. Why not use another region of the United States? Is this a major move to retake the land that the settlers and my family moved out west and spent many hours, days, fighting weather, carpetbaggers, land grabbers, sickness, death to help settle and create a beautiful place in which to live.
Page 199 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This is just a Clinton-Gore move with the help of old reliable Bruce Babbitt to take your land. Not by force, but with the movement of a pen.
For reference, how about the major takeover of 1.4 million acres in Utah? Are we next, just another move of the pen. I guess we have taken care of the homeless. We have already saved the hungry of the world, and we can afford to spend millions of taxpayers' money. $200 million or so will probably get this thing started on a worthless junk deal like this.
I have just filed a 401 Clean Water Plan on two allotments, which I run about 700 head on. This is for my U.S. Forest permit. I have spent well over $6,000 on just this application. I want this to refer to what we are doing here.
The agencies have taken a simple law, passed it through Congress, and say, ''It has passed through Congress, it is a law.''
My question, how can you take a simple law and let an agency pass thousands of rules on their own and not send the rules or the statutes back through U.S. Congress to approve these rules? They make us live under this type of government.
Chairman Chenoweth, this is not what you and I grew up to think was proper. We respected our government and had pride in everything we did. I spent a number of years in the U.S. Marine Corps, was a bodyguard for Secretary Rusk; was proud to go with President Kennedy to Mexico and Ireland.
Under the current land-grabbing, no-moral administration, I would go to Canada if I was a young man facing the draft. And I have a son that is 16. I as an American and a rancherwe have been in business since 1880. We have some 100,000 acres. I will fight the ICBEMP plan until I die. I will not be part of a government takeover.
I am a leader in my community and the state Cattlemen's Association and will not live under this un-American plan. Until you take all the science into retrospect and believe in the landowners, the local citizens, and the one that all the extremists don't talk about, Mother Nature, into effect, I will not believe in it.
Page 200 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Since the government and the U.S. Forest Service and the BLM workers, that I am aware of, jumped on the environmental green bandwagon years ago and have lost their timber, and grazing jobs, mining jobs, and are now way overstaffed. Let them join the ranks of the unemployed logger and rancher. Don't set up a policy like the ICBEMP to give them jobs at our expense.
Let them go out and enjoy the welfare lines like some of our people have had to do in our community of 200, which all we had was logging. It is gone now. The people have turned to alcohol and everything like hunger. It is a mess. We need something like this like we need anotheryou know what.
I had questions for Under Secretary Lyons in Denver at the national convention in February, and he gave me a big talk. And I told him, we don't want it out here. We don't need it.
And he said, we are getting our ''so-called'' thumped out here. He said, ''We need to get this up and going.''
I said, yeah, you send 12 guys up to explain this thing to us in a room that we drove 200 or 300 miles to. It was all a theatrical deal that they had put together. It was a mess. There probably wasn't 20 acres owned by the whole 12 people there, making decisions on my livelihood, which I am fighting to save and so is everybody else is.
And I thank you very much for your time.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you very much, Mr. Hays. I appreciate you coming so far.
Next we call on Kay Kelly from Melba. Kay? After that we will welcome hearing from Chad Gibson.
STATEMENT OF KAY KELLY
Page 201 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. KELLY. Kelly Lee. Well, I don't have any claim to fame. I am just a citizen. And I want to thank you very much, all of you, for taking the time. It heartens me greatly to be listened to and to listen to others who are concerned about this.
The first sentence of the introduction of this project book entitled ''The Economic and Social Conditions of Communities'' reads: This study responds to an expressed need for the project to describe the economic and socio conditions unique to Interior Columbia Basin communities.
And the questions and answers, which accompanies this, says that it reflects congressional direction to include local custom and culture information into the project.
Well, as a friend of mine would say, Great ha.
If I was a Member of Congress, I would give this report a failing grade, because it does not come near to addressing the personal things that make up my community. And as far as I am concerned, the blatant omission of any meaningful discussion of custom and culture is a statement in and of itself.
And though not adequately addressing the stress on the private citizen that this project has potential to impose, the people who produce this study are very clear as to their own peril, as stated on page 7 of the question and answer insert.
It says: In general, the lack of a coordinated, scientifically sound, ecosystem based management approach would be expected to result in long-term declines in management activity levels on BLM and Forest Service administered lands.
And this is just one example of a mention of expanded government presence that can be seen all throughout these project publications. There are many disturbing ideas which are through the project's documents. I am just going to quote a couple.
But the collective mind-set behind this project apparently seeks to redefine property and indulge in a socio-cultural manipulationI am not being very clear, but there is something wrong.
Page 202 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC One of the quotes I would like to give you is from Volume 4. It is on page 1987. It says: Ownership, it is not the same as control. And on further it says: The idea of property shapes public expectations about the role of government, and the rapidly evolving private property movement presents important challenges for ecosystem management.
These types of socio-political statements raise questions about the aspirations of the people involved in this project and its real purpose and scope. Now, locally the attitudes of BLM managers toward the people who live on the land can be seen in some of their own statements.
This comes out of the Boise office. One of them was: In 5 years, you will be out of business. Another one is: There is as much art as science in this land monitoring. And another one is: We will show them''them,'' that is us, the citizensthe teeth of the Endangered Species Act. This is a state-level BLM guy.
So with attitudes such as this already entrenched, and Federal employees who also actemployees and others also actively to sway public opinion against the resource users, I would have to question of what one more level of management will do, except to remove land management accountability even further away from the people who live on the land and destroy our way of living.
From all types of people in my community, I have heard the statement to the effect that they can't believe that people are having to fight their own government just so that they can work at their chosen vocation.
And I am saying that when citizens feel like they are battling their own government, something is dreadfully, dreadfully wrong with this country.
Thanks for being here.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you very much, Kay.
Next we recognize Chad Gibson.
Page 203 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSTATEMENT OF CHAD GIBSON
Mr. GIBSON. Representative Chenoweth and staff, thank you for this opportunity. I am going to try to be as brief as possible and just point out some of the frustrations that people have with the documents that have been mentioned here today, and in particular, how these prevent accomplishing the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act. I don't believe that they can be accomplished with the volume and scope of the documents that have been put out.
I have been reading and evaluating scientific documents and government documents for about 35 years, and I have never seen anything that approaches the complexity and difficulty of trying to understand as this document.
The first description you find of an alternative in this document is about 240 pages into it. And in the first 2 1/2, or page and a half, of the description of Alternative 1, you are referred to other sections of the document eight different times. And in the description of Alternative 2 in the first page and a half, you are referred to other places ten times and to two separate documents that aren't even a part of the draft EIS.
Without trying to put a table out with all the documents on it and follow them back and forth, you can't begin to understand what the intent of some of the alternatives are. Even if you could do that, the extensive use of acronyms and cross-references and tables and maps and other documents that are not included with the draft, makes it nearly impossible for any average citizen or even a trained scientist to be able to understand this document.
In chapter 3 on page 72, there is a seven-page index listing 239 different number and letter codes for standards and objectives. And you have to use those seven pages of indexes with a table that is 89 pages long in order to follow back and forth and keep track of the whole thing.
Page 204 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Those things also contain some 13 different acronyms, most of which I have no clue what they mean.
Chapter 13, page 189, you get some help. There is a user's guide. The reader is referred to nine different sections of the document to find descriptions, maps, tables, in order to find and understand the impact of just one alternative on one resource in one area.
In order to fully understand the entire project, there are thousands of pages of other information that must be reviewed. You have been shown a copy of the economic report here today, which is not a part of the draft. The draft is just two documents.
But you have to have all of the other information in order to follow that. Within the past 12 months, the project generated 4,060 pages, and all of that information is important if you are going to try to understand just those two draft documents.
I think I will just have a brief conclusion, and that is, that one can hardly read a full page in this document without encountering a reference to some other part of the document, to some table or map or appendix or other chapter or even another document.
The draft EIS and associated documents is not unlike the Internal Revenue Service code either in the manner or format in which it is presented or the extensive volume. It is inconceivable that the ICBEMP and resulting EIS documents meet either the letter or intent of NEPA for meaningful public involvement.
The box on the back table here contains all of the documentsand I shouldn't say contains all of the documents. It contains the 19 documents that I have been able to accumulate, and there are nearly 6,000 pages of information there. And even though two of those documents are the draft, you have to look through the rest of it to really be able to understand what that draft is about. Thank you.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you very much, Mr. Gibson. Apparently one man can hardly lift that box with comfort. Right?
Page 205 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GIBSON. That is correct.
[The prepared statement of Chad Gibson may be found at end of hearing.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Molly Blaylock. Is Molly here? And then we will call on Paul Nettleton. Is he still here?
VOICE. He had to leave.
STATEMENT OF MOLLY BLAYLOCK
Ms. BLAYLOCK. Good afternoon, Madam Chairman. I am Molly Blaylock. I am the Northwest field coordinator for People for the USA. I am pleased to be here today, and I am even more pleased that you were able to come to the western part of the country to talk to these people that are impacted the most by this.
I want to state for the record that our organization has over 25,000 members in all 50 states, and we would like to see this document dropped with no record of decision.
But for my comments today, I would just like to share with you an editorial that I wrote on the Columbia Basin plan that was printed by the Idaho Statesman. And I entitled it, ''ICBEMP, Mission Impossible.''
''The Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project is another wonderful by-product of the northwest forest plan. In fact, the President himself ordered up this bureaucratic boondoggle to the tune of $35 million so far.
''For a document that is supposed to break the legal logjam, all I see is a freeway with plenty of on ramps to more legal confrontation.''
For starters, only half the ecosystem studied is actually under the land management jurisdiction of either the U.S. Forest Service or the Bureau of Land Management. Ecosystem is an ambiguous term. Agencies looking for legal standing should at least find something definitive as a starting point.
Page 206 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC When asked at a public meeting, one ICBEMP representative stated that there is no consensus within the scientific community on the definition of ecosystem. The term ''ecosystem integrity'' is relied on heavily in the project's two draft environmental impact statements.
Unfortunately, the documents also admit, and I quote: ''Absolute measures of integrity do not exist.'' In other words, attainment of some measurable standard will be next to impossible, for the ecosystem will be constantly changing.
What is being held up as the yardstick is the pre-European settlement condition of the land. I see that as a divide and conquer technique. The stewardship practices of the pre-European settlement indigenous peoples might be commendable, but the demographics of the Interior Columbia Basin have changed radically in the last 150 years.
Humans have always relied on nature for their sustenance, and the same is true today. Human kind has benefited greatly from advances in technology, including the ability to produce resources in an environmentally responsible manner.
History repeats itself. The history of our planet transcends what has been recorded by man. Geological records show our existence on the face of this rock is but a blip in time. How arrogant have we become?
Regardless of one's spiritual beliefs or lack thereof, the fact remains, we are at the mercy of nature. We have absolutely no control over its forces, but that does not prevent some from attempting to suspend the laws of evolution, control the climate, or manage ecosystems.
Last August I attended a public meeting in Baker City, Oregon. Warning bells went off in my head every time the ICBEMP staff mentioned, and I quote, ''Changing societal values, and the need for land management agencies to address value judgments as opposed to science.''
Page 207 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Having called myself an environmentalist at one time, I now realize I have made choices based on emotion and misinformation rather than the facts. I challenge the agencies to educate the public on how they could be part of the solution; not spread no more doubt and conflict.
Martha Hahn, Idaho's BLM state director, recently asked for more sharing of ideas, interpretations, and impacts. The agency had already received over 70,000 comments. Ms. Hahn then said that most of the comments reflected polarized views of the preferred alternative, and that neither view is right. One reason for this is that terms like ecosystem and ecosystem integrity, as reflected in the majority of the comments received, are wide open to interpretation.
This document does nothing more than muddy the very waters it is supposed to clear up. One of the great things about America is freedom. Freedom to voice opposition.
I am one American who is simply tired of spending my tax dollars in court only to fund more lawsuits. Mediation is one way the agencies could cool this debate and get back to the business of managing land.
What would happen if people with polarized viewpoints were brought to a table together to hammer out real solutions to the real problems? I live in the Interior Columbia Basin, and I have every intention to continue to do so. Don't let this misguided adventure come to your region or mine. Ecosystem management gives some folks in the current administration a warm fuzzy feeling, but it leaves me with a serious pain in my neck of the woods.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Molly, thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Molly Blaylock may be found at end of hearing.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Is Paul Nettelton here?
Kathy Steuart? Kathy here? Kathy Steuart?
Page 208 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Robert Muse? Robert here?
Next we will call on John Shane.
STATEMENT OF JOHN SHANE
Mr. SHANE. Thank you for being here today. I am just one of the many unpaid volunteers who doesn't have a 401(k) plan, and I don't get paid vacations.
I live here in Nampa. I am a business owner. I own a motorcycle shop. I am also a licensed insurance agent. And I have three kids, and I am also a member of the following organizations. Those are the Southwestern Desert Western Association, known SIDRA. I am also an AMA Congressman, and that is the American Motorcyclists Association.
I also participate in the Owyhee Land Use Committee for recreation. And the last, I am also a representative of the National Off-Road Highway Vehicle Conservation Council.
Basically I am here to really give praise to the many unpaid volunteers that have brought the issues, spent their time, their money. And what I did one day is I wrote a letter to one of these many unpaid volunteers, and one of them was Bill Walsh.
And, basically, in a lot of our clubs and organizations, we have to have a SIDRA legal officer, and that officer is in charge of putting together cash contributions to fund its legal challenges to the BLM and forestry from raffles, races, grants, companies, families, and countless other sources. And we seem to have to always be fund-raising in order to protect what should be ours.
Basically, Bill Walsh's continued commitment has effectively impacted the public policy because he possesses the most potent weapon available to man: The truth.
SIDRA members do not hesitate to act on their convictions: You can make a difference. And I make this statement as volunteers for all organizations, for miners, for cattlemen, and any other non-profit organization or people that come together. And this letter was directed to a member, but it also was directed to all the folks that are out here who are members of organizations.
Page 209 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In this letter, wrote: Join the SIDRA Club, and you will be part of a local, state, national network of concerned citizens, and the Blue Ribbon Coalition members that are trying to work together and build a future in which limited government and traditional values and individual responsibility can be restored.
This year will bring new challenges and require all of our continued support to raise funding to keep our freedom to ride and race. Our legal costs will never go away and are likely to increase.
We must provide access to information, education, and direction to our young Americans so that they can continue to restore our lost freedoms. Our legal officer and many club members must provide vision to enable our sons and daughters to carry on the future battles yet to be fought and won.
This year a new tool that we have created is to increase the knowledge and access to the issues when we provided a web site for our members and anyone that wants to use it, to help with their tools, to help with their legal battles.
And with that, this is one of the many tools that will enable our members to work on specific issues that will affect our off-road recreation, resource areas.
So the next time you see an unpaid volunteer, shake his hand, and say thank you.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Well, I will do that, Robert. And I do thank you very much. That is outstanding testimony. Thank you for being here.
Is John Shane here?
Bob Skinner. Mr. Skinner came all the way from Jordan Valley, Oregon. Welcome.
STATEMENT OF ROBERT SKINNER
Page 210 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SKINNER. Thank you, Madam Chairman. These comments are based on my involvement with the Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Plan over the past several years. However, I will admit, I have not read the plan in its immense entirety and do not see how anyone who has anything else to do for a living could possibly have had the time to do so.
The sheer mass of this document is just overwhelming, and the plan has cost the American taxpayer an enormous amount and direct expense, and the indirect costs incurred by many citizens who would have to travel and sacrifice time and try to stay abreast of the so-called master plan will never be known.
The estimated cost to implementation of the preferred alternative is a staggering $125 to $140 million. I have personally attended so many workshops, scoping meetings, planning sessions, strategy meetings, and information meetings across the states of Oregon, Idaho, and Washington, that I can't even remember how many times I have been there or how many hours I spent on this issue.
The point being, I am still overwhelmed, confused, and not trusting of this political product. Also, I should note that I have had a lot of formal exposure to the ICBEMP because of my being a member, I might add, appointed by the Secretary of the Interior, to the Southeast Oregon Resource Advisory Council. And, also, I am the Public Lands Committee chairman for the Oregon Cattlemen's Association.
The plan is the overriding big umbrella or master plan to which all other local plans must conform. ICBEMP is very serious as it makes it so much easier to carry out top-down political agendas, when a plan such as this lays the framework for so many local plans.
And it also is very critical. It crosses political boundaries. The ICBEMP, no doubt, has some beneficial aspects, such as the much-needed weed control program. My fear is that the local will be essentially taken out of the planning process.
The plan may refer to the local planning process, but if all plans must conform to the master plan, then in reality, what do you really have?
Page 211 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Along with the fear I have expressed is the effects of the plan on the local resources. I have a very real fear that the plan may be devastating to the economics of the local communities. I think Congress and the Ecosystem Coalition of Counties have the same fear when they directed the project team to do the analysis of the economic and social impacts of this plan.
I have read the document recently released addressing these issues. Even though I do have a minor in economics from one of the leading liberal arts colleges in the nation, I am totally confused and untrusting of what I read.
Last, in talking last night to Dr. Fred Obermiller, who is the professor of agriculture and resource economics at Oregon State University, I expressed my concerns. Dr. Obermiller said, and this is a direct quoteand I, by the way, faxed this to him, and he approved this quote.
''This report and EIS is an attempt to obscure the negative impacts on local communities based on data that does not exist and assumptions that cannot be validated. I expect that implementation of this plan will lead to annihilation of rural communities within the scope of the Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem management planning area.''
In conclusion, even though I have attended countless training sessions and read volumes of material on this plan, it is almost impossible to fully realize what it really is, or what it is trying to accomplish.
At this point, I must rely on my basic gut feeling that this plan is probably going to be devastating to rural communities, and families in the northwestern United States, and eventually to the United States as a whole. Thank you.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you very much, Mr. Skinner, for your testimony.
[The prepared statement of Robert Skinner may be found at end of hearing.]
Page 212 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mrs. CHENOWETH. The chair recognizes Norman Anderson. Is Mr. Anderson here?
Connie Brandau? Connie is here.
Then we will call on Pat Holmberg.
STATEMENT OF CONNIE BRANDAU
Ms. BRANDAU. Congressman Chenoweth, mine is sort of an extemporaneous speech, and it relates kind of back to all of our dignitaries here that talk about the integrity of their analysis, the newly analyzed sciences, the assessments, the up-front work that has been done, but not one of those people mentioned the integrity of the base data.
And what I found fromand Hardtrigger has been identified several different times in several different cases, court and otherwisebut what we found is that so much of their base data that they callis stuff that is everything that the EISUpper Columbia Basin EIS is based on, is the data that is gathered that is incomplete from the very first.
This came out in 1996. This book was handed to us, and it is the first we knew about it. And on page 39 of the Hardtrigger AINE, it says under 7, Consultation: While this AINE document was being developed, an opportunity was given to all interested parties to provide the BLM with any monitoring or other data which they might have for the BLM to consider during the evaluation process.
That was it, right there. It was handed to us. Judy Boyle was there the day it was handed to us, and when we read that, we both laughed because no one had been consulted.
When we get a little further into it, one of the things that I really have problems with, and on page 20 it says: Studies established in 1990 have two years of photos, and those established in 1993 have only baseline data.
Page 213 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Under a Freedom of Information Act request, we asked for the raw data that this AINE was based on. And we discovered that baseline data meant one piece of information that was collected one time on one year. And from that baseline data, our Owyhee resource area director said that he could determine trend over the past 10 years. Now, I challenge that. I really, really do.
When we get back into the water quality part of it and the fisheries habitat inventory, the fisheries habitat inventory was conducted during 1978 and 1990. The original fisheries habitat inventory was visual observation.
Now, the people that conducted the 1990 comparative inventory were not the same people that visually observed in 1978. So to me there can be no visual comparison. And the 1990 inventory was conducted by a low, slow helicopter flight flyover of over 480 miles of stream done in three BLM working days, and they don't do a full 8-hour day. I am sorry. But that included flying time from Boise.
That averages out about 40 miles an hour, and I challenge any of you people to do a stream fisheries habitat inventory of 40 miles an hour from as low as you can in a canyon in Owyhee County.
Part of the other part of it, pages D1 through D6, they talk about their analysis of the data here. And they have no more than three analyses of any of their photo point datas for a 10-year period. And there is only like about 12 places in the whole Hardtrigger unit that they have photo points.
And D1 through D6 they talk about water quality. We have the 303D listing for water limited quality, stream or Hardtrigger. We can't find where they actually did any data other than about six different tests done during 1992.
Now, 1992 was a drought year in Owyhee County, and very few of the streams ran. It is pretty hard to get a water quality test, a real accurate one, when you don't have a stream flow.
Page 214 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Also, the BLM, the Owyhee Resource Area of BLM people, presented in court in Boise during the injunction hearing data on Hardtrigger water quality, and they did it on the whole Owyhee Resource Area. There were probably 40 or 45 different listings of water quality testing dates. Of those they gave specific areas where they tested a legal description, and lo and behold, in the four or five that they listed for Hardtrigger, just being aware of that area, one of those legal descriptions didn't fit the township and the range.
They have a court document that they said is true, in fact, of a water quality test of a legal description on Hardtrigger that is clear over in French John someplace. It is not even in our allotment.
But I guess what I am getting at is a lot of this stuff that they base all their data on, that their whole ICBEMP, whatever you want to call it, their integrity of their data, of their analysis, can't be based on anything more than the integrity of their data, and I don't feel like the data has any integrity at all. Thank you.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Connie, thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Pat Holmberg may be found at the end of the hearing.]
[The prepared statement of Robert Muse may be found at end of hearing.]
[The prepared statement of Norman Anderson may be found at end of hearing.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Our final witness will be Jerry Hoagland.
STATEMENT OF JERRY HOAGLAND
Page 215 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HOAGLAND. Thank you, Madam Chairman, esteemed Helen.
I am a private landowner within this ICBEMP, and I am also within the low resilient county of Owyhee County. I concur with the testimony of Fred Grant, and most of the others, concerned with private property.
I agree with your statement that halt this incredible waste of taxpayers' dollars. We do not need a record of decision.
I have tried to skim through these massive documents, and every time I go to a new page, I find something that raises my disgust, especially concerning the private property. We have been told by the feds over the years since this ecosystem management started that private land will cooperate. And then others have said there will be direct and indirect impacts to private property.
It appears this eco-plan will specifically target agriculture, and the livestock and the logging industries. In the assessments of ecosystem components, part of the books, it talks about the influence of farming and grazing.
In agriculture, you get the impression that agriculture is bad. Agriculture takes the water out of the system. It pollutes it, and then it returns some of it back to the system. And then there are dams built for this agricultural use, and they warm up the water and provide a likely habitat for fish.
I don't know where they get their analysis for that. It is got to be faulty. Cattle grazing is bad for the riparian areas and pollutes the water by the trampling of the banks. Again, they come up with opinions that are not based on scientific data.
Since I am in one of these socioeconomic resilientlow resilient counties, I wonder what is going to happen to these counties and to the people within those counties. I am concerned about my family and our posterity. I guess that is about all I have to say.
Page 216 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. Mr. Hoagland, thank you very much for your testimony. And thank you so much for waiting. I appreciate your coming so far. Thank you.
Is there anyone else who would like to offer testimony?
Ms. BRANDAU. I would just like to say one other thing. Owyhee County is the county seat in Murphy, Idaho, and in their social and economic setting, I challenge any one of you to find the town of Murphy in that. I think that they went through the phone book and picked their towns to do their study from, and Murphy is not listed as a separate town.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. That is a serious mistake.
Mr. HAYS. Also, in Baker County they had listed Halfway, which is about 40 or 50 miles the other way of Baker. Baker is the county seat. And we do not have agriculture in the county. I don't know where they got this. $48 million Baker County had in agriculture was in cattle last year.
Ms. EIGUREN. And as they came up with these, as I understand from reading that thing, if I understand it correctly, which I don't know if I do, but it says there that they come up with the employment data from telephone book listings. So they got your business list to find out the businesses in a community from a telephone list, and nonemost ranches are not listed under a business listing. So maybe that is the reason Murphy isn't even listed.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. For the record, I want to report for the court reporter that the first person to speak was Connie Brandau, the second person to speak was John Hays, and the last person to speak was Margene Eiguren.
And the next person to speak will be Robert Skinner.
Mr. SKINNER. Thank you. As I mentioned in my testimony, I talked at length last night with Professor Obermiller, nationally recognized professor of economics. And he stated that this study that was done for you, at your direction, Congress's direction, is absolutely invalid.
Page 217 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And I said, well, it sure appears so to me, but I can't read it.
He said, well, turn to the great big table, and I ask youI know you like to be called Congressmanhave you ever been to Lakeview, Oregon?
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Yes.
Mr. SKINNER. I figured you had been. Would you say that there is no agriculture in Lakeview, Oregon.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. No.
Mr. SKINNER. There is none.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Is that right?
Mr. SKINNER. Burns, Oregon has medium. John Day, Oregon. I am just picking the Oregon? Would you say John Day has agriculture? It has none.
And they are posing this to you as a valid study of the economic impact of that. And I ask you to look at it and keep that in mind because it is absolutely invalid.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Very interesting.
Would you identify yourself for the record, please?
STATEMENT OF DONNA BENNETT
Ms. BENNETT. I am Donna Bennett. I am from Grand View, Idaho. We are cattle ranchers and farmers. I wasn't planning on speaking. But in 1990we snowmobile a lot, and we go to Yellowstone. And in 1991, on the bookshelves of the district center at Old Faithful was a document entitled ''Greater Yellowstone Coalition.''
And I picked it up, and I looked through it while we were waiting for Old Faithful, and it made me so mad that I just threw it down.
And then when we came home, that whole year, I thought about that. So the next year when we were up there I paid my $20, and I bought that magazine, and it is about twice as thick as this one.
Page 218 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And it laid out, more or less, the whole situation for the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. A year later, to my dismay, they introduced the ICBEMP or, as some people say, ICBEMP.
And I couldn't believe that, for one thing, the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem overlaps the ICBEMP, whatever this is, it overlaps. Then in the future, if they get this one in, they are planning the Great Basin ecosystem.
So what they are doing is they are taking all these ecosystems. They are overlapping. They are covering the whole United States West. And if we are not careful, one of the things that was in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem questions was, What shall we do with the private lands?
And the answer was, we will pay the property owners to not produce. I still can't believe that that is what they are wanting to do, that that is their ultimate goal. Thank you.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Donna, thank you. And I wonder if you would spell your last name for our court reporter.
Ms. BENNETT. B-e-n-n-e-t-t.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. I want to thank you very much for your testimony, for your presence here today.
I want you to know that I am committed to seriously consider the testimony that I have heard today. My position has been to not see a final decision for this program.
I do want to say that even though I had a preconceived idea and determination as far as my future actions would be concerned, your testimony was so informative, so startling, and so sobering, that I go back with a renewed commitment to convince my colleagues of the futility of this kind of action.
And I want to thank you very much. You are all very, very busy people who took time out of your busy day to come in here and influence future policymaking for this nation.
Page 219 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I want to remind you of something that I feel strongly about, and that is that freedom will not be fought inside the Beltway in Washington, DC. It won't be fought and won. It will be fought and won outside the Beltway, by the grass roots, by you people.
And to the degree that we all understand that eternal freedom means eternal vigilance, and that our freedoms must be won in a new battle every single generation. And now it seems almost every single year, with new ideas coming out from the agencies, and you are those who are fighting forfight effectively for freedom for our future generations.
And it is humbling, and I thank you very much for being here and for your good and thoughtful testimony. I want to recognize the project chairman of the executive steering committee, Susan Giannettino, who sat through the whole hearing, and Chuck Findley, who also remained, to hear from you out of their concerns.
And I want you to know that our agency personnel, who do remain through these long hours to listen to you, I want to express my deepest and sincerest thanks to Susan and to Chuck.
Thank you very much for being here. With that, I want to remind you that the record will remain open for three weeks. Those of you who wish to supplement your testimony are welcome to do so.
And with that, this hearing is adjourned. Thank you.
[Whereupon, the Subcommittee was adjourned.]
[Additional material submitted for the record follows.]
STATEMENT OF ADENA COOK, PUBLIC LANDS DIRECTOR, BLUERIBBON COALITION
ICBEMP's treatment of recreation is schizophrenic, like Jeckyll and Hyde. On one hand, it acknowledges the importance of recreation in the region, and that recreation on public lands is increasing. It states, in generally positive language, that recreation contributes to local economies. The guidelines are so vague as to appeal to nearly everyone, and are generally positive in tone.
Page 220 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC However, when the implementing details are sifted from the bowels of the document, a different, negative direction emerges. Mandated road density standards will eliminate access. Riparian Conservation Areas (RCA) standards will close roads, trails, and campsites. ''Active restoration,'' the key theme of the selected alternative, is a euphemism for closure of roads and access.
Finally, ICBEMP fails to acknowledge, let alone accommodate motorized recreation. Readily available facts are ignored. Its policies will result in the displacement of these sports, enjoyed by an increasing number of people in the region.
ICBEMP acknowledges the importance of recreation and the role that roads play.
ICBEMP presents these recreation facts:
Roads constructed for commodity use now are used 60 percent for recreation.
''Roaded natural'' settings receive about 75 percent of all activity days.
Roads supply or enable the majority of recreation use, including winter recreation.
Area wide recreation supports 190,000 jobs (p. 186) or alternatively 225,600 jobs (p. 178). Whichever figure is accurate, ICBEMP states categorically: that recreation generates more jobs than other uses of Forest Service and BLM lands.
From these statements, ICBEMP acknowledges and documents that, area-wide:
Recreation on public lands is important.
Page 221 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Roads support recreation.
Recreation generates many jobs, more than other uses of public lands.
ICBEMP's guidelines are vaguely supportive of recreation.
ICBEMP's recreation guidelines are broad, general and sound benign. However, they can be interpreted in many different ways.
For example, the guideline, ''Supply recreation opportunities consistent with public policies/abilities,'' could mean that opportunities dependent on road access would decline if public policies demanded road closures. It could as easily mean the opposite: if public policy favored more access, then roads would increase.
This guideline apparently supports tourism, ''The tourism opportunity fits well into the ecosystem and the natural environment is the central attraction.'' (Appendix H. p. 247) However, this statement could also be interpreted to mean that only ''tourism opportunities'' deemed compatible with excluding people from public lands would ''fit well into the ecosystem.''
It could also mean the opposite. For example, when I snowmobile (as a tourist) in the Stanley Basin, skimming across fresh powder with the Sawtooth Mountains above me, I assure you that the natural environment is the central attraction.
This curious guideline makes us uneasy, ''Construction, management, and visitation take place with the goal of minimizing energy usage and encouraging people involved with the tourism opportunity to be environmentally sensitive.'' Does this mean that thermostats will be turned down in visitor centers?
ICBEMP Standards translate vague guidelines into closures
Page 222 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
ICBEMP road density standards will reduce and eliminate public land access:
The standard RM03 states, ''Reduce road density where roads have adverse effects.''
The standard RMS8 ''Decrease road miles in High and Extreme road density classes.''
Standard RM-S8 (Chapter 3, Page 161) proposes road closures and obliteration in every forest and range cluster. Low means a 0-25 percent reduction in road density, Moderate means a 25-50 percent reduction in road density, and high means a 50 percent-100 percent reduction in road density.
Although these definitions of low, medium, and high have latitude, most areas in Idaho, for example, would fall into the moderate reduction category. This means that up to 50 percent of all roads within a particular area could be eliminated. Broadly stated, it to a 50 percent reduction in public access to public lands in Idaho.
The standard RMS4 mandates, ''Develop or revise Access and Travel management plans.'' In this revision mandate, the standard fails to identify recreation need as a priority for revision. By omitting recreation need, mandating these Access and Travel Management Plan revisions imply closures.
The ICBEMP section on road management emphasizes reclamation. It is absolutely silent on road maintenance or improvement.
Riparian Conservation Areas (RCA) will close roads, trails, camping areas.
Page 223 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC ICBEMP states that Alternatives 3, 4, 6 and 7 would establish an extensive network of RCA that would likely result in a reduction in the sustainable timber base and long-term sustained yield on National Forests. Establishing this extensive network of RCA will effect recreation resources as well. The document is silent on the effects of RCA on recreation in spite of the fact that most campgrounds and trails are within these areas.
The recreation standards reinforce this direction. The standard AQS24 states that recreation facilities should be located outside of RCA if at all possible. It states that if the effects to the RCA can't be minimized, then the recreation facility would be eliminated. Implementing this standard will close many roads, trails, informal campsites, and even campgrounds.
ICBEMP fails to acknowledge that much public enjoyment of public land occurs next to water. It fails to analyze the effects of potential closures to streamside recreation, which occurs in many different ways. Its RCA standards address environmental impacts only and do not accommodate human use.
Chosen alternative that emphasizes ''Active Restoration'' translates to road and recreation facility closures.
ICBEMP has chosen an ''active restoration'' management prescription as its selected alternative. It states that this will mean decreasing the negative impacts of roads. In other words, ''restoring the landscape'' will mean road closures. This will limit public access and the recreation opportunities that access affords.
Active restoration also states that recreation sites will be altered to improve streambank and sedimentation conditions. This means closing campgrounds and informal camp picnic sites.
Page 224 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
ICBEMP fails to analyze the effects of these standards on recreation and access; ignores other available recreation data.
ICBEMP, while imposing a wide range of standards that will reduce public access and recreation, fails to analyze how these standards affect recreation across the range of alternatives. Amazingly, it claims that there will be no change across the range of alternatives. This failure to accurately show how closures (of 50 percent or more area-wide) affect recreation and access in each alternative is a violation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
Amazingly, the new $30 million social and economic report mandated by Congress also fails to address the impact of these standards on recreation. It merely states that the impacts of management direction on recreation across the basin is expected to be limited, and therefore the impacts on communities will be limited. This means nothing.
If the impacts are limited, will there be no road closures? Will people be able to access their favorite streamside campsite? Will an increasing number of ATVers find trails to ride? That's not what the standards say.
ICBEMP officials failed to use readily available data to accurately depict recreation activity and its economic contribution to the basin. For example:
Idaho's latest registration figures show that snowmobile use has grown from 27,509 registrations in 1992 to 34,769 registrations in 1997. This is a 26 percent increase in five years. It is estimated that this is a $70 million business in Idaho.
Off-road motorcycle and ATV registrations have grown even faster. In 1992, Idaho had 14,196 registrations. In 1997, this grew to 30,868 registrations. This is an increase of 117 percent over five years.
Page 225 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Motorcycle Industry Council reports that off-road motorcycles and ATVs generate $63 million in the retail marketplace in Idaho (1993).
Other similar figures are readily available from the state agencies of the other states in the Basin. ICBEMP officials had been made aware that this information was available, yet it was not incorporated in the supplementary social and economics report.
Relationship of ICBEMP to Forest Service's New Agenda.
On March 2, Forest Service Chief Dombeck announced a new ''Natural Resource Agenda for the 21st Century.'' The agenda emphasizes four areas: watershed restoration and maintenance, sustainable forest ecosystem management, forest roads, and recreation.
Discussing recreation, Dombeck said, ''Forest Service managed lands provide more outdoor recreation opportunities than anywhere else in the United States. We are committed to providing superior customer service and ensuring that the rapid growth of recreation on National Forests does not compromise the long-term health of the land.''
The ICBEMP standards cited above tell us precisely what this means on the ground. We fully expect that 50 percent of national forest roads, much streamside camping, picnicing and general forest recreation will be eliminated through this new ''Natural Resource Agenda for the 21st Century.''
ICBEMP is the tip of the iceberg. It tells us what administration officials have in mind for all of the national forests in the country.
Numerous extensively documented and learned critiques on ICBEMP have been submitted by resource oriented organizations and businesses, such as Farm Bureaus, Cattle Associations, timber and wood products groups of the states in the region. Approached from diverse perspectives, all have concluded that it is a bad plan.
Page 226 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC From all these diverse points of view, all have observed that ICBEMP illegally imposes 166 standards and 398 guidelines uniformly across the region without adequately disclosing the effects. As I have described from a recreation and access perspective, there is a logical disconnect between ICBEMP's description of the area's activities, its vague guidelines, and the actual standards that it intends to implement.
We urge the withdrawal of ICBEMP. Although some of the scientific information can be used in preparing other management plans on a more local basis, little of the scientific data has pertains to recreation management. Good recreation planning integrated with productive use of our public lands remains to be developed.
STATEMENT OF HON. CHARLES CUDDY, AN IDAHO STATE LEGISLATOR
Good afternoon Chairman Chenoweth, I am sure you are glad to be here in the great State of Idaho, away from the madness of the east coast.
Thank you for providing Idahoans like myself the opportunity to provide comments on the Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project, commonly referred to here as ICBEMP.
As you know, in July 1993, President Clinton directed the USDA Forest Service and the U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management to develop a ''scientifically sound ecosystem-based management strategy'' for lands administered by these two agencies in the interior Columbia River Basin. This effort is known as ICBEMP. It applies to over 72 million acres of National Forest and BLM lands, including nonFederal lands. The project area encompasses over 144 million acres covering nearly all of Idaho, as well as Washington and Oregon east of the crest of the Cascade Mountains and portions of western Montana and Wyoming and northern Utah and Nevada.
Page 227 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Unlike other land management laws such as the National Environmental Policy Act and the Federal Land Management Policy Act, ICBEMP is a Clinton Administration policy decision, not a Congressionally debated, passed and directed law. There is no Federal statute requiring ecosystem management and Congress has never charged any particular Federal agency with ecosystem management as its primary mission.
Let me say again, the ICBEMP is not Congressionally authorized. It is simply a policy decision made by this Administration. It is unwanted and unnecessary. It is in addition to existing land management laws. It represents yet another layer of review and potential litigation that would be added to the numerous layers already existing. It will do nothing more than increase the gridlock already surrounding Federal policy in the west. While checks and balances are necessary parts of the democratic process, adding an additional layer of review and areas of potential litigation do no good for anyone and can do harmparticularly to the land as it hampers good forest management processes. Instead of streamlining processes it will only make land management more difficult.
Any final decisions will require updates of 74 Federal land-use plans for 45 National Forests and BLM districts which have been painstakingly developed through regular land management processes required by statute. The Administration's goal in implementing this project was supposedly to make the Federal land management process better, to involve local individuals and communities and to utilize the best science available to make better decisions ''on the ground'' which will improve the environment. The ICBEMP, if implemented, will only complicate and stymie Federal land management. It has ignored local individuals and community well being, and ignores both good science and established economics. The ICBEMP should be stopped now and no Record of Decision should be issued.
The Draft Environmental Impact Statements, called DEIS's, present seven alternative themes for a Basin-wide strategy for managing National Forest and BLM lands, including Idaho. The strategy direction would add to and supersede in many ways the multiple-use management direction already contained in existing land and resource plans for National Forests and BLM districts in the project area. Each alternative presented in the DEIS's is supposed to respond to two stated needs: firstthe long-term ecosystem ''health and integrity''; and secondsustainable and predictable levels of products and services. The preferred alternative theme identified by the agencies is ''aggressive restoration of ecosystem health.''
Page 228 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Many people are seriously concerned about whether the proposed strategy will meet stated needs for the project or will instead, increase uncertainty and polarization over management of Federal lands in the Basin and create hardships to rural communities. Instead of streamlining an already cumbersome existing Federal decision-making process, the ICBEMP and UCRB DEIS's propose an additional layer of planning at the regional level, an additional level of planning at the sub-basin level and an additional level of environmental analysis at the watershed level. These additional layers of planning and analysis will further delay decisions and increase uncertainties. This will be accompanied by a reduction in timber-based employment.
Agency scientists who evaluated the DEIS's alternatives estimated that 3,100 timber jobs would be lost from management delays while Forest Service and BLM implement watershed analysis called for in the Eastside DEIS. It is estimated that twelve eastern Oregon and eastern Washington mills would close while this analysis is completed. In Idaho and Montana, the effect is projected to be the loss of 1,700 jobs and six or seven mills. Basin-wide, the ICBEMP DEIS's estimate a decrease of 4,800 direct timber jobs, 13,400 timber associated jobs, and 19 millsa real impact for workers and communities in these rural areas but one that is glossed over by the writers of the DEIS's.
The social and economic information and analysis contained in the Upper Columbia River Basin Draft EIS contains two major conclusions. First, smaller, resource-dependent rural economies and social systems are more diversified and will absorb the impacts of changing public land policies. Second, the majority of the social and economic changes currently occurring in the Basin are due to forces beyond the control of Federal agencies. This document states that the social organization of rural communities and the changing economic structure of the West are partially due to the presence of Federal public lands, but the policies implemented on those lands have a minimal role to play in ongoing changes. These changes are uncritically accepted as correct and used to justify the policy changes inherent in the ICBEMP.
Page 229 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC A great deal of analysis is conducted and presented in the DEIS's and the background documentation in support of its overall conclusions. However, these analyses are fundamentally flawed and at odds with one another. The inconsistencies prevent the authors of the DEIS's from concretely assessing the impacts ecosystem management will have for Idaho and for the rest of the Basin. To accurately assess the impact, the BLM and FS must first admit that rural counties, towns, people and economies are inextricably tied to the Federal lands that surround them and that Federal policies like ecosystem management will have an impact. The social and economic analyses in the DEIS are not used to draw conclusions about the impacts of ecosystem management on rural communities and their social or economic systems. The strongest conclusion is that ''economically vulnerable areas are expected to bear the most social and economic costs of changing land management strategies.'' (DEIS summary, p.3 1).
I submit that it was not necessary to spend over $40 million of taxpayer money to reach such an obvious conclusion. We all know that when the Federal Government restricts land and resource uses in areas surrounded by Federal land, there is a negative social impact. It becomes very obvious very quicklypeople lose their jobs, business close, real estate markets crash, tax revenues that support roads and schools go away and a local depression ensues.
It amazes me that it took four years and $40 million to create a document of over 4,000 pages which ignores or glosses over the real impact to real people in the West. It makes me wonder if the Administration was only completing the DEIS's to back up what they had already decided to do, using bogus economics and choosing to use only the ''science'' that supported their pre-conceived notions and previously decided upon conclusions.
Let's look at Clearwater County in Idaho in which 54 percent of the land base is owned by the Federal Government. In 1980, workers in that county earned 89.5 percent of the national per capita income and 105.5 percent of the state average per capital income. In 1993, the income in Clearwater County had fallen to 76.9 percent of the national average and 91.4 percent of the state average. During those years, the supply of timber from national forests decreased drastically. Historically forest and wood products employment drive the economy in Clearwater County. It is almost 92 percent forest. There is more than a casual relationship. As Federal land management policies change, the health of rural economies dependent upon the resource change. The lives of real people in real American towns change when Federal policy changes. The authors of the ICBEMP need look no further than the county profiles that are provided on each county in Idaho to find the real economic impacts of Federal policy changes.
Page 230 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But what about recreation? In Idaho we hear a lot about the benefits of tourism, all the jobs and income recreation provides. There is no doubt that recreation and tourism is important parts of the economy of the state of Idaho and I am glad that this is true. A healthy economy needs to be diversified. Idaho welcomes income that recreation and tourism provides to the state economy in the same way it welcomes income from agriculture, high tech, forest and wood products and mining. However, one industry must not be advanced at the expense of the other. The overall approach to economics in the DEIS is heavily biased toward the fashionable judgment that recreation ought to be the industry of the future for rural Idaho. This is as much a matter of tone in the document as it is one of the methods used in the analyses.
Let's look at the facts. Clearwater County is considered to be a true sportsman's paradise yet the tax receipts from the travel and convention room tax were only $7,487 in 1986 and had only increased to $12,594 in 1995. Clearly this is not enough of an increase over 11 years to pay the increased costs of educating our children, maintaining our roads and running our counties. I think that these figures indicate that management policies on Federal forest lands have a very definite impact on the welfare of Clearwater County. It is not hard to extrapolate these findings to every county in Idaho, although the writers of the ICBEMP claim that it is impossible to do with any accuracy. Before the ICBEMP team declares it too difficult, they should study this book.
They should also study and include the multitude of other studies and economic analyses that they have thus far seen fit to overlook. For instance the critical review of the social and economic analyses of the Upper Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management project by Harp and Rimbey at the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology at the University of Idaho which point out the fatal flaws in the DEIS's should be included in the process. Another important body of work is that done by economists Robison and McKetta who argue that job and income effects must be viewed at the community level to be visible when they state that ''changes that might shock a small community are obscured when averaged with unaffected communities and large diverse metropolitan areas.'' To put it in real terms, the economic effects of a mill closure in Horseshoe Bend, are very visible in Horseshoe Bend but less visible to Boise. Robison and McKetta demonstrate how timber from Federal lands dominates local markets and how this dominance translates to severe job and income losses at particular communities. While projected growth in other sectors of the economy in Idaho makes up for timber job losses at the broad regional level, particular communities are left devastated.
Page 231 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The alternative selected as a result of this DEIS's process fails to streamline and localize decision-making, it fails to stabilize agency budgets and rural communities. It perpetuates the issues, and the tendency toward inaction that has led to the current dissatisfaction with the management of federally administered lands.
I agree with the 27 Idaho County Commissioners who wrote to the Secretaries of Agriculture and Interior, listing their concerns. The ICBEMP preferred alternative creates too many restrictive standards that will only hamstring local land managers, it emphasizes extensive planning not results, the process is burdensome, expensive and top-down and does not allow local forests the flexibility to determine what is best for local conditions and communities. The ICBEMP should be stopped and no Record of Decision issued. I urge YOU Madame Chairman and your congressional colleagues to end this expensive Federal Government process and shut the ICBEMP down.
STATEMENT OF TOM DWYER, DEPUTY REGIONAL DIRECTOR OF THE U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE, PACIFIC REGION, IN PORTLAND, OREGON
Madam Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee, I am Tom Dwyer, Deputy Regional Director for the Pacific Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Thank you for the opportunity to provide the Subcommittee with updated information on the Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project (ICBEMP) including the role of the regulatory agencies, both currently and historically.
The ICBEMP is a partnership that covers portions of seven states, 100 counties and more than 72 million acres of Federal lands within the 165 million acre Columbia River Basin. The Service's role in the ICBEMP process is to bring its expertise to collaborative efforts to assess the impacts of land use activities on whole watersheds and ecosystems rather than focusing on individual aquatic or terrestrial species, and to help move beyond species maintenance to ecosystem restoration. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service views the Project, when implemented, as providing significant, long-term, benefits not only to the overall management of fish and wildlife resources and their habitats in affected areas of the Columbia River Basin but to the local communities within the area of the Project as well. The Service views the Project as a high priority and has placed a great deal of effort into working with the Project, U.S. Forest Service (USFS), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The development and implementation of ICBEMP is truly an interagency effort.
Page 232 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Development of the two Draft Environmental Impact Statements was based on a broad landscape ''perspective.'' These draft documents provide predictions of outcomes over a 100-year period at the basin and mid-scale level on USFS and BLM lands. At this scale these DEISs provide only minimal direction on how land managers will actually achieve that broad-scale ''vision'' and apply it at the local level. The Service has, therefore, worked closely with the Project, EIS Team, and local executives from the USFS and BLM to incorporate into the DEISs an approach that would provide for a greater level of assurance, predictability, and accountability in project implementation, while avoiding undue delays.
The Service's current support of the ICBEMP has been based on inclusion of the three following basic, but crucial, elements that must be firmly founded in the final EIS and Record of Decision:
1. Pro-active contributions to the recovery of listed species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and prevention of future species listings as a result of actions on USFS and BLM lands.
2. Integration into the Plan of a comprehensive ecosystem analysis approach (e.g., subbasin reviews and ecosystem analysis at the watershed scale).
3. A collaborative process that would allow the Service to participate in basin-wide, mid-scale, and project level planning, design, and implementation. We want to work directly with USFS and BLM managers to promote the necessary protection for fish and wildlife and the resources upon which they depend.
The USFS and BLM executives have supported this concept and advocate this new approach to interagency collaboration with Federal regulatory agencies (i.e., FWS, NMFS, EPA). The group also supports a new spirit of collaboration involving other Federal agencies, Native American Tribes, the States, counties, interest groups, and private citizens. We view this new interagency basin-level and local level collaboration as essential to good management and see no better way for achieving the broad-scale ''vision'' stated in the DEISs.
Page 233 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In preparing out-year budgets for the ICBEMP, the five involved Federal agencies agreed that a central assumption was the necessity of maintaining the involvement of all agencies in all levels of planning and implementation (including monitoring). Throughout the process, the Service, to the extent that funding and staffing levels allow, will work with the land management agencies to identify appropriate actions and precautions that help achieve the purposes of the project. In essence, we all assume there will be a need for long-term commitment to interagency and intergovernmental collaboration if the ICBEMP is to work.
For more than three years, the Pacific Region of the Service has provided technical and policy level assistance to the ICBEMP. We have worked in partnership with the EIS teams to assure the integrity of the scientific analysis and promote compliance with Federal laws, such as the ESA. In addition, we have served on and provided staff assistance to a variety of science teams, ad hoc teams, and policy level teams, in particular the Executive Steering Committee, which consists of executives of the USFS, BLM, NMFS, EPA and the Service at the regional and State levels.
We have provided leadership and technical advice to the Project to promote the conservation and recovery of species listed under the ESA, as well as for proposed and candidate species. Listed species affected by the plan include the grizzly bear, gray wolf, whooping crane, bald eagle, peregrine falcon, woodland caribou, sockeye salmon, steelhead trout, and chinook salmon. Several other native species, such as the bull trout, westslope cutthroat, yellowstone cutthroat, interior redband trout, lynx, and goshawk have undergone serious decline and are either proposed for listing, are candidates, or may become candidates.
While the Service is committed to the Project, currently the Service does not have existing capability to respond to the workload envisioned with implementation of the Project. During the developmental stages of the two DEISs, the Service has annually provided 6 to 8 field office employees dedicated part-time in support of the ICBEMP. Since the ICBEMP was initiated, the Service has provided $250,000 annually to support development of the basin-wide strategy.
Page 234 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC There are, of course, ongoing Endangered Species Act consultation activities occurring within the ICBEMP area. Funding for these activities in fiscal year 1998 was just under $1.2 million. Once the ICBEMP begins the implementation phase, these funds would be used in support of ICBEMP activities. In total, roughly $1.4 million is currently available in the Service's budget to support ICBEMP implementation. The President's fiscal year 1999 Budget includes an increase of $1.5 million in ESA consultation funding as the first increment in Service funding in support of the ICBEMP.
The Service has assumed that field-level collaboration will occur through a mechanism similar to that currently used in a streamlined Section 7 consultation process. This involves assigning local FWS biologists to work with one or more BLM resource areas or USFS districts in a consultation and coloration role. For example:
In our collaborative role, we would work with land managers and their staff early in the planning and design stages. Through this early involvement process, greater understanding of problems and needs can be developed and, thus, greater support of land management decisions will follow. The focus would be on assisting USFS and BLM personnel in designing projects that will have minimal effect on species listed under the Endangered Species Act. Projects that may be considered include road improvements or construction, habitat restoration, recreation activities, salvage logging, fire management, silviculture treatments, and timber harvest.
In our consultation role, we would work with land managers and their staff to promote species conservation and recovery of listed species through best habitat management strategies. Service contributions would be provided through biological opinions issued by the Service.
Project-by-project management decisions will obviously be retained within the authority of the USFS and BLM.
Page 235 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In particular, we expect the Service's role in working with BLM and FS biologists and land managers will be the following:
Identify at an early stage projects that will adversely affect candidate, proposed, and listed species and develop alternatives.
Provide a landscape perspective on listed species status.
Identify resource problems and species needs.
Identify mechanisms to improve conditions for candidate species and species of concern to avoid the need for future listings.
Develop habitat and resource information.
Develop and provide species management and recovery tools.
Design restoration projects for both species and habitats.
For example, as a Forest or District is developing future restoration projects the Service will participate in a collaborative process to help determine the highest priority needs, species to be benefited, project design, locations for projects, and potential impacts to other species. In addition we will work to consider the overriding landscape benefit or impact of the proposed restoration. The Service's involvement will also provide continuity between different land ownerships and will allow a wider landscape assessment of proposed projects and related recovery efforts. Being able to provide input early in the planning process, not only at a project scale but also from a landscape/regional perspective, will help alleviate potential conflicts later in the process. And, as noted above, addressing sensitive species in a cooperative effort now will help to avoid the need to list them in the future.
I hope that the Congress, our governmental and non-governmental partners, and the public will continue to work with and support the ICBEMP. While the DEISs may not currently meet everyone's expectations, the efforts of improving upon the DEISs are well worth the benefits that will come from the realization of this precedent-setting project. It is through the efforts I have described that the USFS and BLM can truly and successfully achieve the purpose and needs of the Project on their lands.
Page 236 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Thank you, Madam Chairman, for allowing me to speak before this oversight hearing. This concludes my statement. I would be happy to address your questions.
STATEMENT OF CHARLES E. FINDLEY, DEPUTY REGIONAL ADMINISTRATOR, U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, REGION 10, SEATTLE, WASHINGTON
Madam Chairman: I am Chuck Findley, Deputy Regional Administrator for Region 10 of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). I am here at your request to provide the Subcommittee with additional testimony on the Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project, including EPA's regulatory roleboth currently and historicallyas well as our view of the project's potential impact on local communities.
EPA SUPPORT FOR THE ICBEMP
I would like to begin by expressing EPA's strong support for the purpose and needs that have been established for this Projectrestoring and maintaining ecosystem health and ecological integrity, supporting the economic and social needs of people, cultures, and communities, and providing sustainable and predictable levels of products from Forest Service and BLM-administered lands. Satisfying these purposes and needs is key to healthy watersheds, aquatic ecosystems and, ultimately, the communities, both large and small, that depend on them. Our philosophy has been, and continues to be, to put effort in up-front to ensure that the overall objectives, standards and guides are protective of our air and water resources. This is simply more efficient than being involved on a project-by-project basis. We believe it also helps provide a more consistent flow of goods and services to our communities and the public because projects will be less likely to be challenged. If protective land management practices are not dealt with adequately through this environmental impact statement process, they will likely be dealt with later, through the courts. History tell us this will be the likely scenario if we are not successful up front. We believe the DEISs provide an adequate framework for planning, setting priorities, and decision making for managing the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands within the Basin that will satisfy the purpose and needs and the specific ecosystem management goals proposed in the Draft Environmental Impact Statements (DEISs). The Objectives and Standards, the hierarchal assessment and decision processes, and the opportunities for collaboration among local, Tribal, State, and Federal agencies that have been proposed for implementing the Project should provide an effective decision framework that will allow sustained delivery of goods and services to the communities in the Basin and the general public without unduly jeopardizing the integrity of aquatic systems, water quality, and air quality.
Page 237 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I would like to take this opportunity to commend the Forest Service and BLM for their exemplary efforts, from the earliest stages of the Project, to provide opportunities for public involvement in the planning process, particularly for the Counties and local communities in the Basin. Those opportunities continue to be provided even now, as we near the end of the public comment period of the DEISs.
EPA INVOLVEMENT IN THE ICBEMP
EPA's decision to invest resources in the Project is based on the premise that it is far more cost effective to collaborate and address concerns early in the process than it is to wait and attempt to resolve differences that are identified on a project by project basis. EPA assigned staff to both the Walla Walla and Boise EIS teams shortly after they were established with the goal of providing perspective and assistance to the teams relative to the requirements of the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act as the environmental assessment and impact determinations were debated.
Yes, we've had some disagreements and differences of opinion in the past four years, which is understandable given the different mandates that guide our respective agencies. But at the executive level there continues to be a firm commitment to forge agreements that meet each agency's mandate and interest in stewardship of our country's natural resources. Decision making at the policy level has been a joint and collaborative process among all five of the agencies involved. I am confident this mode of operation will continue.
EPA's current involvement in the Project remains one of strong support. We have committed the resources necessary to assure it moves forward as quickly and efficiently as possible to a final decision. Reaching resolution will mean that the critically important environmental restoration work can begin to protect the region's land and water, helping to provide predictable and sustainable levels of goods and services for Basin communities.
Page 238 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
EPA INVOLVEMENT IN IMPLEMENTATION
More specific to EPA's area of responsibilities, you are probably aware that EPA and the States in the Northwest are facing a monumental task in addressing the hundreds of water bodies that have been listed under the Clean Water Act as impaired in each state. Lawsuits in each state are forcing substantial resource commitments to develop specific plans and implementation measures to return listed waters to compliance in reasonable time frames. Many of the listed waters are on Federal lands and we view the provisions of the ICBEMP as a vital component in assuring that those waters are addressed, both now and as the Project is implemented. Many of the impaired waters are listed because they do not support beneficial uses. For example, many waters no longer support all life stages of certain fish, such as salmon. In such cases, we are committed to working with the land management agencies and with the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service to concurrently address both Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act requirements to avoid potentially duplicative efforts for all involved.
The debate over protective forest and land management practices will occur, either in this EIS format, or if not dealt with adequately, in the courts. We realize that even if we are successful in reaching a Record of Decision through this collaborative process, legal challenges may still occur during implementation. We believe however, that the basis for specific projects will be more easily defended if such litigation proves unavoidable.
EPA will commit resources and continue to work with the land management agency partners in a collaborative manner for the duration of the Project. Assuming the production of a final EIS and Record of Decision, EPA expects to participate in implementation of the Project with a level of resources sufficient to provide the Forest Service and BLM with technical assistance and support in their planning, assessment, and decision processes to assure that Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, and other EPA responsibilities are appropriately addressed. We would expect our level of involvement to decrease over time, as we gain confidence that these responsibilities are being carried out satisfactorily.
Page 239 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
PAST AND FUTURE RESOURCE COMMITMENTS
Beginning in fiscal year 1994, EPA committed two full-time staff to the project, one on the EIS team in Walla Walla, and the other on the Science Assessment Team. In fiscal year 1995, after the Boise office opened, another part time staff person was assigned to that EIS team. During fiscal year 1996, EPA's resource commitment shifted from EIS team involvement, which was primarily technical in nature, to issue resolution which required policy level staff. Since fiscal year 1997, our involvement has been largely at the policy level. EPA's approach is to be more involved initially on selected projects, but to reduce our involvement as we gain confidence that standards are applied consistently. We don't envision being involved in-depth for a long period of time.
We believe we can accomplish our goals in the collaborative process by focusing our limited resources on the most sensitive and complex environmental issues. Our goal is to provide staff and resources sufficient to assure success of the project that are appropriate to the nature of the issues and challenges that arise.
In closing, EPA believes the direction and goals of the Interior Columbia Project are worthy of continued support, both by the communities, the public, and interest groups that will be most impacted by it, and by governments at all levelslocal, Tribal, state, and Federal agencies, and Congress. EPA is committed to supporting the Project and assuring its success. The strength of the project is its framework of: (1) broad public participation opportunities, (2) ability to address regional landscape scale issues, (3) default standards that can be changed to fit local conditions through the conduct of ecosystem analysis at the watershed scale, (4) intergovernmental collaboration opportunities, and (5) a balance of economic, social, and ecological interests.
Page 240 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Thank you, Madam Chairman, for inviting me to address this oversight hearing of your Subcommittee. This concludes my statement and I would be happy to address any questions you may have.
STATEMENT OF CINDY L. BACHMAN, HOT SPRINGS ROAD, BRUNEAU, IDAHO
My name is Cindy Bachman. I live at 118 Hot Springs Road in Bruneau, Idaho. I am chairman of the Owyhee County FSA, County Committee, Vice-Chairman and Endangered Species Sub-Committee Chairman of the Owyhee County Land Use Planning Committee and a member of the BLM's Lower Snake River Resource Advisory Council. I am also a member of the Idaho BLM Tri-RAC committee that helped to create and finalize the BLM's ''Idaho Standards for Rangeland Health and Guidelines for Grazing Management'' (S&G's).
My husband Frank and I, along with our children ranch and farm in the Bruneau Valley and have BLM permits in the Jarbidge and Shoshone Resource Areas. We are currently being impacted by the endangered Bruneau Hot Springsnail, the proposed listing of the Jarbidge River population of the Bull Trout, the declining Sage Grouse population, the United States Air Force requested Enhanced Training Range at Juniper Butte, the court ordered Idaho TMDL process, a minimum stream flow application for the Bruneau River and the BLM's Rangeland Reform regulations.
Today I will focus my comments on the Final, BLM Idaho S&G's that are required by Rangeland Reform regulations and signed by Secretary Babbitt August 12, 1997 and how only the Proposed S&G's are incorporated into the Upper Columbia River Basin Draft ElS/Appendix M/Pages 367-372 and the inconsistencies of the two documents.
There were changes made between the Proposed S&G's and Final S&G's document so the UCRB Draft EIS incorporates outdated information.
Page 241 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC BLM Resource Advisory Councils were not invited to participate in the incorporation of Idaho's S&G's into the UCRB Draft EIS. The EIS interdisciplinary team interpreted and incorporated the S&G's with only BLM personnel input.
Word definitions in the UCRB Draft and Idaho S&G's are very different: UCRB Draft ElS/Chapter 3/Page 1 & 59.
a BLM Standard = UCRB Desired Range of Future Conditions
a BLM Indicator = UCRB Objective
a BLM Guideline = UCRB Standard
1. UCRB definition for Desired Range of Future Conditions: ''. . . conditions that are expected to result in 50-100 years if objectives are achieved.''
2. BLM S&G's definition for Standard: ''. . . management goals for the betterment of the environment, protection of cultural resources, and sustained productivity of the range.
3. UCRB definition for Objectives: ''Indicators used to measure progress toward attainment of goals.''
4. UCRB definition for Standard: ''Required management actions addressing how to achieve objectives.''
5. BLM definition for Guideline. ''. . . direct the selection of . . . management practices, . . . to promote significant progress toward, or the attainment and maintenance of, the standard.''
6. BLM definition for Indicators: ''Components or attributes of a rangeland ecosystem that can be observed and/or measured that provides evidence of the function, productivity, health and/or condition of the ecosystem.''
UCRB Draft ElS/Appendix M/Page 368 states ''(Please refer to the section titled Features Common to Alternatives 3 to 7, in Chapter 3.)'' This section incorporates Idaho BLM Proposed Standards into UCRB as ''Desired Range of Future Conditions.'' The Lower Snake River RAC and Tri-RAC were adamant that when Idaho S&G's were used by BLM Land Managers the introduction be a crucial part of implementation. There is no mention of the Idaho BLM S&G's Introductions in UCRB Draft EIS/Chapter 3 and some of the Idaho BLM Guidelines for Grazing Management are incorporated as UCRB Standards.
Page 242 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC All Idaho BLM Land Use Plans were found to conform with the Final Idaho S&G's. If a Record of Decision is issued, all current BLM Land Use Plans that are found inconsistent with the UCRB-ICBEMP EIS document will be modified with no further public input. The NEPA requirement has been met through the UCRB-ICBEMP process.
As I read this UCRB-ICBEMP Draft EIS, I believe the implementation impact of this document and the preferred alternative will be devastating. I strongly urge you to convince the Congress that there should be no ''Record of Decision'' issued for this document.
STATEMENT OF MOLLY BLAYLOCK
The Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project (ICBEMP) is another wonderful by-product of the popular Northwest Forest Plan. In fact, the President himself ordered up this bureaucratic boon-doggle to the tune of $35 million, so far. For a document that is supposed to break the legal logjam, all I see is a freeway with plenty of on-ramps for more legal confrontation.
For starters, only half of the ecosystem studied is actually land under the management jurisdiction of either the USFS or BLM. Ecosystem is an ambiguous term; agencies looking for legal standing should at least find something definitive as a starting point. When asked at a public meeting, one ICBEMP representative stated that there is no consensus within the scientific community on the definition of ''ecosystem.'' The term ''ecosystem integrity'' is relied on heavily in the project's two draft environmental impact statements. Unfortunately, the documents also admit, ''Absolute measures of integrity do not exist.'' In other words, attainment of some measurable standard will be next to impossible, for the ecosystem will be constantly changing.
Page 243 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The goal that is being held up as the yard-stick, is the pre-European settlement condition of the land. I see that as a divide and conquer technique. The stewardship practices of the pre-European settlement indigenous peoples might be commendable, but the demographics of the Interior Columbia Basin have changed radically in the last 150 years. Humans have always relied on nature for their sustenance, and the same is true today. Humankind has benefited greatly from advances in technology, including the ability to produce resources in an environmentally responsible manner.
History repeats itself, the history of our planet transcends what has been recorded by man. Geological records show our existence on the face of this rock, is but a blip in time. How arrogant have we become? Regardless of one's spiritual beliefs, or lack thereof, the fact remains: we are at the mercy of nature. We have absolutely no control over its forces, but that does not prevent some from attempting to suspend the laws of evolution, control the climate or manage ''ecosystems.''
Last August, I attended a public meeting in Baker City, Oregon. Warning bells went off in my head every time the ICBEMP staff mentioned ''changing societal values'' and the need for land management agencies to address value judgments as opposed to science. Having called myself an environmentalist at one time, I now realize I'd made choices based on emotion and misinformation, rather than the facts. I challenge the agencies to educate the public on how they could be part of the solution, not spread more doubt and conflict.
Martha Hahn, Idaho's BLM State Director, recently asked for more sharing of ideas, interpretations and impacts. The agency has already received over 70,000 comments. Ms. Hahn then said that most of the comments reflect polarized views of the preferred alternative and that neither view is right. One reason for this is that the terms ''ecosystem'' and ''ecosystem integrity,'' as reflected in the majority of the comments received, are wide open to interpretation. This document does nothing more than muddy the very waters it is supposed to clear up.
Page 244 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC One of the great things about America is freedomfreedom to voice opposition. I am one American who is simply tired of spending my tax dollars in court only to fund more lawsuits. Mediation is one way the agencies could cool this debate, and get back to the business of managing land. What would happen if people with polarized viewpoints were brought to a table together to hammer out real solutions to the real problems?
I live in the Interior Columbia Basin, and I have every intention to continue to do so. Don't let this misguided adventure come to your region, or mine. Ecosystem management gives some folks in the current administration a warm fuzzy feeling, it leaves me with a serious pain in my neck of the woods.
STATEMENT OF ROBERT M. SKINNER, 3280 SKINNER RD., JORDAN VALLEY, OREGON
These comments are based on my involvement with the Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Plan over the past several years. However, I have not read the plan in it's immense entirety, and do not see how anyone who has anything else to do for a living could have possibly had the time to do so. The sheer mass of this document is just overwhelming.
The plan has cost the American taxpayer an enormous amount in direct expense, and the indirect costs incurred by the many citizens who have had to travel and sacrificed time to try and stay abreast of the so called ''master plan'' will never be known. The estimated cost of implementing the preferred alternative is a staggering $125 to $140 million. I have personally attended so many workshops, scoping meetings, planning sessions, strategy meetings, and information meetings across Oregon, Idaho and Washington that I can't even remember how many times I have been there or how many hours I have spent on this issue. The point being I am still overwhelmed, confused, and not trusting of this political product.
Also, I should note, that I have had a lot of formal exposure to ICBEMP because of my being a member (appointed by the Secretary of the Interior) of the Southeast Oregon RAC, and also, I am the public lands committee chairman for the Oregon Cattlemen's Association.
Page 245 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The plan is the overriding big umbrella or master plan to which all other local plans must conform. ICBEMP is very serious as it makes it so much easier to carry out top down political agendas when a plan such as this lays the framework for so many local plans, and crosses so many political boundaries.
The ICBEMP no doubt has some very beneficial aspects such as a much needed weed control program. My fear is that the local will be essentially taken out of the planning process. The plan may refer to the local planning process, but if all plans must conform to the ''master plan'' then in reality what do we have?
Along with the fear I have expressed as to the effects of the plan on the local resources. I have a very real fear that the plan may be devastating to the economics of the local communities. I think Congress and the Eastside Ecosystem Coalition of Counties had the same fear when they directed the project team to do the analysis of the economic and social implications of the plan. I have read the document recently released addressing these issues. Even though I do have a minor in economics from one of the leading private liberal arts colleges in the nation, I am confused and untrusting of what I read. In talking last night to Dr. Fred Obermiller, professor of agricultural and resource economics at Oregon State University, I expressed my concerns, Dr. Obermiller said (direct quote) ''this report and EIS is an attempt to obscure the negative impacts on local communities based on data that does not exist and assumptions that can not be validated. I expect that implementation of this plan will lead to annihilation of rural communities within the scope of the Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Planning area.''
In conclusion, even though I have attended countless training sessions and read volumes of material on this plan, it is almost impossible to fully realize what it really is, or what it is trying to accomplish. At this point I must rely on my basic ''gut feeling'' that this plan is probably going to be devastating to rural communities and families in the Northwestem United States and eventually to the United States as a whole.
Page 246 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Thank you.
STATEMENT OF PAT HOLMBERG, PRESIDENT, THE INDEPENDENT MINERS
With all due respect Congressman, I am somewhat confused. I do not know anyone who has read and understood the hundreds of pages of this document.
What I do know is that the implementation of this great and wonderful plan has neither been authorized nor funded by the Congress of the United States. What then allows the land managers to implement this policy that carries no weight of law?
Why, Congressman, has the United States Congress abrogated their authority and is Congress not allowing agencies and friendly lawsuits to override the authority given them by the people of the United States?
Please carry this message back to your fellow legislators. Enough is enough. Just say no!!
STATEMENT OF ELIZABETH HOLMES GAAR, ASSISTANT REGIONAL ADMINISTRATOR, NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE, PORTLAND, OREGON
I am Elizabeth Holmes Gaar, Assistant Regional Administrator, Northwest Region of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). I am responding on behalf of NMFS to your request as Subcommittee Chair for testimony on the Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project (Project), including the role of regulatory agencies, both currently and historically, as well as the impacts of the project on local communities.
NMFS SUPPORT FOR THE ICBEMP
Page 247 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Project is a unique undertaking that will change not only what and when actions occur, but also will significantly increase the involvement of government and non-government partners and stakeholders in the resource management decision process. The primary NMFS role in the Project is to ensure that conservation needs of salmon and steelhead listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) are realized as actions are taken across the broad expanse of the Project area. The NMFS is committed to working with the five-agency Federal family for successful planning and implementation of the Project. We believe NMFS' early and full involvement is needed to avoid or minimize costly last minute conflicts that could affect both short- and long-term outcomes.
NMFS INVOLVEMENT IN THE ICBEMP
The collaborative interagency approach to Project planning is working. Experience with ESA salmon issues in the northwest has shown it is more efficient and cost effective to involve all interested parties early and often during large scale planning exercises such as the ICBEMP. The NMFS is, therefore, participating in the development of key components of the DEISs and those areas requiring additional effort to complete a final EIS and Record of Decision(s). This early interagency involvement was critical to the development and release of the draft EIS to the public for their review and comment. The public comment period is scheduled to close May 6, 1998, at which time the interagency collaborative effort will continue to help in the development of a final EIS.
The NMFS continues to work collaboratively with our Federal partners in moving from a draft to final EIS and Record of Decision(s). A major interest to NMFS is the interagency commitment to hierarchical step-down planning as a primary tool for incorporating broad- and mid-scale scientific information into project implementation with assurances for conservation of listed salmonids and their habitats.
Page 248 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
NMFS' ICBEMP BUDGET
Successful ICBEMP implementation depends on continued interagency participation in the collaborative step-down planning process that promotes ecosystem management through basin wide assessments, subbasin reviews, and ecosystem analysis at the watershed scale to project level planning. The ability to deliver project planning flexibility also depends on a strong adaptive management approach and NMFS involvement.
The NMFS budget for ICBEMP currently focuses on interagency participation in the development of the DEISs and supporting implementation strategies. As the Project transitions to implementation and the application of new science to the step-down planning process for project design and implementation, NMFS interagency participation will increase in those areas where conservation of anadromous salmonids are of concern within the Project area.
The President's fiscal year 1999 Budget for NOAA Fisheries includes a west coast (Alaska, Northwest, and Southwest Regions) salmon funding initiative of which $2-3 million will provide funding support for effective NOAA Fisheries participation in the Project.
Existing FY 1998 Funds: $200,000 ICBEMP FEIS Development and Early ESA Consultation Activities
FY 1999 Budget Increase: +$2-3,000,000 ICBEMP Implementation/Consultation
ROLE OF THE NMFS DURING ICBEMP IMPLEMENTATION
Page 249 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The NMFS intends to build on the successes in the ICBEMP interagency planning to date as well as that gained through the present ESA section 7 streamlined consultation process. Early and complete involvement by the NMFS is essential for continued successful application of the streamlined ESA consultation process at the programmatic, mid-scale, and project scale encompassed by ICBEMP. The integrated collaborative effort and commitments by the five Federal agencies will serve to reduce nongovernmental challenges and other efforts often required during a formal ESA section 7 consultation process when that process is relied on as the primary coordination mechanism for project planning.
I want to express my appreciation to you, Madam Chairman, for your continued interest in this multi-agency, broad-scale Federal land management planning process. I sincerely believe that this Project has worked, and continues to work diligently to bring all involved parties together to begin the difficult task of assessing the interrelationships of Federal land management decisions within the Interior Columbia River Basin. By jointly approaching the problems identified in the ICBEMP, many of which are too large for any one agency or land unit to address alone, we can collectively apply newly analyzed scientific information unavailable in the past, and begin the restoration efforts with confidence that many of our highly valued public resources need.
Thank you Madam Chairman, for allowing me to speak before this Subcommittee. This concludes my statement. I would be happy to address your questions.
INSERT OFFSET FOLIOS 101 TO 293 AND 297 TO 298 AND 301 TO 338 HERE
Page 250 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC