SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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AMERICAN LAND SOVEREIGNTY PROTECTION ACT
COMMITTEE ON RESOURCES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
TO PRESERVE THE SOVEREIGNTY OF THE UNITED STATES OVER PUBLIC LANDS AND ACQUIRED LANDS OWNED BY THE UNITED STATES, AND TO PRESERVE STATE SOVEREIGNTY AND PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS IN NON-FEDERAL LANDS SURROUNDING THOSE PUBLIC LANDS AND ACQUIRED LANDS. ''AMERICAN LAND SOVEREIGNTY PROTECTION ACT''
ONE HUNDRED SIXTH CONGRESS
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MARCH 18, 1999, WASHINGTON, DC AND MAY 1, 1999, ROLLA, MISSOURI
Serial No. 10616
Printed for the use of the Committee on Resources
Available via the World Wide Web: http://www.access.gpo.gov/congress/house
Committee address: http://www.house.gov/resources
AMERICAN LAND SOVEREIGNTY PROTECTION ACT
COMMITTEE ON RESOURCES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
TO PRESERVE THE SOVEREIGNTY OF THE UNITED STATES OVER PUBLIC LANDS AND ACQUIRED LANDS OWNED BY THE UNITED STATES, AND TO PRESERVE STATE SOVEREIGNTY AND PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS IN NON-FEDERAL LANDS SURROUNDING THOSE PUBLIC LANDS AND ACQUIRED LANDS. ''AMERICAN LAND SOVEREIGNTY PROTECTION ACT''
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ONE HUNDRED SIXTH CONGRESS
MARCH 18, 1999, WASHINGTON, DC AND MAY 1, 1999, ROLLA, MISSOURI
Serial No. 10616
Printed for the use of the Committee on Resources
AMERICAN LAND SOVEREIGNTY PROTECTION ACT
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
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCKEN CALVERT, California
RICHARD W. POMBO, California
BARBARA CUBIN, Wyoming
HELEN CHENOWETH, Idaho
GEORGE P. RADANOVICH, California
WALTER B. JONES, Jr., North Carolina
WILLIAM M. (MAC) THORNBERRY, Texas
CHRIS CANNON, Utah
KEVIN BRADY, Texas
JOHN PETERSON, Pennsylvania
RICK HILL, Montana
BOB SCHAFFER, Colorado
JIM GIBBONS, Nevada
MARK E. SOUDER, Indiana
GREG WALDEN, Oregon
DON SHERWOOD, Pennsylvania
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
MIKE SIMPSON, Idaho
THOMAS G. TANCREDO, Colorado
GEORGE MILLER, California
NICK J. RAHALL II, West Virginia
BRUCE F. VENTO, Minnesota
DALE E. KILDEE, Michigan
PETER A. DeFAZIO, Oregon
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCENI 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
ROBERT A. UNDERWOOD, Guam
PATRICK J. KENNEDY, Rhode Island
ADAM SMITH, Washington
WILLIAM D. DELAHUNT, Massachusetts
CHRIS JOHN, Louisiana
DONNA CHRISTIAN-CHRISTENSEN, Virgin Islands
RON KIND, Wisconsin
JAY INSLEE, Washington
GRACE F. NAPOLITANO, California
TOM UDALL, New Mexico
MARK UDALL, Colorado
JOSEPH CROWLEY, New York
LLOYD A. JONES, Chief of Staff
ELIZABETH MEGGINSON, Chief Counsel
CHRISTINE KENNEDY, Chief Clerk/Administrator
JOHN LAWRENCE, Democratic Staff Director
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Hearing held March 18, 1999
Statement of Witnesses:
Kimble, Melinda L., Acting Assistant Secretary for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC
Prepared statement of
Kirkpatrick, Hon. Jeane J., American Enterprise Institute, Washington, DC
Prepared statement of
Additional material submitted by
Lindsey, Stephen G., Elgin, Arizona
Prepared statement of
MacLeod, Laurel, Director of Legislation and Public Policy, Concerned Women for America, Washington, DC
Prepared statement of
Rabkin, Jeremy A., Associate Professor, Department of Government, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
Prepared statement of
Additional material submitted by
Letters from Ms. Raidl, Mr. Arnett, Mr. Carruthers, Mr. Milne, Mr. Clarke, and Mr. Leshy
Train, Russell E., World Wildlife Fund, Washington, DC, additional material submitted by
von Droste, Bernd, Director, World Heritage Center, additional material submitted by
Rovig, David B., President, Greystar Resources Ltd., Billings, Montana
Prepared statement of
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSmith, Ann Webster, Chairman Emeritus, U.S. Committee of the International Council on Monuments and Sites, Washington, DC
Prepared statement of
Yeager, Brooks B., Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, DC
Prepared statement of
Additional material supplied:
Biodiversity Treaty, People for the USA
Briefing Paper, The American Land Sovereignty Protection Act
Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, Message from The President of the United States
Frampton, Hon. George T., Jr., United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, additional material submitted by
Hearing held May 1, 1999
Statement of Members:
Chenoweth, Hon. Helen, a Representative in Congress from the State of Idaho
Prepared statement of
Emerson, Hon. Joann, additional material submitted by
Statement of Witnesses:
Barnes, Carl, Missouri Forest Products Association and People for the USA, Potosi, Missouri
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCPrepared statement of
Benton, Wanda, Salem, Missouri
Prepared statement of
Burks, Connie, Jasper, Arkansas
Prepared statement of
Additional material submitted by
Prepared statement of
Denham, Mary, Director and State Coordinator, Take Back Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas
Prepared statement of
Additional material submitted by
Hardecke, Ron, Citizens for Private Property Rights, Owensville, Missouri
Prepared statement of
Kreisler, Leon, Missouri Farm Bureau, Salem, Missouri
Prepared statement of
Lovett, Dale, Pulp and Paperworkers' Resource Council, Wickliffe, Kentucky
Prepared statement of
Meyers, Frank, Forester and Secretary, Potosi Chapter, People for the USA
Prepared statement of
Powell, John, Frank B. Powell Lumber Company, Rolla, Missouri
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCPrepared statement of
Skiles, Darrell, Missouri Cattlemen's Association, Salem, Missouri
Prepared statement of
Simpson, Bobby, Dent County Commissioner, Salem, Missouri
Prepared statement of
Yancey, Richard J., President, Viburnum Chapter, People for the USA, Black, Missouri
Prepared statement of
Additional material supplied:
Sierra Club, Letter dated April 27,
Text of H.R. 883
HEARING ON H.R. 883, TO PRESERVE THE SOVEREIGNTY OF THE UNITED STATES OVER PUBLIC LANDS AND ACQUIRED LANDS OWNED BY THE UNITED STATES, AND TO PRESERVE STATE SOVEREIGNTY AND PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS IN NON-FEDERAL LANDS SURROUNDING THOSE PUBLIC LANDS AND ACQUIRED LANDS. ''AMERICAN LAND SOVEREIGNTY PROTECTION ACT''
THURSDAY, MARCH 18, 1999
House of Representatives,
Committee on Resources,
The Committee met, pursuant to call, at 2:02 p.m., in room 1324, Longworth House Office Building, Hon. Helen Chenoweth [acting chairman of the Committee] presiding.
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. The Committee will please come to order.
I want to welcome our witnesses, this very distinguished panel. We have two panels of very distinguished witnesses and we are all looking forward to hearing from these witnesses.
Today we hear testimony on H.R. 883, which gives the Congress a role in approving international land designations, primarily United Nations' World Heritage Sites and Biosphere Reserves. H.R. 883 now has more than 145 cosponsors.
So that everyone understands, my concern is that the United States Congress, and therefore the people of the United States, have been left out of the domestic process to designate Biosphere Reserves and World Heritage Sites. H.R. 883 makes the Congress and the people of this country relevant in this process.
The Biosphere Reserve program is not even authorized by a single U.S. law or even an international treaty, and that is wrong. Executive branch appointees cannot, and should not, do things that the law does not authorize. In fact, both Biosphere Reserves and World Heritage Sites programs are administered through the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, commonly referred to as UNESCO. However, the United States withdrew from UNESCO in 1984 because the Reagan Administration found it riddled with gross financial mismanagement. Fifteen years later, even the Clinton Administration has not rejoined UNESCO. As a result, it defies the imagination as to why our government is still participating in these UNESCO programs.
We, as the Congress, have a responsibility to ensure that the representatives of the people are engaged on these important international land designations. Now I do not think that Article IV, Section 3 of the Constitution advises that in governing our lands that we simply opt out of policies that may appear ineffectual. But instead, it expressly requires that we, the Congress, make all needful rules and regulations regarding land, as if to suggest that we are to jealously guard against the slightest possibility that foreign entities have any power over what belongs under the strict purview of the United States of America.
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Yet, these international land designations have been created with virtually no congressional oversight, no hearings, and no congressional authority. The public and the local governments are rarely consulted. Until now, no one has lifted an eyebrow to examine how the U.S. domestic implementation of these programs has eaten away at the power and the sovereignty of the Congress to exercise its Constitutional power to make the laws that govern what goes on in the public lands.
Today, we will begin to look at these very issues. We intend to move this legislation from the Committee to the House floor for a vote very soon.
With that, it is time to begin. I once again want to welcome all of our witnesses who will testify today. I would like to introduce our first panel. First, we have the Honorable Jeane Kirkpatrick, former Ambassador to the United Nations, she's now with the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, DC; joining her is Ms. Melinda Kimble, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, located here in Washington; Mr. Brooks Yeager, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington; and Dr. Jeremy Rabkin, Associate Professor, Department of Government, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.
Mr. VENTO. Madam Chair, I have an opening statement.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Mr. Vento, I apologize. We would like to hear from the Minority.
Mr. VENTO. Mr. Chairman, this is not new legislation. The Congress first considered it in 1996 and 1997. In both instances the other body, the Senate refused to consider the measure on the floor and the Administration indicated it would veto the measure if passed.
This measure is misguided because it aims at the symbols of Federal policy when what the supporters are legislatively really opposing is the underlying policy itself. While some of my colleagues and I might like to see us doing even more, this country has set a national policy goal of the long-term preservation of environmental resources. The commitment this Nation has made to the preservation, conservation, restoration policies of land sometimes demand that certain activities which threaten these resources be prohibited and/or tightly limited. The reality of the situation is that no U.N. commando team will penetrate U.S. borders to seize control of our most precious parks, all in the name of conservation. Besides, many are promising today that we will soon have a crack missile defense system to thwart any and all attempts to seize the sovereignty of our great Nation out from under our control.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Any and all land use restrictions in place are a function of U.S. law, not an international treaty or protocol. Our participation in the World Heritage Convention, the RAMSAR Convention, the Man and the Biosphere Program, as an example, are emblematic of an underlying policy and a symbolic value and importance the U.S. places on its natural resources, our natural legacy. These international cooperative agreements are an extension of our own domestic policy. They do not dictate it; they flow from such policy and law. These sites we have nominated under the World Heritage Convention are listed because Congress chose to enact policy and law to protect them and establish special land managers to regulate and enforce such law.
To address a specific example that gave rise to this bill, the problem with the New World Mine was that it was, in fact, too close to Yellowstone National Park, not that it was too close to a World Heritage Site. If we want to debate the basic principles in environmental protection, that's fine. But we should not waste our time passing legislation that seeks to abolish the programs that grew out of these basic tenets.
We have evolved over 200 years an American land-use ethic in case law. This is particularly true because the decision to abandon these programs has consequences. And let's be clear, the goal of this measure is to abandon these programs, not simply to regulate them. To require Congress to act for each and every parcel of land to be considered is to effectively stop all future nominations and designations.
The legislation sends a signal around the world that our Nation, the United States of America, which forged the policy path to institute these various treaties and protocols, is undercutting the values and benefits of international recognition for important cultural or environmental sites. It sends a signal that the United States is undercutting and abandoning values for ecosystem research coordinated through the U.S. Man and the Biosphere Program.
At the same time, when the United States is thrust into a role of dominant power and in the central role as a world leader in so many areas, why would we voluntarily abdicate perhaps the most important leadership position we occupy, that of a leader in an effort to make this life on this planet sustainable? This would convey to the hundreds, in fact, a hundred and sixty-some nations who are members of the World Heritage Convention Program, it would convey to these nations who are participants of the conservation treaties and protocols that special interest, domestic political and parochial considerations come first in the United States. If the United States cannot even permit recognition to be accorded, why should the other nations bother to participate?
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Finally, it is particularly troubling that we are pursuing this misdirected and misguided policy based on gross misinformation. Each agreement covered by this bill states on its face that it contains no provision that affects in any way the authority or ability of participating nations to control the lands within its borders. These programs give the U.N. no more control over land of this country than the awarding of Gold Medals gives the U.S. Olympic Committee control over an American athlete. To claim that these international programs somehow infringe on the sovereignty of this Nation is simply factually inaccurate.
This is not all that is inconsistent about H.R. 883. While this legislation is similar to the measure introduced last Congress, it differs from the version that passed the House in one important respect. During floor debate, 242 of our Members of Congress supported an amendment that I offered which would require specific congressional authorization for any international agreement seeking to make U.S. land available for commercial use as well. A majority of our colleagues felt that if you're going to reassert our role in governing the use of these lands for conservation purposes, we should be consistent and reassert congressional oversight of international agreements which cover commercial exploit of uses of U.S. lands as well.
How can we stand by and let important conservation programs be thrown by the wayside for superfluous reasons and then permit foreign companies to haul away precious and valuable resources rightfully owned by the American taxpayers who receive practically nothing in return? The House clearly asserted that sentiment last Congress and most certainly would hopefully do the same in this Congress.
Mr. Chairman, programs like this are good programs. They do not flow from the U.N. The argument is pervasive only to those who have creative and overactive imaginations. Rather, these programs are being targeted because they do play a role in highlighting instances where we, as Congress and as a Nation, fall short in meeting the very goals and values that the U.S. espouses and that these international agreements represent.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Madam Chairman, this is an issue of takings, not of private property but of stripping international recognition from the esteem and from the United States citizens of the world. The reaction to this symbolic program of conversation is ironic when, in fact, we look to the next century. The United States should be joining with the family of nations leading the advancement of knowledge and working to implement such know-how into a host of environmental agreements, some with teeth and enforcement mechanisms, because of the health, the welfare, and to benefit Spaceship Earth and the people.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Vento.
The Chair recognizes the real Chairman, Mr. Young. Do you have an opening statement, sir?
Mr. YOUNG. I beg to differ with the good Chairperson, she is the Chairman today. And I do thank you for participating in this; I have a series of hearings.
I am very pleased to see the panel is here and look forward to their testimony, and we look forward to the passage of this legislation again, as we did last year.
I thank you, Madam Chairman.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Under Rule 4(g), we like to limit time for our witnesses to five minutes. And also I do want to state that if any other members have any opening statements, under unanimous consent, they will be entered into the record.
Mr. VENTO. Madam Chair, a point of inquiry. I don't have the testimony from the distinguished former Ambassador, Ms. Kirkpatrick, nor the disclosure statement. Is there some reason for that? Doesn't the Rules of the House provide at least for the disclosure statement and the advanced copies of this testimony?
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Mr. Vento, the testimony came in a little bit late. But we would be happy to provide as soon as we can copies of the information.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. VENTO. Do I have it? I am not aware of it being in my portfolio and I am asking about it.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. It is noted for the record.
So without any other questions, we will proceed with our first witness. Mrs. Kirkpatrick, we look forward to hearing from you.
STATEMENT OF HON. JEANE J. KIRKPATRICK, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE, WASHINGTON, DC
Ms. KIRKPATRICK. Thank you very much, and I thank you for inviting me. I am pleased to be here to make some general remarks based principally on my experience in the United Nations and reading and reflection on it since.
What I would like to do is make some general comments concerning the practices, the patterns of the U.N. organization and some of their impacts on the operation of programs. Specifically, I would quote Paul Johnson, who has said that the 1970s could perhaps be termed as the ''Decade of collectivism,'' particularly for the United Nations, because there was a great explosion of collectivist initiatives in the 1970s, nowhere as much as the United Nations where a whole series of new orders and conventions were adopted and undertaken, including the 1972 Convention on the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage, but also the 1974 new international economic order, and a half dozen other initiatives in the 1970s establishing global organizations in a U.N. framework to undertake some new activity which had never been undertaken before, not just by the United Nations but, in most cases, by anyone.
And the thrust of these conventions was regulatory, for the most part, and it was in most cases an effort to establish a louder voice on the part of larger numbers of countries in the establishment of policies in a very wide range of spheres. A characteristic of the new organizations was the practice of making decisions on the basis of what in the United Nations is considered the General Assembly Principle, which is the basis of one country, one vote. The governing body of most of these organizations is chosen ultimately in a U.N. arena which permits the decision-making on the basis of one country, one vote. The problem with the one country, one vote principle is, of course, that the United States' vote counts exactly as much as St. Christopher, Nevis, or Barbados, or Germany equally with Guinea, or Britain with the Bahamas, or whomever. When decisions are made on the basis of one country, one vote, there is very little account taken of interest in the decision or technological competence or capacity to, in fact, implement decisions made.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Convention Concerning the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage provides such a pattern of decision-making. Those decisions are made by delegates to the World Heritage Committee and the Biosphere Program International Coordinating Council. They choose the International Coordinating Council which is chosen by a UNESCO assembly which itself operates on the basis of one country, one vote.
I might in parenthesis simply say that I was representing the United States in the United Nation and the U.S. representation in the U.N. during the period that the decision was made to withdraw U.S. participation in UNESCO. I would like to say just a word about this. It was a decision that was made not easily and not rapidly. It was proposed early in the Reagan Administration and a commitment was solicited from my cabinet colleagues by me, I might say, and received that they would not withhold U.S. support from UNESCO or membership in UNESCO until and unless we had made our very best effort at reform of the really egregious abuses which characterized the UNESCO governance system. And for more than two years, three years the Reagan Administration, in cooperation with all parts of the U.S. Government, made an effort to correct some of the fraud, waste, and mismanagement which virtually everyone who looked at the problem agreed existed.
Having failed, we decided reluctantly that it was really necessary to withhold U.S. participation and withdraw U.S. membership from UNESCO. And I would reiterate what the Chairman has pointed to; that is, no subsequent Administration has deemed it desirable to rejoin UNESCO. It is a poorly managed organization. Most of its decisions and most of its domains are made on the basis of one country, one vote and there is a very great deal of fraud and mismanagement. I think some improvement has been made but not dramatic. The World Heritage Sites and designations are no different than many other aspects of UNESCO; namely, they are not managed in a way that provides for systematic representation of countries involved.
I would just like to mention one more general point concerning U.N. operations. All U.N. decisions are made either on the basis of some special selection of countries because of interest or competence or on the basis of one country, one vote. The General Assembly is, of course, one country, one vote, and the Security Council provides for weighting of votes. The Convention Concerning Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage provides simply for decisions ultimately on the basis of one country, one vote, in which no special attention is paid or account taken of the investments, or the concerns, or the effects on Americans of any particular decision by the World Heritage Sites.
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I personally have been disturbed by the fact that there is no voice for elected officials, no voice for the American people in these processes. And I believe personally that the United States should not participate in U.N. activities, whether it be the Law of the Sea, or the Chemical Weapons Conventions, or World Cultural and Natural Heritage Programs, where decisions are made on the basis of one country, one vote, where our great involvement is not matched by some commensurate voice in decisions affecting our properties and our interests.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Kirkpatrick may be found at the end of the hearing.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you very much, Mrs. Kirkpatrick. I will have to say that I am sure that all of my colleagues up here and thousands of people wish that we could just sit down and talk to you by the hour and listen and learn from you. It is a great honor to have you here at the Committee.
And now the Chair recognizes Ms. Melinda Kimble for her testimony.
STATEMENT OF MELINDA L. KIMBLE, ACTING ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR OCEANS AND INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL AND SCIENTIFIC AFFAIRS, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE, WASHINGTON, DC
Ms. KIMBLE. Thank you, Madam Chairman. Madam Chairman and members of the Committee, I welcome this opportunity to comment on H.R. 883, and I respectfully request that the full text of my written statement be included in the record.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Without objection.
Ms. KIMBLE. H.R. 883 directly affects implementation of the World Heritage Convention, the U.S. Man and the Biosphere Program, and the RAMSAR Convention on Wetlands. These conventions and initiatives have been long-standing components of the United States' international and environmental diplomacy.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The United States agrees that the public and the Congress should participate in an open, transparent, and participatory nomination process for World Heritage Sites, Biosphere Reserves, and RAMSAR sites. The Administration believes, however, that this legislation goes too far in addressing concerns about the implementation of these long-standing international agreements and programs.
This bill would take what is currently a bottom-up grassroots approach and impose a cumbersome top-down approval process. The United States was the principal architect of the World Heritage Convention and the first country to ratify it. This convention respects the sovereignty of countries on whose territory World Heritage Sites are located. It makes clear that the responsibility for identifying and delineating such sites rests with the national governments that are party to the convention.
The Man and the Biosphere Program, or MAB, is a voluntary and cooperative science program which promotes the study of the interaction of Earth's human and natural systems. In Kentucky's biosphere reserve at Mammoth Cave National Park, local authorities work together to protect the area's water quality. In the Everglades biosphere reserve, policy-makers and scientists have produced strategies for restoring this vast ecosystem while preserving the area's social and economic structures.
Nominations for the U.S. biosphere reserves are prepared by locally established committees interested in pursuing the designation. They obtain letters of concurrence from local and State government representatives and landowner approval for all included properties.
H.R. 883 appears to be based on a belief that the World Heritage Convention and the U.S. Man and the Biosphere Program threaten U.S. sovereignty, mandate land-use regimes, and restrict the rights of private property owners. Rather, the main purpose of both is to recognize sites of exceptional ecological, scientific, or cultural importance. Neither regulates the management of these sites or affects the land-use rights of the country in which they may be located.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We also have concerns about Section 5 of H.R. 883, which restricts international agreements generally with respect to the nomination or designation of Federal lands for conservation purposes. This section could hamper the ability of local communities to gain recognition of a specific wetland site in their area as a Wetland of International Importance under the RAMSAR Convention on Wetlands. Such a listing affects neither the management regime for these areas nor resource use within them.
This convention exists because of a global concern over the loss of wetlands and the migratory birds that depend on these habitats. At the local level, RAMSAR designations promote greater public awareness of wetland values and the need to protect them. The network of RAMSAR sites in Canada, the United States, and Mexico provide safe breeding and wintering grounds for waterfowl. These birds, in turn, generate significant economic activity in the United States through hunting, tourism to these sites, and bird-watching.
We believe that U.S. participation in the World Heritage Convention, U.S. Man and the Biosphere Program, and the RAMSAR Convention on Wetlands serves important national interests and helps link national and international initiatives with local stakeholders. U.S. leadership and influence in these conventions and programs encourages other nations to similarly value and care for significant sites in their countries.
The Department of State opposes H.R. 883. If it were to pass, the Secretary of State would recommend a veto. Recognition of a U.S. site as a World Heritage Site, a Biosphere Reserve, or a RAMSAR site in no way undermines our sovereignty. Such recognition also does not impose additional Federal land-use restrictions over such areas or adjacent areas. We believe this legislation runs counter to the U.S. role in supporting both local and global environmental cooperation and could greatly impede the nomination of new sites under these conventions and programs.
This concludes my statement, Madam Chairman.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [The prepared statement of Ms. Kimble may be found at the end of the hearing.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Ms. Kimble.
The Chair now recognizes Mr. Brooks Yeager for his testimony.
STATEMENT OF BROOKS B. YEAGER, DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR POLICY AND INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, WASHINGTON, DC
Mr. YEAGER. Thank you, Madam Chairman. If I may be allowed to summarize my statement and have the full statement included for the written record of the Committee.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Without objection.
Mr. YEAGER. Before I start, I would like to say on a personal note how genuinely glad I am to see Representatives Tom and Mark Udall in this room which Mark's father and Tom's uncle for so long was a wonderful chairman of this Committee. So, it is really a great pleasure.
Madam Chairman and members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to present the views of the Department of the Interior on H.R. 883, the American Land Sovereignty Protection Act. The chief effect of this legislation in our view, Madam Chairman, would be to place cumbersome and unwise restrictions on U.S. participation in the World Heritage Convention and other international conservation agreements.
Ironically, these agreements in many cases were the product of U.S. world conservation leadership and have been supported by Presidents of both parties going back to President Nixon. Through them, the United States has been successful in engaging many other nations in the world effort to establish and protect national parks and to better conserve unique and important natural and cultural resources.
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The restrictions on participation and the burdensome requirements of H.R. 883 appear to be a response to worries that these agreements in some way diminish U.S. sovereignty over our own parks and refuges and public lands. But in our view, nothing could be further from the truth. Because the restrictions of H.R. 883 are unnecessary, and would unwisely weaken the worldwide conservation leadership and influence that the United States has earned, we must strongly oppose the bill. If this legislation were to pass, the Secretary of the Interior would join the Secretary of State in recommending a veto.
Madam Chairman, with your permission, I would like to introduce some documents for the Committee record. The documents show the long, 30 year history of enthusiastic and nonpartisan support for these agreements, particularly for the World Heritage Convention. They also show an equally long bipartisan consensus that U.S. involvement in World Heritage and other such international conservation conventions poses no threat to U.S. sovereignty.
In particular, I would like to start, Madam Chairman, with the message from the President of the United States on November 23, 1972, introducing the World Heritage Conservation Convention to Congress, in which President Nixon said ''The Convention places basic reliance on the resources and efforts of the States within whose territory these natural and cultural sites are located, but, at the same time, would provide a means of assisting States which have insufficient resources or expertise in the protection of areas for the benefit of all mankind.''
In particular, in the letter of submittal from the Secretary of State at the time, it notes that the U.S. actually moved to strengthen drafts of the convention during the negotiations during the early 1970s to have a convention that would match the U.S. desire at the time for world conservation to move forward with U.S. leadership and influence.
The second document I would like to introduce for the record, Madam Chairman, is a letter from Secretary of Interior William Clark, dated April 1984, to Secretary of State George Schultz, and this addresses the point that was raised by Ambassador Kirkpatrick about our disassociation at the time from UNESCO. In fact, we did disassociate from UNESCO and I have no basis to second-guess Ambassador Kirkpatrick's judgment as to why that was and believe that's the case. But at the same time, it was the considered policy of the Reagan Administration at the time to retain our affiliation with the World Heritage Convention.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In fact, this letter speaks exactly to that point. It says the Convention is identified as a clear U.S. initiative, the concept having first been raised in President Nixon's 1971 environmental message. ''This country's close identification with the program was emphasized by our having deposited the first instrument of ratification and by six years of Executive leadership through U.S. membership on and chairmanship of the World Heritage Committee.'' The rest of the letter goes on to explain why, despite the fact that we had disassociated from UNESCO, we should stay in the World Heritage Convention.
The third letter that I would like to introduce is also from the Reagan Administration. It is a letter from Ray Arnet when he was director of the Fish and Wildlife Service, in which Mr. Arnet explains why it is important in the context of the World Heritage Convention for the World Heritage Committee to have some responsibilities to oversee the integrity of World Heritage Sites. It explains clearly that it is U.S. policy that once a site is nominated that there should be an effort to try to retain the values for which the site was nominated.
I have a press release from Secretary Hodel when he was Secretary, also during the Reagan Administration, indicating how proud the department was at the time that the Statue of Liberty could be recognized as a World Heritage Site so that that would be the official recognition that ''she is the most widely recognized symbol of freedom and hope around the world.''
Mr. VENTO. I ask that these letters be made part of the record, Madam Chairman.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Without objection, so ordered. But he is not through yet.
Mr. YEAGER. Right. Thank you, Madam Chairman. I have two other documents, one from the Governor of New Mexico Gary Carruthers explaining why he is very happy that the Taos Pueblo was nominated for a World Heritage Site, and one from our Solicitor John Leshy explaining why, in very clear terms, he believes that there is absolutely no infringement on U.S. sovereignty in the course of the designation or administration of World Heritage Sites in the United States.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I guess reading those documents took me a little more time than I thought it would. My time is almost up. I would just like to say, Madam Chairman, I think there has been a very long history of nonpartisan support for these conventions. And as Melinda Kimble made clear, the U.S. through these conventions has, in effect, marketed the idea of the national park and of the better preservation of cultural and natural heritage throughout the world. I know that when the Secretary of Interior and I were in South Africa together, just two months ago, people in Cape Town were enormously overjoyed at the thought that they might be able to have the Cape National Park be brought into the World Heritage system, because for them it was an indication of the pride that they have in their local heritage and the fact that their local heritage really is of a unique stature that deserves world recognition.
That is what these designations are about. That is what these agreements are about. I think it would be unfortunate to hobble them with unnecessary requirements. In fact, Congress has had an important role; it ratified the agreement for World Heritage, it enacted the legislation that told us how to administer the World Heritage program, and we follow that legislation very carefully. We do consult Congress when we nominate sites. I think there may be room for improvement in those areas, but we don't think there is any need to bog down the programs and to vitiate their purpose for the United States. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Yeager and accompanying documents may be found at the end of the hearing.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Yeager. There was a total of eight documents that you presented, wasn't there?
Mr. YEAGER. I'm sorry, I'll count them, Madam Chairman. Seven but one of them is a letter in response. I have the whole packet here for you.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Okay. Thank you very much. They will be entered into the record, without objection.
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And now the Chair recognizes Dr. Jeremy Rabkin for his testimony.
STATEMENT OF JEREMY A. RABKIN, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, DEPARTMENT OF GOVERNMENT, CORNELL UNIVERSITY, ITHACA, NEW YORK
Dr. RABKIN. Thank you. I just want to begin by replying to some things that have already been said. Congressman Vento started off by saying that this bill that we're talking about today is just symbolic, it is a symbolic gesture that is not really going to the heart of things. And we have heard that from both my co-panelists from the Clinton Administration that the objections of people who are concerned about American sovereignty are just about symbolism and all of them insist there is no threat to American sovereignty here. If you get past the symbolism, there is no threat to American sovereignty.
But then when they go on to explain why we need to keep the World Heritage Convention intact and they talk about other countries, they say this would undermine U.S. leadership, this would undermine the influence of this convention. And it seems that for other countries it is not just symbolic. It seems that for other countries their sovereignty is not something to be absolutely relied on. It seems that we expect we will be able to influence other people but we won't be influenced.
Now I actually think it is a plausible argument that this finally has no influence on anybody who doesn't want to be influenced. There is no ultimate sanction here except removing something from a list and if you want to shrug that off, you can. On the other hand, if we are going to take this seriously, we have to assume that it means something to be removed from the list, that countries are intimidated by that, they are embarrassed by the bad publicity. So I think it is reasonable to say, yes, it does mean something and we should worry about how this, if you want to call it symbolism, bad publicity, embarrassment is wielded against us. I think that is a minimally responsible thing.
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Let me add one other thing that is not in my testimony but I think is a point worth making here. My guess is that if you look over the history of this, it is certainly my impression from reading past minutes, this does exert influence, this system the World Heritage Convention system, it does exert influence on the ''nice'' countries, on the Western countries, on the developed countries. And it exerts influence on them because they have local NGOs or local political opponents who say, ''Oh, oh, we got in trouble. Look, we were condemned. This is serious. This is important. We have to do something about it.'' If you have local people to work with, then UNESCO or the World Heritage Committee can have some influence.
I will quickly proceed to tell you a story about Australia where I think this is exactly what happened. And I think that is more or less what happened in Yellowstone. The countries where it is most important for us to exert influence, it seems to me, are less developed countries and less democratic countries, and I think for those countries the World Heritage Convention means about as much as the Convention on Civil and Political Rights. China signed that human rights convention and within the past year has been arresting everyone who mentions it in public in China. It similarly has signed the World Heritage Convention and I wouldn't give two cents for the amount of influence or leverage you are going to have on China because it is basically a dictatorship and they will silence people who try to talk about this convention, and the World Heritage Committee knows that. And, anyway, it is basically connected with UNESCO and, as Ambassador Kirkpatrick said, UNESCO is a very corrupt, very politicized organization.
So I think probably when you get down to this, it can only be used effectively against Western countries, which means it is more likely to be used against us than it is likely to be used in a useful way against countries that we would like to encourage to improve their protection of natural and historic sites.
Let me quickly tell you this story about Australia and then draw some morals from it. Within the past year, there has been a big dispute in Australia about one of their sites, the Kakadu National Park which is in the Northern Territories in Australia. It has been listed as a World Heritage Site since the early 1980s. All of that time they have set aside certain areas adjoining the park for mining. There has been a mine operating there now for almost twenty years and there hasn't been any complaint about it. Another parcel of land which was set aside for mining, they have over the last few years studied whether it would be all right to have mining go on there. And the Australian government, after two-and-a-half years of extensive, careful review, more or less analogous to our environmental impact studies, decided, yes, you can go ahead and do mining there.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Opponents of the mine then appealed to the World Heritage Committee. It was a very political process. You had opposition members of parliament writing to the committee. You had people involved in the Green Party in Australia appealing to Green Party members in Europeparticularly, the German Foreign Minister, who now is from the Green Party, and they also found allies in Franceand they got European countries to express an interest in this. They got the European parliament to say this was wrong. And then, of course, they got the World Heritage Committee to say, yes, this is wrong and we are going to say that your park is in danger.
Now the Australian government said, look, this is our park. We are sovereignthey said all the things that Congressman Vento and my colleagues here have said you are allowed to saythis is our decision. And the World Heritage Committee told them, no, you are wrong, you better not do this. And they have these domestic opponents of the mine saying, ''Oh, look, we are in trouble now. We have violated international law. We are going to be an international outlaw. We will become a pariah. This is terrible.'' And the government is in a considerable bind. That I think is the kind of thing we have to worry about.
Let me just draw three quick morals. First, I think there is a Constitutional question here about whether we can get into treaties that have nothing to do with international exchange. I think you might be able to defend the World Heritage Convention if you focus on the exchange of tourists. But you want to be careful to say what is it really that this is about, what is being focused on. And in the Australian case, the World Heritage Committee said this will have a negative impact on local aboriginal people in the Northern Territories. So you have this international committee coming in and saying what we are really protecting is the relations of the Australian government with its own people. If that is what this is about, I question whether the United States can constitutionally participate.
Second, I think there is a question, okay, we could commit ourselves to a treaty text but can we go from a treaty text to regulations and interpretations made by an international committee under that treaty. And I think there is serious constitutional doubts about that. But that is what has happened here. The issue in Australia, as in Yellowstone, was not actually the site but areas adjoining the site. How do areas adjoining the site become subject to the World Heritage Convention? The answer is the Committee has decided on its own that that is what should happen; there should be a buffer zone and they added that to the treaty. Can we sign not only a treaty but have with the treaty a blank check to an administrative body to expand the reach and meaning of the treaty?
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And finally, if we can make, which I think we can, certain kinds of submissions to the International Court of Justice or to arbitration panels of the WTO where it is understood to be a judicial or quasi-judicial procedure, can we really do that with just the same constitutional integrity if we are making a submission to what is basically a world political body, almost a sort of quasi-legislature, which is what really the World Heritage Committee has made itself into.
One last point. I would just like to disagree slightly with what Jeane Kirkpatrick said, of course, I agree with the substance of what she said, but she kept saying it is one country, one vote under the World Heritage Convention. It is worse than that. There are more than one hundred countries that have signed, but when it comes to making these rules and making these determinations they don't all of them vote one country, one vote. There is a very elite list of twenty-one countries represented on the committee. We have usually been on that committee but there is no reason to expect that we will always be on that committee. So we could be condemned by a forum in which we not only are just one of many, but we might not even be one. We might not be represented at all on this committee and still we are giving to this committee the power to condemn us and to help opponents of some policy here mobilize opposition.
That is not the way our government is supposed to work. You cannot talk about grassroots activity here. We have an elected Congress. They are supposed to make decisions, not some coalition of NGO activists and international sponsors in other countries meeting in Geneva or Kyoto or somewhere else. We ought to be able to decide for ourselves what we think is proper in our own territory, and I think this bill will help us to do that. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Dr. Rabkin may be found at the end of the hearing.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Dr. Rabkin, for your testimony.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Now we will open the hearing up to questions from the members.
The Chair recognizes Mrs. Cubin.
Mrs. CUBIN. Thank you, Madam Chairman. I was busy passing out Girl Scout cookies to the staff up here.
I really appreciated the testimony of the panel. I want you to know I gave up complaining for Lent. Next year, I am going to give up smoking for Lent. I haven't smoked in twenty-one years and I think I will be much more successful at that. So I don't want you to think that the remarks that I am making and the questions I am asking are complaining. But I have to talk a little bit about what happened in Yellowstone, since I represent Wyoming.
I truly appreciate Dr. Rabkin's comments. I also don't understand how what happened in Wyoming reflects that it was a grassroots effort that came in and declared that Yellowstone was a site in danger. The New World Mine had been in the process of completing an Environmental Impact Statement for three years. The information that was coming out indicated that the mine developed outside of Yellowstone would, in fact, did not damage Yellowstone. I was not in favor of developing that mine, don't get me wrong, but I am in favor of following the process that has been established for the Environmental Impact Statement and the process that has been established to enforce the laws of the United States of America.
So three years this goes on and they were ready to make their report. UNESCO came in and in three days, without even seeing all of the documentation and the studies that had been put forward for the EIS, three days later they determined that this was a Heritage area in danger.
I can't see how in any way that is a grassroots effort. And I absolutely agree that the political pressure that is brought to bear just by virtue of the fact that publicity comes forward, oh, my goodness, Yellowstone is now in danger, totally disregarding the facts, the watershed that would have supplied the New World Mine did not even go to Yellowstone; it went in an entirely different direction. So I just agree with Ambassador Kirkpatrick that we have to have people from the United States representing our own best interests.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Would you respond, Dr. Rabkin, on the things that happened in Yellowstone and comment on that for me.
Dr. RABKIN. Well, I agree with everything that you said. I think that was a very troubling episode. And it is troubling because, contrary to what the defenders of the existing system are saying, this was very intrusive. You brought in an international inspection team to say you are handling this in the wrong way, you in the United States should not be doing this, you should be doing something else, otherwise we will condemn you by declaring your site in danger.
And you see the potential for mischief here in the fact that American Executive officials basically were in cahoots with this international organ
Mrs. CUBIN. Right. They were invited in by the BLM.
Dr. RABKIN. They paid for it, they facilitated it, and then they went to the meeting of the World Heritage Committee and said we don't object if you say that Yellowstone is in danger. So what you are basically doing is, in some cases, supplying an international megaphone to a mid-level executive bureaucrat. Mr. Frampton is a fine fellow and everything but he shouldn't on his own be able to make decisions.
Mrs. CUBIN. Right.
Dr. RABKIN. And we gave him a global megaphone to say the world has said that this mine is wrong. That's not how we are supposed to make decisions in this country.
Mrs. CUBIN. What I perceive my job as being is preserving the process that is established by law.
Dr. RABKIN. Yes.
Mrs. CUBIN. The outcome is beyond my expertiseI am a chemistit is beyond my expertise and beyond actually my judgement about it other than as a citizen. Because when the scientists come forward and say these are the facts and this is what should be done, then we have to respect that these are the facts or that they are not the facts. And what happened here was the total process was interrupted and the process was not allowed to go on. Frankly, I don't under
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. RABKIN. Could I just add one thing?
Mrs. CUBIN. Please?
Dr. RABKIN. When there is a dispute about an environmental review in this country, you have all kinds of safeguards which the Congress has legislated. You have judicial review, you have due process requirements so that people can say, wait a minute, this is junk science, this is not a fair review, this was done improperly, and you can appeal and you can have an authoritative judgement saying no, that was not properly done, do it over again. There is, of course, nothing like that at the international level, which is why a number of these reviews, and people say this about the Australian case as well, are not only slipshod, but they are utterly partisan and tendentious. People basically go in there with a preconceived notion of what is wrong and then write up a report saying, yes, it really is wrong.
And that kind of thing you have no recourse for. There are no international courts that you can complain to, there is no international congress to complain to. You have just basically turned loose these international busybodies who do their own intriguing, and that is not a process.
Mrs. CUBIN. And the entire process was interrupted before it was allowed to go to completion and before, like you said, the scoping hearings were allowed to occur. It was truly an intrusion on the laws of the United States of America.
Mr. YEAGER. Madam Chairman, may I be given a chance to respond to this question since it involves activities of the Department of the Interior?
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Mr. Yeager, we are in the questioning process right now. I am sure Mr. Vento will be asking you about it.
So the Chair recognizes Mr. Vento.
Mr. VENTO. Thank you, Madam Chairman. As far as I know, you are here to testify on the constitutional basis. Mr. Rabkin, are you aware of any constitutional decisions that have been made that these events violate the Constitution? Do you have a yes or no answer?
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. RABKIN. They haven't been litigated, so no.
Mr. VENTO. There is none. None.
Dr. RABKIN. Not yet.
Mr. VENTO. Ms. Kirkpatrick, are you aware of any designations that have gone on in which a nation did not want the designation?
Ms. KIRKPATRICK. Yes. I am aware of processes having been set underway without the nation involved desiring a designation. Let me just say, the issue is the process. It is the question of representation and responsibility and accountability
Dr. RABKIN. Israel. Israel was condemned
Mr. VENTO. Mr. Rabkin, I didn't ask
Dr. RABKIN. Israel was condemned as well.
Ms. KIRKPATRICK. Exactly. Jerusalem was designated against the desire of the State of Israel, absolutely.
Mr. VENTO. It is one of the RAMSAR. It is a site in danger that
Ms. KIRKPATRICK. No, but it has been designated a World Heritage Site against the desire and against the opposition of the State of Israel.
Mr. VENTO. Excuse me, Ms. Kirkpatrick. I think it was a candidate site. In fact, most of them themselves nominate these particular sites.
Now in terms of the Yellowstone case, Mr. Yeager wanted to join in and say something. I invite him to do so at this point. But in fact, that was after the fact. It doesn't make any difference how it became a Man and the Biosphere or World Heritage Site, this is an incident or something that occurred after the site. As far as I know, the Department of Interior used its authorities that it has under law and granted by this Congress to accomplish the end, didn't it, Mr. Yeager?
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. YEAGER. Yes, that is correct, Representative Vento. I wanted to try to correct the record, although there was quite a long exchange about the Yellowstone situation. But I was involved at some levels in that discussion inside the Administration over time and have some personal knowledge of the facts. It is my belief that the visit of the World Heritage inspection group had absolutely no significance whatsoever for any of the decisions that were made with regard to Yellowstone.
The Park Service was, in fact, a participating agency in the Yellowstone EIS and the Park Service believed then and believes now that the New World Mine would have caused damage to Yellowstone National Park. In fact, one of the drainages from the mine does drain directly into Miller Creek which drains into the Park. And there was considerable technical information to that effect even in the course of developing the EIS.
Representative Cubin is correct, the EIS was never finished, but that was not the result of the intervention of the World Heritage Committee, it was the result of a decision by the President. It was a decision that the President is quite proud of, that the Secretary of Interior supports, and that we all believe was made correctly according to U.S. law and that resulted in the protection of the park.
Mr. VENTO. The authorities exercised did not flow from the Man and the Biosphere or the World Heritage Convention or the RAMSAR Treaty?
Mr. YEAGER. No, they did not.
Mr. VENTO. They flowed from power that this Congress has conveyed and bestowed upon the land management agencies in the Department of Interior specifically.
Mr. YEAGER. That is absolutely correct.
Mr. VENTO. Ms. Kimble, can you tell us what the effect of the State Departmentwhat clear agreements, other than RAMSAR, might be affected by a blanket prohibition contained in this bill? What would be the affect on these conventions, treaties, and protocols?
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. KIMBLE. I think you have to look at conventions in force. I think we have looked particularly at this bill which gets to land-use issues as primarily affecting the RAMSAR Wetlands Convention. We don't have other major conventions outside of World Heritage itself that deal with land-use right now.
Mr. VENTO. So would this bring to a stop any type of designation of these types of sites in North America? Don't we have treaty obligations under the Migratory Bird Treaty and so forth?
Ms. KIMBLE. Well, let me say, the Migratory Bird Treaty is a very important treaty, but I see RAMSAR as most important in terms of encouraging the protection of wetlands globally and certainly in the Hemisphere. It is not only the United States that has obligations to protect its wetlands. Our obligations are consistent with RAMSAR but are based on Federal law under the Clean Water Act. But other States have made their obligations consistent with RAMSAR under their legislation. This means RAMSAR encourages Mexico and Canada, for instance, to also protect these sites.
So the real strength of RAMSAR is promoting international cooperation on wetlands protection. Obviously, we believe the United States should be an active participant. Although you will note that when we ratified RAMSAR we believed that our existing legislation was sufficient to implement it.
Mr. VENTO. Yes. Ambassador Kirkpatrick, during the 1980s when we withdrew from UNESCO, did you protest? Were you of a different opinion at that time with the then Reagan Administration authorities with regards to continued participation in World Heritage and Man and the Biosphere and the other programs?
Ms. KIRKPATRICK. No. Let me just say that the implementation of these programs ismy point, I didn't make it very clearlyit is a direct consequence of the political forces inside the United Nations bodies at that time. The fact is that the United Nations is a highly political institution, just like the U.S. Congress is, and it is supposed to be. But it was not functioning in a way that demonstrated such undesirable political consequences.
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. VENTO. We set aside these programs and stayed in them.
Ms. KIRKPATRICK. That's right. No, no, because they were not objectionable. They were functioning adequately at that time.
Mr. VENTO. But do you think that we ought to at this point abandon this particular type of role, as has been implied here by the other witness on the panel, Dr. Rabkin, do you think we ought to abandon participation in these particular programs?
Ms. KIRKPATRICK. Do I believe the United States should withdraw from participation in these programs?
Mr. VENTO. Yes.
Ms. KIRKPATRICK. I have never suggested it. I do believe, however, that the Congress has both an obligation and a responsibility to participate in decisions that affect American citizens and property.
Mr. VENTO. But the point is there is no constitutional challenge to the fact that the Congress has given authority to the State Department and others to, in fact, do this. There is no constitutional question here in your mind, is there?
Ms. KIRKPATRICK. There are constitutional questions in my mind concerning the implementation of some of these powers.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I thank the gentleman for your questions.
The Chair recognizes Mr. Pombo.
Mr. POMBO. Thank you, Madam Chairman. I yield to the woman from Wyoming.
Mrs. CUBIN. Thank you, Mr. Pombo.
I would like to respond to Mr. Yeager. The outcome is exactly what I wanted it to be. What I am absolutely opposed to is how I think the process was violated. And let me tell you how that was violated. The Administration had a desired outcome and what they did when they invited UNESCO in was it was a part, and a big part, but it was only a part of getting the desired outcome. Now, if I am satisfied that the ends justify the means, then that is okay with me. But I am not. My job, and I think all of our jobs, is to protect the process.
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And while this Administration may like the outcome that they got this time, when another administration with an entirely different philosophy about the environment and about these issues comes into play, if we allow this sort of thing to continue, then they are not going to like the outcome the next time and neither are you. And that was the point that I was trying to make.
Mr. POMBO. Reclaiming my time. To follow up somewhat on the point that Mrs. Cubin was making, Ms. Kimble, can you clarify for me what authority exists under these programs? What can they do?
Ms. KIMBLE. Let me say, these programs are designed to promote international cooperation and to recognize sites that have specific ecological, cultural, or scientific value. Congressional authority was certainly given for the World Heritage Convention when the Senate gave advice and consent and the Congress subsequently passed implementing legislation.
Mr. POMBO. No. What authority is under these agreements? What can they do? Do they have land-use authority?
Ms. KIMBLE. The only thing they can do is put sites on a registry. In the case of the World Heritage Convention, sites that are nominated by states party to the convention go on a registry as World Heritage Sites and the World Heritage Committee, which the United States has continued to participate in as a member since we left UNESCO, continues to review the operation of these sites.
I just checked, for instance, to see how many sites are listed in other countries. Many, many more developing country sites have been listed than developed country sites, in part because developing countries do not have the capacity to protect their sites. And many of these listings of the World Heritage Convention saying these sites were in danger prompted action by the world community, including technical assistance and aid, to help these countries protect their sites.
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Other sites have been brought to the attention of the World Heritage Committee. For instance, I was familiar with a case when I was working in international organizations when Dubrovnik in Yugoslavia was listed as a site in danger because of the ongoing war in the former Yugoslavia.
So what this committee does is it identifies places of significant importance under terms of the World Heritage Convention, the World Heritage Convention continues to monitor these sites and report on them. And it is truly an issue of peer pressure and support, but it is cast truly in most cases in a very positive light encouraging countries to protect these sites. The purpose of the World Heritage Convention, as the Nixon Administration saw it, was to promote protection, and that I think was a constructive objective.
Mr. POMBO. Under the scenario that you describe of what they are able to do, it is somewhat confusing because some of the victories that are claimed under these sites, all of the wonderful things that they do, in your testimony and in other people's testimony, the claim is made that these are totally voluntary; they have no regulatory authority, they have no ability to tell anybody what to do.
At the same time, in quoting from your prepared statement, you say it ''played a key role in the effort to restore the Coho salmon to areas of northern California through the Golden Gate Biosphere Reserve Program.'' If they have no regulatory authority, no ability to tell us what to do, if they do not threaten our sovereignty, there is no ability to do anything, yet they claim helping to recover an endangered species.
Ms. KIMBLE. Let me make a very clear distinction, if I could. First of all, Man and the Biosphere and the Biosphere Reserve Program is a United States program that operates in connection with the broader UNESCO program. The purpose of that program is voluntary scientific cooperation. In the case of the Coho salmon, designating the area as a Biosphere Reserve promoted more active engagement in scientific studies in programs to help restore the salmon population in that area.
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. POMBO. More active than what?
Ms. KIMBLE. The action was taken by individual
Mr. POMBO. Excuse me, it is my time. More active than what currently exists under NMFS, and Fish and Wildlife, and the Sport Fishing Association, and all of the different organizations that are involved in trying to recover the Coho salmon? This has been a major ongoing deal in Northern California, one that I am painfully aware of.
Ms. KIMBLE. Let me say, as I understand
Mr. POMBO. To come in here and claim credit for
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Will the gentleman hold, please?
Mr. POMBO. I do have further questions.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I know you do.
Ms. Kimble, will you please let Mr. Pombo finish his statement.
Mr. POMBO. My time has expired. I do have other questions for the witnesses and I will wait until everybody has had the opportunity to ask their first round of questions. Thank you.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you very much.
The Chair recognizes Mr. Inslee for questions.
Mr. INSLEE. Thank you, Madam Chair.
Dr. Rabkin, I have been listening with interest to your discussion of the constitutional question you have raised. I want to tell you there are folks who on occasion come here to Congress and they make arguments that certain things are unconstitutional. It is really great theater, it is really great propaganda, it really does a lot of things to inflame people, to make them think that legitimate treaties that have been confirmed by the United States Senate somehow are going to end up with black helicopters coming across the border in Canada. I want to tell you that when leaders talk about that it does inflame people's passions and it does make them actually believe that the black helicopters are coming across the border.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I want to tell you that frequently there are people who come here and argue that certain things are unconstitutional knowing that they have never ever gone through the legitimate means that are established to challenge the constitutionality of an Act or a treaty adopted by Congress and yet come in here and argue for weeks and months and years that certain things are unconstitutional back to their constituents when they have never tested that issue in the courts of this country.
Now my understanding is, and your answer to Mr. Vento's question, that neither you nor anyone else has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on the constitutionality of this issue. If that is true, I want you to tell me if you are one of those folks who come here and argue the constitutionality of statutes and never actually go through the means of testing that issue in the courts of this land?
Dr. RABKIN. The Supreme Court of the United States does not give advisory opinions. You cannot show up and say I would like some advice. You have to have an actual case or controversy. I have in other contexts argued that people are much, much too promiscuous in going into the courts and trying to make everything into a Federal case. It would be very difficult to mount a Federal case about this because you would have to show that somebody was directly coerced by it.
Mr. INSLEE. This has been on the books, one of these bills, since 1973, the other one has been here since sometime during the Reagan Administration. Are you telling me that our system of justice is so incompetent and impotent that it prevents American citizens from ruling the constitutionality of this? Is that what you are telling this Committee?
Dr. RABKIN. I would not put it that way. But if you look at treaties generally, you will see there are hardly any cases about treaties because it is very difficult directly to challenge the treaty.
Mr. INSLEE. Have you made any effort to challenge these treaties in the courts of our land?
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. RABKIN. I personally have not.
Mr. INSLEE. Do you know anybody who has come forward from the Yellowstone incident that people are complaining about, or any of these instances and said this is a terrible affront to the constitutional process of this country, it has got to be ruled unconstitutional by the courts. Have you done that? Has anybody done that? Or do they instead just come to the Congress and bleat and whine about this year after year and never test this issue. Is that what has happened here?
Dr. RABKIN. I do really think you are misunderstanding. You cannot, just because you have an argument or a view or a principle, get it into court. There has to be an actual case where you can show that someone was directly coerced, and I don't think that has happened yet.
Mr. INSLEE. Apparently no one has even tried to have a judicial interpretation of this issue. Is that an accurate statement to your knowledge?
Dr. RABKIN. I think that is accurate.
Mr. INSLEE. But it is accurate that people have come month after month, year after year to this Congress and made that argument, yourself included. Is that accurate?
Dr. RABKIN. Oh, I don't know if it was month after month. But people have made that argument, sure.
Mr. INSLEE. So isn't it true that you are in the wrong place. You ought to be in the judicial system to get an interpretation of this, don't you think?
Dr. RABKIN. I totally disagree with you, sir. I think it is very important for the Congress of the United States to uphold the Constitution and not shrug its shoulders and say, oh, well, go to court. You have taken an oath yourself, sir, to uphold the Constitution. You should take that oath seriously. You should not berate citizens when they come to you and ask you to honor that oath.
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. INSLEE. I appreciate your reminding me of the oath that I have taken and have fulfilled hour by hour, day by day to the last dog dies, and I will do that. But it is a serious issue. I just want to tell you it is troublesome to me because we get this in other context, just not in the Resources Committee, where people raise constitutional issues. And when I say why don't we get a ruling on this, we have a branch of government that can give us an answer to this, for some reason they are very reluctant to ever do that. And I will tell you why they are reluctant. Because they know the Supreme Court would rule these are constitutional. That is why the U.S. Senate has confirmed them. Thank you, Mr. Rabkin.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Inslee.
The Chair recognizes Mr. Tancredo.
Mr. TANCREDO. Thank you, Madam Chairman.
Mr. Yeager, what is your relationshipyou mentioned earlier that you had some personal involvement with and understanding of the issues revolving around the Yellowstone Park issue. If you could help me out here and just tell me, what is your relationship, for instance, to the National Park Superintendent, Mr. Finley? Do you know him?
Mr. YEAGER. I do know him, yes.
Mr. TANCREDO. In what capacity are you aware of his work?
Mr. YEAGER. I am the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs. Among the offices that report to me is an office called the Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance. When we have the responsibility to comment or to participate in NEPA work, work under the Environmental Policy Act, assessments or impact statements that are done by other agencies, that office helps to coordinate the bureau's responses and to make sure that our responses are consistent and does necessary technical work with the bureaus.
So in that capacity, among others, I was asked to look into this issue. There was quite a long technical discussion that involved all the agencies about the mine. I can tell you that that technical discussion was extensive, got into great detail about elements of the EIS, was participated in by people, among others, the water quality staff of the Park Service in Denver, the Bureau of Reclamation dam experts, and others who had technical expertise on issues raised in the EIS.
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. TANCREDO. Would you consider Mr. Finley to have that kind of technical expertise? Would he have been a participant at any point along the line in any of the discussions? Would he have been made aware of the technical aspects of it?
Mr. YEAGER. I assume as the Superintendent he was made aware. But he was not actually a participant in the discussions, no. The discussions were held largely by technical people.
Mr. TANCREDO. But you feel, to the extent that you are able to, and I recognize that there is some separation between your responsibility and his that might not allow you to have a definitive knowledge here, but you feel comfortable that he would have had a good working knowledge of the World Heritage Sites?
Mr. YEAGER. I honestly can't testify to his knowledge. I view him as a competent Park Superintendent.
Mr. TANCREDO. Let me ask you to make an assumption given his responsibilities as a National Park Superintendent. Would you think he would have had at least a working knowledge of the World Heritage Sites provisions?
Mr. YEAGER. My assumption is that he would have had a working knowledge of all issues affecting his park.
Mr. TANCREDO. Then how would you have responded to the following quote by Mr. Finley as appeared in the Casper Star Tribune, September 9, 1995, a copy of which I have here. ''As ratified by Congress, the provisions of the World Heritage Treaty have the force and statutory authority of Federal law. By inviting the committee to visit the park and assess the mine's potential impacts, the Interior Department acted as it was legally required to do.''
Mr. YEAGER. What is the question?
Mr. TANCREDO. How would you respond to that? Would you say that is an accurate statement?
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. YEAGER. I probably would not. You would have to read it again for me to respond.
Mr. TANCREDO. Let me do that. How about if I just gave you
Mr. YEAGER. Representative Tancredo, maybe it would be better for me to read to you how our solicitor has interpreted our responsibility to the World Heritage
Mr. TANCREDO. I am really interested in your opinion of it.
Mr. YEAGER. I understand that you value my opinion. But I think there are those in the government whose job it is to make legal interpretations and I generally try to follow them, and our solicitor is one of those people. Neither Mike Finley, the superintendent, nor I are asked to render legal opinions about the position of the United States
Mr. TANCREDO. He did, of course, do exactly that here, he rendered a legal opinion.
Mr. YEAGER. Well, with your permission, if you ask for my personal response, I would ask the solicitor. And here is what the solicitor says. ''As a party to the World Heritage Convention, the United States has undertaken to take the appropriate legal, scientific, technical, administrative, and financial measures necessary for the identification, protection, conservation, presentation, and rehabilitation of natural and cultural heritage features designated in U.S. territory. In our view, this obligation is discharged entirely within the framework of the appropriate U.S. and State laws. Therefore, the World Heritage Committee's recent decision to name the Yellowstone National Park to the World Heritage List of Sites in Danger does not impinge in any way on the United States sovereignty and does not supplant the
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. TANCREDO. That is really not the question I asked you. You are responding to a question I did not ask.
Mr. TANCREDO. Mr. Yeager, you are responding to a question I did not ask.
Mr. YEAGER. I would like to finish
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Excuse me, will the gentlemen hold, please. The Congressman has the time and he is controlling the time. I would appreciate your respecting that. Thank you.
Mr. TANCREDO. I will simply end my time, and I know we are running out of time here, but I guess it is my observation here that apparently it is not just some wayward enthusiasts who might have an incorrect impression about what this whole program is about and may be coming here idealistically asking us to deal with it. Maybe it is even people like the superintendent of the National Park who has a misinterpretation of exactly what this is all about.
So perhaps it is not all that illogical for us to be pursing it from the standpoint that there are aspects of this that are appropriately brought before us today and I think this bill appropriately addresses those aspects. Thank you, Madam Chairman. I yield back the balance of my time.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you.
The Chair recognizes Mr. Mark Udall.
Mr. UDALL OF COLORADO. Thank you, Madam Chair.
I want to thank the panel for taking time to speak with us today and help us understand this important issue a little more in depth.
Ms. Kimble, I had a question for you. It seems to me from what I have been hearing that really what has been said is the United States took the lead in establishing a lot of these programs in the 1970s. Is that right?
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. KIMBLE. We took the lead in establishing the World Heritage Convention. We subsequently joined the Man and the Biosphere Program at UNESCO some three years after it was formed.
Mr. UDALL OF COLORADO. In that spirit, Madam Chair, if I might, I would like to read a short paragraph out of a letter that I received and ask that the rest of the letter be included in the record.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Without objection.
Mr. UDALL OF COLORADO. Thank you, Madam Chair. The letter is addressed to me, of course, and it says ''Dear Congressman Udall, I write to urge you to oppose H.R. 883, the American Land Sovereignty Protection Act, sponsored by Resources Committee Chairman Don Young. This legislation is neither warranted nor wise. It is an unfounded attack on international conservation programs that recognize areas in the world that are of '
'outstanding universal value.' Contrary to this bill, I believe the Congress should strengthen and encourage measures that would lead to greater participation by the United States in the World Heritage Convention, RAMSAR Wetlands Convention, the Biosphere Reserve Program, and other worthwhile international conservation programs.''
This letter is from the Honorable Russell Train, who served on the Council of Environmental Quality for President Nixon. It points out to me the bipartisan nature of the creation of many of these efforts around the world. I would ask, as I mentioned earlier, that the rest of the letter be included in the record.
[The information may be found at the end of the hearing.]
Mr. UDALL OF COLORADO. If I might make one other comment, it seems to me, Mr. Yeager, you can confirm or disagree with me, in attempting to respond to Mr. Tancredo's question, you were saying that Mr. Finley is an excellent superintendent but the Solicitor is a better attorney. Is that true?
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. YEAGER. That is much more elegantly put. Thank you very much.
Mr. UDALL OF COLORADO. Thank you, Madam Chair.
Mr. VENTO. Would the gentleman yield to me briefly on that point?
Mr. UDALL OF COLORADO. Sure.
Mr. VENTO. Thank you. I would just point out, I don't intend to extend my questioning period, but I would just point out that we are relying on a newspaper article here, too. Superintendent Finley has been in a number of parks including the Everglades which is also designated as a Man and the Biosphere Reserve. So I think that we are just relying on a newspaper article here in terms of what he might have said. I think that if we really want to find out what his view is or how this impacted, I think that would be appropriate. I think it could also be interpreted that he was saying what is consistent with the existing laws and authorities that exist in terms of that area, which, incidentally, has BLM, Forest Service, Native American lands, and a whole variety of lands in what is called the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
I thank the gentleman for yielding.
Mr. UDALL OF COLORADO. Thank you, Mr. Vento.
I see I have a little bit of time left. I might add that Russell Train at the end of his letter pointed out that areas in the United States including private lands recognized under international agreements are subject only to domestic law. ''There is no international legal protection or sanction for these areas. Thus, I am opposed to requiring congressional authorization of a site prior to nomination or designation.'' And I think he makes that additional point that I think we need to make here.
So, Madam Chair, I thank you for the time and yield back the remainder.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you Mr. Udall.
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Chair now has some questions. The issue of the New World Mine has been quite prominent in this hearing and I want to get some things on the record.
First, that the World Mine operated on private property through a patent, and that there were fourteen nongovernmental organizations who had appealed to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. They in turn, on March 6, 1995, wrote a letter to Mr. George Frampton, Department of Interior, in which they stated to him the following: The World Heritage Committee has the authority to act unilaterally in placing a site on the List of World Heritage Sites in Danger. Now I would like to juxtapose that to Article IV, section 3 of the Constitution which clearly says that Congress needs to make all needful rules and regulations.
I do not believe that it takes a battery of lawyers, Supreme Court Justices, and everybody else to understand the clarity of those two positions. Our United States Constitution is exceedingly clear as to Congress' responsibilities. I furthermore do not believe that a constitutional issue should be run by the Supreme Court before the Congress deals with it. I think we have to have the boldness and the courage and the tenacity to study these issues and to respond in a manner that is thoughtful, as our constituents would expect us to. I think to do otherwise simply engages us in the old paralysis of analysis.
The statement that was contained in the March 6, 1995, letter to Interior Assistant Secretary George Frampton is an official communication that needs to be taken very seriously because that letter goes on to state the following: ''It is important to note that Article I of the World Heritage Convention obliges the State party to protect, conserve, present, and transmit to future generations World Heritage Sites for which they are responsible. This obligation extends beyond the boundary of this site, and Article 5(a) recommends that State parties integrate the protection of sites into comprehensive planning programs.'' Now we must remember that this document was generated as a response to fourteen NGOs recommending that the World Mine be taken into this world jurisdiction.
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So without objection, I would like to enter into the record this letter to Mr. Frampton. Is there any objection? Hearing none, so ordered.
[The information may be found at the end of the hearing.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I do have a question for Dr. Kirkpatrick. What advice can you give the Congress to improve its oversight of international organizations such as the situation we are dealing with here?
Ms. KIRKPATRICK. I do believe that the oversight of multilateral organizations poses some very special problems actually for any legislative body vested with oversight. The reason being that multilateral organizations characteristically not only practice bureaucratic decision-making of necessity, but that bureaucratic decision-making is a good many steps further removed from an elective body than the bureaucratic decision-making in a single government. It is easier for the Congress of the United States to practice oversight of the U.S. Government, U.S. bureaucracy, though that is not easy, as we know.
The oversight of international organizations is complicated because the countries engaged have different views concerning the appropriateness of oversight, concerning the rectitude, if you will, of oversight, and concerning which bodies have the right, in fact, to oversight. And the United Nations is a very complex organization.
By the way, may I just say that I don't believe that the issue here is conservation or environment or whether there should be World Heritage Sites. I think the issue is who should be charged with protecting them and developing them and how that should be determined. Under the American system, I believe that the chain of elected representation and responsibility and accountability is absolutely essential. All our individual rights are vested in that chain of representation and responsibility and accountability, and that chain has the most tenuous possible connections with operations of multinational bureaucratic organizations.
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The only way really that the Congress can exercise that oversight I think virtually is to try to work through its own departments charged with the management of representation in those organizations. So that the Congress would work through the State Department and through other environmental agencies. And that is one of the problems. It just makes it that much more difficult to reflect and represent and respond to popular opinion, to the opinion of Americans. And I wish you good luck. I think it is very difficult to practice oversight of those organizations.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. It is a challenge.
Ms. KIRKPATRICK. It is a challenge.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I want to thank the witnesses very much for your valuable testimony. I do want you to know that you have five working days to extend or amend your testimony should you wish. We would look forward to any additions that you might have of your testimony.
Excuse me, I am reminded by counsel that it is ten working days.
Dr. RABKIN. Thank you, Madam Chairman.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. You are welcome.
Mr. VENTO. Will we get the testimony from Jeane Kirkpatrick today?
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Yes, I think it will come up through the recorder.
I want to thank these witnesses very much and excuse this panel of witnesses. Thank you for your time.
Now I would like to turn the Committee over to Barbara Cubin. I have to go to the floor for a speech and she will take the Chair for a while. Thank you.
Mrs. CUBIN. [PRESIDING] We will now hear from our second panel. We have Mr. Stephen Lindsey from Elgin, Arizona; Mr. David B. Rovig, President, Greystar Resources, Billings, Montana; Ms. Ann Webster Smith, Chairman Emeritus, U.S. Committee of the International Council on Monuments and Sites, Washington, DC; and Ms. Laurel MacLeod, Director of Legislation and Public Policy, Concerned Women for America, Washington, DC.
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. VENTO. Madam Chair, I am going to have to excuse myself, but I do want to welcome the witnesses, especially the witness from ICOMOS who is a long-time witness before the Committee on these particular issues. We have oversight hearings every year on the budget and we would bring them in when I had that responsibility, and I am pleased to see her back.
Ms. SMITH. Thank you.
Mrs. CUBIN. All right, everyone is at the witness table now.
I would like to recognize Mr. Lindsey for his oral testimony. As Chairman Chenoweth mentioned, we do limit the oral testimony to five minutes but your entire statement will be printed in the record. And if you will just watch the lights there, the yellow light tells you when you have sixty seconds left. And we will be better about watching our time, too.
So, Mr. Lindsey?
STATEMENT OF STEPHEN G. LINDSEY, ELGIN, ARIZONA
Mr. LINDSEY. I really thank you for letting me come here. I do appreciate being asked to come. There are a lot of doctors and folks who have a lot more knowledge than me. I work the land. I am a rancher in Southeast Arizona. My name is Steve Lindsey, and I live in Canelo, Arizona, a little burg there as you are headed towards Parker Canyon Lake, about 75 miles Southeast of Tucson on the west side of the Hoecake Mountains. The ranch that my family owns borders the Fort Hoecake on the east side.
The history of the ranch, my great-great-grandfather moved into the area in 1866 and homesteaded in what is now Parker Canyon. In 1910, my great-grandfather moved down to Canelo where we live now and homesteaded a piece. His house burned down in 1923 and he bought the adjacent homestead. We are now living in that house that he bought in 1923.
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In 1996, the Southwest Center for Biodiversity petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list as endangered the Canelo Hills Ladies Tresses along with two other cienegas species, cienega being a wetland, in Spanish it means a swamp. Everybody now calls them ''riparian areas'' but for years we just called them cienegas. They petitioned them to list these species.
The Canelo Hills Ladies Tresses grows there on our place. It is found in five different places around the country that they know of and is doing best on our place where it is grazed, is doing the worst on the Nature Conservancy where it is not grazed. So as you can see in the Federal Register, you can look this up and you can see that the grazing is not detrimental to this plant.
After it was listed in 1997, through a lot of public input and a lot of fights and a lot of thingsI didn't figure it needed to be listed, my family didn't figure it needed to be listedafter it was listed in January of 1997, in February of 1997, through the paperMr. Vento was talking about a newspaper articlethrough the paper the Phoenix Republic we found out that the Southwest Center for Biodiversity was now petitioning Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt to put our 310 acres, well 60 acres of wetland, under the RAMSAR Treaty. I didn't even know what a RAMSAR Treaty was back then. I made some phone calls and that's what I am doing here now is trying to figure out what in the world is going on petitioning Bruce Babbitt instead of why aren't we coming to Congress and why are we making my private property part of the public input. What is going on here? That is what I am doing here is trying to find out.
I read the other day that a country's most important natural resource is their children. How true that is. I have got nine children. My wife is my staff, she came with me here today. We have been ranching on this place since fourth generation right there on that place, fifth generation rancher in Southeast Arizona. I am desiring with all my heart to pass this ranch on down to my sons and my daughters. I don't see why, being that we have been ranching and we have had a viable cattle outfit for all of those years, why we now need international oversight.
Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I have heard a lot of the discussions today about different things that will be able to be done through these conventions. And Karen Suckling, of the Southwest Center for Biodiversity, said in the newspaper article, ''By protecting these Arizona wetlands through the RAMSAR Convention, we get international oversight.'' I am a little concerned with that, with why we need international oversight on our property that has been in my family since 1910. We have been ranching now for 89 years on 60 acres of wetland. I have got some pictures here if you would want to see them of this wetland. I understand that the Chesapeake Bay is a RAMSAR site and Chesapeake Bay sure has a heck of a lot more water in it than our 60 acres down there in Southeast Arizona.
I just have a little bit more time, so I will shut up. Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Lindsey may be found at the end of the hearing.]
Mrs. CUBIN. Thank you, Mr. Lindsey.
STATEMENT OF DAVID B. ROVIG, PRESIDENT, GREYSTAR RESOURCES LTD., BILLINGS, MONTANA
Mr. ROVIG. Madam Chairman, I ask that my prepared statement be made part of the official record.
Mrs. CUBIN. Without objection.
Mr. ROVIG. Madam Chairman and members of the Committee, I am David B. Rovig, a mining engineer from Billings, Montana. I want to testify in support of H.R. 883, the American Land Sovereignty Protection Act. H.R. 883 addresses several key issues that are of great importance to protecting private property rights, access to strategic resources, and our Nation's sovereignty. These issues are, and have been, the cornerstones of our country's success.
Page 52 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC No nation has ever achieved or sustained greatness without access to natural resources, and certainly no great nation has ever allowed other nations to dictate its resource policy. Likewise, only those nations respecting private property rights have ever sustained greatness. These very important tenets have worked well for over 200 years but now seem to be tested at almost every turn by those who now manage our government's affairs and their handlers in the pseudo-environmental community.
Let me place in personal terms the need for H.R. 883. In 1987, I was one of the founders of Crown Butte Resources Ltd., a company that acquired a few claims in the mountains, and $40 million later had discovered a world-class gold deposit called the New World Mine in south-central Montana. Unfortunately, as it turned out, it was within three miles of a remote corner of Yellowstone Park.
That project made business sense from the very beginning. It also was a project that we knew from the beginning would be very closely monitored and it would have to meet or exceed a mountain of regulations and requirements. After a very careful review, we knew those hurdles would be difficult but passable. Crown Butte worked with the State of Montana and Wyoming and several Federal agencies to chart a course for the completion of an Environmental Impact Statement. That process alone would take several years and cost several millions of dollars.
The now well-known piracy of the process began in late February 1995 when fourteen environmental groups requested that Yellowstone National Park be listed as a World Heritage Site in Danger. They saw that we were meeting all the legal and regulatory tests, so they felt a scare tactic of placing Yellowstone on the World Heritage List of Sites in Danger might be their only chance to stop the mine. They did this with the full support of Yellowstone Park management.
The Administration's bullying tactics and complete sell-out to the obstructionist agenda of a few elitist pseudo-environmental groups resulted in an unparalleled government denial of the free enterprise system, unparalleled at least until it was used as a stepping stone to the even larger and more egregious intrusion known as Escalante-Grand Staircase land grab. What a horrible precedent. Now every objection to development in the West includes a demand for government buy-outs.
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mining in this area was nothing new. Only with today's standards, it was to be done with a minimal impact on the environment and with the approval and oversight of many State and Federal agencies. As I mentioned before, we were in that very structured and deliberative process when a committee operating under the umbrella of the United Nations came to Yellowstone National Park, already a World Heritage Site, to see if it should be added as a site in danger. Incredibly, when the visit was first publicly announced, the Interior Department was going to pay for the travel costs of the U.N. members.
These three or four committee members, from such places as Thailand, made a three-day tourist type visit to the park during which a three-hour road tour of the New World Mine site was made. After this short visit, which consisted largely of media events and photo ops, this group of ''experts'' concluded that the New World project did endanger Yellowstone Park. In arriving at this outrageous decision, they chose to ignore the many volumes of scientific evidence that had been gathered on the project over several years and at great cost by some of the world's true experts from industry and government.
The nearly completed New World Mine Environmental Impact Statement was probably the most comprehensive technical document ever assembled for such a project. The negation of this document was a slap in the face of the many agency professionals, primarily from the Forest Service in the State of Montana, who had justifiably developed a great professional pride in their management of such a complex effort.
Past Congresses and Administrations, in conjunction with Federal agencies and State governments, have developed a very detailed and extensive review process with full public involvement. The studies and information required are extensive and exhaustive by any measure. That process should have been honored. Instead, it was scuttled. All who played by the rules paid a dear price in doing so. The State of Montana, which had invested time and talent of its best regulators, were left out of the decision altogether. Montana paid the price of losing all the economic benefit of this project and others that might have followed could bring. Partly because of decisions like this, Montana currently ranks fiftieth in the Nation's per capita income. The miners, the engineers, the businessmen, the property owners, the counties, the municipalities were all left in the economic lurch.
Page 54 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC To this day, I know the New World Mine could have been developed and operated in a manner that fully protected Yellowstone's resources while contributing to the Nation's economy. Please do not forget that I am a life-long Montanan and I want Yellowstone to be there for my children and grandchildren as well as yours. I was trained from a very early age that if you played by the rules you would be judged accordingly. That was not the case with the New World Mine. Three other directors and I resigned from the Crown Butte board rather than agree to take a piddling amount of Federal money and pull the plug on the project. A great deal of hard work went into a viable project and it went out the window with an ill-conceived political/media decision.
In closing, I would make three recommendations. First, pass H.R. 883 with strong provisions protecting our sovereignty. Our country developed the concept of a system of national parks. We don't now need others to tell us how they should be managed. Second, let the system work. How can we continue to invest vast sums of money in projects where a very comprehensive evaluation system is in place and then, when a select group decides it should not go forward, have the Federal Treasury pick up the bill? No mining business or other business should take on complex projects with the idea that Uncle will buy them out if the politics get too hot. And lastly, Mr. Chairman, common sense and reason have to be placed back in the process. Every day a new layer of regulation is added at some level in the process. Every day some obstructionist group uses that new regulation or some mutation of it to effect new barriers the Congress could not possibly have imagined. And every day we in the business world are forced to look outside our borders for new projects. I hope that is not what America is about. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Rovig may be found at the end of the hearing.]
Mr. POMBO. [PRESIDING] Thank you, Mr. Rovig.
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. Smith?
STATEMENT OF ANN WEBSTER SMITH, CHAIRMAN EMERITUS, U.S. COMMITTEE OF THE INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL ON MONUMENTS AND SITES, WASHINGTON, DC
Ms. SMITH. Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee, thank you for an opportunity to be here today. I am going to summarize my remarks and ask that the full remarks be included in the record.
On behalf of some 600 members of the United States Committee of the International Council on Monuments and Sites, we oppose H.R. 883 because we feel that it would limit or deny to Americans the opportunity to protect, recognize, and honor that of their cultural and natural patrimony which is or could be recognized to be, in the language of the World Heritage Convention, ''of outstanding universal value'' and worthy of the prestige that such recognition by 156 other nations and the international community would imply.
We are a professional membership organization with members who represent architecture, archeology, art and architectural history, town planning, urban history, archives. Our organization was established in 1965 and we're concerned with the conservation, protection, rehabilitation, and enhancement of historic properties and groups of buildings, historic districts and sites, including archaeological sites, and in educational and informational programs designed to reflect that concern. U.S./ICOMOS is one of a network of independent non-governmental national committees representing similar professions, with more than five thousand members in almost a hundred countries, the International Council on Monuments and Sites, ICOMOS.
Membership in ICOMOS, like ratification of the World Heritage Convention, we have found seems to be a mark of nationhood especially on the part of the newly independent states. We heard conversations today about the fact that developing countries are not as interested in some of this legislation and some of these international conventions as more developed countries are. We don't think that is true. We think that the ''new'' countries and developing countries are even more proud of what they have and even more anxious to have what is theirs recognized and protected within their own countries and in educational terms by listing on the World Heritage list.
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC More importantly in terms of the proposed legislation, H.R. 883, ICOMOS is one of the two non-governmental bodies, the other one being the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which are named in the Convention as the professional consulting bodies on nominations to the Convention. As you know, the Convention is a list of natural and cultural or man-made properties that have been determined to be of ''outstanding universal value'' to each nation and all nations.
We would like to address those aspects of this bill which address the Convention and U.S. participation in it. Rather than reducing or limiting U.S. participation, like Russell Train, who was instrumental in the development of the legislation in the first place and had a long and brilliant career on behalf of the American Government under President Nixon and others, U.S./ICOMOS would encourage this Committee to strengthen and encourage measures which would lead to greater U.S. participation in the World Heritage Convention.
The Convention has its roots in proposals put forward during the first Nixon Administration at the Stockholm Conference on the Environment in 1972. Russell Train headed that U.S. delegation. Subsequently, the U.S. was the first nation to ratify that Convention. Since that time, 156 other nations have ratified the Convention and some 582 properties, 117 natural properties, and 445 cultural or man-made, and 20 mixed, which are both natural and cultural, have been listed on the World Heritage list and recognized for their outstanding universal value. It is the single most accepted international convention or treaty in history.
In this country, important historic properties such as Thomas Jefferson's Monticello and Independence Hall have been listed, eight historic properties, and twelve natural properties of unique distinction, such as the Everglades and Grand Canyon National Park. In other countries, cultural properties of such undeniable outstanding universal value as the Acropolis, Westminster Abbey, and the Great Wall of China have been listed, along with whole towns or urban areas, such as Quebec City, Venice and its lagoon, and Islamic Cairo.
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In this country, as in other countries, the nomination of properties is a governmental process which determines which properties from among its national patrimony it considers to be of such ''outstanding universal value.'' In the United States, this process is directed by the National Park Service, proposed nominations are given careful professional review within the Park Service, nominations are reviewed and discussion concerning them is then published in the Federal Register. It is not a secret process.
Listing on the World Heritage List includes no international legal protection or sanction. Protection for nomination or listed properties grows out of the laws and statutes of the U.S. or any other nominating countries and the country's protective measures must be stated as a part of the nomination. In nominating a property, the U.S. or other nominating countries are neither limited nor prohibited from any proposed use or action except those limits or prohibitions that have been established by the country's own laws.
Nomination forms for properties listed call for a statement of laws or decrees which govern the protection of monuments and sites, including evidence of a master plan, a land-use plan, other plans. The nomination form asks for information as to whether these legislative or statutory measures prevent uncontrolled exploitation of the ground below the property, the demolition or reconstruction of buildings located on the property, or permit other significant changes. The nominations must also indicate what, if any, measures exist to encourage the revitalization of the property.
To examine specific provisions of H.R. 883, section 2(a), nomination and listing do not affect or diminish private interest in real property, does not impinge in any way on private property rights, does not conflict with congressional or constitutional responsibilities, and does not diminish private interest in real property.
What is the value of the Convention and the World Heritage list? Those countries that are State Parties participate in the convention and that it as a mechanism for encouraging national pride, for stimulating education concerning each country's own national treasures whether they represent history, cultural, or natural wonders. The countries where properties are located see listing on the list as a means for economic development, particularly in terms of encouraging tourism and visitation, a major source of local and foreign investment in many countries. In most countries that adhere to the Convention, a World Heritage Convention listing is sought because they know that it works to stimulate local pride, economic development, and to encourage private investment.
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In the United StatesI am sorry, I am beyond my time but I would like to say thisin the United States, in spite of our own heritage, in spite of our beautiful and well-planned historic areas such as Savannah, Charleston, New Orleans, Georgetown, Annapolis, or San Antonio, no towns are listed. Why is that? It is because an element of the 1980 amendments to the National Historic Preservation Act had limited the nomination process. Even though in other countries their historic districts, their historic ensembles or quarters are listed, we in the United States cannot nominate ours because of our own limiting legislatioin and guidelines for its implementation. Many historic communities or towns are very aware of this and are very frustrated by the fact that they are not entitled to the recognition which historic districts in other countries receive.
We would encourage the House Committee on Resources to give serious consideration to the negative impact that H.R. 883 would have on existing measures for recognition such as the World Heritage process. The process grew out of a U.S. initiative, the U.S. was the first nation to ratify it, and it is a measure which has done much to achieve recognition and protection of the cultural and natural heritage which are found to be of ''outstanding universal value.'' We see this as a program which is benign, constructive, educational, and enriching. We would encourage that you try to find ways in which it can be strengthened rather than diminished or weakened. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Smith may be found at the end of the hearing.]
Mr. POMBO. Thank you.
STATEMENT OF LAUREL MACLEOD, DIRECTOR OF LEGISLATION AND PUBLIC POLICY, CONCERNED WOMEN FOR AMERICA, WASHINGTON, DC
Page 59 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. MACLEOD. Good afternoon. I would like to thank members of the Committee for giving me the opportunity to address you today. I also request that the full text of my remarks be placed in the record.
I am the Director of Legislation for Concerned Women for America and I am here today representing CWA, which is the nation's largest public policy women's organization in the country, and here representing over 500,000 members.
As a women's organization, we first became concerned about Biosphere Reserves and World Heritage Sites after receiving many letters from individuals across the country who claimed that their private property rights were being infringed upon. We researched the subject and discovered a number of disturbing things.
The biosphere reserve philosophy, as we have already heard today, was the brainchild of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organizations, UNESCO. UNESCO still directs the international Man and Biosphere Program, which coordinates the creation and use of biosphere reserves around the world. Here in the United States, our Man and the Biosphere Reserve subsidiary, called USMAB, is run through the State Department. USMAB nominates land or water sites for Biosphere Reserve designation, then UNESCO makes the final designation and approves the site. Incredibly, Congress plays no role in this process even though there are now 47 Biosphere Reserves in the United States, comprising about 44 million acres of land.
Practically, Biosphere Reserves already have a detrimental effect upon private property ownership. For example, the boundaries of the Champlain Adirondack Biosphere Reserve, called CABR, which is the largest reserve in this nation, encompasses land owned by both Federal and State Governments as well as private property owners. One USMAB document called ''Biosphere Reserves in Action'' explains that the biosphere reserve managers of CABR are trying to find ''environmentally sound solutions'' to problems of ''conflicting'' uses. In other words, people, industry, consumption, and technology are the ''conflicting'' uses that are in the way of environmental goals.
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC While the USMAB sings the praises of this biosphere reserve philosophy, many of the 400,000 people living in it are singing a very different song. Hardest hit are the people living on the 3 million acres of private property that was arbitrarily turned into a heavily regulated buffer zone around the Adirondack State Park. They were not compensated and reportedly these land management decisions have resulted in much poverty and unemployment.
Our members are also very concerned about American sovereignty as it relates to the World Heritage Sites. As you know, the Statue of Liberty, Independence Hall, Monticello, the Florida Everglades, and many other places like that in the United States are designated World Heritage Sites in accordance with the Convention Concerning the Protection of World and Natural Heritage. This ratified treaty requires our government to choose monuments and historical sites for special designation and preservation. A very reasonable and worthwhile activity. However, there is a catch.
Once a World Heritage Site is designated and approved, any preservation questions that arise are sent to the World Heritage Committee, and that is a United Nations body that answers to UNESCO, not to Congress. This process of dealing with preservation questions invites sovereignty problems. For example, in 1995, the Crown Butte Mine Company decided to start a mining project that was one mountain range removed from Yellowstone National Park, which is a World Heritage Site and also a Biosphere Reserve. Ninety percent of the proposed mine consisted of private mining claims. Yet a coalition of environmental groups wrote to the U.N. World Heritage Committee and cited the proposed mine along with ''timber harvest, homebuilding, new population clusters, and human-bear conflicts'' as the dangers that were threatening Yellowstone. But remember, these were the things outside the boundaries of Yellowstone.
In response, UNESCO's World Heritage Committee chastened the Interior Department, which in turn invited the U.N. Committee to come to the United States and examine Yellowstone and the mine proposal. The committee came and held a hearing on September 8, 1995, and the Committee Chairman from Thailand stated that the ''United States has a duty to take steps to preserve the Yellowstone ecosystem across administrative boundaries of the park. Some 12 million acres of national forest and wilderness that surround Yellowstone must be considered an extension of the National Park if the whole system is to be preserved.'' In other words, a United Nations representative came into this country and told our government, a sovereign nation, that a large buffer zone should be built around Yellowstone, despite the fact that it would certainly affect and harm private property owners.
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Later, the World Heritage Committee decided that Yellowstone is, indeed, a World Heritage Site in Danger, and in 1997 Congress appropriated the funds to buy the New World Mine, ending the publicity that had highlighted the harm to private property rights.
Members of the Committee, you are the men and women elected by citizens in this country to legislate in the United States. And it is up to you to defend the private property rights of citizens when they are being, in effect, taken away by the implementation of decisions made by unelected bureaucrats. The over 500,000 members of Concerned Women for America wholeheartedly believe that H.R. 883 is needed to bring Congress back into a process from which it has been too long excluded. Only Congress, not UNESCO, not the Interior Department, or the World Heritage Committee can best represent the needs of the American people and of our land.
We applaud Representative Don Young for his tireless work on this important legislation, and we respectfully request your favorable disposition of this bill. Thank you so much for your time and attention to this important matter.
[The prepared statement of Ms. MacLeod may be found at the end of the hearing.]
Mr. POMBO. Thank you.
Ms. Smith, do you believe that all of the sites that have been designated under these three Acts were deserving of that designation, at least the ones within the United States, not worldwide?
Ms. SMITH. I can only speak to the World Heritage List and the World Heritage Convention.
Mr. POMBO. Okay, in terms to those?
Ms. SMITH. I would say that the process has been scholarly, professional, and with enormous attention to detail. The Park Service has been extremely conscientious about its role in the nomination of properties. As a matter of fact, in the United States we have been even more conscientious about our role in terms of the nomination of properties than some other countries have been I would say.
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Convention is such a wonderful tool for education. It is such a wonderful tool for making school children and adults understand the value of our past and the importance of retaining that past for our future. I think that everything that we have nominated indeed merited listing.
Mr. POMBO. May I ask, why are you concerned that if there was another step in the process that required congressional approval that it would somehow, and I don't remember your exact quote, but in your oral testimony you said something to the effect that this would take away from the American people something. Do you believe that Congress would take away any of the current World Heritage Sites that are listed in this country?
Ms. SMITH. No, I don't think there would beI can't imagine that there would be any measures to reduce our current listings.
Mr. POMBO. That is a pretty inflammatory statement that you made in your oral testimony. I am just wondering which sites you think were not deserving or you believe that Congress would not approve.
Ms. SMITH. No, on the contrary, I think that there are others which should be listed. That is my concern.
Mr. POMBO. Are they not as deserving as the ones that are on the list? Would the case be much harder to make on the ones that you think should be listed?
Ms. SMITH. No. It is a very deliberative process.
Mr. POMBO. Why do you believe then that if this bill were enacted into law and it required another step that said Congress had to approve that we would somehow not find these sites deserving or not find these sites up to snuff in terms of putting them on the World Heritage List?
Ms. SMITH. I have two concerns. One is that I have long been concerned about the fact that no historic district in this country is listed on the World Heritage List whereas every other country in the world has nominated historic districts to the World Heritage List.
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. POMBO. I will give you that. I am just wondering what another step in the process that required congressional approval woulddo you believe that Congress would look at the historical districts and say these are not worthy of being listed and we don't want to nominate them?
Ms. SMITH. The process for the nomination of historic districts includes the requirement that all private property owners consent to the listing of their properties. That is what has limited their nomination.
Mr. POMBO. That is under current law?
Ms. SMITH. Yes. The 1980 amendments and Interior's guidelines for their implementation.
Mr. POMBO. So if we had another step in the process that required congressional approval, it would not affect what you are speaking to right now?
Ms. SMITH. I would like to see the Congress look differently at the nomination of districts because World Heritage Listing does not affect anything that a private property owner can do with his property in a city or in a rural area.
But as far as the other properties, the National Park Service has not nominated a U.S. property to the World Heritage List for about five or eight years. And for the last five or eight years every other country in the world has been nominating properties and they have been going on and on and on. Next week ICOMOS in Paris will consider 57 new nominations which have been put forward this year, none from the United States. None last year. None the year before. And all of this is because the Park Service is very reluctant to nominate properties and because of the limits on historic district nominations.
Mr. POMBO. It is very confusing to me, and I am sure to others as well, that proponents of these programs always say that there is nothing here, there are no restrictions, there are no problems, there is no power, there is no regulatory authority, there is nothing to be afraid of under these programs. But you are so concerned that Congress might have to approve this. I don't understand how you get from a totally voluntary program that is just a recognition of the importance and everything, that you are so terrified that Congress would have to approve those that you come in here and you say this is going to deny future generations the historical areas if we have congressional approval of nominations. How do you get from that to that?
Page 64 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC That is very inflammatory rhetoric that has very little to do with what we are talking about. We are saying, and there many people, including myself, who believe that there is a constitutional duty on the part of Congress to approve joining in on any of these. And whether it is the World Heritage Sites or the Man and the Biosphere, whatever it is, maybe some of them are deserving, maybe some of them are not, I don't know, I have not, like you, spent all the time studying these and learning all about them. Maybe it is a good program, maybe it is not. But why is everybody so afraid of saying Congress has to approve it?
Ms. SMITH. I don't think anybody is afraid and we certainly don't wish to inflame the rhetoric on the question of the World Heritage List. I think that we feel that Congress should be encouraging the listing of properties on the World Heritage List.
Mr. POMBO. And they may. That may be exactly what happens. Myself or Mr. Inslee, or any other member of the Committee, may be in here saying I have got a great site in my district that should be on the World Heritage Site list. I would venture to say that Mr. Lindsey and his representative is probably not going to be in here saying that is the perfect site to be on there. But I am sure there will be members in here saying they have something they think ought to be put on there and would become the strongest advocates of the program. But everybody is so terrified. If there is nothing here, you know, don't pay attention to the man behind the curtain, if there is nothing here, then why are you afraid? And I am not putting words in your mouth. You said this would take away from future generations the enjoyment of our history and culturefor Congress to approve these?
Ms. SMITH. Another layer of approvals makes it even more difficult to nominate and recognize properties than is the case today.
Mr. POMBO. That very well may be true and I will not quibble with you on whether or not that is in fact true, because I believe it is true. But there are many people, including myself, who believe that we have a constitutional duty and responsibility that before any American properties, whether voluntarily or not, are put in a World Heritage Site we have a responsibility to act. I don't know why that should concern you.
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Unfortunately, my time has expired. I am going to recognize Mr. Inslee for any questions he may have at this point.
Mr. INSLEE. Mr. Chair, our side of the aisle would certainly defer to the Chair if you want to proceed for a period, if I could reserve some time at the end.
Mr. POMBO. I would be happy to. I will keep going, so if you want toJust give me another five minutes and I will pass on the next round.
Mr. INSLEE. That is great. If you would just reserve a couple minutes for me at the end, I would appreciate it.
Mr. POMBO. Thank you.
Mr. Lindsey, so that I understand the process that you went through, how did you find out that your property was being suggested for listing under the RAMSAR Treaty?
Mr. LINDSEY. Our neighbor read it in the paper, actually, in the Phoenix Republic and sent us the article from the paper.
Mr. POMBO. You were not the one who went forward and suggested that? From the previous testimony that we heard from the Administration, I was led to believe that all of these sites are nominated by the property owners and by the local people. That is not the case?
Mr. LINDSEY. No. It took us very much by surprise. We don't figure we need to be under the RAMSAR Convention, sir. So no, that is not the case.
Mr. POMBO. So it wasn't your idea? In fact, you opposed it?
Mr. LINDSEY. In fact, I am opposing it. Yes, sir.
Mr. POMBO. And was it your neighbors who had nominated the property? Was it a group of neighbors that all got together and nominated the property and they just didn't talk to you about it?
Mr. LINDSEY. No, sir. It was a local environmental group based in Tucson called the Southwest Center for Biological Diversity.
Page 66 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. POMBO. And you said Tucson was 75 miles?
Mr. LINDSEY. Yes, sir, 75 miles.
Mr. POMBO. So it was not local people that were doing this?
Mr. LINDSEY. No, sir.
Mr. POMBO. Do any of your neighbors belong to that group? Are they the ones who brought that group in and said this is something we should do?
Mr. LINDSEY. No, sir. I believe the reason they petitioned to have it listed was because of the Endangered Species Act. They did find that orchid there and it states in the article that it will give them international oversight over these endangered species.
Mr. POMBO. Are you familiar with the Endangered Species Act?
Mr. LINDSEY. Very much so, yes, sir.
Mr. POMBO. Would you under current law be able to change, destroy, harm, harass the habitat of the endangered species?
Mr. LINDSEY. Not of the plants, sir. The way the Endangered Species Act is written, actually the Federal Government, thank you, Lord, has no jurisdiction over a plant on private property. And this is one of the reasons I feel that this same environmental group that sued for that listing, by the way, this is why I feel that they went ahead and petitioned Babbitt to have this listed as a RAMSAR site so they could have that oversight of our private property.
Mr. POMBO. This is interesting because under current U.S. law under the Endangered Species Act, plants that are listed as endangered are not regulated on private property.
Mr. LINDSEY. Exactly.
Mr. POMBO. If this was listed as a RAMSAR site and there were some international designation over this property, how could that possibly affect you?
Page 67 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. LINDSEY. I don't know, sir, if you have read anything in the RAMSAR Treaty, Convention on Wetlands of International Importance. This is the Convention's strategic plan for 1997 to 2002. It states the Convention of Wetlands of International Importance, Especially Waterfowl Habitat, ''to integrate conservation and wise use of wetlands and all contracting parties into national, provincial, and local planning and decision-making on land-use, ground water management, catchment, river basin, and coastal zone planning, and all other environmental planning and management.'' That's a broad brush, sir. Something, as I say, we don't feel that we need to have implemented on our private property.
Second, the introduction states that ''Through this plan, the Convention's long-standing technical work in wetlands is strengthened and new catalytic role in the development and assistance of community is established. The Convention's technical and policy work becomes more closely related to the broader concerns of the Convention on Biological Diversity and its traditional involvement with water fowl is related more clearly to the Convention of Migratory Species.'' This is mission creep, sir. This is not what this RAMSAR Treaty was written to do.
Mr. POMBO. The interesting point about it is that proponents of these programs, opponents of this legislation continue to say that there is no regulatory authority, there is nothing that they can do.
Mr. LINDSEY. I wonder how many of those people, sir, have landed inside those biosphere regions, how many of those people's private land that has been in their family for years is being considered for a RAMSAR Treaty? It is all right for us out West. Out West, we are a whole different ball of wax, it is a whole different game out there, as you well know being from California, sir.
Mr. POMBO. I am seventh generation cattleman and fifth generation on my ranch. So I can understand what you are talking about.
Mr. LINDSEY. Yes, sir.
Page 68 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. POMBO. Mr. Rovig, I had a question about the situation that you found yourself in. Did you ask to be included within the World Heritage Site, the Yellowstone listing? Did you invite people
Mr. ROVIG. Absolutely not. We, too, read about it in the paper.
Mr. POMBO. You read about it in the paper?
Mr. ROVIG. Correct.
Mr. POMBO. So in your case it was not voluntary?
Mr. ROVIG. Absolutely not.
Mr. POMBO. Was it your neighbors that wanted to include you within the site?
Mr. ROVIG. By any normal definition of neighbor, certainly not.
Mr. POMBO. The adjoining property owners?
Mr. ROVIG. No, none of them.
Mr. POMBO. Who wanted to include you?
Mr. ROVIG. A group of environmentalists primarily out of the Bozeman area. The Greater Yellowstone Coalition took it upon themselves to
Mr. POMBO. Forgive me. How close is that to your property?
Mr. ROVIG. By road, Bozeman would be about 150 miles.
Mr. POMBO. So they would not be considered locals?
Mr. ROVIG. No.
Mr. POMBO. Was it a grassroots movement from within the local community that
Mr. ROVIG. Of course not. It is a coalition of national and possibly even international environmental groups.
Page 69 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. POMBO. I am just trying to square the testimony that we received earlier with what actually happens. We are told that it is a grassroots movement, it is local people, it is people nominating their own properties. Tell me about the site that you had. Is it somewhat unique from the surrounding properties?
Mr. ROVIG. It is unique in that it is private ground. Nearly everything around us is Federal ground in some fashion or another. But topographically and geographically, no, it is not unique. It is in a mountain range that goes tens if not hundreds of miles in every direction.
Mr. POMBO. I have had the opportunity to fly over that particular area in a little Cessna and it looked the same for a long time.
Mr. ROVIG. It looks the same for a very long time. You fly over it in a 727 and it looks the same for quite a while.
Mr. POMBO. That it does.
Mr. ROVIG. This property was oftentimes portrayed as being in Yellowstone Park when, in fact, it is about three miles northeast of the most northeastern corner of the park. As Ms. MacLeod indicated, it was a mountain range away. In fact, it is two mountain ranges away where all of the facilities would be. There would have been no possibility of any visual intrusion into the park from the proposed operation.
Mr. POMBO. You have been in the mining business for a long time.
Mr. ROVIG. Yes, sir.
Mr. POMBO. I looked at your biography. If you were to go out and start a mine today, how difficult would it be to go through U.S. environmental standards before you could open that mine?
Mr. ROVIG. Difficult enough that I am not going to try it again.
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. POMBO. Give me an estimate of months it would take to get it approved.
Mr. ROVIG. Well, to give you some specific examples. In the State of Montana, one mine trying to be permitted by Asarco, a major corporation, has been in the Environmental Impact Statement process for twelve years.
Mr. POMBO. Twelve years?
Mr. ROVIG. Yes, sir. It is not uncommon in the United States for mine permitting to take in excess of five years. That one, I agree, is perhaps a bit of an anomaly. But five or more years is not out of the norm.
Mr. POMBO. In your experience, would you be fairly comfortable in testifying here today that any mine that would be approved for operation within the United States would be environmentally safe and sound?
Mr. ROVIG. Every modern mine that is permitted under the NEPA and various State policies in recent years has proven to be a very good neighbor, environmentally and in every other way. Too often, people are trying to make the case that a mine today will result in events that happened yesteryear. But in fact, there are more regulations put I think on the mining industry than anything but maybe the nuclear industry now. At the New World, we were going to have to achieve I believe it was 37 Federal permits and about 14 State permits to take that thing forward.
Mr. POMBO. The folks that took I think you said a bus tour of the site, are you familiar with what countries all of those folks were from?
Mr. ROVIG. Right now, I can't tell you where they were from. They were all from well outside the U.S. The chairman was from Thailand, I believe one was from Germany, and I don't know where the other two were from.
Mr. POMBO. All right. Thank you.
Page 71 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Inslee, I will give you an opportunity, or I will go to Ms. Chenoweth if you want to question.
Mr. Inslee is recognized.
Mr. INSLEE. Thank you.
Mr. Lindsey, what does a Ladies Tress look like, that plant?
Mr. LINDSEY. It grows six to twelve inches high. You know how an orchid looks, it has got little spikelets on it that go like that.
Mr. INSLEE. It is not a problem for your cattle operations itself, there are no toxins or anything involved?
Mr. LINDSEY. No, sir. Actually, like I said, it is found in five different places that they know of in Southeast Arizona, four of those places are grazed, one place isn't. It is doing the best, according to the Federal Register, on our place, and the other three grazed follow in suit. It is not doing well where it isn't grazed because, of course, plants grow up around it and nothing poops on it, so it doesn't get the fertilizer and the sunlight that it needs.
Mr. INSLEE. How do you feel, generally speaking, about efforts to preserve that plant? Do you think that is a good idea or not a good idea, or does it matter to you?
Mr. LINDSEY. It is a good idea. My family has been preserving it for 89 years now. We have been ranching cattle on that place and my family has been preserving it for 89 years. See, they don't have a history on this plant. It was found on our place in 1968 by some school teachers that took us on a little field trip when I was a young kid and they discovered it there. They don't know if this plant grew in every canyon. They don't know anything about this plant. Just all of a sudden it shows up and now we have got an environmental group here that has an agenda and so they want it listed as endangered.
Page 72 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. INSLEE. Do I take it then that you sort of agree with reasonable steps to preserve it, that's okay with you?
Mr. LINDSEY. Sure.
Mr. INSLEE. Okay.
Mr. LINDSEY. Let me restate that. I'm sorry. Reasonable steps to preserve it as long as nobody comes on my private land and tells me how to do it.
Mr. INSLEE. Okay. What do you think should be done to help preserve it?
Mr. LINDSEY. I think we better leave it like it is because if we start helping to preserve it, after 89 years in my family of cattle grazing and historically from the 1700s cattle have been in that area, if we start fencing it off and trying to preserve it, as we as humans do, that bugger is going to die.
Mr. INSLEE. Has anybody attempted to restrict your cattle operations or ordered you to reduce your number of head or anything like that?
Mr. LINDSEY. No, sir, not as of yet. As I said, the Federal Government, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service does not have any jurisdiction over that plant and it is not listed with the State yet.
Mr. INSLEE. So at least to date there is no intrusion on your operations by the Federal Government or these RAMSAR agreement folks?
Mr. LINDSEY. Exactly. Today.
Mr. INSLEE. So as I understand it, as of this moment nobody has tried to interfere with your operation?
Mr. LINDSEY. No, sir.
Mr. INSLEE. So I guess you are saying you are just concerned that could happen in the future?
Page 73 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. LINDSEY. You bet.
Mr. INSLEE. Okay. Now let me tell you what I know about this and then I'm going to ask a question. What I know about this treaty, as far as I can tell, it doesn't give any international authority the right or privilege in any way, shape, or form to impose a regulatory burden on a property owner in the United States. It doesn't give them the ability to order you to reduce your head, it doesn't give them the ability to order you not to graze on that 60 acres where this cienegahow do you pronounce that?
Mr. LINDSEY. Cienega.
Mr. INSLEE. Cienega, where that is. It doesn't give any of these groups that authority to do that. What it does do is it allows them apparently to shine some public attention to this issue, but it does not give them ability to regulate specifically your operations.
Now if that is true, if that is true that nobody can regulate your land under these treaties, I am not asking you to accept that, if that is true, do you have a problem with it then if they can't regulate it?
Mr. LINDSEY. You bet, because this is my private property, sir. That is something that my great-grandfather homesteaded. The pursuit of happiness, okay, he wanted to do this. He settled there with the Federal Government's blessing. We don't need that. The Endangered Species Act was signed into law in 1972 and it didn't start biting us on the rear ends until the 1990s. So if that happens now, you understand what I am saying. Why do that on private property, especially if it doesn't let anybody have any jurisdiction? That is what I asked them about this species, why list it, why go through all those hoops, why spend the taxpayers' money when it is found in five places and everyone of those places is private property? Why list it period? Why not just leave us alone?
Mr. INSLEE. I appreciate your comments. My time has run out.
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Rovig, do I understand that the property you are describing that was subject to this potential mine, none of it was in an area listed or designated by any of these treaties? Is that accurate?
Mr. ROVIG. When we got there, that is correct.
Mr. INSLEE. Was there a proposal to list your specific identified fee-title held property or property that held mineral rights on it, was there any designation of your property by any of these treaties?
Mr. ROVIG. I don't know how specific the designation was, but certainly the whole visit was based on the idea that the New World Mine was somehow or other going to endanger Yellowstone Park and the area. The whole effort was focused on that point.
Mr. INSLEE. But do I understand correctly, and I have been told this is true, I just need you to confirm it or say it is inaccurate, that in fact there was no designation of your property under these treaties? Is that accurate?
Mr. ROVIG. Specifically, that is correct, yes.
Mr. INSLEE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. POMBO. Thank you.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. [presiding] It looks like we are going to be calling for a vote right away. So I will just finish up with my questioning.
Mr. Lindsey, welcome to the Committee. I have heard you before and I appreciate your coming. Regarding the Canelo Hills Lady Tresses, I understand that the Nature Conservancy has some property adjacent to yours or very close to yours.
Mr. LINDSEY. Yes, ma'am.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. And are they one of the four properties that you were referring to with regards to how successful this endangered species is?
Mr. LINDSEY. No, ma'am. No, not successful.
Page 75 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. Can you tell me, do both properties have similar densities of this particular species?
Mr. LINDSEY. No, ma'am. We have more on our property. According to the biologist for the Nature Conservancy, there are more plants growing on our property.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. And you are grazing on your property?
Mr. LINDSEY. Yes, ma'am.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Okay. Thank you.
Mr. Rovig, with regards to any potential designation on the New World Mine, wasn't it true that there was an understanding there was a buffer zone outside of the designated border for a Biosphere Reserve and the World Heritage Site?
Mr. ROVIG. The folks that have self-appointed themselves to take care of that area have continually called it the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, and I believe that is what the World Heritage Committee was focusing on is that, yes, there would clearly have to be a buffer zone of who knows how large surrounding it.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. But you did not realize that this may impact your operation of the mine? You had not been advised of that ahead of time?
Mr. ROVIG. We were advised of nothing regarding the U.N. visit, that is correct.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Do you think that the World Heritage Committee's action regarding the New World Mine had an adverse effect on the New World property at all?
Mr. ROVIG. Oh, I don't think there is any question about it. It was just one of several stepping stones that were used to hijack the process. There was an EIS in place that was soon to come out in draft form and I think the general consensus was that it would come out showing the New World Mine could have gone ahead rather smartly and complied with all environmental concerns. I think that is the reason that this hijacking took place.
Page 76 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. Are you pleased with the outcome?
Mr. ROVIG. I am disgusted with the outcome.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I am glad to get that on the record. I am, too.
Mr. ROVIG. I am glad to put it on the record.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Again for the record, wasn't the New World Mine project on private land outside the World Heritage Site?
Mr. ROVIG. It clearly was outside the Yellowstone Park boundary by about three miles. It was largely on private land. The reserve was about 90 percent under private holdings. Yes, there were some mining claims on Forest Service land that would have been part of the project. They would have been primarily mill sites.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. When did discovery take place at that site?
Mr. ROVIG. Discovery of that site took place, as far as we know, in the 1860s. But as far as my involvement, I bought the first piece of property up there in 1982, acquired the second piece in 1987, and we really from 1987 forward made the world class discovery of the New World Mine.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. But from discovery until it was taken over, it had been in continuous operation? What was the history there?
Mr. ROVIG. From 1987, we had continual operations save during some of the winter months when it just was impossible. But the project certainly was going forward but without some of those site operations. We tried drilling through one winter and it just was not physically possible up there.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Okay. But there had been enough activity on the mine to keep the site active from discovery until 1987?
Page 77 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ROVIG. Oh, absolutely. We had six or seven drills running most of the time that we could access the property.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Rovig.
Mr. Lindsey, I understand that you wrote a poem about the proposal to designate your property as a RAMSAR wetland.
Mr. LINDSEY. Yes, ma'am.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. For the record, I wonder if you would share that with the Committee?
Mr. LINDSEY. Yes, ma'am. When I first started, I said a country's most important natural resource is their children and I said that my wife and I have nine children, five boys and four girls. With all my heart, I want to pass this ranch on to them. Only 2 percent of the Nation, as we know, is raising the food for the rest of the 98 percent because it is a hard way to make a living, and now with government regulations it is even harder. And I wrote this poem, and I can get kind of emotional when I quote this poem.
''We was riding on the mountain up above the old Page place, right smack dab on top of Page Peak overlooking a lot of space.
To the northeast lay Aljarita and to south there lay the rough, and gathering cows in this country is usually pretty tough.
But today I wasn't worried cause I knew I had the best, I had my five boys with me, there was Joshua, and Jake, and Nest,
And little Joe and Nathan they was riding with us too, and when it comes to catching wild cows, these boys has caught a few.
So I sent Joshua and Jake to the northeast and the rest they all went south, that left me and my cow dog Sally and she's a foaming at the mouth.
But I says wait a minute Sally, I need some time to think, and I leans across my saddle and my heart begins to sink.
Page 78 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I says there goes the sixth generation to ranch this old rock pile, the cowboy life is what they want, they don't want that city style.
But it seems some arm-chair ecologists don't think that sixth generations is enough, cause they've got that college learning and all that book-reading stuff.
Well they found an endangered orchid and a water dog and a floating plant, and next you know they'll find a bug or some endangered ant.
They want to take away this ranch and take away my right to graze, and now an international treaty has been added to this maze.
Soon, one nation indivisible will be governed by foreign laws, by countries that can't even run themselves they've got so many flaws.
Well my great-great-grandpa, my great-grandpa, my grandpa, and my dad, each passed this ranch on to their boys and, be it good or bad,
This country is in good enough shape to run javelina, and lions, and deer, things I see most everyday and their extinction isn't near.
Well I guess I'll just quit worrying. Sally she's chomping at my leg, she wants to catch a cow so bad she's like a powder keg.
And look, them boys they've caught a cow and they've tied her to a tree, but I guess I'll just quit worrying and ride on down and see.''
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Lindsey. That's a fitting closure to this very interesting hearing.
I want to thank the panelists for your witness and your testimony on this issue. Thank you very, very much. And as you know, you have ten working days to amend your testimony should you wish.
The staff may have questions, likely they will, and so we would appreciate your answers to additional questions as quickly as possible.
Page 79 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Thank you very much.
This hearing is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 4:30 p.m., the Committee was adjourned, to reconvene at the call of the Chair.]
[Additional material submitted for the record follows.]
AMERICAN LAND SOVEREIGNTY PROTECTION ACTH.R. 883
Designation of United Nations' World Heritage Sites, RAMSAR Sites and Biosphere Reserves results in centralization of policy-making authority at the Federal level, particularly in the Executive Branch. It also results in reduced input into land use decisions by state and local government and individuals. These designations also affect the use and market value of private lands adjacent to or intermixed with Federal lands. The American Land Sovereignty Protection Act (H.R. 883) requires specific approval of Congress before any area within the U.S. is included in an international land reserve and protects the property rights of neighboring landowners. The bill currently has 142 cosponsors. A similar bill, H.R. 901, passed the House in the 105th Congress by a vote of 236-191.
The objectives of H.R. 883 are to preserve the sovereignty of the United States over our own lands and to protect state sovereignty and property rights in adjacent non-Federal lands.
Page 80 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC H.R. 883 asserts the power of Congress, established by the Constitution, over management and use of lands belonging to the United States. The international agreement covering World Heritage Sites, for example, largely leaves Congress out of the process. The bill reforms this process by requiring clear Congressional approval before lands within the United States can be included in these international agreements.
United Nations Biosphere Reserves, RAMSAR Sites and World Heritage Sites are under the jurisdiction of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). World Heritage Sites are natural sites or cultural monuments recognized by UNESCO under ''The Convention Concerning Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage.'' RAMSAR Sites are wetlands recognized by UNESCO under the ''Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat.'' Biosphere Reserves are part of the U.S. Man and Biosphere Program which operates in conjunction with a worldwide program under UNESCO. The U.S. program operates without legislative direction, is not authorized by Congress, nor is the program part of an international treaty. Over 68 percent of the land in our National Parks, Preserves and Monuments have been designated as a United Nations World Heritage Site, Biosphere Reserve or both. Biosphere Reserves alone cover an area about the size of Colorado, our eighth largest state. There are now 47 UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, 15 RAMSAR Sites and 20 World Heritage Sites in the United States.
In creating international land use designations, such as Biosphere Reserves, World Heritage and RAMSAR Sites, through Executive Branch action, the United States may be indirectly implementing international treaties, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity, to which the United States is not a party or which the United States Senate has refused to ratify. For example, the Strategic Plan for the U.S. Biosphere Reserve Program published in 1994 by the U.S. State Department states that a goal of the U.S. Biosphere Reserve Program is to ''create a national network of biosphere reserves that represents the biogeographical diversity of the United States and fulfills the internationally established roles and functions of biosphere reserves [emphasis added].'' Furthermore, the Seville Strategy for Biosphere Reserves, which was adopted in late 1995 and establishes the international goals of the Man and Biosphere Program, recommends that participating countries ''integrate biosphere reserves in strategies for biodiversity conservation and sustainable use, in plans for protected areas, and in the national biological diversity, strategies and action plans provided for in Article 6 of the Convention on Biological diversity.''
Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Also disturbing is that designation of Biosphere Reserves and World Heritage Sites rarely involve consulting the public and local governments. In fact, UNESCO policy apparently discourages an open nomination process for World Heritage Sites. The Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention state:
''In all cases, as to maintain the objectivity of the evaluation process and to avoid possible embarrassment to those concerned, State [national] parties should refrain from giving undue publicity to the fact that a property has been nominated for inscription pending the final decision of the Committee on the nomination in question. Participation of the local people in the nomination process is essential to make them feel a shared responsibility with the State party in the maintenance of the site, but should not prejudice future decision-making by the committee.''
A number of local elected officials have testified in previous oversight hearings that they were never consulted about plans to designate Biosphere Reserves and World Heritage Sites in their areas.
In making these international land designations, the United States promises to protect designated areas and regulate surrounding lands if necessary to protect the designated site. Honoring these agreements could force the Federal Government to prohibit or limit some uses of private lands outside the boundaries of the designated area unless our country wants to break a pledge to other nations. At a minimum, this puts U.S. land policy-makers in an awkward position. Federal regulatory actions could cause a significant adverse impact on the value of private property and on the local and regional economy. The involvement of the World Heritage Committee in the Environmental Impact Statement process for the New World Mine Project, which was located on privately owned land near Yellowstone National Park, exemplifies this problem. Creation of a buffer zone, possibly ten times as large as the park was suggested by at least one member of the Committee.
Page 82 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It is clear from the Yellowstone example, that at best, World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve designations give the international community an open invitation to interfere in domestic land use decisions. More seriously, the underlying international land use agreements potentially have several significant adverse effects on the American system of government. The policy-making authority is farther centralized at the Federal/Executive Branch level, and the role that the ordinary citizen has in the making of this policy through their elected representatives is diminished. The Executive Branch may also invoke these agreements in an attempt to administratively achieve an action within the jurisdiction of Congress, but without consulting Congress.
Ten witnesses, including the Hon. Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, Ambassador to the U.N. during President Reagan's Administration, will testify at the legislative hearing on H.R. 883, at 1:30 p.m. on March 18, 1999. For the Administration, Ms. Melinda L. Kimble, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, will testify on behalf of the State Department and Ms. Kate Stevenson, Associate Director for Cultural Resources, Stewardship and Partnership, National Park Service, will testify on behalf of the Interior Department. Dr. Jeremy Rabkin, a professor in the Department of Government at Cornell University, will discuss the Constitutional problems with international agreements such as the Convention Concerning Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage. Remaining witnesses include a former mining executive associated with the New World Project, an Arizona rancher, a representative from the Concerned Women for America, a representative from a historical preservation group and a representative from a labor organization.
Page 83 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCStaff Contact: John Rishel (x60242).
STATEMENT OF JEANE KIRKPATRICK, LEAVEY PROFESSOR, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY, SENIOR FELLOW, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE
I thank the Committee for inviting me to comment on H.R. 883. My comments will be brief and reflect my U.N. experience and reflection on that experience.
1. I served as U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations at the time the United States made the decision to withdraw from UNESCO. We made that decision slowly and carefully because the fraud, waste and mismanagement of that organization had reached truly shocking levels and resisted our serious efforts at reform. I note that neither the Bush nor the Clinton Administration has proposed rejoining UNESCO. (There is general agreement that very modest progress has been made in UNESCO's practices.) The United States, however, continued to participate in the Biosphere Reserve Program and the World Heritage List Program sponsored by UNESCO.
2. I note that the United Nations is a highly political body in which most countries act on most issues on the basis of group identifications and blocs, (rather than a conception of a general good). A large portion of the issues with which the U.N. deals pit haves against have nots even though these dimensions have little relevance to the issues at hand in any particular case. Most alignments on most issues are highly unfavorable to the United States and there is little we can do to change this. The most powerful, more less permanent majority, is the bloc of less developed countries still usually called the G-77. It's positions usually reflect ''Third World'' ideology. The continuing influence of formerly colonial countriesUnited Kingdom, France, Belgium, Netherlandsin these countries gives those governments a substantially larger influence in and on the G-77 than the United States. It is also worth noting that the European Union itself constitutes a bloc of 16-17 members (votes) while the United States is one. The point is that the United States has a permanent disadvantage in U.N. arenas.
Page 84 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC 3. The 1972 Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage provides a system for international recognition for sites of great cultural, historic or natural significance. The World Heritage Committee developed a list of World Heritage Sites of which there are now some four dozen sites in the United States. Like the ''Man and the Biosphere Program,'' RAMSAR and Biosphere Reserves, the World Heritage Sites are ''overseen'' by UNESCO. These oversight functions are sometimes intrusive and these programs have become very controversial, especially after the involvement of the World Heritage Committee in the Crown Butte Mine controversy by putting Yellowstone Park on its list of sites ''in danger.''
Currently, over one hundred Congressmen have responded to this growing controversy by sponsoring an ''American land Sovereignty Protection Act,'' which will require that Congress approve on a case by case basis international land designations in the United States, restore Congressional oversight of these programs, protect the rights of private owners since the Article 4, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution states: ''The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States.''
At issue is who will decide, who should decide, and what would be the consequences of giving Congress a larger role versus permitting the role of UNESCO oversight in the United States to continue and to continue to expand.
The Administration considers this legislation an unnecessary and undesirable violation of international obligation; which have been assumed and not compatible with sound conservation and environmental policy.
Supporters of this legislation believe that it restores Congress' constitutional role, protects property rights and American sovereignty, and will result in a solid, sound environmental policy.
I agree. International committeeswhatever the substance of their decisionsdo not represent the American people and cannot be held accountable by them. They do not know American problems in detail, do not feel the consequences of their decisions and suffer no penalties for their mistakes. Nothing less than self-government and private property are at stake.
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STATEMENT OF MELINDA L. KIMBLE, ACTING ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE FOR OCEANS AND INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL AND SCIENTIFIC AFFAIRS, DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee:
Thank you for providing the opportunity to comment on H.R. 883. I am here today because this bill includes specific provisions relating to oversight of the Convention on the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (known as ''the World Heritage Convention''), the U.S. Man and the Biosphere Program (called ''U.S. MAB'') and also has impact upon the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. These are initiatives that the Department of State supports, either administratively or financially, or both. They are components of the Administration's international strategy for environmental diplomacy.
As you know, environmental issues form a cornerstone of United States foreign policy. Modest investments on behalf of the environment, at home and abroad, bring significant payoffs to our national economy, health, domestic environment, and quality of life. In pursuing this mandate, the United States has a strong policy of international engagement on environmental issues. Secretary Albright has stated: ''Today, environmental issues are part of the mainstream of American foreign policy.''
The World Heritage Convention and the U.S. Man and the Biosphere Program contribute to this overall mission. Both function well, at minimal cost and with minimal burden on our government and our citizens. Aside from aiding in international environmental diplomacy and providing a forum by which the United States has been able to assert successfully influence and leadership, they provide economic benefits to the U.S. (especially with regard to tourism), and our U.S. Man and the Biosphere Program provides a valuable framework for international scientific cooperation on the environment.
Page 86 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Administration agrees that the public and the Congress have the right to participate in decisions related to the nomination and recognition process for World Heritage Sites and Biosphere Reserves, and should have a reasonable opportunity to do so. However, this legislation also addresses concerns that are not grounded in the actual provisions or implementation of these existing international agreements or programs. This bill would take what is currently a bottom-up, grass-roots approach and impose cumbersome top-down approval processes. Therefore, the Department of State strongly opposes H.R. 883. If this legislation were to pass, the Secretary of State would recommend a veto.
World Heritage Convention
The Convention on the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage is a landmark conservation agreement that helps draw international attention to the unique natural or cultural significance of sites such as the Cathedral of Chartres, the Pyramids at Giza, the Serengeti National Park, the Taj Mahal, and the Grand Canyon.
The United States was the principal architect of the Convention. President Nixon stated at the time:
''It would befitting . . . for the nations of the world to agree to the principle that there are certain areas of such unique worldwide value that they should be treated as part of the heritage of all mankind and accorded special recognition as a World Heritage Trust. Such an arrangement would impose no limitations on the sovereignty of those nations which choose to participate, but would extend special international recognition to the areas which qualify and would make available technical and other assistance to assist in their protection and management.'' Statement by Richard Nixon, Feb. 8, 1971, in Dept. of State Bulletin, Vol. LVIX, No. 1653, 1971, P. 256.
Page 87 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Following the conclusion of negotiations in 1972, the United States became the first country to ratify the Convention, in December, 1973. The U.S. plays a strong leadership role in the Convention and is currently completing its second six-year term on the twenty-one member World Heritage Committee.
The Convention respects the sovereignty of countries on whose territory World Heritage sites are located. It makes clear that the responsibility for identifying and delineating such sites rests with the national governments that are Party to the Convention. It specifies in article 6(l) that the international community's duty to cooperate for the protection of world heritage occurs within a context of full deference to ''the sovereignty of the . . . [nations] . . . on whose territory the cultural and natural heritage'' is located, and ''without prejudice to property rights provided by national legislation.''
The World Heritage Convention plays a key role in promoting global support for environmental conservation and cultural preservation, advances U.S. interests in these global values, and serves as a key element in our international environmental conservation program. With its 152 participating nations, the Convention is one of the most widely accepted international conservation treaties. It provides a mechanism for U.S. leadership and influence with many of its international partners.
Under the World Heritage Convention, each nation nominates its own most important natural and cultural sites and pledges to take the necessary steps to preserve and protect them under their own legal systems. The treaty, implementing legislation, and program regulations mandate a process that is orderly, predictable, and exacting, requiring a minimum of more than two years between the proposal of a site and its consideration by the World Heritage Committee.
The U.S. nomination process is clearly delineated in law and regulation (Title IV of the Historic Preservation Act Amendments of 1980 and 36 CFR 73World Heritage Convention). Under the regulations, the National Park Service staffs the Interagency Panel on World Heritage, which is advisory to and chaired by the Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks. The Panel meets in public sessions to consider proposed nominations and to review completed studies.
Page 88 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Relevant Committees of the House and Senate are notified of all pending proposals and are again informed when the Department of the Interior has decided to nominate a site. Over the years, when Members of Congress have commented, they have commonly supported proposed nominations in their respective states.
U.S. Man and The Biosphere Program
The Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Program was established by resolution of the 16th General Conference of UNESCO in 1971 as a voluntary and cooperative science program to promote the study of the interaction of the earth's human and natural systems. Contrary to the assertions of many opponents of the program, MAB is intended to explore the relationship between people and their environment and not to remove people from their land.
The U.S. began to participate in MAB in 1974. When the U.S. left UNESCO in 1984, the Reagan Administration recommended that Congress continue to provide funds to allow for an independent U.S. Man and the Biosphere Program, given the benefits of voluntary scientific cooperation. This was done with the understanding that there would be continued cooperation as appropriate between U.S. MAB and the UNESCO MAB Program.
In this capacity the U.S. MAB Program continues today, pursuing national and international efforts in cooperative environmental science. The Department of State provides a small administrative Secretariat to coordinate the U.S. Man and the Biosphere program, with the voluntary collaboration and support of about a dozen Federal agencies.
At the international level, U.S. MAB promotes pairings of biosphere reserves for comparative study. On a regional scale, cooperation among biosphere reserves is facilitating scientific and technical exchanges that benefit both scientists and land managers. For example, in the tri-national region of the Petan Rainforest of Mexico, Guatemala and Belize, U.S. MAB supports efforts that bring park managers and scientists together across boundaries to deal with common conservation issues. In Kentucky, county land managers and development authorities utilize the biosphere reserve to protect water quality in Mammoth Cave National Park and the surrounding area.
Page 89 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The U.S. MAB Program promotes information sharing among MAB sites around the world. U.S. MAB's various software innovations have been adopted in North America, Europe, and Latin America. MABFauna and MABFlora are highly successful database products produced by U.S. MAB for sharing information about plants and animals in protected areas. Another initiative, MABNet Americas, was highlighted by the Bolivia Summit on Sustainable Development as a model for integrated scientific data exchange in this hemisphere. These U.S. MAB efforts towards data standardization are an important contribution to the on-going development of the InterAmerican Biodiversity Information Network (IABIN) and network through which biological information is shared throughout the Western Hemisphere.
U.S. biosphere reserves are an important part of the U.S. MAB Program. However, we recognize there has been considerable confusion about the definition of a biosphere reserve. ''Biosphere reserve'' is a title granted to a protected area or series of protected areas that conduct exemplary programs in conservation, science, and management of natural resources. Biosphere reserves foster cooperation and voluntary implementation of activities that improve the relationship among communities, economic enterprises, and those who manage natural resources. Although U.S. biosphere reserves take various forms, the typical U.S. biosphere reserve is synonymous with a national park or national forest. However, private conservation organizations and even a private landowner have sought biosphere reserve status for their lands. The added recognition as a biosphere reserve provides national and international prestige. At present there are 47 biosphere reserves in the United States.
At this time, nominations for U.S. biosphere reserves are initiated at the local level by volunteers who form a committee to seek international recognition for their conservation efforts. Letters of concurrence are generated by local interest groups and local and state government representatives; these letters must be attached to each nomination package. Landowner approval is required for a property to be included. Participation in the U.S. Biosphere Reserve program is voluntary and does not alter the rights of private landowners or those of local, state, or national land management authorities.
Page 90 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The global network of biosphere reserves includes areas where national and local commitments have been made to long-term environmental monitoring, interdisciplinary research, and environmental education. As with World Heritage and Ramsar wetlands sites, the MAB sites in the U.S. are managed under the relevant Federal and/or state laws and regulations. There is no international regulatory framework. The day-to-day management of these areas does not change because of Biosphere Reserve recognition.
MAB activities that further U.S. interests include projects that:
Brought together policy makers, social scientists and natural scientists to produce specific strategies for restoring a healthy Everglades while also preserving the social and economic structures of South Florida.
Fostered an agreement signed by former Governor Symington of Arizona in 1996 and his counterpart from the adjacent Mexican state of Sonora, Manlio Beltrones to promote cooperation between the protected areas of the region.
Developed a local tourism plan for the Southern Appalachian Biosphere Reserve which benefited the community of Pittman Center, Tennessee.
Played a key role in the effort to restore the Coho salmon to areas of Northern California through the Golden Gate Biosphere Reserve.
Continuing international collaborations (mainly with nations in Latin America, Europe, and the Newly Independent States of the Former Soviet Union) are of importance to the Department of State because they further the Administration's goal of fostering wise environmental stewardship around the world while at the same time strengthening relations between the U.S. and key counterpart nations. The Man and the Biosphere Program has a significant role here, especially in international scientific exchange.
Page 91 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCH.R. 883
H.R. 883, like its predecessors H.R. 901 and S. 691, appears to be based on the mistaken belief that the World Heritage Convention and the U.S. Man and the Biosphere Program threaten U.S. sovereignty, mandate land-use regimes, restrict the rights of private landowners or exclude the public from the nomination and recognition process. The main purpose of World Heritage and the MAB Biosphere Reserve Program is to award recognition to sites of exceptional ecological, scientific, or cultural importance. Neither program regulates the management of these sites nor affects the land-use rights of the country in which they are located.
H.R. 883 seeks to legislate the process of nomination of World Heritage or Biosphere Reserve sites. In fact, local initiative already plays a key role in the nomination process for U.S. sites, involving local stakeholders, state and local governments, and the Federal Government. As mentioned earlier, the nomination process for World Heritage Sites is clearly delineated in law and regulation and includes full and appropriate public and congressional participation. This legislation could pose an unwarranted barrier to site nominations by local communities.
The process of Biosphere Reserve recognition and the functioning of recognized Biosphere Reserves is increasingly based on consultation and initiative of local stakeholders, state, and local governments. We believe these initiatives work well and with ample local involvement. In the Catskills there was disagreement about biosphere reserve nomination and as a result the nomination was duly withdrawn. In the Ozarks, there was citizen concern over nomination, and, again, it proceeded no further. The State Department has not received a single letter from any state governor or any local elected official requesting the abolition or de-listing of any U.S. biosphere reserve or World Heritage site. Also, we have not received any letters or studies documenting that any past listing of a biosphere reserve or World Heritage site has harmed the value of adjacent private property.
Page 92 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It is clear, however, that MAB is often misunderstood. We are committed to both clarifying the program's operations and ensuring appropriate public and congressional notification and consultation during the nomination process. We believe that the bill, H.R. 1801, introduced in the 105th Congress by Congressmen George Brown and George Miller, addresses these issues and provides a good legislative base for improved functioning of U.S. MAB.
Moreover, section 5 of H.R. 883 restricts international agreements generally, with respect to the nomination, classification, or designation of Federal lands for conservation purposes. The effects of this more general section are difficult to evaluate. We are concerned that, given the provision's current breadth, it would likely have unintended impacts that could hamper the United States' ability to fully participate in existing bilateral and multilateral agreements.
Specifically, we are concerned about the effect of this section on U.S. implementation of and participation in the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. President Reagan submitted this Convention to the Senate, which provided advice and consent to ratification in 1986. The Convention reflects a broad-based concern over the loss of wetland habitats and their dependent resources, and recognition of their vital role in preservation of migratory birds.
Our membership and international participation in the Ramsar Convention provides many benefits. Most prominent is reinforcement of the protection of a whole range of wetland-loving migratory birds, including many important game species (ducks, geese, coots, rails, etc.). The network of Ramsar sites in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico supports safe breeding and wintering sites for these waterfowl and gamebirdsbirds that generate significant income in the U.S. through hunting related enterprises as well as those associated with nature appreciation and bird watching.
Like the World Heritage Convention, the Ramsar Convention makes clear that the responsibility for identifying and for protecting wetlands of international importance that are suitable for listing under the Convention rests with the country in whose territory the site is located. It also states that the inclusion of a wetland in the Ramsar list, ''does not prejudice the exclusive sovereign rights of the Contracting Party in whose territory the wetland is situated.'' There are currently 17 designated Ramsar sites in the United States.
Page 93 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
We believe that U.S. participation in the World Heritage Convention, the U.S. Man and the Biosphere Program and the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands serve important national interests and help link national and international initiatives with local stakeholders. Recognition of Everglades National Park as a World Heritage site, as a biosphere reserve and as a Ramsar site has added no management restrictions and yet has provided worldwide recognition that is a source of pride and additional economic opportunity to the local communities. Moreover, U.S. leadership in the World Heritage Convention, the Man and the Biosphere Program, and the Ramsar Convention encourages other nations to similarly cherish and care for significant sites in their countries.
In conclusion, the Department of State strongly opposes H.R. 883. Recognition of a U.S. site as a World Heritage site, a biosphere reserve or a Ramsar Wetlands of International Importance in no way undermines U.S. sovereignty over such sites. Such recognition does not impose additional Federal land use restrictions over such areas or the abutting region. H.R. 883 would create unnecessary bureaucratic burdens on U.S. government agencies and would impose top-down controls on what is currently a bottoms-up nomination process. We believe this legislation runs counter to the U.S. role in supporting both local and global environmental cooperation. This bill would greatly impede the nomination of new sites under the World Heritage Convention, biosphere reserves under the MAB Program and Wetlands of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention.
This concludes my statement, Mr. Chairman. I will be happy to take any questions that you may have.
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STATEMENT OF BROOKS B. YEAGER, DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR POLICY AND INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to present the views of the Department of the Interior on H.R. 883, the American Land Sovereignty Protection Act. The chief effect of this legislation would be to place cumbersome and unwise restrictions on U.S. participation in the World Heritage Convention and other international conservation agreements. Ironically, these agreements were, in many cases, the product of U.S. world conservation leadership and have been supported by Presidents of both parties going back to President Nixon. Through them, the United States has been successful in engaging many other nations of the world in the effort to establish and protect national parks and to better conserve unique and important natural and cultural resources worldwide. The restrictions on participation and the burdensome new requirements of H.R. 883 appear to be a response to worries that these agreements in some way diminish U.S. sovereignty over our own parks and refugesbut nothing could be further from the truth. Because the restrictions of H.R. 883 are unnecessary, and would unwisely weaken the worldwide conservation leadership and influence that the United States has earned, we must strongly oppose this bill. If this legislation were to pass, the Secretary of the Interior would recommend a veto.
U.S. participation in the World Heritage Convention and other international conservation agreements has benefited parks and adjacent communities and has been helpful to U.S. foreign policy objectives. Both the idea of national parks and the World Heritage Convention, originating a century apart, are American ideas that are universally acclaimed and accepted worldwide. Their international acceptance is a continuous affirmation of the United States' prestige and global influence. U.S. participation in international conservation agreements insures that these ideals continue to extend their reach and also that U.S. sites receive the prestige and recognition they deserve, on par with that enjoyed internationally by the Great Pyramids of Egypt, Victoria Falls, the Serengeti Plain, and Vatican City.
Page 95 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC World Heritage designation does not impose any particular new management requirements; it often presents new opportunities. In Hawaii, the World Heritage designation of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is serving as the linchpin in a strategy to draw more tourists to the island, and is an element of the town of Volcano's strategic planning. At Wrangell-St. Elias and Glacier Bay, two parks that are listed jointly with Canadian parks across the border, World Heritage designation has resulted in direct cooperation with Canada on mountain rescue, managing traffic, and rescue operations on the Alsek River. The Reagan administration recognized the value of such designations when it chose to highlight one of its major initiatives in private-sector fundraising for parksthe restoration of the Statue of Libertyby nominating the Statue to the World Heritage List in 1984.
H.R. 883 attempts to fix alleged problems that do not exist. American sovereignty is not at risk. First, international agreements, such as the World Heritage Convention, do not in any way exclude Congress from exercising oversight of land management decisions, nor could they ever do so. Second, the nomination processes for the various international conservation designations are generally consultative and are based on conservation measures already in place at the local level. Third, land-use decisions pertaining to internationally recognized sites remain the sole responsibility of the sovereign nation in which the site is located. In the United States, such decisions fall under the jurisdiction of the appropriate Federal, state, or local governments, tribes, or private property owners, and are subject to the domestic laws already in place.
The designation of sites under the World Heritage Convention and other such agreements has no more effect on national law in the U.S. or elsewhere, than does the winning of a Nobel Prize or an Olympic Medal. The United Nations does not gain any authority to dictate land-management decisions in any country or at any level. This Administration has no intention to cede sovereignty over U.S. lands to international organizations; neither did the five previous administrations, both Republican and Democratic, which have all participated enthusiastically in the international conservation agreements targeted by this bill.
Page 96 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Nor is there any evidence that international recognition restricts land use or stops economic growth. To the contrary, World Heritage sites, U.S. Biosphere Reserves, and Ramsar designations have been embraced in many local areas of the U.S. as value-added designations, which increase partnerships among Federal, state and local governments, and private property owners for mutual benefit. Additionally, they have contributed to increases in tourism, which is especially vital to local economies, and have fostered research on important environmental problems.
Rather than being harmful to local and community interests, a World Heritage designation appears to be economically beneficial to those near designated sites, especially an attraction for foreign tourists. During the period 1990-1995, visitation to U.S. World Heritage parks increased 9.4 percent, as opposed to a 4.2 percent increase for all national parks. There is evidence to suggest that a significant part of the increase derived from increased international tourism; World Heritage designation makes it more likely that foreign visitors, especially those with specialized interests, will learn about and visit the parks.
For example, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park reports that an increase in foreign visitation from Europe, currently at 10 percent, may be due to its World Heritage designation. Grand Canyon National Park, where foreign visitation is roughly 40 percent, reports that foreign visitation is more likely as a result of a World Heritage designation than to an individual nation's ''national park'' designation. Given that the total economic benefit of the Grand Canyon to the surrounding region is estimated at $350 to $700 million per year, the impact of the World Heritage designation is clearly salutary there.
H.R. 883 would unduly restrict the legal and administrative framework for implementation of important U.S. commitments to international environmental cooperation, which have traditionally enjoyed bipartisan support in Congress and the Executive Branch. It would also allow those who oppose cooperative efforts in international conservation on ideological grounds to block the efforts of communities to utilize these agreements for their own benefit. Section 3 of the bill would amend the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended, to require express authorization by Congress of each future nomination of Federal sites for inclusion in the World Heritage List. It would also instruct the Secretary of the Interior to object to the inclusion of any property (including private lands) in the U.S. on the List of World Heritage in Danger, absent authorization by a Joint Resolution of Congress. Section 4 would establish a similar congressional authorization process for biosphere reserve designations. It would prohibit the nomination of new biosphere reserves for international recognition under UNESCO and void the designation of all existing biosphere reserves unless authorizing legislation is passed by December 31, 2000. The bill unnecessarily encumbers what are now modest, grass roots-based programs that fulfill our commitment to environmental stewardship in the world.
Page 97 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The amendments to the National Historic Preservation Act, that would be made under Section 3, would require the Secretary of the Interior to make a determination of any adverse effects on commercially viable uses should an area be nominated as a World Heritage site or be placed on the List of World Heritage in Danger. The adverse effects must be considered for lands being nominated or listed and also for all lands within 10 miles of the area. However, since designating an area as a World Heritage site or listing it as ''in danger'' does not change U.S. law, nor impose land-use restrictions, the designation cannot adversely affect commercially viable uses. Also, sections 3 and 4 of the bill set additional reporting requirements for all areas that have been recognized as World Heritage Sites or Biosphere Reserves. This is a burdensome and unnecessary requirement and flies in the face of recent congressional action to eliminate unneeded reports to Congress.
With respect to the legal effect of the World Heritage Convention, the Congressional Research Service said in its May 3, 1996 report, ''World Heritage Convention and U.S. National Parks,'' that: ''The Convention has no role or authority beyond listing sites and offering technical advice and assistance.'' The clear understanding that the Convention carries no land management authority or obligation goes back to President Nixon's statement on the issue.
The case of ''biosphere reserves'' established in connection with UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere program similarly admits no international control of U.S. lands. Indeed, the charter document for the UNESCO program clearly states that, ''Biosphere Reserves, each of which remain under the sole sovereignty of the State where it is situated and thereby submitted to State legislation only, form a world network in which participation by States is voluntary.'' (As used in this quote the word ''State'' refers to sovereign nations.)
Page 98 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The World Heritage Convention, a foreign policy initiative of the Nixon Administration, has been a cornerstone of U.S. international environmental foreign policy for a quarter century. The U.S. played a notable leadership role in drafting the Convention and was the first signatory in 1973. The Senate ratified the Treaty by a margin of 95-0. Although 156 nations now participate, the U.S. has continued its leadership role, twice serving as chair, and currently completing a second consecutive 6-year term on the World Heritage Committee.
It is noteworthy that, although the Reagan Administration chose to withdraw the United States from UNESCO, that Administration opted to remain active in World Heritage and promulgated the program regulations, still in force, that made the program fully operative in the U.S. Under President Bush, in 1992, Secretary of the Interior Manuel Lujan hosted the meeting of the World Heritage Committee, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the second time in the Committee's more than 20 years of active work that it met in the U.S.
Under the World Heritage Convention, each nation nominates its own most important natural and cultural sites and agrees to take the necessary steps to preserve and protect them under its own legal systems. In fact, a nation can only nominate a site within its own border and no nation can nominate a site in another nation. The treaty, implementing legislation, and program regulations mandate a process that is orderly, predictable, and exacting, requiring a minimum of more than two years between the proposal of a site for study and its consideration by the World Heritage Committee.
The U.S. nomination process is completely voluntary and clearly delineated in law and regulation (Title IV of the Historic Preservation Act Amendments of 1980 and 36 CFR Part 73). Under the regulations, the National Park Service staffs the Interagency Panel on World Heritage, which is advisory to and chaired by the Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks. The Panel meets in public sessions to consider proposed nominations and to review completed studies. Proposals to nominate sites have originated from private organizations and citizens and local governments as well as from park superintendents. Every proposed nomination must have a strictly defined boundary. The criteria and documentation requirements for nomination are highly selective; many proposed properties have been turned down or deferred for cause. Relevant committees of the House and Senate are notified of all pending proposals and again informed when the Department has decided to nominate a property. Over the years, when Members of Congress have commented on proposed sites, they have overwhelmingly supported proposed nominations in their respective states. This existing congressional input has worked very well. No site has been nominated if its nomination did not enjoy overwhelming support from both local leaders and the State's congressional delegation.
Page 99 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Since 1979, when Yellowstone and Mesa Verde were placed on the World Heritage List, 18 other U.S. sites have been added, for a total of 20. A handful of others have been nominated but not listed. No new proposed nominations are being actively considered. The World Heritage Committee, composed of representatives elected from 21 member countries, reviews all national nominations. At present, 582 properties have been listed. The Committee also places properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger. Only the Committee can place properties on either List. Neither listing as a World Heritage Site nor inclusion on the List of World Heritage in Danger supersedes or diminishes United States sovereignty. Neither imposes any legal requirement for U.S. sites beyond those already contained in U.S. law. The World Heritage Committee does not acquire management authority over World Heritage Sites by virtue of any listing.
The U.S. World Heritage nomination process is fully respectful of private property rights. Affirmative concurrence is required from all non-Federal owners before properties can be nominated for inclusion on the World Heritage List. The two private U.S. properties on the World Heritage List are Monticello and Taos Pueblo. Three other properties in the United States or Puerto Rico are on the World Heritage List. These are the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia owned by the Commonwealth of Virginia and Cahokia Mounds and La Fortaleza in San Juan, Puerto Rico owned by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The nominations for all these sites enjoyed the full support of all relevant stakeholders.
U.S. Biosphere Reserves
Though the Department of the Interior plays a leading role for the U.S. under the World Heritage Convention, it plays a cooperative role in our participation in the Man and the Biosphere Program. As with World Heritage Sites, the designation and management of U.S. Biosphere Reserves provide benefits from international recognition, and allow U.S. sites to be linked to a global network for cooperation in science, education, and technical assistance. Recognition does not pose a threat to the sovereignty of American lands, it does not impose new management requirements on public lands, and it does not impose new land-use or regulatory restrictions on private property owners. In addition, designation does not imply any intent on the part of the Federal Government to acquire property in the surrounding area.
Page 100 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC There are 47 designated biosphere reserves in the United States. Biosphere reserves represent purely voluntary commitments on the part of land managers to emphasize conservation, science and education as they seek solutions to issues of conservation and development in cooperation with local residents, governments, and other parties in their region. The purposes of these associations are to facilitate the discovery of practical solutions to complex conservation and development problems by providing a science-based framework for pursuing common goals. This cooperative setting allows each party to share resource and economic expertise that no one group could obtain on its own. Biosphere reserve recognition is proposed by local entities, in consultation with local governments and other interested parties. Approval by landowners, public and private, is required. As a matter of practice, when such proposals appear to have been developed without sufficient local consultation, or where local opposition is obvious, they have been returned with guidance regarding the need for local support.
Mammoth Cave is a good example of this program. The Mammoth Cave Area Biosphere Reserve was designated in 1990 and includes Mammoth Cave National Park and its primary groundwater recharge basins. The Barren River Area Development District (BRADD), which is chartered by the Commonwealth of Kentucky and is responsible for regional planning within the ten-county area surrounding Mammoth Cave, selected the U.S. biosphere reserve model as the tool to address regional water quality issues. The biosphere reserve activities are coordinated through the BRADD, whose Board of Directors is made up of locally elected officials, and is viewed as a locally managed effort rather than a Federal undertaking. To coordinate resource management activities, the BRADD established a Biosphere Reserve Council which consists of Western Kentucky University, USDA Forest Service, USDA Farm Service Agency, USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, Tennessee Valley Authority, U.S. Economic Development Administration, Army Corps of Engineers, agencies of the Kentucky Natural Resources Cabinet, the Resource Conservation and Development District, the Caveland Sanitation District, and the National Park Service. Together, these previously unlikely partners have made significant accomplishments that have directly benefited the area. These accomplishments include:
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The Mammoth Cave Area Water Quality ProjectA partnership approach to protecting the Mammoth Cave Watershed, which includes significant financial resources available to farmers from the USDA on a cost-sharing basis, significant investment by the NPS for monitoring, and support from the EPA to continue this effort.
Regional GIS/GPS and Development of a Geospatial Data CenterMembers of the Biosphere Reserve Council have pooled their resources to enhance data sharing and analysis capability and to establish a geographic information system and global positioning base station which has a variety of applications of benefit to all members. Additionally, a grant from the U.S. Geological Survey has established a Geospatial Data Center at Western Kentucky University.
Economic Development and Impact StudiesThe Economic Development Administration funded a study in the area to assess the potential for compatible industrial development. The results of this study have been made available to the community to assist in economic and infrastructure planning. Also, the USGS in partnership with local universities is working on an economic impact study of the park and local area to assess the impact of tourism expenditures.
The Mammoth Cave Area Biosphere Reserve, with the national park as its core protected area, has therefore utilized its stature to better address local conservation and development issues, including securing additional financial resources not previously available. Landowners and communities have derived tangible benefits and received recognition for working together to resolve complex conservation and development issues and protect resource values. A survey of biosphere reserve managers in 1995 suggests that, in cases where their cooperative endeavors are identified explicitly with the biosphere reserve concept, there are more cooperating parties and more participation of local organizations than in other types of cooperative efforts.
Biosphere Reserves are also important internationally because they provide a network of protected areas, particularly essential as stopovers for migratory birds that U.S. shares with other nations. For example, Mexico's newly created Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve in the Yucatan Peninsula provides wintering habitat for species seen during the summer in the United States, many of which are in decline because of habitat loss. Each year more than 65 million Americans watch and feed birds and more than 25 million Americans travel away from their homes specifically to watch birds. These bird-watching Americans spend $5.2 billion annually, generating an annual total economic return to the U.S. economy of nearly $20 billion. U.S. citizens also are frequent visitors to internationally recognized sites of other countries. American businesses directly benefit from this visitation of U.S. citizens to foreign countries, as they operate tour companies that frequent biosphere reserve sites abroad.
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Finally, Section 5 of the bill restricts international agreements in general with respect to the nomination, classification or designation of Federal lands for conservation purposes. This general language will have a detrimental effect on the United States ability to provide world leadership in environmental conservation efforts. Specifically, it will hamper the U.S. ability to implement the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, an international agreement submitted by President Reagan in 1986, that recognizes the vital role wetlands play in local communities for water quality, migratory bird habitat and aesthetic and recreational enjoyment.
Designations of appropriate sites as ''wetlands of international importance'' under the Ramsar Convention have been a positive force for conservation of these sites. Since the Convention was ratified in 1986, 17 sites have been designated, all at the request of the local communities where the sites occur. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the agency which oversees the Ramsar Convention, does not actively seek out and designate Ramsar sites, one of the reasons that the implementation of the Convention in the United States has been successful without major controversies. The Service considers educating and informing citizens about the Convention a starting point; then the genesis of a nomination must begin with the community. This approach sparks interest by citizens, helps bring a community together, and builds support for a nomination. Sometimes it can develop partnerships between unlikely groups. Citizens take pride in their special places and international recognition can only improve this pride.
A number of States and local communities have used designation as a means of enhancing locally based conservation and economic efforts. A review conducted by the Fish and Wildlife Service in 1996 found a number of positive values from Ramsar designations, all as a result of the voluntary, cooperative spirit in which designations are made. For example, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection noted that Ramsar designation has been used as a non-regulatory tool to achieve wetland protections, and found a significant increase in tourism to designated sites, increasing local revenue. On the Lower Connecticut River, the State of Connecticut found that their designation of the lower Connecticut River wetlands complex as a Ramsar site has had a positive impact upon property values. Realtors are actively using this designation to attract buyers to abutting properties and the sale prices for these lands have increased. The State expects to see a positive impact on the tax base for Connecticut River townships from the Ramsar designation. And in Southern Illinois, the local communities are depending on the Ramsar designation of the unique cypress and tupelo swamps on the Cache River to help draw tourists and improve the economic viability of this depressed region.
Page 103 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Policy and guidelines for nomination of sites to the List of Wetlands of International Importance was published in a Federal Register Notice dated April 12, 1990, Vol. 55, No. 77. This action was taken in accordance with the articles of the Convention. These guidelines are needed to (1) assure that petitions for listing are consistent with the Convention's criteria and obligations, and (2) allow mechanisms for appropriate review of proposed site nominations. It is important to note that Article 2, Part 3, of the Convention document specifically states ''the inclusion of a wetland in the List does not prejudice the exclusive sovereign rights of the Contracting Party in whose territory the wetland is situated.''
The Fish and Wildlife Service will continue its policy to consider proposed sites only if (1) there is concurrence from the State, Commonwealth, or Territory where the site is located; (2) the ownership rights of the lands being considered are free from encumbrances or dispute; and (3) the lands are in public or private management that is conducive with the conservation of wetlands. In all cases where private lands are involved, endorsement of a potential listing by the landowners is mandatory. In addition, the Fish and Wildlife Service has made it a requirement for all nominating organizations to provide written approval from the appropriate member(s) of the Congressional Delegation.
The Administration believes that the requirement under H.R. 883 that would require Congressional approval for listing sites under the Convention on Wetlands would substantially delay the benefits which designation of sites under the Convention can bring and would make the process much more time-consuming and bureaucratic. It would also remove the locally driven designation process and replace it with a prescriptive Federal process if the entire Congress would have to approve every designation. Why should a member from New York be able to deny a Ramsar designation from a community in Texas that is seeking the designation? On the other hand, the required approvals from any private property owner(s), the State, Commonwealth, or Territory in which the property resides, and the Congressional delegation, should ensure that citizens directly effected by a designation are supportive and make a formal Congressional approval process unnecessary.
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International site recognitions such as World Heritage and U.S. Biosphere Reserves do not threaten U.S. sovereignty or interests. Rather, they enhance the prestige and recognition of areas already protected under domestic law and provide economic benefits to communities that benefit from being internationally recognized. The ''national park'' idea was something inherently American that has been extended internationally through these programs; to inhibit them would be a disservice to this idea in the United States and would diminish U.S. influence abroad. We strongly believe that the United States should continue to play a leading role in these worldwide efforts that benefit the citizens and the environment of both our nation and of the entire world.
This concludes my prepared remarks.
STATEMENT OF STEPHEN G. LINDSEY, CANELO, ARIZONA
Hello, my name is Steve Lindsey, and I live in Canelo, Arizona. Canelo is located in Southeastern Arizona on the west side of the Huachuca Mountains, about 14 miles north of the Mexican border. My mother, my father, my wife and I and nine children make up the population of Canelo.
My great-great grandfather came to this area in the late 1860's. He homesteaded in what is now called Parker Canyon, which is 10 miles to the south of Canelo.
His son, my great-grandfather, homesteaded in Canelo on Turkey Creek in 1910. He started running his cattle on the creek at that time, but prior to that, the country was considered open range and had supported cattle from the early 1800's.
Page 105 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC My father and I are still operating a cow-calf operation on that same homestead, along with the help of my sons and daughters. The private property that we own lies in Turkey Creek, and 320 acres private are deeded land. Probably 60 acres of that is all that would be considered a wetlands. The vision most people, especially in the east, have of a creek is very different from that in the arid Southwest. Turkey Creek, known as a ''cienega'' which means wetland in Spanish, only has flowing water four months of the year. Most of the cienga is actually a bog with little standing water, but the soil is saturated. There are a few cottonwood and willow trees along the cienega with a few ephemeral springs that I call wet weather springs because they are only evident after the spring and summer rains.
The deeded land we own is also the property we legally need to own in order to qualify for a U.S. Forest Service grazing lease on about 11,500 acres.
So all together my family has been operating a successful cattle ranch on Turkey Creek for 87 years. We hope to keep this a way of life for years to come, not only to keep the land in the family, but to supply a commodity, our beef calves, to the nation. My three sons and two of my daughters have shown an active interest in the cattle operation, especially my oldest son who is with me quite consistently on the land learning about the grasses and continuing the process to show that we don't so much raise beef as we raise the grass to support the beef. I want my children in the type of lifestyle that promotes the character of living off the land and how we must be self sufficient, hard working, moral and ethical in all of our dealings. Without this land we would be forced to live in the city and rear our children in an environment that I don't feel is the best for their learning and young adulthood.
I have heard that in some family businesses that after the founders die the second generation either is not committed to the business or does not have the knowledge to run the business and make it economically viable. But in the ranching industry this does not seem to be the case. Ranches such as ours have been passed on from generation to generation and kept as viable businesses, operations and ways of life. My children, who without this ranch, would not have the work ethics they have and would not be active in their desire to keep not only the environment healthy, but also 320 intact and not subdivide it.
Page 106 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC On June 3, 1993 the Southwest Center for Biological Diversity (SWCBD) petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the Canelo Hills ladies tresses (Spiranthes Delitesens) as an endangered species. Then in 1995 SWCBD sued U.S. Fish and Wildlife to list the ladies tresses.
These plants seem to require a perpetually moist soil, and are reported to grow in five known places, all of them in Southeastern Arizona. One of these places is Turkey Creek, on my family's private property.
The ladies tresses was listed this year on January 6, 1997. The SWCBD states that cattle grazing may damage the ladies tresses, when in fact, even the Federal Register (Vol. 62, No. 3, January 6, 1997) states that the Canelo Hills ladies tresses grow much better where the cattle have disturbed the land. These plants only flower in July and August when the rains come, and that is the same time that we have moved our cattle, on a rotational basis, to the pastures out the riparian area where the tresses flower. We manage our cattle on rotation. We do this so that the cattle will not be in the same pastures more than once in any given year. We practice this rotation method because cattle will find a locale and stay there if we don't move them. Rotating them ensures healthy pastures and a healthy environment.
We have a film from the 1940's of our land, but there is much more willow and cottonwood growth and regeneration now than there was then. We know that our good management practices on the practices on the ranch and using a holistic resource management system to rejuvenate the riparian area have been very successful.
Sam Spiller, Arizona state supervisor for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said at a U.S. Forest Service permitee meeting in the old Canelo school house on Saturday May 17, 1997 that he wasn't sure the reason why there were so many endangered species in Southeastern Arizona. I felt like telling him that the that the reason we have these endangered species is because we still have the open areas and habitat where these species can live. But endangered species are scarce or do not live in areas that have already been developed like Phoenix and Tucson. It is because people like myself and my family and the past generations have chosen to continue to ranch and uphold a way of life that has virtually disappeared and been paved over in the larger urban areas. Because we have chosen this way of life and because I have a strong desire to pass this way of life on to my children and leave this land open and undeveloped that I feel I am being singled out. There is a potential threat that I will be punished for the choices my family has made. I hope that this does not happen and we can continue ranching this land as we have for 5 generations.
Page 107 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Furthermore, the Canelo Hills ladies tresses on our private property in Turkey Creek are doing much better than the ladies tresses on the The Nature Conservancy (TNC) property in O'Donnel Canyon, one mile west of our property. Dr. Peter Warren, a botanist with TNC, specifically told me that the population of tresses on our property are doing much better than does on TNC's land in O'Donnel Canyon. The ladies tresses on TNC property are not grazed.
The benefit of grazing was also noted in the Federal Register rule (Vol. 62, No. 3, p.677) listing the ladies tresses: ''Discussions of well-managed livestock grazing and Spiranthes presented in the proposed rule did not indicate a detrimental effect. The Service stated that our preliminary conclusion is that well-managed livestock grazing does not harm Spiranthes populations. Additionally, the Service acknowledges that Spiranthes may favor some form of mild disturbance and would not recommend the removal of grazing as a component of responsible stewardship.''
When I heard the ladies tresses was proposed to be listed I was very concerned that the Federal Government would be able to put restrictions on our private property and on our cattle operation. But I was reassured by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that there would be no detrimental impacts to our way of life. I was not reassured (are you ever reassured when the government says ''don't worry''?). In fact I was very concerned because I am very well aware of implications of the Endangered Species Act and how it has restricted land use of private property owners, especially across the west. I feared that I would lose my way of life and no longer be able to operate the cattle ranch and operate it as generations had done in the past and also pass it on to my children.
Then just 22 days after the listing of the ladies tresses I learned that the SWCBD decided to use a little known international wetlands treaty to designate our 60 acre wetland as a wetland of international significance under the RAMSAR convention. I very much in shock at how quickly the SWCBD, the same group that petitioned to have the ladies tresses listed, then tried to use an international treaty to influence or control the uses of our land. Kieran Suckling of SWCBD said, in a newspaper article in the Arizona Republic on February 1, 1997, ''By protecting these Arizona wetlands through the RAMSAR Convention, we get international oversight.'' This scared me when I read this article knowing that I might not only be regulated by the state and Federal Government because of the endangered ladies tresses orchid but now because of an international treaty to protect wetlands. Now I feared that there would global oversight of my small piece of land.
Page 108 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC My first thoughts went then to the pledge of Allegiance that we are a nation indivisible and that this sovereign nation would be governed by other countries and their governments. I feared greatly not only for my family but also for the families in the United States that would be affected in coming years by the lack of sovereignty that this convention represented. Sovereignty is what has made this nation great and strong for over 200 years, and that is why I cherish my and my family's freedom and rights that the Constitution of the United States has promised us.
In the small amount of information I have been able to obtain on the RAMSAR convention I have learned some interesting facts. The convention was signed in February 1971 in Ramsar, Iran and 93 countries have joined the convention. Over 800 wetlands covering over 500,000 square kilometers (which is the size of France) have been designated under the convention.
I have also taken a look at the convention's Strategic Plan for 1997-2002. It states that official name of the treaty is ''Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat.'' The only time I see waterfowl on my land is in the fall and spring when they are migrating for four weeks in each season. I see at most 25 ducks at any one time but the average number of ducks I see is around 6. I would hardly see my land as wetlands of international importance especially for waterfowl habitat. I think it is ridiculous that my land is being considered for designation under this treaty. I do understand that the Chesapeake Bay is under the same convention, and I think anyone will agree that the Chesapeake Bay is a wetlands of international importance for waterfowl, unlike my 60 acres in Southeastern Arizona.
The Plan's Action 5.2.5 says, ''Promote the establishment and implementation of strict protection measures certain Ramsar sites and other wetlands of small size and/or particular sensitivity.'' That is what my wetland is, and I do not want or need more protection measures. I already have to worry about the Endangered Species Act.
I also found some other disturbing things in the Strategic Plan.
Page 109 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC First, the thing that worries me most is Operational Objective 2.2. ''To integrate conservation and wise use of wetlands in all Contracting Parties into national, provincial and local planning and decision-making on land use, groundwater management, catchment/river basin and coastal zone planning, and all other environmental planning and management.'' I see this that for the past five generation that my family has not been doing a good enough job protecting our wetlands and now someone is trying to tell us how to manage our private property and cattle operation. I thought this convention was not supposed to have any land use regulations. This does not seem to be the case. I don't want the United Nations helping put more land use restrictions on my family's property.
Second, the Introduction states, ''Through this Plan, the Convention's long-standing technical work in wetlands is strengthened, and a new catalytic role vis-a-vis the development assistance community is established. The Convention's technical and policy work becomes more closely related to the broader concerns of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and its traditional involvement with waterfowl is related more clearly to the Convention on Migratory Species.'' This mission creep worries me because now the true intent of the Convention has grown, and there is more chance that it will encroach on my property rights.
Third, General Objective 2 states, ''The Conference of the Contracting Parties has determined that the concept of wise use applies to broad planning affecting wetlands.'' It also says, ''the greatest emphasis in Ramsar implementation will be placed on wetlands in the context of land-use planning, water resource management and other decisions affecting wetlands. Where Contracting Parties are developing national wetland policies (or other policies encompassing conservation and wise use of wetlands), such policies should be in conformity with other national environmental planning measures. Legislative changes may also be necessary.'' This sounds like land use regulation that will affect my private property rights and restrict my land use.
Page 110 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Fourth, the Mission Statement says, ''The Convention's mission is the conservation and wise use of wetlands by national action and international cooperation as a means to achieving sustainable development throughout the world.'' Sustainable development seems to be a far cry from protecting waterfowl. Also, ''national action'' sounds a lot like more Federal regulations to me. The Introduction states the Convention is ''stressing the need to integrate the conservation of wetland biodiversity with sustainable development . . . and the health and well-being of people everywhere.'' This worries me for the same reasons that the Mission Statement does.
Fifth, Operational Objective 3.2 states, ''To develop and encourage national programs of EPA [Education and Public Awareness] on wetlands, targeted at a wide range of people, including key decision-makers, people living in and around wetlands, other wetlands users and the public at large.''
Operational Objective 4.2. states, ''To identify the training needs of institutions and individuals concerned with the conservation and wise use of wetlands and to implement follow-up actions.''
Operational Objective 7.2 states, ''To strengthen and formalize linkages between Ramsar and other international and/or regional environmental conventions and agencies, so as to advance the achievement of shared goals and objectives relating to wetland species or issues.''
What this seems like to me is that they are seeking public input from people that have absolutely no rights to my land. As I said before, this mission creep worries me very much. I see this language and I can only conclude that my rights as a private property owner are threatened.
In the Arizona Republic story on February 1, 1997 the SWCBD contends that ''. . . wetlands are being systematically destroyed, drained or polluted by urban sprawl, mining, livestock grazing and timber cutting.'' This does not apply to my wetland, but I worry that much of the language from the Strategic Plan can be used by groups like SWCBD to violate my property rights and deprive me of the use of my land.
Page 111 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC My family and I strongly feel that the past 89 years of history speak for themselves. If we were not true stewards of the land, we could not have run a successful cattle operation for the past 5 generations.
As I said before, my heart's desire is to live on this land and pass it down to my sons and daughters knowing that they too can be good stewards of the land without having to fear more government land use regulations. I plead with the people present here today to consider these words. The same government that promised my great-great-grandfather and my great grandfather, the land, through the Homestead Act, and pursuit of happiness is now the same government that is helping destroy these dreams.
It is absolutely necessary that this bill, H.R. 883, include the Ramsar convention and that this bill is passed and implemented. As a sovereign nation we cannot give any more power to those whose desire is to control our very existence.
STATEMENT OF DAVID B. ROVIG, P.E., BILLINGS, MONTANA
Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, I am David B. Rovig, a mining engineer from Billings, Montana. I want to testify in support of H.R. 883, The American Land Sovereignty Protection Act. H.R. 883 addresses several key issues that are of great importance to protecting private property rights, access to strategic resources and our Nation's sovereignty. These issues are, and have been, the cornerstones of our country's success. No nation has ever achieved or sustained greatness without access to natural resources and, certainly, no great nation has ever allowed other nations to dictate its resource policy. Likewise, only those nations respecting private property rights have ever sustained greatness. These very important tenets have worked well for over two hundred years, but now seem to be tested at almost every turn by those who now manage our government's affairs and their handlers in the pseudo-environmental community. I know this legislation passed in the 105th Congress and hopefully that will be the case again.
Page 112 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Let me place in personal terms the need for H.R. 883. In 1987, I was one of the founders of Crown Butte Resources Ltd., a company that acquired a few claims in the mountains, and $40,000,000 later had discovered a world class gold deposit called the New World Mine in south-central Montana. Unfortunately, as it turned out, it was within 3 miles of a remote corner of Yellowstone Park. That project made business sense from the very beginning. It was also a project that we knew from the very beginning would be very closely monitored and that would have to meet or exceed a mountain of regulations and requirements. After a very careful review, we knew those hurdles would be difficult but passable. Crown Butte worked with the State of Montana and several Federal agencies to chart a course for the completion of an Environmental Impact Statement. That process alone would take several years and cost several millions of dollars. Every concern of the State and Federal governments was addressed and we were well on our way to receiving the required permits. The challenge was enormous, expensive, and unpredictable, but through numerous changes to mining plans, ranging from how we handled tailings to where our facilities would be located progress was made.
The now well-known piracy of the process began late February 1995 when fourteen environmental groups requested that Yellowstone National Park be listed as a World Heritage Site in Danger. They saw that we were meeting all the legal and regulatory tests so they felt the scare tactic of placing Yellowstone on the World Heritage Sites in Danger list might be their only chance to stop the mine. They did this with the full support of the administration and Yellowstone Park management. It seems the New World Mine was a project the radical environmentalists and the Clinton Administration loved to hate. However, if one looks at the facts that are associated with the New World Mine they tell a vastly different story than what you have heard or read in the media or in information provided by the Clinton Administration. The Administration's bullying tactics and complete sellout to the
obstructionist agenda of a few elitist pseudo-environmental groups resulted in an unparalleled government denial of the free enterprise system. Unparalleled, at least until it was used as a stepping stone to the even larger and more egregious intrusion known as the Escalante-Grand Staircase Land Grab. What horrible precedentsnow every objection to development in the West includes a demand for government buyouts.
Page 113 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC There is a great deal of history tied to the New World Mine project dating back to the mid-1800's. Mining in this area is nothing new. Only, with today's standards, it was to be done with minimal impact on the environment and with the approval and oversight of State and Federal agencies. As I mentioned before, we were in that very structured and deliberative process when a committee operating under the umbrella of the United Nations came to Yellowstone National Park, already a World Heritage Site, to see if it should be added as a Site in Danger. Incredibly, when the visit was first publicly announced, the Interior Department was going to pay for the travel costs of the U.N. members. Fortunately, public outcry resulted in that decision being withdrawn. These three or four committee members from such places as Thailand paid a three-day tourist-type visit to the Park during which a three-hour road tour of the New World Mine site was made. After this short visit, which consisted largely of media events and photo ops, this group of ''experts'' concluded that the New World project did endanger Yellowstone Park. In arriving at this outrageous decision they chose to ignore the many volumes of scientific evidence that had been gathered on the project over several years and at great cost by some of the world's true experts from industry and government. The nearly completed New World Mine Environmental Impact Statement was probably the most comprehensive technical document ever assembled for such a project. The negation of this document was a slap in the face to the many agency professionals, primarily from the Forest Service and the State of Montana, who had justifiably developed great professional pride in their management of such a complex effort. I ask you, how could they make those findings: (A) after a short visit to Yellowstone Park and the mine site, (B) without even a basic understanding of the environmental review process that was taking place, and (C) without consulting with our elected representatives in Congress? These three failings are inexcusable in America.
Past Congresses and Administrations, in conjunction with Federal agencies and State governments, developed a very detailed and extensive review process with full public involvement. The studies and information required are extensive and exhaustive by any measure. Many agencies were in the process of doing all the necessary reviews and requiring Crown Butte to provide all the necessary data for an Environmental Impact Statement. That process should have been honored. Instead, it was scuttled. All who played by all the rules paid a dear price in doing so. The State of Montana which had invested the time and talent of its best regulators was left out of the decision. Montana paid the price of losing all the economic benefit this project and others that might have followed could bring. Partly because of decisions like this, Montana currently ranks fiftieth in the nation's per capita income. The miners, the engineers, the businessmen, the property owners, the counties and municipalities, all were left in the economic lurch which was facilitated in part by three day visitors from other continents.
Page 114 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC To this day, I know the New World Mine could have been developed and operated in a manner that fully protected Yellowstone's resources while contributing to the Nation's economy. Please do not forget that I am a life-long Montanan and I want Yellowstone to be there for my children and grandchildren, as well as yours. I was trained from a very early age that if you play by the rules you will be judged accordingly. That was not the case with the New World Mine. Three other directors and I resigned from the Crown Butte Board rather than agree to take a piddling amount of Federal money and pull the plug on the project. A great deal of hard work went into a viable project and it went out the window with an ill-conceived political/media decision. If that is to be the future process we must follow, our country has lost its focus and its fairness. You always hear the naysayers say, ''put your mine some place else because this area or this site is too special.'' I have a simple reply to that. The Creator put both on earth, the grandeur of Yellowstone, and the gold of the New World Mine. Gold is where you find it, not where you wish it to be.
In closing, I would make three recommendations. First, pass H.R. 883 with strong provisions protecting our sovereignty. Our country developed the concept of a System of National Parks. Do we now need others to tell us how they should be managed? Second, let the system work. How can we continue to invest vast sums of money in projects where a very comprehensive evaluation system is in place and then, when a select group decides it should not go forward, have the Federal treasury pick up the bill? I do not think any business, mining or otherwise, should take on complex projects with the idea that ''Uncle'' will buy them out if the politics get too hot. Lastly, Mr. Chairman, common sense and reason have to be placed back in the process. Everyday a new layer of regulation is added at some level in the process. Everyday some obstructionist group uses that new regulation, or some mutation of it, to effect new barriers the Congress could not possibly have imagined and everyday we, in the business world, are forced to look outside our borders for new projects. I hope that is not what America is about. Your actions on H.R. 883 and other similar types of legislation are one small step in arriving at an answer.
Page 115 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Thank you, Mr. Chairman, I would be happy to answer any questions.
STATEMENT OF ANN WEBSTER SMITH, CHAIRMAN EMERITUS, U.S. COMMITTEE OF THE INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL ON MONUMENTS AND SITES (U.S./ICOMOS) AND VICE PRESIDENT, INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL ON MONUMENTS AND SITES (ICOMOS)
Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee. Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you to testify on legislation which would amend the Antiquities Act of 1906 and Section 401 of the National Historic Preservation Act dealing with U.S. participation in the World Heritage Convention, H.R. 883, the American Land Sovereignty Protection Act, a bill ''to preserve the sovereignty of the United States over public lands and acquired lands owned by the United States, and to preserve State sovereignty and private property rights in non-Federal lands surrounding those public lands and acquired lands.''
On behalf of some 600 members, the U.S. Committee of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (U.S./ICOMOS) opposes this bill because it would deny Americans the opportunity to protect, recognize and honor that of their cultural and natural patrimony which is or could be recognized to be, in the language of the World Heritage Convention, ''of outstanding universal value'' and worthy of the prestige that such recognition by 156 other nations and the international community implies.
U.S./ICOMOS is a professional membership organization with some 600 members who represent the fields of architecture, town planning, history and architectural history, archaeology and archives. U.S./ICOMOS is a non-governmental cultural heritage organization established in 1965 and is concerned with the conservation, protection, rehabilitation and enhancement of historic properties and groups of buildings, historic districts and site, and in educational and information programs designed to reflect that concern. U.S./ICOMOS is one of a network of independent non-governmental national committees representing similar professions in more than 90 countries, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS).
Page 116 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC More importantly, in terms of the proposed legislation, H.R. 883, ICOMOS is one of two non-governmental bodies (the other being the International Union for the Conservation of Nature) which are named in the World Heritage Convention as professional consulting bodies on nominations to the World Heritage List, a list of natural and cultural or man-made properties determined to be ''of outstanding universal value,'' to each nation and to all nations.
U.S./ICOMOS would like to address those aspects of H.R. 883 which deal with the World Heritage Convention and U.S. participation in that Convention or treaty. Rather than reducing U.S. participation in the Convention, we would encourage the Committee on Resources to strengthen and encourage measures which would lead to a greater United States participation in the World Heritage Convention. For that reason, we would oppose any steps such as those proposed in H.R. 883 which would diminish or limit the level of U.S. actions concerning the Convention and the World Heritage List which the Convention has created.
The World Heritage Convention has its roots in proposals put forward during the first Nixon Administration at the Stockholm Conference on the Environment in 1972 where the Hon. Russell Train headed the U.S. delegation. Subsequently the United States was the first nation to ratify the Convention. Since that time 156 nations have ratified the Convention and some 582 properties (117 natural, 445 cultural or man-made and 20 ''mixed'' or combining both cultural and natural features) have been listed on the World Heritage List of Cultural and Natural Heritage ''of outstanding universal value.''
In this country, important historic properties such as Thomas Jefferson's Monticello and Independence Hall have been listed along with natural properties of unique distinction such as Everglades and Grand Canyon National Parks. In other countries, cultural properties of such undeniable ''outstanding universal value'' as the Acropolis, Westminster Abbey, and the Great Wall of China have been listed along with whole towns or urban areas such as Old Jerusalem, Venice and its Lagoon and Islamic Cairo.
Page 117 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The nomination of properties is a governmental process in each country (or State Party to the Convention) which determines which properties from among its national patrimony it considers to be ''of outstanding universal value.'' Listing on the World Heritage List includes no international legal protection or sanctions. Protection for nominated or listed properties grows out of the laws and statutes of the nominating country and the country's protective measures must be stated as a part of the nomination. In nominating a property, the nominating country is neither limited nor prohibited from any proposed use or action except those limits or prohibitions that have been established by the country's own laws. Nomination forms for properties proposed for listing call for a statement of laws or decrees which govern the protection of nominated monuments and sites, including the nominated property, evidence of a master plan for the historic preservation of the nominated property, together with a land-use plan, an urban development plan or a regional development plan if any exist. The nomination form asks for information as to whether these legislative or statutory measures prevent uncontrolled exploitation of the ground below the property, the demolition and reconstruction of buildings located on the property or permit other significant changes such as raising building height or other transformation of the urban fabric. The nomination must also indicate what if any measures exist to encourage revitalization of the property.
The nomination form seeks to identify protective measures whether national or Federal, state or provincial, regional or local, which may apply to the property. There are no measures for international protection and no international sanctions set forth within the provisions of the Convention guidelines. Any protective measures which may exist are, in the parlance of the United States, national, state or local. No international protection is claimed or implied except the protection which might grow out of moral suasion or concern for a property believed to be ''of outstanding universal value.'' And there is no international mechanism for enforcement at any level.
Page 118 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC To examine the specific provisions of H.R. 883 section 2(a), nomination to and listing on the World Heritage List do not affect or diminish private interests in real property (4), do not impinge in any way on private property rights, and (6) do not conflict with congressional constitutional responsibilities (7). As for section 2(b), nomination and listing do not impose restrictions on the use of nominated or listed lands (3), and do not diminish private interests in real property (4) Following the nomination by a national government (''State Party''), an intense professional evaluation is made of each property or group of properties by experts in different fields of expertise who also examine the case that the nominating country has made for inclusion in the World Heritage List. In the case of natural properties, that evaluation is made by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN); in the case of cultural properties, that evaluation is made by ICOMOS. In all cases, the evaluations are conducted as a part of a several-tier process, thoughtful, scholarly, deliberate and positive.
What is the value of the Convention and its World Heritage List? Those countries (or States Party) participating in the Convention see it as a mechanism for encouraging national pride, for stimulating education concerning each country's own national treasures whether they represent history, culture or natural wonders. The countries where properties are located see listing on the World Heritage List as the means for economic development especially in terms of encouraging tourism and visitation, a major source of local and foreign investment in many countries.
In most countries of the world, historic cities, towns and historic districts under the leadership of their local, state or regional and national officials, seek listing because they know that such recognition serves to stimulate local pride, economic development, to encourage private investment and public recognition of the quality of the area that is so recognized. The Ancient Cities of Aleppo and Damascus are listed, the historic quarters of Budapest are listed as are the historic centers of Florence and Rome, of Cracow and Warsaw, of Bath in England, of Segovia and Toledo in Spain, of Berne in Switzerland, of the historic areas of Istanbul, of Dubrovnik, of Potosi in Bolivia, of the towns of Ouro Preto, Olinda and Salvador de Bahia in Brazil, of Quebec City in Canada where another property, the small historic town of Lunenberg was recently inscribed, of Quito, and of Mexico City. These are among the many historic towns and centers that other countries have seen fit to nominate and have listed for those qualities which give them their ''of outstanding universal value.''
Page 119 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In each country and in each of these cities and towns, all dynamic and living urban areas as well as being areas rich in history and tradition, the people of the community, the pride of the community and the economy of the community have all benefited in real financial terms as a result of listing as well as in terms of pride and a sense of community and patriotism.
But in the United States, in spite of our own rich heritage and in spite of our own beautiful, historic, well planned and widely visited historic areas such as Savannah, Charleston and New Orleans, such as Georgetown, Annapolis and San Antonio, and many many more, no historic towns and areas are listed. Why is that? Because an element of the 1980 amendments to the National Historic Preservation Act, has limited the nomination process by calling for the consent of each owner in an historic district to such listing.
This statutory limitation on the nomination of historic properties in the United States has been frustrating for the citizenry of those historic communities which greatly desire the honor and distinction that World Heritage listing implies and which would like to join other historic communities on this honor roll of the cultural heritage. Equally frustrating to them is the fact that they are being denied the unmistakable economic benefits of tourism and private investment which such international recognition would bring them.
Several years ago residents of Savannah sought to nominate that beautiful and historic city to the World Heritage List. Savannah has long been listed on the National Park Service's list of National Historic Landmarks. But because of the 1980 statutory requirement for owner consent for properties covered by the nomination, the city chose to nominate only the publicly owned spaces, the streets, the parks and the plan of Savannah, to the World Heritage List. Much Georgia's Congressional delegation including Savannah's own Congressional representative, supported and endorsed the Savannah nomination.
Procedures for nomination to the List for properties categorized as ''cultural'' creates no criterion for the listing of such properties but instead, in relation to inhabited historic towns, distinguishes four categories:
Page 120 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
(1) ''Towns which are typical of a specific period or culture, which have been almost wholly preserved which have remained largely unaffected by subsequent developments.
(2) ''Towns that have evolved along characteristic lines and have preserved, sometimes in the midst of exceptional natural surroundings, spatial arrangements and structures that are typical of the successive stages in their history
(3) ''Historic centers' that cover exactly the same area as historic towns and are now enclosed within modern cities
(4) ''Sectors, areas or isolated units which, even in the residual state in which they have survived, provide coherent evidence of the character of a historic town which has disappeared. . . .''
In reviewing the Savannah nomination of its parks, streets, open spaces and publicly owned areas, it was determined that the proposed listing did not fall into any of the specified categories of properties or inhabited historic towns that might be listed under the World Heritage criteria. Those reviewing the nomination called on the city of Savannah to nominate the whole historic area but because of the 1980 Historic Preservation Act's limitations on U.S. nominations (i.e. the owner consent provision), the city was unable to do so. This was a great disappointment to the residents of Savannah and similarly a disappointment for those other historic towns and cities in the U.S. who were considering the nomination of their own historic areas, many of which are still seeking the recognition and positive benefits that World Heritage listing would bring. Indeed, their property rights are denied by virtue of the 1980 amendments and would be further impinged by enactment of H.R. 883.
This is viewed with deep concern by those Americans who recognize and cherish their historic and culturally significant areas. Beyond the situation which exists today, however, H.R. 883 would, in effect, further limit the ability of the United States to place its treasures on the rolls of the world's patrimony where they might enjoy the recognition and the benefits that other countries have seen in their own nominations of their national treasures.
Page 121 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC World Heritage listing is designed to protect properties, to protect and to preserve communities, and to serve as a mechanism for encouraging investment and economic development designed to further enhance such properties. H.R. 883, in seeking to limit the recognition of quality which World Heritage listing encourages, is diminishing rather than enhancing measures such as World Heritage listing which serves to educate, to stimulate pride, to encourage public and private investment, to benefit communities as well as those who live in them and those who visit them.
We would encourage the House Committee on Resources to give serious consideration to the negative impact that H.R. 883 would have on existing measures for recognition such as the World Heritage process, a process which grew out of a United States initiative, a Convention which the United States was the first of 156 nations to ratify, a measure which has done much to achieve recognition and protection of the cultural and natural heritage which is found to be ''of outstanding universal value.''
The World Heritage Convention for which the United States was the initiator and standard bearer is the single most popular international convention in the world today. And yet, rather than seeking to expand the impact of the Convention and the very real benefits that it has brought to other comers of the world, H.R. 883 seeks to deny American communities an opportunity to participate in this benevolent, constructive, educational, enriching program. The enactment of H.R. 883 would largely eliminate U.S. participation in the World Heritage Convention, a Convention which resulted from a U.S. initiative, a Convention which in 1972, during the Nixon Administration, the U.S. was the first nation to ratify, a Convention which has brought pride to its participants and appreciation of the values imparted by recognition of the cultural and natural heritage to schoolchildren and scholars alike.
INSERT OFFSET FOLIOS 1 TO 26, 220 TO 230, 36 TO 49, 235 TO 239, AND 231 TO 234 HERE
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FIELD HEARING ON H.R. 883, AMERICAN LAND SOVEREIGNTY PROTECTION ACT
SATURDAY, MAY 1, 1999
House of Representatives,
Committee on Resources,
The Committee met, pursuant to call, at 10:26 a.m., in the Rolla Miles Auditorium, University of Missouri, Rolla, Missouri, Hon. Helen Chenoweth, presiding.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. HELEN CHENOWETH, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF IDAHO
Mrs. CHENOWETH. The Committee on Resources will come to order. The Committee is meeting today to hear testimony on H.R. 883, the American Land Sovereignty Protection Act. And I am so pleased, as I said before, to be so welcomed into JoAnn Emerson's District.
I want to welcome our witnesses. Today we will hear testimony on the U.S. Man and Biosphere Reserve Program.
I represent the 1st District in Idaho in Congress and although my district is 1,000 miles from here, forestry, mining, ranching, private property rights are very important there, as they are here in this beautiful part of southern Missouri.
Over the last 25 years, an increasing expansion of our nation's territory has been incorporated in the United Nations Biosphere Reserves. Now under Article IV, Section 3 of the United States Constitution, the power to make all needful rules and regulations governing lands belonging to the United States is vested in the Congress, and yet United Nations Biosphere Reserve designations, as well as World Heritage Sites, have been created without the authorization or the input of Congress; and therefore, the public and local governments are left out of the loop and rarely, if ever, are they consulted.
Page 123 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I understand that the biosphere reserve program is controversial here in Missouri. I also understand that it is taking a nap right now. But I want us to remember, it will wake up if we do not stay vigilant. So Congressman Emerson invited the Committee on Resources to come to her district and listen to the concerns that local residents here in Missouri have about this program. I invite her to join me as an official member of the panel and she will be participating in the hearing.
So that everyone understands, my concern is that the United States Congressand therefore, the people of the United States of Americawho have been left of the domestic process to designate Biosphere Reserves and World Heritage Sites, have a chance at every turn to have the local input they need.
The Biosphere Reserve Program is not even authorized by a single U.S. law or even an international treaty. And that is wrong. Executive Branch appointees cannot and should not do things that the law does not authorize. But this is an example of where they are doing that.
Today, we will also hear testimony on H.R. 883, which gives the Congress a role in approving international land designations, primarily United Nations World Heritage Sites and Biosphere Reserve Sites. H.R. 883 has now more than 160 co-sponsors, including Representatives Emerson, Danner, Talent, Hulshof and Blunt. Now in Arkansas, Representative Dickey, Berry and Hutchinson are original co-sponsors of H.R. 883. We intend to move this legislation from the Committee to the House floor for a vote very soon.
Both biosphere reserves and world heritage site programs are administered through the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). However, it is interesting to note that the United States withdrew from UNESCO in 1984 because the Reagan Administration found it riddled with gross financial mismanagement. Fifteen years later, even the Clinton Administration has not rejoined UNESCO. And yet, they are becoming partners with the United States in joint jurisdiction over enough land now in our country with the present designations to fill up the entire state of Colorado. As a result, it defies the imagination why our government is still participating in these UNESCO programs.
Page 124 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We, as the Congress, have a responsibility to ensure that the representatives of the people are engaged on these important international land designations. I do not think that the Constitution advises that the governing of our Federal landsthat we simply opt out of policies that may appear ineffectual. But instead, it expressly requires that we, the Congress, make all needful rules and regulations regarding Federal land, as if to suggest that we, your Congressmen, are to jealously guard against the slightest possibility that foreign entities have any power over what belongs under the strict purview of the United States.
Until now, no one has lifted an eyebrow to examine how the U.S. domestic implementation of these very programs has eaten away at the power and sovereignty of the U.S. Congress to exercise its constitutional power to make the laws that govern what goes on on Federal land. Today, we will begin to look at these issues.
With that, it is time to begin. I am sorry that none of the representatives from The Nature Conservancy or the Sierra Club or the Audubon Society, who were invited to testify today, chose not to come and do so. I would have liked to hear their perspective on this issue.
I am pleased to welcome the 12 witnesses who will testify today. If time permits at the end of testimony from these witnesses, we will also hear testimony from those of you who have signed up to give testimony in the open mike session.
The first panel is presently seated and I want to recognize them. And I do want to say that we swear all of the panelists under the oath. And I think that you have received rules from the Committee with regard to the fact that we do swear witnesses under the oath.
So I wonder if you would mind rising and raise your right hand to the square.
Page 125 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. Please be seated.
I want to explain, before we start the testimony for the hearing, about our light system. They are right up here and they are just like stop lights. When the green light is on, you can proceed; when the yellow light is on, you step on the gas and go like heck; and when the red light is on, you need to stop. So we give the witnesses five minutes each.
I am so pleased to welcome Wanda Benton from Salem, Missouri; Connie Burks from Jasper, Arkansas; Bobby Simpson, Dent County Commissioner, Salem, Missouri and Ron Hardecke, Citizens for Private Property Rights, Owensville, Missouri.
We will open up with Wanda Benton's testimony. Wanda.
[The prepared statement of Mrs. Chenoweth follows:]
STATEMENT OF HON. HELEN CHENOWETH, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF IDAHO
Welcome to our witnesses. Today we will hear testimony on the U.S. Man and Biosphere Program.
I represent the lst District of Idaho in Congress. Although my district is 1,000 miles from here, forestry, mining, and ranching are important there as they are here in southern Missouri.
Over the last 25 years, an increasing expanse of our nation's territory has been incorporated into United Nations Biosphere Reserves. Under article IV, section 3 of the United States Constitution, the power to make all needful rules and regulations governing lands belonging to the United States is vested in Congress, yet United Nations Biosphere Reserve designations have been created without the authorization or input of Congress. The public and local governments are rarely consulted.
I understand that the biosphere reserve program is controversial here in
Missouri. Congresswoman Emerson invited the Committee on Resources to come to her district and listen to the concerns that local residents here in Missouri have about this program. I invite her to join me and participate in this hearing.
Page 126 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So that everyone understands, my concern is that the United States Congressand therefore the people of the United Stateshave been left out of the domestic process to designate Biosphere Reserves and World Heritage sites.
The Biosphere Reserve program is not even authorized by a single U.S. law or even an international treaty. That is wrong. Executive branch appointees cannot and should not do things that the law does not authorize.
Today we will also hear testimony on H.R. 883which gives the Congress a role in approving international land designations, primarily United Nations World Heritage Sites and Biosphere Reserves. H.R. 883 now has more than 160 cosponsors, including Representatives Emerson, Danner, Talent, Hulshof and Blunt. In Arkansas, Representatives Dickey, Berry and Hutchinson are cosponsors of H.R. 883. We intend to move this legislation from the Committee to the House floor for a vote soon.
Both biosphere reserves and the world heritage site programs are administered through the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). However, the United States withdrew from UNESCO in 1984 because the Reagan Administration found it riddled with gross financial mismanagement. Fifteen years later, even the Clinton Administration has not rejoined UNESCO. As a result, it defies the imagination why our government is still participating in these UNESCO programs.
We, as the Congress, have a responsibility to ensure that the representatives of the people are engaged on these important international land designations. I do not think that the Constitution advises that in governing our Federal lands that we simply ''opt out'' of policies that may appear ineffectual. But instead, it expressly requires that we, the Congress, make all needful rules and regulations regarding Federal land, as if to suggest that we are to jealously guard against the slightest possibility that foreign entities have any power over what belongs under the strict purview of the United States.
Page 127 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Until now, no one has lifted an eyebrow to examine how U.S. domestic implementation of these programs has eaten away at the power and sovereignty of the Congress to exercise its constitutional power to make the laws that govern what goes on Federal land. Today we will begin to look at these issues.
With that it is time to begin. I am sorry that none representatives from the Nature Conservancy, Sierra Club and Audubon Society who were invited to testify today chose not to do so. I would have liked to hear their perspective on this issue. I am pleased to welcome the twelve witnesses who will testify today. If time permits, at the end of testimony from these witnesses, we will also hear testimony from those of you who signed up for the open mike session. Will the first panel please be seated.
STATEMENT OF WANDA BENTON, SALEM, MISSOURI
Ms. BENTON. Honorable Chairperson, distinguished Committee members, I wish to thank you for the opportunity
Ms. EMERSON. You might want to grab the mike and put it up next to you. Sorry.
Ms. BENTON. Okay. Is this better?
Mrs. CHENOWETH. That is better, hold it close.
Ms. BENTON. Honorable Chairperson, distinguished Committee members, I wish to thank you for the opportunity to address this Committee.
My name is Wanda Benton. My husband and I have a farm in Salem, Missouri. I am a property rights activist as a direct result of the proposed United Nations Biosphere Reserve in Missouri.
I discovered in June of 1995 that the Missouri Department of Conservation, MDC, as lead agency, combined with five Federal regulatory agencies and others, had plans to manage Missouri lands, including private property. I was later to discover evidence that Coordinated Resource Management, CRM, was to become a United Nations Biosphere Reserve. Armed with that suspicion, I called the Conservation Department and asked for more information about CRM and I mentioned the biosphere reserve program, indicating that I was very interested in learning more. The young lady I spoke with inadvertently, in my opinion, sent me The Nature Conservancy proposal to the Missouri Department of Conservation, called ''The Lower Ozark Bioreserve,'' containing Exhibit Number 1, a map of the proposed bioreserve.
Page 128 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The introduction of TNC's proposal described inviolate core preserves surrounded by buffer zones of human activity and corridors and networks of buffer lands linking protected core habitats for migration of animals who require large areas. Exhibit Number 2. Under key partners who are expected to play an important role in accomplishing the bioreserve strategy is listed the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere ProgramOzark Man and the Biosphere. In the feasibility study, the Missouri Department of Conservation is listed on the signatory page. Included in this paperwork was the Draft of the Ozark Highlands Man and the Biosphere Cooperative, showing a map of the larger picture, taking in portions of four states and crossing political boundaries. Exhibit Number 3. Page one, objective two, seeks designation through the U.S. MAB Program. Exhibit Number 4.
Realizing that our land, resources and human activity were to be severely regulated, I joined Citizens for Private Property Rights and People for the USA. We proceeded to inform the public through town meetings, press releases and talk shows. We helped organize
several public meetings throughout the Ozarks. Due to lack of public input in CRM and little public knowledge, we invited MDC representatives who attended and answered questions from the audience, and at our request furnished copies of the CRM Draft. After the commentary period on the draft, due to public outcry, MDC withdrew the CRM plan.
MDC would in April of 1997 publicly deny endorsing the MAB Program and pretty much called the rest of us liars. To refute this, I submit Exhibit Number 5, page 58 of the CRM Draft, goal number nine.
In November, 1996, the following appeared in the Salem News: ''Nature Conservancy Announces Study of Lower Ozark Area. The Nature Conservancy has designated this land one of the world's last great places.'' Exhibit Number 6.
In an article from November, 1995 Eco-logic, researcher Henry Lamb's publication entitled ''Rewilding America'' is the following statement referring to a piece of property TNC had purchased in 1990. ''A Smithsonian article in February, 1992 described the acquisition as the 'flagship' for a whole new program of bioreserves, called Last Great Places.'' Exhibit Number 7.
Page 129 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I have learned from researchers and environmental writings that bioreserves, bioregions, biosphere reserves and eco-regions are generally synonymous. Is The Nature Conservancy continuing to develop a biosphere reserve here in Missouri? This is a question that perhaps representatives of TNC could answer for us.
I see coincidences that frighten me, such as this article from the TNC 1998 Annual Report, ''Saving The Last Great Places,'' entitled Lower Ozarks Project Area/Ozarks Eco-Region. Exhibit Number 8. The little map in the article is of the same configuration as the one in The Nature Conservancy Bioreserve Proposal to our Missouri Conservation Department, which listed the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Program as a key partner. That is Exhibit Number 1.
The end of May, 1998, Nature Conservancy publication, pages 8 and 9, Exhibits 9 and 10, names 62 eco-regions, the Ozarks being number 38 on their map. Ironically, the shape of the Ozark eco-region is of the same configuration as the drawing of the Ozark Highlands, Exhibit Number 3, whose draft called for designation through the U.S. MAB Program. Other TNC paperwork shows the same configuration.
It would be helpful to know what these similarities represent. Biosphere reserves are designed to destroy economies, lower land values and to move populations out. In our case, we have invested everything we have in a farm and a home built around our handicapped daughter's needs. She is severely handicapped and requires complete handicap access. Because of this, the house was very expensive and we could not do this again. If we are forced to sell our home for pennies on the dollar, we will not be able to take care of her in our old age. I ask this Committee to support H.R. 883, the American Sovereignty Land Protection Act, to protect state sovereignty, rural economies and private land ownership.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Wanda. I really, really appreciate your testimony. But I am going to have to ask the audience in an official hearing if you could withhold your applause. Thank you very much.
Page 130 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Chair now recognizes Connie Burks.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Benton follows:]
INSERT OFFSET FOLIOS 50 TO 62 HERE
STATEMENT OF CONNIE BURKS, JASPER, ARKANSAS
Ms. BURKS. To the honorable and esteemed gentlemen and women of the Resources Committee, I thank you for this hearing. My name is Connie Burks. I live near and commute twice weekly to Harrison, Arkansas. I am present here today with important documentation I obtained from the Buffalo River National Park Service in Harrison in July of 1996. I am not here because I have any training, expertise or background in this sort of thing, but because of my unexpected involvement in a most unusual situation and a series of coincidences.
I believe the details of that story are very significant to the proceedings here today, but time allotments do not permit my telling it. I would hope that the folks who have a copy of my testimony in the white packet of paper accompanied by a green packet of documentation mostly obtained from the National Park Service in July of 1996I would hope that you will peruse that very carefully and compare all of the information and the points that it refers to.
Since this happened two or three years ago, I do not think a lot of people, even those who oppose this, are yet aware of how we came so very close to being designated as the Ozark Highlands Biosphere Reserve, an international designation, it was to have been the 48th and the second largest one in the country. It was within six weeks of being nominated for this designation after an eight-year long effort, and yet no one of the general public or even elected government officials knew anything about this.
Page 131 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It just so happened that I, a mere country preacher's wife, happened to hear of such a program in a round-about way. I did not believe it at first until I visited the Southern Appalachian Man and Biosphere Reserve and saw the signs there. When I returned home, I thought, I think I will just call the Park Service and put in my opposition early in case they might ever consider that here. I was alarmed when I learned that they were within six weeks of designating it.
I was invited to their office to allay my fears and they gave me all of this documentation at my request, and it was very alarming. From that point, I had another lady's help, who we met in a round-about wayMary Denham, she will be testify later. Without her help, I probably would not have as easily been able to reach the new Arkansas Governor at that time.
It was interesting, at the same time that I had come across this documentation, our former Governor Tucker had had to resign because of his connection with the Clinton scandals and all of a sudden a Baptist preacher was sitting in the Arkansas Governor's seat, and hewhen we finally got this information to him five days before the designation was to be nominated, he immediately did the right thing and stopped the two agencies of the 12 that were under his control, that were going to submit us to this. As a result, all the other agencies suddenly lost interest and dropped out, some even denying their previous involvement. But we have plenty of documentation to show that they were involved.
I know I do not have time to review all of this, but I prepared a list of 12 questions that still have not been answered to my satisfaction because, as the Honorable Helen Chenoweth said awhile ago, they are only taking a nap. It happened before and they will attempt it again, I have no doubt, unless we as citizens and elected officials continue to monitor the situation and to resist it.
1. Who are the ad hoc committees, international coordinating councils and scientists vaguely referred to in the National Park Service feasibility study as being responsible for the outlining of biosphere boundaries and thereafter submitting their plans to Federal and state agencies for implementation? When and how are they spying out and cataloguing our country's great natural resources? Who is funding them?
Page 132 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC 2. When this same Ozarks Man and Biosphere effort was first attempted through the Ozark National Scenic Riverways National Park headquarters in 1993 in Missouri and apparently met with enough opposition in Missouri to discourage it, why do you suppose they waited three years before quietly resuming their efforts to see it through to completion and why did they move from a Missouri National Park office to an Arkansas National Park office just across the state line to carry out their plans, and without notifying the general public or government officials of this move?
3. The National Park Service could produce only one article of media publication for the whole eight-year long effort. That one article appeared in a publication of very limited circulation called The Rackensack Monthly, which only existed for four issues and was published in a place called Pelsor, Arkansas, which boasts only one store, a rural post office and five or six houses. The National Park Service cited no radio or television coverage. Why do you suppose they considered The Rackensack Monthly to be adequate notification for the surrounding 55,000 square miles?
10. Questions posed by former Arkansas Congressman, now Senator, Tim Hutchinson, when he spoke in behalf of this same resolution in 1996, bear repeating here: He said, ''Promoters of these programs say they are voluntary and non-binding. But . . . what is the point of an international agreement if no one is going to abide by it? And if we are going to abide by it, what happens to the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution which protects private property owners? Do we let an international organization dictate to American citizens how they can use their land?''
In studying the philosophy behind the MAB concepts, the pantheistic world view which equates God with the forces of nature and laws of the universe and considers man of no more consequence than the plants or animals, is the prevalent theme throughout all the goals, concepts and plans of MAB and its proponents. Adherence to this type of philosophy has produced societies which live in poverty, who are consistently destroying the ecology of their countries. On the other hand, the Christian nations which are maligned and vilified by the proponents of MAB instead have thriving economies, high standards of living and good ecology which is continually improving.
Page 133 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Therefore, I make no apology for my confidence in the one, true and living God, whom I serve by faith in the name and blood of His Son, my Saviour, Jesus Christ. It is a confidence that He is very obviously arranging the design of the events and circumstances that have brought us to this assembly today. It is His moral law upon which the republic of our great nation was founded and it is only by His mercy and grace that we may continue to endure.
My request to you, our public servants, is that you be diligent and faithful to your responsibilities to protect the sovereignty of our American lands as guaranteed by our Constitution. Surely there is a threat, but even more surely, there is a remedy and a cause. Will you respond by thoroughly investigating this matter and taking measures to end the unAmerican abuses of our freedom?
My final statement comes from the ultimate authorityGod's Holy Word.
In Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, it says:
''The fear of man bringeth a snare. . . .'' But, ''Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.''
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I want you to know I feel like applauding too, but if you could withhold your applause until after the testimony, this is an official hearing and I would appreciate it very much.
Connie, I wonder if you would like to have your whole testimony, including your exhibits, made a part of the record?
Ms. BURKS. Yes, ma'am.
Ms. CHENOWETH. All right, very good. And we will also submit the questions officially on your behalf as the Committee for answers.
Page 134 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Chair now recognizes Bobby Simpson, Dent County Commissioner from Salem, Missouri. Mr. Simpson.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Burks follows:]
INSERT OFFSET FOLIOS 63 TO 90 HERE
STATEMENT OF BOBBY SIMPSON, DENT COUNTY COMMISSIONER, SALEM, MISSOURI
Mr. SIMPSON. Distinguished Committee members, I would like to thank you for this opportunity to address this Committee and commend the Committee for having this hearing in Rolla, where an attempt was made to implement the Man in Biosphere Program. So often any more, the Federal Government makes polices that affect us, the people who make our living from the land, without consideration for the ones who live and work here.
My name is Bobby Simpson. I am a third generation cattleman, who has grown up in the Ozarks, making most of his living for his family from private land, not by abusing it but for caring and using it wisely.
I am the 1st District Commissioner of Dent County. I am also a member of the Missouri Cattlemen's Association and the Missouri Farm Bureau. I served as the President of the County Farm Bureau for seven years from 1987 to 1994. As President of the Farm Bureau, I became actively involved in property rights issues such as wetlands and here in Missouri, the Natural Streams Act. This Act was a state issue which would have severely restricted all streams and their watersheds in Missouri. Thankfully, this was soundly defeated.
After the defeat of the Natural Streams Act, I decided to run and won the 1st District Commissioner in 1994. Little did I know what was lying ahead for me, but a proposed project called the Ozark Highlands Man in Biosphere Program. This was being introduced through Coordinated Resource Management, sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation. Many Federal and state agencies had endorsed this and had signed on. Since the Man in Biosphere Program included Dent County and since the County Commission is elected by the people, we should have been informed and consulted. This was not the case. In fact, I did not know of this program until some of my constituents, who are here today, informed me. As a local elected official, I should have been the first to know about these issues that affect both the public and private uses of the natural resources in my county. Unfortunately county government seems to be the last to know when it comes to Federal land use planning.
Page 135 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dent County is made up of approximately 75 percent private land and 25 percent public land. There are approximately 70,000 acres of National Forest in Dent County. The National Forest provides thousands of dollars of income to our local school districts and county road departments through the sales of natural resources from the forests. Dent County is very dependent on agriculture, mostly beef cows, and the timber industry. But there are also many jobs for our citizens related to the mining industry that lies just to the east of Dent County. In my opinion, the Man in Biosphere Program, if implemented, would have totally destroyed the tax base of Dent County. Our whole economy is based mostly from natural resources such as agriculture, timber and mining. Without the use of these resources, the jobs and the way of life of Dent County would have changed or ended and many of our citizens would have had to relocate to make a living.
In fact, Madam Chairman, the Man in Biosphere Program, in my opinion, is against everything this country was founded onlife, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Without freedom to use land wisely, how can the American farmer feed this country and a lot of the world?
The Dent County Commission held a public meeting in Salem on the Man in Biosphere Program, and we had over 700 people attend. Many other meetings were held throughout the Ozarks, and shortly after that the Missouri Department of Conservation withdrew the Coordinated Resource Management Program and the Man in Biosphere Program kind of went the same way.
Madam Chairman, I have a letter here from the Sierra Club and the reason whyone of the reasons they decided not to attend, I will quote him, ''Quite frankly, I fear for my safety''
Mr. SIMPSON. [continuing] ''as there have been instances of violence directed at the Sierra Club.''
Page 136 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Madam Chairman, look around you, we have the Rolla Police here, look at this crowd. I do not think they look very threatening to me.
We are the ones who fear for our way of life. When you are a farmer or a logger and you are out there making your living from the land and somebody is trying to change your way of life, we are the ones who feel the threat. Frankly, they do not have the guts to come here today and tell us how they think these programs should be implemented because they have no sound science for evidence.
Even though Man in Biosphere was withdrawn from our area, we still are feeling the effects, such as certain environmental groups buying huge tracts of land in southern Missouri to set up core areas and corridors along the National Forests. These programs seem to never die. No agency has ever brought to me, a county official, a document to verify this thing is over. Even when the Forest Service puts up a bid for timber nowadays, certain groups are filing lawsuits delaying sales and in more and more instances are stopping them. We feel only 25 percent of the timber is being harvested that should be from our National Forest and new mining areas are not even being explored, not to mention developed.
In order to protect the tax base, the culture and the customs of my county, Dent County, the County Commissioners signed an Interim County Land Plan May 11, 1998. Land use planning describes the amount and type of commodity, recreational or other industrial or land uses which provide the tax base for the county. Forest Service regulations require that Federal land use planning efforts are both coordinated and consistent with local land use plans and policies. In order to take advantage of coordinated regulations, local governments must legally adopt local land use plans. Land use plans are completely different than local planning and zoning. Land use plans describe the general industrial basis needed for economic support of the county. We have to give a written notice to all Federal and state agencies of our local land use plan, because without it, they are under no obligation to consider the county's economic needs. We have to also ask all Federal and state agencies to protect and preserve the customs of our county under the National Environmental Protection Act. Only in this way can local government fight to protect economic base and private property rights of its citizens. And I have submitted that with my testimony.
Page 137 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Dent County Commission on April 26, 1999 signed a resolution in strong support of H.R. 883, the American Land Sovereignty Protection Act. We, the Dent County Commission, completely support the sovereignty of the United States, not the United Nations, over public lands and to preserve state sovereignty and private property rights in non-Federal lands surrounding those public lands.
Again, I commend you for being here to listen to local citizens and thank you for allowing me to speak.
Madam Chairman, we have a saying down here in the Ozarks, ''If it ain't broke, don't fix it.''
[Laughter and applause.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you very much, Commissioner. The hearing will come to order.
The Chair will recognize Ron Hardecke from the Citizens for Private Property Rights in Owensville.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Simpson follows:]
INSERT OFFSET FOLIOS 91 TO 103 HERE
STATEMENT OF RON HARDECKE, CITIZENS FOR PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS, OWENSVILLE, MISSOURI
Mr. HARDECKE. Madam Chairman and distinguished Committee members, I want to thank you for the invitation to address this Committee.
I am Ron Hardecke from Owensville, Missouri. I am a farmer and the Vice President of Citizens for Private Property Rights. As a farmer, the ability to use the land in the way we see best to improve it and to pass the land and the heritage of farming on to the next generation are lifelong goals.
Page 138 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It is a privilege to offer testimony in favor of the American Land Sovereignty Protection Act.
In the early 1990s, the Missouri Department of Conservation in collaboration with other state and Federal agencies, developed a program for Missouri known as Coordinated Resource Management. The stated mission of CRM is to inventory all the state's natural resources and develop 50-year goals for the use of those resources.
In January of 1996, the CRM draft plan was published. Goal IX of that plan called for the creation of the Ozark Man and the Biosphere Cooperative.
As Missouri citizens discovered the recommendations in Goal IX, we began to question what the designation would mean to private landowners. Upon researching the MAB concept, it became clear that it was patterned after the UNESCO Man and Biosphere Program. The Missouri Department of Conservation repeatedly denied any knowledge of or connections to the UNESCO program.
After many questions were raised concerning the MAB program, the Department of Conservation stated they would drop Goal IX; however, it was about that time that we obtained a copy of the feasibility study, which was prepared for the steering committee which was nominating the Ozark Plateau Province as a potential Biosphere Reserve. This map here in front outlines the area which was proposed in the feasibility study for the Ozark Highlands Man and the Biosphere Cooperative.
I want to focus on the feasibility study and how it disguised the true intent of the MAB concept in order to get support from the people who were interviewed. I have four areas of concern:
1. This idea came from government agencies, not from the people or local elected officials.
Page 139 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC 2. There was and continues to be extensive influence by the Nature Conservancy in the establishment of the Ozark Man and the Biosphere Cooperative.
3. The original plans intended to impose this concept on private landowners without their knowledge or approval.
4. The feasibility study drew conclusions which were inconsistent with the printed responses from the interviewees.
It is clear in the feasibility study that the government agencies and The Nature Conservancy initiated this process with guidance from the U.S. Man and the Biosphere Program. Throughout the study, references were made to UNESCO, over 25 references in fact, and to the UNESCO Action Plan for Biosphere Reserves, which was used as a model for the Ozark Plan. This seems to contradict with what the Conservation Department told us when we questioned the UNESCO influence in the project.
I want to read for you what the feasibility study has to say about public input, and I quote:
''The purpose of these meetings is to begin informing the public about the MAB program. There should be no press conferences or large public meetings because they encourage polarized views before the story can be told in an objective non-threatening manner.''
The Nature Conservancy is listed numerous times throughout the study as a contributor to the process. They are also listed as private landowners who wish to have their property managed as a part of the biosphere reserve. I hardly think they are a true representation of private landowners in southern Missouri.
The interviewees were told that the MAB program is not regulatory. Previously in the document, when describing the characteristics of a biosphere reserve, it states that a biosphere reserve must have long-term legislative, regulatory or institutional protection. It also states that the designated areas may include private land and entire watersheds may need to be protected in order to preserve an ecosystem.
Page 140 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The proposal to link the core areas with corridors of wild lands such as stream corridors would involve large amounts of private land. With 93 percent of Missouri in private ownership, I think there should have been a much broader debate with private landowners before this designation was proposed.
In summary, the feasibility study stated that they found almost universal acceptance of the concepts embodied in the MAB program. However, the people that were interviewed were asked several questions about what they perceived as needs in their area. And the response to one of the questions, which was what is one thing you would like to have for your community, brought almost unanimous responseand these were printed in the feasibility studyof various infrastructure and industry wishes, to use the areas natural resources and provide jobs for citizens. This seems to conflict with the goals of the MAB plan which calls for setting aside large areas to exclude significant human influences. I wonder if this part of the MAB concept was explained to the interviewees in the study?
In my opinion, the entire feasibility was conducted in such a way to only solicit positive responses to the MAB program. Therefore, the steering committee could proceed with perceived widespread support, even though very few citizens of Missouri had any idea what was going on.
Eventually, by the end of 1996, there was enough public awareness of the concept that the Missouri Department of Conservation even scrapped the entire CRM program.
There has not been any law passed to keep these agencies from trying to implement this plan through other covert means. Therefore, it is imperative that H.R. 883 be passed into law to ensure that the U.S. Congress exercises its constitutional authority and responsibility over Federal lands, to protect state sovereignty and to protect private landowners in their constitutional rights. American must maintain complete sovereignty over all its lands from direct or indirect influence by any foreign power or international body.
Page 141 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Hardecke follows:]
INSERT OFFSET FOLIOS 104 TO 116 HERE
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Will the hearing come to order.
I want to thank the witnesses very much for your outstanding testimony. And now we go to the section of the hearing where the members will ask you questions. And under Rule 4.G.2 also the members must confine their questions to the five-minute structure. Any other questions members will haveand we will have themwe will submit them to you in writing and we would appreciate your returning a response within 10 working days.
So the Chair now recognizes Ms. Emerson for questions.
Ms. EMERSON. Thank you, Madam Chairman.
Mr. Hardecke, tell me a little bit about your thoughts on a possible relationship between the Natural Streams Act that did get defeated in 1990 and the Man and the Biosphere Program.
Mr. HARDECKE. Well, actually I think there are some very significant correlations. As you know, the Natural Streams Act was voted down by a large majority, 75 percent opposition in the State of Missouri in November, 1990. It seems coincidental that in September, 1991, the feasibility study for the Man and the Biosphere Cooperative was completed, and as you look over the list of the committee who commissioned this feasibility study, the environmental groups who were involved with the state and Federal agencies in this proposal are the same ones who brought to us the Natural Streams Act. And then that led up to the proposal through Coordinated Resource Management here in Missouri for the draft plan being proposed in 1996, which revealed as Goal IX the Man and the Biosphere Program.
Page 142 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. EMERSON. And you have submitted that for the record.
Mr. HARDECKE. Yes, the list is one of my exhibits.
Ms. EMERSON. And it included some of the other environmental groups like the Sierra Club and others?
Mr. HARDECKE. And the private landowners who were listed in the committee were Pioneer Forest and The Nature Conservancy and we know that those groups had a large influence in the Natural Streams Act. So I guess the bottom line is, as so often happens when the people say no to something, the agencies and the bureaucrats go about it another way.
Ms. EMERSON. Thank you. Wanda, let me ask you a question. One of the concerns that I have heard from a lot of people has to do with the signage that is near biosphere reserves, and that is often erected at these sites that says World Heritage Site designated by the United Nations. Tell me what you know about these types of indications that we are coming upon.
Ms. BENTON. I have not seen any evidence of anyI have had people call me and tell me about them, but I personally have not seen any evidence of any.
Ms. EMERSON. Okay. So you personally have not seen any at all.
Ms. BENTON. No, I have not.
Ms. EMERSON. Okay, have any of you all seen any kind of signage of other types of biosphere reserves or world heritage sites?
Mr. HARDECKE. When we were in Yellowstone Park this summer, it is on the sign when you enter the park there.
Ms. EMERSON. Does it say World Heritage Site or Biosphere Reserve?
Mr. HARDECKE. Biosphere Reserve.
Page 143 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. EMERSON. Connie, you have as well?
Ms. BURKS. Yes, just south of Gatlinburg as you enter the Great Smoky Mt. National Park, it says very plainlyInternational Biosphere Reserve; however, I understand that they did not erect these signs when they (the Biosphere Reserves) were first designated. It was onlyMary Denham can probably tell us more about that, I am not sure about the date, but it has been within the last few years that they began to erect the signs.
Ms. EMERSON. I appreciate that.
Bobby, do you have a sense of how many other organizations and/or county commissions may have passed resolutions like you all have either at the Dent County Commission or the Cattlemen?
Mr. SIMPSON. I know the Cattlemen have and I know our county has and I was not notified until about two weeks ago about the hearing, so I do not know about how many other counties. But we felt strongly about this and wanted to show you that local leaders are in support of this and I attached that to my testimony too.
Ms. EMERSON. Well, I do appreciate that, and actually, Madam Chairman, I want to submit for the record too a statement from the Oregon County Commission, vis-a-vis their appreciation of the position that we have taken on the issue of private property rights, and hopefully we can put that into the record.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Without objection, so ordered.
[The material referred to follows:]
The Honorable JOANN EMERSON,
|Clerk of County Commission,|
Page 144 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCFederal Office Bldg.,
Cape Girardeau, MO
Dear Congresswoman Emerson:
The Oregon County Commission regrets that we are not able to attend your meeting on Saturday, May 1st. However we did want to express our appreciation of the position you have taken on private property rights. Please express also to Congresswoman Helen Chenoweth and Congressman Don Young the work they have done and also coming to our state for this meeting. As you may know we have adopted a land use plan for our County in hopes it may be effective in the future should the need arise.
|Oregon Cnty, Presiding Com.,|
Ms. EMERSON. Thank you.
You know, one of the big problems that I have with the whole U.S. Man and the Biosphere Program, not the least of which is that none of the local folks have had any input whatsoever, but technically it is supposed to infer wise use of our natural resources when in fact you all are already doing that. I mean I do not know anybody who as farmers and ranchers take better care of the land because you know if you do not take care of the land, the land is not going to take care of you. Perhaps you might enlighten for the record, Bobby, how you do take care of the land in a very environmentally safe way.
Page 145 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SIMPSON. Okay. Like you said, you know, when you have been in the cattle business as long as my family has, it seems to be kind of a calling to you, you know, it is something I always knew when I was three or four years old what I wanted to do. And I have a son now who is wanting to do, I think, the same thing. If I abuse the land, the next generation and the generation after that are the ones who would suffer. We have stopped erosion on our farm tremendously to what it was 20 years ago and I know it is a bad word to certain environmental groups, but you know, fescue has done worlds of good down here in the Ozarks. It does not wash very good.
But anyway, if I do not do everything that I can to take care of my farm, I am the only one who suffers and my family suffers and the next generation suffers. So it is only to our advantage to do what we think is best. And I know my grandfather grew up in New Mexico and there were probably things back then that they did not do right, but they did not know better. But as each generation comes along, we are a little smarter, we look at things a little differently and we do things differently. And we try to do the best we can.
Ms. EMERSON. Thank you, I appreciate that.
No further questions. The yellow light is on, I cannot talk that fast.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I thank the Congressman.
I would like to ask Wanda, have you read Ken Midkiff's letter to Chairman Don Young regarding this hearing?
Ms. BENTON. Yes, I did.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Well, what is your response to the statement that because he fears for his safety, he could not attend?
Ms. BENTON. Well, do I look very threatening to you?
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Why do you suppose he made that statement?
Page 146 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. BENTON. Well, I cannot speak for Mr. Midkiff specifically, but I believe that one of the traits of paranoia is you transfer your desires and capabilities onto other people, and perhaps this is what is happening in this case, I do not know.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I see, thank you.
I wanted to ask Commissioner Simpson, could you explain for the record the economic impact of this program had it been fully implemented, to your county?
Mr. SIMPSON. In my opinion, the way I read the plan was it wasit was going to place tremendous restrictions on the use of the public lands and private lands because it was all tied together in this master plan. I have got a school district that is in part of my district that is probably 75 percent inside the National Forest and they are tremendously dependent on the sale of timber and mining materials, you know, coming out of their district. My county here gets almost $100,000 each year out of sales of timber out of the National Forest and we use that to maintain the roads and the public use of the county roads inside Dent County. I know that is not a lot of money in Washington, DC, but that is about a 10th of my budget and it is very important to our county.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. A hundred thousand dollarslet me see, you get the PILT payments, do you not?
Mr. SIMPSON. Yes, that goes in the general revenue and we get a portion of the sales of natural resources.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Yeah. Well, you have a fiduciary responsibility to your constituents to provide an awfully lot of servicesroads and hospitals and schools and emergency services, all kinds of things.
Mr. SIMPSON. And that is not including all the jobs that are created through the National Forest, you know, independent jobs. From the guy who goes out there and cuts the logs to the sawmill operator to the processor. I know a friend of mine who works at Canoke Industries there in Salem and he told me if they stopped all the sales in the National Forest, that he would absolutely have to lay off 50 employees, because he is very dependent on that timber coming out of the forest that is close to our community.
Page 147 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC When the forest was set up years ago, I guess during the depression years, our county was virtually bankrupt. And they came in and bought that land for a little of nothing with the promise that it would be there to give stability to our local county governments and to our local citizens. That was the promise that they gave that in the last few years has not been fulfilled. Like I gave in my testimony, I feel like we are not getting 25 percent of what we should be getting out of that National Forest. It is very sustainable, it can, if managed properly, can be here forever, as long as we need it.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Well, Commissioner, the National Forest Practices Act requires statutorily through the policies that the Congress has implemented that the cuts should be at a level equal to 90 percent of the growth rate and you are cutting in that forest at 25 percent?
Mr. SIMPSON. That is my opinion, ma'am. You know, we live down there, we drive by and we see what is going on. I have friends who are in the logging business, they pay to go in there and use the roads and that money is being collected out of their paychecks for maintenance of the forest roads and yet that money goes to Washington, DC and never comes back down there to help us get the road systems in Dent County up to adequate levels. And I know they are somewhat regulated by what comes in Washington, but in our opinion, it is a far cry from being right.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Well, I will tell you, we are trying to change the general tax policy, I would love to discuss that with you, but I guess this hearing is on something else that is evenwell as close.
So generally, Commissioner, what you are testifying to is that you would have seen not only a reduction in revenues but also a reduction in the tax base, so that more responsibility to provide for the needed tax base would fall on fewer people.
Mr. SIMPSON. Yes, ma'am. If you do not have your local jobs there that people traditionally have had for hundreds of years, they are going to move somewhere else to make a living and we are a 13,000-14,000 population county. You know, we really struggle to make ends meet every year. We cannot take a loss of income of any kind.
Page 148 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. Well, boy, I sure hear you, I really do. Your job is not easy and I respect the job that you are doing, Commissioner.
Mr. SIMPSON. Thank you, ma'am.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Ron Hardecke, why do you believe that the Missouri Department of Conservation withdrew the Coordinated Resource Management plan, what happened there?
Mr. HARDECKE. Well, I think as Goal IX was exposed and the Man and the Biosphere concept came out in the public awarenessit was tucked away in Goal IX, which was clear in the back of the plan in just one little sentence or paragraph. And that drew attention to the whole plan and then when we found the feasibility study and you look through that, actually CRM was just a cloak for the Man and the Biosphere Program. So if they withdrew from Goal IX, the Man and the Biosphere was not worth them continuing, but as it was stated earlier, it is only asleep. And that is why we have to be vigilant and we ask that you pass this legislation to give that protection.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you very much. I do want to respond to your question. We did pass this legislation last year and the year before by an overwhelming majority and there was a lot of debate on it, but it passed by a huge majority. We need to find the heroes in the Senate, we will run it through the Senate and place it on the President's desk. And certainly those of you, all of you, not only the panel but the entire audience, will be helpful in making sure that this moves through the entire process.
I do want tomy staff tells me I can take the Chairman's prerogative and ask Connie this question, Connie Burks. On page 4 of your written statement, you point out that a Park Service feasibility study claimed almost universal support among community leaders for the Ozark Biosphere. I noticed that and I was very interested in your elaborating on what you found when you tried to verify this claim in the field about all that official support.
Page 149 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. BURKS. Yes. Mr. Hardecke already addressed that a little bit in his testimony too, I noticed. When I first retrieved this feasibility study, I requested it from the National Park Service office, that was the first time it had ever surfaced. And from there, we have passed it on to some Missouri folks and what-have-you, but it is a massive document. When we began to read it, there are all sorts of inconsistencies in it. I began contacting some of these judges, farm bureau agents, community leaders, et cetera who were listed as having supported this. Some of them I knew personally. And first of all, they first questioned ''the what?'' They had never heard of it before. No one in any place in Arkansas, any elected government official whose name was on this, had ever even heard of it before.
In my documentation I have three examples of written statements of these gentlemen who verified both by saying so in writing that they had never heard of it and had they known of it, they would have opposed the program. But the feasibility study is something that anyone who is investigating this matter should thoroughly study because it is full of one discrepancy after another.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you. Ms. Emerson.
Ms. EMERSON. Chairman Chenoweth, I might add that I am really rather shocked at this, but it only goes to show the lengths to which people will stretch the truth perhaps. I noticed here a letter from my late husband Bill to Jerome Smith of Norwood, Missouri, in which he states that, quote, ''I continue to have concerns about the implication that these so-called biospheres could have on private property rights and I am against control of our country's crown jewels by international agencies.''
Yet it is shocking that in the feasibility study, it does in fact say that, quote, ''His office would not be an initiator but if the county commissioners support the cooperative, Congressman Emerson will support it,'' after he just said quite the opposite in a letter. So I think that goesshows you the lengths to which the proponents of the Man and the Biosphere Reserves would go.
Page 150 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. We have come a long ways from the truthfulness of George Washington, have we not?
Ms. EMERSON. We have.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Well, I want to thank this panel very, very much for your very valuable and insightful testimony.
We do have more questions for you and we will be submitting those questions to you in writing.
So now I will excuse this panel and will call to the witness table John Powell from Rolla, Missouri; Richard Yancey, Black, Missouri; Mary Denham, Take Back Arkansas and Frank Meyers, People for the USA, Potosi, Missouri.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. The meeting will come to order, please. I wonder if the panelists would please stand and raise your right arms to the square.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you. The Chair now is pleased to recognize John Powell for his testimony.
STATEMENT OF JOHN POWELL, FRANK B. POWELL LUMBER COMPANY, ROLLA, MISSOURI
Mr. POWELL. Thank you very much, Madam Chairman and members of the Committee. My name is John Powell and I live right here in Rolla, Missouri. In fact, my house is only about three or four blocks from here, so I had a hard trip.
Mr. POWELL. I am a lumberman and a tree farmer and have owned and managed forest lands for a half century. Our holdings are located about 50 miles south of here and comprise roughly 17,000 acres.
Page 151 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We have been following best management practices since we began buying timber land in 1949. We believe in the wise use ofand let me emphasize that word usethe wise use of our resources and that they are direly needed to satisfy the needs of our nation.
I am 100 percent in favor of H.R. 883. Ladies, we are burdened with way too much restriction and regulation now throughout our nation without additional interference from the United Nations or the Executive Branch of our government.
A good steward of the land believes in the wise use of the earth and its resources, but not abuse. Education is the only good answer to correcting land abuse, and if this is not successful then any regulation needs to be kept at the lowest possible local level. We definitely do not need or want regulations from the United Nations. Members of the Committee, it is bad enough having to put up with regulations from our Federal and state governments.
I fortunately will admit that so far I have not been bothered with environmental restrictions but I can certainly see it coming. Take the Federal Government.
The environmental movement, the media and some of the politicians have virtually shut down our nation's number one provider of wood fiberof course, that is the U.S. Forest Service. Their annual harvest has been reduced from over 15 billion board feet to less than three billion board feet annually.
On the state level, many have or are considering restrictions of harvesting timber on state-owned land. Some of these are Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, Oregon and Washington.
Next, it will be the private landowner restrictions. These are already in place in California, Maine, Connecticut, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Massachusetts, New Mexico and Alaska.
Now the main point I want to make here this morning is that we now have our hands full of our own government regulations, so please spare us from the burden of possible international regulations and restrictions.
Page 152 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I did not give any other background information, but if you have any questions, I will be happy to answer them, but I did want to bring out that point. We have had it with regulations and we do not need the whole world telling us what to do.
Thank you very much.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you very much, Mr. Powell. The Chair now recognizes Richard Yancey.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Powell follows:]
STATEMENT OF JOHN POWELL, ROLLA, MISSOURI
Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, my name is John Powell and I live in Rolla, MO. I'm a lumberman and tree farmer and have owned and managed forest lands for a half century. Our holdings are located about fifty miles south of here and are comprised of roughly 17,000 acres.
We have been following best management practices since we began buying timber land in 1949. We believe in the wise use of our resources and that they are needed to satisfy the needs of our nation.
I am 100 percent in favor of H.R. 883''The American Land Sovereignty Protection Act.'' We are being burdened with way too much restriction and regulation now, throughout our nation, without this additional interference from the United Nations and the Executive Branch of our Government.
A good steward of the land believes in the wise use of the earth and its resources but not abuse. Education is the only good answer to correcting land abuse and if this is not successful then any regulation needs to be kept at the lowest possible local level. We definitely do not need or want regulation from the United Nationsits bad enough having to put up with regulations from the Federal and State governments.
I, fortunately, will admit that so far I have not been bothered with environmental restrictions but I can see it coming.
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1.The environmental movement, the media and some of the politicians have virtually shut down our nations number one provider of wood fiber, the U.S. Forest Service. Their annual harvest has been reduced from over 15 billion board feet to less than 3 billion board feet.
2.Many states have or are considering restrictions of harvesting timber on state owned lands. Some are Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, Oregon and Washington.
3.Next will be private land owner restrictions. These are already in place in California, Maine, Connecticut, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Massachusetts, New Mexico and Alaska.
We have our hands full now battling our own government so please spare us from the burden of possible international regulations and restrictions.
STATEMENT OF RICHARD J. YANCEY, PRESIDENT, VIBURNUM CHAPTER, PEOPLE FOR THE USA, BLACK, MISSOURI
Mr. YANCEY. Good morning.
As a witness before this Committee, I would first like to express my thanks to the members for the opportunity to address you today. My name is Richard Yancey and I am speaking on behalf of The People for the USA in support of this legislation. We believe that passage of this legislation is a critical step in the restoration of the Constitutional authority of Congress to address important land management issues on Federal lands.
With over a decade of experience as mine geologist, I have had many opportunities to deal with land resource issues and I am very concerned at these designations. In fact, most of the designations in the United States have originated with environmental organizations like the Sierra Club, The Nature Conservancy. And the National Park Service has been often a willing partner in implementing the designation process.
Clearly, there is a keen interest on the part of many environmental organizationsI am a little nervous, this is the first time I have ever done this
Page 154 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. You are doing good.
Mr. YANCEY. Let me back up here. Clearly, there is a keen interest on the part of many environmental organizations to see the designation of many more Biosphere Reserves and World Heritage Sites in the U.S. Other witnesses testifying in previous hearings to this Committee in support of this legislation have already commented on the links that these designations have to the Wildlands Project, the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Global Biodiversity Assessment. Clearly, the Wildlands Project controversial goal of converting 50 percent or more of the U.S. land area to natural habitats with very limited human use would be viewed as rather extreme by most Americans. But we are participating in two major U.N. programs, which currently have no Congressional oversight and are very supportive of this extremism and appear to be implementing it.
Considering my background, I would like to explain to the Committee members why the people of Missouri, specifically those who are directly dependent on the mining industry for their income, need the protection that the American Land Sovereignty Protect Act would provide. In Missouri, mining has an annual value of over $5 billion and provides direct employment to more than 8,000 people, employing thousands of others indirectly. Missouri is the nation's foremost producer of lead and a significant producer of zinc and copper. All of these metals are of significant strategic importance to the United States.
The lead deposits of southeast Missouri lie in a rather unique geologic setting. In fact, southeast Missouri contains the largest known concentration of lead in the earth's crust. But this does not mean that these deposits are widespread or easy to find. Discovery of even one deposit often takes years of exploration and a very serious amount of capital investment.
A basic understanding of the geology and development requirements of these deposits is critical if one is to analyze the needs of Missouri's metals mining industry. Often I am asked why we just could not locate our mines in less environmentally sensitive areas, although nobody in the environmental organizations seem to know where such a place might be. The answer is simplemines are located where the ore deposits are located, not where we would like for them to be, which would be on my land, if I had a choice.
Page 155 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [Laughter.]
In the case of southern Missouri, the most prospective area for new discoveries cuts a swath directly across the region recently proposed for the Ozark Man and the Biosphere. And I have got a map that I have included with my written testimony.
If the Ozark Man and Biosphere were to become reality, it would be not hard to imagine its impact on Missouri's lead mines, not to mention the other natural resource based industries. Exploration for mineral resources is not an activity compatible with Biosphere core area management regimens. Drilling for mineral resources might be allowed in buffer zones, but what would be the point since new mines will not be allowed. A good example is the halting of the new World Mine Project near Yellowstone World Heritage Site, which is stark evidence of how the U.N. views mining. Although it is not likely, there may even be pressure for closure of current mine operations since these sort of activities do not fit in the social engineering mind set of sustainable development called for in these programs. Regardless, without discovery of new resources, lead mining in Missouri will come to a screeching halt in a few years.
Now the common thread of all these efforts is the removal of large portions of public and private lands from multiple-use methods of land management without substantial input from the people affected or their elected officials. And in place of this common-sense conservation-minded process of resource management, these programs wish to implement a sustainable development economy that is yet to be clearly defined as to how it will work. However, this is irrelevant to the environmental extremists who have conceived of radical programs like the Wildlands Project, which put nature above man in every case. The real tragedy of such radical schemes is that they ignore the successes of other more reasonable approaches and needlessly destroy the economic, social and environmental progress accomplished by the efforts of thousands of responsible land managers and millions of American citizens, as Bobby was speaking about earlier.
Page 156 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Furthermore, subjugating U.S. laws to U.N. regulations through an international agreement that does not have the will and support of the people of this country or the oversight of Congress, I feel strains the limits of the Constitution. This is especially true when sections of an international agreement are being implemented without ratification, as is in the case of the Convention on Biological Diversity. This presents a threat to the sovereignty of the United States. And I will say that again, I really feel this presents a threat to the sovereignty of the United States. There is a definite lack of accountability on the part of the Man and the Biosphere and World Heritage Site programs and the international bureaucracies that have sprung from these UNESCO projects. Without passage of legislation like the American Land Sovereignty Protection Act, these problems will not only continue, but will propagate across the U.S. as more citizens of rural communities find their means of income regulated out of existence by radical environmental management schemes. I encourage the members of the House Resources Committee to make the House of Representatives at large aware of the seriousness of this situation and turn this legislation into law as soon as possible.
Now I added a little postscript here after reading the Sierra Club's little letter that they sent out. You know, I just have to say the lack of witnesses by the environmental organizations demonstrates their desire to circumvent even the most fundamental aspects of the democratic process here. You know, the Sierra Club's program director, Ken Midkiff's excuse for not coming here today, that he has been threatened by People for the USA, which I represent, and other groups, is just pure political hype.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Yancey. The Chair recognizes Mary Denham for testimony.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Yancey follows:]
STATEMENT OF RICHARD J. YANCEY, PRESIDENT, VIBURNUM CHAPTE, PEOPLE FOR THE USA!
Page 157 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCIntroduction
As a witness before this Committee, I would first like to express my thanks to the members, especially Representatives Don Young and JoAnn Emerson, for the opportunity to address you today. My name is Richard Yancey and I am speaking on behalf of The People for the USA! in support of The American Land Sovereignty Act, H.R. 883. We believe that passage of this legislation is a critical step in the restoration of the Constitutional authority of Congress to address important land management issues on Federal lands.
With over a decade of experience as a mine geologist, I have had many opportunities to deal with land resource issues and I am very concerned about the United Nations Man and the Biosphere and World Heritage Site designations. There are already 67 such designations, 47 Biosphere Reserves and 20 World Heritage Sites, in the United States. Designation of a site under either program does not require input from Congress or the people living in the region. In fact, most designations in the United States originated with environmental organizations like the Sierra Club or the Nature Conservancy, although the National Park Service has often been a willing partner in implementing the designation process.
Briefly, I will describe the most essential aspects of both programs, since other witnesses have already done a very good job laying out the details. The Biosphere Reserve model consists of three areas: a core area, a buffer zone and a transition area. While the World Heritage Sites are generally not set up under the same model, recent events near the Yellowstone World Heritage Site make it clear that similar guidelines are being followed.
Man and the Biosphere models focus on the core area, which consists of minimally disturbed ecosystems and only activities that do not adversely affect natural processes and wildlife are allowed. Often core areas are centered on a National Park or Wildlife Refuge, but may extend beyond public lands to include private properties. The Federal or state lands would be very carefully managed and the private lands would be heavily regulated to fit the biosphere guidelines. Certainly, most multiple-use activities, including mining, ranching, timbering and farming, would not be allowed in core areas.
Page 158 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Surrounding core areas are buffer zones, where activities and natural resources are managed to help protect the core areas. Multiple-use activities are specifically allowed in buffer zones under the Man and the Biosphere model, but in practice, have been not been permitted to take place in any substantial manner. Once again, we can look to the Yellowstone World Heritage Site, where Crown Butte Mining's development of the New World Mine was halted, despite the fact that there was a mountain range between the World Heritage Site boundary and the proposed mine. Especially onerous in this affair was how the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, a group of 13 environmental organizations, manipulated the World Heritage Committee into declaring the site as ''World Heritage Site in danger.'' This introduced a perception of impending disaster to the issue. This perception was patently false but, nevertheless, the Clinton Administration blocked the development of this project at a very high cost to U.S. taxpayers.
The outermost layer of a Biosphere Reserve is a transition area, which is a ''dynamic zone of cooperation in which conservation knowledge and management skills are applied.'' While economic development in transition areas is more acceptable than in buffer zones, it is still highly regulated and subject to management by United Nations officials. The three layers or ones often encompass millions of acres of public and private land.
Clearly, there is keen interest on the part of many environmental organizations to see the designation of many more Biosphere Reserves and World Heritage Sites in the U.S. Other witnesses testifying to this Committee in support of H.R. 883 have already commented on the links the Man and the Biosphere and World Heritage Site programs have to the Wildlands Project, the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Global Biodiversity Assessment.
Clearly, the Wildlands Project controversial goal of converting 50 percent or more of the U.S. land area to natural habitats with very limited human use would be viewed as rather extreme by most Americans. Yet we are participating in two major U.N. programs, which currently have no Congressional oversight, that are very supportive of this extremism and appear to be implementing it.
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Impacts to Missouri Communities
So how do the Man and the Biosphere and World Heritage Site programs affect Missourians? There was a recent attempt to designate a Biosphere Reserve here in southern Missouri. The consequences of such a designation would reach deep into the economic and social soul of many rural communities here in the Ozarks. This region is heavily dependent on natural resource based industries such as mining, timbering and agriculture. These industries have deep roots, with documented evidence of the French mining lead at Mine LaMotte as early as 1721. Missouri has been a major producer of timber for nearly two hundred years and has had a strong agricultural history and is currently the second in beef production in the United States. All these activities will be adversely affected by Man and the Biosphere or World Heritage Site designation.
Considering my background, I would like to explain to the Committee members why the people of Missouri, specifically those who are directly dependent on the mining industry for their income, need the protection that the American Land Sovereignty Protection Act would provide. Mining has an annual value to Missouri of over five billion dollars and provides direct employment for more than eight thousand people and employing thousands of others indirectly. Besides being a major producer of crushed stone, gravel and lime, Missouri is also the nation's foremost producer of lead and a significant producer of zinc and copper. All of these metals are of strategic importance to the United States. It is the lead/zinc/copper mines and exploration for new deposits that are at highest risk.
The lead deposits of southeast Missouri lie in a rather unique geologic setting. In the first place, most deposits of this type tend to be zinc dominated, whereas these are lead dominated, with significant amounts of zinc, copper, silver and cobalt. Furthermore, the size and number of the deposits also sets them apart from other similar deposits found elsewhere in the world. In fact, southeast Missouri contains the largest known concentration of lead in the earth's crust. But this does not mean that these deposits are widespread or easy to locate. Your typical deposit tends to be several thousand feet in length, only a few hundred feet wide and is found only in a specific geologic setting in the Bonneterre Formation. To complicate matters, there is no geophysical method that has been successful in detecting these type of deposits, so drilling and a good understanding of the local geology are the geologist's main exploration tools. Discovery of even one deposit often takes years of exploration and a very serious amount of capital investment.
Page 160 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Development of a mining property requires extensive study. Before any actual development can take place ore reserve analysis, mine planning, modeling and financial analysis must be completed. In addition, detailed Environmental Impact Studies must be conducted and a myriad of permits applied for, all under the scrutiny of a variety of Federal, state and local regulatory agencies and the public. Then comes the actual construction of facilities and mine development. The multifaceted aspect of such an undertaking requires large infusions of capital funding and a lot of time. Generally, most mines take anywhere from ten to twenty years of work before the first ton of ore is processed.
A basic understanding of the geology and development requirements of these deposits is critical if one is to analyze the needs of Missouri's metals mining industry. Often, I am asked why we just couldn't locate our mines in a less environmentally sensitive area (although none of the environmental organizations knows where such a place would be). The answer is simplemines are developed where the ore deposits are located, not where we would like for them to be. In the case of southern Missouri, the most prospective area for new discoveries cuts a swath directly across the region recently proposed for the Ozark Man and the Biosphere Reserve. Depending on how the boundaries would be drawn for the Biosphere Reserve, current operations would likely fall in the buffer zone. Note the map included with this testimony delineating Federal lands, major rivers, the proposed Biosphere boundaries and the area of highest exploration potential for this region of southern Missouri. It is also important to note that not shown on the map are thousands of acres of state land in this area, as well as significant private holdings (i.e. the Nature Conservancy) which already exclude exploration.
If the Ozark Man and the Biosphere were to become reality, it would not be hard to imagine its impact on Missouri's lead mines, not to mention other natural resource based industries. Exploration for mineral resources would not be an activity compatible with Biosphere core area management regimens. Drilling for mineral resources might be allowed in buffer zones, but what would be the point, since new mines will not be allowed. The aforementioned New World Mine project is stark evidence of how the U.N. views mining. Although it is not likely, there may even be pressure for closure of current mine operations, since these sort of activities will not fit into the social engineering mind set of ''sustainable development'' called for in the Man and the Biosphere and World Heritage Site programs. Regardless, without the discovery of new resources, lead mining in Missouri will come to a screeching halt in a few years. One or two mines could last as long as fifteen years on their current reserve base, but that would be unlikely, considering the higher costs of doing business with ever more stricter environmental regulations found in Biosphere Reserve areas.
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Efforts at Ozark Man and the Biosphere Designation
So how likely is it that this area could be designated a U.N. Biosphere Reserve? The answer to that question is obvious if one looks at recent events.
First, the area in question, encompassing the watersheds of the Current and Eleven Point Rivers, has been chosen as a Bioreserve by the Nature Conservancy, which helped pave the way for the initial attempt at designation of the U.N. Ozark Man and the Biosphere. This is an area 120 miles long by 50 miles wide at its widest point, containing more than 2.3 million acres of land. At present, less than 500,000 acres of this area are publicly held properties.
Second, the effort of the Missouri Department of Conservation to implement Coordinated Resource Management included provisions to support the Man and the Biosphere efforts in Missouri in its initial draft. Coordinated Resource Management was an attempt to further integrate management of both public and private lands by state and Federal agencies, along with non-governmental organizations. Although there were some commendable aspects to Coordinated Resource Management, several provisions, including the Man and the Biosphere support issue, caused enough public outcry to force the Department of Conservation to scrap the program.
Third, efforts by mining companies to acquire prospecting permits to explore for mineral deposits in the Mark Twain National Forest in the region have been blocked by the Clinton Administration. Two Environmental Assessments and an Environmental Impact Study have been conducted, finding no reason to disallow exploration. The Forest Service, after years of delays, was poised to issue permits. However, the Bureau of Land Management, which manages mineral resources on Federal lands, would not allow the permits to be issued. After months of discussions with the BLM and Bruce Babbitt of the Interior Department, the permit applications were withdrawn by the Doe Run Company, a major mining company with mines in the region. It had become obvious that the Interior Department was requiring the company to forfeit its legal rights to any new discoveries if exploration permits were to be issued. This raises serious questions of legality of the Interior Department's position and tactics, since the laws and regulations regarding issuance of prospecting permits contains no provision for exclusions of this sort.
Page 162 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Fourth, Missouri's Attorney General, Jay Nixon, has requested Bruce Babbitt and the Interior Department to withdraw from consideration for prospecting permits more than four hundred thousand acres of Federal lands in the watersheds of the Current and the Eleven Point Rivers. This request has questionable legal ramifications, but serves to illustrate a point, considering that it asks for the withdrawal of lands that closely match those proposed for the Ozark Man and the Biosphere Reserve. As a side note, a similar withdrawal was recently announced for portions of the Lewis and Clark National Forest in Montana. The withdrawal is open for comment by the public, but it appears that there is at least some coordination of efforts to bring about major changes in how Federal lands are managed which circumvent Congressional oversight and participation.
The common thread of all these efforts is the removal of large portions of public and private lands from multiple-use methods of land management, without substantial input from the people affected or their elected representatives. In place of this common-sense, conservation-minded process of resource management, the Man and the Biosphere and World Heritage Site programs wish to implement a ''sustainable development'' economy that is yet to be clearly defined as to how it will work. However, this is irrelevant to the environmental extremists who have conceived of radical programs such as the Wildlands Project, which puts nature above man in every case. The real tragedy of such radical schemes is that they ignore the successes of other, more reasonable approaches and needlessly destroy the economic, social and environmental progress accomplished by the efforts of thousands of responsible land managers and millions of American citizens.
Furthermore, subjugating U.S. laws to U.N. regulations through an international agreement that does not have willing support of the people of this country or the oversight of the Congress strains the limits of the Constitution. This is especially true when sections of an international agreement are being implemented without ratification, as is in the case of the Convention on Biological Diversity. This presents a threat to the sovereignty of the United States. There is a definite lack of accountability on the part of the Man and the Biosphere and World Heritage Site programs and the international bureaucracies that have sprung from these UNESCO projects. Without passage of legislation like the American Lands Sovereignty Protection Act, these problems will not only continue, but will propagate across the U.S. as more citizens of rural communities find their means of income regulated out of existence by radical environmental management schemes. I encourage the members of the House Resources Committee to make the House of Representatives at large aware of the seriousness of this situation and turn this legislation into law as soon as possible.
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INSERT OFFSET FOLIO 117 HERE
STATEMENT OF MARY DENHAM, DIRECTOR AND STATE COORDINATOR, TAKE BACK ARKANSAS, FAYETTEVILLE, ARKANSAS
Ms. DENHAM. Thank you, Madam Chairman and members of the Resource Committee. Thank you for coming and the privilege and honor of speaking here today for myself and members of Take Back Arkansas, a property rights organization.
Let me say at the outset that we support the American Land Sovereignty Protection Act, H.R. 883, sponsored by U.S. Representative Don Young and co-sponsored by 162 U.S. Representatives, three of them being from Arkansas. We were almost designated as a UNESCO Ozark Highlands Man and Biosphere (OHMAB) in most of Missouri and much of Arkansas September 1, 1996.
Before Connie Burks and I had met or talked, we were working on individual tracks with the MAB information we each had at the time. When we tried to contact elected officials in Washington and Arkansas, we were stonewalled by cadres of aides who tuned us out and turned us off as black helicopter, blue helmeted conspirators. This was a common ridicule by proponents of the MAB against opponents of these designations. In other words, when you cannot defend the message, attack the messenger.
When Connie's MAB documentation became public, there was a desperate flurry of activity to inform others. Quickly a grassroots swell against the MAB by informed people across the state and most especially those in northern Arkansas demanded answers to questions. We wanted reassurance that official action would be taken to stop the designation before the September 1 deadline.
We were able to get the information to then U.S. Representative Tim Hutchinson, who wrote Roger Soles, Director of the State Department of the U.S. Man and Biosphere offices and asked that the Ozark Highlands Man and Biosphere not be designated.
Page 164 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I found it all the more unbelievable when I actually read the MAB documents. There was not one elected person or legislative body, only Federal and state bureaucracies and non-governmental organizations. In fact, a couple of the whereas clauses stated:
''Whereas the parties to this agreement are empowered by various state and Federal codes and statutes to enter into this agreement,'' and ''Whereas the Economy Act of 1932, as amended, provides for Federal agencies to enter into agreement establishing mutual policies, objectives, and cooperative relationships,'' I certainly did not know they were so established.
How can private property owners be protected from these same aggressors? Yellowstone is just one example of foreign aggression on our American land. The U.N. World Heritage Committee was called in by environmental advocacy groups to settle a domestic dispute as to the need for more privately owned land for a buffer zone to protect the Yellowstone World Heritage Site and Yellowstone MAB Site from a gold mine. The environmental impact study for the mine had not been completed. This was private property. Where then was the Congress and where will they be for the next such aggression?
Can't one just imagine how much havoc, abuse and aggression an Ozark Man and the Biosphere of 35,250,000 acres, 55,000 square miles, would wreak on the citizens and their private property in the Ozarks in Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Illinois?
The OHMAB is alive and well in Arkansas and Missouri, with the bureaucracies implementing and completing their individual preplanned parts just waiting for the day when the Biodiversity Treaty is ratified and all will be in place. These agencies have not missed a heartbeat in the performance of their parts in the MAB. They may or may not have missed the money they were expecting to get out of it, but their will to push it through, hell or high water is going strong. According to these workers, now they are just complying with environmental laws and codes passed by Congress and the states.
Page 165 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC By Forest Service ecosystem assessment and planning, the regional OHMAB has now been extended to include the Quachitas, the Mississippi River is to be joined by Land-Between-the-Lakes and on to the Southern Appalachian MAB.
Further insight into this equation of denials is found in a document of particular significance through Mike Dombeck, Forest Service Chief, quote, regarding the U.S. Man and Biosphere Program, the summary states, quote, ''The survival of the U.S. MAB program is threatened. Benefits to the U.S. and the USDA Forest Service are significant. Loss of authority to participate in the U.S. MAB program or loss of our MAB sites, would significantly deter progress in achieving the goals of the President and that of the Santiago Agreement.'' I have other documentation about the Santiago Agreement and their participation.
In an article by Bruce Yandle titled ''Land Rights: Why do they matter?'', he writes on the Magna Carta, the great charter ''was a watershed event in the struggle of ordinary people to protect their natural rights against encroachments by government.
''The reason seems clear, People do not have rights because the state allows themthe lesson seems clear,'' I am sorry. ''The nation/state exists because people have rights. In many ways, today's property rights advocates are calling for a modern Magna Carta. Once again, ordinary people are seeking to restrain and contain government. But instead of having to settle differences with picks, swords and arrows, the parties in the struggle now turn to courts and legislative bodies. Their struggles help us to see how strong is the motivation for freedom.''
Therefore, I believe that this bill comes at a pivotal point in American history. Like the Magna Carta, depending upon its passage rests the future of the United States of America as founded by our Fathers.
If the Congress cannot and will not act to protect private property from regulatory aggression from within, then how can Americans be protected from regulatory aggression by the Committee of the World Heritage Commission and committees of other U.N. designations?
Page 166 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC There should never be a question about the passage of H.R. 883 because of the oath of office each member swears to and serves under. Thomas Jefferson said, ''The whole of government consists in the art of being honest.'' The question is laid squarely on the votes of the Congress on H.R. 883 as to whether America will be a state under U.N. dominion or if it will be the United States of America, a republic and one nation under God.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Ms. Denham. The Chair recognizes Frank Meyers for his testimony.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Denham follows:]
STATEMENT OF MARY DENHAM, DIRECTOR AND STATE COORDINATOR, TAKE BACK ARKANSAS, INC., FAYETTEVILLE, ARKANSAS
Representative Helen Chenoweth and Representative JoAnn Emerson, and members of the House Resource Committee Staff, welcome to the Ozarks. I thank you for the privilege and honor of speaking here today for myself and members of Take Back Arkansas.
Let me say at the outset that we support The American Land Sovereignty Act, H.R. 883 sponsored by U.S. Representative Don Young and cosponsored by 162 U.S. Representatives, three of them being from Arkansas. We were almost designated a U.N. Ozark Highlands Man and The Biosphere (OHMAB) in most of Missouri and much of Arkansas.
An onerous environmental, land stealing, city ordinance was passed in June of 1994. It was the catalyst for the organization of Take Back Arkansas, Inc, (TBA). TBA was incorporated in May of 1995 as a non-profit, non-partisan non-tax exempt civic organization, for the express purpose of educating ourselves and others about our unalienable rights in property, the abuses of those rights, the legal protections of those rights and to learn how we as citizens could be more vigilant in protecting those rights. We started by thinking local, but before the end of the year, we realized some of these problems were global in scope.
Page 167 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This testimony is about my personal journey into property rights questions and answers. As state coordinator for Take Back Arkansas I felt a duty to become as informed as possible. Being a real estate broker, I began my research with real estate law books I had on hand at the time. My husband is an Architect and a Professor of Architecture. We are tied to the land through our professions, no less than those directly impacted by natural resource decisions. All of our nation's wealth comes from our good earth.
As history is a good teacher, in my search for answers, I looked to the past and gained from others, their wealth of wisdom. I believe the quotes from the past century used herein deal with property and the law and are therefore pertinent to The American Land Sovereignty Act and the question as to who shall write the laws and who shall control the property. We're not even losing our land to another country, we would fight for that, we're just losing it to the world. What does that mean?
''The great and chief end of man's uniting into commonwealth and putting themselves under government, is the preservation of their property'' John Locke.
Frederic Bastiat 1801-1850 was a French economist, statesman and author. In his book THE LAW he writes, Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place. What, then, is law? It is the collective organization of the individual right to lawful defense. Each of us has a natural right from God to defend his person, his liberty, and his property. These are the three basic requirements of life, and the preservation of any one of them is completely dependent upon the preservation of the other two.
In an article by Bruce Yandle titled ''Land Rights: Why do They Matter'' he writes, My studies led me to the great 17th-century English jurist Sir Edward Coke. His explanation of the Magna Carta left little doubt in my mind that the Great Charter, as he termed it, was a watershed event in the struggle of ordinary people to protect their natural rights against encroachments by government. There in the Magna Carta one finds words that sound very much like the takings clause of the Fifth Amendment:
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''No freeman shall be deprived of his free tenement or liberties or fee custom but by lawful judgment of his peers and by the law of the land''
At the time of the Magna Carta, ''the law of the land'' referred to common law, not to laws written by a legislative body or king. Customary law, developed informally and rooted in community norms, was seen as the only logical way to protect property rights that had evolved over the centuries. Rights to land emerged from community and were transmitted to the nation/state. The lesson seems clear People do not have rights because the state allows them. The nation/state exists because people have rights. In many ways, today's property rights advocates are calling for a modern Magna Carta. Once again, ordinary people are seeking to restrain and contain government. But instead of having to settle differences with picks, swords and arrows, the parties in the struggle now turn to courts and legislative bodies. Their struggles help us to see how strong is the motivation for freedom.
Therefore I believe this bill comes at a pivotal point in American history. Like the Magna Carta, depending on its passage rests the future of the United State of America as founded by our Fathers. In the middle of my search I ran smack-dab, face to face, into a UNESCO MAB in my two home states of Missouri and Arkansas.
If the Congress can not, or will not, act to protect American land from regulatory aggression from within the United States then how can American land be protected from regulatory aggression by the Committee of the World Heritage Commission and committees of other U.N. designations? How then can private property owners be protected from these same aggressors? Yellowstone is just one example of foreign aggression on our American land. The U.N. World Heritage Committee was called in by environmental advocacy groups to settle a domestic dispute as to the need for more privately owned land for a buffer zone to ''protect'' the Yellowstone World Heritage site and Yellowstone U.N. Man and the Biosphere (MAB) site from a gold mine. The environmental impact study for the mine had not been completed.
Page 169 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The coal in Utah is another example of this mentality. This was private property. Where was the Congress and where will they be on the next such aggression? This is domestic and foreign aggression on American soil. A U.S. MAB project is a program initiated by, run by, and for bureaucrats and NGO's and God help anyone who gets in their way, they will ridicule, slander and try to destroy that person.
Proponents of these designations blame their opponents for not understanding the beneficial, benign and benevolent attributes of these designations. One can't even understand their eco-speak. If they want to be better understood a dictionary of their newly coined words would help. Of course, according to the Feasibility Study, us Arkies 'ain't supposed to know nothing. We would certainly be too ignorant to understand their other worldview.
More importantly, there is a different value system, which is taught in schools and churches and does need to be understood. In high schools and colleges a biocentric textbook is being used to teach Conservation Biology. In the textbook, CONSERVATION BIOLOGY are just two phrases which give insight into their world view: Alternative means of regulation have been proposed, and it is clear that we should explore all avenues to a better system. However, most that have been proposed to date are significantly flawed. For example, to assume that voluntary compliance for the common good will preserve systems is at best naiAE4ve, given the fact, as already noted, that regulation became necessary in the absence of voluntary compliance. Similarly, while so-called market based approaches may have some applicability, the market, by failing to deal adequately withboth equity and ecology, starts as a flawed instrument . . . Theological schools are training seminarians about the interface between religion and the environment. These efforts are all part of an interfaith program instituted late in 1993 that will underline the injunction to revere God's creation and to protect it (Joint Appeal 1992) because changes in the underlying value systems of human societies are critical to achieving conservation goals, religious values and teaching can play a vital role in creating a human relationship with the earth. However, those teachings must move beyond self-salvation for an afterlife to incorporate planetary salvation now.
Page 170 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I believe that we understand these designations better than the proponents do, we know they are wrong! Just for the sake of argument though, if this MAB program is so beneficial, benign and benevolent why did the OHMAB Steering Committee keep their scheming and planning under wraps for over seven years and why did they deny it so vehemently even after it was exposed. When one reads an AP story about 400 ''indigenous peasant squatters'' in a Guatemalan MAB site taking 29 U.N. enforcers hostage, who had gone in to roust out the squatters, it gives one pause to wonder as to who is the benefitee and just where is the benign benevolence.
Can't one just imagine how much havoc, abuse and aggression an Ozark Man and The Biosphere of 35,250,000 acres, 55,000 square miles, would wreck on the citizens and their private property in Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Illinois? This OHMAB is designed to be joined later with the Land Between-the-Lakes designation and eventually to the Southern Appalachian MAB.
International U.N. Treaties, Agreements and Accords with accompanying Executive Orders, Initiatives and Directives are feeding the U.S. and State agencies with power beyond their competence and sensibility, let alone the Constitutionality of their actions.
These agreements exceed Constitutional Authority to make Treaties. Our state and national laws are contained within our legal boundaries. These U.N. designations cross legal state and national boundaries, therefore they violate jurisdictions of state and national laws. They violate the Supreme Law of the Land, the U.S. Constitution, but most especially in the areas of:
Congressional ''Advice and Consent,'' (USC III-2-2))
Congressional Authority to ''make rules for the Government and Regulations of the Land'' (USC 1-8-13)
''Power of the Congress to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States,'' (USC iV-3-2)
Page 171 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Congressional Authority to exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever. . . . And to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by Consent of the Legislatures of the State in which the same shall be. . . .''; (USC 1-8-17)
Destroys the clause [N]othing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any claims of the United States, or of any particular State; (USC IV-3-2)
Destroys the mandate of the clause, ''the United States shall guarantee every State in this union a Republican Form of Government'' (USC IV-4)
Violates prohibition of ''No State shall enter into any Treaty, alliance, or Confederation; . . . No state shall, without the Consent of Congress, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State or with a Foreign Power (USC 1-10)
Violates ''No State shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States; or Parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States, concerned as well as the Congress'' (USC IV-3-1)
Eliminates the 5th, 9TH AND 10TH Amendments from The Bill of Rights. When these are gone, can the balance of the Constitution be far behind?
The First Amendment to the Constitution assures us ''the right of free speech, of the people to peaceably assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.'' Under the world's greatest civil document, The Constitution of the United States, we are free to assemble here today, to speak freely to two elected U.S. Representatives, who care about our concerns. Let me say, I am personally most grateful to both.
The Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to that Constitution, gave the people and the States the assurance that the Powers of the Central government would be limited and would never infringe upon ''the rights retained by the States and the people.'' Quoting the Preamble ''We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense,
Page 172 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCpromote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.'' We the people created the contract, it is of the people, by the people, and for the people of the United States. Our Constitutions, State and Federal, are the legal roots which bind us together as a people, regardless of race, color, creed or gender. It is our guidepost, starting line, owner's manual, and the legal mandates for our civil society.
Justice Joseph Storey 1779-1845 was named by President James Madison to serve on the United States Supreme Court on which he served from 1812 to 1845. He stated. ''That government can scarcely deemed to be free, where the rights of property are left solely dependent upon the will of a legislative body without any restraint. The fundamental maxims of a free government seem to require the rights of personal liberty and private property should be held sacred.''
There is a civic responsibility for the people watch and restrain the government now, just as there was when Justice Storey spoke of the fundamentals of freedom. I firmly believe that if 60 percent of eligible voters know more about these Executive Orders, Initiatives, Directives and designations, without congressional action, there would be a quick voter term limit exercised at the next election. Term limits began this year in Arkansas, to bring forth a citizen legislature. The candidates know it was politically correct and expedient to be well informed on property rights.
The Constitution may be a small document but it is contract made in good faith. We did not create a monarchy, dictatorship or an oligarchy but a Republican Form of Government, self governing through elected Representation to State and Federal Legislatures, to whom we granted sole lawmaking authority. This authority has been usurped by Administrative Executive Orders, Vice-presidential Initiatives, Judicial Decisions and bureaucratic rules and regulations which have added to the ''make law mixture,'' outside of Constitutional law making authority, under the guise of ''protecting the environment.''
Page 173 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Now we have entered into an unprecedented era in American history with United Nations Treaties proceeding from no Constitutional Authority, supplanting Congressional authority to manage Federal lands, through World Heritage Sites, UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, and Ramsar sites. These designations have more roots and branches than a banyan tree.
Something else has gone awry. Under the clause ''promote the general welfare'' found only in the Preamble to the Constitution, which has no force of law, all sorts of Acts have passed as law, which I call defacto laws. They are clearly not passed under Authority of the Constitution but under the color of law. Over the past twenty-five years there have been numerous environmental laws passed by Congress, without the Congress writing the rules and regulations. What started as an honest concern for health and safety has turned into a burgeoning business with another agenda. The environment industry has now become a direct ten percent of our economy. The direct and indirect added cost to government and private citizens is relatively higher as the growth in related rules and regulations by Federal and State bureaucracies has grown exponentially.
My encounter with the Ozark Highlands Man and The Biosphere began in late 1995 with an article in an National Wilderness Magazine, NWI RESOURCE. Time and space doesn't permit me to name the hundreds of people I talked with, who shared time, information and publications with me. In early 1996 I had read a small warning in a paper from People of the West, now People of the USA announcing the plans for a MAB program in the southern half of Missouri and the northern third of Arkansas. The Missouri Department of Conservation was seeking comment on their Draft Plan, which included information on the OHMAB.
In July of 1996, after Governor Huckabee took office and immediately started lobbying for the 1/8th cent ''Conservation Tax'' I contacted Jim Wilson, an aide of the Governor, whom I had considered a personal friend with my concerns about an OHMAB and his remark to me was, ''Now Mary, don't get like those people who got on the roof tops and look for the Lord to return on a certain day.'' My reply to him was, ''Now Jim, don't talk to me about apples and oranges, I'm talking about Biospheres, of which, you obviously know nothing.''
Page 174 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC After another call or two Jim did ask me to send the materials I had, to the Governor and he would see that the matter was studied. The next week State Senator John Brown had hand delivered a packet of information to the Governor, from me, including Dr. Michael Coffman's video ''BiodiversityThe Key to Destroying Property Rights and the U.S. Constitution.'' I later received a call from another aide, Chris Pyle, about mid August asking for another copy of the video and it was sent directly to the Governor by Susan Coffman.
As chief executive officer of the state, I thought the Governor would want to be informed. At the same time, Game & Fish Director, Steve N. Wilson was telling the Governor that it was all ''black helicopters and blue helmets.'' Unbeknown to me Connie had already sent her documents to the Governor. I didn't give up on my attempts to know that this was considered seriously, and as I learned later, neither did Connie.
About August the 18th, after listening to a tape ''The Rewilding of America,'' I called the producer of the tape, Tex Marrs Ministry office in Texas, and asked if they could give me further information and documentation. The sole staffer there reluctantly gave me the name and phone number of Connie Burk. When we talked she told me of her information and concerns.
Connie came to my Fayetteville office where I had arranged for her to be interviewed by Rusty Garrett and give him copies of her information. Rusty is a reporter with the Northwest Arkansas Times. The following Sunday Rusty's Biosphere article was front page with a photo of a schematic drawing of a biosphere layout by Carol W. LaGrasse that she had published in the Biosphere edition of her ''Positions on Property Rights.'' People started calling wanting answers to questions. After answering the best I could, I referred them to the Governor.
He called off the Game and Fish participation in the program three days before the Nomination was to have been finalized. There was no response from the Governor, to the people's questions, until after the November elections and the Conservation Tax was passed. He then issued a denial letter with Steve Wilson's fairy tale denial memo of biosphere involvement attached. Nor did he correct the false impression in a later TV interview. This can be found on TBA Home page http://www.users.NWArk.com/-tbark/
Page 175 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Before Connie and I had met or talked we were working on individual tracts with the MAB information we each had at the time. When we tried to contact elected officials in Washington and in Arkansas we were stonewalled by cadres of aides who tuned us out and turned us off as ''black helicopter-blue helmet conspirators.'' I heard this in the halls of Congress when these designations were debated. This was a common turn off by the environmentalist and proponents of the MAB.
We were able to get the information to then, U.S. Representative, now U.S. Senator Tim Hutchinson, by way of a mutual friend, State Senator Fay Boozman, who delivered it to Mr. Hutchinson at church on Sunday before the nomination was to be finalized on September 1, 1996. Mr. Hutchinson wrote Roger Soles, then Director of the State Department the U.S. Man and The Biosphere offices and asked that the Ozark Highlands Man and Biosphere not be designated. After that, Representative Hutchinson testified before a Resource Committee Hearing for the American Land Sovereignty Act in September of 1996.
All of this was a nightmare, but I found it more unbelievable when I actually read the Cooperative Agreement (Memorandum of Understanding), Nomination Form, and the Feasibility Study for the Ozark Highlands Man and the Biosphere (OHMAB).
There was not one elected person or legislative body involved, only Federal and State bureaucrats and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO's). In fact, a couple of the ''Whereas'' clauses stated:
WHEREAS the parties to this agreement are empowered by various state and Federal codes and statutes to enter into this agreement and
WHEREAS, the Economy Act of 1932, as amended, 31 U.S.C. 1535 and 1346(b) (Interagency Agreements), provides for Federal agencies to enter into establishing mutual policies, objectives, and cooperative relationships and
Page 176 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I certainly didn't know they were so enabled. That wasn't the only shocker. I learned from the Feasibility Study in Chapter 9Ozark Culture that, 4This culture appears to interact with the environment harmoniously, and individuals in this group have relatively little impact on the environment. Exceptions are that they dispose of solid waste in the hollows and have primitive systems for sewage disposal.
I found in Chapter 10Ozark Economy these two elitist pearls of wisdom: Distortions enter the culture with the welfare system and some illegal activities. Many of these people (with populations concentrated in Missouri in Carter County, Oregon County, and to some extent Shannon County) have been unable to continue in their self-sufficient lifestyle. They have turned to public welfare assistance to become part of the cash economy. Many third and fourth-generation welfare families live in these counties. Poaching is common. Outsiders coming into the area have brought the influence of drugs. Ozark residents have always had alcohol but not other drugs. In addition to noting the use of drugs, several interviewees believe that growing marijuana has become a very large non-reported cash industry. And,Because of the original culture in some counties, people historically are not accustomed to working a full day or a full year. Employers complain that no one shows up for work on the first day of deer season or when the fish are biting. Industry cannot operate well without a dependable work force:
These aspersions cast upon the culture and economy are hardly indicative of the hard working people who made the home grown national and international companies like Wal-Mart, Tyson Foods, Dillard Department Stores, J.B. Hunt Trucking Company, the former Jones Truck Lines and numerous other home grown stock market companies competitive in this ''global economy.''
With all of the bureaucratic agencies involved in this MAB program they should be able to keep Al Gore's earth in the balance. No wonder Roger Soles asked why we were so against the U.N. MAB in the Ozarks. He wanted to know why they had failed, so he commissioned a research paper found at: http://ssu.agri.missouri.edu/Publications/Ozarks/toc.html
Page 177 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC After the intersection with the OHMAB we quadrupled our efforts. All over the state TBA members were helping their neighbors and adjoining counties to become informed. Together we raised the awareness of these designations and their impact on property rights.
Through reading an article by Ruth Kaiser in the National Federal Lands Conference newsletter ''Update'' titled, ''Using County Government to Protect Your Customs, Culture and Economy'' I learned of the National Environment Protect Act (NEPA) ''little NEPA'' codes. By initiating a County Land Use Plan under certain codes Congress had provided in NEPA, local governments would have a seat at the table with these agencies, for any bureaucratic decision making within their counties.
I made this information available to members statewide. A conference was held in Harrison, Arkansas August 2nd 1997 with members of the National Federal Lands Conference, Ruth Kaiser, Director, Howard Hutchinson, Tom McDonnel, Michael Kelly and Attorney Karen Budd Falen giving a seminar on these County Land use plans. As these ordinances were being passed by the counties in Arkansas, the Forest Service and Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Director were trying to squash the ordinances.
The OHMAB is alive and well in Missouri and Arkansas with the bureaucracies implementing and completing their individual preplanned parts just waiting for the day when the Biodiversity Treaty is ratified and all will be in place. These agencies haven't missed a heartbeat in the performance of their parts in this MAB. They may, or may not, have missed the money they were expecting to get out of it but their will to push it through, hell or high water is going strong. They now hide under the myriad of environmental Acts passed by Congress.
Following the delayed, but completed and ready to submit Nomination Form, the activities of these agencies, sure walks, talks and smells; like the beginning implementation of the OHMAB with the same bad actors.
Page 178 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Unfortunately the public exposure, was bad timing and came too close for comfort for the U.S. Forest Service for their scheduled part in the OHMAB, an ecosystem assessment. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission felt the same sting with their Stream Team Program, but proceeded anyway. It's no coincidence that the same agencies are duplicated and aligned in the ongoing MAB programs. Earlier documents obtained delineated that the Forest Service would among other things perform an Ecosystem Assessment and Plan and AR G&F would initiate Stream Streams. There are other documented activities to prove the point but the following have been debated publicly.
Almost simultaneously with the public uproar over the OHMAB the U.S. Forest Service, in the Quachita National Forest and the Ozark-St Francis National Forest in Arkansas and Missouri, began an Ecosystem Assessment headed by Bill Pell, a former Nature Conservancy employee. Even though both Forest Supervisors were signatories to the Nomination Form, they tried to no avail, to squelch the idea that this was tied in any way to the OHMAB. Their resource books were the completed 5 book set of Southern Appalachian MAB Assessment of which I have a set. They were just performing their MAB part.
Lo and behold, in 1997 another signatory, to the Nomination Form, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Director Steve Wilson was introducing Stream Teams into Arkansas. After another hue and cry from those who had stayed involved to watch the actions of these bureaucratic U.N. facilitators, the Governor once again withdrew his public support of this program. They were just perforrning their MAB part, too.
A document of particular significance in my file on the USDA Forest service is a copy of the Informational Memorandum for James A. Lyons, Undersecretary, NRE from Barbara Webber, Associate Deputy Chief for Research (FS) through Mike Dombeck, FS Chief, regarding the U.S. Man and the Biosphere Program. The Summary states ''the survival of the U.S. MAB program is threatened. Benefits to the U.S. and the USDA Forest Service are significant. Loss of authority to participate in the U.S. MAB program or loss of our MAB sites, would significantly deter progress in achieving the goals of the President and that of the Santiago Agreement.''
Page 179 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Another document shows that the Forest Service has a high disregard for private property: Property rights of private land and the rights to use public lands will continue to evolve over time. Means are provided to determine those rights through due process. Recent important developments are the evolution of private property rights under the terms of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (Public Law 93205) and the determination of local control of the use of Federal lands in the West Sustainable Forest, Santiago Declaration http://www.fs.fed.us/land/sustain dev/sd/criter7.htm#LIEF48. We, as property owners were never told our property rights were evolving but read it on the web.
Jim Burling Pacific Legal Foundation wrote a commentary ''Bureaucrats; You Can't Trust Them, You Can't Control Them'' and I would add, you can't vote for them, nor can you fire them, and neither can anyone else. They have better tenure, as soon as they go on the public payroll, than a university professor. Our bureaucracy is a super duper giant. The bureaucrats want to secure their jobs, grow their power through rules and regulations. The environmentalist feed at the public trough on Federal grants and begging. Many elected officials can't afford to stand against the environmentalist money and propaganda, aided and abetted by the media and the polls. The only people who don't benefit from these incestuous circles are the taxpaying public. Americans have, to quote the title of Holly Swanson's dynamic book, BEEN SET UP AND SOLD OUT. The private citizen and his or her property, personal and private, is in the crosshairs of their crossfire.
Many bureaucrats have become like U.N. facilitators and they sure want ''consensus'' for their programs. I don't believe than these people are inherently evil for the most part, I just don't think they begin to understand, or want to know, the scope of the deception of these programs. I also believe their bosses think of this as manna from heaven, a great cash cow to grow their bureaucracies. They have separate roles to play, they are so propagandized about their roles that they refuse to see the picture as a whole.
Page 180 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC If, as the researcher for the State Department MAB program has called the OHMAB a failed nomination effort, it was because it was a grassroots team efforts in Missouri and Arkansas that made it fail.
We, the American people do not want another entity controlling our land. We know that whoever controls the land, controls the people, be it by onerous burdensome government regulation or confiscation. Where private property has remained in the control of the individual owners, representative government has been possible and the nation has prospered.
There should never be a question about the passage of H.R. 883. I don't believe that the oath of office each member swears to, and serves under, gives them any choice but to pass this Act for American sovereignty. Every Congressman was elected as a U.S. Representative or Senator not as a U.N. representative. It is the responsibility of the members of this Committee and the House and Senate to decide whether they are voting on this as Americans or as Globalists, no one can serve two masters. The question is laid squarely on the votes of this Committee and the votes of the Congress on H.R. 883, as to whether America will be a state under U.N. dominion or if it will the United States of America, a Republic, and ''one nation under God.''
INSERT OFFSET FOLIOS 118 TO 174 HERE
STATEMENT OF FRANK MEYERS, FORESTER AND SECRETARY, POTOSI CHAPTER, PEOPLE FOR THE USA
Mr. MEYERS. I am Frank W. Meyers of Potosi, Missouri. I speak as one who has been a practicing environmentalist and professional forester for over 55 years, which with the time spent in the Navy throughout World War II, gives me a perspective on the environmental scene covering 60 years.
I come to speak in support of H.R. 883, the American Land Sovereignty Protection Act.
Page 181 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I speak both for myself and for the Potosi Chapter of People for the USA, for which organization I serve as Secretary, whose membership includes many who have been long active in management, production and use of natural resource commodities, both on public and private land.
Today it is distressing to see productive natural resource management which provides for human needs, being threatened on every side.
The threat arises from a plethora of pseudo-environmentalist groups whose general theme is to reorganize society around the central principle of protecting the environment, and who both use and lend credence to a variety of United Nations plans, conventions and treaties oriented toward control of America and its people.
In 1971, the United Nations through UNESCO initiated a plan for setting up a world network of Biosphere Reserves to protect the environment and safeguard the planet. The State Department incorporated this in their planning in 1973. The Biosphere Reserve Program has the objective of returning vast areas of the planet to a nature-managed condition. In the U.S. this amounts to 48 percent of the land area. The long range objective is to regulate population distribution and land use on a massive scale.
The Framework on Biosphere Reserves specifies the designation of core areas in each Reserve, which will be completely free of human use. A surrounding buffer zone will allow only limited access and the third or transition zone will provide for control of sustainable use.
Sustainable use in U.N. and pseudo-environmentalist jargon means reducing consumption of goods, elimination of modern conveniences and controlling the population.
Without Congressional approval, some 47 Biosphere Reserves, totaling some 44 million acres, have already been designated in America and more are in the planning stage. One such planned Reserve was the Ozark Highland Man and the Biosphere which covered 48,000 square miles in Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kansas. Although temporarily shelved, this gigantic plot to return 48,000 square miles to pre-settlement conditions, gave way in 1996 to a smaller Reserve proposal. It was the Lower Ozarks Biosphere Reserve, covering 3,200 square miles in 11 counties in Missouri and one in Arkansas. Although public outcry stopped implementation of this Reserve, the Missouri Department of Conservation which had been a signatory to it, saw fit in 1996 to launch its own plan for the Lower Ozark region of the state in what it called a Coordinated Resource Management Plan covering 11 counties.
Page 182 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The threat of this CRM plan is that biodiversity and ecosystem management override the long held conservation objectives of improving the condition and productivity of the state's natural resources of timber, wildlife, minerals, water, air and aesthetics.
The underlying tenor of this CRM plan, which provides an excuse for its existence, is that the flora and fauna of Missouri are in a depleted state. This is not the case. Active resource management over the past 60 years has restored Missouri's resources to a reasonably good and productive condition.
The greatest threat to the well-being and productivity of Missouri's natural resources is lock-up management. And lock-up management protrudes through every phase of the CRM plan. The CRM plan espouses establishment of the Ozarks Man and the Biosphere with its restrictive, non-use goals and also The Nature Conservancy's Lower Ozarks Biosphere with similar objectives.
It should be noted that in neither the state's CRM plan or the Forest Service's ecosystem management strategy are the basic physiological needs of human beings integrated into or given substantive priority in the planning process. Neither is minerals recovery accorded any priority or recognition in the CRM plan.
Nature Conservancy's plan for the Lower Ozarks Biosphere, which MDC supports, states that ''alteration of pre-settlement natural processes is stressful to the ecosystem. And hence, management must focus on restoring pre-settlement processes.'' It is evident that sustainable refers to curtailing use by society and managing with the objective of returning resources to the lower productivity of pre-settlement days.
Another threat to private property and resource management posed by Biosphere Reserves, the CRP plan and ecosystem management is the designation of American lands as World Heritage Sites by the U.N. World Heritage Committee. Some 18 World Heritage Sites totaling over 20 million acres have already been designated in America, without Congressional approval.
Page 183 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Proof that the U.N. designations pose a threat to sovereignty, private property and resource management, is indicated by the U.N.'s action in 1995 in stopping a planned gold mine operation by Crown Butte Mine well outside Yellowstone National Park near Cooke City, Montana.
In stopping the mine, the U.N. delegation made this astounding comment: ''The U.S. as signatory to the World Heritage Convention has a duty to protect the ecosystem outside the Park.'' Yellowstone is both a Biosphere Reserve and a World Heritage Site.
Much of America is clearly at risk.
To protect American sovereignty, private property and resource management for the benefit of humanity, it is imperative that H.R. 883 be enacted into law.
Thank you for giving one who has practiced productive natural resource management for over half a century a chance to be heard.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Meyers follows:]
STATEMENT OF FRANK W. MEYERS, FORESTER AND SECRETARY, POTOSI CHAPTER, PEOPLE FOR THE USA
I am Frank W. Meyers of Potosi, Missouri. I speak as one who has been a practicing environmentalist and professional forester for over 55 years which with time spent in the Navy throughout WW-II, gives me a perspective on the environmental scene covering sixty years.
I some to speak in support of H.R. 883, the American Land Sovereignty Protection Act.
I speak both for myself and for the Potosi Chapter of ''People for the USA,'' for which organization I serve as Secretary, and whose membership includes many long active in management, production and use of natural resource commodities both on public and private land.
Today we are distressed to see productive natural resource management which provides for human needs, being threatened on every side.
The, threat arises from a plethora of pseudo-environmentalist groups whose general theme is to reorganize society around the central principle of protecting the environment, and who both use and lend credence to a variety of United Nations Plans, conventions, and treaties oriented toward control of America and its people.
Page 184 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In 1971 the United States Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) initiated a plan for setting up a world network of Biosphere Reserves to ''protect the environment'' and safeguard the planet. The U.S. State Department incorporated this into their planning in 1973. The Biosphere Reserve program has the objective of returning vast areas of the planet to a nature-managed condition. In the United States this amounts to some 48 percent of the land area. The long range objective is to regulate population distribution and land use on a massive scale.
Article 4, Section 5 of the Framework on Biosphere Reserves specifies the designation of vast ''core areas'' in each Reserve, which is to be completely free of human use. An adjacent surrounding ''buffer zone'' will allow only limited access but no management, and a third outlying ''transition'' zone will allow for planned, controlled ''sustainable use.''
''Sustainable'' in U.N. and pseudo-environmentalist jargon means reducing consumption of goods, eliminating modern conveniences and controlling the population, so as to return the resources to a ''pre-settlement'' condition.
Without Congressional approval, some 47 Biosphere Reserves, totaling 44 million acres, have already been officially designated in America. One such planned Biosphere Reserve was the Ozark Man and the Biosphere which which was to cover 48 thousand square miles in Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kansas, Although temporarily shelved, this gigantic plot to return 48 thousand square miles of America to pre-settlement conditions, gave rise in 1996 to a smaller Reserve proposal. It was the ''Lower Ozarks Biosphere Reserve,'' covering 3,200 square miles including eleven counties in Missouri and one in Arkansas, Although public outcry stopped implementation of this Reserve, the Missouri Department of Conservation which had been a signatory to it, saw fit to launch in 1996 what it reffered to as a Coordinated Resource Management Plan (CRM) for the Lower Ozark Region of the State, covering eleven counties.
The thrust of this CRM plan is that ''biodiversity'' and ''ecosystem management'' objectives override the long-held conservation objectives of improving the condition and productivity of all the States's natural resources of timber, wildlife, minerals, water, air and aesthetics.
Page 185 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The underlying tenor of the CRM planwhich provides an excuse for its beingis that the flora and fauna of Missouri are in a depleted state. This is hardly the case. Active resource management over the last sixty years has restored Missouri's resources to a reasonably good and productive condition.
The greatest threat to the well-being and productivity of Missouri's natural resources is ''lock-up'' management. And ''lock-up'' management protrudes through every phase of the CRM plan. The plan espouses establishment of the Ozarks Man and the Biosphere and its restrictive goals, and also Nature Conservancy's Lower Ozarks Biosphere with similar objectives.
It is interestingin fact frighteningto note that in neither the State's CRM plan or the Forest Service's ecosystem management strategy are the basis physiological needs of humans integrated into or given substantitive priority in the planning process. Neither is minerals management including prospecting, recovery, and reclamation accorded any priority or recognition in the CRM plan.
Nature Conservancy's plan for the Lower Ozarks Biospherewhich MDC supportsstates that ''alteration of pre-settlement natural processes is stress(ful) to the ecosystem. Management must focus on restoring (presettlement) processes.'' It becomes evident that ''sustainable'' refers to curtailing use by society and managing with the objective of returning resources to the lower productivity of pre-settlement days.
It appears that both the government's and the United Nations' pantheistic objective is to control society so as to stabilize nature.
In addition to the threat to private property and resource management posed by BioReserves, the CRM plan and ecosystem management, a further threat arises from United Nations designation of American lands as ''World Heritage Sites.'' Presently some 18 World Heritage Sites totaling over twenty million acres have been designated in America without Congressional approval.
Page 186 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Proof of the assertion that U.N. designations pose a threat to national sovereignty, private property, and resource management, is indicated by action of the U.N. delegation examining Yellowstone National Park in 1995. This delegation, with government acquiescense, stopped a planned gold mine operation by the Crowne Butte Mine, well outside the Park near Cooke City, Montana.
The U.N. deleration not ony stopped the mine but made this ''Astounding observation''; ''The U.S. as signatory to the World Heritage Convention has a duty to protect the ecosystem OUTSIDE the Park.'' Yellowstone is both a Biosphere Reserve and a World Heritage Site.
Much of America is clearly at risk.
To protect American sovereignty, private property, and natural resource management for the benefit of humanity, it is imperative that H.R. 883, the American Land Sovereignty Protection Act, become the law of the land.
Thank you for giving one who has practiced productive natural resource management in America for over half a century, a chance to be heard.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Meyers.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. And now is the time when we will be asking the witnesses questions and so the Chair recognizes Ms. Emerson.
Ms. EMERSON. Thank you, Chairman Chenoweth.
My question goes to all of you and it is really a rather basic question. And that is, have any of you ever been given a clear, concise definition or explanation of exactly what a biosphere reserve is from any of the Federal or state officials pushing these MAB concepts?
Ms. DENHAM. No.
Ms. EMERSON. Mary, you say no? Richard?
Page 187 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. YANCEY. Not really. You know, the terminology is extremely vague and it speaks in generalities of scientific studies and some management type things and in effect, you know, if you notice, we cannot even seem to get a handle on what the size of these biospheres are. You know, I have heard three different sizes. My map shows the portion that was part of the bioreserve that The Nature Conservancy outlined, and I assume that is a core area. But you know, you do not get anything concrete, nothing definite.
Ms. EMERSON. Mr. Powell.
Mr. POWELL. It was a topic of discussion several times in the Conservation Commission. We never did get into it in depth at all, this was strictly a staff assignment. We never did vote on proceeding with any definite plan whatsoever. As far as the in-depth description of it, I have no knowledge.
Ms. EMERSON. Would it be accurate to call a biosphere a pig in a poke?
Ms. EMERSON. Would that be pretty accurate?
Mr. YANCEY. I would agree with that, yes.
Ms. EMERSON. Mr. Yancey, I want to ask you a question. Why do you not talk a little bit aboutyou refer in your testimony and Mr. Meyers did in his about the correlation between the gold mine near Yellowstone and what could possibly occur to our mining operations here in this district and in the Mark Twain as a result of the MAB designation.
Mr. YANCEY. Well, I think there is a real direct analogy here. You know, when you talk to these people, the non-government organizations that are behind a lot of this and some of the government organizations, it is a benign program that has no effect, when in fact, in the situation with the New World Mine outside of Yellowstone National Park, it was not benign at all. They stopped that program. That particular project in fact was pretty advanced. It had been drilled out and it was on private property, and it ended up costing the taxpayers of this countryat least so far the last I heard was $65 million to buy them out because it was already established there was a deposit there.
Page 188 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In addition to that, just as a side note, you know, it was an old mining site there that had beenyou know, years ago, they did not know what they were doing, there was no environmental remediation. In the process of developing the mine, that would have been remediated. So now the taxpayers also have an additional bill to clean that up, which the company was going to clean up as part of their mining.
Now as far as how that compares to here, I would say the process is already in effect because, you know, the area that is in question, the mining companies have been stumped in trying to get prospecting permits on government lands in that area and certainly some of the private lands, for example, that The Nature Conservancy controls, you know, there is no access to those lands. And frankly, you know, I see a very clear analogy here that the same thing would happen, and is in fact already happening here in Missouri. And I would also, as a side note too, say that it is just not restricted to the United States. There is a biosphere in Australia where the same situation is occurring. So, you know, if anybody needed any hard facts of what the intentions are here, these are definite things that have happened, not theory.
Ms. EMERSON. Well, let me get something clear here with regard to your statement about $64 million. Are you saying that the taxpayers paid a Canadian company $64 million not to mine gold?
Mr. YANCEY. That is exactly right. You know, they had the deposit defined and they are not allowed to mine it. And because the discovery, that will be considered a taking and in fact, what is happening here, you know, just to follow up on that, in Missouri, we're being prevented from exploring, so that there is no chance that we would find a deposit and then if there is a taking, the government would not be obligated to pay the mining industry for that taking. So we are being prevented, kind of a pre-emptive strike here, from being able to explore.
Ms. EMERSON. Mr. Meyers.
Page 189 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MEYERS. My recollection is on the $65 million, in order to placate the populous, the Federal Government purchased land at a price of $65 million elsewhere in Montana and gave the mining rights on that to Crown Butte. Now I may be mistaken.
Ms. EMERSON. I see. Ms. Denham.
Ms. DENHAM. I understand that the mining company was compensated to a certain amount, but certainly not to the value of the property, of the gold.
It was also my understanding that a woman in her eighties was the actual owner of the land and has received no compensation whatsoever.
Ms. EMERSON. Well, apparently the deal did fall through though eventually anyway, to the best of my knowledge.
Ms. DENHAM. It has not been taken?
Ms. EMERSON. Correct, I believe it has fallen through. But let me also make a statement here in response, the fact of the matter is that it is justthere is a continual effort to make it difficult for private property owners to receive compensation for their property and there is a continual effort on the part of government to take over land. It kind of reminds me of when they tried to close down the Mark Twain because of a gnat and we were going to have to close down all of our mining operations because of a gnat. And it also kind of reminds me ofwell, many, many government programs, most of which are tremendously burdensome and certainly not in the right spirit as far as our rights are concerned.
I have exceeded my time, Chairman.
Mr. MEYERS. Could I say one thing? We have digressed just a little here on the mining. I think it is imperative for not only this Committee but the people in general to recognize, which the environmental illiterates have not done, that mining has been a boon to forest management in America, because it has substituted other materials for wood including fossil fuels, steel, stone, concrete. And so that there is more timber in America than there ever was, a lot of it can be thanks to the mining industry since 1920.
Page 190 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Meyers. Thank you, Congressman Emerson.
I do want to thank the panel very much for bringing the issue out about the New World Mine. Indeed, the land deal did fall through, that was correctly stated. But the taxpayers had to pony up $65 million to the Canadian leasehold interests without payingas Ms. Denham had mentioned, without paying the actual holder of the patent of the mine anything.
I tried very, very hard to get that $65 million taken out of Al Gore's administrative budget at the White House.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Mary Denham, what does private property rights really mean to you?
Ms. DENHAM. Well, Madam Chairman, I have been a real estate broker and agent for 47 years. It means to me that all the wealth of our nation or anywhere comes from the land, it means that we are all dependent on the natural resources of the land, it means that we have the Constitutional rights that we retain and that we are stated as retained, guaranteed would be reserved, that we have rights in property that if taken has to be compensated by any agency, Federal or state. It means to me that there is a vote on rights, the right to do or not to do, to mine, to forest, to do forestry, to build homes, the partition, to do everything that Americans have taken for granted as their right in property, which is not just absolutely decimated by regulatory control by very abusive state and Federal agencies, and by acts of Congress that I believe were well-intentioned but have been so mishandled by the administration by Executive Orders, by initiatives and by other things and then it dribbled really on down to the Federal agencies and they pass it on down to the state agencies. And it is an upside down situation.
Page 191 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you.
Mr. Powell, being from Idaho, I have much to learn about Missouri, except I feel very much at home here, it is a wonderful part of our nation, it is very beautiful. But who was Governor of Missouri in 1995 when the Missouri Department of Conservation endorsed the Ozark Biosphere proposal?
Mr. POWELL. That endorsement was to proceed with our planning stage, there was never any formal vote in the Commission itself to adopt the complete program, and of course it was junked before it got to first base, that's what happened. This was something that was conceived by a lot of the different agencies in the state of Missouri and we were cooperating with them in the planning stage, but never any formal adoption of it.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. And who was the Governor then?
Mr. POWELL. John Ashcroft1995? Did you say 1995?
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Nineteen ninety five.
Mr. POWELL. That is right, Carnahan. I should be a little bit more up on that one for sure.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Tell me, Mr. Powell, did former Governor Carnahan's appointees to the Missouri Conservation Commission support this biosphere reserve proposal?
Mr. POWELL. Yes, they did.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I want to ask you, I am Chairman of the Forestry Subcommittee in the House and we also are very concerned about the centralized planning process that we now seem to be engaged in, what effect it has had on our forests across the nation. What we have seen is that there is less of a multiple use sustained yield concepts being employed on the ground and in large part because of designations of endangered species habitat and now this new biosphere reserve would be another program for an excuse not to have multiple use sustained yield concepts employed in managing our forests.
Page 192 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC How do you see the impact, the long-term impact, on forestry ifand I hope the if is growing smaller, but if the biosphere reserve is proposed as we have heard the concepts proposed todayhow would it affect the forests?
Mr. POWELL. Well, I think it would completely shut the Federal forests down, more so than now. They are almost shut down at the present time because of the environmental movement, but I am sure this could probably cap it off and eliminate the usage of that. And of course, that would spread next to the state land and then finally to private lands.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Testimony I heard before my Committee last month or two months ago testified to the fact that our forests on the Federal lands, especially in the northwest, but also forests all over the nation, in some areas are in a state of near collapse. Many of those forests are forests that have not had on the ground management by humans employed. We have seen a lot of disease and insect infestation and the potential for catastrophic fires is growing. Do you see any of that possibility here in the Mark Twain Forest?
Mr. POWELL. I think it will eventually happen here. Of course, they cut down personnel and the personnel that have been cut from the Forest Service have been your professional foresters and they have been replaced with biologists and planning teams for recreation and things like that. They are getting out of the timber growing business as far as usage is concerned, and of course what happens with that when the timber gets old and goes down hill, you are going to lose it. And of course that is a major portion of the production of the wood fibers that we need for the whole country. And that has put tremendous pressure on the other parts of the United States and especially the south, and of course that is the reason we are having trouble in Missouri, they are trying to get additional fiber for the market and they have moved up into the state of Missouri to try to get this fiber. And if we want to be able to eliminate that, what we need to do is to put the Forest Service back in business for their original intent, to furnish wood fiber for our nation.
Page 193 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you.
Ms. DENHAM. I am sorry to interrupt, but may I make a request that I be able to submit additional exhibits to the Committee for inclusion in the record?
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Without objection, so ordered.
Ms. DENHAM. Thank you.
[The material referred to may be found at the end of the hearing.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I see that my time is almost up too. I have about five questions here for Mr. Yancey and I will submit those in writing. I also have questions for Mr. Meyers.
I do want to say for Mr. Meyers how grateful I am to you and all the veterans who have fought so valiantly not only in World War II but the subsequent wars, to protect the very freedoms that we stand a chance of losing if we do not stay eternally vigilant. So Mr. Meyers, not only do I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being an effective witness, but for your service to the country. And our service to the country does not end with military service, we must all be servants to the country in fighting a battle that does not have clear battle lines. But certainly if we lose the battle, we will lose our land, our heritage, our godly values and our way of life.
So thank you all very, very much for your wonderful testimony. And with that, this panel is dismissed and the Chair calls Dale Lovett, Pulp and Paperworkers' Resource Council, Wickliffe, Kentucky; Darrell Skiles, Missouri Cattlemen's Association, Salem, Missouri; Leon Kreisler, Missouri Farm Bureau, Salem, Missouri and Carl Barnes, Missouri Forest Products Association and People for the USA, Potosi, Missouri.
I wonder if the panel could please stand and raise your arm to the square.
Page 194 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you. The Chair recognizes Dale Lovett for opening testimony.
STATEMENT OF DALE LOVETT, PULP AND PAPERWORKERS' RESOURCE COUNCIL, WICKLIFFE, KENTUCKY
Mr. LOVETT. Thank you, Madam Chairman. I would like to thank you for this opportunity to be here today.
My name is Dale Lovett, I am a 15-year employee at the Westvaco Fine Papers Mill located in Wickliffe, Kentucky. I am also a very proud member of the Paper, Allied Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers International Union as well as a Special Projects Director for the Pulp and Paper Workers Resource Council which represents over 300,000 workers in the wood products industry.
Today the wood products industry in America is struggling to compete in the world economy. One major reason for this is the ever-increasing restrictions placed on land use, on both public and private land. Job losses are becoming an everyday reality as restrictive forces shut down employers.
With UNESCO's World Heritage Sites and Biosphere Reserve designations coming into play, we will only lose more jobs as this simply adds to the limitations put on our natural resources which we feel are already over-regulated.
In far western Kentucky, where I am from, no local authorities or state officials were consulted prior to the Tennessee Valley Authority/Land Between the Lakes recreation area being selected as a United Nations Biosphere Reserve. After becoming aware of this situation, the Kentucky Senate in 1997 passed a resolution stating its position to not be a part of this program. However, it seems to not matter.
A recent lawsuit was brought against the Tennessee Valley Authority by a special interest group to block a timber sale in the Land Between the Lakes area. This lawsuit stated that because the Land Between the Lakes had been designated as a Biosphere Reserve, the timber sale should not be allowed to go through. This designation simply represents another avenue to use by special interest groups to control public and private land as they so desire. Madam Chairman, the writing is on the wall. These designations can and will be used against us.
Page 195 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As an American worker who understands how natural resources are vital to any type of sound economic base, we can no longer allow foreign nations, who are our competitors in the world marketplace, to influence decisions that puts American workers at a competitive disadvantage whether through UNESCO or any other means. This is totally unacceptable.
In Kentucky, we call this putting the fox in charge of the hen house.
The record is clear from the proposed mine development near Crown Butte, Montana as to what these type of designations can do to eliminate economic opportunity even on private land. Again, the writing is on the wall.
Well-connected special interest groups who know how to use the system can go basically undetected through the maze and web of governmental bureaucracy to advance their cause. When these groups are able to make world heritage sites and biosphere reserve designations become a reality without the support of Federal, state and local governments, then it is time for legislation such as the American Land Sovereignty Protection Act. And sometimes I think they view a lack of opposition in their secret maneuvering the same as support. And that is one way they say they have support, because nobody is opposing them.
No organization or individual should ever have the ability to negotiate or bargain away the power of Congress to make decisions as to the territory or any property that belongs to the United States of America.
It overwhelms me as to the need for legislation such as the American Land Sovereignty Protection Act. Who would ever have thought our nation, the United States of America, would have ever allowed foreign interests to share in the influence upon the very land upon which our nation rests?
It is with great passion that I urge you to support this piece of legislation as it will place the destiny of our great nation back into the hearts and hands of those who truly care for it.
Page 196 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Thank you.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Lovett. The Chair recognizes Darrell Skiles for testimony.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Lovett follows:]
INSERT OFFSET FOLIOS 177 TO 178, 176, AND 180 TO 184 HERE
STATEMENT OF DARRELL SKILES, MISSOURI CATTLEMEN'S ASSOCIATION, SALEM, MISSOURI
Mr. SKILES. Thank you, Madam Chairman. My name is Darrell Skiles, I am a lifelong resident of Salem, Missouri and I would like to say that it is an honor and a privilege to address this Committee on Resources here today. And on behalf of the Missouri Cattlemen's Association we thank you for this opportunity.
Property rights and the freedom to provide a living for our families, with a minimal amount of influence from governmental agencies, is centerpiece to the purpose of the Missouri Cattlemen's Association. Few issues have stirred the emotions of our members more than the recently proposed biosphere reserve programs. And let me say here that considering the previous testimony that has been given here today, much of my presentation will be rather repetitious, but please bear with me.
To discuss the Man in Biosphere program I must refer to the January 1996 Coordinated Resource Management Draft Plan for the Lower Ozark Region which consists of all or a portion of 15 counties in southern Missouri. The Coordinated Resource Management Plan was produced by the Missouri Department of Conservation in cooperation, or collusion, with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the Natural Resource Conservation Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service and the National Park Service, along with several other non-governmental organizations.
Page 197 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Prior to the release of this draft plan, the Missouri Department of Conservation had held a series of meetings in various locations around the state of Missouri for the purpose of public input. The Cattlemen's Association had a representative in attendance at a number of these meetings and I personally attended the meeting held in Eminence, Missouri.
While I found several of the goals, objectives and/or strategies in this plan objectionable from a private landowner and cattle producer's perspective, the last goal, Goal IX, I found to be the most interesting, and as I learned more about it, by far the most onerous. Goal IX outlined the participating agencies plans to ''support the establishment of an Ozark Man and the Biosphere Cooperative in the region and work towards implementation of its goals and objectives.'' The region being more specifically the Current and Eleven Point River Watershed in Missouri and Buffalo River Watershed in Arkansas, encompassing over 3,200 square miles or more than two million acres of land.
At the CRM meeting that I attended, I do not recall ever hearing mention of any such plan, nor did any of my colleagues at the Cattlemen's Association. It was also very interesting that this Goal IX stated that ''a feasibility study for an Ozark Man and the Biosphere Program in the region had documented widespread support for this concept.'' In visiting with friends, business associates and state and local public officials, I found that there was virtually no one who had even heard of such a program before, much less supported it. I made an inquiry on January 18 of 1996 to the Missouri Department of Conservation and received some interesting information from Kelly McGrath, Missouri Department of Conservation Policy Analyst.
This information showed me that a Feasibility Study Report to the Ozark Man and the Biosphere Steering Committee had been prepared in September of 1991. I learned from this report that a biosphere reserve essentially consists of three areas of land. A core area that is strictly managed to preserve its natural resource values; a buffer zone or area of managed use which would surround the core area; and third, the land surrounding the managed use area would be called the area of transition, where human settlements, farms, industries, et cetera are allowed. Ms. McGrath further stated that the agencies and entities included in this agreement would actually own and control both the core area and the area of managed use.
Page 198 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It appears that several of our state and Federal agencies and a select few private organizations had a grand scheme, or scam, for massive land control and/or takeover.
I also learned that in the course of interviewing residents of this region for this feasibility study, that the interviewer chose to discuss concepts rather than describe in detail the actual program, due to concerns that people might ''overreact to another government program.'' The concepts discussed, it appeared, did not mention anything about a consortium of state and Federal agencies and particular organizations collectively owning and controlling more land than they already possess, which just in Shannon County alone adds up to over 300,000 acres.
This study also revealed that the Man and Biosphere program is in fact a United Nations sponsored program. After the January 1996 release of the CRM Draft Plan for the Lower Ozark Region, many citizens began to raise serious questions and concerns about various parts of this plan. By far, the vehement objections were those pertaining to Goal IX and its Ozark Man and the Biosphere concept.
Consequently, the Missouri Cattlemen's Association at its February 11 '96 annual meeting overwhelmingly approved a resolution opposing the Ozark Man and the Biosphere concept.
Madam Chairman, Ms. Emerson, it is more than a little disconcerting to realize that our state and Federal agencies, without the public's knowledge, had been working on implementing this United Nations sponsored scheme for over six years. Frankly, this leaves us worrying about what they are doing or contemplating doing now without our knowledge and at the urging of the United Nations or some other outside interest.
These plans and programs are seemingly without the necessary oversight and approval of the United States Congress. As a result, I would like to offer the support of the Missouri Cattlemen's Association for passage of H.R. 883, The American Land Sovereignty Act. Both I and the cattlemen of Missouri thank you for this opportunity to support H.R. 883 and I will be happy to answer any questions.
Page 199 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Skiles. The Chair recognizes Leon Kreisler for testimony.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Skiles follows:]
STATEMENT OF DARRELL SKILES, MISSOURI CATTLEMEN'S ASSOCIATION, SALEM, MISSOURI
My name is Darrell Skiles, I am a lifelong resident of Dent County Missouri. I would like to say that it is an honor and a privilege to address this Committee on Resources here today. On behalf of the Missouri Cattlemen's Association we thank you for this opportunity.
The Missouri Cattlemen's Association (MCA) represents Missouri's largest segment of the agriculture industry. The Missouri beef industry provides a $6 billion impact to the Missouri economy. Our property taxes and business supporting expenditures provide the economic base that supports many of Missouri's schools and local economies.
Property rights and the freedom to provide a living for our families, with a minimal amount of influence from governmental agencies, is centerpiece to the purpose of the Missouri Cattlemen's Association. Few issues have stirred the emotions of our members more than the recently proposed Biosphere programs. These programs seem contrary to the fabric that built this nation and this state.
To discuss the Man in Biosphere program I must first refer to the January 1996 Coordinated Resource Management Draft Plan for the Lower Ozark Region which consist of all or part of fifteen counties in southern Missouri. The Coordinated Resource Management Plan (CRM) was produced by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC); in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR), Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service and the National Park Service.
CRM is described in this plan as ''a voluntary program to get government agencies and citizens working together to plan for the long-term health of Missouri's natural resources.'' Prior to the release of this draft plan, MDC held a series of meetings in various locations around the state of Missouri for the purpose of public input. MCA had a representative in attendance at a number of these meetings and I personally attended the meeting held in Eminence, Missouri.
Page 200 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC While I found several of the goals, objectives and/or strategies in this plan objectionable from a private landowner and cattle producer's perspective, the last goal, GOAL IX I found to be the most interesting, and as I learned more about it by far the most onerous. GOAL IX outlined the participating agency plans to ''support the establishment of an Ozark Man and the Biosphere Cooperative in the region and work towards implementation of its goals and objectives.'' The region being more specifically the Current and Eleven Point river watershed in Missouri and Buffalo River watershed in Arkansas, encompassing some 3,200 square miles or more than two million acres of land.
At the CRM meeting that I attended I do not recall ever hearing mention of any such plan, nor did any of my colleagues at MCA. It was also very interesting that this GOAL IX stated ''a feasibility study for an 'Ozark Man and the Biosphere' program in the region documented widespread support for the concept.'' In visiting with friends, business associates, and state and local public officials I found that there was virtually no one who had even heard of such a program before, much less supported it. I made an inquiry on January 18, 1996 to MDC and received some interesting information from Kelly McGrath, MDC Policy Analyst.
This information showed me that a Feasibility Study Report to the Ozark Man and the Biosphere Steering Committee had been prepared in September 1991. I learned from this report that a biosphere reserve essentially consists of three areas of land. A ''core area'' that is strictly managed to preserve its natural resource values; a ''buffer zone'' or ''area of managed use'' would surround the ''core area''; and the land surrounding the ''managed use area'' is called the ''area of transition,'' where human settlements, farms, industry, etc. are allowed. Ms. McGrath stated that the agencies and entities included in the cooperative agreement would actually own and control both the ''core area'' and the ''area of managed use.''
It appears that several of our state and Federal agencies and a select few private organizations had a grand schemeor maybe scamfor massive land control and/or takeover.
Page 201 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I also learned that in the course of interviewing residents of this region for this feasibility study that the interviewer chose to discuss ''concepts'' rather than describe in detail the ''actual program'' due to concerns that people might ''overreact to another government program.'' The ''concepts'' discussed it appears did not mention anything about a consortium of state, Federal agencies and particular organizations collectively owning and controlling more land than they already possess, which in Shannon County alone adds up to nearly 300,000 acres.
This study also revealed that the Man and Biosphere program is in fact; a United Nations sponsored program. After the January 1996 release of the CRM Draft Plan for the Lower Ozark Region many citizens began to raise serious questions and concerns about various parts of this plan. By far, the most vehement objections were those pertaining to GOAL IX and its ''Ozark Man and the Biosphere'' concept.
The MCA membership, at its February 1996 Annual meeting, overwhelmingly approved a resolution opposing the ''Ozark Man and the Biosphere'' concept. It is more than a little disconcerting to realize that our state and Federal agencies, without the public's knowledge, had been working on implementing this United Nations sponsored scheme for over six years. Frankly this leaves us worrying about what they are doing or contemplating doing now without our knowledge at the urging of the United Nations or some other outside interest.
These plans and programs are seemingly without the necessary oversight and approval of the United States Congress. As a result, I would like to offer the support of the Missouri Cattlemen's Association for passage of H.R. 863, The American Land Sovereignty Act. My written testimony includes the references, notes and documents I have discussed with you today. Both I, and the cattlemen of Missouri thank you for this opportunity to support H.R. 863. I would be happy to answer any questions.
Page 202 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCINSERT OFFSET FOLIOS 185 TO 197 HERE
STATEMENT OF LEON KREISLER, MISSOURI FARM BUREAU, SALEM, MISSOURI
Mr. KREISLER. Thank you, Madam Chairman and Congressman Emerson. I would like to welcome you to Rolla and to our great state of Missouri.
My name is Leon Kreisler and I raise cattle on a farm near Salem, Missouri which is approximately 25 miles southeast of here. I am representing the Missouri Farm Bureau, the state's largest general farm organization. I am a past President of the Dent County Farm Bureau and currently serve on the Farm Bureau's Natural Resource and Environment Committee.
It is indeed an honor to speak to you today about issues that strike at the very heart of landowners across the country. Whether we are discussing biosphere reserves, heritage corridors, rails-to-trails, local ordinances and even timber management, the protection of property rights remains one of the nation's fundamental principles. Today, it is all too common for landowners' rights to be called into question by individuals, organizations and officials with a long agenda, big pocketbooks, little common sense and no land. For this reason, I commend Congressman Young
Mr. KREISLER. [continuing] and the cosponsors of H.R. 883, the American Land Sovereignty Protection Act, for leading efforts to solidify protections that are currently in question.
First, in 1997, the Missouri Farm Bureau and several other groups learned of plans to nominate a portion of the Lower Ozarks as a Biosphere Reserve under the Man and the Biosphere Program. As more information became available, questions arose about the purpose, scope and implications of the nomination. Several public meetings were held in the Ozarks and speakers familiar with biosphere reserves in other regions were featured. It was not long before many landowners expressed a very legitimate concern about the Lower Ozark's nomination. Ultimately, the Missouri Farm Bureau opposed the proposal by adopting the following policy: ''We are opposed to any effort in which the control or management of land or natural resources of the United States is relinquished or diminished in any way by treaty or other means to the United Nations or any other foreign body. This applies to activities such as biosphere reserves or others that have been proposed by local, state, Federal or international agencies or organizations.''
Page 203 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Specifically, we are concerned that Man and the Biosphere Program operates without legislative authorization from Congress, yet puts landowners in a position of abiding to international land use designations. And we remain concerned about the process in which sites are nominateda process that must ensure input and consensus from all affected parties.
Throughout this process, it was especially disturbing to note the level of distrust which landowners have for government, some would say ''a devil behind every tree.'' But, despite the rhetoric spewed from environmental zealots, this distrust stems from past actions and policy. In Missouri, landowners' distrust of government relative to property rights can be traced to several initiatives.
In 1989, Missouri landowners were dealt a severe blow in court as the Federal Government prevailed in a lawsuit that created a recreational trail on an abandoned rail line. Landowner rights were ignored as the courts determined that easements granted to the railroad did not revert back to the landowner upon cessation of rail service but could be transferred to the state for an entirely different purpose with no compensation to landowners. The Kay Trail has not been developed, however, the wounds for many landowners will never heal. We are pleased that a class action lawsuit is pending in which the affected landowners could receive some level of compensation for their loss.
In 1990, Missourians soundly defeated a measure that would have altered production agriculture by severely restricting the rights of farmers and ranchers. Fortunately, most people saw the Natural Streams Act for what it was and it was defeated soundly. Despite this legacy, the environmental community soon found a suitable replacement in the form of a program entitled Coordinated Resource Management. While the stated purpose of agencies working together toward common regional goals was laudable, landowners viewed the program as a threat to property rights.
In Clay County, some 200 miles northwest of Rolla, officials now require a special use permit for agricultural production. In this area, urban sprawl has resulted in rezoning of agricultural land to residential, commercial and even industrial. As farming becomes an island in the sea of development, producers are being forced to obtain permits to continue earning a living.
Page 204 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And as we speak, the Governor's Committee on Chip Mills is studying issues associated with timber management in Missouri. The Committee's work will not be completed until late this year, however, their discussion has included regulation of not only public land but privately-owned land as well.
Madam Chairman and Congressman Emerson, we feel strongly about property rights, not because we share a common desire to abuse our natural resources, but because landowners are best-suited to ensure productivity for our families and those of future generations. The good intentions of many public officials and environmentalists are nothing but a front for more regulation. The Ozarks are a natural wonder and we intend to keep it that way, but national or international designations involving more bureaucracy and regulation are not the answer. Rather, we should continue to focus on the proven combination of voluntaryand I stress voluntaryincentive-based programs, technical assistance and education.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Kreisler. The Chair recognizes Mr. Carl Barnes for Missouri Forest Products Association and People for the USA, for testimony.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Kreisler follows:]
STATEMENT OF LEON KREISLER, MEMBER, MISSOURI FARM BUREAU
Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, I welcome you to Rolla and the great state of Missouri. My name is Leon Kreisler and I raise cattle in Salem, about 25 miles south of Rolla. I am representing Missouri Farm Bureau, the state's largest general farm organization. I am a past President of Dent County Farm Bureau and currently serve on Farm Bureau's Natural Resource and Environment Committee.
It is indeed an honor to speak with you today about issues that strike at the very heart of landowners across the country. Whether we are discussing biosphere reserves, heritage corridors, rails-to-trails, local ordinances, and even timber management, the protection of property rights remains one of the nation's fundamental principals. Today, it is all too common for landowners' rights to be called into question by individuals, organizations and officials with a long agenda, big pocketbooks, little common sense and no land. For this reason, I commend Congressman Young and the cosponsors of H.R. 883, the American Land Sovereignty Protection Act, for leading efforts to solidify protections that are currently in question.
Page 205 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In 1997, Missouri Farm Bureau and several other groups learned of plans to nominate a portion of the Lower Ozarks as a Biosphere Reserve under the Man and the Biosphere Program. As more information became available, questions arose about the purpose, scope and implications of the nomination. Several public meetings were held in the Ozarks and speakers familiar with biosphere reserves in other regions were featured. It wasn't long before many landowners expressed a very legitimate concern about the Lower Ozarks nomination. Ultimately, Missouri Farm Bureau opposed the proposal by adopting the following policy, ''We are opposed to any effort in which the control or management of land or natural resources of the United States is relinquished or diminished in any way by treaty or other means to the United Nations or any other foreign body. This applies to activities such as bioreserves or others that have been proposed by local, state, Federal or international agencies or organizations.''
Specifically, we are concerned the Man and the Biosphere Program operates without legislative authorization from Congress yet puts landowners in a position of abiding to international land use designations. And we remain concerned about the process in which sites are nominateda process that must ensure input and consensus from all affected parties.
Throughout this process, it was especially disturbing to note the level of distrust which landowners have for government, a ''devil behind every tree'' as some would say. But, despite the rhetoric spewed from environmental zealots, this distrust stems from past actions and policy. In Missouri, landowners' distrust of government relative to property rights can be traced to several initiatives.
In 1989, Missouri landowners were dealt a severe blow in court as the Federal Government prevailed in a lawsuit that created a recreational trail on an abandoned rail line. Landowner rights were ignored as the courts determined that easements granted to the railroad did not revert back to the landowner upon cessation of rail service but could be transferred to the state for an entirely different purpose with no compensation to landowners. The Katy Trail has now been developed, however the wounds for many landowners will never heal. We are pleased that a class-action lawsuit is pending in which the affected landowners could receive some level of compensation for their loss.
Page 206 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In 1990, Missourians soundly defeated a measure that would have altered production agriculture by severely restricting the rights of farmers and ranchers. Fortunately, most people saw the Natural Streams Act for what it was and it was defeated soundly. Despite this legacy, the environmental community soon found a suitable replacement in the form of a program entitled Coordinated Resource Management (CRM). While the stated purpose of agencies working together toward common regional goals was laudable, landowners viewed the program as a threat to property rights.
In Clay County, some 200 miles northwest of Rolla, officials now require a ''Special Use'' permit for agricultural production. In this area, urban sprawl has resulted in rezoning of agricultural land to residential, commercial and even industrial. As farming becomes an island in the sea of development, producers are being forced to obtain permits to continue earning a living.
And as we speak, the Governor's Committee on Chip Mills is studying issues associated with timber management in Missouri. The Committee's work will not be completed until late this year, however their discussion has included regulation of not only public land but privately-owned land as well.
Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee, we feel strongly about property rights not because we share a common desire to abuse our natural resources but because landowners are best-suited to ensure productivity for our families and those of future generations. The good intentions of many public officials and environmentalists are nothing but a front for more regulation. The Ozarks are a natural wonder and we intend to keep it that way, but national or international designations involving more bureaucracy and regulation are not the answer. Rather, we should continue to focus on the proven combination of voluntary, incentive-based programs, technical assistance and education.
Page 207 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSTATEMENT OF CARL BARNES, MISSOURI FOREST PRODUCTS ASSOCIATION AND PEOPLE FOR THE USA, POTOSI, MISSOURI
Mr. BARNES. Madam Chairman, Ms. Emerson, three years ago, Missourians first became aware of efforts to plan and potentially control public and private property. The Coordinated Resource Management planning process that you have heard so much about today was a project led by our state Conservation Department that involved multiple state and Federal agencies and a number of non-governmental organizations. Central to CRM was a goal to implement a ''Ozark Man and the Biosphere Cooperative in the region.''
The first draft CRM plan issued, again as we have all heard many times today, in January of 1996, caused me and many other citizens to try to understand the implications of the CRM initiative. In April 1996, many of us communicated our opinions to the Conservation Department in response to their request for public comment on the CRM plan.
Before reviewing my conclusions regarding CRM and Man and the Biosphere type initiatives, let me address one other reaction to CRM. CRM led to a number of conspiracy theories. Conspiracy theories were fanned by the involvement first of Federal agencies and then even more by CRM's connections to the United Nations and various NGOs.
I believe conspiracy theories distract us from the important issues, for the following reasons:
First, conspiracy theories are unnecessary. We need to guard our rights regardless of whether they are being threatened by well-meaning but misguided people or by a plot hatched by Al Gore colluding with the United Nations.
Second, conspiracy theories infer guilt on a broad group of people. Yet we know, at least at the grass roots level, that many well-meaning people unwittingly support extreme environmentalism.
Page 208 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And third, conspiracy theories give way too much credit to the people accused of implementing them.
The January 1996 issuance of the CRM plan led to substantial analysis and review on my part. I concluded that CRM and the Man and the Biosphere type programs suffer from the following deficiencies:
First, concrete and quantifiable benefits are not available. For example, the CRM draft plan included only soft strategies to accomplish its goal including, ''to research,'' ''become knowledgeable,'' ''foster,'' ''work with,'' ''develop information,'' and so on. Nowhere did it discuss specific benefits associated with these strategies.
Second, specific costs also were not addressed. Since neither costs nor benefits are analyzed, there was no cost justification for these programs.
Third, these programs and the assumptions underlying them were and are not based on sound, objective and non-political science.
Fourth, there is no evidence that programs like these will work. These proposals involve massive efforts with no confidence that they can actually achieve anything, and they are to be implemented only on a large scale. Proposals for these programs are very short on specifics, either because the people behind them do not know the specifics or do not want to disclose the specifics. For either reason, the lack of specifics is most troubling.
Five, there is no analysis of the effect of these programs on our overall economy. Based on the limited specifics about how the programs would work, the economic consequences could be devastating.
Six, these programs are bad public policy. While today's intent may be not to regulate property, these programs put in place mechanisms that easily could lead to increased government control of private and public lands. The CRM, for example, listed farming and mining as ''potential threats'' to outdoor recreation and ecosystem health. The risk is too great that biosphere reserve type programs, like programs such as the Endangered Species Act and Clean Water Acts will escape the control of their creators and take on an ever-growing life of their own.
Page 209 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And seven, the selective inclusion of non-governmental organizations in the planning process increases further skepticism regarding the objectives and objectivity of these programs. The lack of legislative involvement, either Congressional or state, raises serious concerns about a lack of accountability by elected officials. As we have heard, the New World Mine project in Montana illustrated this when the U.N. declared it a ''World Heritage Site in Danger,'' thereby blocking the development of a mine. There are real concerns about giving up our rights and compromising our sovereignty.
Man and the Biosphere, Global Biodiversity Treaty, Wildlands Projects and Coordinated Resource Management type programs reflect bad public policy, bad science and bad economics. They appear to be solutions looking for problems. I, therefore, support strongly H.R. 883.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Barnes follows:]
INSERT OFFSET FOLIOS 198 TO 202 HERE
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Barnes. And I want to thank this panel for your outstanding testimony.
The Chair recognizes Congressman Emerson for questions.
Ms. EMERSON. Thank you.
Let me ask all of you, and I know, Mr. Barnes, you just indicated that you had never been given anything that is very concise, but I want to go back and ask the question I asked the last panel and that is have any of you ever received a clear, concise explanation about what a biosphere reserve is, from any Federal or state agency pushing this whole concept?
Mr. BARNES. No.
Page 210 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. KREISLER. No.
Mr. SKILES. No, nothing clear and concise.
Mr. LOVETT. No.
Ms. EMERSON. Well, I guess that ought to tell us something, they are trying to pull the wool over our eyes.
For everybody, what is your perception or what is in your mind the difference between a United Nations Biosphere Reserve and a United States Biosphere Reserve?
Mr. SKILES. From everything I have been able to read about the two, I cannot make any distinction, difference in them at all really, they seem to be one and the same. Frankly I see very little difference.
Ms. EMERSON. How about the rest of you all?
Mr. LOVETT. I think they meet the same goals and objectives and evidently they are working right along hand in hand. It seems to be one and the same.
Ms. EMERSON. Mr. Kreisler.
Mr. KREISLER. They appear to be the same to me also.
Mr. BARNES. I believe either we have not had enough information to tell that there is a difference or there is not a difference.
Ms. EMERSON. Okay, I appreciate that.
And this can go to all of you as well, I think the first argument I got into on the House floor with one of my colleaguesactually it was one of my colleagues from California who thinks this idea about World Heritage Sites and Biosphere Reserves is the cat's meow, if you will, and thinks it is a great idea. And he, along with other people have said, you know, JoAnn, this is ridiculous, you are worried about nothing. The fact of the matter is that having this designation is going to increase tourism because of this international recognition and it is going to give you all more jobs.
Page 211 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Now I would like to know what your comments are about that. Do you think that this designation will increase tourism because of some international recognition?
Mr. LOVETT. I would like to respond to that. I am not willing for your colleague to give up my job, which I make good wages and I have benefits, I can send my kids to school without a government grant or a loanI do not want a part time $10,000 a year job working in the tourist industry as a guide. You can tell him for my part, no, thank you.
Ms. EMERSON. Do you know how to meditate?
Mr. LOVETT. I may have to learn.
Ms. EMERSON. I think so.
Mr. SKILES. Well, it appears to me that if the people in California want more tourism, then the desire for that should come from the people themselves and they should initiate the programs to get more tourism into their area themselves. I am always a little skeptical when a representative of the government comes to me and says I know you did not invite me here, but I am here to help you.
Ms. EMERSON. You should be skeptical.
Mr. SKILES. But along that line, it occurs to me that just a few years ago, a couple or three or four years ago perhaps, the Missouri Department of Health issued a warning that the Current and Jack's Forks River on the day following the heaviest canoeing weekend, that those rivers were unsafe and unfit for human use due to human fecal coliform bacteria in those rivers. Now that was not put there because of farming activities or logging activities, that was there from tourism. So I think there is a real question how much tourism can the area withstand before
Page 212 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. EMERSON. I am very familiar with the same findings. It is a shame that the national news media does not print those findings, I suppose.
Mr. KREISLER. The only thing I might say is I do not see how they create areas with no human involvement, how that is going to increase tourism.
Ms. EMERSON. Mr. Barnes.
Mr. BARNES. Well, I would like to see hard evidence of that somewhere else, but I also believe that it is offensive for someone in California or Washington to tell us what we should be doing with our space.
Ms. EMERSON. How true.
Ms. EMERSON. Madam Chairman, I am going to go off on the green light, thank you all.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Congressman Emerson.
I wanted to ask Mr. Barnes, I understand that you have in your other life worked for Price Waterhouse.
Mr. BARNES. That is correct.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Well, then you can probably give me an opinion on this. What would be the impact on the private citizen for misspending government funds? For instance, if they were given funds to put down on a home, like a veteran or through Farmers Home Administration or whatever, they took the money and they spent it for something else, what would be the legal impact?
Mr. BARNES. I am not a lawyer, but I think the consequences could be very drastic in terms of that person being prosecuted for that misuse.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Well, is it a stretch of the imagination to wonder how agents of the Federal Government who have never had money appropriated for this particular program are authorizing legislation for a particular program such as this or the American Heritage Rivers initiative, should not as individuals, they also need to stand accountable for the way they spend the taxpayers' money?
Page 213 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BARNES. I would certainly think so. Appropriations carry with them the purpose for which the funds can be spent. And I think in most cases, they are relatively specific about that.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Very interesting. I think it is something that we need to carefully consider, not only in the political area, but the legal area.
I also find it interesting that the New World Mine, private property seizing, the government viewed itthe Canadian leasehold interests, the government viewed it as a taking and therefore, reimbursed the Canadian leasehold interests $65 million. Do you feel that establishes a precedent here in Americaanother precedent for the government compensating under a taking situation?
Mr. BARNES. Well, I think what happened with regard to that mine, they set a number of bad precedents and I am not really an expert on the takings clause, but I think it was a horrible misuse of Federal power.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. It was a horrible misuse of international power that was assumed and the taxpayers had to pay for it. I think that we all agree that we would far rather have our land to live on and work on and sustain our livelihood from.
I thank you, Mr. Barnes, for your fine answers and thoughtful answers.
Dale Lovett, you know my friend Jerry Clem from Lewiston?
Mr. LOVETT. Very well.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I really appreciate the good work that your organization does.
Mr. LOVETT. Thank you.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. It has been quite outstanding and quite effective in not only representing your membership, but effective on public policy, especially with regard to these land use issues, and I just encourage you to keep up the good work.
Page 214 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. LOVETT. You can count on it.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I want to ask you how will the Biosphere Reserve designations affect your job as a papermaker and also continuing the line of questioning that I pursued with the last panel, how will it affect the future of the forest and the forest health.
Mr. LOVETT. Well, Madam Chairman, I just see it as another nail in the coffin for our industry. We have lost thousands of jobs in the last few years due to government regulation specifically, as you are aware of, in the Pacific Northwest area. These designations are just even more pressure on our industry, on our farmers and on our miners. The people who have a vested interest in the property and do use it wisely, they are just actually restricting us from being the true environmentalists, is the way I see it.
It is ironic that they think the environmental groups like Sierra Club paint themselves a picture that they are the true caretakers of the environment. Well, I do not know of any projects that they have that are using the labor that we are involved in, putting the trees back into the land, making sure we do not have erosion problems and that kind of thing. I could go on and on, but I just see it having a devastating effect on our industry for lack of fiber supply.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Very interesting, your answer. I find it fascinating that the paperworkers who work in the mill and also are loggers will find themselves on the weekend going back into the forests for recreation, they love it and their love of the land is patently obvious.
Mr. Kreisler, you stated that today it is all too common for landowners' rights to be called into question by individuals, organizations, officials ''with a long agenda, big pocketbooks, little common sense and no land.'' I agree with you very much, but I note that the enemies of private property have really perverted our language and have begun to redefine those commonly held values in their new definitions.
Page 215 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But as John Adams said, it is very interesting, but he said that this government, this form of government will work only if we have a moral people, and only if we have a framework that can protect and enforce the right of private ownership.
Tell me how generally you believe this particular program would affect farm production and our ability to compete in the world market under NAFTA/GATT and the WPO.
Mr. KREISLER. I do not know if I understand your question completely, but if you are talking about the biosphere reserve occurring in this area, even though I might not be in this no human area, what it will do, it will drive out a lot of producers. It may not be me, but it will make it much harder for my suppliers to stay in business because they have lost customers, not only machinery dealers, auction places. Then that would make me go farther for services and make my expenses go up. And the world trade is where most of the market is and that would drive out low cost producers in an area like Missouri, and therefore, I think it would be harder for American cattlemen to compete in the world market.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Mr. Skiles, would you like to add to that comment?
Mr. SKILES. Yes, I would. Just in the Lower Ozark region alone, in which this biosphere reserve was proposed, this area produces over one million tons of hay a year, there are nearly a million head of cattle in that area. So this area is not like it is devoid of agriculture right now, it is a major agricultural area as well.
There are a couple of main points about this biosphere reserve designation though and the literature that we have read associated with that, that I want to comment on. One of those was the fact that in the information about biosphere reserves and in the Coordinated Resource Management plan, we see fescue being related to or being alluded to as an exotic, alien or invasive species in the same sentence with lus thistle. Now Missouri is second only to Texas in the number of cows in this state and that is pretty significant. The beef industry in Missouri is a $6 billion a year industry. There seemed to be a concern through the biosphere reserve literature and in the CRM plan that fescue needed to be gotten rid of and I can assure you that the economy in Missouri will suffer drastically if something happens to fescue, that it starts dying tomorrow.
Page 216 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The other thing in this thing that really concerned us was that throughout the biosphere reserve literature, they mention the reintroduction of threatened or endangered species. And I know I do not have to remind you the lands that these introduced species will take up residence on would most likely then fall under additional restrictive regulation. And you know, if these things happen, then basically people are going to have to throw their arms up and forget it.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I thank you very much for your testimony and your comments. The Endangered Species Act is something that we must deal with; however, with this White House, we know that if we send in a new endangered species reform act, that it would be promptly vetoed.
I have learned since I have been here in Missouri, that you are having to work around the gnat and a bat and various other things. I find that down in the southeastern states they have the red-cockaded woodpecker that is now, because of its breeding habitat, it is now altering take off and landing patterns from various Air Force bases. And I find it hard to understand that a bird that beats its head all day long on a log for food can be upset with a plane flying overhead.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. But that is the mentality that we have to deal with.
Ms. EMERSON. Madam Chairman, would you yield just for a moment?
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I will yield.
Ms. EMERSON. I would like you to know that we also have a problem with two black bears. Since we are talking about humorous stories, I might add that in trying to four-lane highway 60 across the state, we ran into a big problem with two black bears and we needed toin building the highway, in constructing and designing it, we had to accommodate those two black bears, so that they might be able to mate in an upright position.
Page 217 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And I apologize, you all in the audience who might think that that is something that I should not mention in public, but the fact that we would be payingyou know, the taxpayers would be asked to pay $15 more million than you would have had to otherwise, so that these black bears could walk up right under a road, I think is an outrageous invasion of our privacy, and stealing taxpayer money from us. But this is the mentality of those with whom we deal on a daily basis.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. It is a crazy mentality, and thanks for adding that to the record.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I enjoyed it very much. It is really unbelievable.
I would like to thank this panel very much for your valuable testimony and for your work on this issue and for taking time off on this beautiful Saturday to join us and contribute to the record.
I will now excuse the panel and I would like to call the following seven people, who have signed up here to speak at our open mike session for one minute. We will accept testimony from them for one minute. So if the following seven people could please come up: Joe Cooke, Bill Jud, David Bright, Ray Hicks, Marge Welch, Frank Floyd and Junior Williams.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. The hearing will come to order, please. And I wonder if the next witnesses would raise your hand to the square.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you and you will be welcomed for testimony for one minute. If you have written testimony and you would like to submit it to the record, you have 10 working days to do so.
Page 218 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And now we will hear from Joe Cooke.
STATEMENT OF JOE COOKE
Mr. COOKE. Thank you very much, I appreciate this privilege to be able to speak.
This is more or less extemporaneous because I just wrote it down when I came in. But there are some points that I think ought to be made because I do not think people are aware of it.
There was an individual who was running for the office of President, he said he wanted to reinvent government and boy, he has done it. And the point we miss is thiswe ask the question what happened to Congress, he told Congress that he did not care whether they approved the biodiversity treatythis was Al Gore, whose cohort on the approval of the Kyoto Protocol said they did not need the Senate. This is where government got reinvented. They would run it through the agencies and through the NGOs and Congress, as far as I am concerned, could just go, they do not need them except maybe to appropriate money.
And the people are still appalled at why Congress has not done anything. I know it is an embarrassing thing and I do not mean to embarrass you all, because we appreciate you being here, we feel greatly honored that you are here. Now I will look at my notes.
Mr. COOKE. Basically, they have shifted the power. The power was to be divided into legislative, executive and judicial. And all they have done now is run it through the executive.
I would like to make one other point, and it has been made by this Committee. A lot of times we overlook the greatest power that we have. It is in the county courthouses, it is in the land use committees, it is in the people. And I have been preaching this for a long time. The people hold the power, the people hold the land, the people pay the taxes. And no foreign international group has the right to come into this country and tell us what to do in the United States of America. As long as that red, white and blue flag flies, we are safe, but if we ever have to pull it down for the blue and white rag of the U.N.; no. They want to send our people to Kosovo; no. This is it, pure and simple.
Page 219 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I might get wound up. I think I have said enough. But it is in the county courthouses, it is in the county government.
I talked to a man yesterday and I told him, I said you know, you are the most powerful man in the United States in Oregon County. I was talking to the Sheriff. I appreciate your bill.
I think I will yield, I think I have spent more than a minute.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Cooke follows:]
STATEMENT OF JOE COOKE, ALTON, MISSOURI
Government is power! Power is vital for the control and continuous exercise of authority over the persons, places, and things within certain established boundaries. How that power is controlled is the difference between freedom and bondage. Our great nation was founded on the basis that life, liberty, and prosperity are God-given rights, and government, by the consent of the governed, was to protect these unalienable rights. Out of these principles was born the oldest living Constitution in the world resulting in the oldest and most successful government and prosperous nation on earth. Who would want, and why would anyone want, to ''reinvent'' our system of government? Enemies! Wouldn't it be necessary to change or amend our Constitution?
Today our present administration provides the answers. The pieces for reinvention are being put into place without the consent of Congress or the people. Our entire governmental process is now being run and controlled solely by the administrative branch of the United States Government by the use of executive orders, presidential directives, mandates, regulations, and by and through agencies and special interest groups (particularly environmental). These nongovernmental groups, NGO's, are not only financed by our tax dollars but they also enjoy diplomatic immunity via executive order.
Treaties, which have a profound effect upon the lives and sovereignty of this nation, are blatently carried out without proper ratification of the United States Senatespecifically Biosphere Reserves, World Heritage sites, and RAMSAR designations under United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Americans fought and died for this land. Let not their blood and sacrifices be cursed by allowing any foreign power jurisdiction over United States' soil.
Page 220 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It is imperative that H.R. 883 and S. 510 be passed with a large enough majority to override a veto. America is the hope of the worldthe single greatest hope to save us from the grip and domination of multi-national corporations, international bankers, and globalist elite. Some believe it is too late to be saved from the socialist new world order. Christians know otherwise. Pagans can always be defeated when a nation turns to God.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Cook and you are absolutely right.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I would like to urge all of you from the various counties to realize that your county land use plans can have as much or more power than the Federal plans but you must get organized on that basis. And if you need help, I know of a few people who can come in and help you organize and put together a very effective county plan so you can maintain your counties in the kind of land use that you know historically works not only for the production of the land, but also for the welfare of the people.
And now, Bill Jud. You will notice that your lights will be signaling you, Bill. Thank you.
STATEMENT OF BILL JUD
Mr. JUD. I am the Vice President of the Annapolis, Missouri Chapter of People for the USA and I would just like to quote out of Article II, section 1 of the U.S. Constitution. It says, talking about the President, ''Before he enters on the execution of his office, he shall take the following oath: I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.''
Page 221 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I maintain that none of this would be necessary if Clinton, Gore, et al actually honored their oath of office. They do not, they daily dishonor their oath of office and that is what got us into this problem.
When this biosphere reserve thing started, my contribution to the defense was that I wrote a number of newspaper articles, had them published all over southern Missouri, and what I did was basically get a hold of the Wildlands Project, get a hold of Agenda 21, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the President's Council on Sustainable Development, and all of this material and simply presented the material in these documents to the people in southern Missouri. And of course, I caught a lot of flack over this because people were saying geez, black helicopters, this guy is a radical, we have got to watch out for him.
Well, none of this was my ideas, what I was doing was taking the material presented by the United Nations, people like the Park Service, people like the Sierra Club, Audubon, et al, and simply made this available to the public. If the people thought that these were radical and unAmerican, unconstitutional ideas, I agreed with them, but they were not my ideas, they were the ideas of the people who were proposing these things.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Well said, well said.
Mr. JUD. Thank you.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you very much, Mr. Jud.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. The Chair recognizes David Bright.
STATEMENT OF DAVID BRIGHT
Mr. BRIGHT. My name is David Bright and I am from Newton County, Arkansas and I just really want to thank you for coming. I was able to testify on American River Heritage initiative that you chaired in Washington and this one, H.R. 883 is even closer to my heart. I live half a mile from what would have been a core area on this biosphere and I grew up in a community that is totally gone now because of the Buffalo National River. They condemned land and moved my neighbors out.
Page 222 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But I want to thank you for being here and I want to thank Representative Emerson for having you here.
One good thing that come out of this, I knew most of the people that testified here. I was one of those people that really thought Washington was looking out for me and I did not pay much attention to what they were doing before I found out about a biosphere, which I did not think could happen in America. And when I found out it not only could but was fixing to happen to me, I talked to a lot of communities around here and met a lot of these people. And I know some Karen and Bud Fallons and some Burt Smiths because of it and it has been a real experience for me.
And of course we are always talking to the same group, you are here because you know that. And those that are home do not know it and you cannot seem to tell them about it. But it is worth the effort to try, we need to be involved in this government if it is going to be our government.
Thank you, Madam Chairman.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you very much.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I just wanted you to know that you mentioned two people who are very near and dear to my heart, they are real great people.
Marge Welch, you are recognized for your testimony.
STATEMENT OF MARGE WELCH
Ms. WELCH. Madam Chairman, Representative Emerson, I am Marge Welch, field director for People for the USA. I want to thank you all for bringing this official Congressional hearing to Missouri to hear testimony from the people.
I speak today on behalf of our 26,000 national membership along with our 51 affiliate groups, combined membership of 250,000 members. We stand in strong support of H.R. 883. It will help protect the multiple use principles of the public lands and private property rights.
Page 223 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We deeply appreciate Congressman Young's introduction of the bill and your cosponsorship. Thank you very much. We are committed toward working toward getting this bill on through the Senate. I think we will probably need a veto proof majority, but we will be working on that. We have to return oversight of land management decisions to you, the U.S. Congress, our elected officials.
We have the greatest form of government in the world, our forefathers paid dearly for thatour representative form of democracy. These U.N. designations place that precious principle in jeopardy. H.R. 883 will help protect that and put agencies back within their Constitutional boundaries. There are no Constitutional boundaries for the U.N. committee. They are not even mentioned in our Constitution.
We will keep our watch also on the back door implementation that could be possible through agency rules and regulations and we will bring those to you also at another time.
Thank you very much.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Marge.
Mr. Ray Hicks.
STATEMENT OF RAY HICKS
Mr. HICKS. Madam Chairman and Congressman Emerson, it is a pleasure to have you here in Rolla, it really is.
I am a landowner in Phelps County, I own about two-thirds of an acre of ground, I like to garden. And I also work for a local radio station here in a number of different contexts.
What bothers me is not so much the effect that something like we have been talking about here might have on my two-thirds of an acre of ground, but just what is happening in our state, what is happening across the country.
Page 224 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I think Mr. Barnes a little while ago made reference to conspiracy theories. I have told people about nothing more than this biosphere reserve idea as it has been put forth, and get accused of being a conspiracy theorist. So I guess it depends on how you define that. I think Mr. Lovett and Mr. Skiles hit upon something really crucial in all this, is that these entities that are trying to put this stuff forward, when they hear no response, they take it as a positive response. And that is very dangerous. I do not know why the mainstream media does not pay more attention to things like heritage sites, biosphere reserves. I will tell people that I see that, you know, it is not the people that own the property that have the say over their property in a situation like this, it is some foreign body, and they find it hard to believe.
I think it is incumbent on everybody here to tell your relatives, tell your friends, your next door neighbors, the people you work with about this stuff that is going on. If the mainstream media will not spread the word, let us spread the word, we have got to get it out.
Thank you very much.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Hicks.
Mr. Frank. And I wonder if before you start your testimony, you could state your full name for the record, it will make it easier on the court reporter.
STATEMENT OF FRANK FLOYD
Mr. FLOYD. It is Frank Floyd. I would like to thank you, Madam Chairman and Congressman Emerson, for having this hearing.
Madam Chairman, I have often wanted to thank you for your work on property rights and other Constitution rights, trying to protect them. I never ever thought of having a chance to thank you personally, but I am going to take this chance and thank you. Thank you.
Page 225 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC A lot of people are saying what they are. Well, I am a common person, the kind you just call common as dirt. I always said if the government would leave me alone, I would sure leave it alone.
Mr. FLOYD. But when this biosphere came in, my brother came and told me about it and I thought that was completely crazy, but he finally talked me into going to a meeting at Berryville, and when I got through I was convinced and I decided the government was not going to leave me alone.
Since we do not have much time here, I am going to skip to some things that happened today, just one thing. The feasibility studies that they have to have to get these biospheres in, I noticed the ones they were giving in Missouri seemed to be identical to the one they had in Arkansas for our Ozark Highlands Man and the Biosphere program. And I just wonder if they are rubber stamping these or really doing several different studies.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Is that a question you are posing for the Committee?
Mr. FLOYD. Well, I wondered.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. They are; yes, these programs areno part of the country is being left untouched.
Mr. FLOYD. Well, I would like, since my time has about run, I would just like to make some kind of statement that of course I support H.R. 883 and I supported it last time the same bill came up, and I appreciate your support of it.
And I would like to say this biosphere, the Biosphere program considering how government programs tend to be is pretty scary, because you know, they are kind of like the creeping crud, they always get bigger and nastier.
[Laughter and applause.]
Page 226 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FLOYD. I have got some more to say, but my red light is on, so I need to thank you.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I wish I did not have that light, I would love to hear more that you would say. Thank you, Mr. Floyd.
Mr. Williams, would you state your entire name for the record, in the mic.
STATEMENT OF JUNIOR WILLIAMS
Mr. WILLIAMS. I am Junior Williams from Alton, Missouri. I am Vice President of Ozark Hills and Rivers Landowners Association and I like the looks of this Committee a lot better than the last Congressional Committee I testified before. It was Mr. Seiberling from Ohio was chairing it and it was about the wilderness in Oregon County and we even brought to their attention that it did not qualify under their own rules and he said we will make it qualify and he was not very nice about the way he said it. And they did make it qualify, we have got a wilderness area even though we held it up for 10 years.
What I would like to say is these so-called environmentalists who want to manage our land, they are not really environmentalists, they do not know how to manage the land and if they did, they would not want to set it aside. Management is more than just setting it aside and leaving it alone, it is using it wisely, and that is what they fail to see. They want to set it aside. Eleven Point River is a good example, Irish Wilderness is a good example. There is nothing no good for anybody.
These agencies, U.S. Forest Service, and all these people appear to be any more just the tools of environmental groups, they are no longer servant to the people. And that is a sad situation.
These environmentalists, I do not believe will ever rest until they rule every inch of land in the United States under their control in one manner or the other. They will use any excuse that they can to get it.
Page 227 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Recently I was just elected to a local school board and this stuff is getting into our schools with our tax dollars and they are starting to teach our kids this kind of stuff that is unscientific and unbased other than just by their emotional hype and their own personal viewpoints. We hope to start turning some of that back.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Williams.
Mr. Alford, would you please state your full name for the record.
STATEMENT OF SCOTT ALFORD
Mr. ALFORD. My name is Scott Alford. I live here in Phelps County. My family, we farm out south of town. I am a transplant. We came into Missouri because you do have a beautiful state hereand we have it too. And, we are on the farm because we love the country, and there is nobody that is going to take better care of the country and of the environment, than farmers who love it.
With that in mind a couple of statements and then a question I hope that I can pose to you. First off, this is not an issue of economics. I appreciate the economic concerns that a lot of people have had here: the cattlemen, the forestry industry, the mining industry . . . This is not a concern just of economics, it is also a concern about freedom. Our Constitution guarantees us the right to own land and to be justly compensated for it if there is a public neednot a U.N. need, but a public needto have that land taken away. And in the 10th Amendment as well, we also talk about that any rights that are not specifically granted to the Federal Government are reserved for the states and the people. And as Marge Welch said just a few minutes ago, it does not say anything about those rights going or going to the Federal Governmentor to the U.N. especiallyit says to the people. That is a Constitutional right.
Page 228 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC My question by the way . . . Several people in the audience asked this, and that is why I came down: this bill, H.R. 883, is it going to indeed take away the current designations of World Heritage Sites and other U.N. sites, Biosphere Reserves . . . that are currently out there? Is that going to take those away?
Mrs. CHENOWETH. They would be taken away if Congress did not approve of them within two years.
Mr. ALFORD. Then it has my full support. Thank you very much.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. You are welcome.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. You know, I sat here and listened to the testimony with absolute amazement and great respect. The fact is the testimony was given in five minutes and sometimes in one minute segments and there was more common sense and more wisdom in what I heard today than quite often I hear inside the beltway.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. You know, the politicians like to go on and on and on, they are quite inebriated with the exuberance of their own verbosity.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. And that is why we have a lot of the trouble that we have. But I would like to encourage not only those of you who testified and demonstrate such wisdom and such common sense and such vision for the future and such love for our American way of live, urge you to not think your tour of duty is over, but consider running for public office, consider being part of those who will help bring what your future in this state will be.
I want to again thank Congressman Emerson for inviting the Committee in here and thank her staff for all of the good work that has been done in preparation for this very valuable hearing.
Page 229 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I do want to remind the witnesses that the record will be open for 10 working days should you wish to add to your testimony and the exhibits or any necessary corrections.
And so with that, I want to again thank you very much. Oh, Kurt reminds me that you need to send any additions to Debbie Callis at 1324 Longworth Building HOB, Washington, DC 20515.
And if there is no further business, this hearing is adjourned.
[H.R. 883 and backup material follows:]
[April 27, 1999 letter from Sierra Club follows:]
[Whereupon, at 1:20 p.m., the Committee was adjourned.]
[Additional material submitted for the record follows.]
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