SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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H.R. 701, CONSERVATION AND REINVESTMENT ACT OF 1999, AND H.R. 798, TO PROVIDE FOR THE PERMANENT PROTECTION OF THE RESOURCES OF THE UNITED STATES IN THE YEAR 2000 AND BEYOND
COMMITTEE ON RESOURCES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SIXTH CONGRESS
JUNE 12, 1999, SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH
Serial No. 10640
Printed for the use of the Committee on Resources
Available via the World Wide Web: http://www.access.gpo.gov/congress/house
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Committee address: http://www.house.gov/resources
COMMITTEE ON RESOURCES
DON YOUNG, Alaska, Chairman
W.J. (BILLY) TAUZIN, Louisiana
JAMES V. HANSEN, Utah
JIM SAXTON, New Jersey
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
JOHN J. DUNCAN, Jr., Tennessee
JOEL HEFLEY, Colorado
JOHN T. DOOLITTLE, California
WAYNE T. GILCHREST, Maryland
KEN CALVERT, California
RICHARD W. POMBO, California
BARBARA CUBIN, Wyoming
HELEN CHENOWETH, Idaho
GEORGE P. RADANOVICH, California
WALTER B. JONES, Jr., North Carolina
WILLIAM M. (MAC) THORNBERRY, Texas
CHRIS CANNON, Utah
KEVIN BRADY, Texas
JOHN PETERSON, Pennsylvania
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCRICK 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
ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American Samoa
NEIL ABERCROMBIE, Hawaii
SOLOMON P. ORTIZ, Texas
OWEN B. PICKETT, Virginia
FRANK PALLONE, Jr., New Jersey
CALVIN M. DOOLEY, California
CARLOS A. ROMERO-BARCELÓ, Puerto Rico
ROBERT A. UNDERWOOD, Guam
PATRICK J. KENNEDY, Rhode Island
ADAM SMITH, Washington
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCWILLIAM 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
RUSH D. HUNT, New Jersey
LLOYD A. JONES, Chief of Staff
ELIZABETH MEGGINSON, Chief Counsel
CHRISTINE KENNEDY, Chief Clerk/Administrator
JOHN LAWRENCE, Democratic Staff Director
C O N T E N T S
Field hearing held June 12, 1999
Statement of Members:
Cannon, Hon. Chris, a Representative in Congress from the State of Utah, prepared statement of
Hansen, Hon. James V., a Represenative in Congress from the State of Utah, prepared statement of
Statement of Witnesses:
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCClarke, Kathleen, Executive Director of the Utah Department of Natural Resources; Courtland Nelson, Director of Utah Division of Parks and Recreation; John Kimball, Director of Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
Prepared statement of
Collins, Clark, Executive Director, BlueRibbon Coalition, Pocatello, Idaho
Prepared statement of
Additional material submitted by
Cowan, Caren, Executive Secretary, The New Mexico Cattle Growers Association
Fisher, Wendy, Utah Open Lands, Salt Lake City, Utah
Prepared statement of
Foutz, Ryan, Manager, Sportsman's Warehouse, Riverdale, Utah
Prepared statement of
Hall, Travis, Public Relations Manager, Browning Arms, Morgan, Utah
Prepared statement of
Henry, Karen, Wyoming Farm Bureau, Robertson, Wyoming
Prepared statement of
Hyde, George, Chief Operating Officer, Barnes Bullets, Inc., American Fork, Utah
Prepared statement of
Maughan, Dennis, Commissioner of Twin Falls County, Idaho
Peay, Don, Executive Director, Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife of North Salt Lake, Utah
Prepared statement of
Priestley, Frank, President, Idaho Farm Bureau Federation, Pocatello, Idaho
Prepared statement of
Ramirez, Leslie W., Attorney, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCPrepared statement of
Robinson, Christopher F., Ensign Group, L.C, Salt Lake City, Utah
Smith, Bert, Ogden, Utah
Prepared statement of
Valentine, Robert, Brigham City, Utah
Prepared statement of
Additional material supplied:
Hage, Wayne, article, ''Property and War''
Grant, Fred, prepared statement of
State of Utah, Natural Resources, Conservation & Reinvestment Act of 1998
Text of H.R. 701
Text of H.R. 798
UTAH and CARA, Conservation & Reinvestment Act of 1999, State of Utah, Natural Resources
Washington State Farm Bureau, prepared statement of
Additional material submitted for the record by:
Baker, James Jay, Executive Director, NRA Institute for Legislative Action, prepared statement of
Bell, Gregory S., Mayor, Farmington City, Utah, prepared statement of
Letter to Mr. Hansen
Billings, Lewis K., Mayor, Mountainland, letter to Hon. Senator Robert Bennett
Callaghan, Mary, Chair, Salt Lake County Commission, letter to Mr. Hansen
Corradini, Deedee, President, The United States Conference of Mayors, letter to Mr. Young
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCCunningham, Sally S., Executive Director, National Council of Youth Sports, prepared statement of
Gordon, Gerald E., Chair, Utah Wildlife Federation, letter to Mr. Hansen
Hall, Andy, City Manager, Payson City, Utah, letter to Mr. Hansen
Hancock, Karla, Mayor, City of Moab, letter to Mr. Hansen
Harrop, Gary A. Mayor, North Ogden City, Utah, letter to Mr. Hansen
Heun, Tracy, Parks and Recreation Director, Clearfield City, prepared statement of
Letter to Mr. Young
Hill, Doug, Public Services Director, Murray City Corp., letter to Mr. Hansen
Letter to Mr. Young
Letter to Mr. Hansen
Howes, Jonathan B., Chairman, Parks and Recreation Authority, North Carolina, prepared statement of
Holmes, Roger, President, International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Minnesota, prepared statement of
Kano, Mayor David T., prepared statement of
Letter to Mr. Hansen,
Kimball, John, Director, Dept. of Natural Resources, Div. of Wildlife Resources, State of Utah, prepared statement of
Hildebrandt, Konrad J., City Manager, Washington Terrace, letter to Mr. Hansen
Leavitt, Gov. Michael, Governor, State of Utah, prepared statement of
Peterson, Cary, Commissioner, State of Utah, letter to Mr. Hansen
Rose, Lorinda, Executive Director, Virgin River Land Preservation Assoc., prepared statement of
Stowell, Dennis E., Iron County, Utah, letter to Mr. Cook
Utah Recreation & Parks Association, letter to Mr. Hansen
Weeks, W. William, Executive Vice-President, The Nature Conservancy, prepared statement of
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H.R. 701, CONSERVATION AND REINVESTMENT ACT OF 1999, AND H.R. 798, TO PROVIDE FOR THE PERMANENT PROTECTION OF THE RESOURCES OF THE UNITED STATES IN THE YEAR 2000 AND BEYOND
SATURDAY, JUNE 12, 1999
House of Representatives,
Committee on Resources,
Salt Lake City, Utah.
The Committee met, pursuant to call, at 11 a.m. in the State Office Building, 1st Floor Auditorium, State Capitol, Salt Lake City, Utah, Hon. James Hansen, presiding.
Mr. HANSEN. [presiding] Good morning. We expect the young lady from Idaho, Mrs. Chenoweth, to join us shortly and the two gentlemen from Utah to be with us. We understand they're both on their way. In fact, one just walked in the door, Representative Cook, we appreciate you coming up and joining us at this time.
Let me give an opening statement here and then we'll get into this hearing. We have a number of people who want to speak and we'll see what we can accommodate here. I want to thank the witnesses, the audience and Members of Congress for attending this field hearing. This is an Official Congressional Hearing of the House Resource Committee. I chair the Committee on Public Lands and National Parks and chairman Don Young has asked me to conduct this full Committee hearing.
The business before us includes H.R. 701, the Conservation and Reinvestment Act of 1999 sponsored by Mr. Young of Alaska, and H.R. 798, the Permanent Protection of America Resources 2000 Act sponsored by Mr. Miller of California.
Some may not be aware of our procedure so let me take a second to explain this. The Committee has invited four panels of witnesses to testify on these two measures and these panels represent differing viewpoints. Each witness has prepared a written statement and will present a summary of that statement during their allocated five minutes time. There are lights on the witness table, you can see them there. It's just like a traffic light. Green means go, yellow means wrap it up, and red means stop. After each panel presents their testimony, each Member of Congress may ask questions of the witnesses. You will also be asked to give us questions back that we will send you in the mail and we would appreciate it if you would give us very comprehensive answers.
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Committee received numerous requests for witnesses to appear today and unfortunately, time constraints limit the number we can accommodate. We'll try to do our best. However, for those wishing to have their voices heard on these matters they're invited to submit their comments in writing to the Resource Committee within ten days of this hearing. These comments will be made part of the official record and I encourage those interested to submit their views.
Lastly, there are some strong feelings on these issues and we invited some very opposing views to testify today. We respect each witness opinion. We respect your rights to voice those opinions and we expect the witnesses in the audience to do the same.
The issues before us, H.R. 701 and H.R. 708, both attempt to address the problem of Land and Water Conservation Funds being used for purposes not originally intended by Congress. The Land and Water Conservation Fund was developed to reinvest nonrenewable oil and gas revenues into conservation and recreation. The legislation before us reforms these past practices but each bill goes about this in a slightly different fashion. They are both technical measures and both have positive components and address some real problems.
I believe that Mr. Young and Mr. Miller have both come up with some very interesting ideas. They feel that it would benefit hunting, fishing, and wildlife in general. However, other people have different ideas. Moreover, outdoor and urban recreation demands are growing at incredible rates and this funding would greatly help satisfy these pressures. For example, the State of Utah under the Young bill would receive nearly $8 million for wildlife and other programs through state side LWCF and another $6.79 million through Federal LWCF or urban park and recreation. Thus the benefits could be great but Federal dollars rarely come without strings attached. We must ensure we are not being enticed with Federal dollars only to find out they come to us with mandates and actions that hurts our respective states.
I personally have not taken a position on either of these bills. That's one of the reasons that we're doing this here in Salt Lake, so that people in the west part can hear this. Congressional hearings have been held in Washington, DC, Alaska and Louisiana. There has been tremendous interest from all sides and I look forward to hearing from several witnesses from Utah. I would like to expressly thank my own mayor, Gregory Bell, who I haven't seen come in yet, of Farmington, Utah and the Director of Natural Resources for the State of Utah, Kathleen Clarke, who represents Governor Leavitt at this hearing.
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Several of the other witnesses have been long-time friends of mine and served the people of Utah or have conducted business in our fine state and I welcome each of you.
Lastly, it is good that we have witnesses from other Rocky Mountain states that are with us at this time. I hope we'll end up with at least four members of the Committee, including myself, the young lady from Idaho has now arrived. We're grateful to Congressman Cook, we're in his district at this time, who also has an interest in this legislation. I will now call upon my colleagues for any opening remarks they may have. Are you ready, Mrs. Chenoweth, or do you want me to go with Mr. Simpson first? Mr. Simpson.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Hansen follows:]
STATEMENT OF HON. JAMES V. HANSEN, A REPRESENATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF UTAH
The House Resources Committee will come to order.
I want to thank the witnesses, the audience, and Members of Congress for attending this field hearing today. This is an official Congressional hearing of the House Resources Committee that I have been asked to conduct on behalf of Chairman Don Young. The business before us includes H.R. 701, the Conservation and Reinvestment Act of 1999 sponsored by Mr. Young of Alaska and H.R. 798, the Permanent Protection of America's Resources 2000 Act sponsored by Mr. Miller of California.
Some may not be aware of our procedures, so let me take a second to explain. The Committee has invited four panels of witnesses to testify on these two measures and these panels represent differing view points. Each witness has prepared a written statement and will present a summary of that statement during their allocated five minute time frame. There are lights at the witness table. Green means go, yellow means begin wrapping up and red means stop. After each panel presents their testimony, each Member of Congress may ask questions of the witnesses.
The Committee received numerous requests for witnesses to appear today and unfortunately time constraints limit the number we can accommodate. However, for those wishing to have their voice heard on these matters are invited to submit their comments in writing to the Resources Committee within ten days of this hearing. These comments will be made part of the official record and I encourage those interested to submit their views.
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Lastly, there are some strong feelings on these issues and we have invited some very opposing views to testify today. We respect each witnesses opinion, we respect your rights to voice those opinions and we expect the witnesses and the audience to do the same.
The issues before us, H.R. 701 and H.R. 798 both attempt to address the problem of Land and Water Conservation Funds being used for purposes not originally intended by Congress. The LWCF was developed to reinvest nonrenewable oil and gas revenues into conservation and recreation. The legislation before us reforms these past practices but each bill goes about this in a slightly different fashion. These are both technical measures and both have positive components that address real problems. I believe that Mr. Young and Mr. Miller both have good ideas. The benefits to hunting, fishing and wildlife in general could be tremendous. Moreover, outdoor and urban recreation demands are growing at incredible rates and this funding would greatly help satisfy these pressures. For example, the State of Utah under the Young bill would receive nearly $8 million for wildlife and other programs through state side LWCF and another $6.79 million through Federal LWCF for urban parks and recreation. Thus, the benefits could be great but Federal dollars rarely come without strings attached. We must insure we are not being enticed with Federal dollars only to find out they come to us with mandates and actions that hurt the State.
I personally have not taken a position on either of these bills and that is the reason for this hearing process. Congressional hearings have been held in Washington DC, Alaska and Louisiana. There has been tremendous interest from all sides and I look forward to hearing from several witnesses from Utah. I would specifically like to welcome my Mayor, Greg Bell, Mayor of Farmington, Utah and the Director of Natural Resources for the State of Utah, Kathleen Clarke who represents Governor Leavitt at this hearing. Several of the other witnesses have been long time friends, served the people of Utah or have conducted businesses in our fine state and I welcome each of you. Lastly, it is good that we have witnesses from other Rocky Mountain states to hear their perspectives.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Welcome to Salt Lake for our Members of Congress who are visiting and I will recognize each Member for an opening statement.
Mr. SIMPSON. Mr. Chairman, I don't have an opening statement but I do want to thank you for holding this hearing. Like you, I have not officially taken a position on this legislation either on either one of these. I am here to learn and to listen to the people that are here to present testimony on this important area of legislation.
I have some concern, as I look at the book in front of you called The Utah Fishing Guide, that most of the maps in the Utah Fishing Guide are of Idaho and that does cause me some concern.
Mr. HANSEN. This book was just given to me and I have to say I'm really looking forward to looking at it. I have this problem. I get an itch in my right hand and the only thing that will cure it, according to my dermatologist, is a fly rod.
Mr. SIMPSON. I understand that itch. Many of us have that itch.
Mr. HANSEN. You have that same itch.
Mr. SIMPSON. Occasionally, yes. But I do appreciate you holding this hearing here and I look forward to listening to the witnesses.
Mr. HANSEN. The young lady from Idaho.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I want to apologize to you for my tardiness and I would like to ask your permission for my staff to sit up here with us without the suits and the formal requirements of staff.
Mr. HANSEN. Not an objection. So ordered.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you. Missed flights, missed connections, no sleep, no breakfast, no luggage, so please forgive me but I am ready for this hearing. And Mr. Chairman, I have taken a position on this bill. It is no secret I am adamantly opposed to the bill and have advised the chairman as such before I started working to see us redirect our goals. The freshman class of the 104th Congress is still referred to in the media by many people as that feisty freshman class of the 104th Congress and I can tell you we still fight with the same feistiness for the rights of private ownership.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Chairman, as I study this bill, the more I study it, the more I realize that this bill again represents the transfer of wealth from the private sector to the public sector. And it's something that I have always been opposed to and it's no secret I'm opposed to this.
Mr. Chairman, I would like to also ask officially for the record if, because so many people were unable to testify and although your generosity extended to me allowed for one more witness, that witness had already made previous commitments and was unable to come by the time I got back to him. But the Wyoming Cattlemen, the Wyoming Farm Bureau, the Oregon Cattlemen, the Washington Cattlemen, Washington Farm Bureau, Mr. Cushman, various other people who asked to testify were denied, not by you, Mr. Chairman, but by some process behind this system were denied the ability to be heard today and so I would again like to ask for the record if we could hold another hearing in the west, either in California or in Oregon or Washington.
Since both representatives are here from Idaho, I know that's futile to ask for a hearing in Idaho. But I would again like to make that recommendation because when we took the majority, we were going to do things differently. We were going to have open hearings so everyone could be heard. And I know that's what your concern is, Mr. Chairman, and so I would like to make that appeal to you and to Mr. Young for the record. Thank you very much.
Mr. HANSEN. Appreciate the young lady's comments. I'm sure we want to have hearings from the public. That's one of the reasons we do these things and we hope that we're representing the public when we act upon legislation. I will make a point to discuss that with Chairman Young and see what he has to say and maybe the three of us or the members of the Committee can get together and determine how we want to play this.
You mentioned staff. I want to thank all the members of staff who have come out. I know it's always ait's kind of a chore to do that and they're always so good about it. We appreciate that. Mr. Healey is here from the minority staff. Rick, if you feel that you're inclined to come up here to verbally abuse us or anything else, by all means come on up. Mr. Freemire, our chief counsel and head of the Committee of Public Lands and Parks is sitting to my right and others I probably missed but appreciate all of them for taking the time to be with. Deb, we appreciate you being with us.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The gentleman from the second district in Utah, thank you for allowing us to come into your district, Mr. Cook. We'll turn the time to you for any statement you may have.
Mr. COOK. Well, thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I'm delighted that you and Mike Simpson and Helen Chenoweth and Alan Freemire and Chris Cannon, who will be here I think in a few minutes, are here in the second district to hold this very important hearing.
Although I'm not a member of the Resources Committee, I really do appreciate, Congressman Hansen, the chairman's gracious invitation to join you today. Unfortunately, I do have a prior engagement with a group of veterans downtown in about half an hour and I won't be able to stay for very long. However, I will be reviewing the Committee record and I'm sure that I can rely on Chairman Hansen to keep me abreast of anything additional that happens here today. The question of how to distribute land and water conservation funds is a very important issue. A concern of mine is that Utah makes sure it gets its fair share. Under H.R. 701 and H.R. 798, the majority of funds from offshore oil revenues will be going to the coastal states such as Louisiana, Texas and Alaska that generate that oil for the country. As a representative from Utah, I find this somewhat disturbing because Utah is a well-known supplier of coal to the country and yet these revenues are taken by the Federal Government and Utah is given no preference with these funds. Now, if full Federal funding is to occur, I think that every state should benefit from the revenues from offshore oil and gas just as the entire country benefits from the revenues that Utah's coal creates.
Utah, I believe, would benefit from some of the programs in this Act but I, like Helen Chenoweth, also have some reservations about parts of the proposals. So like the others here, I've pretty well not made up my mind yet but I'm very interested in the testimony in this hearing today as a way to help me decide exactly how I'm going to vote on this.
Conservation programs, both for land and water, educational efforts and revitalization of existing lands would improve the many outdoor areas and programs already enjoyed by Utahns. I believe this should be done effectively and unobtrusively so it does not damage our state's economy, does not spoil the outdoor experience for those who appreciate it so much. Utah's open space, particularly on the Wasatch Front, is a cherished commodity. We should do everything in our power to ensure that it's not lost.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And I'd like to take this opportunity to point out I think the great activism and leadership that Chairman Hansen's son, Joe, particularly has shown in this area. His commitment to Utah's open space is unrelenting and should be supported, I think, when a chance arises through local and not Federal control.
Finally, I'd like to voice my concern that we must be careful not to increase the system already mired in bureaucracy. The healthy Utah lands and programs must outweigh the headache of more government oversight in the administration. We must assure that taxes will not have to be raised even the slightest to pay for these improvements to our lands. Thank you and I apologize again for having to leave this hearing early.
Mr. HANSEN. Thank you, Mr. Cook. I ask unanimous consent that all the letters that we've received, both for and against these two measures, be included in the record. I have a group here from a number of governors, the National Rifle Association, a number of cities and counties and organizations in support. I know there's a number in opposition that we've also received.
We'll start this hearing with Kathleen Clarke, executive director of the Utah Department of Natural Resources. She's here representing the governor of the State of Utah. She's accompanied by Mr. Courtland Nelson, director of Utah Division of Parks and Recreation and Mr. John Kimball, director of Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
STATEMENT OF KATHLEEN CLARKE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE UTAH DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES; COURTLAND NELSON, DIRECTOR OF UTAH DIVISION OF PARKS AND RECREATION; JOHN KIMBALL, DIRECTOR OF UTAH DIVISION OF WILDLIFE RESOURCES
Mrs. CLARKE. On behalf of Governor Michael Leavitt we'd like to welcome you to the state of Utah today and thank you, Congressman Hansen and representatives, for the opportunity to speak today on behalf of the Conservation and Reinvestment Act of 1999, the most important national legislation for wildlife conservation, open space and state parks and recreation to reach the floor of Congress in our generation. The Utah Department of Natural Resources stands united in (inaudible) and many local elected officials and representatives of wildlife and outdoor recreation organizations from across Utah in our whole-hearted support of this landmark legislation. Let me give you a few of the reasons why we so support it.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Wildlife-related recreation is in high demand by the citizens of our state as evidenced by a recent study by Utah State University called the Cranitch Report. This was a report that measured public attitudes toward wildlife and wildlife-related recreation in Utah and according to the report, let me quote, ''Utahns are highly interested in the state's fish and wildlife resources. Clearly, Utahns place substantial value on the state's wildlife resources and view the protection and enhancement of those resources as important to the quality of life enjoyed by residents of the state.''
I want to emphasize here that wildlife-related recreation now takes many forms, from traditional activities such as hunting and fishing, to nonconsumptive activities such as bird watching and photography. Our mandate from the people of Utah is clear. Yet for too long the funding necessary to manage many species of wildlife and to preserve critical wildlife habitat has been simply unavailable. The same may be said of our state parks and open space initiatives throughout Utah.
Recreation needs have dramatically increased in the past 20 years. An average annual population increase of 2 percent has fueled the demand for more outdoor recreation opportunities and burgeoning urban growth centers from Logan to St. George and as open space disappears and with it wildlife and outdoor opportunity, there is great concern about preserving our quality of life here in Utah, about ensuring the social, economic and yes, even spiritual values that we all draw from direct contact with our natural world. Sadly, funding for parks and recreation facilities and from the Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund has been virtually nonexistent over the last several years. At the same time, our unprecedented population growth has created an even greater need for parks, open space and recreation opportunity.
Since 1964 Utah has received nearly $40 million in land and water conservation funding and this has funded over 400 state parks and recreation projects. Nearly 70 percent of those funds have gone directly to cities and counties for them to design and provide close-to-home recreation opportunities. Some of these include the Dimple Dell Regional Park, Sugarhouse Park, Shepard Lane Park and other regional and neighborhood parks throughout the state.
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The fund has also been essential to the development of Utah's state park system and with those funds we have been able to develop such parks as Antelope Island, Bear Lake, Willard Bay, Utah Lake, Wasatch Mountain, Dead Horse Point, Snow Canyon and many others. Unfortunately, in recent years several opportunities to enhance or broaden our parks network have slipped away. Many of our parks and recreation facilities are obsolete. Age and overuse have taken their toll on many of our premier parks. How will CARA help solve these problems? Of course you're all familiar with the three types of CARA and I will briefly for you discuss how they would impact us.
Title II would provide a stable source of funding for a variety of purposes. It would allow us to begin the daunting task of rebuilding our obsolete infrastructure and making needed capital improvements to our state park system to meet the demands of a growing population. CARA would supply matching funds for cooperative state and local projects. It would help us with existing outdoor recreation experiences by allowing us to enhance them in building trails and preserving natural corridors and working cooperatively. It would also provide funding to develop major trails and many other amenities.
Title III of the legislation would provide for comprehensive approach to wildlife conservation funding and provide funding to address those species that are not fished or hunted. The revenues could be used for conservation easements which would leave land in private ownership, mostly farms and ranches, while it would preserve the critical habitat for wildlife. It would pay for wildlife education programs, provide matching funds for communities to develop their own projects and programs to support these objectives. It should be noted that rather than purchase lands, we need to seek conservation easements, leases or cooperative which are the preferred option. Working cooperatively with the Utah Department of Natural Resources, willing land owners may (inaudible) to wildlife habitat while continuing to produce important commodities on their properties. My time is up so
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HANSEN. No. Finish your statement.
Mrs. CLARKE. Okay. Today fewer than 7 percent of Utah's over 700 resident wildlife species have a steady reliable funding base to support their management. Passage of CARA will be a conservation milestone in Utah and the nation for maintaining wildlife diversity and for keeping many species off the endangered species list. The results of a survey conducted again by Utah State University indicate that Utah statesmen were highly supportive of funding programs to manage the wildlife diversity. Furthermore, given a number of choices, they overwhelmingly preferred having these programs paid for by assessments on energy development.
The message is clear. The Conservation and Reinvestment Act of 1999 is exactly what the people want. A broad variety of outdoor recreation needs were documented during Governor Leavitt's recent Utah Great Outdoors Conference. Representatives from every planning district in the state expressed critical needs for reliable and stable funding to keep pace with Utah's expanding population of outdoor active people. They also identified the need to replace facilities that are being used in new and more impacting ways and to maintain critical habitat for wildlife.
What would CARA ultimately mean for Utah and the nation? It will provide for protection and restoration of our coastal habitats. It will cause land and water conservation activities, providing essential recreation opportunities for our citizens and provide for our consistent and dedicated plan to conserve our precious fish and wildlife resources. All of this will mean that we can maintain our quality of life as our cities and towns experience great economic growth.
Passage of CARA would recommit Congress and this nation to the principle that a part of the revenues earned from depletion of nonrenewable offshore oil and gas reserves should be reinvested in permanent assets that will serve the conservation and recreation needs of all the home owners.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Congressman Hansen and members of this Committee, we stand at a crossroads, faced with an unprecedented opportunity to preserve and enhance our natural resources for generations to come. We encourage you to aggressively work to enact legislation for the sake of our children because if our children lose touch with their natural world, if they don't have a place under the sun to play, if they care more about video games and the Internet than they do about the wildlife and the outdoors, then our precious natural resources will be in trouble and so will our children.
Thank you for your time. And I would be happy to take questions and with your indulgence would invite these two gentlemen to join me in answering your questions since they are the program managers that will be directly responsible for the oversight implementation of the state's acquisitions (inaudible).
Mr. HANSEN. Thank you. Mr. Nelson, anything you'd like to add to Kathleen Clarke's statement? Mr. Kimball, anything you'd like to add? Questions for this panel. The young lady from Idaho is recognized for five minutes.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Before I get into my questioning, I would like to ask for unanimous consent to enter into the record about 2,000 survey questionnaires that Mr. Cushman has accumulated on this issue. Secondly, the testimony of the Washington Farm Bureau, a letter in opposition for the record. Thirdly, the testimony of Fred Grant, who is a constitutional attorney. We were not able to get him on the program. And a publication by Mr. Wayne Hage entitled ''Property and War'' which may clearly explain why this transfer is occurring in this day and age.
Mr. HANSEN. Is there objection? Hearing none, so ordered.
[The 2,000 Survey Questionnaires will be kept on file at the Committee office in 1324 Longworth House Office Bldg., Washington, DC]
H.R. 701ADDITIONAL TESTIMONY SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD FROM MAY 3 THROUGH JUNE 11, 1999
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Wentz, Alan
Ducks Unlimited, Inc.
Gordon, Gerald E.
Utah Wildlife Federation
Carpenter, L. Steven
Utah Recreation & Parks Association
Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks
Pfeiffer, Donald G.
[The Washington Farm Bureau letter may be found at the end of the hearing.]
[The statement of Fred Grant and The Wayne Hage Article, ''Property and War'' follows:]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mrs. Clarke, I wanted to ask you, Utah has a
Mr. HANSEN. We ought to get that mike a little closer, if you would, Mrs. Chenoweth, so that they can pick it up over here.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you very much. Mrs. Clarke, I wanted to ask you, Utah now has about 65 percent of its land base in Federal ownership and you are supporting more of that in the Open Spaces Title II element of this bill. How much does Utah have to give? Is it 70 percent, 80 percent? Where are you going to draw the line?
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CLARKE. I think our primary interest in supporting this bill is the state side funding that would come to us to allow us to utilize monies for development of local recreation initiatives. Funding that traditionally has been used on the Federal side has only been used in this state at the will and desires of the people. It's always had a congressional sponsor and been strongly supported for very specific reasons. So we have not experienced abuses in the dealing of Federal money on this.
And there may have been some very appropriate uses. We have received money from this to help deal with the endangered species in Washington County. We have a habitat conservation program down there and without the Federal funding, that would have been a tremendous burden on that community down there to deal with that endangered species and funding has come from the Federal sides of that program. So there have been very appropriate uses.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mrs. Clarke. How much of a percentage are you willing to give up of Utah to the Federal Government? Is it 65 percent, 70, 75? Where are you going to draw the line? Where is the state going to stand up and say we've had enough?
Mrs. CLARKE. I think we need to draw that line on individual specifics. Like I say, there are instances where we have welcomed some Federal participation and Federal funding but our focus really is on getting the acquisition, the opportunity to deal with the state side issues. It may be these gentlemen would like to add something from their perspective as they've dealt with that Federal piece.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I think it's important to have an end goal in mind. How much is the state willing to give up to the Federal Government? It's at 65 percent now. Are you willing to draw the line at 70 percent or 75 or 80 or 85? Where does it stop?
Mrs. CLARKE. I don't think any of us want to see an increase in Federal ownership of land in this state.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. Could you help define for me what open space means?
Mr. KIMBALL. Yes, ma'am. I think from a wildlife standpoint at least, open space is basically wildlife habitat and it's to some extent difficult to call it open space because many of the critical habitats in our state are really surrounded by public land, as you pointed out, but open space is critical for wildlife for the same reasons it was critical for pioneers that moved here. They settled on these lands and they developed these lands and currently those lands support vital elements of wildlife resources and our desire, really from a wildlife standpoint, is to maintain the uses of those lands and the wildlife populations that they support right now.
You were talking about Federal ownership and I think from a wildlife standpoint we're not interested in even state ownership of these lands. We're simply interested in trying to maintain these lands in the situation or condition that allow them to support wildlife populations.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Mr. Kimballif the chairman will just allow me one more question. By definition in this bill, wildlife is termed and defined and wildlife associated recreation is defined as that which can meet the demand for outdoor activities associated with wildlife including but not limited to hunting, fishing, restoration of wildlife viewing areas, observation towers, blinds, platforms, land and water trails, wildlife conservation, education and it also includes game and nongame wildlife. I mean, it could be anything, plant or animal or anything that appears on private property or Federal property or state property. So you see, we're not drawing the boundaries very well in terms of where this ends and what the boundaries of this bill really are. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HANSEN. The gentleman from Idaho, Mr. Simpson, is recognized for five minutes.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SIMPSON. Thank you. I appreciate your testimony here today. And let me tell you where I'm coming from and some of the reasons that I haven't taken a position on this bill yet. On the one hand I see the advantages of this having served on a local city council and used Land and Water Conservation Funds and made communities more livable by providing recreational facilities for the youth and adults in those communities. I think those Land and Water Conservation Funds are very important and I would like to see those funds replenished. This legislation obviously would put money back into those sorts of activities.
And I think that we have to have livable communities, means we have to have recreational facilities available for both our youth and our adults and we need to upgrade in Idaho, as I'm sure in Utah, our parks. We have insufficient funding to maintain the current park system we have, let alone expand it for the use of the people around this state. Oftentimes people in Idaho cannot even get a reservation in a state park because of the unavailability of spaces. You call January 1st and by the end of the day, they're filled up for the rest of the year. And so the people of Idaho really need those recreational opportunities and recreational spaces.
On the other side there's a great deal of concern about, as was just mentioned by the other congressman from Idaho, about private property rights and Federal ownership and more ownership of Federal land. Would you support or could you see an amendment to this being beneficial which would be a no net gain type of amendment which if the state or the Federal Government were to purchase land, private land and take it off the tax rolls, that it would have to give up land currently owned by the Federal Government so that in the state there would effectively be a no net gain?
Mrs. CLARKE. Mr. Nelson asked in he could respond to this question, so I defer.
Mr. NELSON. Mr. Chairman, Representative Simpson, I think that is a working title that has lots of value. We have that same situation in Utah right now with our land acquisition within the state government. And while it is sometimes hard to pin down exactly the formula which should be used for that and under what conditions, I think we have been successful in achieving that goal and objective. As to whether that would work with the Federal Government or not, I think it would be a concept that could be massaged and could seek the support of some Federal agencies who are those most directly impacted (inaudible).
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Most of our acquisition on the state side comes from those local communities, five, 10, 15, 20 acres. None of us deal anymore without partnerships. And my personal experience here in Arizona as the director, almost every acquisition involves a willing seller who is very interested in us taking over their property at a fair market value or at a compensated value below that for tax purposes and they in fact are bringing to us opportunities. How that particular scenario fits into a no net loss for a state agency, we have been able to work that out and I would think that would have some potential with the Federal Government in the vast (inaudible).
The difference, and I would think Mr. Kimball may want to speak about this federally, is that the critical lands for play, for the wildlife habitat, are those that everybody seeks for the most part, as opposed to let's say some desert environment or some hard to access areas that the Federal Government would own and may not have for the near future any good public recreation or wildlife use.
Mr. SIMPSON. You mentioned that yours at the state level it's a willing seller/willing buyer provision.
Mrs. CLARKE. Always.
Mr. SIMPSON. It's my understanding under this provision, under this statute, that the Federal Government would not be able to condemn land. It would have to be willing seller/willing buyer; is that as you understand it?
Mr. NELSON. That is the case. We haven't used the eminent domain type thing one time in 25 years and I would never propose that in this day and age. As I said, for the most part my experience has been completely the opposite. This was the case down in St. George with our habitat conservation but we have been scrambling to meet the needs of these land owners (inaudible).
Mrs. CLARKE. That philosophy is consistent throughout the department. We never want to be heavy handed. There's some wonderful programs in wildlife where we're working on conservation easements but always the goal is to leave the land in private ownership. We have a state private property ombudsman. We may be one of the only states in the country that has that because of our commitment to private property rights. That person is housed and totally supported in my department and we often consult them to make sure we are not treading on private property rights.
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SIMPSON. Well, I compliment you for that.
Mr. KIMBALL. I would just second what Courtland said and that's the fact that our interest is in maintaining wildlife habitat. It's not in owning or managing lands and we feel like the traditional uses that are there are currently supporting the wildlife habitats that we're interested in maintaining. So it's working with those traditional occupants of those lands and the industry that supports them that keeps them there. That's where our interest is.
Mr. SIMPSON. Again, I thank you for your testimony.
Mr. HANSEN. The gentleman from the second district in Utah, if you have questions we'll recognize you five minutes.
Mr. COOK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. First I really want to commend this first panel. I know Ms. Clarke, Mr. Kimball and Mr. Nelson have worked hard and presented, I'm sure, the view of the governor of the state as you visit us in our offices in Washington and your help with regard to some of these amendments to the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act have been very, very helpful and I want to commend you for your work.
I did want to ask you, Kathleen, specifically, for the people that live in the Salt Lake Valley, my congressional district is actually one of the mostit's not only by far the most urban congressional districts in the state but even in all of the western United States, one of the most urban congressional districts and I think people in Salt Lake really do appreciate the open space. I think they appreciate these opportunities. And could you kind of describe specifically for Salt Lake folks that are kind of bottled up in tight quarters most of their living experiences, what some of the programs that would affect some of the parks, that are close by, that are close here right to Salt Lake, and if you could even comment on maybe some of the educational impacts of the bill.
Mrs. CLARKE. I have here a list. Let me just read you a few of the projects that of right now where we have requests for funding through this program for Salt Lake. The Boys and Girls Club Park, which is a playground and volleyball courts. Environmental Center, Interpretive and Education in Landscaping Center, the Jordan River Parkway, monies for land acquisition and trail development along that corridor, a sports field facility which is for kids to play ball, just good wholesome recreation opportunity. The Lodestone Park, which would be for picnicking, playgrounds and some rest rooms. Again, the Dimple Dell, the Seventh East Park, which would be picnicking, sports again, and play field. Hidden Valley trailhead, the Bingham Creek Pedestrian and Bicycle Trail.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So you see in there a whole array of different kinds of things, some that are an interpretive opportunity, an educational opportunity, some for just recreation, wholesome activities for kids, others that would be more serene and a place to go walk, to think, to retreat from the city. I'm going to let Courtland speak to the list of projects in a broader context all over the state.
Mr. NELSON. Mr. Chairman and Representative Cook, I think it's two components to be answered. One that Kathy gave, that there is a strong need in the Wasatch Front and in the urban areas to provide that close-to-home recreational opportunity. While we speak of Yellowstones and Yosemites and Grand Canyons, many of us have life experiences that are close to home. Part of it sticks with us forever, whether it's a young family with their kids out enjoying the open space in the playground or a hike along the Jordan River or in the case of Idaho, some of the wonderful things you've done with your trails in Boise and in the Ketchum area and exists along the Colorado, along the Platte.
Those are wonderful opportunities where the Federal money matches the local money for the improvements and those close-to-home opportunities because there are many people in these urban cities who cannot get out to southern Utah or up to the Uintahs to have that recreation.
I think also, particularly in your district, Representative Cook, we in the state parks and the Federal recreation areas are the playgrounds for your citizens. Every Friday night the highways are full with people during the summer months, and more and more in the spring and the fall, who are heading to eastern Utah, southern Utah and expecting some basic recreation facilities, whether it's for wildlife opportunities, whether it is for boating or hiking, they play where we provide facilities and then come back to your district to live their lives. So I think there's two answers to that question.
If I may address your attention to this map here, and I will pick up and pass it. The recommended projects for John's wildlife programs, as well as for the suggested grants that we have received from potential applicants should CARA pass. That will give you a good feel for the geographic distribution for these projects.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CLARKE. Mr. Chairman, if I could take one more minute, I'd like to ask Mr. Kimball to comment on some of the urban initiatives of the Division of Wildlife Resources.
Mr. KIMBALL. I appreciate that. I would have tried to butt in anyway. We're really interestedas you know, there are two components to Title III that address specifically wildlife recreation and wildlife education and Kathleen said in the end of her statement that we need to make sure that there is a connection between our urban citizens and the wildlife resources of this state. We expect these future citizens to really support wildlife programs and that connection's important for our agency.
Just about a month ago in Representative Hansen's district in Davis County we partnered with Davis County and a number of other people in a bird festival to talk about wetlands and wetland values and Davis County felt like I think it was an extremely successful partnership. Two weeks ago about, director Clarke participated in an urban fishing sort of ribbon cutting program at Farmington Pond where we've partnered with local sportsmen's groups to develop a fishing pier into a pond, a handicapped access fishing pier for urban fishing.
I also have a residence down here in the mouth of City Creek. I spend a great deal of my time when I'm not working, walking up City Creek just to get away from my work, quite honestly. And I think that's important. And those of you that were here last night and saw the news would perhaps note that I think it's the University of Utah that's voting on Monday whether or not to consider a conservation donation of foothill range. It's an important component for us in this urban area.
Mr. COOK. I want to thank you. I would also like to ask the chairman for unanimous consent for one additional minute just to ask another follow-up question of this panel.
Mr. HANSEN. No objection. So ordered.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. COOK. One of the concernI appreciate, because I think there are many programs, as I said in my opening statement, that would really be of benefit to us here. One of the concerns I share with my colleague from Idaho, Mrs. Chenoweth, is that do you think could be a problem in either of these bills of adding to the Federal bureaucracy of our land management and is there any chances that taxes would have to be increased as a result if these bills are enacted?
Mrs. CLARKE. On the face of the bill I do not read that. John, did you want to say something?
Mr. KIMBALL. From the Title III component it simply partners into an existing Pittman-Robertson program that quite honestly, Federal Governments and states have used for almost 50 years. It's that very program that's rebuilt in many cases wildlife populations, of the game wildlife populations, and that component simply fits into that. It's one of the things that as a state director, I really appreciate the fact that it uses a system that I'm already comfortable with and as I understand, there is no tax addition, it's a distribution, a redistribution tax.
Mr. NELSON. Mr. Chairman, Representative Cook, I wanted to add that as I read H.R. 707 there is also a requirement that payment in lieu of taxes, the bill is increased and an interest from the fund goes to the counties that have Federal land.
Mr. COOK. Thank you very much.
Mr. HANSEN. The time of the gentleman has expired. Mrs. Clarke, if you had your druthers on this, which one of these bills would you prefer, H.R. 701, H.R. 798?
Mrs. CLARKE. We support H.R. 701. The only element of H.R. 798 we would love to see incorporated is a funding stream to support the Forest Legacy Program which has been an important source of funding for the State of Utah. We have a state option on that money so that we can get money directed to the state. The land that we deal with under the Forest Legacy Program in Utah does not go to the Federal Government. It stays in private hands for the conservation needs with the option of either the state or private interest holding that conservation easement. So we would love to see an amendment and would certainly support one but in general we support H.R. 701.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HANSEN. Would the state support running the state side funds through the state legislature to authorize these state projects?
Mrs. CLARKE. I'm going to invite these two gentlemen to respond since they would be the ones directly responsible for the management of those funds.
Mr. NELSON. Mr. Chairman, on the state parks side of the state fund we are required to bring all of our capital projects through two committees. They have to approve those before those monies could be spent. And of course there is a state requirement for that that I would have to work in achieving. So on the state side, which historically has amounted to 31 percent (inaudible). That occurs nationally. It gets more cumbersome if you require the locals to also go through a state approval process in order to (inaudible). I think the (inaudible) value to the west that I think runs headlong into some of the things we're dealing with local control and to have local agencies have to go through another bureaucratic exercise in order to match those state funds I think would be duplicitous.
We have a citizen board in our case in Utah and I believe that's the case in Arizona and Colorado, I'm not sure about Idaho, that hasthey review the grant applications, they rank them and they make those awards and that goes to my state parks board who again rate them and rank them and those go out to the citizens so you have two levels of citizen board evaluation based on staff evaluations but these also add some integrity to the system.
Mr. KIMBALL. The legislation, as I understand it, calls for a public process to help develop, in the wildlife programs anyway, the programs that we'll implement and I guess I can assure you that our state legislature, who authorizes my spending feel, I think, like they have pretty good oversight on what our agency does and what our agency doesn't do. They don't direct the funding as you've indicated but they do direct where I'm allowed to spend money and I would assume that that's the level of oversight that they'd be comfortable with.
Mr. HANSEN. I see from your booklet that there's apparently pretty good support for this issue in the State of Utah executive branch. The legislative branch, where are they coming from? Have you heard anything from those folks? What about county commissioners and mayors, people like that?
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CLARKE. I believe the mayors of the Utah League of Cities and Towns is fully behind this. We have many of our cities that have supported it. There have been some concerns raised about private property issues. We believe that they can all be accommodated and addressed within the context of the bill and that this would not be abusive in any way regarding those private property rights. But we think there's overwhelming support as indicated by that lengthy list of people who have rallied around and see the great benefits of having this funding available to the communities and to the state to use in all of these objectives we've discussed.
Mr. HANSEN. The president of the senate or speaker of the house, have they taken a stand on this?
Mr. NELSON. I'm not aware of them taking a stand but I can say that last year in our legislative session particularly dealing with wildlife habitat and wildlife habitat issues, we spent a lot of time talking about how we would fund the protection of wildlife not only from the standpoint of preserving wildlife values on private lands but mechanisms to do that and I think our legislature was extremely comfortable with the concept of conservation easements and working with conservation easements to secure wildlife conservation on private lands.
Mr. HANSEN. I've noticed that you've already addressed Title II and Title III, which I wanted to ask about and also private property interests that you've talked about, and I won't ask you but I'd like you to respond, if you would, when you did have the land conservation fund or when it was to be fully funded how was the money spent in Utah. I guess that's in your booklet also.
Mrs. CLARKE. It is.
Mr. HANSEN. And I've looked at your list of what you anticipate you will do from later on so I see my time is up. We've now been joined by the congressman from the Third Congressional District, a member of the Committee and, Mr. Cannon, if you have any opening statement or anything you'd like to ask these witnesses, we'll recognize you for five minutes.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Cannon. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'd ask unanimous consent to have my opening statement just included in the record.
Mr. HANSEN. Without objection. So ordered.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Cannon follows:]
STATEMENT OF HON. CHRIS CANNON, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF UTAH
Thank you Mr. Chairman. First, I would like to welcome our colleagues to our beautiful state. I am honored to host our Committee. Also, I would like to welcome our panelists and extend my appreciation to them for taking time on a Saturday morning to discuss this important legislation. I know our Chairman, Mr. Young, has worked very hard and diligently on this legislation and he is very proud of it. I also understand many groups have some concerns with various issues contained in the legislation. I hope that our discussion today will provide some insight into those concerns and provide a helpful dialogue to address any outstanding matters. I am anxious to let our panelists begin their remarks, so I will try to keep my comments brief.
Many of our panelists this morning will highlight the benefits of H.R. 701. While I recognize H.R. 701, provides some great benefits for the states, including Utah, I would like to note that I understand this legislation is not without fault. There are many individuals who are concerned that this bill encourages the acquisition, by the Federal Government or states, of more land. I suspect that some of our witnesses this morning will touch on those concerns.
H.R. 701 would establish a new formula and procedure to distribute funds from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Historically, the Secretary of the Interior has been appropriated roughly $270 million annually for the acquisition of environmentally sensitive lands throughout the United States. In the past, these acquisitions have occurred without any accountability or consideration of property rights or existing Federal areas. I would like to commend the Chairman for including language in H.R. 701 which adds significant private property protection and Congressional oversight to the process.
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Chairman, I know we have a full morning ahead of us and I am eager to hear from the knowledgeable individuals before us today. I suspect we will have a good discussion and I look forward to examining all aspects of the legislation.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.
Mr. CANNON. I want to apologize for being here a little late. We committed to a parade in Springville before this hearing was set and I appreciate the chairman's willingness to defer this hearing for an hour and still it was impossible for me to get here on time. I apologize.
I want to thank the panelists in particular for being here. We've actually spent some time privately talking about these issues. And let me point out that the booklet which I think you're referring to is the booklet that members of the panel have given me in the past and I think that's a remarkably thoughtful and thorough book and so at this point and given the number of panelists I think we're going to have today, I think I'll yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. HANSEN. Thank you. Do any members of the Committee have additional questions for the panel? Mrs. Chenoweth recognized for five minutes.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Mr. Chairman, this won't take five minutes but I wanted to let Mrs. Clarke know that I am very, very supportive of restoring the Land and Water Conservation Funding system as it was passed in 1965, which is a far better formula for the states than what is laid out in H.R. 701. I have been working with Yvonne Farrell from my state. I enjoy the green belt with my children and grandchildren. While I don't believe that this is a basic function for the Federal Government, it's part of our life today.
And, for the record, I have said on and off the record and I'll say it again, I think we made a serious mistake in 1995 when we took funding away from the states while not at the same time taking funding away from the Federal Government. There is nothing that can really help families more than to be able to pray together and play together. Yvonne Farrell made that point to me when I spent a day with her mountain biking and biking on the green belt. When we have parks and recreational areas close to homes where parents really know where their children are playing, it does make a difference.
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC My concern, as you know, is of the expansion of Federal ownership. Secondly, my concern in this bill is that this bill would require a partnership with the Secretary of Interior having all final say on what kind of program that you would implement and it would require 50 percent matching funds. It allows for local units of government to go around the governor and form a partnership with the Federal Government and of course it increases overall Federal spending. But, like I say, we made a mistake in 1995. We must correct that mistake and bring that funding back to the states. So within that frame of reference I'm very supportive of doing that.
Mrs. CLARKE. I appreciate hearing that and it sounds to me like we have a lot in common in terms of what our interests are. Our primary interest here today as I stated is to see that mechanism back in place. We acknowledge there are some concerns on the Federal funding side and trust that you will deal with those appropriately. I want to tell you I appreciate the values that I think we all embrace regarding the need for recreation, for wholesome recreation close to home, as well as for protection of our wildlife interests and values that are out there.
We like the context of the bill. It allows for local governments, however, to design some of their own recreational needs. It fits into some local solutions to some of our compelling needs, creates partnerships that we want to support. And as a single mother with three sons, let me just add a personal note and say that, you know, I don't take my boys fishing or take them camping but I really enjoy those things that are close to home, things that are easy for me to access. I'm a busy woman and I'm very grateful that there have been things close to home for us to do together as a family. And I echo what has been said, we need to pray and play together. And we are just anxious to have funding available to help us accommodate the compelling demands of our citizens to continue to enjoy those types of opportunities.
With growth moving ahead in this state as it is, and we're looking at doubling our population before 2020, we're just overwhelmed with needs to repair and restore facilities that are falling apart now as well as to look to the future as to how we're going to accommodate the increasing demands for those types of opportunities.
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We would love to see this legislation or a formula for the state to get back into the funding picture enacted by this legislation or by this legislature and encourage you to consider it. Thank you.
Mr. HANSEN. Thank you. We appreciate Kathleen Clarke, Mr. Nelson, Mr. Kimball for their testimony and we will excuse this panel. And I don't see Mayor Bell coming in so we'll call on the second panel. Mr. Bert Smith of Ogden, Utah, Mr. Robert Valentine of Brigham City, Utah, Mr. Don Peay, executive director, Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife of North Salt Lake, Utah, Mr. Travis Hall, public relations manager of Browning Arms in Morgan, Utah. If they would come up, we'd appreciate it. We appreciate the panel being here. Mr. Smith, if you would like to go first, sir, we'd appreciate hearing from you. If you'd pull that mike over, I'd appreciate it. Thank you.
STATEMENT OF BERT SMITH, OGDEN, UTAH
Mr. SMITH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Could you find something to tape that on that board? It's an important map. Distinguished congressmen, I appreciate being able to say my piece here about this bill. I'm Bert Smith, president of the National Federal Land Conference, an organization designed to protect private property. Our office is located in Bountiful, Utah. My home address is a ranch in Nevada and a townhouse in Ogden, Utah and a business in Ogden, Utah, as my papers will describe.
I'm a member of the Nevada Cattle Association and a member of the board of directors. I'm a member of the Utah Cattle Association and the New Mexico Cattle Association. I have property in all those states.
I'm well acquainted with the public land issue, probably as well as any witness you will ever have because I'm known in my own circles, not very widely because I'm only a country bumpkin, but I'm known as Mr. Sagebrush Rebellion and I continue to fly that flag. It's an important flag to me because we stand for no net loss of the private property and Mr. Chairman, as you well know that was an important issue at one time and even Senator Hatch, wanted to pass the bill in that respect.
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I have a business that is widely known as an agri-business and we do business with all of the livestock people in the west. It's not just a country store, it's a world country store because we have visitors from all over the world come there. It's quite a museum piece and we have anything you want, if we can find it and we have a big sign that says that. And another big sign that says Holy cow, what a great store. So we're not sober all the time. We make fun of ourselves and the public love it. It's a menagerie but it's not small.
And we enjoy our ranch people and they come there to buy wholesale and retail. We do wholesale in seven states. We sell as many as 2,000 saddles a year. We're the second largest horseshoe dealer in the United States. We're the largest Wrangler jean dealer in Utah.
To go on, I have some substantial land holdings in Nevada and Arizona and New Mexico. I am an in holder. The government surrounds me. And the reason I want this map up there is you're well acquainted that the black is federally owned. I mean Nevada is all Federal land outside of Reno and Las Vegas, a few of the bigger cities, are in holders.
You'll notice there that the gray snake that runs across there is 40 miles wide, that represents the railroad. I mean every other section is in holding by the railroad. They're the money out there trying to push this thing through. They would love to sell some of their mountaintops that they've got as the largest land grant in the history of the world. They'd like to sell that and some of the oil companies feel the same way. In Reno there is a big influence from the oil companies on this bill.
We're deeply disappointed in Representative Don Young and other good Republicans who would sponsor such a bill. Buy up more land to be held in the tight iron grip of the Federal Government.
Bill H.R. 701 has so many golden threads woven into a blanket of untruths that it's misleading. This sounds like a motherhood bill and it opens the door that would let Clinton/Gore walk in or drive a truck through that door if we let that crack open. They have some real money spent on bills out there that they would like to buy up everything. This is a very dangerous door opener. There is one thing that we all agree that
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. Mr. Chairman
Mr. HANSEN. The young lady from Idaho.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I would ask unanimous consent to allow Mr. Smith additional time of three minutes.
Mr. HANSEN. Hearing nonewhat do you need, Mr. Smith, three more minutes? You have three more minutes.
Mr. SMITH. Well, I'll sum it down.
Mr. HANSEN. So ordered. Debbie, could you give him three more minutes?
Mr. SMITH. I'm known as a talker so I apologize for taking
Mr. HANSEN. I think you're doing fine.
Mr. SMITH. The bill violates Article 1, Section 8 and the government should be held to the limited ownership of land. I would like to submit as my witness a book that cost a quarter of a million dollars in legal research, ''How the West was Lost.'' This will undo the sweetheart deals the Federal Government has been delving in for a hundred years.
Mr. HANSEN. Is there objection to the book being submitted into the record? Hearing none, so ordered.
Mr. SMITH. And also ''The Golden Fleece'' is the one that's been out for a long time. It has a lot of wonderful information on this subject of why the Federal Government shouldn't be in the land business. And the Federal Government owns 42 percent of the United States, 92 percent of Nevada. How much is enough? The question has been asked here today, how much more do they want? Do they want it all? That would be total socialism if they had it all. Are we going to be a free country or are we going to give it up? That's the question I'd like to ask. Thank you.
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HANSEN. Thank you, Mr. Smith. And all of the information you've given us, we'll include that.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Smith follows:]
STATEMENT OF BERT N. SMITH, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL FEDERAL LANDS CONFERENCE
I am Bert N. Smith, President of the National Federal Lands Conference, an organization used to protect private property rights, which is located in Bountiful, Utah.
I am authorized to give testimony for the Coalition of Counties in Arizona and New Mexico.
I am a Utah Agri-business owner in both the retail and wholesale sectors.
I am a Nevada cattle rancher and a member of the Nevada Cattlemen's Board of Directors.
I am an inholder, (Owner of land surrounded by federally owned land).
H.R. 701 is a very dangerous bill that would give the Federal Government billions of taxpayers dollars to buy up private land and remove it from the counties tax base.
We are deeply disappointed that Rep. Don Young and other ''good'' Republicans would sponsor this bill. We are also disappointed that the bill is getting support from the National Governors Association and the National Association of Counties.
This bill, H.R. 701, has so many golden threads woven into a blanket of untruth that it has misled both the state and county organizations.
We do not need more government ownership of land. Government ownership of land is a violation of the very foundation of this free government, the right to own private property. Here are a few of the reasons that additional Federal ownership is unlawful and unneeded.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC1. This bill violates Article I Section 8. Five western states have passed laws and we need to reinforce them.
2. This bill violates Article IV Section 4. This guarantees that the state and the people are sovereign. The Federal Government should never have the power of eminent domain.
3. Exhibit #1. The Golden Fleece. Nevada is 90 percent owned by the Federal Government and 6 percent owned by the railroad. The railroads are the biggest inholders and have the most to gain by selling all of their unusable land. Also, the oil companies.
4. Exhibit #2. ''How the West was Lost,'' a complete document of how the Federal Government has completely manipulated laws and usurped the right of property ownership. Page 240 and 241 explains how the Federal Government violated the trust and kept the deed to the western land. Page 239 exposes a sweetheart law suit (Kleppe) that must be overturned. This book is a very complete and extensive legal document.
5. The Federal Government has caused almost all of the inholder disasters such as declaring private property critical petro clif areas. The people must pay tax and can't use the land.
I know of a man in Arizona whose rights rave been completely trampled upon. He has a subdivision on the Arizona strip that is approximately the size of St. George City. Appraisers have given it a worth of $20 million. The Federal Government has had it tied up for 15 years now, due to the idea that there are signs of desert tortoise. He pays thousands of dollars each year in taxes for land that he can't use or sell. This is just one example of the Federal Government abusing the property rights of citizens.
The number of property rights disasters that take place now is staggering. I fear that the number of abuses to property rights will become overwhelming if H.R. 701 is passed. It is an overwhelming problem now. H.R. 701 can not be supported by you or anyone else that loves or respects this country. The rights that we have here have been fought for for generations and these rights need to be preserved. H.R. 701 would destroy these rights and must not be supported.
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Mr. HANSEN. Mr. Valentine, you're recognized for five minutes.
STATEMENT OF ROBERT VALENTINE, BRIGHAM CITY, UTAH
Mr. VALENTINE. Thank you, Congressman Hansen and members of this Committee. I appreciate the invitation and opportunity to testify in support of this legislation this morning, for both H.R. 701 and 798. I regard them as a major step in the direction of providing additional funding for the much needed use of Utah's recreational and wildlife advocates.
As you can see from my resume, I've been involved, intimately involved with wildlife management throughout my service as a wildlife board member for 10 years and I also served as Director of the Division of Wildlife Resources for a little over three years. Therefore, I feel qualified to talk about the wildlife management funding and their needs.
Through an appointment to and the continued service as the U.S. House of Representatives appointee to the Utah Reclamation Mitigation and Conservation Commission, I've gained much valuable experience and understanding of the needs of the recreationalists in the state of Utah. With that very brief introduction, I'd like to continue my testimony.
Utah is not the unique state in the west. Our needs and objectives are common with other states throughout this portion of the country. In continued talks with various state directors and members of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, I was able to understand and conclude that funding the requirements and needs in Utah are not different from those in the surrounding states.
While serving as a city councilman and a county commissioner, I operated with a long-standing philosophy of use or pay. That's not been the situation in the state of Utah nor for that matter do I believe it's been the situation in many of the other western states.
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The funding for wildlife management in the state of Utah is broken down quite generally as 65 percent coming from the sale of licenses and permits, 25 percent of their annual budget comes from Federal funds generated by Pittman-Robertson, Wallop-Breaux and Dingell-Johnson. The other 10 percent came from general fund appropriation and/or other sources within the state of Utah. As you can see, 85 to 9585 to 90 percent of the funding for wildlife management within the state of Utah came directly from the sportsmen. This is a major imbalance.
The nonconsumptive community does not have an acceptable opportunity to contribute their fair share. Those individuals, particularly those in the last decade, have demonstrated a very passionate and strong feeling for wildlife and wildlife management and have taken a very active role in stating their management objectives in regard to wildlife management and what they would like to see done. I do not favor denying these people an opportunity to participate in that process. I think these two pieces of legislation go a long way toward addressing the need for additional funding here in the state of Utah.
As you probably heard many times in the past, as it relates to wildlife management, the Endangered Species Act has created many unfunded mandates the sportsmen in this state have been forced to fund because no other funding was available. Although the imbalance has improved somewhat in recent years, it's still an inadequate amount to conduct all of the required programs.
It does not require much stretch of the imagination to look at the Land and Water Conservation Funds as those generated through the general population and their purchase of patroling popular products. Therefore, this legislation, in my humble opinion, is a more balanced opportunity for funding of those unique wildlife management requirements that many of the nonconsumptive community feel very near and dear to them.
I think this legislation goes a long way in addressing this imbalance and I would encourage both houses of Congress to pass this very important critical legislation that is much needed by this state and other states throughout the country. As we address the continued and ever increasing needs for wildlife management and recreational opportunities, this can be the most beneficial legislation to resolve those concerns.
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In closing, I thank you very much again for the opportunity and courtesy to continue to work toward passage of this legislation. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Valentine follows:]
STATEMENT OF ROBERT G. VALENTINE, BRIGHAM CITY, UTAH
Thank you, Congressman Hansen. I appreciate the invitation and opportunity to testify in behalf of this legislation, both House Bill H.R. 701 and H.R. 798, as a major step in the direction of providing additional funding for the much needed use of Utah recreationalists and wildlife advocates. As you can see from my resume, I have been intimately involved with wildlife management through my service as a wildlife board member for ten years and also as I served as director of the Division of Wildlife Resources for a little over three years. Therefore, I feel qualified to talk about the wildlife management funding and their needs as well as through an appointment to and continued service as the U.S. House of Representatives appointee to the Utah Reclamation Mtigation and Conservation Commission. I have gained valuable experience and understanding of the needs of the recreationalists in the state of Utah. With that very brief introduction, I would like to continue my testimony.
Utah is not a unique state in the west. Our needs and objectives are common with the other states throughout this portion of the country. In continued talks with the various directors of the members of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, I was able to understand and conclude that the funding requirements and needs of Utah are not different. While serving as a city councilman and county commissioner, I operated with the long-standing philosophy of ''user pays.'' That has not been the situation in the state of Utah, nor for that matter do I believe it has been the situation in many of the other western states. The funding for wildlife management in the state of Utah is broken down quite generally as 65 percent came from the sale of licenses and permits, 25 percent of their annual budget came from Federal funds generated by Pittman-Robertson, Wallop-Breaux and Dingel-Johnson; the other 10 percent came from general fund appropriations and/or other sources within the state of Utah. As you can see, 85 to 90 percent of the funding for wildlife management within the state of Utah came directly from sportsmen. This is a major imbalance. The nonconsumptive community does not have an acceptable opportunity to contribute their fair share. These individuals, particularly in the last decade, have demonstrated a very passionate and strong feeling for wildlife and wildlife management and have taken a very active role in stating their management objectives in regard to wildlife management and what they would like to see done. I do not favor denying these people an opportunity to participate in that process. I think these two pieces of legislation go a long way toward addressing the need for additional funding here in the state of Utah.
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As you have probably heard many times in the past as it relates to wildlife management, the Endangered Species Act has created many unfunded mandates that the sportsman in this state have been forced to fund because no other funding was available. Although the imbalance has improved somewhat in recent years, it is still an inadequate amount to conduct all of the required programs. It does not require much stretch of the imagination to look at the Land and Water Conservation Funds as those generated through the general population and their purchase of petroleum products. Therefore, this legislation, in my humble opinion, is a more balanced opportunity for funding of those unique wildlife management requirements that many of the nonconsumptive community feel very near and dear to. I think this legislation goes a long way in addressing this imbalance and I would encourage both houses of Congress to pass this very important and critical legislation that is much needed by this state and other states throughout the country.
As we address the continued and ever-increasing needs for wildlife management and recreational opportunities, this can be the most beneficial legislation to resolve those concerns. In closing, I thank you very much again for the opportunity, and encourage you to continue to work toward passage of this legislation.
Mr. HANSEN. Thank you.
Mr. VALENTINE. Mr. Peay.
STATEMENT OF DON PEAY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, SPORTSMEN FOR FISH AND WILDLIFE OF NORTH SALT LAKE, UTAH
Mr. PEAY. You have my written comments. I may vary from that just to reiterate points. I hate reading a prepared statement.
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HANSEN. Incidentally, all the written comments that everyone will give will be included in the record and we appreciate youwe'll take your statement here but they'll all be included in.
Mr. PEAY. Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife is a very large sportsman group in the state. Several of you have attended our fund raisers and I would say we're probably 80 percent Republican except for the district of Mr. Cannon's in Price and that's a very democratic district but you know the support we have
Mr. CANNON. And we love your sportsmen there, too, by the way.
Mr. PEAY. You saw 600 people come.
Mr. CANNON. That's right.
Mr. PEAY. We are mostly businessmen and we support limited government. We don't want any more government control than possible. But I would just have to say that public land is a great blessing because in Utah 95 percent of the private land says no trespassing, no hunting, no fishing, keep out. And so while we may be concerned about what the Federal Government does on Federal land, the verdict's already in on private land. We're locked out, period. That's where we recreate. That's where we hunt. That's where we fish is on public land. It's a great blessing to be able to go into the Grovant Wilderness of Wyoming or Hells Canyon in Idaho or any of these other western states. Public land is a great blessing.
Let me tell you just a few specific examples about what I've done the last 10 years. I was a businessman. I sold that business and got involved in the wildlife conservation business. The ranchers and the sportsmen in Utah were basically at war. There's too much wildlife. There's too many cows. And rather than let the Federal Government solve that solution, we decided to try to work together with the Farm Bureau, the cattlemen, the wool growers and we've done several projects involving millions of dollars where we either buy land or buy grazing permits or water rights and then we trade, swap, do various things in a win-win business, free market system as much as possible to solve problems.
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And so we have a lot of ranchers who are our friends but frankly, there are a lot of ranchers who are going out of business and they call us and say, This is a better wildlife ranch than it is a cattle ranch, would you guys be interested in buying it? Mr. Hansen knows of the Wilcox ranch. They approach us, we don't go approach them. And so the challenge is as private groups it's hard to raise enough money to buy land and then turn it over to all the public that don't pay for that.
Just a quick example. When lands were settled in Utah, perhaps 4,000 private acres were settled to design access and control of 100,000 acres of public land. We had one place in Utah where half a million acres of public land was controlled by five families owning 20,000 acres. We were very excited in the Book Cliffs where there was a chance to buy these private lands to compensate these ranchers at fair market value and open up a half a million acres to public access to wildlife. So these are the benefits that can come through CARA funds if they're given as much local control as possible. We don't want the Federal Government in here trying to dictate but there is a need for funds to solve problems and we've done that successfully.
I'd just like to answer Ms. Chenoweth's question. I think 1 percent more in Utah. I think if we could acquire perhaps 200,000 acres of these highly leveraged ranches from willing sellers, that would solve a lot of problems with conflicts between wildlife and livestock and it would also open up access to millions of acres of public land that we've been locked out of. So it's not a great amount of land, it's just key strategic pieces of land.
And I also want to point out one other thing as we've dealt with many of these ranchers. When they say, Well, why can't you get money from the state or the Federal Government, we say, Well, some congressmen don't want us to do that. And they say, Well, isn't that violating our private property rights because we should be able to sell to any willing buyer. So that's a point. And these are direct comments from ranchers we've dealt with.
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC One other point of this legislation that we want to focus in on is there's been some discussion that this is an opportunity for the nonconsumptive people to contribute. It's really not a direct contribution. This is a royalty from offshore drilling. And we think strongly, as we've said, sportsmen have paid the bill for a long time. We would like to see funds from CARA go in to augment hunting and fishing programs which are lacking.
We always step up to the plate for license increases. The Utah Legislature passed a $6 habitat authorization license a couple years ago that generates $3 million a year to protect habitat. So sportsmen are always paying the bill. Now there's some free money and the other group wants all of it. We feel strongly that this money should go to augment hunting and fishing programs. And I think thatmy time's running out.
You can read some comments of some ideas that we have specifically. But, as I say, in the last 10 years we've done this. We've solved problems. We've tried to do it through win-win business principles. And a lot of my people that support me are in the sporting goods industry and it's a $500 million industry in this state and this is a huge business that we need to protect. So 80 percent of us Republicans in our group think that CARA is a good concept. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Peay follows:]
STATEMENT OF DONALD K. PEAY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, SPORTSMEN FOR FISH AND WILDLIFE
Dear Utah Delegation Members,
The organized sportsmen groups of Utah, strongly support the Conservation and Reinvestment Act (CARA), and offer some additional suggestions to create the best legislation possible for wildlife conservation.
For the past 100 years, sportsmen have carried the burden for ALL wildlife conservation. Literally billions of dollars have been invested. When hunting and fishing license fees are not enough, sportsmen support excise taxes such as Pittman-Robertson and Wallop-Breaux to generate billions more. Four years ago, the sportsmen of Utah requested the Utah legislature to create an additional habitat license that generates approximately $3 million additional dollars annually for habitat preservation in Utah. It is still not enough money, so sportsmen annually donate tens of millions more dollars to private organizations such as Ducks Unlimited, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Foundation for North American Wild Sheep, National Wild Turkey Federation and others.
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Last year, Congress considered passing an excise tax similar to Pittman-Robertson for non-hunting and non-fishing items (Teaming with Wildlife). The non-consumptive folks resisted this effort and the idea was defeated. These people absolutely refuse to directly pay for wildlife conservation, yet demand a huge voice in wildlife management.
CARA is an alternative funding source, and the funds are badly needed to protect wildlife habitat, as human populations continue to grow. Many groups feel that this ''free money'' should be used only or primarily for species that are not hunted or fished. We completely disagree: For decades sportsmen have funded millions of non-hunted species projects. Additional dollars are needed for species that are hunted and fished. When you protect habitat for species that are hunted and fished, you protect habitat for all species.
Perhaps one additional line should be added to legislation under intended uses, Title III, Section 302 to indicate:
''To augment existing hunting and fishing programs''
Core components of the Legislation
Because of the additional need to protect habitat for all species including those that are hunted and fished, we support CARA, H.R. 701. However, because of the historical funding for wildlife management, and the anti-hunting and anti-fishing agenda of some in the non-consumptive groups, we hope that the following core recommendations are in the legislation:
1. 100 percent of the control of how the money is spent is given to states
2. States retain title for all water, land and easements acquired with CARA money.
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC3. A local public input process into how the CARA dollars should be spent.
4. Clearly indicate CARA dollars are for game and non-game species.
5. No Money0 percentof CARA dollars may be used to purchase lands and waters that would restrict hunting or fishing beyond normal limits established by the state wildlife commission. No money may be used to create non-hunting and non-fishing preserves.
6. 501 C 3 Wildlife Conservation organizations may obtain CARA dollars as part of on the ground or in the water matching funds for private wildlife conservation organization projects.
The best suggested use of CARA dollars in Utah:
1. At least 50 percent of the CARA dollars in Utah go into securing winter range for large game species. The CUP project has hundreds of millions of dollars for wetlands and fisheries. The CRP program provides funding for upland game. Protecting Utah's big game winter range is Utah's greatest need, and is being most significantly impacted by human population growth. Securing big game winter range helps multitudes of other species.
2. Improve, enhance and rehabilitate existing Federal lands. There are millions of acres of Forest Service and BLM lands that could be greatly improved by the use of chaining, burning, re-seeding, and other habitat manipulation projects.
3. Acquisition of critical School and Institutional Trust Lands, that are being sold off in the thousands of acres on an annual basis in Utah.
4. Acquisition of water rights to protect in stream flows, wetlands, and riparian systems.
5. Acquisition of grazing permits from retiring ranchers. This will allow for resolving conflicts between wildlife and livestock on public lands.
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
1. Perform studies and monitoring of species.
2. Hire more employees for specific species protection.
3. Law enforcement and education programs.
For the past 10 years, we have worked to protect wildlife populations, and to resolve conflicts between livestock and wildlife. There can be win/win solutions, as retiring ranchers are fairly compensated for their assets in a willing seller and willing buyer arrangement.
We appreciate your support of this critical piece of legislation to protect the industry of hunting and fishing, and the intrinsic value and quality of life associated with Utah's great wildlife heritage. However, if this legislation becomes nothing more than another Federal program, administered from Washington DC with bureaucracy and red tape, use the money to reduce the deficit.
Donald K. Peay
Mr. HANSEN. Thank you, Mr. Peay. Mr. Hall. Mr. Hall is recognized for five minutes.
STATEMENT OF TRAVIS HALL, PUBLIC RELATIONS MANAGER OF BROWNING ARMS IN MORGAN, UTAH
Mr. HALL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee on Resources. Let me first start out by saying that I apologize for the absence of our president Don Gobel. He was the person that was invited to testify today and had to go to Europe where the ownership of our company is but he felt that it was a very important topic that he has very much interest in so I'm here representing Browning.
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC My name is Travis Hall. I'm the public relations manager and I would like to thank you for this opportunity and I appear before you today with the strong support of Browning for H.R. 701, the Conservation and Reinvestment Act of 1999. Browning sincerely appreciates your efforts in bringing this conservation proposal to the table which will ensure the future of wildlife, the conservation of resources, and provide much in-demand recreational activities for our citizens resulting in economic growth to our communities.
Browning is also encouraged that many of the same needs were recognized in H.R. 798. As you know, the need for these programs in the states are significant. They enjoy wide public support and our children and their children will thank us for the commitment we make to ensure the conservation and vitalty of America's natural resources.
As many of you know, Browning is headquartered in Morgan, Utah. We are one of the largest manufacturers of sporting firearms as well as outdoor clothing, gun cases and accessories, archery equipment, footwear, knives, flashlights and gun safes. Browning employs over 120 people in Utah and sales top $200 million annually. Millions of people across the nation enjoy outdoor activities each year and the cost to manage the vast resources is enormous and has been funded largely by sportsmen and sportswomen.
Browning, through the Wildlife Restoration Act, or the Pittman-Robertson Act and the Federal Aid in Sports Fish Restoration Act, Dingell-Johnson and Wallop-Breaux has helped fund the management and restoration of fish and wildlife for over half century. These funds are the principal source of funds for state fish and wildlife programs. And I don't need to go into all of the details of what these funds aid in. For example, selection, acquisition, restoration, rehabilitation and maintenance of areas of land and water.
In addition, Browning has long supported local, national and international conservation organizations. These organizations, along with hunters and anglers for years have contributed to game species conservation. And I might point out that these game species conservation result in correlary benefits to nongame species from the conservation of habitat. These efforts that Browning is directly involved with through the Pittman-Robertson Act and the donations and the license fees that are charged to the sportsmen and anglers will greatly be enhanced by the additional funding to be provided by the Conservation and Reinvestment Act.
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Let me give some reasons on why Browning supports H.R. 701. H.R. 701 commits the United States to a policy of dedicating revenues to securing the status of living renewable resources, conserving land and water resources, and providing outdoor activities for our cities and local communities through a permanent indefinite appropriation to fund state based programs.
H.R. 701 builds on the support the states have relied on for decades from our nations hunters and anglers to finance state fish and wildlife programs by broadening this funding support to a permanent indefinite appropriation from a general revenue source.
H.R. 701 focuses decisions on spending priorities at the local level where states and communities are in the best position to know what those needs and priorities are. We must facilitate local identification of issues and problem solving, not top down prescriptive solutions.
H.R. 701 allows states to work with private land owners in a nonregulatory manner to achieve their land management objectives consistent with good conservation for fish and wildlife.
And, finally, H.R. 701 builds on our citizens' strong sense of stewardship about their land by making them a part of the problem solving and implementation of solutions.
I might state that Browning is encouraged that H.R. 798 has provisions for funding to the states but that we strongly support H.R. 701. Let me conclude by saying sportsmen and sportswomen need help in funding the efforts to ensure the future of fish and wildlife in protecting their habitats. This is certainly one of the most important pieces of conservation legislation and Browning pledges its support and effort in working with you to enact this legislation this year to help preserve our natural resources.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Hall follows:]
STATEMENT OF TRAVIS HALL, PUBLIC RELATIONS MANAGER, BROWNING
Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee on Resources. My name is Travis Hall, Public Relations Manager at Browning. I would like to thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today with the strong support of Browning for H.R. 701, the Conservation and Reinvestment Act of 1999.
Browning sincerely appreciates your efforts in bringing this conservation proposal to the table, which will ensure the future of wildlife, the conservation of resources and provide much in-demand recreational activities for our citizens, resulting in economic growth to our communities. Browning is also encouraged that many of the same needs were recognized in H.R. 798 the Permanent Protection for Americas Resources 2000 Act. As you know the need for these programs in the states are significant, they enjoy wide public support, and our children and their children will thank us for the commitment we make to ensure the conservation and vitality of America's natural resources.
Browning, which is headquartered in Morgan, Utah, is one of the largest manufacturers of sporting firearms as well as fine outdoor clothing, gun cases and accessories, archery equipment, footwear, knives, flashlights and safes. Browning employs over 120 people in Utah and sales top $200 million annually. Millions of people across the nation enjoy outdoor activities each year. The cost to manage the vast resources is enormous and has been funded largely by sportsmen and sportswomen. Browning, through the Wildlife Restoration Act (Pittman-Robertson Act) and the Federal Aid in Sports Fish Restoration Act (Dingell-Johnson and the Wallop-Breaux Amendment), has helped fund the management and restoration of fish and wildlife for over a half century. These funds are the principal source of funds for State fish and wildlife programs. These funds aid in the selection, acquisition, restoration, rehabilitation, improvement and maintenance of areas of land and water that are feeding, resting and breeding places for fish and wildlife, and also aids in the research into problems of wildlife management. In addition, Browning has long supported local, national and international conservation organizations.
Page 52 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC These organizations along with hunters and anglers for years have contributed to game species conservation, resulting in corollary benefits to non-game species from the conservation of habitat, etc. These efforts will be greatly enhanced by the additional funding to be provided by the Conservation and Reinvestment Act.
Mr. Chairman here are the reasons Browning supports H.R.701:
H.R. 701 commits the United States to a policy of dedicating revenues to securing the status of living renewable resources, conserving land and water resources and providing outdoor activities for our cities and local communities, through a permanent, indefinite appropriation to fund state-based programs.
H.R. 701 builds on the support the states have relied on for decades from our Nation's hunters and anglers to finance state fish and wildlife programs by broadening this funding support to a permanent, indefinite appropriation from a general revenue source.
H.R. 701 focuses decisions on spending priorities at the local (not Washington) level, where states and communities are in the best position to know what those needs and priorities are. We must facilitate local identification of issues and problem solving, not top-down prescriptive solutions.
H.R. 701 allows States to work with private landowners in a non-regulatory manner to achieve their land management objectives consistent with good conservation for fish and wildlife.
H.R. 701 builds on our citizens' strong sense of stewardship about their land by making them a part of the problem solving and implementation of solutions.
Let me now briefly comment on H.R. 798. Browning is encouraged that H.R. 798 has provisions for funding to the states for State-based enhanced wildlife conservation. We are also encouraged that H.R. 798 seeks to use revenues under a permanent, indefinite appropriation. Both bills have similar objectives to provide funding for fish and wildlife.
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Chairman let me conclude my remarks by reiterating Brownings' support of H.R. 701. Sportsmen and sportswomen need help in funding the efforts to ensure the future of fish and wildlife and protect their habitats. This is certainly one of the most important pieces of conservation legislation and Browning pledges its' support and effort in working with you to enact this legislation this year to help preserve our natural resources.
Mr. HANSEN. Thank you, Mr. Hall. From the three of you who testified in favor of this legislation, I would assume that the three of you come down on the side of H.R. 701; is that correct?
Mr. VALENTINE. Yes, sir.
Mr. HANSEN. We'll turn to the questions from the Committee. Mrs. Chenoweth, you're recognized for five minutes.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Smith, I want to thank you for your testimony and I would be interested in reading that first book that you put into the record, so I'll be in touch with you about that.
Mr. Peay, I wanted to thank you for being so decisive and focused in your testimony but I do want to say that I work on the Subcommittee for Forest and Forest Health in the Resources Committee and one of our biggest heartaches is that roads are now being closed for multiple use purposes and that includes hunting. Mr. Simpson just joined me and the Committee in a hearing in Idaho in the Targhee National Forest where the forest service has gone in and built not just berms, they called it berms, but 10- to 15-foot deep tank traps in order to stop access. The hunters and fishermen in my state, as well as people who have traditionally accessed the back country for berry picking and picnicking and camping and so forth are frustrated beyond belief because access to the back country is being closed.
Page 54 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So, with that comment, I'd like to solicit the support of your organization in working with our Subcommittee in trying to keep access open to the back country on our federally controlled lands whether it's under the control of BLM or under the control of the forest service. I think we have a common ground here and that is to keep our back country open to hunters. That's our way of life. And with the gun control measures that are coming down the pike, with limited access for hunters, we can quickly see our way of life changing.
Mr. Valentine, I have studied your testimony and I've studied the suggestions that you have made to make improvements to H.R. 701, and I've got to say that three of them absolutely astounded me they were so good.
Number one is 100 percent control of how the money is spent would go to the states. Right now, the way the bill is put together the Secretary of Interior, in a top down system, has all final say over how the money is spent and how the state puts their plan together.
Secondly, you've recommended that the states retain all title to water, land and easements acquired with CARA money. Brilliant suggestion and I appreciate that.
And, thirdly, you suggested a local public input process on how CARA dollars will be spent. While that appears rather obliquely in the bill, I think it does need to be shorn up.
You also suggested that the 501-C-3 organizations, we call them the NGOs, nongovernment organizations, may obtain CARA dollars as part of the ground or water matching funds for private wildlife conservation organization projects and I wanted you make a note of what I'm going to refer to you because I'd like to get your input on this.
In Title II, Section 1006.A.1 it already provides for private nonprofit agencies or political subdivisions to be able to receive 70 percent matching funds from the Federal Government. However, it's interesting that the bill requires that the political subdivisions must report back as to how they spend their money to the secretary. They must report back to the Congress. However, that requirement is not in there for the 501-C-3s. So I think the 501-C-3s have gotten a pretty good deal there. But I want to thank you very much for your constructive comments.
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. VALENTINE. Well, I would like to take credit for those, Congresswoman, but I think Mr. Peay made most of them.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Oh, did he? Well, let me direct my comment to him.
Mr. PEAY. We do have a lot of common ground, I think.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I think we do. And those were, especially the first three, brilliant suggestions and I'd like to work with you on amendments to make sure that we get them into the bill. Thank you.
Mr. HANSEN. Thank you, Mrs. Chenoweth. The gentleman from Idaho, Mr. Simpson.
Mr. SIMPSON. Mr. Chairman, I don't have any specific questions for the panel. I just want to thank you for your testimony and you brought up some interesting points as a land owner. Good question. Shouldn't a land owner be able to sell their land to any willing buyer? I guess that's really the question here. As a land owner, I guess, Mr. Smith, you mentioned that you own land in Nevada and Utah and New Mexico. Should you be able to sell your land to a willing buyer.
Mr. SMITH. If I understand the question, do I have the right to sell my land to a willing buyer? Well, a willing seller and a willing buyer makes the deal. But in many cases we have the problem that the Federal Government causes the land values to be worthless by declaring some petroglyph or some endangered turtle species and then your land is worthless and you have no appraisal to sell and the government depreciates the value of your land below what it's worth.
For example, a $20 million subdivision, because it's infested with turtles, has been declared worthless because you can't use it to sell it. You pay $20,000 a year taxes on it.
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SIMPSON. I agree that's really a problem with inholdings, too, in that they can restrict the use of your land and consequently decrease the value of it. And that is a concern that we ought to address somehow. But fundamentally, as a principle, it seems to me that as a land owner you ought to be able to sell your land to anyone who is willing to buy it, if you want to sell it. You can sell it now to the nature conservancy if you want to. You can sell it to Sierra Club if you want to. You could sell it to virtually any organization that had the right to buy it, that had a willingness to buy it and the money to buy it if you so chose to do it.
Mr. SMITH. I wouldn't in good conscience sell it to the Federal Government.
Mr. SIMPSON. And that would absolutely be your right as a land owner. But other land owners by preventing that, other land owners who may choose to do that would be prevented from doing that and should we by law prevent them from doing that if they so choose to do it of their own free will? Good fundamental question.
Mr. PEAY. I get asked that monthly.
Mr. SIMPSON. By individuals that want to sell their land.
Mr. PEAY. Uh-huh.
Mr. SIMPSON. The other thing that thisthe conservation easements, the open space easement, the ability to use open space, today we are in Idaho developingthere's a program that's just beginning where they are trying to develop open spaces by paying ranchers/farmers to keep their land in ranch and farm land so that it's not developed into condos and so forth and so on to maintain those open spaces and the ability to keep some of these lands as open spaces and using that money to be able to do some of that and also to be able to use some of the money to purchase conservation easements and scenic easements in areas like the Sawtooth National Recreation area so that those aren't developed and degraded in future years is a very important aspect of this piece of legislation. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HANSEN. Thank you, Mr. Simpson. The gentleman from Utah, Mr. Cannon.
Mr. CANNON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Let me begin by pointing out that there were a few comments about Republicans and Democrats. This really is not a Republican/Democrat issue. It's actually, I believe, a fairly difficult Federal versus local issue and it's substantially complicated by our current practice in America. I just make the point that the current funding under LWCF would be $900 million for Federal acquisition without these bills. Historically, we've averaged about $300 million in Federal funding for that program and in recent years we've gotten to about $700 million so we've spent a lot of money in the Federal Government and the question is how do we do that.
Let me point out also that it's really not the fact of the matter wildlife versus cattle as Mr. Peay pointed out. Clearly there are a lot of alliances there but we do have substantial issues of our public lands use and our western lifestyle which is extraordinarily affected by the government.
When you have the Endangered Species Act, which I would suggest anybody who looks at a map and had the areas of the map enlarged based upon how many specialists the government has working on the endangered species program, you would see that the southwest is massively disproportionately represented in the heavier vegetated and lands that have greater wildlife on it and the northeast are desperately underrepresented on that map.
And, as a practical matter, I'm going to ask Mr. Smith here to comment on this in a moment, but it seems to me that when you have a Federal Government all the money the Federal Government has, numbers are quite mind boggling, in fact, that they actually becomethey so dominate the market that you really don't have the kind of traditional buyer/seller relationship given all the weight that Federal Government has and given its current land base.
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Before I do that, Mr. Smith, let me just say, Mr. Peay, those were your suggestions. Did you want to make some more comment on those discussions that Mrs. Chenoweth was talking about earlier?
Mr. PEAY. I guess I have a history of being very blunt and I probably won't change that. But as I sat around the tables 10 years ago listening to all the rhetoric, we decided to find solutions, and there are solutions. And there can be cooperation between sportsmen and ranchers. We've proven that in millions of dollars in projects. Wildlife's benefited, livestock's benefited. You'll notice in there as passionate as we are, my last comment is if this becomes just another Federal program administered out of Washington, we don't want it and I think Congressman Cannon, to follow up what you're saying is also having some comments there that if there's a turtle problem there's $20 million from the Federal Government to do something. But we have chaining projects to help mule deer which 30,000 people in southern Utah are trying to get a mule deer habitat today and the BLM won't do anything about it.
And so there is a disproportionate amount of Federal money already going into turtles and prairie dogs, et cetera and we as the sportsmen try to get a little money for mule deer habitat and can't do that. So we share the concerns but our comments in here are let's find some ways to free up local people to solve conflicts in the west.
Mr. CANNON. And I suspect after what you've said is that the fine point here is that local control works a lot better than Federal control.
Mr. PEAY. Absolutely.
Mr. CANNON. Mr. Smith, would you like to comment any further on the role of the Federal Government as a purchaser of inholdings of public lands?
Mr. SMITH. Yes. I think that it's commonly known that when the Federal Government owns land, that they lock it up, just like was mentioned. They close the roads. These roads in 1888 was declared right-of-ways and they violate that. They violate their own laws. They've been notorious in violating everything that they do. For example, I would like to let these good sportsmen know that once they start funding these lands and buying the lands for them, there are going to be strings attached to them and it'll be a national fish and wildlife, it won't be a state. They'll take them over. Don't they know that? They ought to study that a little bit.
Page 59 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. CANNON. It would be very hard to disagree with those statements in light of the statements that have been made by the Secretary of the Interior over the last couple of years, last six or seven years, six years, when he's talked about the role of the administration and the bureaucracy in deciding what qualifies under the law and what qualifies under his conscience. Thank you. Yield back.
Mr. HANSEN. Thank you. And I agree with the gentleman from Utah. This administration does not have a great track record when it comes to things regarding Federal ground. Grand Staircase Escalante done in the middle of the night with no knowledge, we have to say that in this Committee we're playing defense all the time and we would like to play a little offense because some fertile minds coming up with ways to try to circumvent pending legislation and laws that are on the books.
Mr. Smith, we'd all like a copy of that. We'd like to hear all sides of these issues before we move on legislation and I would appreciate it if you would make sure we could have a copy of the book that you brought up there. There's also a problem on this inholding stuff. As you know, I chair the Committee on Parks and Lands and most people don't like to have their ground in the middle of a national park, so we have maybe two or three acres in one and here it is stuck, the guy's paying taxes on it, he can't get to it, he calls up and wants something out of it. Some people want to hold up the government for it. Others just donate it. It's really hard to figure out how to do it.
One of our beautiful southern Utah parks, for example, there's a gentleman from Las Vegas who owns two acres, called me up, said, Mr. Chairman, I'd like to have a bill to authorize selling me those two acres. I said, Do you want to sell it to us? He said, Yeah. I said, What do you want? He says, A million dollars an acre. I said, Sir, how old are you? He says, I'm 85. I said, Well, wait and buy it from your heirs because you get down to the idea some people really want to hold us up on things. And others don't. But there isn't a good way in the Federal Government, due to legislation, to have a really good way to do these things.
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We've held hearings like you can't believe on how do you swap ground? How do you trade ground? How do you do anything? Try it sometime. The average length time to even make a minimal small thing with a municipality is 11 years. So it gets very frustrating. I'm not speaking for or against the bill, I'm trying to say some of the frustrations that I have.
Mr. Smith brought up another interesting point, the Endangered Species Act. It is not at all fair that someone finds a slimy slug on some guy's property which at one time was valued at $20 million an acre and all of a sudden, as we had, our own Secretary of Interior come into this state and say, We'll give you $600 an acres for it because it has no value. Well, where's the fairness in that? We're trying to rectify that through legislation. But whatever the value of the ground was prior to finding endangered species is only fair to people. And it's totally unfair to ask them to take that kind of loss because somebody finds it. In fact, we've even found instances that have been documented where some people have moved an endangered species, by hand, onto somebody else's property just so that it would lower the price. So there's a lot of unfairness going on and I agree with your statement on that.
Mr. Peay, and I know the great work you've done on the desert big horn sheep. Mr. Cannon introduced a bill last year which he's going to introduce shortly and now called the San Raphael Swell Bill. And in that, which totally amazes me, the people in Emery County have given the environmental communities more than I ever expected they would. As far as wilderness, as far as conservation in the area, as far as the historic area, as far as heritage areas and the whole bill, we got hung up on one little point and that one little point was called Sid's Mountain.
And, through the efforts of John Kimball and Mr. Valentine and others who have been in that position, we've tried to establish in Utah the desert big horn sheep. Unfortunately, there's no water on this ground so they put guzzlers in. Those who understand the criteria of the Wilderness Bill know you can't put a mechanical device in a wilderness area. That one point brought down a ton of bills that we coupled together. Fortunately we passed the majority of them in last minute and hardly anybody knows that happened. And even the Senate finally got away from the Sunday gas bags and got interested and passed a few of those themselves, which totally amazes me.
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Anyway, we finally got some of those good pieces of legislation passed. Now we find ourselves in a situation where I would hope that the Sierra Club would look at it for a change in the southern Utah wilderness, and would look at it and would see there is a good piece of legislation and we can protect the desert big horn sheep and I would appreciate the efforts of your organization and being an educational organization take care of that.
Mr. Hall, you mentioned the Pittman-Roberton Bill. What have you folks done on that? You've mentioned you've contributed a lot of money to it. Tell me about that, would you?
Mr. HALL. Well, as you know, the Pittman-Robertson Act is an excise tax charged to the manufacturers of certain sporting arms and ammunition. Browning obviously being a manufacturer of sporting arms has contributed to the excise taxwell, we pay the excise tax on the cost of the manufacturing of our products. I'm not prepared to give you the total dollars that have been spent over the last 50 years or contributed to this but it is something that Browning is involved with. Because we are a manufacturer, that excise tax is charged to us and we do support that Act.
We feel that without those monies the state-funded programs would not have, as Mr. Kimball pointed out earlier I think it was, 35 percent of the monies that the state programs run off of come from the Pittman-Robertson Act. So we appreciate the Pittman-Robertson Act, we're all for it, but we see this as an opportunity, H.R. 701, to supplement the funds that are coming from the Pittman-Robertson Act to be able to fund some of these state programs for wildlife and for the conservation of our natural resources.
Mr. HANSEN. Thank you. We'll excuse this panel and thank you so much for your testimony. It's been very interesting. And the Committee will now call panel three composed of Mr. Ramirez apparently from a law office in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Mr. George Hyde, chief operating officer of Barnes Bullets, Incorporated, American Fork, Utah; Mr. Ray Foutz, manager of Sportsman's Warehouse, Riverdale, Utah; Mr. Clark Collins, executive director of the Blue Ribbon Coalition of Pocatello, Idaho. We appreciate you being with us. We'll start with you Mr. Ramirez and just go across the board. You all know the rules. You've got five minutes.
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STATEMENT OF LESLIE W. RAMIREZ, ATTORNEY, ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO
Mr. RAMIREZ. Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee. My name is Les Ramirez. I'm representing the Pueblo Santa Ana, a federally recognized Indian nation whose home lands consist of 64,000 acres located approximately 20 miles north of the city of Albuquerque, New Mexico, both of which are located in north central New Mexico.
The Pueblo would like to thank you for the opportunity to testify on both H.R. 701 and H.R. 798. This hearing is especially timely in relation to the considerable open land and open space concerns that are manifest across our nation. This Committee and sponsors of both bills should be commended for their recognition of the significant and pressing issues related to protecting the nation's land and water and wildlife resources for this and future generations. And by trying to resolve the issues by encouraging and implementing Federal and nonFederal partnership.
We, too, as an Indian nation are concerned with how to balance economic development with the restoration and maintenance of the natural world and we too are seeking to resolve these issues in a positive manner. Our lands are intersected by two rivers, the Rio Jemez and the Rio Grande. Both watersheds have been severely altered by Federal and local flood control, economic development and water management activities and by the invasion of exotic nonindigenous vegetation. The results are dramatic losses of riparian habitat, native wildlife, the creation of extreme fire hazards and reduced cultural, religions, economic and recreational value to our people.
Because of this the Tribal Council, the Santa Ana Tribal Council, has allocated over $2 million of its own monies to restore the Rio Grande watershed within our boundaries. That restoration includes the reestablishment of habitat for listed and candidate endangered species. Our hopes are that by restoring this watershed ecosystem, we can contribute to the recovery of the listed species but that we will also be able to help prevent future listing of several other candidate species.
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But our efforts are not ended there. We recognize that to be successful the ecosystem needs to be restored beyond our jurisdiction. Thus we have been instrumental in forming an initiative which includes at this time the largest city in New Mexico, the largest irrigation district in the state, two other Indian Pueblos, and an alliance of national and local environmental groups.
We anticipate that our initiative will continue to grow as more parties learn of the benefit of what we're trying to do. As in many other parts of the country the animosity created in the competition for natural resources and economic resources has created deep divisions that previously prevented collaborative problem solving.
In the Rio Grande prior to our initiative stasis was reached because the main habitat for several endangered species of the river was also supported by the river flows supporting the largest agricultural irrigation. Thus, without a new proposal, the only alternative to save the species and maintain the existing economic structures was to send more water downstream, water that was arguably not available. Santa Ana proposed a new alternative. Rather than move water to fish, why not move fish to water.
More specifically, we suggested that habitat restoration of stretches of the Rio Grande and their attendant year-around flows would effectively support the recovery of the species using the existing flows that were already being conveyed downstream for other uses. This alternative requires the willingness of Indian Pueblos to participate, because they control most of the central Rio Grande. It requires cooperation from environmental communities as well and requires money.
Habitat restoration is an expensive multi-year commitment. Santa Ana's $2.0 million contribution is only a small portion of the costs that are going to be necessary to complete this restoration. Legislation like that which is before the Committee is essential for providing resources that will enable collaborative and cooperative partners to be successful.
Page 64 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Equally important for the Committee sponsors in the Congress is the matter of cost-matching. And to support that by adequately funding tribal restoration participation and by recognizing our invaluable nonmonetary contributions that can be made through the contribution of skill, expertise, land and water resources.
To the extent that Santa Ana believes that both H.R. 701 and H.R. 798 are positive steps, we also must recognize they are somewhat flawed. We urge that Title V of H.R. 798 be amended to provide for 20 percent of the Federal and Indian land restoration fund to be available as grants to qualified Indian tribes under both versions of the proposed legislation.
In addition Congress should raise the maximum grant level available to any one tribe in any one fiscal year from 10 percent to 20 percent. That's because it appears that the total allocation for all Indian tribes in the nation is going to be maximum about $25 million. So a 10 percent allocation is only two and a half million which is too small to actually help create these restoration programs in a timely manner. Timeliness is an important concern because of the pressure felt by many parties under the Endangered Species Act. Acting quickly on this legislation will help take the pressure off communities when it relates to meeting the goals of the Endangered Species Act while avoiding the problems with endangered species enforcement.
From our experience we can assure the committee that such legilation will enable groups like initiative to complete their restoration projects in a timely manner, especially as I mentioned earlier, when they are measured against the need or maintenance need of endangered species.
We also suggest that H.R. 701, including Title II of the legislation be amended to provide grants to Indian Tribes as opposed to the cost match that is currently involved. If that is not possible, a maximum cost share requirement from Indian tribes of 25 percent is recommended and that's because
Mr. HANSEN. Mr. Ramirez, can you wrap up in one more minute?
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. RAMIREZ. Yes.
Mr. HANSEN. We'll give you one more minute.
Mr. RAMIREZ. And that's because many tribes control a significant amount of endangered species critical habitat and should be encouraged to participate in the restoration. Currently, they have to essentially sit on the sidelines while non-Indian groups fight a very depressing battle over how we compile a lot of studies for or against ecosystem restoration. We think Indian tribes can be very positive contributors to the overall resolution but it's going to require some creativity on the part of the Congress in determining and funding what that participationwhat amounts of that participation should be and what that participation can comprise of.
I know I've run out of time so I thank the Committee again for the opportunity to testify on these two very important issues.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Ramirez follows:]
Mr. HANSEN. Thank you, Mr. Ramirez. Mr. Hyde, recognized for five minutes.
STATEMENT OF GEORGE HYDE, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, BARNES BULLETS, INC., AMERICAN FORK, UTAH
Mr. HYDE. Mr. Chairman and members of the Resource Committee. Thank you for the opportunity to address the issue of funding for the future of wildlife. My name is George Hyde and I'm here on behalf of Barnes Bullets, Incorporated, a manufacturer of hunting bullets and shooting products and a supporter of many of the wildlife conservation organizations in this country.
I want to applaud the congressional sponsors of H.R. 701 Conservation and Reinvestment Act of 1999 for their vision in seeing that there is funding for the future of wildlife and the conservation of resources, including habitat to support it. This is a long-awaited effort to make good on promises made in previous Acts like the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which have either gone without funding or have been woefully underfunded and have therefore fallen short of providing necessary change in support of wildlife.
Page 66 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Barnes Bullets, which is located in American Fork, Utah is the nation's oldest manufacturer of custom bullets for handloading. As such, we have the opportunity to travel the world and are actively involved in many national and international wildlife conservation organizations. We are a proponent of protecting wildlife habitat, educating the public and having law enforcement for the protection of wildlife.
These are important facets of every nation's plan for the future of wildlife. Investing in these endeavors is essential and has a direct impact on our business which directly employs 35 people in Utah County and indirectly contributes to the employment of thousands of men and women throughout the country.
Outdoor recreation, including hunting and fishing, contribute billions of dollars in the U.S. economy annually in the creation of jobs, sales of sporting goods equipment and other community economic benefits. Sportsmen in this country have for years contributed billions of dollars to perpetuate wildlife so that they can pass their heritage to future generations. Our company supports these efforts because we believe in the cause and we benefit as well.
CARA funds, as proposed in H.R. 701, will be used to supplement and augment the existing conservation programs heretofore funded almost exclusively by sportsmen and sportswomen through wildlife organizations and excise taxes paid on equipment. We support H.R. 701, Conservation and Reinvestment Act of 1999 and hope that it will be passed in this legislative session.
Wildlife is a renewable resource and through habitat restoration and proper management, it has been shown that populations can not only be perpetuated, but improved, for future generations. In fact, the progress in the State of Utah over the last century is an example of what investing in wildlife through hunting and fishing license fees and Pittman-Robertson's excise tax and wildlife organization efforts can do for wildlife.
Page 67 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Here are just a few examples. Elk in 1920 were nearly extinct in Utah. Populations in 1999 are about 60,000. Mule deer rarely sighted in 1920, are now at 300,000 plus. Big horn sheep, which were rarely sighted in 1920, are now at about 3,000. Wild turkey, which were extinct in 1920, have been reintroduced and are now at 8,000. Cougars, less than 1,000 in 1920, are now at 2,500. This type of resurgence is happening throughout the country but it needs to be sufficiently funded to reach its potential.
CARA would ensure that permanent dedicated funding were in place and it would allow for the expansion of programs begun by sportsmen and wildlife organizations, programs necessary for the long-term benefit of wildlife. Some groups and individuals would focus CARA funds on nongame species and predatory species. They fail to recognize the fact that by restoring funding of game species populations and their accompanying habitat, using billions of sportsmen's dollars, predators and nongame species have been and will be mutually benefited. They are interdependent and the greater advantage for all will be accomplished by providing game species habitat which supports the ecosystem for all species and provides economic benefits as well.
We support the legislation proposed by H.R. 701 and would like to see the following incorporated into the final version. Under the Federal ownership of land we would like to see that state and local control be maintained and that they control management decisions regarding Federal land provided funded by CARA. The best government is the government closest to home.
We'd also like to see another provision that would focus CARA funds on game species and their related habitat. For decades sportsmen have restored wildlife species enjoyed by all and they have funded the conservation and restoration of habitat for nongame species. We believe that it is time that additional funding be secured.
In conclusion, I again applaud the sponsors of this legislation and support the effort of the Conservation and Reinvestment Act of 1999. With the incorporation of the items I discussed, we can ensure the future of wildlife for a permanent dedicated funding program that cannot be diverted to other programs or debt reduction, a fulfillment of promises long in need of funding.
Page 68 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [The prepared statement of Mr. Hyde follows:]
Mr. HANSEN. Thank you, Mr. Hyde. Mr. Foutz.
STATEMENT OF RYAN FOUTZ, MANAGER, SPORTSMAN'S WAREHOUSE, RIVERDALE, UTAH
Mr. FOUTZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and the Committee. My name is Ryan Foutz, manager of Sportsman's Warehouse in Ogden, Utah, and I just sell Mr. Hyde's bullets. We also have stores in Salt Lake and Provo and I want to thank you for taking the time of holding these hearings on an important piece of legislation, the Conservation and Reinvestment Act of 1999.
The Utah Governor's Office of Planning and Budget estimates the economic impact of hunting, fishing and wildlife recreation is an access of $550 million in Utah annually. This generates over $40 million a year in sales tax for Utah and provides thousands of jobs. Unfortunately, the Utah legislature has only seen fit to reinvest $3 million a year of this $40 million to preserve this large industry. This number slipped to less than $200,000 in 1993 before sportsmen rose up by the thousands and requested more attention to our outdoor heritage.
While some may question the economic impact of wildlife in Utah, let me assure you we know the impact is huge. Our three stores alone generate over $35 million a year in retail sales and we employ over 180 people. Our stores alone pay in excess of $2.2 million a year in sales tax. Our stores sell hunting, fishing and camping equipment and accessories. We do not sell ATVs, horse trailers, camp trailers, boats and many other large sticker items to be used in the outdoor recreation activities. Hundreds of thousands of Utah citizens enjoy hunting, fishing interaction with wildlife on a yearly basis.
Additional funding is required to protect wildlife habitat. I would like to testify in favor of public ownership of land, the funds from CARA to be used to acquire land. We are appreciative that the legislation gives as much control as possible to local states. We can manage Federal lands better from Utah than the Federal Government can do from Washington, DC.
Page 69 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC There are too main reasons why we support ownership of public land and acquisition of more. We support private property rights and private property owners to have economic incentives to support publicly owned wildlife on private lands. However, more and more private land in Utah is being posted with no trespassing signs. Hunting and fishing and recreation by the locals are no longer being allowed. The vast majority of our customers, some hundred thousand plus Utah, hunt, fish and recreate on public land and public waters. It is the only place they can go and enjoy the western heritage of hunting and fishing. Some greedy property owners try to exert control by blocking access to vast acreages of public land because they own small ribbons of private land surrounding national forests. CARA funds should be allowed to be used to secure easements, access or even title to key private holdings that would allow access to public lands.
The second reason is to protect critical winter range habitat. It does no good to set aside millions of acres of public land on high level summer ranges and have no winter ranges, mostly private lands to support animals in the winter. One specific example is there are hundreds of thousands of acres of summer range in the high Uintahs. There used to be a large elk herd there which was the most popular elk hunting in northern Utah. In the early '90s the Wyoming ranchers successfully lobbied for nearly unlimited elk hunts with seasons extending well into late January. The high Uintah elk herd has been dramatically reduced and that reduces hunters, which reduces our business.
CARA dollars would be used to find solutions with the land owners controlling only a few thousand private acres that are a bottleneck for elk populations on hundreds of thousands of acres of public lands. There are millions of acres of existing Federal lands that could be improved for wildlife by using habitat manipulation techniques such as chaining, burning and reseeding efforts. Water development projects such as guzzlers are also critical for wildlife populations of all varieties in the arrid west. In-stream flow projects protect our fisheries. The public shooting grounds such as Farmington Bay, Ogden Bay, Locomotive Springs and others provide tremendous opportunity for the public to have a place to enjoy water fowl hunting and provide tremendous habitat for many species of birds.
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Public ownership of land is a great blessing. It is a place where all of us can recreate. Even though public ownership of land is a challenge to manage, we strongly support as much local control over Federal land as possible. It is far better than the alternative no trespassing signs where only the wealthy few are allowed in. CARA funds, if properly invested, will protect wildlife habitat that protects a $500 million industry in Utah. CARA funds will protect a great family heritage of hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation and we encourage Congress to pass this legislation. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Foutz follows:]
STATEMENT OF RYAN FOUTZ, MANAGER, SPORTSMAN'S WAREHOUSE, OGDEN, UTAH
My name is Ryan Foutz, Manager of the Sportsman's Warehouse store in Ogden, Utah. We also have stores in Salt Lake and Provo. Thank you for taking time to hold hearings on an important piece of legislation, the Conservation and Reinvestment Act of 1999 (CARA).
The Utah Governor's office of planning and budget estimates the economic impact of hunting, fishing and wildlife recreation is in excess of $550 million in Utah annually. This generates over $40 million a year in sales tax for Utah, and provides thousands of jobs. Unfortunately, the Utah legislature has only seen fit to re-invest $3 million a year of this $40 million to preserve this large industry. This number slipped to less than $200,000 in 1993 before sportsmen rose up by the thousands and requested more attention to our outdoor heritage.
While some may question the economic impact of wildlife in Utah, let me assure you we know the impact is huge. Our three stores alone generate over $35 million a year in retail sales and we employ over 180 people. Our stores alone pay in excess of $2.2 million a year in sales tax. Our stores sell hunting, fishing, and camping equipment and accessories. We do not sell ATV's, horse trailers, camp trailers, boats, and many other large ticket items used in outdoor recreation activities. Hundreds of thousands of Utah citizens enjoy hunting, fishing, and interaction with wildlife on a yearly basis. Additional funding is required to protect wildlife habitat.
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Support of Public Ownership of land
I would like to testify in favor of public ownership of land, and funds from CARA to be used to acquire land. We are appreciative that the legislation gives as much control as possible to local states. We can mange Federal lands better from Utah, with Utahn's than the Federal Government can do from Washington DC. There are two main reasons why we support ownership of public land, and the acquisition of more.
We support private property rights and private property owners to have economic incentives to support publicly owned wildlife on private lands. However, more and more private land in Utah is being posted with no trespassing signs. Hunting, fishing, and recreation by the locals is no longer being allowed. The vast majority of our customers, some 100,000 plus Utahn's, hunt, fish, and recreate on public land and public waters. It is the only place they can go and enjoy the western heritage of hunting and fishing. Some greedy property owners try to exert control by blocking access to vast acreage of public land, because they own small ribbons of private lands surrounding national forests. CARA funds should be allowed to be used to secure easements, access, or even title to key private holding that allow access to public lands.
The second reason is to protect critical winter range habitats. It does no good to set aside millions of acres of public land on the high elevation summer ranges, and have no winter ranges, mostly private lands, to support animals in the winter. One specific example. There are hundreds of thousands of acres of summer range in the High Uintas. There used to be a large elk herd there, which was the most popular elk hunting in northern Utah. In the early 90's, the Wyoming ranchers successfully lobbied for nearly unlimited elk hunts, with seasons extending well into late January. The High Uintas elk herd has been dramatically reduced, and that reduces hunters, which reduces our business. CARA dollars could be used to find solutions with landowners controlling only a few thousand private acres, that are the bottleneck for elk populations on hundreds of thousands of acres of public lands.
Page 72 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC There are millions of acres of existing Federal lands that could be improved for wildlife by using habitat manipulation techniques such as chaining, burning, and re-seed efforts. Water development projects such as guzzlers are also critical for wildlife populations of all varieties in the and west. In stream flow projects protect our fisheries.
The public shooting grounds such as Farmington Bay, Ogden Bay, Locomotive Springs and others provide tremendous opportunity for the public to have a place to enjoy waterfowl hunting, and provide tremendous habitat for many species of birds.
Public ownership of land is a great blessing. It is a place where all of us can recreate. Even though public ownership of land is a challenge to manage, and we strongly support as much local control over Federal land as possible, it is far better than the alternative of no trespassing signs where only the wealthy few are allowed in.
CARA funds, if properly invested, will protect wildlife habitat. That protects a $500 million dollar industry in Utah. CARA funds will protect a great family heritage of hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation. We encourage Congress to pass this legislation.
While we take great pride in taking care of ourselves out west, the west is growing to rapidly. There is to much pressure upon our natural resources. We encourage all Americans to look at the tremendous contribution sportsmen have made up to this point. BILLIONS of dollars to restore wildlife and protect their habitats. Sportsmen can no longer fund the wildlife conservation bill for all animals, for all people. CARA funds, which if properly invested, via a public input process as called for in Title III, section 302, will help preserve all wildlife, our quality of life, and our businesses.
Mr. HANSEN. Thank you, Mr. Foutz. Mr. Collins, you're recognized for five minutes.
Page 73 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSTATEMENT OF CLARK COLLINS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE BLUE RIBBON COALITION OF POCATELLO, IDAHO
Mr. COLLINS. I want to thank the Committee for the opportunity to testify before the Committee regarding our opposition to H.R. 701 and H.R. 798. The Blue Ribbon Coalition is a national organization representing the interests of primarily motorized back country users. We also have some equestrians, resource industry workers and mountain bicyclists as members. We are concerned about the loss of recreation access. How much public land do we need? Who should be able to use it?
We represent recreationists in western states that are over one half Federal land with additional state land thrown in for good measure. In the midwest there is a mix of Federal, state and even county public land. Eastern states have a very low percentage of Federal land but state forests are common in these states. Recreation access to these so-called public lands is in constant jeopardy.
I would like to give you a few examples. One example is the BLM planning for the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument in Utah. And I'm going to refer in these examples to articles in Blue Ribbon Magazine and I'm going to ask that they be submitted as Appendix A, B and C to the public record on this hearing.
Mr. HANSEN. Not objectionable.
Mr. COLLINS. The first article on the Grand Staircase Escalante planning process, one of our member organization representatives, Rainer Huck, with the Utah Shared Access Alliance pointed out the problems that our groups are having with the planning for that national monument in that it seems that the BLM is intent on closing that area up and restricting access, rather accommodating the existing uses in that area.
Public lands in midwestern states are also becoming more restricted and I don't mean just for motorized users. One of our equestrian members, the Shawnee Trail Conservancy, may have to go to court to prevent horseback riders from being kicked off trails in the Shawnee National Forest in Illinois. And I'm referring in my testimony to an article that was in the April 1999 Blue Ribbon Magazine in which the article on this issue points out that the horseback riders in that state are being targeted by not only the Federal land managers but the state recreation management agency for elimination of a lot of the trails on the Shawnee National Forest. So here's an example of a nonmotorized user being thrown off of Federal lands because of what are perceived as unacceptable impact.
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We also have members in eastern states who recreate on state or private land. A threat to them that is relevant to this hearing is the Northern Forest Stewardship Act. At a Vermont conference featured in the August 1998 Blue Ribbon, Briant Watson of the Vermont Association of Snowmobile Travelers pointed out the problem that this eastern recreation group has with the possibility of a large part of the northeast, the New England states being taken up by the Federal Government and managed by Federal agencies. And our eastern snowmobilers who have cooperative agreements with eastern private land owners for their snowmobile trails out there are very concerned about the prospect of that land being bought up by the Federal Government and they're concerned about the kind of problems that we have in our western states with our western Federal lands.
Recreation on our Federal lands is under direct attack in the current administration. Tank traps as referred to earlier by Representative Chenoweth have been dug in access roads on the Targhee National Forest near our home office in Idaho. Snowmobile and boating access to our national parks is threatened. BLM lands throughout the west are being closed and gated and I understand that Representative Cannon had a recent experience on some BLM lands that were closed and gated. You might want to comment on that.
Mr. CANNON. I might point out that the Tribune was harsher on me than the BLM was.
Mr. COLLINS. That's what I've heard. Many land managers treat lands that should be available for public use as if they are managing the King's forest. They feel they must keep the commoners out. The Blue Ribbon Coalition is working with our member organizations nation-wide to address this problem. We don't think it's going to be of benefit to recreation access to provide the Federal Government with a checkbook to buy up more Federal land.
The statement by interior secretary Bruce Babbitt gives us an idea of where this attitude may originate, at least within the interior agencies. At a White House press conference on land acquisition Babbitt was askedand I'm going to quote directly here because I'm pretty sure that Secretary Babbitt would not appreciate me paraphrasing his comments, but I'm going to directly quote the question and his comment. The question was, What is the wilderness protection for the national park areas? Does that mean no roads, no commercial development, nothing?
Page 75 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Secretary Babbitt's response to that question makes clear his intentions for any Federal lands added to the public domain, and I quote. ''Yeah. The essential add-on from a wilderness designation in a national park is precisely that,'' Babbitt said. ''No more roads, no motorized intrusions, no snowmobiles, jet skis, or RVs. That's the real issue. And it of course precludes any kind of development as well and sometimes that does happen in national parks, however well intentioned, and we need to make sure that it doesn't.''
The Blue Ribbon Coalition was founded to address wilderness advocacy group attacks on motorized recreation. More recently, however, these same groups have become more critical of equestrian and mountain bicycle use in the back country. As a result, we have gained equestrian and mountain biker members. These nonmotorized trail users realize the value of working with our motorized recreation groups to protect and share our recreation areas.
The Blue Ribbon Coalition is very concerned about the LWCF related bills being offered by this Congress. The focus in these proposals on the purchasing of private inholdings for additions to the Federal estate and conservation easements is a concept that we cannot support. It has been our experience that property purchased with LWCF monies is managed to severely restrict or limit access or is managed as defacto wilderness.
In conclusion, we hope that the Committee on Resources will address our concerns with H.R. 701 and H.R. 798. The recreationists we represent have historically been locked out of lands purchased by LWCF. We believe the whole concept of the Land and Water Conservation Fund should be changed from a land acquisition program to one that focuses on funding for the maintenance of the public lands already under Federal and state control.
Thank you for the opportunity to represent recreation interests at this hearing and I'd be happy to answer questions.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Collins follows:]
STATEMENT OF CLARK L. COLLINS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, BLUERIBBON COALITION
Page 76 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Chairman, and members of the Committee on Resources. Thank you for the opportunity to testify before the Committee regarding our concerns with H.R. 701, the ''Conservation and Reinvestment Act of 1999'' and H.R. 798, the ''Permanent Protection for America's Resources 2000 Act.''
The BlueRibbon Coalition represents 404 member organizations, 351 member businesses and 5,482 individual members. We are based in Pocatello, Idaho, and are a national organization. While our Coalition primarily represents the interests of motorized back country users, we also have many equestrian and mountain bicyclists as members. Some resource industry interests, who share our recreation access concerns, also support our organization. Our members are primarily concerned with protecting their recreation access.
How much ''public'' land do we need? Who should be able to use it?
We represent recreationists in Western states like Nevada, Idaho, and Utah that are over half Federal land. Millions more acres in these states are also managed by state land management agencies. Most of the recreation access we are fighting to protect in the West is on those Federal and state lands. In the Midwest there is a mix of Federal, state and even county controlled '' ''public land.'' Eastern states have a very low percentage of Federal land, but state forests are common in these states. Recreation access to these so-called public lands is in constant jeopardy. I would like to give you a few examples.
One example in the West is the BLM planning process currently underway for the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah. In an article published in the January 1999 issue of BlueRibbon Magazine, Rainer Huck, with one of our member organizations the Utah Shared Access Alliance, said, ''Four of the five alternatives presented in the Draft will place severe restrictions on off highway vehicle access and recreation, ignoring the heritage, traditions, and legal rights associated with this use. . . . It is obvious that the restriction of vehicular access is the major focus of the entire planning efforts, since this is the headline issue addressed in each of the alternatives.'' I would like to request that the entire article be accepted for the public record on this hearing as Appendix A to my testimony.
Page 77 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC ''Public'' lands in Midwestern states like Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois are becoming even less accommodating for back country recreationists, and I don't mean just for motorized users. One of our equestrian organizational members, The Shawnee Trail Conservancy, is apparently going to have to file suit against the Shawnee National Forest to prevent horseback riders from being kicked off trails in that forest. An article on this issue in the April 1999 BlueRibbon Magazine points out the kind of problems our non motorized members face. ''Radical environmentalists have been viewed tacking hundreds of lie-filled inflammatory flyers on trees throughout Shawnee trails and natural areas. This trash degrades the forest's beauty and creates a litter-laden garbage dump as it blows around the forest landscape.'' I also request that this entire article be accepted, as Appendix B, for the public record of my testimony at this hearing.
We also represent recreationists in Eastern states like Vermont, Massachusetts, and Maine with very little Federal land. Recreation access in those states is largely on state land or dependent on the generosity of private land owners. In these Eastern states, state land managers are becoming more and more restrictive in their recreation access policy. There are many examples of recreation access restrictions being imposed on the so-called ''public'' lands in the East. A threat to recreation access that is particularly relevant to consideration of these Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) bills, however, is the Northern Forest Stewardship Act. LWCF money is the likely source for money needed to purchase the private lands being considered in this proposal. At a Vermont conference on this issue, featured in the August 1998 BlueRibbon Magazine, the Executive Director of the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers (another of our member organizations) Bryant Watson said, ''We have been working with private landowners on our snowmobile trail system for many years. We don't need Federal agencies interfering with that relationship.'' I ask that this article also be submitted in total, as Appendix C of my testimony, for the public record on this hearing.
Recreation access to Federal lands is under direct attack in the current administration. ''Tank traps'' have been dug in access roads on the Targhee National Forest near our home office in Idaho. Snowmobile access to Yellowstone, Voyageurs, and Denali National Parks is threatened. Boating access is threatened in Isle Royal National Park and the Boundary Waters Canoe area. BLM lands throughout Utah are being closed and gated.
Page 78 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Many land managers treat lands, that should be available for public use, as if they are managing the ''Kings'' forest. They feel they must ''keep the commoners out.'' The BlueRibbon Coalition is working with our member organizations nationwide to address this problem.
A statement by Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt gives us an idea of where this attitude may originate, at least within the Interior agencies. At a January 12, 1999, White House press conference on the Land acquisition proposals being forwarded by the administration and Congress Babbitt was asked, ''What is the Wilderness protection for the national park reas? Does that mean no roads, noany commercial development, nothing?'' Secretary Babbitt's response to that question makes clear his intentions for any Federal lands added to the public domain. ''Yeah, the essential add-on, from a Wilderness designation in a national park is precisely that,'' Babbitt said. ''No more roads; no motorized intrusions. No snowmobiles, jet-skis, ORVs. That's the real issueand it, of course, precludes any kind of development as well. And, sometimes, that does happen in national parks, however well-intentioned. And we need to make sure that it doesn't.''
Federal and state lands are considered by many to be available for recreation use. In fact, in the name of ''recreation and tourism,'' some Wilderness advocacy groups, are advocating the elimination of all resource industry activities on these ''public'' lands. Saying they represent recreation, these ''anti-recreation'' groups have lobbied for the elimination of any timber harvesting, livestock grazing or oil and mineral exploration. Now, our resource industries have been practically driven from this country into third world nations who lack our environmental regulations. Emboldened by their success in bringing our resource industries to their knees, these Wilderness advocacy groups are becoming more open about their opposition to recreation and tourism. They are actually anti-recreation access.
The primary catalyst for the founding of the BlueRibbon Coalition in 1987 was Wilderness advocacy group attacks on off highway vehicle recreation. These groups have always opposed the use of anything with a motor, anywhere. They are especially opposed to motorized access to our back country recreation areas. The bulk of our membership still is from the motorized recreation community.
Page 79 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC More recently, however, these same groups have become more critical of equestrian use in the back country. As a result we have gained members from the equestrian trail user community. These horseback riders realize the value of working ''with'' our motorized recreation groups to protect and share our recreation areas.
One of the fastest growing back country recreation interest groups in the country are mountain bikers. The Wilderness advocacy groups' reaction to this popular sport has been real interesting to watch. The green advocacy groups first tried to keep this non-motorized user in their camp. However, due to the fact that mountain bikes aren't allowed in designated Wilderness areas, the bikers are rapidly realizing that this alliance is a one-way street. When the end goal of Wilderness designation is achieved, mountain bikers realize they are going to be sacrificed. As a consequence, we are getting increased interest from mountain bikers who realize the value of working with us to preserve our ''shared'' access.
The BlueRibbon Coalition is very concerned about the current plethora of LWCF related bills being offered by this Congress. We support adequate funding for important resource protection efforts, safety issues, recreation enhancements, and other infrastructure improvements to existing Federal and state lands. However, the focus by this Congress on the purchasing of private inholdings for additions to the Federal estate and ''conservation easements'' is a concept that we cannot currently support. Historically these lands are not managed in concert with traditional multiple-use values. It has beenour experience that property purchased with LWCF monies is either gated off and a barbed wire fence installed, or signed and posted closed with severely limited access, or managed as defacto Wilderness. To date, we do not know of any lands purchased with LWCF funds that are managed for traditional multiple-use.
In conclusion, we hope that the Committee on Resources will address our concerns with the current lack of multiple-use recreational opportunities contained in H.R. 701 & H.R. 798. These bills are being promoted as being good for recreation. We don't think so! The recreationists we represent have historically been locked out of lands purchased by the LWCF. We believe the whole concept of the Land and Water Conservation Fund should be changed from a land acquisition program to one that focuses on funding for the maintenance of the public lands already under Federal and state control.
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Mr. HANSEN. Thank you, Mr. Collins. Questions from the panel. Ms. Chenoweth.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I find after sitting through three panels and listening to the testimony, that I am baffled. I am baffled by the testimony that I hear primarily coming from the sportsmen and the arms and bullet manufacturers. I'm a little heartsick. Next week we're going to be taking on one of the biggest battles that this Congress has faced with regards to gun control and I guess I just always thought that you leave the dance with those that brought you.
There's going to be a lot of blood spilt and I think that we need to focus on the fact that access to the back country for hunting purposes or hunting for sportsmen, unless we fight these battles together, may not occur at all. And when we hear aboutin testimony, when we hear about our American heritage, I've got to stop and think that our American heritage that our founding fathers envisioned for us envisioned more than just the ability to hunt and it envisioned the ability of people to be able to make a living from the land and be able to be free and to be able to make choices about where they want to live and raise their families and not be harassed by the Federal Government. That kind of freedom and liberty really was the heritage that our founding fathers wanted to leave us.
And when we talk about game I think of the situation in Idaho. I don't see a lot of no trespassing signs on our ranches. In fact, what I have seen, especially down in southern Idaho, is a partnership with our ranchers and the hunters. So long as they ask permission and so long as the rancher knows basically where the hunters plan on going, they'll help them out. And, in fact, in southern Idaho, the California big horn sheep has now prospered to the degree that we're now exporting California big horn sheep out of our herds in Idaho. It's a real success story because the farmers and the hunters and the fish and game formed a partnership without the Federal Government coming down on them mandating any kind of partnership. And it is a real success story.
Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I hear testimony today about elk herds and elk habitat and I can tell you that in my district in northern Idaho we used to have a blue ribbon elk herd that we used to compete with anybody for the quality, the size and the number of elk. And now that elk herd is almost nonexistent because of the roadless moratorium, because of lack of management in our Federal lands and because the elk habitat has been destroyed, literally destroyed. It's destroying the elk.
Furthermore, I'm hearing more and more incidences, while our hunters love to talk about the increase in the cougar population, we're hearing more and more incidences about human harm from cougars because we're not putting limits on how cougars are impacting our more populated areas, how they impact joggers and hikers and so forth.
The same thing is happening with wolves and bears that are being brought into Idaho by fish and wildlife service. The wolves and bears are impacting our elk herds. The wolves and bears are impacting our ranchers, and fear is growing about taking families in. Our mountain lions are increasing. And so this is the way this bill has been presented to us, that it's a hunters' bill.
But I've got to say that our governor, prior to the last governor, had to rely on the fact that private property provided the tax base for counties to be able to respond to hunters and hikers and people who were in the back country who got into distress. Our governor, who was kicked in the head with a mule, had to have the county search and rescue organization come in and rescue him. Search and rescue couldn't happen unless there was a tax base that was supported by in large part private property.
So, gentlemen, we've got to look at the whole picture because, unless we do, this in and of itself causes more division than it does unity. So I would ask you to revisit your thinking on that. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HANSEN. Thank you. Mr. Simpson.
Page 82 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SIMPSON. Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman. Along those same lines I guess that is some of the concern about the private property rights and the loss of the tax base but in this of course we increase the PILT funding which is supposed to make up for those Federal lands and so forth that will fund some of those county organizations, those county services that currently aren't being funded fully by the Federal Government. But I guess what kind of surprised me as I listened to the sportsmen's groups, they seem to support this because they believe it will increase access for their hunting activities, and motorized recreationists oppose it because they believe it will decrease the access and they're kind of in conflict there whether it will increase or decrease the access.
But I guess, Mr. Collins, in your testimony you talked about decreasing access. With the roadless moratorium that's been put on by the forest service and talks about increased wilderness and you know the fights we've had in Idaho over the last 20 years about wilderness and how we treat that land now. Do you have any ideas of how we might be able to address that so we increase access to and use of our national forests?
Mr. COLLINS. Well, Representative Simpson, you know that I've been promoting an alternative concept to wilderness designation and I really wasn't expecting to have the opportunity to talk about that here but by golly, I'll take it.
Mr. SIMPSON. That's why I asked the question.
Mr. COLLINS. Because it's our view that sportsmen, the hunters and fishermen and primarily motorized recreationists that we represent should be working together on an alternative to wilderness designation that doesn't involve locking the majority of recreationists out of these lands that are so special to us, and we've been promoting that alternative under the name of back country recreation area designation as a proposal. We're attempting to gain some traction with that idea and it's our view that all types of recreationists can work together to share the back country areas that we love so much.
Page 83 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I reference the nonmotorized interest groups that are involved in our organization and the equestrians and the mountain bikers are very interested in this idea. The mountain bikers especially because mountain biking is prohibited in wilderness areas, so they are automatically excluded from wilderness areas. A fact that a lot of mountain bikers aren't aware of, quite frankly. But that's our idea of a way that we could work together.
Basically on this Land and Water Conservation Fund, getting back to our concerns with it, it's our concern that giving the Federal Government a checkbook, more money to purchase Federal land, is not going to help promote public access to these Federal lands because we're having problems with the park service, with the BLM, with the forest service and the roadless moratorium. Right now it seems that our Federal agencies are bent on restricting, rather than promoting, recreation access to the lands under their control. So we think that this is an idea that can address that problem.
Mr. SIMPSON. I think that from your testimony where you talked about some of your colleagues that used snow machines and so forth in the east where they don't have public lands nearly to the extent they use them on private lands and so forth, that even the provision of a no net gain policy in states that had, I don't know, pick a number, 25 percent Federal lands, would not really make this bill any better in terms of what they're concerned about then.
Mr. COLLINS. Well, in the east, like I mentioned, the snowmobilers back there have cooperative agreements with the land owners. The snowmobile trails in the eastern states are almost entirely on private land and the private land owners in the east are very concerned about the threat of this Northern Forest Stewardship Act and our recreationists back there are working in concert with those folks to protect the relationship that they've got with private land owners. Now I know we've got some situations out west where some people do post land, do post their land to keep sportsmen off of their land and I would like to see us work toward building more cooperation with these private land owners, and these public land grab proposals don't further that objective in my view. Thank you.
Page 84 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HANSEN. Thank you. Mr. Cannon.
Mr. CANNON. Thank you. I would like to first of all thank this panel for coming today. It's been very enlightening and I appreciate your different views, particularly of course Mr. Hyde, who is from my district. And Mr. Foutz, you have a great store in Provo. I love your store. Have you noticed an increase in gun sales since the Columbine incident and the flurry of activity there?
Mr. FOUTZ. Yes, we have. Unfortunately, I think that's media driven. There is a sense that there's going to be some restriction in that area and anytime you do that there causes a surge in sales.
Mr. CANNON. How much of a surge have you seen?
Mr. FOUTZ. Twenty percent.
Mr. CANNON. Do you personally know how long it takes to do a Brady Bill review.
Mr. FOUTZ. Background check?
Mr. CANNON. Background check.
Mr. FOUTZ. BCI, about 15 minutes.
Mr. CANNON. Is that from the time the person hands you the document he's filled out to the time you've finished the phone call?
Mr. FOUTZ. No. That would actually be actually trying to get through to BCI, getting somebody on the phone and then them processing the paperwork and running it through the bureaus.
Mr. CANNON. I have a hard time getting that out of BATF the other day. I appreciate that fact. It doesn't have a lot to do with this panel but I think it's significant for the current debate.
Mr. FOUTZ. If I may add, for the law abiding citizen who comes in to purchase a gun, too, is that they've restricted us to sales of guns up to 7 o'clock. And in the retail business that puts a great constraint on us that they don't kind of follow our patterns of retail.
Page 85 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. CANNON. Seven o'clock p.m., right?
Mr. FOUTZ. Seven o'clock p.m.
Mr. CANNON. Well, that's actually significant to know. We're working on that bill. I'm involved in that. Thank you very much. Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. HANSEN. Thank you. You mean the State of Utah has a law that says you can't buy a firearm after 7 p.m.?
Mr. FOUTZ. We cannot release possession of that firearm without a background check, so ownership cannot be taken of that individual who purchases that firearm until that background check has been done. So they limit us as to when they can take ownership of that gun.
Mr. HANSEN. Do you have the technology to do an instant check?
Mr. FOUTZ. Not currently, no. And I'm not sure where the law states whether we could actually access that information.
Mr. HANSEN. So if someone walks in to buy a firearm at 7:05, we fill out the sheet, pay the money, we have a meeting of the minds, we pick up the firearm the next day; is that right?
Mr. FOUTZ. Yeah. If that's convenient for you.
Mr. HANSEN. That is if we pass.
Mr. SIMPSON. I think that we can maybe work on that and resolve that in this current bill. That's not reasonable.
Mr. HANSEN. A lot of people don't realize but Federal law does superimpose itself on state laws. Let me just say something, if I may. There is no piece of legislation that has ever gone through with any controversy at all that doesn't end up in some compromise. It just doesn't happen that way. And so compromise, whether you agree with that or not, happens to be the way it's done in city councils, county commission and state legislative bodies and the Federal Congress. So if you want to kill a bill you can go out (inaudible) or you can make it into a gummer and that is when you take out one part after another until there's nothing left and it just kind of falls through the cracks, or you can improve the bill so it becomes to be a rather good piece of legislation.
Page 86 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC With that criteria, if any of you have things you think should be taken in, taken out, improve the bill, kill the bill, that's the great American way. And so I would appreciate hearing from you, as I'm sure Mr. Young would and I'm sure members of this Committee would.
Mr. Collins, you brought up some very interesting things. Maybe you have amendments to the bill that you think would make it better that you would like to submit to the Committee. In other words, everybody in America can stand up and say this is bad, bad, bad and maybe we agree. The other side of the coin, what really sells heavy with us is solutions. Section 4, subheading A is bad. We can make it better by the following language. Many times it is better. I see people in this room who have done that before and passed pieces of legislation.
So I can assure you this piece of legislation will probably not go through the way it is written now, if it goes through at all. So if you have some solutions, let's have the solutions. Or, if you've just got to get something off your chest, write us a letter and chew us all out, tell us how dumb, stupid we are and that's fine, too. I get many of those everyday as every Member of Congress does. That's just part of our job.
On the other side of my coin, I really enjoy getting something from somebody who has really spent some time saying I don't like this for the following reasons. You'd be surprised if you'd watch Congress in committees where it's really all done anyway, you will be surprised to see that same congressman may pick it up and sayand use you verbatim. Of course members of the Congress always take credit for the good things.
So with that said, we'll excuse this panel unless someone has additional questions. We'll excuse this panel and turn to our last panel, which is Mr. Christopher F. Robinson, the Ensign Group, Salt Lakeno, excuse me, Ensign Group L.C., Salt Lake City, Utah; Ms. Wendy Fisher, Utah Open Lands, Salt Lake City, Utah; Mr. Frank Priestley, president of Idaho Farm Bureau Federation, Pocatello, Idaho; and Karen Henry, Wyoming Farm Bureau, Robertson, Wyoming. We welcome these folks. Mr. Robinson, we'll start with you, sir. You all know the rules, five minutes.
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STATEMENT OF CHRISTOPHER F. ROBINSON, ENSIGN GROUP, L.C, SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH
Mr. ROBINSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'm Christopher Robinson and appreciate the time that you members of the Committee and the chairman have given us today. I'm here wearing several hats. I'm president of two ranching companies that operate ranches in Utah, Idaho and Wyoming that encompass a couple hundred thousand acres of (inaudible) land and also we are permittees on probably another 700,000 acres of public land. I'm also a real estate developer, mainly residential, and I'm appearing today as a member of the board of trustees and executive committee of the Utah Chapter of Nature Conservancy. So I'm here in those capacities.
I'm also involved in land conservation and open space programs with Utah Open Lands, which is what Ms. Fisher is the chairwoman of and also a local nonprofit known as Swaner Memorial Park Foundation which is trying to preserve a piece of meadow up in Summit County, Utah.
The Nature Conservancy is an international organization, nonprofit, but it has as its mission to preserve the plants, animals and natural communities that represents diversity of life on earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive. Nationally we have 900,000 members and 1,500 corporate members and have chapters in all 50 states and 17 nations internationally and manage more than 1,600 nature preserves and are the world's largest private system of nature sanctuaries. In the state of the Utah there are about 7,600 members and we have done about 90 different projects, conserving about 800,000 acres within the state.
We think that this is a historic opportunity where different members of the House and the Senate have gotten together in proposing different pieces of legislation all dealing with the same issue basically, the Land and Water Conservation Fund. And in my involvement as a private land owner and rancher, and also with these nonprofit organizations that I've listed, we've spent a lot of effort trying to raise money to protect open space and to do other things to enhance wildlife.
Page 88 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC For instance, in Idaho, where these two honorable representatives are from, we have ranches in Bannock and Cassia County where my family has worked with EPA and Idaho game and fish to preserveto restore a portion of Marsh Creek. But all of those things cost money and so a lot of nonprofits are doing their part and private citizens are doing their part and many states and local governments are trying to do their part.
Last year there were some 124 different initiatives of one form or another throughout the nation and of those, 84 percent passed, raising some $5 billion for conservation. This Land and Wildlife Conservation Fund could represent and does represent an important part of the Federal Government's contribution to preserving our national heritage. One of the nice things that I like about it is it's taking nonrenewable resources and investing those monies in things that are of long-term benefit and a legacy. Specifically we submitted into the record the Nature Conservancy's statement on these two pieces of legislation and I won't belabor that.
There are three issues that I'd like to highlight. One is the Land and Water Conservation Fund hopefully will be fully and permanently funded. Second one is that hopefully there will be provisions that provide for private land owner incentives to preserve habitat and open space and especially with reference to wildlife. And then the third element is that a lot of emphasis is always placed on game species and one of the problems is there is lots of biodiversity that never winds up in someone's sights or on the end of someone's hook.
And we would like to make sure that money from this fund winds up going into nongame programs and believe that rather than seeing more species placed on the endangered list, that a more prudent way to go is to encourage land owners and public to keep them off the list by preserving their habitat. And I appreciate your time and would entertain any questions when the others are through.
Mr. HANSEN. Thank you, Mr. Robinson. Wendy Fisher, the floor is yours.
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STATEMENT OF WENDY FISHER, UTAH OPEN LANDS, SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH
Ms. FISHER. I appreciate you all coming here to hear locally what's going on and how this bill and the potential passage of this bill can affect us as organizations and as citizens. I have been the Executive Director of Utah Open Lands first as awell, actually I started out as a volunteer over nine years ago and then as a paid executive director for the organization.
As a 501-C-3 public charity, Utah Open Lands really gets our mandate from the public and from land owners. We have saved over 7,500 acres of land throughout the state through the voluntary donation. In other words, that's donation of conservation easements from land owners to our organization. I'm personally aware of and understand why our organization has been successful but it's not as the executive director of Utah's lands (inaudible) part of a family ranch, family farm that I live on.
I currently live on a family farm in Oakley and in the past years, perhaps due to the Oakley Rodeo or perhaps due to the protected culinary water source that is under a conservation easement or maybe the riparian protected corridor that runs through the city, the property that's under family ownership has increased tenfold in the last five years. If my parents were to pass away, heaven forbid, tomorrow, I wouldn't be able to inherit that piece of property. We would have to sell it for the estate tax purposes.
This is a situation that our organization sees in several instances with land owners. And one of the things our organization firmly believes is that if the community is interested in protecting open space and feels that is a part of their quality of life and if the land owner is willing and interested in preserving that land, that we should be able to come to a willing buyer/willing seller arrangement but oftentimes, as Mr. Robinson pointed out, it's very hard for local nonprofit organizations to raise all of the money on our own.
Page 90 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I will say that as a nonprofit organization, we oftentimes do know what it is that the communities are interested in preserving and we are oftentimes in touch with the struggle that the land owners have. I think you might consider that in every county and every city throughout our nation there are land planning firms, attorneys and professionals who wish to exercise their right to develop the land and that's a great thing. There are incentives for developing, there is land and infrastructure consisting of roads, sewer and schools which support land development.
And equally important to a community's quality of life and its economic vitalty, as we are finding in the State of Utah, are its farm lands, wildlife habitat and its open spaces, and yet there are very few communities throughout the nation where the infrastructure and incentives are available to individuals interested in exercising the right to preserve their land. Aside from limiting income tax benefits there are limited benefits available to land owners who choose to preserve their land and this choice is a choice which benefits not just the land owners but the community and the quality of lives they have and for future generations.
I think that the Land and Water Conservation Fund and funding provided can go a long way in equaling some of that playing field when it comes to individual communities and individual land owners so that we can have both of those private property rights exercised. That's the extent of my comments today. Thank you.
Mr. HANSEN. Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Fisher follows:]
STATEMENT OF FRANK PRIESTLEY, PRESIDENT OF IDAHO FARM BUREAU FEDERATION, POCATELLO, IDAHO
Mr. HANSEN. Mr. Priestley.
Mr. PRIESTLEY. Chairman Hansen and the Committee, I'm Frank Priestley, president of the Idaho Farm Bureau. We have about 49,000 member families in our organization and it's a privilege for me to represent them today. Also it's indeed my honor to recognize Idaho's own congressman, Helen Chenoweth, who has been a very strong fighter in the nation for property rights and we appreciate all that she does to help us. And our newly elected representative, Mike Simpson, it's good to have you with us here and good to be here. We appreciate you bringing this to the west.
Page 91 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC H.R. 701, the Conservation Reinvestment Act of 1999 has been extensively reviewed and extensively discussed by the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation and we find that the Act is in basic conflict with the Idaho Farm Bureau Policy No. 69 which states, ''We support no net loss of private property. We urge enactment of legislation to require prior legislative approval for any Federal land acquisition on a parcel-by-parcel basis.''
Idaho as a public land state is over 66 percent owned by Federal Government. Most western states have over 50 percent of their land owned by the Federal Government and this leaves very little private land in our counties.
These counties rely heavily upon the natural resources to sustain jobs and families. But with the decrease of mining, logging and grazing that has been pushed by the Clinton Administration, many counties are finding themselves without the financial resources to adequately support their infrastructure needs.
H.R. 701 would compound this problem for the bill authorizes $378 million for the Federal land acquisition which would remove more private land from the tax rolls as well as $378 million per year for state acquisition of private property.
In addition, our Policy No. 23 states, ''We recommend that a fee in lieu of taxes be assessed on all lands removed from tax rolls by state or Federal agency ownership. We favor an annual fee equivalent on local private property tax on land. We recommend that these fees be tied to the cost of living index.''
H.R. 701 appropriates approximately $65 million in interest payments to PILT. However, in Idaho and most of the western states with the drop in logging, mining and grazing revenues and with the PILT payments never being fully funded, county revenues are decreasing dramatically. Sixty five million dollars when accompanied by purchases of vast tracts of new lands cannot possibly compensate for the loss of revenue and this will put even more pressure on western states and counties.
Page 92 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC If the Federal Government is going to continue to be the west's largest landlord, then they must pay their fair share of the county infrastructure needs. The bill ends the current practice of condemnation of private land by the Federal Government for land and water conservation purposes and limits acquisition to a willing seller. Certainly in the past this did not occur and the government used the fund acquire vast tracts of land. This section of the bill could prevent the wholesale purchase of private land but we feel that the wording must be tighter to assure that the willing sellers are not forced into the sale. One only need look around to the happenings in the west to see that ranchers and farmers are under constant pressure to give up their holdings to the Federal Government and willingness to sell oftentimes comes after years of pressure and sometimes abuse at the hands of Federal bureaucrats.
Even states are not exempt from this pressure. For right here in Utah the Grand Staircase Escalante was created over the objections of the state. If states cannot resist these pressures, then how could an individual resist them, too? We are not comfortable with the provisions of the bill that bypasses Congressional authority. We have recognized the need for local jurisdictions to have a permanent source of dollars for assistance grants to create parks, open spaces and recreational facilities but we also recognize that the Congressional appropriation process holds the Federal bureaucracy in check and permanent funding without Congressional oversight bothers us.
We would recommend this section be modified to give Congress appropriation authority over most of the funding. In addition, without Congressional appropriation this bill becomes almost a billion dollars a year entitlement which is off budget and certainly complicates the efforts to balance the Federal budget. Since these monies now go into the treasury, a study should be conducted to determine the source of replacement dollars for these withdrawals.
This bill dictates that the Federal agencies be considered partners with local units of government when land use planning decisions occur. This is totally unacceptable to us for it will lead to Federal interference with local government and Federal domination of land use decisions.
Page 93 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Idaho Farm Bureau is not comfortable with any bill that would allow the Federal Government to acquire more private land since the Federal Government already owns 50 percent of the west and, as I stated, 66 percent of the state of Idaho.
We do note with a certain amount of pleasure that this bill has as its basis the principle of willing buyer and willing seller. This concept is supported by Farm Bureau policy and it is good to see it is becoming part of Congressional Federal land management bills. We recognize that in some national parks there are still private inholders who have been waiting for funds to buy them out. We have no objections to the purchase of these existing inholder properties if the seller is willing. We would strongly oppose any other purchase of private property by Federal agencies in the west. We feel the current exchange policy keeps a policy of no net gain of Federal public land in effect. The Idaho Farm Bureau strongly supports this concept.
In closing, Mr. Chairman, I want to once again thank the Committee for allowing the Idaho Farm Bureau to express our views on H.R. 701. We recognize that the local government is strapped in providing parks and recreation for the citizens but we feel that H.R. 701 goes so far in expanding Federal and state land acquisition. We feel local government needs are almost left out. We don't object to the dollars being used for enhancing urban quality of life but in the west, Federal Government as the major land owner already dominates. It cannot manage the lands that it currently has in its inventory and we must adamantly oppose any new additions.
Mr. HANSEN. Thank you, Mr. Priestley.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Priestley follows:]
STATEMENT OF FRANK PRIESTLEY, PRESIDENT, IDAHO FARM BUREAU FEDERATION
Chairman Young and Members of the Committee:
I am Mr. Frank Priestley, President of the 49,000 member Idaho Farm Bureau Federation. It is indeed a pleasure for me to appear before the House Resource Committee to discuss H.R. 701 and it is indeed an honor for me to recognize Idaho's own Congressman Helen Chenoweth who is known and respected by us and this great nation as a champion of private property rights and a friend of agriculture. We want to also thank Congressman Jim Hansen for bringing this hearing to the West as well as you Committee members who have taken time from your busy schedules to attend this hearing. The Idaho Farm Bureau Federation thanks you for allowing us to enter our comments on H.R. 701 into the official record.
Page 94 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC H.R. 701, the ''Conservation and Reinvestment Act of 1999'' has been extensively reviewed and extensively discussed by the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation and we find the Act in basic conflict with Idaho Farm Bureau Policy Number 69 which states: ''We support no net loss of private property. We urge enactment of legislation to require prior legislative approval for any Federal land acquisition on a parcel by parcel basis.''
Idaho, as a public land state, is over 66 percent owned by the Federal Government. Most western states have over 50 percent of their land owned by the Federal Government and this leaves very little private land in many counties. These counties rely heavily upon the natural resource industries to sustain jobs and families, but with the decrease in mining, logging and grazing that has been pushed by the Clinton Administration, many counties are finding themselves without the financial resources to adequately support their infrastructure needs. H.R. 701 would compound this problem, for the bill authorizes $378 million for Federal land acquisition which would remove more private land from the tax rolls as well as $378 million per year for state acquisition of private property.
In addition, Idaho Farm Bureau Policy Number 23 states ''We recommend that a fee in lieu of taxes be assessed on all lands removed from tax rolls by state or Federal agency ownership. We favor an annual fee equivalent to local private property tax on land. We recommend that these fees be tied to the cost of living index.''
H.R. 701 appropriates approximately $65 million in interest payments to PILT, however in Idaho and most of the Western United States, with the drop in logging, mining and grazing revenues and with PILT payments never being fully funded, county revenues are decreasing dramatically. Sixty five million dollars, when accompanied by purchases of vast tracts of new lands cannot possibly compensate for the loss of revenue and this will put even more pressure on western states and counties. If the Federal Government is going to continue to be the west's largest landlord, they must pay their fair share of the county infrastructure needs.
Page 95 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The bill ends the current practice of condemnation of private land by the Federal Government for land and water conservation purchases and limits acquisition to a willing seller. Certainly, in the past this did not occur and the government used the fund to acquire vast tracts of land. This section of the bill could prevent the wholesale purchase of private land, but we feel the wording must be much tighter to assure that willing sellers are not coerced into the sale. One need only look around at the happenings in the west to see that ranchers and farmers are under constant pressure to give up their holdings to the Federal Government and willingness to sell oftentimes comes after years of pressure and sometimes, abuse, at the hands of Federal bureaucrats. Even states are not exempt from this pressure, for right here in Utah the Grande Staircase Escalante was created over the objections of the State. If states cannot resist this pressure, how could an individual resist such pressure!
We are not comfortable with the provisions of the bill that bypasses Congressional appropriation authority. We recognize the need of local jurisdictions to have a permanent source of dollars for assistance grants for creating parks, open spaces and recreational facilities, but we also recognize that Congressional appropriation holds the Federal bureaucracy in check and permanent funding without Congressional oversight bothers us. We would recommend this section be modified to give Congress appropriation authority over most of the funding. In addition without Congressional appropriation this bill becomes a nearly $1 Billion/year entitlement which is off budget and certainly complicates efforts to balance the Federal budget. Since these monies now go into the treasury a study should be conducted to determine the source of replacement monies to take up the $1 billion/year withdrawal.
This bill dictates that Federal agencies be considered partners with local units of government when land use planning decisions occur. This is totally unacceptable to us for it will lead to Federal interference with local government and Federal domination of land use decisions.
Page 96 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Idaho Farm Bureau Federation is not comfortable with any bill that will allow for more Federal acquisition of private land since the Federal Government already owns almost 50 percent of the west, and as stated before, 66 percent of the State of Idaho. We do note with a certain amount of pleasure that this bill has as its basis the principle of a willing buyer and seller creating an agreement. This concept is supported by Farm Bureau policy and it is good to see it is becoming a part of Congressional management bills. We recognize that in some national parks there are still private inholders that have been waiting for funds to buy them out and we have no objections to the purchase of these existing inholdings if the seller is willing. We would strongly oppose any other purchases of private property by Federal agencies in the west, for we feel the way it is now handled on an exchange basis keeps the no net gain of Federal land policy in effect and Idaho Farm Bureau policy strongly supports this concept.
We feel the distribution formula used in this bill is crafted with an eye on political votes rather than perceived needs. Some states like Alaska ($150 million), Texas ($205 million), California ($125 million) and New York ($83 million), along with the newly classified coastal states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Illinois seem to be aimed specifically at contributing toward establishing a winning political coalition. Since Idaho has an inland port at Lewiston, perhaps we too should be classified as a coastal state and increase our allotment from $11.5 million to something really astounding. We feel that the formula used indicates the bill is designed specifically to get votes.
In closing, we want to once again thank the Committee for allowing the Idaho Farm Bureau to express our views of H.R. 701. We recognize that local government is strapped in providing parks and recreation for their citizens, but we feel H.R. 701 goes so far in expanding Federal and state land acquisition that local government needs are almost left out. We do not object to dollars being used for enhancing urban quality of life, but with the Federal Government already demonstrating it cannot manage the lands that it currently has in its inventory, we must adamantly oppose any new additions. Currently there is a $12 billion backlog on infrastructure needs on government lands and this is resulting in closing campgrounds, parks and roads throughout the nation. H.R. 701 does not address that issue, rather it adds to the problem by bringing in considerably more land to mismanage. We feel H.R. 701 needs to be extensively modified to make it good public policy and gain Idaho Farm Bureau Federation support. We do appreciate the work currently going on in Washington D.C. between the Committee and American Farm Bureau Federation to modify the bill.
Page 97 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Thank you again for allowing us to express our views on H.R. 701.
Mr. HANSEN. Karen Henry, the floor's yours.
STATEMENT OF KAREN HENRY, WYOMING FARM BUREAU, ROBERTSON, WYOMING
Ms. HENRY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you for having this hearing so that we are allowed to voice our opposition. I'm Karen Henry, the elected president of the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation, which is the largest agricultural organization in Wyoming and we represent a much smaller amount than Frank, of course, because our population is so much smaller. We have around 8,300 member families.
I'm here today representing that organization and its many private property owning members and Wyoming Farm Bureau must stand in opposition to these two pieces of legislation. The problems with H.R. 798 are too numerous to adequately cover in the short amount of time allowed here. We feel a more accurate Title for this Act would be the Central Planning Land Nationalization Act of 2000. The method of resource management advocated in this legislation has been shown to be an utter failure in the Communist Bloc countries.
American Farm Bureau Federation policy states that we favor the repeal of the Land and Water Conservation Act, and has always felt that the funds allocated under that Act should be used by the Federal land management agencies to better manage the lands that they already have. Right now the Federal land management agencies are unable to carry out their Congressinoal mandates. Maintenance and rehabilitation projects are underfunded or not funded at all and the backlog has become staggering in recent years.
You need look no farther than Yellowstone Park in my home state of Wyoming to see the many shortcomings of the Federal land management, not to mention a lot of the other things that they're not doing. The Forest Service isn't maintaining the roads that they have right now. We've looked in the high Uintahs and there hasn't been one dime used in the last 15 years to maintain those roads and the people that have to use those roads, the recreationists as well as the agriculturalists that use those roads are beating up their outfits right now because they say they have no money to maintain the roads.
Page 98 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Federal Government has enough land here in the west. Farm Bureau members object to having tax money given to Federal agencies to buy up their land. Removing the private land owner will result in the reduction of the tax base. Productive uses of private land are an economic imperative in every state. With the loss of income, how will governments deal with the cost of managing, improving and maintaining their public lands as well as their infrastructures. It's one thing to buy land, quite another to manage it correctly.
Who will produce the food? If these ranches are sold, who will produce the food to feed the world? The rhinestone cowboy who will have a government check and ride around and do windshield assessments?
When governments covet a piece of land there are many weapons available to get that piece of land. Whether they're a willing seller or not there are many things that the government uses to make people willing sellers. I have a friend that lives in the east who was almost driven completely out of business by the Federal Government and he and his wife were not doing anything wrong.
There's no provision that the state and local governments must buy from willing sellers. The provisions for Congressional approval for over a million dollars are inadequate. They work well if someone has land holdings over a million dollars, but the vast majority of people do not have land holdings are that worth over a million dollars.
Unfortunately, this provision may lead to a scenario where no one has land worth more than a million dollars. Think of it the other way. Land acquisitions coupled with the burdensome environmental regulations in this country could be used to deny access for recreation, limit avenues for commerce, and control the activities of the remaining private land owners to the point that it is not profitable for them to own land. Land owners have every reason to fear that this is the real purpose of this bill.
Assertions that this bill will further protect endangered species undoubtedly stems from the Federal land management agencies' frustration that they cannot get permission to survey private land. Endangered Species Act has been used as a club against the land owners. Changing the Endangered Species Act to reflect the reality that private land ownership promotes and maintains healthy habitat will do far more to protect the environment than any provisions of H.R. 701. Farm Bureau has always been in the front line defending private property rights, so we must oppose H.R. 701.
Page 99 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I have more but I will not attempt to read it all. I would just like to make a couple of additional comments. Control of the land and the water resource conveys awesome power to the entity having the control. Without the personal responsibility and obligation to the next generation that arises out of having to make a long-term living from the land, the power is corrupting. Private land owners are the best conservators of the resource. They need it to live.
In conclusion, I would just say we oppose H.R. 701 and H.R. 798. We support in part former Senator Malcolm Wallop's testimony stating that the revenues from oil and gas production should be shared with the states in which production activities are located. A 50-50 split with no agenda and no government strings attached would allow the states to do the things that they need to do. The states could use the money where it's needed. If we're going to govern by trust fund, we don't need Congress. We can put it on automatic pilot and watch it operate. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Henry follows:]
STATEMENT OF KAREN J. HENRY, PRESIDENT, WYOMING FARM BUREAU FEDERATION
I am Karen J. Henry, the elected President of the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation which is the largest agricultural organization in Wyoming. I am here today representing that organization, and its many private property owning members. I appreciate the opportunity to testify on H.R. 701 and H.R. 798.
Wyoming Farm Bureau must stand in opposition to these two pieces of legislation; H.R. 701 and H.R. 798. The problems with H.R. 798 are too numerous to adequately cover in the short amount of time allowed here. We feel a more accurate title for this Act would be The Central Planning/Land Nationalization 2000 Act. The method of resource management advocated in this legislation has been shown to be an utter failure in the Communist Bloc countries.
American Farm Bureau Federation policy states that we favor the repeal of the Land and Water Conservation Act, and has always felt that the funds allocated under that Act should be used by the Federal land management agencies to better manage the lands they already have. AFBF policy further state that:
Page 100 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Experience has shown that an improving environment is dependent upon economic productivity, and that economic productivity is dependent upon private ownership of the means of production. Because we view land as a means of production, we are concerned that over one-third of the land in this nation is owned by the Federal Government.
Increasing Federal land acquisitions and Federal land use regulations are inimical to economic productivity and resultant environmental improvements. We oppose further expansion of Federal land ownership, and we support a national policy of no net loss of private lands.
The claim that government ownership of the land protects the environment can be laid to rest just by going out and looking at the poor environmental condition of land managed solely by the government. Politics drives the management of these lands, not the needs of the resource; so the management is bound to fail, and the nation loses the resource.
Federal land management agencies are unable to carry out their Congressional mandates. Maintenance and rehabilitation projects are underfunded or not funded at all, and the backlog has become staggering in recent years. You need look no farther than Yellowstone, in my home state of Wyoming, to see the many shortcomings of Federal land management.
The Federal Government has enough land here in the west. Farm Bureau members object to having tax money given to Federal agencies to buy up their land. Removing the private land owner will result in a reduction of the tax base. Productive uses of private land are an economic imperative in every state. With this loss of income, how are governments supposed to deal with the costs of managing, improving, and maintaining their public lands? It's one thing to buy land, quite another to manage it correctly. Even with the provision that only one-third of the money in the fund will be used to buy land in the west, we are still faced with the prospect of agencies having $126 million per year to acquire privately held lands in the west; if the fund has the full $900 million. It won't take the government long to buy up what they don't already own.
Page 101 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC While there are prohibitions against the condemnation of property to allow purchase, and requirements that purchases of over one million dollars must have congressional approval, there are many opportunities for abuse in this legislation. When governments covet a piece of land, there are many weapons at their disposal to turn an unwilling seller into a willing seller. Further, there is no provision that state and local governments must buy from willing sellers. The provisions for congressional approval for purchases of over one million dollars are inadequate. They work well if someone has land worth over one million dollars; but do nothing to protect the vast majority of land owners whose land is worth less than one million dollars. Unfortunately, this provision may lead to a scenario where no one has land worth more than one million dollars. Land acquisitions, coupled with the burdensome environmental regulations in this country, could be used to deny access for recreation, limit avenues for commerce, and control the activities of the remaining private landowners to the point that it is not profitable for them to own land. Landowners have every reason to fear that this is the real purpose of this bill.
Assertions that this bill will further protect endangered species undoubtedly stems from the Federal land management agency's frustration that they cannot get permission to survey private land. The Endangered Species Act has been used as a club against landowners. Changing the ESA, to reflect the reality that private land ownership promotes and maintains healthy habitat, will do more to protect the environment than the provisions of H.R. 701 will ever do.
Farm Bureau has always been in the front line defending private property rights, so we must oppose H.R. 701 which establishes a fund which could be used by government agencies to acquire private property. Wyoming Farm Bureau has long been opposed to the Game and Fish Commission setting up a trust fund for the purposes of game management, wildlife habitat or any other purpose, including land acquisition.
Control of the land and water resource conveys awesome power to the entity having the control. Without the personal responsibility and obligation to the next generation that arises out of having to make a long term living on your land, that power is corrupting. The power derived from land ownership by the government, or the public, is not power that is invested back into the resource, it is invested in creating agency empires; in creating political power, and in gathering the power to force people to conform with what the government thinks is the ideal working society. Bills like H.R. 701 and H.R. 798 erode our ability; our very right, to be self-determining. Private ownership of property is one of the cornerstones of our democracy. The founders of this country knew, firsthand, what it was like to have a society where only the governing elite, or the monarchy, controlled all the land.
Page 102 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Private landowners are the best conservators of the resource, they need it to live. Private land in Wyoming supports most of the state's wildlife and water resource. While private landowners have been demonized as destroyers of the earth and wasters of the wildlife and the water, just a little critical thought will expose the weakness of this reasoning. Healthy land is the only way to success for an agricultural producer. A government, on the other hand, does not necessarily have to worry about the health of the land. They just have to worry that they have the biggest chunk. Having the biggest piece translates into more money, more power and more influence. The loser here is the resource; there is no one to care for the land, because responsibility can be passed to the next person. That is the tragedy of the commons, everyone owns it, but no one is responsible for it; the buck never has to stop. There is no justification for giving the government more money or power to acquire land, and further erode the rights of citizens in this country to own property, determine their own fates, and exercise their freedoms.
We oppose H.R. 701 and H.R. 798. We support, in part, former Senator Malcolm Wallop's statement in his testimony that revenues from oil and gas production should be shared with the states in which production activities are located, a fifty-fifty split with no agenda attached. The states use the money where it is needed. Straightforward legislation that would share revenues to help the states meet their individual needs; not the perceived or political needs of the Federal Government would be supported. If we are going to govern by trust fund, we don't need Congress for representation; we can simply put government on auto pilot and watch it run.
Thank you for this opportunity to testify in opposition to H.R. 701 and H.R. 798.
Mr. HANSEN. Thank you. Questions for this panel? Mrs. Chenoweth, recognized for five minutes.
Page 103 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate the good testimony that we've heard. Mr. Priestley, thank you for your kind comments and I wanted to address the issue of condemnation which you made mention of in your testimony. The fact is indeed this bill allows for condemnation of private property. But I also want to call to the attention of the members and to you, too, that it will not allow for any of the funds to be used to pay the owner for the acquisition of his land. So again, I think that's more than disingenuous. It needs to be corrected.
I appreciate the fact that you picked up on the issue of partnership. When the Federal Government talks about partnership, I think the local units of government and individuals need to grab their pocketbooks and run, and this bill is replete with promises of partnership but as we examine the fine print in the bill, the partnership means that the Secretary of Interior shall have the final say over any partnership agreement, either with the states or local units of government. I appreciate very much your bringing that out in your testimony.
Mr. Chairman, I also want to say that with a $5.7 trillion debt, you know, it's not only going tothis is not only going to hurt our tax base, but where are we going to get the money to refund the Social Security Trust Fund that this bill and the $4 billion that is targeted here, $4 billion that is targeted hereno, $2 billion that is targeted here will take a big chunk out of our attempts to continue to balance the budget and live up to the trust responsibilities that we have with the American people to rebuild the Social Security Trust Fund that we have been expending on general fund expenditures.
And finally, I appreciate the testimony where there was a question about how will it happen if we turn more land over to the Federal Government to manage when we know, and you continue to receive testimony in your Committee, as I do in mine, that the land managers are far behind in good management practices of their land and facilities.
And so with that I do want to say that we need to continue to ask how much is enough? What is the appetite of the Federal Government? When will Utah have given enough? When will Idaho have given enough? Nevada has given 94 percent of their land, Alaska 98 percent of their land. When is enough enough? I think that we need to start pushing the envelope the other way. Thank you very much.
Page 104 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HANSEN. Thank you. The gentlemen from Idaho, Mr. Simpson, you're recognized for five minutes.
Mr. SIMPSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Ms. Henry or Mr. Priestley, you're both opposed to this bill. Does this bill do anything good?
Ms. HENRY. Mr. Simpson, I can't see anything in the bill that is good. I can see where the people in the urban areas need to have their green belts as Mrs. Chenoweth has referred to and some of those things, the inner city recreation, and recreation is very important for people. I understand that. But I also agree with one of the gentlemen that spoke before that the access to the Federal lands is being so limited right now through the forest service with their road closure moratorium and things like that, I can't see anything in the bill that is good.
I have a whole page of things that I have listed. Page 12, lines 1 through 19, refers to this not being a budget item and I would say in reference to what Mrs. Chenoweth brought up about the $5 trillion debt, I think that if we have that much money, it should be applied to the debt. It shouldn't be applied to all these perks. Maybe by bringing the money back that was denied in 1995 that was referred to before, that would probably help some of these urban communities with their recreation, but this bill, as it's written, will not do anything for recreation.
Page 19, lines 13 through 16, is a slap in the face for every governor. It assumes that some underling state agency, instead of the state governor, will be dealing with the Secretary of Interior. The Secretary of Interior has complete authority with no ability for appeal. That's definitely not the American way.
Pages 43, lines 11 through 14, what nongovernmental entities are we talking about? Who are these government entities that are going to be able to enforce these easements? What about the states that have laws on the books that say perpetuity is illegal? Easements are for perpetuity. If you lock up a ranch in perpetuity, that disallows anyone from ever selling a little piece of land to save their land, to save their children, to send their children to college. These are not good things. These are things that will put our farmers and ranchersI'll say ranchers, I won't say farmers. These are things that will put our ranchers out of business.
Page 105 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SIMPSON. So what you're saying is that there's nothing in here worth saving. There's no way to correct this bill, there's no way to amend it to correct it, there's nothing worth saving in it?
Ms. HENRY. Yes, sir.
Mr. SIMPSON. And I understand your testimony, you said we ought to repeal the Land and Water Conservation Fund; is that right? Did you say that in your testimony?
Ms. HENRY. I'm saying that if we do continue with the Land and Water Conservation Fund for some of the projects like the first lady that spoke within the urban areas, that's great. But to expand it out to the extent that these bills have been expanded is absolutely unthinkable.
Mr. SIMPSON. I guess my point is is that many of us, in effect all of us, that's why some of us haven't signed on to it and we see there's good aspects of it, things we like in it, there's bad aspects. And what we're trying to find out is what are the parts of it that we don't like that we can change and can we make it something that will in fact be good or is it just rejectable from the start? I guess that's the question I'm asking.
Mr. Priestley, is there anything in here worth saving?
Mr. PRIESTLEY. Well, we have no objections, Congressman, about enhancing the urban life of the parks and those type of things or the open space concepts that have been very muchly talked about today. We do object that this could become a major land acquisition program. At a time when the Federal Government is not able to manage the land they already have.
Mr. SIMPSON. I agree fully.
Mr. PRIESTLEY. I was in Couer d'Alene not long ago and we went on a range tour of some forest land. As you looked across the hills you could clearly feel what was state or what was Federal. A short time ago, I don't remember the dates, a terrible ice storm came across northern Idaho. It broke off the tops of most of the pine trees. That, in essence, killed those trees. On the state and the privately owned properties, the trees were harvested and we still have a beautiful forest. On the other side of the line controlled by the Federal Goverment, we have a whole forest full of dead trees that's been infested with beetles and it is prime for a forest fire. To me that's not managing land. The Federal Government should be required to manage the land it has before being allowed to acquire more to leave unmanaged.
Page 106 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SIMPSON. I guess a lot of us are really concerned about the Federal Government acquiring land but we don't mind states and communities being able to acquire those types of open spaces for whatever, recreational facilities and those types of things, and we're trying to find a way to be able to fund that to get money back into the Land and Water Conservation fund for those types of things.
I don't want the Federal Government coming in and starting to purchase large tracts of land again. I like some of the easement provisions where we can purchase land for open spaces on a willing seller/willing buyer type of provision, trying to maintain open spaces. Quite frankly, in many farm communities that would help some of the farmers that have talked to me that think that that's a good idea. I guess I'm trying to find out what aspects of this are worth saving and what should we say is out of balance. I appreciate your testimony here today. And what you've entered in the record that you weren't able to state I'll sit down and read.
Mr. HANSEN. Thank you. The gentleman from Utah, Mr. Cannon, is recognized for five minutes.
Mr. CANNON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Ms. Fisher, I was interested in your statement. Just for the record to clarify, I take it it was the value of your parents' land that has gone up ten times, right?
Ms. FISHER. Yes.
Mr. CANNON. At this point you're concerned because death taxes would cause that to be sold and I suspect that would mean probably some kind of development that would ruin what you would consider a pristine area.
Ms. FISHER. Yes. For me and my siblings the idea of being able to stay on the family farm and being able to do what we have been doing is what we're interested in doing. But with the estate tax issue and the fact that the farm has increased tenfold we would probably have to sell some of that land off for development and that's one of the things actually that has prompted us to look at a conservation easement on our particular property because it's a long term visioning that we can do as a family but in terms of preservation we're looking at the vision of what we want to see happen on that property from generation to generation.
Page 107 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. CANNON. It seems to me that this is actually quite an interesting issue of policy generally in the United States and it might be interesting for your group and Chris, Mr. Robinson, it might be interesting for Nature Conservancy to take a look at policy, at a recommendation as to what ought to happen with the death tax or the elimination of the death tax. It may be you guys operate on such a large basis that it may be that people who have to sell their land makes a better market and it's easier to buy choice pieces of property to conserve but on the other hand it may be that forcing people into selling it then becomes prime for development is the kind of thing you'd like to avoid.
It would be interesting to me if Nature Conservancy would take a look at that and see if they could derive a position about the death tax which I think is a most counter productive tax that's ever been envisioned by the mind of man or woman or king or subject anywhere. Do you know, Mr. Robinson, if Nature Conservancy has ever looked at that?
Mr. ROBINSON. As I said, Representative Cannon, I'm a board of trustee member. I'm not familiar precisely whether they have. I believe they have. I wanted to say one thing though about this issue that's been sort of highlighted by Ms. Fisher and you in this dialogue and that is that when you have a property that's gone up tenfold and Ms. Fisher (inaudible) if she were trying to earn a livelihood off the land in this commodity based ag business (inaudible) what winds up happening is, not just to pay the death taxes but just to keep food on the table, people wind up having to sell the property, whether it's one piece at a time or whether it's the whole shooting match.
And so what these conservation easements allow, especially if there's a funding source for them, is that she could sell easement on a property which would solve the estate tax problem because then when she does pass away, then the valuation's less and maybe statutory exemption is six hundred or seven hundred thousand would cover it but by the same token, you have to see property preserved. But right now the development tool or the tools that are available are the land owner can either just leave it as it is and suffer the consequences of ownership orthere isn't a funding mechanism to buy those development rights which constitute by and large the biggest share of the bundle of rights. And so what this conservation fund does in part is provides matchingcould provide a funding source to do some of the things that Open Lands and Nature Conservancy and other groups in trust for public lands is trying to do. You have to keep these lands open and operating farms and relieve the financial pressure.
Page 108 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. CANNON. I suspect that you may end up deciding that the inheritance tax is actually a good tool to encourage people to divest that bundle and that may be a very good thing, although I do not like the inheritance tax myself.
Let me just end by saying I want to thank the two representatives from the Idaho and Wyoming Farm Bureau. I think you've stated your ideas clearly and thoughtfully and we appreciate that input. And thank you also Ms. Fisher and Mr. Robinson.
Mr. HANSEN. Thank you, Mr. Cannon. You've all brought up some very interesting points. Ms. Henry, did you want to respond? I'll give you 30 seconds to respond.
Ms. HENRY. No, sir, I didn't have a response, I had a question. You said if we asked questions of you to make them clear and you will write back the comments? I'm unclear on what you said in the beginning.
Mr. HANSEN. I was pointing out that any solutions that you had to these bills or something you wanted to change or you felt there was a good amendment or you wanted to object to a part of it, please write us and let us know. We would love to hear from you and we appreciate you bringing that up.
Ms. HENRY. Thank you.
Mr. HANSEN. You've all brought up some interesting things. There is some really tough problems. You can't please everybody. We never try. We try to do what we think is best for all America and that's a hard thing to do.
Mr. Priestley, you brought up the idea of inholdings in parks. I chair the Committee on public lands. They have 374 units that we're looking at and a whole bunch of them have little teeny pieces in them. People will never be able to use them. You're paying taxes on them. Then on the other hand, who wants to take out all these big pieces in forest service and other areas? It's a real tough question.
Page 109 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The gentleman representing Nature Conservancy, I admire you folks because you market the marketplace. No disrespect to some people but they market the legislature and they feel they go to the legislature. We're marketed constantly, whether it's Sierra Club or Wilderness Alliance or whoever it is, they're constantly trying to get Congress to do things that affect their work. And frankly, it's nice if people go in on a willing seller type of thing. I have to say I admire that and I'm sure we all have disagreements but I always get a little resentful sometimes when I see so many organizations who are marketing the marketplace. They form entire organizations. They create an industry just for doing that. And basically it's for their own very limited and very restrictive agenda.
I'm going to excuse this Committee and I'll probably get in trouble for this but my two colleagues from Idaho have asked for two additional people to speak, Mr. Simpson and Ms. Chenoweth. The problem we get when we do this, we don't have testimony so we can't drill you and ask you nasty questions and all that kind of thing.
But we would like to invite, as we've excused this panel, Karen Conway, Executive Secretary of the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association and Dennis Maughan, Commissioner of Twin Falls County, Idaho. If you two would like to come up for just a moment.
STATEMENT OF CAREN COWAN, EXECUTIVE SECRETARY OF THE NEW MEXICO CATTLE GROWERS ASSOCIATION
Ms. COWAN. I appreciate this opportunity and thank you for letting us speak. First of all, I thank you for taking on this issue and I appreciate you being here but it's frustrating to see that we had 13 witnesses and only four on the side against the bill.
First of all, as Mr. Smith stated, our association has a policy of no net loss of private lands. And if that could be put into this bill we would have a much greater comfort level although that may not solve all the problems.
Page 110 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We do appreciate, Mr. Simpson, that it talks about willing seller and willing buyer but as you heard today there are lots of laws that take away that concept, the death taxes being one of them. Maybe we should fix those laws rather than write a new law that might create greater problems. So we appreciate you looking into those areas.
We talked about the management of Federal lands. We have a tinder box in all of our forests and then that in turn affects our water quality and water quantity, which the Clean Water Act is now coming down hard on. We've heard about the need for public lands. I guess the best way to look at the situation is to ask, which do you think you'd rather use, a public rest room or a private one?
The folks that talked about their businesses today and how they thought that private land owners were locking up lands, are their rest rooms open for anybody to come in anytime of day or night? That's the situation that we're in. In New Mexico we have encouraged people to post their property with no trespassing signs but that's because of the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act.
We don't want folks coming on our private land identifying species or as Chairman Hansen talked about, putting species on, endangered species, to limit our private property. It's not to keep the hunters off. It's not to keep the public off.
I was brought up with the ethic that you shared the land. My grandparents didn't pass it on to my parents and my parents on to me to lock it up. It's ours to use for a while and to share. But the Federal laws have come down and taken away that principle from us and we need your help to fix that.
There are some good things in this bill in terms of urban recreation and everybody believes, that I work for, thinks that's necessary. But the strings that are tied to it are too great for the private property owners to pay.
The conservation easement situation is something that I personally really have a problem with. I have a family where we've got a land inheritance to work with and we have a family fight every year whether we need to or not and half of us don't speak for six months because we can't figure out what we're going to do with the land. But we don't want to sell it. A conservation easement would take away my nephew's right to decide what he wanted to do with it in the future.
Page 111 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And I'll take two more seconds. Talking about the roadless situation and the divisiveness that this bill has caused people who all have the same stake in the card that we want to care for the land, we want greater wildlife, we want greater opportunity. With this bill obviously you can see the dangers, that's why it's divided people. Who benefits from that, I guess that is the question that I would hope you could consider.
You mentioned PILT payments. If I understand the bill right it takes PILT payments from Congress to the Secretary of Interior. Is that going to benefit anybody? That's a question I have. I don't have the answer to that. I crashed a forest service roadless forum a few weeks ago and there were 15 people there who were ranchers, there were off road vehicle folks and environmentalists and by the end of the evening it was determined that it was the hunters' fault that the forest service roads are in such bad shape because they go in in poor weather and tear it up, and of course there were no hunters there to defend themselves.
And finally one of the ranchers piped up and he said, Wait a minute, the hunters didn't cause the Grand Canyon. I responded that I had heard that rangers had caused it. We can't sit here and point fingers but I don't believe this bill has hit that mark yet. Thank you very much for your time.
Mr. HANSEN. Thank you. Commissioner?
STATEMENT OF DENNIS MAUGHAN, COMMISSIONER OF TWIN FALLS COUNTY, IDAHO
Mr. MAUGHAN. Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, it's an honor for me to be here. I hadn't planned on testifying so I was relaxing until Congressman Chenoweth and Congressman Simpson intervened and then I got all of a sudden nervous and started making all sorts of notes and should have just relied on my original. But I do thank you very much for allowing me a few moments to share my thoughts on H.R. 701. I have not looked at H.R. 798.
Page 112 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I've got some blended comments coming from a local county perspective and a state perspective. I've been serving on the County Commission since 1994 in Twin Falls County, which is about 65,000 people. About 40 percent of it is federally owned by BLM and forest service so we know what effects Federal ownership can have on local government and we do appreciate those PILT payments so keep those coming. Don't interrupt those, please. They are helpful.
Fortunately, at this point with H.R. 701 we have an opportunity to maybe build on some things that we had in the past as it relates to the Land and Water Conservation Funds. Twin Falls County has nine parks along the Snake River. Six of those were built with Land and Water Conservation Funds. The great thing about that was that the state shared in a 50-50 local match. Those projects and those lands were titled for Twin Falls County.
If there's anything that I'd like to see done with H.R. 701 is that provision of the Federal partnership taken out, only because it's worked so well in the past that we should rely on the 1965 Land and Water Conservation Fund rules for that grant and those land acquisitions.
I will try to blend through these. The Land and Water Conservation Act of 1965 was a promise to the citizens of the United States to fund this renewable resource outdoor recreation using a nonrenewable resource. It should be appropriated to the states without annual review, I believe. The Idaho State legislature saw the value in restoring this funding and overwhelmingly passed this last year House Joint Memorial II. Support also comes from the National Governors Association and the National Association of Counties.
Idaho, as many states, suffers from limited state and local budgets, especially when it comes to outdoor recreation, facilities and programs. In many cases we've realized a reduction in our local and state in this area. The State Parks and Recreation Department has been asked to seek alternative funding from the legislature, as Congressman Simpson knows, to accomplish their mission and has worked hard and proposed legislation only to be vetoed a couple of times. They've been asked to come up with creative answers and really end up having a shortfall. It just hasn't been enough.
Page 113 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Our cities and counties in Idaho are unable to sustain Idaho's rapid growth. At the same time citizens and visitors, as we all know, are demanding more recreation opportunities and need additional facilities to accommodate their use. H.R. 701 for Idaho would give us $6.2 million annually for maintenance, repair and acquisition for our local and state parks and recreation facility. It would also provide $5.5 million for wildlife programs and conservation efforts.
I would urge you to look at the merits of H.R. 701 as it impacts local and statenot so much how it impacts the Federal Government because I think the promise back in 1965 was there to share those offshore oil royalties with the states and figure out a way to develop H.R. 701 into this partnership with the states. They can pass it on to a local entity and we can continue to provide outstanding opportunities for our folks in recreation.
I would say I know there's an increased concern over land acquisition. I think I've given you my thoughts on that. I believe that there is a way that we can work this out with a Federal partnership as far as the appropriation. Thank you very much for your time and I wish you good luck on this one.
Mr. HANSEN. Thank you, Commissioner. Any members of the Committee have a burning desire to ask questions or comment on the statement of our two friends here?
Mr. SIMPSON. I just thank the chairman for allowing us to have these two additional witnesses.
Mr. CANNON. If I might I would just like to assure Mrs. Cowan that all of us know the difference between numbers and the quality of insight that we get from witnesses.
Mr. HANSEN. Both of you were excellent and we appreciate your good testimony. You mentioned though, as Mr. Cannon pointed out, we're trying basically to get information and we look at who we can get information from. It's kind of hard to say four on this side, four on that side type of thing so we try our best to do that and it's very difficult. You've aptly pointed that out.
Page 114 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC With that stated, let me thank all the people who are here today for your excellent testimony, your time and patience. We thank our staff people for coming out from Washington. I know they're all antsy to catch airplanes and get out of here. I think Mrs. Chenoweth deserves to go to dinner somewhere because she's probably fasted for two days straight.
So with that we'll consider this closed. This was Mr. Young's bill, Mr. Miller's bill. We would like to hear comment on both of those bills. This hearing is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 2:15 p.m., the Subcommittee was adjourned.]
[Additional material submitted for the record follows.]
H.R. 701''CONSERVATION AND REINVESTMENT ACT''
H.R. 798''PERMANENT PROTECTION FOR AMERICA'S RESOURCES 2000''
This will be the fourth legislative hearing the Committee has held on H.R. 701 (Young, AK), ''Conservation and Reinvestment Act'' and H.R. 798 (Miller, CA), ''Permanent Protection for America's Resources 2000.''
This bill resolves the inequity of oil and gas revenue distribution while providing for important conservation and recreation programs. It represents a responsible reinvestment of revenue from non-renewable resources into renewable resources of conservation and recreation for all 50 states and territories.
The Senate companion bill titled ''The Conservation and Reinvestment Act of 1999'' (S. 25) is similar, but not identical.
Page 115 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In January 1999, the Clinton Administration unveiled a similar proposal titled ''The Lands Legacy Initiative.'' However, there are substantial differences. Some include:
CARA's emphasis on local government authority and involvement. This is a key element of the House legislation but diminished in the President's initiative.
Protection of individual property rights are included in the House legislation but excluded from the President's initiative.
New restrictions on access to public lands by creating new wilderness areas which is a focal point of the President's initiative but not included in the House legislation.
Title IOCS Impact Assistance
Creates a revenue sharing fund for coastal states and eligible local governments to mitigate the various unintended impacts of OCS activities and to support sustainable development of nonrenewable resources.
This is accomplished without creating an incentive for new oil and gas development and will have no impact on current OCS leasing moratoria or the President's Executive Order concerning outer continental shelf leasing.
27 percent of OCS revenues distributed amongst 35 coastal states and territories.
Distribution formula based on production, coastline miles, and population. A provision was added in the 106th Congress to ensure that areas held in moratoria are precluded from both revenue inflows and for the computation in determining a state and eligible political subdivision's allocation.
Page 116 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC 50 percent of the funds are shared with local governments (counties, boroughs, parishes) in states where Federal OCS production exists. In all other cases, 100 percent of the state's allocation would be directly allocated to the state government.
Title IILand-based Conservation
By reallocating 23 percent of OCS revenue, CARA guarantees stable and annual funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at its authorized $900 million level. This dedicated funding would provide for both the state and Federal programs included in the LWCF.
This title of the bill also includes funding for important recreation projects through the Urban Parks and Recreation Recovery Program (UPARR). More than $100 million would be dedicated to this important program annually.
In Titles One and Two contain provisions to fund Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILT). While the funds from these two titles are held in the Treasury for a year before disbursement they will accrue interest on approximately $2 billion; that interest will be provided directly to PILT.
CARA includes amendments to the LWCF Act to make the long awaited improvements regarding the operation of the state-side matching grant program.
While funding is provided for Federal land acquisition within the Federal-side of the LWCF, there are some protections to note:
The funding cap for Federal LWCF expenditures, included in CARA, is near the $300 million historical average for Federal LWCF appropriation;
Acquisition can only take place with willing sellers and is only allowed within Congressionally approved boundaries;
Page 117 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCNone of the funding provided for Federal purposes may be used for the condemnation of any interest of property.
An Act of Congress must be passed to approve projects (acquisition, improvements, buildings, etc) over $1 million; and
2/3 of the funding available must be spent east of the 100th meridian.
Title IIIWildlife-based Conseravation
This title of the Conservation and Reinvestment Act of 1999 will reallocate 10 percent of the revenue gained from oil and gas development in the Federal waters of the outer continental shelf (OCS) to provide dedicated funding for wildlife conservation and education programs.
This fimding will not only accomplish the goals of ''Teaming With Wildlife'', but surpass the level of funding anticipated with that proposal.
CARA will not establish an excise tax.
Title III funds will be distributed through the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Fund also known as Pittman-Robertson (P-R). Since fiscal year 1939, Pittman-Robertson has collected and disbursed more than $3 billion for wildlife conservation and recreation projects across America. Made possible entirely through the efforts and taxes paid by sportsmen, the funds are derived from an 11-percent excise tax on sporting arms and ammunition, 10-percent on pistols and revolvers, and an 11-percent tax on archery equipment sold specifically for bow hunting.
Resources 2000 Summary:
Page 118 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Provides annual funding for resource preservation;
Limits funding source to revenues from leases in the Western & Central Gulf of Mexico that were in production by January 1, 1999. Prohibits inclusion of any dollars derived from lease sales issued on or after date of enactment;
Provides automatic trigger to proportionally reduce funds in fiscal years in which the total amount of eligible revenues received is less than the amounts spelled out above;
Provides $250 annually for operations and maintenance of National Parks, Wildlife Refuges, public lands administered by BLM, and National Forests;
Caps administrative expenses at 2 percent for each activity;
Does not include any private property restrictions such as a prohibition against condemnation of private lands; and
Coastal title excludes local governments as an eligible recipient of funding and caps the total amount of funds available to a single state at 10 percent in a fiscal year.
Summary of Resources 2000 funding by program:
Land and Water Conservation Fund (Federal) funded at $450 million:
One-half of the annual $900 million allocation of the LWCF would be dedicated to Federal acquisition of lands authorized by Congress for our national parks, national forests, national wildlife refuges, and public lands.
Land and Water Conservation Fund (Stateside) funded at $450 million:
Page 119 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The other half would go for matching grants to the States (by formula and competitive grants) for the acquisition of lands or interests, planning, and development of outdoor recreation facilities.
UPARR funded at $100 million:
Provides matching grants to local governments to rehabilitate recreation areas and facilities, provide for the development of improved recreation programs, and to acquire, develop, or construct new recreation sites and facilities.
Historic Preservation Fund funded at $150 million:
Funding for the programs of the Historic Preservation Act, including grants to the States, maintaining the National Register of Historic Places, and administer numerous historic preservation programs.
Lands Restoration funded at $250 million:
Funds a coordinated program on Federal and Indian lands to restore degraded lands, protect resources that are threatened with degradation, and protect public health and safety.
Endangered and Threatened Species Recovery Fund funded at $100 million:
Funds implementation of a private landowners incentive program for the recovery of endangered and threatened species and the habitat that they depend on.
Ocean Fish/Wildlife Conservation, Restoration, and Management funded at $300 million:
Page 120 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Funding for the conservation, restoration and management of ocean fish and wildlife of the United States through formula grants to coastal states (including Great Lakes States) and competitive, peer-reviewed grants to private entities. $300 Million begins in FY 2005 and each year thereafter; (FY 2000-2001=$100 Million; FY 2002-2004=$200 Million annually)
Native Fish/Wildlife Conservation, Restoration, Management funded at $350 million:
Provides funding for the conservation, restoration and management of native fish, wildlife and plants through formula grants to the states for the development and implementation of comprehensive plans. $350 Million begins in FY 2005 and each year thereafter; (FY 2000-2001=$100 Million; FY 2002-2004=$200 Million annually)
Farmland and Open Space Preservation Grants funded at $150 million:
Matching, competitive grants to state, local and tribal governments for open space planning, acquisition and administration of threatened farmland and urban forests, to help communities grow in ways that ensure a high quality of life and strong, sustainable economic growth.
Total Funding: $2.3 Billion
Staff Contact: Mike Henry, 225-9297