7:54 PM EDT

Doug Lamborn, R-CO 5th

Mr. LAMBORN. Mr. Chairman, I am offering this amendment on behalf of and in cooperation with Representative Paul Broun of Georgia, who could not be here tonight. What this amendment does is it would zero out all of the land acquisition programs within the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies appropriations bill, thus placing more than $50 million in the Spending Reduction Account in order to reduce our national debt.

The Federal Government already owns more than 650 million acres of land, or about 30 percent of the total land area of the United States. We can't even take good care of the lands that the Federal Government already owns. An example of this is that the Park Service has a current backlog of several billions of dollars of repairs and maintenance in our beautiful national parks. At a time when we are facing an unprecedented fiscal crisis, the Federal Government needs to focus its energy on taking

better care of the land it already has rather than purchasing additional acres. Our Federal agencies have enough on their plate, and if we zero out these land acquisition programs, we can save a significant amount of money.

Mr. Chair, we cannot spend our way out of the debt dilemma. I urge my colleagues to support this amendment and to send more than $50 million toward paying down our national debt.

I yield back the balance of my time.

7:56 PM EDT

Jim Moran, D-VA 8th

Mr. MORAN. Mr. Chairman, I wish that our friends who just spoke on an amendment to add $20 million were still around, because their points are well taken. We've already cut 78 percent from this program.

The gentleman from Colorado wants to eliminate it entirely. The Land and Water Conservation Fund is one of the premier environmental programs in this country. Most Americans have no idea how important it has been to their quality of life and to the ecology of this great country. But by wiping out these funds entirely, the amendment would force land management agencies to cease all work on congressionally approved projects that are now under way using previous year appropriations.

This mean-spirited amendment will hurt willing sellers--landowners who are willing to sell--because it's going to prevent agencies from finishing the commitments that are already in place. Among the willing sellers who would be unfairly thrown to the curb are owners who are partway through contracted sales and are counting on Land and Water Conservation funds to complete those sales, those contracts that they have already been working on. Many landowners, who range from elderly widowers and family

trusts to ranchers and forest owners, have pressing financial needs that now depend on the completion of what are ongoing Land and Water Conservation projects. The amendment would also frustrate land exchanges that are currently in process. So it's not just the sale of land, it's exchanges of land that this amendment would prohibit. Many of them have been years in the making. And so it's very important for local and private economic development and for public land management.

Under this amendment, staff would not even be in place to accept and process donations of important natural historic and other properties. Donations to the public, you wouldn't even have staff to accept those donations. Without staff, right-of-way work to provide or maintain access to key public needs also would be impossible. The public, the American taxpayer, would be unable to secure critically needed routes for fuels and wildfire management or for watershed management or for access for sportsmen

and other recreational use. I can't imagine that the sportsmen in this country could ever want to have this kind of prohibition in place that might prevent them from even getting access to important recreational areas for fishing and hunting and so on.

The amendment would exacerbate an already draconian cut--78 percent cut--to the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a program that is already paid for using a very small percentage of oil drilling receipts. I would hope that my colleagues and anybody that might be listening to this debate would understand that Land and Water Conservation Fund moneys are not taxpayer dollars. They come from the receipts from oil and gas drilling--drilling that is on publicly owned land.

[Time: 20:00]

Those royalties come into the government, and that's what we use to fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, but this would eliminate that program. This amendment represents a complete elimination of a bipartisan program that has existed for 45 years. This proposal prevents revenues deposited in the Land and Water Conservation account from being used for their authorized purposes. These funds were a promise made to the American people in 1964. This Congress should not be breaking that longstanding

commitment. I, obviously, oppose the amendment.

I yield back the balance of my time.

7:56 PM EDT

Jim Moran, D-VA 8th

Mr. MORAN. Mr. Chairman, I wish that our friends who just spoke on an amendment to add $20 million were still around, because their points are well taken. We've already cut 78 percent from this program.

The gentleman from Colorado wants to eliminate it entirely. The Land and Water Conservation Fund is one of the premier environmental programs in this country. Most Americans have no idea how important it has been to their quality of life and to the ecology of this great country. But by wiping out these funds entirely, the amendment would force land management agencies to cease all work on congressionally approved projects that are now under way using previous year appropriations.

This mean-spirited amendment will hurt willing sellers--landowners who are willing to sell--because it's going to prevent agencies from finishing the commitments that are already in place. Among the willing sellers who would be unfairly thrown to the curb are owners who are partway through contracted sales and are counting on Land and Water Conservation funds to complete those sales, those contracts that they have already been working on. Many landowners, who range from elderly widowers and family

trusts to ranchers and forest owners, have pressing financial needs that now depend on the completion of what are ongoing Land and Water Conservation projects. The amendment would also frustrate land exchanges that are currently in process. So it's not just the sale of land, it's exchanges of land that this amendment would prohibit. Many of them have been years in the making. And so it's very important for local and private economic development and for public land management.

Under this amendment, staff would not even be in place to accept and process donations of important natural historic and other properties. Donations to the public, you wouldn't even have staff to accept those donations. Without staff, right-of-way work to provide or maintain access to key public needs also would be impossible. The public, the American taxpayer, would be unable to secure critically needed routes for fuels and wildfire management or for watershed management or for access for sportsmen

and other recreational use. I can't imagine that the sportsmen in this country could ever want to have this kind of prohibition in place that might prevent them from even getting access to important recreational areas for fishing and hunting and so on.

The amendment would exacerbate an already draconian cut--78 percent cut--to the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a program that is already paid for using a very small percentage of oil drilling receipts. I would hope that my colleagues and anybody that might be listening to this debate would understand that Land and Water Conservation Fund moneys are not taxpayer dollars. They come from the receipts from oil and gas drilling--drilling that is on publicly owned land.

[Time: 20:00]

Those royalties come into the government, and that's what we use to fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, but this would eliminate that program. This amendment represents a complete elimination of a bipartisan program that has existed for 45 years. This proposal prevents revenues deposited in the Land and Water Conservation account from being used for their authorized purposes. These funds were a promise made to the American people in 1964. This Congress should not be breaking that longstanding

commitment. I, obviously, oppose the amendment.

I yield back the balance of my time.

8:01 PM EDT

Mike Simpson, R-ID 2nd

Mr. SIMPSON. First, let me apologize to the gentleman from Virginia for the last amendment.

We both had some concerns, that he expressed very well, about taking $20 million out of the Secretary's office and the impact that that could have. As we discussed during his debate, I think both of us are concerned about the underfunding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund and would like to see that fund increased. During his debate in opposition to the amendment, we decided to accept the $20 million in the amendment from the gentleman from New Hampshire and the [Page: H5549]

gentleman

from Connecticut's amendment.

So I apologize for the confusion in the middle of all that. The gentleman's issues that he raised about the Secretary's budget and the impact that could have are real. We will have to address those in conference, and I want to work with you to do that.

Let me rise in opposition to this amendment. I have concerns that this is eliminating all of the funds, especially since we just increased them by $20 million. When we had this limited allocation, we had to make some tough decisions. The Secretary wanted it fully funded at $900 million as did the Obama administration. We simply did not have that kind of money, and to put more money into it, given our allocation, we would have had to take the money out of some other programs that are very important

to other people. What we did do is put enough money in it to keep the programs and the purchases and the deals that had been made with citizens to acquire land that were already in progress so that those could be completed. We didn't put additional money in there.

I happen to be a fan of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. I think it has done some great things. I've seen it do things in Idaho and I've seen it do things in other States, things that are very important. Westerners, though, have a different view of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and let me tell you where it comes from.

It's that most of the money that's put into the Land and Water Conservation Fund, at least a large percentage of it, is used to buy land in States in the West. Those are States that are already highly leveraged by the Federal Government. In Idaho, 64 percent of the land is owned by the Federal Government. So a lot of westerners say, Listen, if you want to put money in the Land and Water Conservation Fund, if you want to buy the whole east coast, we don't care; but what we want in Idaho and what

we want in Western States is some private land to be able to pay the taxes to support our education system and other services that are necessary.

I have one county in Idaho that is 96 percent Federal land--96 percent Federal land. It's bigger than the State of Rhode Island. That means 4 percent of the property is paying property taxes to deliver the services to these people. Several years ago, a mountain climber, not from Idaho but from somewhere else, came out and was climbing the mountains of Mount Borah. He died. It took their entire search and rescue budget for the year for that county to retrieve that one body off Mount Borah. That

means everybody else who recreated in that county did not have that backup, did not have that search and rescue available, because they had no funds, because they had no private land to pay the taxes to fund those services.

That's the problem that westerners who are in States that are highly owned by the Federal Government have with the Land and Water Conservation Fund, but I'll be the first to admit that it does some wonderful things. If you float down the South Fork of the Snake River, you will see one of the most beautiful canyons and one of the best fishing rivers in the country; and if the gentleman from Washington wants to come out, I'll float him down it. It is an incredibly beautiful place, and it has been

done through the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

So I believe in the importance of this program. I apologize to the gentleman from Virginia as to our previous confusion on that; but I oppose this amendment, and I would encourage Members to oppose it.

I yield back the balance of my time.

8:05 PM EDT

John Garamendi, D-CA 10th

Mr. GARAMENDI. I was just listening to the debate here, saying: What are they thinking? What is the rationale? What is the purpose for the legislation that we have before us, more pointedly, the amendment that was just offered?

This is an incredible country. This is a country that very recently took great pride in cleaning its rivers, in protecting its citizens from toxins and pollutants and chemicals and poisons. This is a country that took great pride in creating the first-ever in this world national park and then expanded it over time to create the most awesome National Park System in the entire world. This is a country that took great pride in the Snake River and the use of the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

An argument was made a moment ago that there is not enough money. Yet not more than a month ago, an effort to increase the royalties from our oil that is pumped from our land, the land of the people and of the United States--and in fact even to get a royalty--was rejected by our Republican colleagues. So money was available if we simply had gone for the royalties that should be there under any case. This legislation, however, goes far beyond that, and over time will destroy the pride that we

have taken in creating our national parks, in setting aside for future generations the great vistas of America, protecting our air, our land and our water.

You look at this bill. You look at the details of this bill, and you go, Oh, my. How could they? How could they put in legislation that would block the effort of the EPA to eliminate mercury poison in our air and water? How could they allow a bill that would create more soot in our atmosphere, put 34,000 lives at risk, and exempt the oil companies from air pollution standards in offshore drilling, which in California is a big deal because the air blows, the wind blows onto the land? How could

they threaten the health of millions of Americans by jeopardizing the EPA's critical air, land and water regulations? Then our children. They block the EPA from limiting dangerous air pollution. How could they put together a bill that potentially could contaminate 117 million Americans' water?

How could you do that? Have you no pride in this country? Do you not care about the basic things that we have done to create a country that cares about clean water? You talk about jobs. Yet, in this bill, you eliminate the funding for the Clean Water Act, which is really building sanitation facilities in our community.

I remember in the 1960s the great pride that the 500 people in my community of Mokelumne Hill took when they got that money from the Federal Government and actually built the first sanitation system in that small town. How could you deny Americans the opportunity for that--and the drinking water and the jobs that go with it?

That's what this bill does. Take pride in what you're doing, gentlemen, because at the end of the day, the American public will not take pride in what you're doing to this piece of legislation.

I yield back the balance of my time.

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE ACTING CHAIR

The Acting CHAIR. Members are reminded to address their remarks to the Chair.

The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Colorado (Mr. Lamborn).

The amendment was rejected.

AMENDMENT OFFERED BY MR.

TIPTON

8:09 PM EDT

Scott Tipton, R-CO 3rd

Mr. TIPTON. My amendment is going to apply funds directed towards much needed conservation programs which are used to be able to provide access for the American people to our public lands and to help support jobs in the recreational and sportsmen industry.

Our public lands are a treasured resource for all Americans to be able to use and enjoy responsibly. I support a balanced approach to public lands use, respecting the environment that we all deeply value while making the best use of our natural resources on public lands. Recreation, preservation, access, [Page: H5550]

and job creation are all important aspects of the multiple-use management for which these lands are truly intended.

This funding would be used for projects that clearly and specifically improve access for hunting, fishing and other forms of outdoor recreation on these Federal public lands. Of the directed funds, $5 million would be redirected to make public lands public and provide much needed support for recreational access.

I yield back the balance of my time.

[Time: 20:10]

The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Colorado (Mr. Tipton).

The amendment was agreed to.

The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will read.

The Clerk read as follows.

OREGON AND CALIFORNIA GRANT LANDS

For expenses necessary for management, protection, and development of resources and for construction, operation, and maintenance of access roads, reforestation, and other improvements on the revested Oregon and California Railroad grant lands, on other Federal lands in the Oregon and California land-grant counties of Oregon, and on adjacent rights-of-way; and acquisition of lands or interests therein, including existing connecting roads on or adjacent to such grant lands; $112,043,000, to remain

available until expended: Provided, That 25 percent of the aggregate of all receipts during the current fiscal year from the revested Oregon and California Railroad grant lands is hereby made a charge against the Oregon and California land-grant fund and shall be transferred to the General Fund in the Treasury in accordance with the second paragraph of subsection (b) of title II of the Act of August 28, 1937 (50 Stat. 876).

RANGE IMPROVEMENTS

For rehabilitation, protection, and acquisition of lands and interests therein, and improvement of Federal rangelands pursuant to section 401 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1751), notwithstanding any other Act, sums equal to 50 percent of all moneys received during the prior fiscal year under sections 3 and 15 of the Taylor Grazing Act (43 U.S.C. 315 et seq.) and the amount designated for range improvements from grazing fees and mineral leasing receipts from

Bankhead-Jones lands transferred to the Department of the Interior pursuant to law, but not less than $10,000,000, to remain available until expended: Provided, That not to exceed $600,000 shall be available for administrative expenses.

SERVICE CHARGES, DEPOSITS, AND FORFEITURES

For administrative expenses and other costs related to processing application documents and other authorizations for use and disposal of public lands and resources, for costs of providing copies of official public land documents, for monitoring construction, operation, and termination of facilities in conjunction with use authorizations, and for rehabilitation of damaged property, such amounts as may be collected under Public Law 94-579, as amended, and Public Law 93-153, to remain available

until expended: Provided, That, notwithstanding any provision to the contrary of section 305(a) of Public Law 94-579 (43 U.S.C. 1735(a)), any moneys that have been or will be received pursuant to that subsection, whether as a result of forfeiture, compromise, or settlement, if not appropriate for refund pursuant to section 305(c) of that Act (43 U.S.C. 1735(c)), shall be available and may be expended under the authority of this Act by the Secretary to improve, protect, or rehabilitate any public

lands administered through the Bureau of Land Management which have been damaged by the action of a resource developer, purchaser, permittee, or any unauthorized person, without regard to whether all moneys collected from each such action are used on the exact lands damaged which led to the action: Provided further, That any such moneys that are in excess of amounts needed to repair damage to the exact land for which funds were collected may be used to repair other damaged public lands.

MISCELLANEOUS TRUST FUNDS

In addition to amounts authorized to be expended under existing laws, there is hereby appropriated such amounts as may be contributed under section 307 of the Act of October 21, 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1737), and such amounts as may be advanced for administrative costs, surveys, appraisals, and costs of making conveyances of omitted lands under section 211(b) of that Act, to remain available until expended.

ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISIONS

The Bureau of Land Management may carry out the operations funded under this Act by direct expenditure, contracts, grants, cooperative agreements and reimbursable agreements with public and private entities, including with States. Appropriations for the Bureau shall be available for purchase, erection, and dismantlement of temporary structures, and alteration and maintenance of necessary buildings and appurtenant facilities to which the United States has title; up to $100,000 for payments, at

the discretion of the Secretary, for information or evidence concerning violations of laws administered by the Bureau; miscellaneous and emergency expenses of enforcement activities authorized or approved by the Secretary and to be accounted for solely on the Secretary's certificate, not to exceed $10,000: Provided, That notwithstanding Public Law 90-620 (44 U.S.C. 501), the Bureau may, under cooperative cost-sharing and partnership arrangements authorized by law, procure printing services from cooperators in connection with jointly produced publications for which the cooperators share the cost of printing either

in cash or in services, and the Bureau determines the cooperator is capable of meeting accepted quality standards: Provided further, That projects to be funded pursuant to a written commitment by a State government to provide an identified amount of money in support of the project may be carried out by

the Bureau on a reimbursable basis. Appropriations herein made shall not be available for the destruction of healthy, unadopted, wild horses and burros in the care of the Bureau or its contractors or for the sale of wild horses and burros that results in their destruction for processing into commercial products.

United States Fish and Wildlife Service

RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

For necessary expenses of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, as authorized by law, and for scientific and economic studies, general administration, and the performance of other authorized functions related to such resources, $1,099,055,000, to remain available until September 30, 2013 except as otherwise provided herein: Provided, That none of the funds shall be used for implementing subsections (a), (b), (c), and (e) of section 4 of the Endangered Species Act, (except for

processing petitions, developing and issuing proposed and final regulations, and taking any other steps to implement actions described in subsection (c)(2)(A), (c)(2)(B)(i), or (c)(2)(B)(ii) of such section): Provided further, That of the amount available for law enforcement, up to $400,000, to remain available until expended, may at the discretion of the Secretary of the Interior be used for payment for information,

rewards, or evidence concerning violations of laws administered by the Service, and miscellaneous and emergency expenses of enforcement activity, authorized or approved by the Secretary and to be accounted for solely on the Secretary's certificate: Provided further, That of the amount provided for environmental contaminants, up to $1,000,000 may remain available until expended for contaminant sample analyses.

AMENDMENT OFFERED BY MR. DICKS