Mr. BISHOP of Utah. I appreciate very kindly the gentleman from Virginia and his explanation of this particular provision that's in the bill. Unfortunately, it's not quite that way. Your recommendation of this is that in June the Secretary asked for our input as to wilderness, which is indeed exactly what he should do if he wants to obey the law. That is the proper course. Only Congress has the ability to designate wilderness areas.
You said that the provision that's in the bill would foreclose that process. In fact, you're arguing the exact opposite. This provision in the bill does not allow the Secretary to go around that process but insists that he does come and work with Congress to do any kind of land designation as it is written in the law.
Secretary Salazar and Deputy Secretary Hayes and BLM Director Abbey have all assured us that they have no plans to implement this ill-advised policy they established just before Christmas, a Secretarial order that usurped congressional authority and congressional responsibility. I'm going to take them at their word. Unfortunately, though, the order has never been withdrawn officially. It has been superseded.
The Solicitor General's opinion to clarify the legal status of that superseding of the opinion has been promised us. It was promised to the chairman, promised to the chairman of the authorizing committee. Yesterday at a hearing we asked where that was, and we were told once again, well, it's on its way. What was said at that hearing, obviously, is what they will do is nothing contrary to the provision that was placed in the CR. Therefore, if we are going to take their word for it--in the old
Reaganesque form, ``Trust, but verify''--continue this language in here and make sure that what they claim they will do will be done and there is no legal way of getting around it.
Now, I say that legal process for a purpose. Even if I trust the word of the Secretary--and I do--if this provision is in some way legally in doubt--now, once again, until the Solicitor General's opinion is clear with us, it is in doubt--in a litigation-prone society like we have, any kind of radical activist may ask a renegade judge for political purposes to contravene what the policy states it's supposed to be. That's why I support Congresswoman Lummis' inclusion of this language in
here. It would oppose any kind of roundabout process of going around Congress and allowing the administration to go around NEPA and around FLPMA, which is actually what the original order did.
It is not that we don't have confidence in this process; it's simply that we want to make sure it is very clean. And if, indeed, we all agree and believe what the Secretary is saying, then this language in here has no impact whatsoever. It should be accepted by all of us. If, though, you want to try to have some kind of dangling aspect out there so that somebody can sue someone [Page: H5619]
somewhere and maybe change the entire process, then create doubt and actually
withdraw language that was in the CR that was approved by the House and the Senate and signed by the President.
What we're asking for is consistency so that what the gentleman from Virginia said will indeed happen, that if wilderness is designated, it will be done by Congress--it is our legal responsibility to do it--and that no one can do these evaluations, which are legal under FLPMA, with only one criterion. That, once again, was admitted by Director Abbey in our committee that that is not the way the law is written, and indeed if you do that, that is abrogation of the law.
Now, once again, you have a process here. If you leave the language in there, it's no harm, no foul. It is consistent with the law, and it is consistent with what the Department of the Interior said their policy will be. You take this language out, and all of a sudden you have created a doubt. Find somebody who has a good attorney, and all of a sudden that doubt creates a major problem for the Department of the Interior, and especially for us in Congress.
I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. MORAN. Mr. Chairman, I agree with the distinguished Member from California. I know my colleague--and she's more than a colleague, a friend--is very passionate about this program, and it has a sweet acronym, DERA. As I said during the H.R. 1 debate, the diesel emissions program is a good program. That's not the issue. Right now, with regard to this amendment, the issue is whether or not we should be raiding other EPA accounts to give this diesel program even more funding than it actually has
already gotten in this bill.
Chairman Simpson funded the diesel program at $30 million, even though President Obama requested nothing for it. Now this amendment would add a mere $5 million, but it would take $10 million from EPA's buildings to pay for it. It may be politically attractive to take from a buildings account, until you know what it funds.
The following facilities would have to give up funding to add this $5 million to the diesel program: the Ann [Page: H5632]
Arbor, Michigan, national vehicle and fuel emissions lab; the Andrew Breidenbach environmental research center in Cincinnati, Ohio; the Region 9 office in San Francisco; the Research Triangle Park main laboratory in North Carolina. In that regard, the project in 2012 needs to be funded so we can save future lease costs that would be in jeopardy
if we were to take this money away from the Research Triangle Park lab. The Narragansett, Rhode Island, research lab would be cut, and the air and radiation lab in Montgomery, Alabama.
All of these facilities have requests in this fiscal year 2012 budget for needed facilities improvements. To cut those in order to increase a program that was already plussed up $30 million above the request doesn't seem to me to be the right thing to do.
In addition, we have an amendment filed from another Member--and I see her here so I suspect it's going to come up right now--to take away the $30 million that's already in the bill. I would hope my good friend would stick around to strike the last word and address this amendment that would zero out the diesel program. I don't want to zero it out, but neither do I want to zero out money for six important EPA facilities. So I hope the supporters of the diesel program will stick around, will defend
it against its elimination, which is an amendment that's coming up very soon, but right now it seems to me that the wisest thing to do is to try to protect the $30 million that's already in the program, which is $30 million more than the President requested.
I yield back the balance of my time.
The Acting CHAIR (Mr. Westmoreland). The question is on the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Richardson).
The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the noes appeared to have it.
Mr. GARAMENDI. The amendment that's being offered is perfectly appropriate. It's the duty of the Department of the Interior to carry out the law. The law requires the Secretary to review, from time to time, the status of public land.
All too often, I hear my colleagues on the Republican side say that this is government land. No, no, no, this is not government land. This is our land. This is the land of the American people, owned in common for the common good. And the Secretary, carrying out that responsibility, reviews the attributes of the land. Is it good for oil? How about gas development or coal development? Or maybe it's useful as grazing land, or perhaps it should be wild and scenic land and preserved for the purpose
of remaining in its most natural state. So my Republican colleagues come up and say, No, you can't look at the land. You can't study the land. We just won't want to know anything about the land, except to allow for the destruction of the land.
This particular amendment doesn't come in a vacuum. This amendment leads to the House floor another bill that is likely to move out of the Resources Committee and soon be on the floor, which would take the previous work done over the last 30 years that would quantify the values of the land, scenic, natural, wilderness, and push all of that aside and say, Open all the land, all the land to what was euphemistically--I hope euphemistically--called mechanized conservation. Hmm, ``mechanized conservation.''
Sounds to me like bulldozer, drilling rigs, a stampede of cattle and the like over any and all land.
Understand that this particular line in this appropriation bill goes hand in hand with a piece of legislation that went through, that was heard in the Resources Committee just yesterday, that would take all of the land that has been designated as wild and scenic some 30 years ago--some of which is said, no, it's not perfect for a wild and scenic designation--and take all of that land and open it for development. We ought not do that.
Therefore, this amendment that's been brought forward by the ranking member is appropriate in that it allows the Department of the Interior to upgrade some 30-year-old studies, taking into account new scientific information, new information about the land, and making that information available to us in Congress so that we can make an informed decision about whether land should or should not be wild and scenic or whatever designation might be appropriate, including opening some land for development.
But I suppose it's best to know nothing.
Mr. GARAMENDI. Thank you for that accommodation.
I think the underlying problem was well described by you, and that is that the language prohibits the Secretary from going forward with the study of the wild lands. I think that's wrong. I think it's appropriate for us to always update our studies, always to understand what has changed and what is appropriate as we go forward.
Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. If the gentleman remembers, because he was in a committee hearing, under direct questioning, I think it was Director Abbey said that there is no authority to make any designation under law of wild lands because that was a made-up term. There's no designation.
Can they inventory? Yes. Nobody argues with that. But you can't make up administratively a new designation, and that's what the issue was. And he testified that he had no authority to do that.
Mr. GARAMENDI. I think you're down to parsing words here. The study that was attempted to be undertaken by the Secretary was to study the lands for their wild land values. He obviously could not designate a wild land that doesn't exist. But that study could give us information that we would need to open land to more drilling or other purposes, or to hold it aside for scenic and other values.
I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. SIMPSON. Mr. Chairman, this debate is always fascinating. I've got to tell you, if rhetoric were fast food, there'd be golden arches over all these doors because I've never heard so much rhetoric in my life. And I hope that the gentleman from California actually read the report. Maybe he did and maybe these pages got stuck together. I don't know.
But if you look at the report--he said that we don't care about the lands and the designations, that we just want to use them up and all that kind of stuff.
Let me read, for the Record, what the report says: As mentioned in the introduction of this report, the committee lauds the Department of the Interior for its significant changes in wild lands policy and notes that the Bureau of Land Management has, to this date, been in compliance with the fiscal year 2011 continuing resolution prohibiting funds for the use of Secretarial order 3310, which was to designate, and as the gentleman said, he couldn't designate wild lands because [Page:
that policy didn't exist, and he can't. And he's in compliance with that.
It continues: While the Department is now rightly requesting the input of Members of Congress, Senators, and the public, the committee is concerned about the internal direction given by the Bureau of Land Management regarding the inventory of lands managed by the Bureau. As the Department has stated, inventories of bureau lands are required under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, FLPMA, and the committee agrees. The committee agrees with this reading of the act.
The committee points out that inventories should, however, cover all land uses, multiple use, not just lands with wilderness character. The values to be assessed include wildlife, fish habitat, nonmotorized and motorized recreation, hunting, fishing, grazing, conventional and renewable energy development, mining, wilderness character, forest management, and aesthetics. All of these values are important, and one value does not supersede the other.
The committee also directs the Bureau to use the definition of wilderness as defined in the 1964 Wilderness Act, as directed by section 603 of FLPMA. The committee will continue its oversight of this issue.
The Secretary has done the right thing by withdrawing his policy of wild lands designation, a designation that he made up. Only Congress can designate a new land designation. That's what Congress does. The Secretary agreed with that, withdrew it.
We have no problem, and encourage them to go on with the inventories for all of the characteristics of public lands. So the gentleman's comments relative to oh, all we care about is mining and flattening the land, or whatever he said, is just rhetoric.
I urge my colleagues to oppose this amendment. The reality is, if the Secretary carries out what he says he's going to do, this amendment probably isn't necessary. If they decide to reverse course, then it was necessary. If they do what they said they are going to do, it absolutely won't have any effect, as the gentleman from Utah said.
Mr. GARAMENDI. When I was the Deputy Secretary at the Department of the Interior, I thought that the Department of the Interior should do what it needed to do. Now that I'm here I would agree with you that they should do what we tell them to do. Just a change in jobs.
However, the point here is that the language that you have put into this bill would preclude the Secretary from moving forward, even to carry out the words that are in the document itself. And I did read the document.
We need to know what is on the land, and we need to know its potential uses. As I understand the amendment that you have put forward that is in this bill, it would deny the funding for those purposes to do the study. Now if I am wrong about that intent and effect of the amendment, then we've had a wonderful debate in which we all agree that the Secretary and the Department of the Interior should continue to always study the land and to take into account new information, new science, new knowledge,
new GPS or satellite photos of the land. So I think, as I understand the amendment, and the intent of the amendment, it is to stop the Department from continuing to study these multiple attributes.
Mr. SIMPSON. Reclaiming my time, the Secretarial order which is in question needs to be withdrawn, and then he needs to issue a new one which doesn't include this new designation of wild lands because that still stands out there even though he says he's not going to designate any new wild lands.
Mr. BISHOP of Utah. This amendment only deals with the category that was called wild lands, which is a made up category that has nothing to do with any kind of law.
Is it not true that the Secretary and the Interior Department can still do inventories on any consequence, but they are not allowed only to do inventory for one characteristic. They can inventory for all characteristics they're supposed to, and that comes in FLPMA.
Mr. DICKS. Section 124 prohibits expenditures for the Bureau of Land Management to carry out its duties under section 201 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976. Secretarial order 3310 states a policy that the Bureau of Land Management should act consistently with section 201 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act and maintain a current inventory of land under its jurisdiction, and identify within that inventory the resource values, including wilderness, of those lands.
Despite what some have claimed, it does not create de facto wilderness. It returns BLM wilderness policy to the way it operated for 27 years before being unilaterally changed by then Interior Secretary Gale Norton in 2003. It directs the BLM to develop recommendations to Congress regarding wilderness land designation, and it directs public involvement in the development of those recommendations.
Section 124 removes the requirement for public involvement and removes the requirement for the BLM to provide recommendations to Congress. Section 124 doesn't prevent Congress from designating wilderness; it just prevents us from being properly informed before we consider these designations.
Secretarial order 3310 is the kind of good government process that encourages public involvement and forward thinking. As a demonstration of that forward thinking, the Secretary reached out to Congress in June asking for Members' input into the wilderness characteristics of land within their districts. I'm not sure what more we can ask for from the BLM and the Secretary but an open public process, as Mr. Moran has stated.
Section 124 seeks to foreclose that process, a process that the majority in the committee report on H.R. 2584 applauded. These wild lands have real benefit--economic, environmental, and aesthetic. It's important that we protect not only public land in its natural state but our ability to make informed decisions about what areas should or should not be designated wilderness. We need the Secretarial order, and we need to be informed.
I yield to the gentleman from California if he would like to make a final comment here.
Mr. GARAMENDI. It's useful to read, and the characteristic of order No. 3310, which is the subject matter, was well described by the gentleman from Washington--if one were to read the order, the order basically directs the Bureau of Land Management to continue to do its studies for the purpose of identifying those lands that have wilderness characteristics. This is exactly what I was talking about when I raised my first point, that this particular section that is in this appropriation bill, section
124, fits directly with the piece of legislation that was authored by Mr. McCarthy and was heard in the subcommittee yesterday, and that is to terminate efforts to create wilderness areas in the United States. That's what this is all about. This is about opening lands to development, and to prohibit the Department from exercising its authority under the law to continue to investigate and to analyze our land for the value of its wilderness characteristics.
Therefore, this particular clause, 124 in the appropriation bill, runs directly counter to the requirement under the existing law that's been there for more than three decades for the Department of the Interior, through the Bureau of Land Management, to carry out its responsibilities.
Mr. SIMPSON. What does it hurt? It doesn't hurt a thing.
What the gentleman is suggesting is because we are essentially saying you can't follow Secretarial order 3310, that means you can't follow FLPMA, which requires the inventory of these lands. They still have to do the inventory of the lands under FLPMA whether or not there is a Secretarial order 3310.
The Acting CHAIR. The time of the gentleman from Washington has expired.
(By unanimous consent, Mr. Dicks was allowed to proceed for 1 additional minute.)
Mr. GARAMENDI. I thank the gentleman from Washington and our colleague on the other side.
It's useful to read the Secretarial order rather than all of the hullabaloo of what this is all about. The Secretarial order follows the law. It says that the BLM shall do an analysis as to the wilderness characteristics. That is in FLPMA; that's the law. And so it says that's what it's doing.
Mr. BISHOP of Utah. I didn't want it, but thank you.
Let me just simply try and come up with this one last time. The idea of inventory is covered in FLPMA; that doesn't change. The Secretarial order that established wild lands is a new policy. That has been superseded by another Secretarial order. It doesn't have an impact on this, which is one of the reasons why the administrative policy says it is unnecessary, given the Department's policy that includes collaboration with stakeholders, to identify public lands that may be appropriated.
The administration is not fighting this thing; they're on board with us. All we're saying is the reason you want to keep this language in here--until the supersession has taken place and the entire thing is repealed and you go back to FLPMA--is in case someone wants to litigate outside of it and try and force the Department of the Interior to do something it has said it will not do. That's what we're about here.
All these other arguments are extraneous. Its relationship to other legislation. It does not have any impact whatsoever. This is simply saying what the policy is, and the policy they're going to continue will be substantiated in the statute in case someone else wants to play around with it.
Mrs. LUMMIS. Reclaiming my time, Mr. Chairman, so the point is this: The administration does not object, as I understand it, to the language of my amendment. The executive order, if it were repealed, would allow FLPMA to function as it is designed in the law. The problem that has been called to my attention is that the executive order has not been repealed. Secretary Salazar communicated privately with Chairman Simpson and Chairman Bishop that he did not intend to enforce the
wild lands order, but the order is still in place. So until the order is withdrawn, this amendment is necessary.
Democrats strongly opposed including this language in the committee level. They've offered this amendment today. And then the President has threatened veto because this language might be in the bill. Now given that development, my initial skepticism on including this language is long gone. I'm not even skeptical anymore. Clearly, there are those who still want the Secretary to operate outside his legal authority and declare wilderness or wild lands areas without Congress. Only Congress can do
I yield to the gentleman from Washington.
Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. I thank the gentlelady for yielding.
I'm glad the gentleman brought up Secretarial order 3310 because that's what we're talking about here.
Now the first sentence under section one, Purpose, it says: The Secretarial order affirms the protection of wilderness characteristics. Nobody is arguing about that at all. Then you go to page 2 of the Secretarial order, section 4, Policy, and it goes on through the process of inventorying and so forth.
And the last sentence is the problem where we have our heartburn. It says: ``Where the BLM concludes that protection of wilderness characteristics''--which nobody argues about--``is appropriate, the BLM shall designate these lands as `Wild Lands.' ''
Now that is a made-up definition. Nobody argues about the inventory part, but now all of a sudden they're superseding and suggesting that there should be a new designation called wild lands. That is what the problem is. They have no authority to do that. And they affirmed that, by the way, in testimony in front of our committee. This part of the Interior bill simply says we're not going to fund that. And until the Secretarial order is withdrawn--this one here that says wild lands--once this is
withdrawn, you're right, there's no issue. But it hasn't been withdrawn. That's why that language needs to stay in there. It's nothing more complicated than that.
I thank the gentlelady for yielding.
Mrs. LUMMIS. Reclaiming my time, this issue is not just an academic discussion on this floor. People in the West are terrified that the Department of the Interior is going to create a new category of lands called ``wild lands'' that will be managed differently than the law provides.
Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.