|2:57 PM EDT||
Mike Simpson, R-ID 2nd
Mr. SIMPSON. I appreciate the gentleman from Virginia's concern about the cost or the subsidies or whatever he wants to call it, but it has absolutely nothing to do with this amendment. It's a whole different issue. Should the Resources Committee be looking at the prices charged for cattle grazing, or mining, other things? Sure, they should be. It's not the purpose of this bill. It's not the purpose of this amendment.
All this amendment says is that in the past, BLM regulations have required that litigants exhaust the administrative review before litigating in Federal court. That means they have to go through the review process that's been set up administratively before they can go to court.
Recently, numerous lawsuits over grazing have been filed in Federal courts before the administrative review process had been completed. That means they haven't gone through to find out whether they would win or lose on the administrative side. This ties up the BLM field offices because they must respond to both an administrative process on one side and a litigation process on the other side. This provision simply requires litigants to first exhaust the administrative review before litigating
grazing issues in Federal court. Litigants could still file for temporary restraining orders, contrary to what you said. They have to show irreparable harm, and they can still file for temporary restraining orders. Nothing in this provision prevents that.
I would hope--and I know the ranking member of the full committee, Mr. Dicks, because we've talked about this before--if we could spend more money actually managing the lands rather than in court, we would all be better off. All this says is, follow the administrative procedures, and exhaust them before you go to court. You still have that option after those administrative procedures have been exhausted. As I said, you can still get a restraining order if there's irreparable harm. This,
I think, will cut down on the lawsuits, and I think this is a good provision in the bill.
And I would hope that the gentlemen from Washington and Virginia would recognize how well the underlying bill is written and would withdraw the amendment.