|4:20 PM EDT||
Mike Simpson, R-ID 2nd
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.