3:49 PM EST
Doc Hastings, R-WA 4th

Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. I thank the gentleman for yielding. I think this is a good amendment, and I support the amendment. The primary purpose of this legislation is to limit unjustified Federal bureaucratic limitations on hunting and fishing.

I also want to make a point here that it is important to recognize that the authority of States to regulate hunting and fishing should be paramount over the Federal Government. Individual Federal agencies should not preempt State laws, and it sounds to me like that is what the gentleman is talking about in his case.

I think the amendment is a good amendment, and I support it.

3:50 PM EST
Peter A. DeFazio, D-OR 4th

Mr. DeFAZIO. Mr. Chairman, we have talked about major problems confronting this Congress, and here we are now trying to resolve yet another local conflict.

After considerable complaints by private property owners about hunters encroaching on their land to retrieve their dogs that have gotten lost, driving on their land and that, the Forest Service decided because of the intermingled ownership to prohibit dog deer hunting.

Now comes the gentleman who says, well, we are going to reopen it. We will countermand the locally made decision, but we will have a new process where the private landowners can petition the secretary to re-close certain areas of the area that are now closed that he is reopening because of conflicts with their private property. However, these private property owners' petitions will have to go through the dreaded NEPA process, and that is, for deciding something as minor as that, kind of problematic.

You know, I guess maybe we should have a special day here, and I have some beefs with some Federal agencies ongoing that I would like to settle with legislation, too. Maybe we should have an open amendment process some day where every little local issue we have been dealing with with a Federal agency which is contentious between conflicting users will be decided by the United States Congress in Washington, D.C., not at the local level. That is what we are doing here. It is pretty extraordinary.

I reserve the balance of my time.

3:50 PM EST
Peter A. DeFazio, D-OR 4th

Mr. DeFAZIO. Mr. Chairman, we have talked about major problems confronting this Congress, and here we are now trying to resolve yet another local conflict.

After considerable complaints by private property owners about hunters encroaching on their land to retrieve their dogs that have gotten lost, driving on their land and that, the Forest Service decided because of the intermingled ownership to prohibit dog deer hunting.

Now comes the gentleman who says, well, we are going to reopen it. We will countermand the locally made decision, but we will have a new process where the private landowners can petition the secretary to re-close certain areas of the area that are now closed that he is reopening because of conflicts with their private property. However, these private property owners' petitions will have to go through the dreaded NEPA process, and that is, for deciding something as minor as that, kind of problematic.

You know, I guess maybe we should have a special day here, and I have some beefs with some Federal agencies ongoing that I would like to settle with legislation, too. Maybe we should have an open amendment process some day where every little local issue we have been dealing with with a Federal agency which is contentious between conflicting users will be decided by the United States Congress in Washington, D.C., not at the local level. That is what we are doing here. It is pretty extraordinary.

I reserve the balance of my time.

3:50 PM EST
Peter A. DeFazio, D-OR 4th

Mr. DeFAZIO. Mr. Chairman, we have talked about major problems confronting this Congress, and here we are now trying to resolve yet another local conflict.

After considerable complaints by private property owners about hunters encroaching on their land to retrieve their dogs that have gotten lost, driving on their land and that, the Forest Service decided because of the intermingled ownership to prohibit dog deer hunting.

Now comes the gentleman who says, well, we are going to reopen it. We will countermand the locally made decision, but we will have a new process where the private landowners can petition the secretary to re-close certain areas of the area that are now closed that he is reopening because of conflicts with their private property. However, these private property owners' petitions will have to go through the dreaded NEPA process, and that is, for deciding something as minor as that, kind of problematic.

You know, I guess maybe we should have a special day here, and I have some beefs with some Federal agencies ongoing that I would like to settle with legislation, too. Maybe we should have an open amendment process some day where every little local issue we have been dealing with with a Federal agency which is contentious between conflicting users will be decided by the United States Congress in Washington, D.C., not at the local level. That is what we are doing here. It is pretty extraordinary.

I reserve the balance of my time.

3:52 PM EST
John Calvin Fleming Jr., R-LA 4th

Mr. FLEMING. Mr. Chairman, I would like to address the issues brought up here.

First of all, the gentleman said there were multiple complaints. This was studied considerably. There was 1,237 responses to a request in 2009, and by October 6, we found that there were 77 percent, a clear majority of the respondents, who were actually in favor of continuing the practice of dog deer hunting. This was requested again in 2011, and there were over 1,300 respondents, and all but 16 were in favor of dog deer hunting and against the Forest Service proposed ban.

The other thing I would like to address, Mr. Chairman, is this was not a locally made decision. This was made in Atlanta. This is the problem. This has

been going on for 300 years in the State of Louisiana. It is a big part of our heritage, and somebody over in Georgia, in Atlanta, representing the Federal Government, made this decision, not locally. There was no decision locally. The State supports this. The local residents support it by a vast majority.

I reserve the balance of my time.

3:52 PM EST
John Calvin Fleming Jr., R-LA 4th

Mr. FLEMING. Mr. Chairman, I would like to address the issues brought up here.

First of all, the gentleman said there were multiple complaints. This was studied considerably. There was 1,237 responses to a request in 2009, and by October 6, we found that there were 77 percent, a clear majority of the respondents, who were actually in favor of continuing the practice of dog deer hunting. This was requested again in 2011, and there were over 1,300 respondents, and all but 16 were in favor of dog deer hunting and against the Forest Service proposed ban.

The other thing I would like to address, Mr. Chairman, is this was not a locally made decision. This was made in Atlanta. This is the problem. This has

been going on for 300 years in the State of Louisiana. It is a big part of our heritage, and somebody over in Georgia, in Atlanta, representing the Federal Government, made this decision, not locally. There was no decision locally. The State supports this. The local residents support it by a vast majority.

I reserve the balance of my time.

3:53 PM EST
John Calvin Fleming Jr., R-LA 4th

Mr. FLEMING. Mr. Chairman, in closing, I would like to just say that the people of Louisiana want to see this Forest Service ban overturned. This was a decision made outside of our borders. In effect, if you will, even though the people of Louisiana were asked and they gave the correct answer, it was ignored, and the decision was made by someone outside of our borders. This was a decision made by somebody in Atlanta, a Federal employee, interfering with a local issue.

This is a tradition that goes back 300 years, and I think it is pretty obvious that the people of Louisiana support the continuance of hunting deer with dogs.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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

The amendment was agreed to.

The Acting CHAIR. The Committee will rise informally.

The Speaker pro tempore (Mr. Holding) assumed the chair.

END

3:53 PM EST
John Calvin Fleming Jr., R-LA 4th

Mr. FLEMING. Mr. Chairman, in closing, I would like to just say that the people of Louisiana want to see this Forest Service ban overturned. This was a decision made outside of our borders. In effect, if you will, even though the people of Louisiana were asked and they gave the correct answer, it was ignored, and the decision was made by someone outside of our borders. This was a decision made by somebody in Atlanta, a Federal employee, interfering with a local issue.

This is a tradition that goes back 300 years, and I think it is pretty obvious that the people of Louisiana support the continuance of hunting deer with dogs.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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

The amendment was agreed to.

The Acting CHAIR. The Committee will rise informally.

The Speaker pro tempore (Mr. Holding) assumed the chair.

END