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(F) the long-range benefits of such a sanctuary, such as the nature of the national interest requiring such a delay in use. (4) On the basis of such hearing the Secretary shall determine whether all or any part of the prohibitions contained in paragraph (1) of this subsection shall be removed or extended for a portion of the period of the study or for all of such study and issue an order in accordance with such determination.
H.R. 11584-ALTERNATIVE TO SECTION 4 (A)
SEC. 4. (a) The Secretary of the Interior is authorized to refuse to issue or renew any license, permit, or other authorization for the exploration, development, mining or other removal of minerals (including gas and oil) to any part of the Outer Continental Shelf under study as a possible marine sanctuary, whenever he determines, that the refusal of such issuance or renewal is necessary to carry out the policies set forth in section 2 of this Act and is in the public interest. In making such determination the Secretary is authorized to hold such public hearing as he determines necessary.
Mr. KEITH. First, Mr. Chairman, what we are concerned with here is really the same problem examined by the President's Council on Marine Resources, which has been studying the marine resources of our Nation.
In the latest report of the President's Council on Marine Resources and Engineering Development, under a heading, “Rational Uses of the Coastal Zone,” the report says, as I have noted on page 1:
This area of inshore waters is ecologically fragile and complex in its natural state. It is nevertheless subject to ever more intense pressures for varied uses which may both conflict among themelves and degrade the natural environment * * *
Only rarely have lands and waters of the Coastal Zone been subjected to planned and controlled development. Further, the planning which has been done has not always resulted in effective allocation of resource uses among competitors.
As a consequence, the trend in some places has been toward single-purpose uses, determined by immediate economic advantages to individuals, firms, and local governments.
What this bill before us intends to do is fully in line with these observations. It seeks to encourage balanced, compatible uses of our offshore waters, first by identifying alternative uses and then by assuring compatibility among these competing values and resources.
The whole problem was brought into focus by, as you will learn from local witnesses later, some rather callous exploration efforts made off the shores of Cape Cod for the purpose of determining whether or not there was oil underneath those waters.
Since this incident, there has been good cooperation between the oil interests and the fishermen, and conflicts have been avoided by the cooperation of all the parties involved, but we must be concerned with the future, when the most serious conflicts are likely to arise, and that would be after they discover the presence of oil.
So what we have done is ask in this legislation for a study of the areas in which there are potential conflicts of uses, and we ask that this study be made by the Department of the Interior. And since that time I have had second thoughts about that and would, I believe, be more in favor of a study to be made by an independent agency, one outside the Government, of the stature of the kinds of commissions that have been established for similar purposes in the field of oceanography in recent years,
We feel that in the public interest we must plan for the future and the proper utilization of our coastal waters, including all the waters of the Continental Shelf, as well as adjacent estuarine areas.
I have, Mr. Chairman, some editorial comments that I think would lend to the interest and knowledge of the committee, and which would help to motivate us in our deliberations.
There was an editorial in the Cape Cod Standard Times dealing with this subject, suggesting that oil exploration proceed only with great caution. There are editorials from numerous papers throughout the country, on the west coast and in the central areas of our country, as well as on the shore lines of the east coast.
There are news stories describing miles of dead fish sighted where oil companies were conducting exploration.
The area that is of particular interest to me, and I believe to the Nation, is George's Bank, a fishing area which is the most prolific in the world. Thirteen nations fish here, and 1,650 million pounds of fish are caught here each year. The U.S. fisheries catch used to be almost 1 billion pounds there. It is now down to slightly under 700 million pounds per year. Of this, the Massachusetts catch is about half a million pounds.
By far the largest percentage of edible fish consumed in the U.S. markets comes from George's Bank, and it represents 12 percent of the world's fish catch.
What a tragedy it would be if there were alternative sights for the digging for oil, or drilling for oil, to those on George's Bank. And yet the possibility exists that this might be one that was most desirable from an oil industry point of view for early exploitation.
So this is one of the areas that needs to be studied first, insofar as its utilization as a natural and national resource is concerned.
As I mentioned in my introductory remarks, we have several witnesses from Massachusetts. I think that the first one that we should hear is standing in for Bob Yasi, who is commissioner of natural resources in the State of Massachusetts and who has been hospitalized. He has sent his deputy, Fred Wilbour, to give his statement for him.
Following that, I would like to have you hear from a most informed and concerned constituent, chairman of the board of selectmen in the town of Chatham. Chatham is the home of a great many fishermen, and much of its year-round population makes its living from the seas. They are the ones that initially brought this matter to our attention.
Mr. McNeece will be their spokesman, as well as the spokesman for all of Cape Cod and some of the statewide and New England-wide fishing interests.
So if I may, sir, I would like to have you hear from these experts. Mr. MOSHER. Mr. Chairman? Mr. LENNON. Yes, sir. Mr. MOSHER. Before Mr. Keith leaves the stand, I would like to ask him a couple of questions.
Mr. LENNON. Could we go off the record ? (Discussion off the record.)
Mr. MOSHER. Mr. Keith knows, of course, that the Stratton Commission on Marine Resources will be presenting to the President and to the Congress a very important report at the end of this year. I wonder if he knows to what extent—I don't know, frankly—this Commission might be addressing itself to the very important problem you raise here this morning.
Mr. KEITH. I have brought that question up in discussion with Chairman Stratton, and he indicated very great interest in this whole matter, and was most sympathetic to the purposes of this legislation.
He did not indicate whether or not there would be any duplication of effort on the part of a new study and the present work of the President's Commission, but it is my recollection that they have a significant portion of their report that will deal with this particular problem, and that we can profit greatly in our committee deliberations by perusing that report. If it is extraordinarily extensive, it might lessen the need for an additional lengthy study.
But I suspect that what it will do will be to highlight the need and point the way, because Chairman Stratton indicated to me that he thought the purposes of this legislation were very worthwhile and that he was in favor of further study in this area.
Mr. MOSHER. One further question, Mr. Chairman.
I certainly salute the gentleman from Massachusetts for bringing this to our attention, and also his colleagues who have joined him in this legislation. I understand and sympathize with his goals, and in the long run I am quite sure I will be supporting his goals.
In your prepared testimony, Mr. Keith, on page 3, you refer to a marine sanctuary area, saying:
A marine sanctuary area would be an ocean area which is especially distinctive for its commercial fishing uses and for its scenic, recreation and wildlife conservation values.
As a person who lives in the Great Lakes area, I assume that ultimately you would be willing to define an area as being not only an ocean area but a Great Lakes area.
Mr. KEITH. Even as we stretched the word "estuary” to include the Great Lakes, we certainly could, with equal logic and purpose, have this bill include the Great Lakes, because there are areas in the Great Lakes, as you know far better than I, which also experienced problems of multiple uses
Mr. MOSHER. One of the principal controversies in my home district right now is whether there should be offshore drilling for oil right in the most important fishing areas of Lake Erie. It is a very hot subject here.
Mr. KEITH. Welcome to the boat.
Mr. MOSHER. You talk about definitions for the commercial fishing uses and conservation values. This would require certain standards. Have
you tried to think what those standards would be in specific terms, or would you be leaving this up to the study commission which you propose?
Mr. KEITH. I have not given specific thought to the matter of definitions in that detail. I don't know whether other witnesses would care to elaborate on it, but I would think that the committee report could,
where necessary, further speak to that question after we have heard from the other witnesses.
Mr. MOSHER. No further questions.
Mr. LENNON. Mr. Keith, as you so well know, it is customary always that when bills are introduced, such as your legislation, and similar legislation, to submit it to that agency or the bureau or department that is directly involved.
I assume that you have had an opportunity to consider the response received from the Department of Interior with respect to their position and their views on the proposed legislation.
Mr. KEITH. You know, Mr. Chairman, you raise an interesting point, and in that regard I contacted Clarence Pautzke last week because it had been rumored that the Department might have been influenced more by, perhaps, oil interests than by commercial fisheries, or natural
Mr. LENNON. The question I am asking you now is, have you had an opportunity to consider the report
Mr. KEITH. I am getting to that. Late last week, Thursday or Friday, I contacted Mr. Pautzke, and I said to him that I had heard it rumored that you may not be too enthusiastic about our marine sanctuary bill. And he said, “On the contrary, we are with you on that."
Mr. LENNON. Who was that?
” And I breathed a sigh of relief.
This morning, I saw his testimony, and it seems to me he has changed his mind over the weekend.
Mr. LENNON. Well, they do that.
I don't mean to limit that to the Department of the Interior. That is par for the course.
Mr. KEITH. It is a little discouraging. I thought you were going to say, Mr. Chairman, that it is customary in legislation of this sort to ask support from other members of Congress. And as you will note from the bill itself, I have been joined by—and this is not all of themby a rather large number of Representatives. And, incidentally, on the Senate side, both Senators Brooke and Kennedy have filed legislation similar to this.
So there is widespread support of it, both from Republicans and Democrats, from legislators of both parties from coastal areas as well as the interior.
Mr. LENNON. I think it would be appropriate, at least for the hearing record, to get into the record at this point at least one part of the letter that was received from the Department of Interior on its judgment respecting this legislation, and I quote page 2 thereof. They give one objection, and then they say:
In addition, we believe that there is adequate general authority to conduct most, if not all, of the study mandated by this legislation (e.g., the Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956, the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation's Organic Act, the general authorities of the Bureau of Mines and the Geological Survey, and the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, as amended). Also, H.R. 25 which passed the House of Representatives and which mandates a study of the nation's esturaries, in
cluding coastal marshlands, bays, sounds, seaward areas, and lagoons, and land and waters of the Great Lakes. We favor enactment of H.R. 25. Further, the Marine Resources and Engineering Development Act of 1966 directs the Commission on Marine Science, Engineering, and Resources to make a comprehensive investigation and study of all aspects of marine science in order to recommend an overall plan for an adequate national oceanographic program that will meet the present and future national needs.”
Now, coming back to H.R. 25, it is my recollection that H.R. 25, which, as you know, we had difficulty with on the floor last year, there was an objection made to it, was sent back to the committee and was finally resolved this year. Less than 60 days ago, it passed the House.
It mandated a study of the Nation's estuaries, seaward lagoons, and land waters of the Great Lakes.
H.R. 25 in substance did mandate the study of the Nation's estuaries in all of the areas that it so describes.
Doesn't your bill in substance mandate the study of the marine estuaries in these same areas within the next few years? I just want your judgment about that.
I wonder if we might not, Mr. Clerk, ask for a copy of H.R. 25 as it passed the House.
Mr. KEITH. Mr. Chairman, your comments are most appropriate, and as they were rather broad in scope, I have a rather broad reply.
First of all, as you will recall, in H.R. 25 it was prompted by a failure of communication to a large extent between the Department of the Interior and the Engineers.
The Engineers would proceed with the development of commercial or merchant marine purposes without sufficient liaison with the Department of the Interior, who are responsible for the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries.
So we felt that we should study this and resolve this problem of lack of communication. And in the course of our deliberations, we really forced the Engineers and the Department of the Interior to get together with what we know as a memorandum of understanding, and it has been very helpful and has resolved a lot of pressures for the legislation that existed prior to our deliberations.
We have the same problem now within the Department of the Interior, between the different bureaus. There was very poor liaison between the Bureau of Comemrcial Fisheries and the bureaus dealing with the development of oil and other resources.
So this brings up the question of who should do the study. And, admittedly, as we found, there was more than three-quarters of a million dollars that had been spent for studies of estuarine areas, and it was scattered all over the place. We went along with this study to bring it together and give it orientation toward protection of our natural resources and propagation of our fisheries.
We should do the same in this case, although there is some overlapping. My bill provides that the study be coordinated to the extent feasible with all other applicable planning activities related to the areas under consideration.
But I don't think that by any stretch of the imagination the estuarine area bill is concerned with the adverse effects of seismic testing