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Title V of the proposal would repeal a number of obsolete, duplicative, or superseded laws. These include a hodgepodge of land disposal laws, and a number of other laws relating to fees, charges, and other administrative matters.
The national resource lands are a priceless and irreplaceable national asset. It is time to provide the Department of the Interior with the tools to manage and preserve them in accordance with their value to the American people.
The Office of Management and Budget has advised that this legislative proposal is in accord with the program of the President.
Senator HASKELL. Our first witness will be the Honorable John McGuire, Chief, U.S. Forest Service.
STATEMENT OF HON. JOHN R. McGUIRE, CHIEF, FOREST SERVICE,
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Chief McGUIRE. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, we appreciate this opportunity to present our views on legislation pertaining to the management of the national resource lands and the amendments to S. 507 which would be applicable to Federal lands, including national forest system lands.
This Department supports the need and desirability of providing the Secretary of the Interior with strong statutory authority for the retention and management of the lands now administered by the Bureau of Land Management.
The administration's proposal is contained in S. 1292 and we recommend that it be enacted in lieu of S. 507. Witnesses from the Department of the Interior have previously testified on the administration's proposal and its relationship to S. 507.
We defer to the Secretary of the Interior with regard to a comparison and analysis of the two bills. We would like to concentrate our testimony on the proposed amendment to S. 507 which would add a new title.
The new title would provide additional statutory direction for Federal and State coordination and cooperation in the planning and management of Federal and adjacent non-Federal lands.
S. 507 and S. 1292 are applying now only to lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management. Inclusion of the new title, as proposed in the amendment, would expand the application of the legislation to other Federal lands managed by the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of Agriculture, and other departments and agencies.
We do not recommend the adoption of the amendment to S. 507. The issue raised by the S. 507 amendment is the complex interrelationship between national, State, and local purposes and the question of how to blend national goals and programs for Federal lands with the goals and programs of State and local governments on non-Federal lands.
The national forests were created and are administered for national purposes. The Secretary of Agriculture has the responsibility to insure that all national forest system lands are managed in consonance with these national purposes.
The Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974 provided emphasis on the need for long-range planning to meet national needs.
This act also provides for appropriate coordination with State and local governments. We interpret the provisions of section 601 of the amendment as requiring the coordination of Federal land planning with adjacent non-Federal land planning, except in cases of paramount national interest, as leading to a focus on Iocal issues and purposes in land planning rather than on national purposes.
There is a probability of many small decisions relating to Federal coordination with State and local land use plans which could on a cumulative basis act to block or delay the attainment of programs nationally.
We view the procedural requirements of section 601 (b) and section 603 of the amendment as unduly cumbersome and duplicative of existing policies and practices.
The Executive Office of the President through the Office of Management and Budget in furtherance of title IV of the Intergovernmental Cooperation Act of 1968, section 204 of the Demonstration Cities and Metropolitan Development Act of 1966 and the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 issued Circulars A-85 and 95 which provide a comprehensive intergovernmental review and coordination procedure applicable to Federal agency rulemaking and Federal assistance programs and projects.
Part II of OMB Circular A-95 requires that agencies having responsibilities for direct Federal development, including the acquisition, use, and disposal of Federal land and real property will consult with Governors and local elected officials, as well as with A-95 clearinghouses, usually comprehensive planning agencies, to assure consistency of Federal plans and projects with State, area wide, and local plans and programs.
Senator HASKELL. Are you talking about a statute or regulations?
Chief McGUIRE. They conta in direction but they elaborate on such laws as the Intergovernmental Cooperation Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.
A-95 procedures are also applicable to the development and review of environmental statements prepared pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act.
We view these procedures as more appropriate than establishing a new system of ad hoc Federal and State joint committees to review jurisdictional conflicts and inconsistencies between Federal plans and State and local plans.
Present procedures are aimed at providing Federal and State coordination over a wide range of Federal and State interests rather than a separate procedure applicable to only one aspect of Federal, State coordination.
We are also concerned that the proposed ad hoc committee procedures contained in the amendments do not appropriately recognize the role and responsibility of Federal officials, other than the Secretary of the Interior, in cooperating and consulting with State Governors and other State officials.
The Secretary of Agriculture through the Forest Service, for example, has broad responsibilities, carried out through the State foresters or other State officials, to coordinate insect, disease and fire control activities on both Federal and adjacent non-Federal lands.
We also provide a broad range of technical assistance regarding agricultural and forest land resources to State planning groups for use in their water and related land resource planning.
We are also concerned with the provisions of section 601(b). This section appears to expand on the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 by requiring statements to be prepared on the consistency of Federal policies and programs with State and local land-use planning.
This would be a time-consuming process, duplicating existing coordinating procedures and present NEPA requirements.
The National Environmental Policy Act now requires the preparation of environmental statements on major Federal actions significantly affecting the environment.
Our guidelines for the preparation of environmental statements require that the relationship of a proposed action to land use plans, policies, and controls for the affected area be described.
The Council on Environmental Quality and agency guidelines provide for the comment and review of environmental statements by affected State and local agencies in accordance with the procedures set forth in OMB Circular A-95.
We believe that environmental statement and the associated review procedures established under the National Environmental Policy Act provide an appropriate level of review of Federal actions as they relate to State and local concerns.
This concludes my formal statement. I will be happy to answer questions.
Senator HASKELL. Thank you, Chief. I suppose you and I could agree on this. If we are going to have a land resource planning assistance bill and ask the States to do some planning, particularly in western States, where there is so much Federal land, we have to be sure the Federal Government is in gear.
I guess we could start with that premise and then I guess the question is how best to get the job done. Your suggestion is, present procedures get the job done principally through these OMB Circulars.
Chief McGuire. That is correct, Mr. Chairman. That is the principal guideline, but we do agree the job needs to be done.
The States vary quite a bit. The Federal Government also varies. In a State, such as yours, where land planning must be closely coordinated-other States, such as Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, the situation is quite a bit different, as far as we are concerned.
I think we need to work out the best procedures for each State, rather than make them all conform to a single pattern.
Senator HASKELL. I would agree with that. Counsel has just informed me that most of the Western States have criticized this amendment as being too heavily balanced toward the Federal Government.
I gather that your view is quite the opposite.
Chief McGUIRE. It depends on what sections of the amendment you read, Mr. Chairman.
Senator HASKELL. I see. I wonder, Chief, if it would be possible-maybe you have done all that you can in your statement--for you to indicate how we could best achieve this coordination.
But, if you have any further thoughts on the subject, we would appreciate it if you would send those our way. I hate to depend on OMB regulations--I do ont think that is a good basis to work from.
Chief MCGUIRE. We certainly will, Mr. Chairman.
Senator HASKELL. Thank you very much, Chief McGuire. Our next witness is John Goodier, appearing on behalf of the Governor of Wyoming
Mr. Goodier, it is good to welcome you here.
STATEMENT OF JOHN GOODIER, CHIEF, MINERAL DEVELOPMENT
DIVISION, WYOMING DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT, APPEARING ON BEHALF OF HON. ED HERSCHLER, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF WYOMING
Mr. GOODIER. In view of the long list of people who will testify later on, I think most of the committee has a copy of our prepared statement and I will summarize it as I go through.
Senator HASKELL. That is fine. Submit it for the record and then just summarize it.
Mr. GOODIER. My name is John T. Goodier and I am chief of the Mineral Development Division of the Wyoming Department of Economic Planning and Development and I am here on behalf of the Governor of the State of Wyoming.
We find S. 507, the National Resource Land Management Act, is a very important bill to Wyoming, since out of Wyoming some 62 million acres, approximately 48 percent, is controlled by various Federal agencies.
The Bureau of Land Management administers about 30 percent of that total Federal land. One of the predominant uses, of course, is grazing.
We have some 1,100 operators who graze on section 3 lands and some 1,700 operators who graze on section 15 lands.
In addition to agriculture, we have some 90 coal leases on Federal lands in Wyoming today. Our projections have indicated in excess of 100 million tons of coal per year will be produced from these leases by 1985.
Many other minerals—such as oil, gas, uranium and bentonite are produced from these lands administered by the BLM.
The act is a far-reaching land management act for the National Resources Lands, but we are pleased to see it will be managed for multiple use and sustained yield, since western agriculture and mineral producers must be able to use these lands if they are to continue to contribute their share to the food, fiber, and mineral needs of the Nation and the world.
In section 6, table of contents, concerning advisory boards and committees, we think that they should be made up of local people similar to the Taylor Grazing Act Advisory Board with permittees and other users as members.
Section 101, paragraph 3, on revocations or suspensions, we are not sure as we read the bill, but we think people should at least have a warning before they are hit with a suspension or revocation.
Senator HASKELL. I would concur with that. Is there an opportunity for this? Counsel says that we do have it. I think that is very important.
Mr. GOODIER. In section 103, we believe section 103 and section 601 in the amendments should be combined. There appears to be some duplication.
These sections fairly well state that the Federal Government will be the authority over all Federal land and it appears they will be authority for adjacent, private, and non-Federal lands.