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We feel Federal and State land use plans must be developed and coordinated in accordance with common goals and objectives.
Senator HASKELL. I think that this is very important.
Chief McGuire addressed the other side of the coin. Is it your opinion the bill as written gives the Government authority to adjacent, State or private lands? We do not want the Federal lands infringing on the Federal.
Mr. GOODIER. It is a two-edge sword. You do not want either party dictating to the other party. How you coordinate it remains to be seen.
Wyoming passed a Land Use Planning law in the last session and hopefully, this could be coordinated with Federal action along those lines, but it is a fear that we have.
Senator HASKELL. I understand. Mr. GOODIER. In section 104 (b), we may not understand it completely, but it appears to us any holder of a recorded mining claim has to apply for a patent within 5 years after the date of the enactment of this act or the date of location of a claim.
This appears to force the holders of mining claims to apply for a patent even if they do not have a mineral survey. This may create a logjam on patent applications and in many years, it will take years to take the patent and we wonder if some of the operators might have a questionable right on those mining claims.
Senator HASKELL. In other words, it is your theory that 5 years is too short a time to ask the owner of the mining claim to take a patent.
Mr. GOODIER. If I understand it correctly, sir, before you can go to patent, the geological survey or some Federal agency that has expertise in minerals is supposed to do the mineral survey of the claim or a piece of land that has been taken to patent.
I wonder if they will have time to do all of these in a 5-year period. To survey and nd out if it is truly a producible mineral deposit.
Senator HASKELL. Certainly, if delay was due to the Federal Government a person should not be foreclosed. The administration bill has a 3-year time limit.
But, that is neither here nor there. I think the idea is to get these claims to patent or dropped. Certainly, if there is a delay caused by action of the Federal Government, this should not affect the private individual.
Mr. GOODIER. Either get them to patent or off the books, but I do not know what the time frame should be. If it is a mineral property and a man is operating without a patent, he may be in jeopardy.
We do not quite understand his legal position. Now, section 202, concerning disposal criteria states land can be disposed of, either under the sale of authority or in accordance with existing law. We are especially concerned, the repeal of the Desert Land Entry law, as it concerns agriculture, however, the ease of obtaining a Desert Land Entry must be simplified.
We are also concerned with the sale criteria. We would hope that those areas adjacent to towns suffering impact that lands could be conveyed to these towns, rather than sold on a competitive bid procedure.
If they are sold, we would hope it would be a price the towns can afford to pay. Section 204 concerns size of tracts and says, where any such tract is sold for agricultural use, it shall be no larger than necessary to support a family sized farm.
Our concern here is what criteria will be used in determining family sized farms. You will understand, it is the criteria of the area and the climate and we have some questions on that.
Section 208 specifies the Secretary may convey mineral interests of the United States where the surface is in non-Federal ownership.
It further states that if any mineral development takes place within 20 years, the mineral interest revert back to the Federal Government.
This seems, to us, to be restrictive and if these minerals may be of great value to the nation and in all probability they will not be developed prior to the expiration of that 20-year period.
Section 213 specifies methods the Secretary may use to acquire land. One of the methods provided is for eminent domain.
No acquisition should be made without adequate public participation in the area of planned acquisition. Section 304 discusses deposits and forfeitures, and in (A) discusses who should maintain roads.
In some cases, the users of these roads will be the general public. It does not seem quite fair for the private user to pay for the maintenance of a road that has general public use.
On Section 309, the California Desert Area—we are not qualified to discuss it per se, but we wonder if there may not be other geographic areas under BLM that are also unique and should be considered as separate entities.
Senator HASKELL. This area in California is within a few hours drive of massive population centers.
Mr. GOODIER. So, it has a large impact.
Mr. GOODIER. Section 310, oil shale revenues. This section is excellent as far as States with pending oil shale development are concerned.
At this time, it would affect only Colorado or Utah with the possibility of Wyoming having oil shale development in the future.
We suggest that this section be amended to include the revenues from all mineral sources. Wyoming and other public land States are facing serious impact problems from coal developments and their legislature should have as much latitude with all mineral revenues as is being granted under this section to the use of oil shale revenues.
Senator HASKELL. I think that there is something pending along those lines. Senator Metcalf is here and he is chairman of the Minerals, Materials, and Fuels Subcommittee.
He may want to talk about it.
Senator METCALF. Mr. Chairman, as you know, my subcommittee has been involved in strip mining. Hopefully, that whole problem will be resolved by next week.
I have assured you that the next hearings will be on oil shale.
Senator HASKELL. We are very much aware, Mr. Goodier, as both Senator Metcalf and I will agree, of the desirability of expanding the proposition to include coal leases in royalties. They are having a big impact on your State and my State and Senator Metcalf's State.
Senator METCALF. I am going to hold hearings on that just as soon as I am finished with the strip mining bill.
Mr. GOODIER. Again, in section 401(b), discussing rights-of-way and specifically section 103(f) says again, the Secretary shall determine fair market value.
We are concerned about how this will be determined and will this value be so high that sales will not be possible and right-of-way cannot be acquired, depending on the user, I suppose.
But, our concern really is the definition of fair market value. We think perhaps it should be determined by a competent independent appraisal and we do not object to fair market value, but we do not quite understand what that will entail.
Again, under section 503, repeal of laws—we are not qualified to comment on all of the various laws that will be repealed but we are concerned about the desert land entry law and we would like to see it maintained.
This act is a very broad act giving the Secretary many powers, especially that of making rules and regulations. In our opinion, this may lead to indiscriminate rules and regulations being promulgated and could cause agricultural mineral producers and other users many problems in their use of national resources lands.
We would like to see this law encompass the philosophy of trading of private and non-Federal lands and blocking of the Federal lands, but some of the isolated tracts could be traded and we could block the areas together for better usage.
Senator HASKELL. Your thought is that it should be on an equivalency value?
Mr. GOODIER. Yes, sir. I do not think anybody needs to give anything away, but lands could be traded and brought together for better management.
With respect to amendments in S. 507, we find on page 2, paragraph (h), the amendment is talking about Federal lands and the bill is talking about national resource lands.
We think that they should be compatible. In section 602, planning and management of adjacent non-Federal lands, we find our problem of the Federal Government being in a position to dictate to adjacent landowners.
We think the States and Federal Government should make their plans consistent. We have some fear section 602 would in some way remove property rights from private or non-Federal owners.
If we cannot work this thing out in a cooperative nature, this might happen. I would like to further elaborate on the possible repeal of the desert land entry law.
In Wyoming, from 1877 to 1973, there were some 17,000 original desert land entries involving 5 milion acres.
The final entries amounted to 8,139 entries and 1.6 million acres. We request the committee to continue the desert land entry law, to speed up the process of allowing entries.
It should not take the Secretary of the Interior an inordinate length of time to render a decision.
Senator HASKELL. Mr. Goodier, I know very little about the desert land entry law, and I did not, until this moment, realize that Wyoming took advantage of it.
There has been some discussion in Idaho-I think-that some people who were really not interested in agriculture were trying to take advantage of it for prospecting purposes. Do you think it serves any real useful purpose for the future and if so, tell me about it.
Mr. GOODIER. Prior to getting involved in the mineral development business, I was in the water aspects of State government.
The State of Wyoming has a loan program in which we will loan money to bona fide farmers and ranchers to put in irrigation projects.
In many cases, these loans have been made on desert land entry lands. Granted, they were isolated tracts adjacent to that farmer or rancher's operation.
These have proved to be extremely valuable developments and it has enhanced the operations of that individual's overall program. .
I would tend to agree with you. I would not like to see large tracts of public land made into huge large developments.
This seems like an equitable way of getting them into good production. If they are isolated, they are difficult to manage.
Senator HASKELL. It has been a benefit. Mr. GOODIER. Yes, sir. Senator HASKELL. Thank you, Mr. Goodier. Senator Hansen, I do not know if you have any questions. Senator HANSEN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Let me say how pleased I am, John, to have you here. I know of your long association with State government and the understanding and expertise you have acquired during those years.
I am certain—despite the fact that I have not had a chance to read your testimony-that your observations will merit the considerations of the committee.
The situation, as you know as well as anyone, is that in Wyoming, often times cities find themselves surrounded by essentially federally owned land, from time to time, and as the needs of cities have grown and the need, particularly, for real estate, has come into sharper focus, there have been efforts made by various cities to acquire through purchase or otherwise federally owned real estate.
I think Rawlins has had such an experience. Perhaps you have not addressed this specific question-I am not certain.
Senator HASKELL. Mr. Goodier mentioned the desirability of making land available to cities. He was concerned about the use of the word fair market value in this regard. He was not quite sure what that meant.
Mr. GOODIER. We were specifically referring to a recent case of the city of Rock Springs experiencing substantial impact from coal development and oil and gas exploration among other things.
They are surrounded, in essence, by Bureau of Land Management lands and by the Union Pacific Railroad's grant lands.
There is very little other private land that is available. To provide housing and trailer courts, the city needed additional land.
Over a period of time, the Bureau of Land Management did put up a tract of land. I cannot tell you what the size of it was, but half a section, say. As I understand, the value placed on it was somewhere in the neighborhood of $200,000.
It went for bid and nobody bid on it. It appeared to us that this was not a fair market value. It was not a situation where a willing buver and willing seller could not agree on a price. And, the town did not buy the land.
Senator HASKELL. It occurred to me that you should use the normal test, or maybe have a court look over the Secretary's shoulder to be sure the normal test is used. I do not think we can give the land away. On the other hand, we certainly do not want to hold anybody up
Mr. Goodier. The concern is that it does not go to a speculation type situation, but the towns do need assistance. If the towns could acquire it under some procedure where it is not a speculative venture and it could be developed with proper plans for growth, this is the type of thing that we are looking for.
Senator HANSEN. Would I be correct in inferring the situation in Rock Springs—in the Rock Springs area-was that the BLM had an appraisal made of the land in Federal ownership which was desired by the city of Rock Springs and that was the amount below which sale would not be consummated?
Mr. GOODIER. As I understand it, Senator Hansen, yes; this was the minimum bid price.
Senator HANSEN. I think there may be some merit in having some idea, perhaps of what land would be worth, but if I understand the chairman correctly, on the basis of what he has said, would it be your feeling that if a determination is made to make an offer of land to a city, I do not think the city should have the exclusive right, so as to be the only bidder, in order first, to protect the wide public interest and second, to be responsive to a particular need of a community.
I should think a mechanism for this could be implemented whereby an opportunity would be afforded, the city and others as well, to make bids.
That would seem to me to be a more equitable way than to arbitrarily set values.
Mr. GOODIER. There is some difficulty in my mind in trying to determine how much money a city such as Rock Springs would truly have available to bid on this type of land?
As you know, the revenues that are going to come from coal production are always 2 to 3 years behind the impact itself.
This may also be a problem. They simply did not have revenues they could obligate on a bid of this nature. You run into the problem-if the city cannot pay for it, private developers purchase it and if so, under what plan do they develop it? It becomes a question of properly organized planned development for this city.
Senator HANSEN. Was this land offered not only to the city, but to any and all persons who might choose to bid on it?
Mr. GOODIER. Yes, sir. As I understand it, a minimum price was set for bid and there were no bidders.
Senator Hansex. With the exception of certain land, I know from time to time there are statutes that allow cities to acquire land for recreational purposes.
I do not argue with that. I am duly persuaded by the argument that cities need special consideration above and beyond that for a reas in which normal growth would take place.