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Title V also explicitly preserves rights existing under these laws at the time of enactment of the bill.
The bill differs from the Administration proposal in several respects :
(1) S. 507 requires the designation of areas with wilderness characteristics within five years and proposals to Congress within 15 years. We believe that these time frames put an unrealistic burden on the Department, because it would call for a review of all roadless areas of 5,000 acres or more within the 450 million acres adininistered by BLM.
The Administration proposal would call for a review of acrea of 50,000 acres or more and does not require a specific time frame for making the necessary study. This would provide adequate time to do the necessary work and considerably reduces thc amount of land which must be reviewed, without substantially changing the intent of the provision, which is to assure that suitable areas within the vast public domain are studied for inclusion within the wilderness areas. In addition, studies of smaller areas are possible and are in fact being identified in the current land use planning process of BLM.
(2) S. 507, like the Administration proposal, calls for recordation of mining claims, to require claims to be recorded or invalidated. The Administration proposal specified one year for recording the claims and three years for obtaining a patent, or the clain would be presumed abandoned and void. S. 507 specifies two and five years respectively. The shorter time frame is adequate for the purpose and would settle the matter of unrecorded claims as expeditiously as possible.
(3) S. 507 includes a provision, section 309, which singles out the California Desert for special environmental protection. The Administration proposal does not include this provision because section 101 of both bills calls for prompt regulations for the protection of areas of critical environmental concern, which by definition (section 2(e)), would include the California Desert. To single out this area for special consideration would not be fair to other areas in need of equal protection and of equal values. We do not feel such specification necessary in light of the direction in section 101.
(4) S. 507 contains a provision, section 310, which gives priority to impacted communities in use of the State's share of oil shale revenues. While the Department favors giving the States more flexibility in use of their share of funds, and does not oppose this provision per se, we believe that such a provision is more appropriate as part of comprehensive amendments to the Mineral Leasing Act. We expect to propose such comprehensive amendments to the 94th Congress in the near future.
(5) Section 208 (c) of S. 507 provides that where the United States has conveyed mineral interests, the patent shall contain a reverter clause providing that if any mining occurs within 20 years of the conveyance of the interests, the interest shall revert back to the United States. The Administration bill contains no such reverter. Such a provision unduly encumbers the interest being transferred and if the interest is transferred in the first place, under 208(a), it should not be so valuable that the United States would want it back. Also, the owner of the surface rights, to whom the transfer is made, is required to pay the United States for the fair market value of the mineral interests and once this is done, it would not be equitable to require him to wait 20 years before he can extract the minerals. Consequently, we urge that such a reverter provision not be included in the bill.
(6) The proposed bill contains a section, 503(f), which is not in the Administration proposal. This section calls for the application of the Homestead Laws to Alaska, despite their repeal by section 503(a). The repeal of the Homestead Laws should be complete in that they are cumbersome and their retention as to Alaska would not be desirable.
(7) S. 507 contains a provision, section 101 (3), which allows the Secretary to revoke permits, licenses or leases. The Administration proposal does not contain this provision because section 101 (1) authorizes the Secretary to regulate the use of the lands through permits, licenses and leases, which would necessarily include the right to revoke these, if necessary.
(8) The provision in S. 507, section 8, which calls for the appointment of the Director of Bureau of Land Management by the President, with the consent of the Senate, differs from the Administration proposal in the following respect. There is no requirement in the Administration bill that the Director have experience in public land management. It is felt that if the President is to pick the Director, he should have wide discretion in doing so.
(9) S. 507 specifies in section 307 (b) that law enforcement officers of the Bureau of Land Management shall have the authority to conduct warrantless searches and seizures. The Administration proposal does not. This is a power which exists in the common law in certain situations, and is commonly exercised without statutory codification by FBI and Treasury agents for example ; it is felt that it is not necessary to put into statutory form an authority which already exists in the common law.
(10) S. 507, in section 213(C), authorizes exchanges of lands of unequal value between the United States and private owners, by allowing cash payments to make up the differences in value. The Administration bill adds a proviso to this section which limits the amount of cash payments to 20% of the value of Federal lands exchanged. This has been done to assure that land exchange will not be used as a substitute for land disposal, which is governed by rigid criteria as to when it can be done in section 202.
(11) In section 204, S. 507 limits the disposal of land for agricultural use to tracts only big enough for a family farm. This provision is not necessary. The Secretary should have the discretion to dispose of land in large tracts for farm use, if the disposal meets the disposal criteria set forth in the bill in the first place. Consequently, it is not in this section of the Administration bill.
(12) Section 213(a) of S. 507 authorizes the Secretary to acquire land by eminent domain where necessary for access to public lands. Since there are other, limited, situations which might arise calling for proper use of this power, this section in the Administration bill does not contain the restriction on eminent domain. It deletes the qualifying language as to acquiring access corridors only.
The foregoing are the most significant differences between S. 507 and the Administration proposal, although there are other differences of lesser importance which will be furnished to the Committee. Considering the similarities in the two bills, the recommendation that the Administration proposal be enacted essentially accomplishes the enactment into law of most of the provisions of S. 507 with the changes noted.
The Offices of Management and Budget has advised that there is no objection to the submission of this report and that the enactment of the Administration's proposal would be in accord with the program of the President. Sincerely yours,
JACK HORTON, Assistant Secretary of the Interior.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE,
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY,
Washington, D.C., May 15, 1975. Hon. HENRY M. JACKSON, Chairman, Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: We would like to offer our views on S. 507 and S. 1292, bills “To provide for the management, protection, and development of the national resource lands, and for other purposes” and the “Amendments intended to be proposed by Mr. Jackson to S. 507" as introduced on March 6, 1975.
The Department of Agriculture recommends that S. 1292 be enacted in lieu of S. 507 and that the Amendments to S. 507 not be adopted. S. 1292 contains the Administration's recommendations as transmitted to the Congress by the Secretary of the Interior on March 6, 1975. We defer to the Secretary of the Interior for an analysis of the differences between S. 507 and s. 1292 and an explanation of the reasons for the recommendation contained in his transmittal.
S. 507 and S. 1292 would provide general management authority for the national resource lands. The term “National resource lands" is defined to mean all lands and interests in lands now or hereafter administered by the Secretary of the Interior through the Bureau of Land Management, except the Outer Continental Shelf. The bills would also provide conveyance and acquisition authorities, management implementing authority, and authority to grant rights-of-way for the national resource lands.
The S. 507 Amendments would add a new title to S. 507. The new title would provide for Federal-State coordination and cooperation in the planning and management of Federal and adjacent non-Federal lands. The term “Fed. eral lands" is defined to mean any land owned by the United States, except lands held in trust for the Indians, Aleuts, and Eskimos and the Outer Continental Shelf. The S. 507 Amendments would require coordination between Federal and non-Federal lands and preparation of environmental statements and public hearings on all new Federal programs or management direction. The Amendments would provide for the establishment by the Secretary of the Interior of Federal-State joint committees to review and make recommendations on problems relating to jurisdictional conflicts and inconsistencies regarding the planning and management of Federal and non-Federal lands.
This Department supports the need and desirability of providing the Secretary of the Interior with strong statutory authority for the retention and man. agement of the lands now being administered by the Secretary through the Bureau of Land Management. We do not, however, believe that S. 507 or S. 1292 should be expanded to provide new statutory direction for FederalState coordination and cooperation in the planning and management of Federal and adjacent non-Federal lands.
The issue raised by the S. 507 Amendments 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 view the procedural requirements of the S. 507 Amendments as unduly cumbersome and duplicative of existing policies and practices. For example, it would 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. This would be a time consuming and consequently a costly process. The National Environmental Policy Act now requires the preparation of environmental statements on major Federal actions significantly affecting the environment. Agency guidelines provide for the comment and review of these statements by affected State and local agencies. We believe that environmental statements 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.
We are concerned that while the required coordination of Federal land use plans with local and State plans is subordinate to paramount national policies, programs, and interests, in the proposed Amendments, 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 national programs. The direction provided in the Amendments would tend to focus on local issues and purposes rather than on national purposes.
We are also concerned that the establishment of ad hoc Federal-State joint committees to review jurisdictional conflicts and inconsistencies between planning and management of Federal lands and of adjacent non-Federal lands as provided in the Amendinents would segment existing Federal-State cooperative arrangements aimed at coordinating a wide range of Federal-State interests.
In addition the procedures pertaining to these committees do not appropriately recognize the role and responsibilities of Federal officials, other than the Secretary of the Interior, in cooperating and consulting with State Governors and other State officials.
The Office of Management and Budget advises that there is no objection to the presentation of this report from the standpoint of the Administration's program. Sincerely,
J. PHIL CAMPBELL,
EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT,
Washington, D.C., March 6, 1975.
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAX: This is in response to your request of February 14, 1975, for the views of the Office of Management and Budget on S. 507, a bill entitled the "National Resource Lands Management Act."
The Department of the Interior has just submitted to the Congress similar legislation which is also entitled the "National Resource Lands Management Act" and in the Department's report on S. 507, it recommends enactment of its proposal in lieu of S. 507. Enactment of the Department of the Interior's "National Resource Lands Management Act" would be in accord with the program of the President. Sincerely,
JAMES F. C. HYDE, Jr., Acting Assistant Director for Legislative Reference.
STATEMENT OF Hon. FRANK CHURCH, A U.S. SENATOR
FROM THE STATE OF IDAHO Mr. Chairman, last year during consideration of S. 424, 'The National Resource Lands Management Act,' I offered several amendments which this Committee incorporated into the bill that finally passed the Senate. I thought it unfortunate that S. 424 failed to receive favorable action in the House of Representatives. I believe that the BLM needs an "organic act' to replace the hodge-podge of laws that now govern the agency.
In reviewing provisions of the new measure to create a BLM organic act, I am pleased to note that two of these amendments, suggested last year, have been retained.
Especially important is the retention of my amendment to strictly limit the authority of the Bureau of Land Management to condemn private land for government use. Giving the BLM free rein to condemn private property, as provided for under provisions of the original bill, was simply not justified. For decades this agency has managed Federal lands without the plenary power of condemnation. In a State like Idaho, where two-thirds of the land is owned by the Federal government, it cannot be that the BLM needs general condempation power to forcibly acquire still more land.
A second amendment, retained in the bill before this Subcommittee, provides that the Secretary of the Interior, where he has determined that the public interest will best be served by selling public lands, must offer those lands suitable for agricultural purposes, in acreages no larger than family-sized farming units. In this way, the accumulation of vast tracts by single owners, or wealthy corporations, will be prohibited.
I am, however, disturbed that the draft proposal under this Subcommittee's consideration contains language to repeal the Desert Land Act. As a result of a third amendment which I offered last year, repeal of the Desert Land Act was deleted. When the Subcommittee begins its mark-up on this bill, I will again offer an amendment to delete the repeal of the Desert Land Act.
Idaho has a large stake in retaining the Desert Land Act. How much is clearly depicted by the amount of land owned by the Federal government in Idaho; some 33.9 million acres, nearly two-thirds of the State. Of this amount, 12 million acres are administered by the Bureau of Land Management.
Several million acres of these public lands may prove to be suitable for agricultural use. Repeal of the Desert Land Act would shut the door on many prospective Idaho entrymen who might otherwise develop these desert lands into profitable production units. It would spell death to an Act which has been used for nearly 100 years to provide farm land for thousands of American families.
Idaho is unique in that we still have desert land and water available for cultivation. Individuals still have an opportunity to claim up to 320 acres of desert land if they cultivate and develop it. Denying citizens the right to utilize a law which still has a great deal of usefulness and vitality is unacceptable to me. I will work for the retention of the Desert Land Act.
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Senator HASKELL. Senator Hansen, do you have any remarks you would like to make at this time?
Senator HAXSEX. No, I do not.
Senator HASKELL. Senator McClure, do you have an opening statement ?
Senator McCLURE. No, I don't. I would like to hear from the witnesses.
Senator HASKELL. The first witness will be the Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Land and Water Resources, Jack Horton.
Nr. Horton, we are very happy to have you here. You may proceed as you like. If you have a prepared statement, I would point out that your statement in its entirety will appear in the hearing record. You may summarize, if you would like to, or proceed however you wish.
STATEMENT OF HON. JACK HORTON, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR FOR LAND AND WATER RESOURCES; ACCOMPANIED BY GEORGE TURCOTT, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, BLM; ELEANOR SCHWARTZ, CHIEF, DIVISION OF LEGISLATION AND REGULATORY MANAGEMENT; JAMES W. MONROE, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, LEGISLATION AND PLANS, BLM; AND RAY TAYLOR, OFFICE OF LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL
Mr. Horrox. Mr. Chairman, it is a pleasure for me to be here representing the Department of the Interior along with other members of the Department, and I will introduce these.
To my immediate right is the Associate Director of the BLM, Mr. George Turcott; to his right is Eleanor Schwartz, Chief of the Division of Legislation and Regulatory Management; and to the far right, Mr. Tim Monroe, Assistant Director, Legislation and Plans for the BLM. To my right is Mr. Ray Taylor of the Office of Legislative Counsel for the Department.
Mr. Chairman, and members of the committee, it is a very great pleasure for all of us to be here to testify before you once again on the BLM Organic Act.
I regret that Senator Hansen has just left, because I was going to point out that it was a special privilege to have someone from the eastern part of the State of Wyoming, but he has just departed.
The national resource lands and their resource values are among the nation's greatest physical assets. They encompass mountains, rangelands, forests and lakes, and provide some of the most spectacular scenery on Earth. They are a source of food, timber, minerals, and water and offer almost unlimited recreational values.
The national resource lands were for many years used as a means of stimulating the growth and development of the West. Consequently, in the early years, little attention was given to preserving the irreplaceable values of those lands. Many of the laws pertaining to the lands were designed primarily to facilitate land disposal. Although there has been a growing awareness that these lands are an invaluable national asset and that their values must be protected, preserved, and maintained in Federal ownership, these lands have inherited an archaic and often conflicting conglomeration of laws