tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN February 25, 2015 7:00pm-9:01pm EST
on the highest priority list so we can move them forward very quickly. we're learning from the department of defense education organization, or d.o.d.e.o. because they have a similar situation and they have a pathway forward that over a decade or so their schools will be brought up to speed, and we've hired the person that did that on our team here to dot same kind of long-term game plan for indian schools. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> one of the other things i've talked to you about is lewis & clark. the funding levels for rural water projects in the bureau of reclamation has been a frustration also for me. specifically this project -- in your budget last year you suggested if local governments want these projects built faster they should just put in more money on top of the legally required local share.
and the statement has done, that giving lewis & clark project $22 million last year which was almost ten times the amount of funding that you included in last year's budget. yet this year you still came back and only requested $2.7 million for the project. congress has already demonstrated that we can fund these projects at a higher level, routinely increasing funding in appropriation bills beyond your budget request. these local communities and the state have done everything that has been asked of them and more. putting more funding than they were supposed to. what will it take to get interior to prioritize these projects? >> i'm going to -- may i, madam chair? okay. i'll make my part very brief and turn to mike for the specifics here.
indian water rights settlements have taken priority for us and making sure that communities that do not have access to water are prioritized. and i know you appreciate that. we've talked about that before. there's some money in the budget for lewis & clark to continue to make progress, but there's not enough money to go around and we have to prioritize. do you want to talk specific to lewis & clark? >> specific to lewis & clark, yes. we greatly appreciate the additional resources that congress has put in in the last two budget cycles. we have allocated that funding to three times as much as we had in our budget to allocate to lewis & clark. i think in this year's cycle, 2015, they've got about $9 million that can be coupled up with the local resources and we can make progress overall. >> i don't think that's right. >> we had 3 pl in our budget and then congress appropriated an additional $30 million, i think which lewis & clark got about 6 to 6 1/2 million. that's where i get the $9
million figure. and that was just announced about two weeks ago, the additional resources that were provided. but you're right about the 2016 budget. this has been one where just competing priorities within the bureau of reclamation we have not been able to allocate funding to the rural water program. in the way that we would like. these are good projects. we certainly invested a lot of recovery act dollars in them and made some significant progress at that point in time. but it's one of those that strained under the budget even in a very robust budget with good investments here for the interior department. this particular program is strained and quite frankly if we end up with sequestration it will get a lot worse. >> okay. thank you. and thank you for your indulgence, madam chair. >> secretary jewell, good to see you again today. i was back home in montana last week where it was a whole lot warmer than washington, d.c. and i had a chance to spend some time with the crow tribe back there of montana. as you know, unemployment in the
crow reservation would be more than 80% if we did not have the mining jobs there at the absolica mine. in fact, their tribal unemployment is already at 50%. they're very, very concerned with what's going on to rexa right now as it relates to coal development as their unemployment would go to 80% without these jobs. it is a significant part of the funding for the tribe and the well being and future hope for the tribe. they need access to our foreign markets. they need rail and poor port infrastructure. we're working on the gateway approval. which would allow the crow tribe access international markets with their coal. as the gateway pacific terminals going through this permitting process, i believe it's important the department works with all the impacted tribes. there's tribes on the west coast that are engaged in this process. but we want to make sure the crow tribe is having their voice heard in this process. really the question is would you agree it's important we get all
the tribes' views on thish of approval of the gateway pacific terminal? >> senator i'm not familiar with the gateway pacific terminal. but i will tell you that i'm very committed to consulting with tribes on anything we do that impacts them. >> okay. great. i want a flag that's really important as we're looking at the ability to grow and take this 50% unemployment rate and not turn it to 80%, which is a very real possibility. and i hope you will take a look at all the treaty rights. not only the west coast tribes but also the treaty rights of impacted tribes including the crow. and by the way, next time you come out to montana we might want to take to the eastern part of the state as with. you had a chance to experience glacier park. we love the flathead in flash year. but it would be good for you to see the challenges in eastern montana related to economic despair in some of these small communities. and in light of that we are
working in montana on the all of the above energy strategy as part of our national security and energy strategy. and montana's one of these ufrpg states that really has the ability to play in the all of the above of virtually every energy source we have in this country. over a third of our hydropower in montana -- a third of our power comes tofrom hydro power. more than 50% comes from coal. then we also have significant capacity certainly for wind and for solar. i'm concerned this all of the above energy portfolio that's described, sometimes we hear a message from the administration it's all of the above except for coal and oil and even sometimes natural gas. we're very concerned the administration does not share the all of the above vision we share back home. as we look at approval of drilling permits back home the blm-approved just 26 drilling permits on federal land. the state of montana last year
approved 269. so an order of magnitude more permits approved on state and private land than on our federal lands and yet mont's comprised of a third of federal lands. i was encouraged by your comments about the sage grass that senator gardner was talking about, the fact a one size fits all policy is not going to be the best policy. to alout states to have priems as well. in montana we have a lot of checkerboarding. we have blm. we have state sections. we have federal sections in the middle of private land as well. and i really hope you allow the states to take the lead on that working with the state of montana, colorado wyoming as you alluded to and not have a one size fits all edict coming out of the federal government. but my question is does the department of interior have a plan to increase oil and gas development on federal lands? and if so is there a specific goal? >> thank you, senator. i'm going to quickly respond on a couple of the other things you mentioned as well. first, i've been to fort peck been to the crow. i've been to eastern montana.
not just western montana. and i very much appreciate the challenges that many of those tribes face. we are working on a hydro project as well with the crow. they had some frustrations with the bureau of reclamation. i got both sides of it. we'll work on that. and the treaty rights, i'm very committed to upholding those, as i'm sure the tribes would tell you. as it relates to energy development we don't have a specific goal on what the energy development is but we do want to facilitate development on public lands. we have continued to process apds, argss for peruthorizations for permits to drill, in many states. and what would be helpful is the ability to match supply and demand. where is the drilling activity and can we have the resources so we can not only write those permits but also do the needed inspections. we were written up by the g.a.o. for not doing appropriate inspections on the 100,000 wells that the blm is responsible for overseeing. there is a request in the budget
to be able to charge a modest fee to industry to cover that as they do already offshore. and i don't think we'd have significant objection. that's just something i would ask of you because that will help us move the drilling permits through, move the inspections forward, so we can help ensure there's a fair rate of return for the tribes taxpayers and so on. we have some pilot office that's have been fund bid congress. i think that we did get -- >> mile city got one going there. >> yes, you do. >> yep. >> and a lot of where the permits get done has to do with where the demand is from the companies which they haven't as much concerned about state lines. but we're committed to moving forward with due speed on that if we have adequate resources. we can spew statistics at you on what the blm has approved, but they are reducing the amount of time for permitting. there's a small amount of money in the budget to automate the permitting process because right now it's all paper based, which doesn't serve anyone's interest. and we think that will help us
speed things up. i will also say that coal is an important resource for the country. much of the coal that produces the energy in this country comes from your region. more wyoming than montana but certainly both have those assets. we do want to make sure there's a fair return for the taxpayer. and we've been asked by the gao to look at this and we're looking at this as well. certainly all of the above from my perspective and i think our budget reflects that means all of the above. it means conventional energy as well as renewable energy and we're working on both. >> and hydro's not a renewable energy source, is that right? >> hydro's a renewable energy source. >> by federal definition is it? >> yeah i think so. >> yes. we have testified several times that hydro is a renewable energy resource. we've cleared it through you everybody. >> it's a good thing. >> not by law, though, is the point. not by law it's not renewable. which we scratch our heads out in montana that we look at this
incredible renewable resource called hydro -- >> well, you guys write the law. >> by law it's not. something to take a look at. thank you. >> senator rich. >> senator danes, i was shocked to learn when you i came here that congress overrules the laws of nature, and that falling water is not a renewable resource. we speak a different language in idaho, i guess. madam secretary, thank you so much. you remember the first meeting we had you weren't familiar with the sage grass and now you're a lot more familiar i'm sure than you want to be. you'll recall the criticism i had at that time and that was that we had two agencies with the department of interior. the fish and wildlife service and the dlm. and we were perplexed in idaho that you could have two federal
agencies at odds with each other within the same department under the same head and we just weren't making progress, as you recall. your leadership has changed that dramatically. remember the analogy i used that when you headed rei you would not use your marketing department and accounting department to be at each other's throats without the head knocking some heads together and saying look, guys, resolve this. well, unfortunately we're drifting again back in that direction. before i get into that let me say thank you for coming to idaho. last october since the federal government owns 2/3 of the state it's only appropriate you visit us once in a while. and we appreciate that. we do things differently. i want to commend your predecessor secretary at that time salazar for inviting states to collaborate on the sage grouse issue. collaboration's a wonderful thing. it works. but it only works if people work
at it. idaho accepted that invitation and the governor wisely put together a great collaborative group who sat at a table, worked on a plan and your fish and wildlife service had a seat at that table as we developed that plan. when you came into office that was right at the point where even ow though our plan had been developed, even though the fish and wildlife service had signed off on it the blm said not so fast. i can't explain to you how incredibly frustrating that is. for us that are trying to save the sage grouse. that's our objective. it's a magnificent bird. it deserves the attention of government agencies. and it needs to be protected. here we go again. on october 27th 2014 dan ash, the director of the united states department of the interior fish and wildlife service wrote a letter to the blm. i don't understand why they communicate in such formal fashion. it would seem to me a phone call
would be good. but in think event this is where the letter starts. pursuant to our october 1st, 2014 leadership discussion regarding the federal land management planning process for greater sage grouse, et cetera. we're ready to go in idaho. we've got a plan. we want to work with the federal government on this plan. and i understand that the federal government and the state work at different paces. but this letter raises a new issue for us. says this memorandum and associated maps respond to requests from the bureau of land management, blm, to identify a subset of priority habitat most vital to the species persistence within which we recommend strongest levels of protection. where'd this come from? we'd been at this for years. and they now identify a focal area. we need to get this done. focal areas if there was such a
thing, should have been identified years ago. and they should have been incorporated in a plan so we can move forward. we want to move forward. but this again moves the goalpost. we were down on the 1 yard line with the ball and first down and all of a sudden we look up and the goalpost is way down the line. we've got to stop this stuff. we need to get -- we need to move forward with a finalization for a plan. and i know you and i have said, the head of the blm has said head of the fish and wildlife service said, oh yes, but then we're going to get sued. of course we're going to get sued. but we want everybody on one side of the table who are pragmatic, who have the goal of saving the sage grouse, who have put together a plan that will do it on one side of the table and the nut cases on the other side of the table who just want to fight. this is not helping. please, use your leadership.
bring this thing together and get our plan finalized where we can move forward with actual work on the ground to save the sage grouse. and i apologize for the passion with this but i'm telling you, we're just -- we're incredibly frustrated when the goalposts keep moving on us. we need to get this done and we need to move forward. so my time is up. but i'd like to get a brief response for you -- from you about what your plans are to try to help us move forward. and i understand the states are all in a different position. and this addressed all states. i wish it would have been state by state. and i wish instead at this meeting of october 1st i wish they'd invited the idaho people there to get their hands in on this and maybe we wouldn't have wound up where we are. madam secretary. >> madam chairwoman. thank you. that was october. and now we're in february. and i will say that incredible cooperation is going on between
the various agencies. one of the things that's very difficult in this job, and mike experienced it when he ran the bureau of reclamation and you've got distinct acts under which you operate. the fish and wildlife service. about long-term protection of fish and wildlife species and their health around the country. multiple sustained use of the landscapes. sometimes those do conflict. we've moved a long way since the letter you referenced. the blm has finalized its plans they've been working closely with the states and the fish and wildlife service. those plans are being finalized right now. i think there were 98 of them. lots and lots of environmental impact statements in work that's been done. the secretarial order on rangeland fire that your governor was very kind about saying some nice words about is a very key element for idaho -- >> it is. >> -- for parts partsof oregon and certainly nevada as well. those are things the fish and wildlife service will be able to ride on. i have encouraged people to stay
at the table, ton engage in letter writing to the extent they can pick up the phone and call each other. and i think that you will find that we are on the cusp of something that's pretty incredible here. because this coalition has come together and the states have come together. and we're very close to the goal line and the goal line's not moving. the goal line is scientific information agreed upon between the states and the fish and wildlife service something called the cot report. we are going to have to soon turn it over to the fish and wildlife service to make their determination. but i feel good about where we are, where the states are. it's been a rocky road to get there. but people are at the table working hard. so i appreciate your passion. i know it hasn't been an easy journey. >> first of all, i appreciate your leadership on this. i really appreciate the fact you that understand we've got two agencies that we really need to bring together. and i can tell you the message you just gave me i will take
back home to the states. if indeed that's the case they don't understand it yet. hopefully, we'll get to some progress where they will understand it. and again, i appreciate your leadership on it. please appreciate our problems with this also as we try to move this forward and all of a sudden we get new terms and new focal areas that nobody's ever heard of before. it's put on the table as we think we're at the goal line. thank you very much and thank you, madam chairwoman. >> obviously a great deal of passion about the sage grouse. let's go to senator wyden. >> thank you madam chair. secretary jewell, thank you for being with us. there's plenty to say that is supportive of your agenda. i just had town meetings across oregon over the last week, and there is so much support, for example, for the land and water conservation fund, making it permanent, fully funded. and your leadership on that has been especially helpful. i want to talk about a couple of
issues that are especially important to oregon right now because i think it would be helpful for the public to get a sense of your leadership and what's ahead. we finally have a bipartisan bill on secure rural which of course was written in this room. it was written in this room in 2000. senator larry craig, i a whole host of others involved. a real lifeline to resource-dependent communities for funding schools and roads and police and basic services. it is particularly important that we get mandatory funding for pilt back because as you know, at the end of the year there was this one-year arrangement for pilp. and a lot of rural counties are finding that as a result of the complicated pilp formula they're actually getting less money. it's my understanding that you're supportive of that. getting pilp back to being
mandatory, linking it to secure rural schools the way we did a number of years ago. is that correct? >> that is correct. >> okay. second area that is important to my constituents is the klamath and we were thrilled you came out for our launch. and we think that not only will this be helpful to oregon but we think this is a model for people coming together to deal with tough water issues in the days ahead. can you all commit that this will continue to be an administration priority? as you know, there have been some recent developments with respect to the mazamra, a forest in the basin. we're going to have to figure out how to ensure fair treatment for the tribes. the tribes have really stepped up on this issue. can we count on your support and continued interest in this? >> you certainly can. and i want to compliment you and members of the oregon delegation
as well as unprecedented cooperation between the tribes and the ranchers and interests that had been on different sides of the table coming together on the klamath agreement. it would be a real shame if this does not get approved through congress and done. >> it's my highest priority for that rural area. they have been so hard hit. and to have the farmers come together and the ranchers and fishing families and environmental folks, i think it can not just help oregon but be a national model. so we appreciate your leadership. >> i just want to say mike was very instrumental and will stay very much at the table on that. >> mike made many treks to the klamath, and we thank you for it. let's talk about wildfire funding for a moment. as you know, the system of funding how we fight wildfires is just broken. what happens is prevention gets shortchanged. and then as a result of prevention being short changed
is it's gotten dryer and hotter and you have a lightning strike and all of a sudden you have an inferno on your hands and government borrows from the prevention fund to put the fire out and then the problem gets worse because we're not giving adequate attention to the prevention fund as we know we need to do. there is a bipartisan effort that i, senator crapo, big group of westerners are a part of, big bipartisan group in the house is a part of it. tell us how you feel the increased budget certainty provided by this restructuring would help you. as you know, we've got a favorable score from the budget office because it really shows how valuable it is to preserve the prevention fund because it means you're going to have fewer disasters. but how would this increased budget certainty be of value to your agency, madam secretary? >> senator, thank you for your leadership. the bill that you put out there
with senator crapo and the companion bill with representative simpson and schrader have been enormously helpful. we are fully supportive of those efforts. we have in this budget about $200 million of the total $13.2 billion amount that is part of the wildfire funding cap. it would take the top 1% of catastrophic wildfires and put them off as the disasters that they really are coming out of the disaster funding cap. that would enable us to work with tribes, work with land management agencies to do the important fire prevention and restoration work to prevent wildfires from getting out of control. so by not doing that, as has been the case for a number of years, we've spent more and more on suppression and yes, less and less on hazardous fuel removal. a great example is the funny river fire in alaska. prevention efforts which were not federal. i think they were state in that case. but prevention efforts protected a community so that we didn't
have to spend as much on suppression to protect those homes or to risk those homes going up in smoke. we see this all over the place. and in the cage of the sage grouse being able to proactively reduce the risk of rangeland fire is critical to happen tat protection p. there's no question we would put the money to good use which would ultimately reduce our cost of fighting wildfires. >> can i get one last question in very quickly? on the question of coal and coal royalties as you know, i've been concerned for some time that taxpayers aren't getting their fair share of royalties from coal mined on public lands. we began when i was chair of this committee investigation into it. senator murkowski and i co-authored a letter to you all that the research be researched. i'm encouraged by the rule you have put out to stop companies from using subsidiaries to dodge the royalty payments. i think we may need to go further. we're getting additional information and i think it would be very helpful if you could review a recent report by head
watters economics on this. madam chair, if we could put that report in the record it would be good. and i'll just wrap up with that request, madam secretary. if you and i could have further conversation on that. >> i'd be delighted. >> thank you, madam chair. >> thank you, madam chair. and thank you, secretary jewell, for joining us today, and for all you do. i want to talk about the pilt program, payment in lieu of taxes. the department of interior website, there's an explanation that the pilt program involved "payments to local governments that help offset losses and property taxes due to non-taxable federal lands within their boundaries." based on this explanation i assume you agree with that definition, with that description of the program. based on that you would identify this not as a -- not a handout. it's not a special interest carve-out or something like that. this is a payment we make to
local governments in order to help make them whole or at least in some way offset the burden of having non-taxable federal land within their jurisdiction. is that right? >> that's correct. i agree with that. >> the 2016 budget proposes a year-long extension of the pilt program. and then there's a statement there to the effect that while we're doing this we also need to look at a sustainable long-term funding solution and a sustainable long-term funding solution needs to be developed. can you talk to us about sort of your policy priorities or how you frame this issue as you look to make this a sustainable program over the long haul? and tell me whether you would consider you know tying some federal resource to this whether it's perhaps revenue from timber harvested on federal
lands or selling excess federal land to make it sustainable or something like that. how do you do that? >> well, we -- thank you for the question. and for highlighting the importance of pilt. as senator wyden did with secure rural schools. we know this is really important. we know that many of these communities rely on this money for the public services that they provide to the rural residents but also to the visitors to those communities. this budget, as i said in the front end, is a forward-looking budget. it assumes that we move beyond sequestration. it assumes we make investments in the future of this country. i think as you've seen over the last year with continued economic growth in the country when we invest in this country we see a brighter future, and people appreciate that. finding a long-term mandatory funding source for pilt is very important. just as i believe in support for the land and water conservation fund, which has been talked about at this session.
we have lots of revenues that are collected on federal waters, for example. the funding for the land and water conservation fund was intended to come from offshore oil and gas revenues. we collect something like $14.7 billion, the lion's share of that from offshore oil and gas revenues. it is possible that funding source could be dedicated to pilt and secure rural schools as well as the water and land conservation fund. we believe it should be mandatory. we'd like to work with you on solutions to make pilt mandatory so it's not a worry every single year, we're not subject to sequestration as we felt in 2013. >> that's great. i appreciate that. and i appreciate your willingness to put a high priority on this. my personal view is it's got to be a high priority and while you've got a lot of priorities to manage and that's a difficult thing, i do think that pilt funding, make sure it's fully fund, we're making adequate pilt
payments certainly ought to be more -- ought to be of a greater priority than, say, other priorities like acquiring more federal land. at a time when the federal government owns nearly 1/3 of the land mass in the united states, more than 2/3 of the land in my state and where disproportionately the land owned by the federal government that is bringing about these economic burdens on states and local taxing jurisdictions disproportionately in the western united states makes it a high priority. on february 10th of this year utah governor gary herbert issued an executive order to further facilitate the protection of the greater sage grouse grouse. as you know, the state of utah has already developed a conservation plan for the sage grouse, one that i think addresses a lot of the competing interests and certainly addresses the most significant threats to the population of
this bird. can you tell me whether the fish and wildlife service has endorsed this plan and what the department's doing to coordinate with the state of utah? can you also give me your commitment that you'll work with governor herbert in giving this a chance to succeed? >> certainly i have been working with governor herbert. i'll continue working with him. i'm aware of his executive order and i very much appreciate it. i saw him just a couple of days ago at the national governors association and asked him if he could remove the 2017 expiration date because the fish and wildlife service needs to look over the long term to make sure that they can rely on the executive order in order to make their determination. and he said he wasn't aware of that and would certainly look into it. so i appreciate. that's the kind of cooperation i have not just with governor herbert, with all the western governors and the states, as we have been very much at the table multiple times a year to address what's unique to utah, what's unique to wyoming what's unique to colorado and nevada
and oregon and montana and the other states. so you certainly have my word. i'll stay at the table. i'm keeping my teams at the table. the blm plans are being finalized right now. i think it will be the in spring that those final records of decision come out. and then the fish and wildlife service will have all of that. the states' plans, the blm plans to take into account as they make their final listing determination. but they've been at the table all along. so no surprises no secrets. we are finally getting information shared with us from the states, which is very useful including utah. because they'll need all hands on deck to make the right decision. we are very, very hopeful that the kinds of efforts made by utah and other states will give them the confidence they need to not feel a listing is warranted. >> thank you madam secretary. i appreciate that. and i have great respect for governor herbert and his efforts in this area. >> i do too. >> and i appreciate your willingness to work with him and give that a succeed. thank you, madam chair. >> thank you. we will do a quick second round.
i appreciate the time that you've given us this morning, secretary jewell. i just want to -- because so many members have mentioned the sage grouse. this is fortunately an issue we're not dealing with up north and want to keep it this way. but i had in response to senator barrasso's question about the list ing listing you had said madam secretary, that you were bound by the court to render a determination even though congress had banned the issuance of the rule. but isn't it true that the settlement provides that such determinations are subject to appropriations? because that was the language we had included in the -- in the appropriations last year. as part of a rider. so it's just subject to appropriations. >> we'll look into the specific language, senator.
my understanding is that fish and wildlife service can say we believe a listing is warranted or not warranted but they have no appropriations to write a rule about that. >> correct. subject to the appropriations. anyway, i wanted to just make sure that we had cleared that up. because i thought as long as it is subject to appropriations and those had not been made you are not able to move forward with. we will look at that. i wanted to ask you about the cleanup of environmental contamination on lands that have been transferred to alaska native corporations under the native land claims settlement act. back in 2013 i asked the department what they were doing to speed up the cleanup. this had been in response to a study that had been done way
back in 1988. it proposed a six-point effort to clean up the speedup of the contamination. then in january of last year you sent me a letter that proposed that the department was going to update its contaminated lands survey and then address the other recommendations coming out of that 1998 letter. so i'm trying to understand where we are in this timeline. i've been led to believe that the updated list would be finalized by there fall. there were more than 650 sites on the old list. we haven't received that yet. so the question to you this morning is when might we expect an updated comprehensive list of the contaminated sites and then further to that point what is the proposal or what is the plan within d.o.i. 2 to really facilitate and move forward with
speeding up and funding the contamination for the cleanup on these native lands. >> senator i'll have to get back to you on the timing. i'm not exactly sure. i had a brought up date from the blm that they are assessing the site. so i know they have been prioritizing those. some are native conveyances and some are not. so we're sorting that out first. and they're also in the process of identifying potentially responsible parties that could be responsible for the cleanup. if there is a responsible party clearly that's where we'd go first as opposed to the federal treasury. i will need to get back to you on when the list is going to be updated and we'll get to you with some specifics on their plans if that's okay. >> and that would be appreciated. we did have language within the current spending authorization that requires the department to report by june of this year about the comprehensive inventory and what the plan is. but again, i think you sense the
priority when you were up in alaska, in addition to the legacy wells which we've had plenty of opportunity to discuss what that plan is and how we're going to be able to clean up that mess caused by the federal government. we in addition have these native lands that have been conveyed pursuant to angsa. and again, just a frustration with a decades-long delay in addressing this. so please know that this is a priority for me it's a priority for i believe the entire delegation. it's clearly a priority for our native people. one final question for you then. and this is a question that i am posing at every budget hearing this year. and that relates to the
administration's proposal for an arctic strategy. the implementation plan for the administration under the national strategy for the arctic region has the department of the interior designated as the lead agency in five different project area. you are also designated as a supporting agency for numerous other projects. so the question is what funding is included in the president's budget for the five projects that d.o.i. is the lead agency as well as for any other projects that the department may be involved with with the arctic region. >> mike and i are scrambling for our notes on this. so yes as we take over chairmanship of theic council which is largely driven by the department of state, we certainly intend to be at the table on that. i don't think this -- let me see
if i've got the numbers here. okay. senator, rather than trying to run through this because this is very broad let me get back to you specifically on the arctic council work because this -- here we go. i don't know if this addresses your question. arctic funding only. pretty large numbers. $145 million in total. that's about a $3 million increase. but that includes everything we're doing up there. the offshore oil and gas activity. the research activity. the usgs even park service and bureau of indian affairs. i don't think that's specific to your question. let me get back specifically on the arctic council work and those committees. >> i would appreciate a further breakdown. i had my folks scrub it pretty
carefully. and to be honest with you, we weren't able to find much that acknowledges that we do have this stepped-up role, and it's not just as we assume the chair of the council. it's leading in the arctic going forward and recognizing that d.o.i. again is the lead agency in several of these different areas. five of these areas. we're trying to figure out, are we doing anything or is it just window dressing? so if you can help me identify that, that would be greatly appreciated. >> we're happy to do that. and i will say it's very much on our radar, the usgs's radar. so some of what we may be doing is steering existing resources to focus on the arctic so that we can be prepared when the arctic council happens. but we'll get back to you with more specifics. >> thank you. we'll go to senator cantwell then senator hoeven and senator king. >> thank you, madam chair. i will say i'm very impressed
secretary jewell by the level of specificity you're giving to all our answers because we're covering a broad range of subjects. so i'm going to throw three other ones at you. first of all the columbia river treaty. hugely important to the pacific northwest. i don't know if mr. connell wants to take that or not. but what can we get from the department of interior about clarifying these interests so we can move forward on a proposal through the administration? i mean, obviously interior has to weigh in with the white house and this state department and we want to make sure that's happening so that we can elevate discussions with canada. secondly, we want to get your thoughts on working with the department of energy on the finalization of the manhattan project implementation. you mentioned obviously other park projects and their significance. we want to ensure the park
service works closely with the local community in planning that park. so we want to see if you can commit to finalizing that by the end of the year. and then lastly my colleague, senator wyden brought out again this process of blm coal valuation and wanted to get a sense whether you could commit you know to your process by the end of the year on that, on the royalty issue. >> let me turn to mike on the columbia river treaty and i'll address the other two. >> just very quickly on the columbia river treaty interior of the secretary endorsed the regional recommendation that we move forward with modernizing the treyy and we've informed the state department. so that's -- when that process and notification to canada when that's going to occur i'm not quite sure. but with the -- with respect to the regional group we have a framework for modernizing the treaty that we'd like to proceed with. dealing with the services they provide with respect to flood
control, with respect to the ecosystem services and the fisheries issues that we would like to include in those discussions. >> so you've sent that to state? >> yes, we have. >> okay. >> okay quickly on the manhattan project, there wasn't money in the current budget. we are pushing d.o.e. for its support on this. and i know that the national park service will be very interested in gauging local communities and that will be part of the effort. i can't answer whether we'll have it finalized by the end of the year because we've got to cobble together resources from somewhere because it's not current in the budget request because the budget was done before it came up. so we are working with d.o.e. we're going to need their financial support. >> i was talking to the secretary at last week's hearing about this. >> did he commit? >> yes, he did. >> so the park service does engage with local communities. i'll make sure this is on their radar. and we'll do our best to get it done by the end of the year and
get it in the next budget cycle so we can move forward soon. an important opportunity. on coal valuation we just -- or at least the draft i think on january 6th, we just extended the comment period to may 8th because it's complicate edd and we're going to have a lot of comments. whether we can get it across the finish line by the end of the year is questionable just because it depends on how many comments we get because we have to respond to all of those comments. we certainly are focused on getting it done while i'm in this chair. and while the president's in his chair. it's been very important. and we've heard about it from the gao and our own i.g. as you point out. we want to make sure the american taxpayer's getting a fair return. we've also had extensive consultations with industry and the proposal we've put out there actually streamlines and makes the process more efficient and provides more certainty on that end while also providing more certainty that we'll get the
return that he should be getting as american people. it's going to depend on the comments. but we are certainly focused on getting this done. i think just conversing with my colleague here, end of the year may be tight. given the time frame on the comment period. >> thank you. thank you, madam chair. senator hogan. >> thank you, madam chairwoman. i appreciate you and the ranking member holding this hearing today. and i want to thank both the secretary and assistant secretary. deputy secretary for being here. first i want to thank secretary connor for work that you're doing to try to help and facilitate with the dakota access pipeline. that's just a thank you i want to ak poll right up front. very important. and we appreciate it. i'd like to ask secretary jewell about b.o.m. in regard to coal leasing. i was just out in the coal
fields. and they're actually moving one of these big drag lines. it's a 10 million-pound drag line, and they're going to put it on carts and move it. if you can imagine that. it's just unbelievable. but while i was out there they showed me a tract of land they were in the process of leasing and it includes 350 mineral acres loaned by blm. blm does not own the surface acres. and it's only 350 mineral acres. but blm's indicated to the mining company there ha it's going to take seven to ten years to get an approval. for heaven's sakes. that's just totally unrealistic. and if in fact that's the case, the company will mine right around it. blm doesn't even own the surface acres. they'll mine right around it because they'll have that squared away in a year or less. and tip will i that's what blm has done too. i'm absolutely flabbar gated as
to what possibly could be going on here. do you have any idea? >> i don't know that circumstance at all. does the surface acre owner supportive of the mining activity? >> yes. and there's mined land all around there and reclaimed land all around there. the reason it's coming into place is because they're moving this huge drag line and reclaimed the land all around it. of course you've been in north dakota. thank you so much. we'd almost you out anytime to see it. but the reclaimed land is beautiful. it's being hayed and there's geese all over. now they're moving to this new -- and here's 350 acres and beyond even all the surface acres. the private owners want it mined because it's revenue and it's revenue for the federal government. 7 to 10 years. then they wanted something like $250,000 to go through the study to determine if they could even lease it out. that's never going to happen. all they're going to do is mine around you. and the federal government's out for revenue. doesn't make any sense at all.
>> well, senator it's not necessarily easy to do business on federal public land because of the requirements that we have as a federal land management agency. it triggers a nepa, triggers an environmental impact assessment. i will talk to the blm about this specific project and talk about the time frame they're talking about. the seven to ten years you that mentioned. and see if there's anything they can do to speed that up. but i will say the rules are different doing business on federal lands based on the laws we have to abide by. >> we know neil cornsy. we have a good relationship with him. but you've been talk it in a year and now seven to ten years? >> on coal we've been -- >> yes. i think they just did a tract over 1000 acres and it took less than nine months to a year to do it. >> i'll take a look at it. >> something's going on. and again we know neil and work with him. but something needs to be checked on here. oil lease we're still working to expedite that process. you're still running 180 to 270 days for an approval on blm land
versus a few weeks on private. and jamie connelly out there is fantastic. anything you can do to help her, help us please do. >> let me just say, i said this earlier, but there is money in this '16 budget to automate our blm applications for permits to drill. it's paper-based and it's more custom than we would like it to be. and we have a pilot going in carlsbad, new mexico that i went and took a look at. we've got a pilot going in vernal utah. and we'd like to take the learnings we learn from that and apply it. it will help our folks expedite their process. also i want to say in the 180 to 200 days is time the permit's back with the company. but if there's a way we can get that up front so there isn't the toing and froing that will help. there is money in the budget to do that along with money in the -- the request that we are able to charge fees to industry
not only for apds but also for inspections because we can't get out and inspect the wells we have. >> those are the kinds of things jamie's been working with a pilot project i would recommend it because she's got a good relationship out there. >> right. >> with industry and she is creative and does try to do things so i hope some of these dollars and/or programs could be moved her way to help us improve the process. >> this budget lets us roll it out everywhere. >> she would be great to help do you it. >> good. >> the last thing if i could beg the indulgence of the chairman for one more question. hydraulic, when are you coming out with your hydraulic fracturing rules? >> soon. specific date i can't give you, but we have gone through our extensive process. we've revised the rules and we're just waiting for final clearance so it will be i --
soon. >> where you can work with the states i strongly encourage it. we have done that with the tribes and it is working well. >> yes. >> so i just would ask for your willingness to work with the states. >> we will do that. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> thanks, mike. >> thank you. madam chair, madam secretary i just want to associate my comments with that of senator portman on the long-eared bat issue. i think this is a real opportunity for the service to really link closely the remedy with the science. the results of an overly broad structure of regulation as a result of any kind of listing would be just i believe catastrophic across the country, because the habitat is so broad, so this is -- i believe in the endangered species act but we have to be careful how we administer it that we don't undermine public support it and i think this is a good test case so i urng you,ge you, again, i
associate my comments with senator portman. you notice i was playing with this, i wasn't texting or tweeting. i was sadly trying to find an app to buy a park pass, and when you put in national park pass to my dismay, you get australia national park pass. you don't get usa park pass. so then i went to the website, and found that i can buy a park pass, but just -- i didn't go all the way through it but just below are the most dreaded words on any website "if you need your pass within ten days or less, it is recommended that you either purchase your pass at the first site you visit or request expedited shipping service for your order." come on. you have to mail the pass out in 2014? i hope i'm wrong about that and if i am, i'll be delighted to be corrected, but if you've got to go online, buy the park pass and then somebody mails it to you,
and not print it, make it printable, again, i hope i'm wrong, but the point is, let's say until -- june 1st let's have a national park app like starbucks has an app. everybody has an app, and you wave your phone at the kiosk on the way into the national park and you get the fees and everybody's happy and it's a good customer experience. so how about giving me a commitment that you'll get us a national park app within a couple of months, remembering that eisenhower retook europe in 11 months. [ laughter ] >> point well-taken, senator king. as a person that did a lot of business in electronic commerce, i can tell you that it actually requires investments to be able to do what you're suggesting. the park service budget for this year requests significant amount of money overall to improve our
technological support. we are in the process as the president announced a few days ago, of something called every kid in the park and that is automating a pass for fourth graders and their families to use parks for free. we are working with some wizards in the white house that have come from private industry, google specifically and other similar firms to help us pull that together. if there is an opportunity to automate what you're talking about for others we'll look at it, but i will also tell you that it's very expensive -- having worked at rei it's very expensive to do automated and cross checks and tieing in to credit cards and all of those things, and i think perhaps an appropriate way forward is to work with private industry to facilitate the sale of the park passes so we can lean into the technology that's there. we're behind in every department of the interior and perhaps a lot of the parts of the federal government in the use of technology from automating our
oil and gas permits to facilitating visits to the national parks. i do have national park apps on my phone. they aren't provided by the national park service even though information is. >> individual parks. >> no npca has an app i use that's got lots of information. >> that's the one i downloaded for all the parks but it's private. >> it's private, yes, that's right, a non-profit organization. >> well you get the point. >> i do get the point. >> if you need more money to do it, this is basic customer service. if you need more money to do it tell us and if what's in the budget isn't sufficient because i just think this is -- as i said before, there's money left on the table here. this would pay for itself probably in a year in terms of increased revenues to the department based upon easier access to park passes. >> it's certainly something we'll look into and i appreciate your point. >> thank you. >> we are not nearly as automated as we would aspire to be. >> good, thank you madam chair.
>> thank you. good hearing. lots of different questions. i appreciate what you're saying, senator king, about making it easier to access the parks, and given that we've got this centennial coming next year, i've had long conversations already with john jarvis about the goal of getting more people into the parks, and my response back is, well, we got to figure out then how we're going to be dealing with the maintenance issues, because i don't want families coming to one of their national parks for the very first time and seeing that it looks shoddy. so we've got some work to do here in terms of how we're going to be dealing with this $13 billion backlog that is out there. i happen to think that we might be able to get a little bit more creative with our lwcf fund instead of purchasing more federal land i think that we
might want to look to that as perhaps a funding opportunity. madam secretary i will be submitting a host of other questions for the record as i think other members will but i just want to put you on alert. i have been to a couple different events in the past several weeks where large gatherings of hunters come together, and the most talked about issue was the filming on public lands, whether it's our park service lands our forest service lands and being able to film, and it is clear to me that there is an inconsistency that doesn't help and a real frustration with those who want to be able to show our amazing public lands through capturing videos and photographs and
filming, and the requirements that are being placed on them. i will conclude my remarks here today with a statement that you just used in response to a comment from senator hoven, and you stated "it's not easy to do development on federal lands." i think this is where you hear the greatest frustration from those of us who have such great percentages of our states that are federally held, and i appreciate that there are differences, but it ought not be next to impossible, and in many instances, that's seemingly what our issue is, so how we make it easier and better, and more fair to do development on federal land is what i think we need to
get to because as senator hoven says you're just going to go around your federal lands and then we get no revenue to the treasury. it just doesn't make sense. so we need to work in that regard. with that, i appreciate you've given the committee a lot of time and senator cantwell, if you want to have the final word. >> i would just say thank you madam chair, for this hearing and i think a lot of members showed up and we had a lot of input and a lot of questions across the board and i get your point about federal lands and yes, i'm sure that there's a higher percentage in alaska than in washington state, about you in washington state we get a lot of revenue from those public lands and so that's been a big benefit to us, and so we definitely want to work with you as we move forward on trying to think about an energy package and what we can do together to bolster our economies, and to work together on policies that can move us forward. but i feel like we had a broad
range of things brought forward here today and certainly appreciate the witnesses in this particular budget proposal. >> thank you. secretary of state john kerry was questioned by house lawmakers today about the administration's nuclear talks with iran. that hearing is next on c-span3. nato's top commander said he doesn't think ukrainian forces can stop a russian advance in eastern ukraine. we'll have that pentagon briefing later. after that a look at community policing programs. that's from the white house task force on policing practices. >> the federal communications commission holds a meeting on open internet rules and access to broadband, they'll be examining a proposal by
commission chairman tom wheeler that would give fcc authority to ensure that internet service providers give consumers access to all legal content and applications on an equal basis without favoring or blocking some sources. you can see the meeting live tomorrow here on seec-span3, beginning at 10:30 a.m. eastern. >> secretary of state john kerry said that russian president vladimir putin is destabilizing the security of eastern ukraine. testifying at the house foreign affairs committee secretary kerry was also asked about nuclear talks with iran. woman from the code pink organization was removed from the hearing room by capitol police before congressman ed royce, who chairs the committee, gaveled in. >> today we hear from secretary of state john kerry. the secretary is just off yet another overseas trip, dealing with issues that we'll discuss
here today, and mr. secretary, your dedication is clear to all. secretary kerry comes to present his department's budget requests. needless to say, given washington's chronic budget deficit, wasteful spending is intolerable, even good programs may be unsupportable at levels we would want, but we must also appreciate the many serious challenges we as a nation and the department in particular faces worldwide. these challenges seem to grow by the day. iran and north korea are pursuing nuclear weapons. russia is gobbling up neighboring ukraine. we see beheadings, crucifixions, and emulation by isis. cartoonists and jewish shoppers are targeted and killed on paris streets. indeed, some days it feels as if the world itself is coming off of its axis. regarding iran, all of us want
to see mr. secretary, all of us want to see you get a meaningful, lasting agreement. but the committee, as you know, has real concerns about the direction of these talks. i'm hearing less about dismantlement, and more about the personal. nens of iran'seye iran's nuclear program. that's particularly disturbing when you consider that international inspectors report that iran has still not revealed its past bomb work. this should be treated as a fundamental test of the ayatollah's intention to uphold any agreement. iran is failing that test. also, it is still illicitly procuring nuclear technology. recently iran was caught testing a new generation of supersonic
centrifuges. to be frank, as this committee reads about us being on the brink of a historic agreement, you have a challenge in terms of congressional buy-in. meanwhile, iran and its proxies are wreaking havoc throughout the region. and in eastern europe, russia's military aggression is matched only by the size of its propaganda. russia is spending more than one half billion dollars annually to mislead audiences, to sow divisions, to push conspiracy theories out over r.t. television. yet the agency charged with leading our response, the broadcasting board of governors, is, as your predecessor testified to us, dysfunctional. last congress the house passed legislation authored by ranking member eliot engel and me to fix the bbg, the broadcasting board
of governors. we hope to have the administration's active backing as we again push this reform. and in the middle east, isis is on the march. the administration was tragically slow to react to isis' rise, missing the chance to devastate them with airstrikes during the first seven months, eight months of isis moving from syria in to iraq, town by town, taking these cities, air power was not used to devastate these columns out on the open road as it should have been applied. today the kurds are still severely outgunned. our training of the syrian opposition isn't off the ground. and arab allies complain they don't have the weapons needed. and while the administration is focused on the fight against isis in iraq today, it's still unclear what its plans are for syria tomorrow. as the committee considers the
president's request for a military authorization against isis, members need to hear a better articulation of the administration's strategy, and see a strong commitment from the commander in chief. as terrorism from islamist terrorist groups spread, the committee knows that that puts more of our diplomats out there at risk. in the past half year the department has had to evacuate staff from two u.s. embassies, libya, and yemen. on this note, the committee stands ready to assist the department on embassy security. we passed a state department authorization, and embassy security bill last congress and look forward to working with you to get our next bill signed in to law. and as the department works to finalize its second quadrennial diplomacy and development review, know that we are ready to assist the department to be more effective and efficient to meet the demands of the 21st century's diplomacy.
we have policy differences but these should never compromise the day-to-day operations of your department, and certainly not the safety of its personnel. mr. secretary, our nation faces great challenges. through it all, though, we must work together to ensure that america maintains its positive, and essential role in the world. that is our challenge. and i will now turn to our ranking member mr. eliot engel of new york for his opening statement. >> thank you, mr. chairman, mr. secretary, welcome back. we're fortunate to have you as our top diplomat as we face so many challenges around the world. whether it's violent extremism or nuclear proliferation, health epidemics or climate change, these are challenges that threaten our security and values. and that demand's robust investment in international affairs. that's why the president has put forward a strong international affairs budget, and that's why his proposal deserves the
support of congress. the president's budget would end sequestration, something long overdue, including a 7.7% increase in international affairs spending. why is this increase so important? the kaiser family foundation reported recently that many americans believe we spend much more on foreign assistance than we actually do. here are the facts. international affairs total just over 1% of our federal budget. and foreign aid accounts for less than 1%. with that narrow sliver of the pie, we're keeping americans safe, strengthening ties around the world, and promoting american leadership abroad. we're getting a pretty good bang for our buck. still, we can always be more effective, more efficient, and more focused. and i'd like to mention a few of my questions and concerns. let me start with institutional and bureaucratic challenges at the state department. we need a department that can adopt to evolving foreign policy and national security issues. we need diplomats equipped to
deal with constantly changing demands. are we recruiting the best talent? do our diplomats have the tools and training they need to do their jobs right? i'm curious about how the department will implement the forthcoming recommendations of the quadrennial diplomacy and development review. on our response to the ebola outbreak, mr. secretary, i want to applaud you. the state department, usaid and the thousands of heroic americans who play such an important role. this crisis has required tremendous resources, and our strategy is working. the situation in west africa continues to improve. but we must remain vigilant until this scourge has been eliminated. this crisis underscores the need for global health funding. preventing future epidemics requires investment in research, infrastructure, and personnel. so i'm disappointed by proposed cuts to global health programs dealing with tuberculosis, neglected tropical diseases, and other dangerous illnesses.
i'd like to find a way to avoid these cuts and keep giving these programs the resources they need. turning to ukraine. i have serious doubts that the minsk agreement will end this crisis. we've taken a handful of incremental steps but they have not been enough to get ahead of the crisis or deter further russian aggression. the united states is a major interest in europe's stability and security. decades of american investment is on the line. i know dealing with the kremlin is delicate, but we must not allow ukraine to lose more territory or to fail economically. in the middle east, more than 11 million people have been driven from their homes in syria. and more than 200,000 have been killed. this crisis has spilled across borders. it's created large-scale vulnerability to sexual assault, child marriage, hunger, and other kinds of abuse and exploitation. the budget prioritizes this humanitarian disaster, but much more needs to be done by both the united states and regional partners.
this crisis has been fueled by political instability in iraq and syria. the new iraqi program has taken some steps to make iraq's political system more inclusive. but we remain far from the point at which sunnis, shia and kurds feel like they have a stake in iraq's future. the way forward in syria is even less clear. but we know one thing for certain. that country's future should not include assad. as you've said, mr. secretary, he is a one-man supermagnet for terrorism. so while we are going after isis or the islamic state, we should not forget that assad must go. he cannot be part of a syria for the future. on that note, i welcome the president's decision to send congress a request for a new authorization to use military force aumf against isis. the president's proposal is a reasonable starting point, and this committee will continue our efforts to review the language, and the overall strategy to defeat isis.
i look forward to working with you and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to make sure we get this right. briefly on iran, i said many times that my preference is a negotiated solution to the iranian nuclear crisis. however, we're hearing troubling reports on the scale and duration of the program that iran may be allowed as part of the deal. as you've said many times, mr. secretary, no deal is better than a bad deal and so we must ensure that iran has no pathway to a nuclear weapon, and that any deal we sign is a good deal. and finally, i want to commend the proposed $1.1 billion in funding to address root causes of child migration from central america. we need to ensure that these resources are targeted towards the most vulnerable communities that the children are coming from across the subregion. and finally, getting back to europe, and ukraine, and russia. i really believe that nato hangs in the balance. i think if putin continues to push ukraine around and threaten
other countries, and nato is not a sufficient deterrent, we are sort of sending the word to putin that we're really a paper tiger. so i wish you would talk about that a little bit, because i really do believe the future of nato hangs in the balance. four countries give 2% of their budget to defense, as is required, and that's very, very troubling in terms of nato. so i thank you, mr. chairman, and i look forward to the secretary's testimony. >> thank you, mr. engel. this morning we're pleased to be joined by mr. john kerry, the 68th secretary of state. and mr. secretary, welcome again here to the committee. without objection, the witness' full prepared statement will be made part of the record. and the members here, each of you, will have five calendar days to submit any statements or questions or extraneous material for the record you may wish to submit. so mr. secretary, if you open
for five minutes, then we'll go to the members for their questions. >> well, thank you very much, mr. chairman, congressman engel, ranking member, all the members of this committee. to respect your time, i will try to summarize my comments, and mr. chairman i hope i can do it in five minutes. there's a lot to talk about. and your questions will needless to say elicit an enormous amount of dialogue. which i really welcome. i can't think of a moment where more is happening, more challenges exist, there's more transformation taking place. some of it with great turmoil. a lot of it with enormous opportunity that doesn't get daily discussion. but all of it with big choices for you.
for us. you representing the american people. all of us in positions of major responsibility at this important time. we rose to the occasion, obviously, and we like to extol it. we all talk about it. i did certainly as a senator. i do as secretary of state. and that is the extraordinary contribution of the greatest generation. and what they did to help us and our leaders did, republican and democrat alike, who put us on a course to win the battle against tyranny, dictatorship, and to win the battle for democracy and human rights and freedom for a lot of people. and no country on the face of this planet has expended as much blood, put as many people on the line, lost as much of our human
treasure to offer other people an opportunity to embrace their future. not tell them what it has to be. it's really a remarkable story. and now we find ourselves at a moment where we have to make some similar kinds of choices, frankly. i don't want to overblow it. i'm not trying to. but this is a big moment of transport -- of transformation. there are literally hundreds of millions of people emerging on this planet, young people, count the number of countries where the population is 65% under the age of 30, 60%, 30 and under, 50% under the age of 21. i mean it's all over the place. and if they live in a place where there's bad governance or corruption, or tyranny, in this world where everybody knows how to be in touch with everybody else all the time, you have a clash of aspirations.
a clash of possibilities and opportunities. and to some degree, that's what we're seeing today. that certainly was the beginning of the arab spring. which is now being infused with a sectarianism, and confusions of religious overtones and other things that make it much more complicated than anything that has preceded this. by the way, the cold war was simple compared to this. bipolar, pretty straight forward conversations. yeah, we have to make big commitments, but it wasn't half as complicated in the context of dealing country to country, and with tribes, with culture, with a lot of old history. and it's a very different set of choices. in addition, that's complicated by the fact that many other countries today are growing in their economic power. growing in their own sense of independence.
and not as willing to just take at face value what a larger g-7 or g-20 country tells them, or what some particular alliance dictates. so that's what we're facing. and i heard the chairman say, you know, we shouldn't compromise the day-to-day operations of the department. but let me say to you, the day-to-day operations of the department are not confined to making an embassy secure. we need to do that. but if that's all we do, folks, we're in trouble. we're not going to be able to protect ourselves adequately against these challenges that we're facing that we'll talk about today. the united states, you know, we get 1% of the entire budget of the united states of america. everything we do abroad within the state department and usaid is within that 1%. everything.
all the businesses we try to help, to marry to economic opportunities in the country, all the visas, the consulate work, the diplomacy, the coordination of dhs, fbi, atf, i mean all the efforts that we have to engage in to work with other countries, intelligence organizations, so forth, to help do the diplomacy around that is less than 1%. i guarantee you more than 50% of the history of this era is going to be written out of that 1% and the issues we confront in that 1%. and i ask you to think about that as you contemplate the budgets. because we've been robbing peter to pay paul, and we've been stripping away our ability to help a country deal with those kids who may be ripe for becoming part of isil. we've been diminishing our capacity to be able to have the
kind of impact we ought to be having in this more complicated world. now, i'm not going to go in to all of the detail because i promised i'd summarize. but i believe the united states is leading extraordinarily on the basis of that 1%. we have led on isil, putting to together a coalition for the first time in history that has five arab nations engaged in military activity in another arab country in the region, against, you know, sunni against sunni. i don't want to turn this into that sectarian but it's an important part of what is happening. we help to lead in the effort to transition in iraq a government that we could work with. part of the problem in iraq was the sectarianism that the former prime minister had embraced, which was dividing his nation, and creating a military that was incompetent. and we saw that in the context of mosul. so we wanted to make sure that
we had a government that really represented people and was going to reform and move in a different direction. and we worked at it and we got it. we have it today. is it perfect? no. but is it moving in the right direction? you bet it is. in afghanistan, we rescued a flawed election, brought together the parties, were able to negotiate to get a unified unity government. which has both of the presidential candidates working together to hold afghanistan and define its future, and create -- and negotiate a bsa that defines our future going forward and give afghanistan a chance to make good on the sacrifices of 14 years of our troops, and our contributions and so forth. on ebola, we led that fight. president obama made a brave decision to send 4,000 young american troops there in order to set up the structure so we had a capacity to be able to try to deal with it. 1 million deaths were predicted
by last christmas at the time that we did that. and not all the answers were there for questions that were real. but the president sent those people in. we have made the difference, and now there's a huge reduction in the cases, in liberia, sierra leone, guinea, and we're getting not finished, but we're getting to a place where you're not seeing it on the nightly news every day and people aren't living in fear here that they're about to be infected. on aids we're facing the first aids-free generation in history. because of the work that we have done. on the ukraine we've held together europe and the united states and unity to put in place sanctions. the ruble is down 50%. there's been $151 billion of capital flight from russia. there's been a very significant impact on day-to-day life, on food, product availability. the economy is predicted in
russia to go in to recession this year. and we are poised yet to do another round potentially depending on what happens with minsk in these next few days. on iran, we've taken the risk of sitting down. of trying to figure out, is there a diplomatic path to solve this problem? i can't sit here today and tell you i know the answer to that. but i can tell you it's worth trying before you go to more extreme measures that may result in asking young americans yet again to put themselves in harm's way. we are pursuing the two most significant trade agreements of recent memory. the tpp, in asia pacific, and the ttip in europe, both of which represent about 40% of gdp of the world. in order to have a race to the top, not a race to the bottom. if we can achieve that we will be achieving a major new structure with respect to trade rules on a global basis. in africa, we held the african leaders summit, an historic summit with more than 40 african
leaders coming to washington out of which has come a series of events that will help, we hope, to meet our obligation to help transform africa. and finally on climate, there are other things, incidentally. i'm just skimming the surface, some of the most important. i know not everybody here is a believer. in taking steps to deal with climate. i regret that. but the science keeps coming in stronger and stronger and stronger. on the front page of today's newspapers, the stories about an alaskan village that will have to be given up because of what is happening with climate change. it is -- there's evidence of it everywhere in the world. and we cut a deal with china, improbable as that was a year ago, the biggest opponent of our efforts has now stood up and joined us because they see the problem and they need to respond to it. so they've agreed to target for
lowering reliance on fossil fuel and a target for alternative renewable energy by a certain period of time. and we've set targets, and that's encouraged other countries to start to come forward and try to take part in this effort. so i will -- i will adamantly put forward the way in which this administration is leading. i know not everybody agrees with every choice. are there places where we need to do more? yes. we'll talk about those, i'm sure, today. but we need to work to the. together. i'll end by saying that historically, historically that 1% has produced more than its monetary value precisely because your predecessors were willing
to let foreign policy debate and fight become bipartisan, let politics stop at the water's edge, and find what is in the common interests of our country. that's what brings me here today. that's why i'm so privileged to serve as secretary of state at this difficult time, because i believe america is helping to define our way through some very difficult choices, and frankly, and last thing, this is counterintuitive but it's true. our citizens, our world today, is actually, despite isil, despite the visible killings that you see, and how horrific they are, we are actually living in a period of less daily threat to americans and to people in the world than normally less deaths, less violent deaths today, than through the last century.
and so even a concept of state war has changed in many people's minds and we're seeing more now asymmetrical kinds of struggles. i would say to you that i see encouragement when i travel the world. i see people wanting to grow their economies. i see vast new numbers of middle class. people who are traveling. i see unbelievable embrace of new technologies. i see more democracy in places where it was nonexistent or troubled. big changes, sri lanka, and other countries. we can run the list. but i hope you will sense that it is not all doom and gloom that we are looking at. tough issues, yes. but enormous opportunities for transformation if we will do our job and continue to be steady, and put on the table the resources necessary to take advantage of this moment of transformation. thank you. >> thank you, mr. secretary. mr. secretary, you're certainly
right, it is not all gloom and doom. but, the reality for us is that even as we discuss these issues, there are still rallies going on in iran in which the refrain is death to america, death to israel. even as we attempt to engage and we hope that we get a verifiable agreement. but even as we attempt this we still have the ayatollah, and we still have the cadres that come out and say death to the great satan, death to little satan and that's a reality that we have to face, because sometimes when people communicate those types of threats, they mean it. and i mentioned my concern about the direction of iran talks. and of course we understand we're still negotiating on this. and i understand you've cautioned not to judge a deal we haven't yet seen.
but it's important that the administration know the committee's concerns, as you negotiate. and one thing we do know is that iran has continued to stonewall international inspectors. concerning its past bomb work. and as you've acknowledged, this is a critical part of these negotiations. and it's a fundamental test of iran's commitment. and it's been well over a year, i think, and i've talked to the secretary-general of the iaea about this. you know i saw press this morning, i don't know if this is correct or not, and we could go in to closed session at some point to discuss it, but the concern of a secret facility. but the concern i have at the moment is what the secretary-general says. and he indicates that he's concerned about signs of military related activities including a -- including iran designing a nuclear payload for a missile.
inspectors in iran, the iaea inspectors have amassed over 1,000 pages which show research, development and testing activities on technologies needed to develop a nuclear weapon, and of the 12 sets of questions that the iaea has been seeking since 2011, iran answered part of one of those, and so i'd like to ask you for a response on the concerns on the part of the iaea. and us on the committee. >> well, they're legitimate. and the questions have to be answered. and they will be unless -- if they want to have an agreement. >> well, we had 350 members write you expressing deep concern about this lack of cooperation, and of course from our standpoint in -- unless we have a full understanding of iran's program, we're not going to be able to judge a year's breakout time with certainty. that's the conundrum we face
here. and they're withholding that information, and without going into detail again, but, as you know, i have concerns about the fact they were caught with that supersonic centrifuge, testing that, and the whole procurement -- >> let me just say on that centrifuge when you say supersonic. they have some advanced centrifuges that do more than the centrifuge they have today. we're well aware of that. we've been tracking all of that, and really there was a misunderstanding of the language in the interim agreement which did allow current testing. there was a question about whether that had been current. we raised it, and immediately, within 24 hours, it ceased, there was no question, and there's been no further effort on that. in fact, the iaea has signed off that iran has complied with every single component of interim agreement.
>> and let me -- >> we raise these questions regarding the iaea, mr. chairman, and as i said, they're going to have to be answered. so that's part of the discussion right now. >> there's a piece today in "the new york times." inspectors say iran is evading questions as nuclear talks enter a crucial stage. per my conversations with the iaea i know those concerns are there. i want to just turn to broadcasting reform to discuss that with you because i know in an exchange you had yesterday in the senate you expressed your frustration that our effort to confront russian propaganda is simply nowhere near where it ought to be. it's an area where mr. engel and i also share frustration on that. we know that putin is dominating the essential information battle on the ground. that's not -- that's -- but this isn't just about resources. it is also about what we can do
with an initiative that, for the broadcasting board of governors, to overhaul that institution, and make it effective, myself and mr. engel put that bill in to the senate last year. we were not able to get it up and passed. and the question i wanted to ask was, for your assistance on the senate side, in getting our legislation through this year, so that we can get reform that this troubled agency needs, and get up and running with the type of broadcasting that you and i, i think, want to see to offset what president putin is doing right now. >> all i can say is, mr. chairman, i'm with you 100% on this. i look forward to working with you further. i appreciate your leadership on this issue. you've been champion of reform on the bbg and i am absolutely committed to the reform of the bbg and our next meeting is on
april 29th. i've had long conversations with our undersecretary for public diplomacy rick stengel, who is very seized with some things we need to try to achieve. now there are two issues here. one is sort of the reform of the bbg and the second is what we ought to be doing on a global basis with respect to the propaganda that's coming out of russia. on the bbg, we've just -- we've had a slight difference with you on the issue of whether or not we are -- whether it's improved to have a situation where you have two boards and two ceos. i think you know i raised that. and also, i think state, given our engagement with it, needs to be part of that process. i'm confident we can find a way to drive this more effectively. the bigger issue is, what is congress prepared to do in terms of putting some resources on the line to help us do this? i have found, when i have
traveled to the baltic region, or to poland, or to bulgaria recently and elsewhere, they're just getting flooded with propaganda. and propaganda is exactly that. it's propaganda. it has the ability to affect the minds of those who hear it if they don't hear alternatives. >> well, mr. secretary, we're on the same page with you. i think your request was $1.3 million to confront russian propaganda in this budget. >> correct. >> we're on the same wavelength, mr. engel and i and the committee with you on this. just, if i could just turn to one other issue that's going to be a topic here of this hearing today. and that is the question that is on our mind in terms of aumf to ensure that the commander in chief has the authority needed to decisively defeat the enemy, and that will be part of our dialogue here with you this morning.
i will turn now to mr. engel for his opening questions. >> thank you mr. chairman. again welcome mr. secretary. mr. secretary, i mentioned to you just before the hearing began my concern about a report, it was in yesterday's "new york times," that says negotiators plan to phase out nuclear limits on iran and essentially, it's saying that we could possibly be -- would accept a fudging so to speak, of how many years iran would be prohibited from these various moves to have nuclear weapon, whether it would be ten years, 15 years, so on and so forth. but it essentially would ease limits on iran's production during the later years of an accord in saying that by doing that it would be an attempt to bridge the differences between
the two sides over how long an agreement should last. can you talk about this? because it's very disturbing. obviously i believe and others believe that the and i know you believe that the longest amount of time preventing iran from gearing up to have a nuclear weapon is preferable. and if we're sort of fudging it, those reports are true, at the end, it's very concerning. you know, no one here, certainly not you, needs to be told about the threat of iran, and that iran having a nuclear weapon would be a game changer. we need to support our ally israel. iran is an existential threat to them. and so when i hear that the end portion of this agreement is sort of nebulous or going to be a little cloudy about it it's very disturbing.
so i'd like your response to the report in "the new york times." >> absolutely. couldn't be a more important topic. i absolutely welcome the chance to talk about it. i regrettably can't talk about it as much as i would love to talk about it because we don't have a deal yet. and so i am not going to go into great lengths and detail here for that reason, and i would caution others not to be running around combatting the deal that hasn't been made. secondly i will say mr. ranking member, you just said the language you used was we don't want to see a reduction of these measures that might then permit iran to go build a nuclear weapon. please understand there is no
reduction at any time that permits iran to build a nuclear weapon. iran is forever forbidden from building a nuclear weapon. that is the nature of membership in the nonproliferation treaty, which they are a member of, and that is the nature of certain responsibilities that you accept in the context of verification and transparency. now i'm not going to go in to all of that here today. except to say to you that obviously that's got to be adequate. unlike north korea, which is not a member of the npt, iran has certain obligations that go forever. so don't get lured in to believing that because something might change or be reduced with respect to, you know, some component they're allowed to do or install there countries that live by the npt are permitted to have a peaceful nuclear program.
that means they can produce power for their nation. with a nuclear plant. japan has very intrusive inspection and they enrich and they're engaged in producing fuel and doing their capacity. now iran hasn't already mastered the fuel cycle, folks. they did that a number of years ago. when president george w. bush was president in 2003, the bush administration policy was no enrichment. and they went -- iran went from 164 centrifuges to 19,000 that are installed, and there's claims of some others being out there. which we're going at. so, you know, they've learned how to enrich. by the way, a different administration had an opportunity to stop them or do something and they didn't. so we are where we are today. they know how to do fuel cycle.
and the question is going to be, what restraints can you put on that now in a way that guarantees you that you know they're not going to build a nuclear weapon? we've said there are four pathways to that nuclear weapon. one is through fordau, another is through iraq, another is through natanz, and a fourth is through covert. covert is hard. that's the hardest. so we're now negotiating the methods by which we can show that the four paths are cut off. and that they're not cut off, folks, for two years, three years, four years, five years, they're cut off forever. for as long as they're living up to the npt. and you have to build some process of a knowledge base, and of a system that gets you there over a period of time. that's what we're trying to do. so mr. chairman i'm not today, i don't want to jeopardize these talks. i don't want to mischaracterize them in any way. they're tough. they're hard. there's some very big issues yet
to be resolved. we are not there. but, we're not going to wade in on a piecemeal basis and we certainly don't think it's appropriate to condemn it before everybody knows what it, in fact, is, if there is an is. >> mr. secretary i want to ask you a final question about ukraine. i believe that the united states should provide ukraine with defensive weapons. i know that germany and france have resisted it. i really think what's happened with ukraine under the 1994, as you well know, budapest memorandum, ukraine gave up their nuclear weapons with assurances from the u.s., the uk, china and russia that they would be protected. that we haven't, in my opinion, lived up to the 1994 budapest memorandum at all and as i said in my opening remark, i think that the credibility of nato is
hanging in the balance with putin bullying all the countries around ukraine. i'm wondering if you can comment on the defensive weapons to ukraine to help them repel putin's aggression? >> well, we've sent a lot of different items to ukraine, actually. over a period of time, we're one of the more significant donors. we've been sending counterbattery radars. we've been sending night vision. we've been sending communications gear. m-wraps. i mean there's a long list of items that we have sent. and in addition, we've been, let me just run through, we've got about 118 million we've given in training and equipment. 52 million including body armor, helmets, advanced radios, explosive ordnance, disposal robots, fir aid kit supplies, 47 million in protective gear for
state border guard service, vehicles, up armored suvs, heavy engineering equipment, thermal imageing, monitoring equipment, patrol boats, uniforms, generators, and we've provided training and equipment to six companies, and headquarters elements, that's about 600 personnel, and ukrainian national guard and there's more. so we're -- we've been doing a lot. i think everybody understands that we're not going to be able to do enough under any circumstance that, if russia decides to match it, and surpass it, they're going to be able to do it. everybody knows that, including president poroshenko. the debate is whether or not there is some -- some weapons that could be given to them that give them a greater ability to defend themselves in order to prevent the creeping land grabbing that's been taking place, or at least raise the cost. that's a very legitimate discussion.
president obama has not yet made that decision. partly because even yesterday there was a meeting in paris of the russian foreign minister, the ukrainian foreign minister, and the french and german foreign ministers, to measure the implementation of minsk and to see if they can move further, some weapons have been pulled back, troops, some troops have been pulled back. obviously debaltseve was the site of a continued battle. that's a violation. there have been many violations of the cease-fire since then. so the measurement now is are we on a downward track to actually seeing an implementation or is there now a mariopol or some other effort that may be taking place which would immediately merit a much more significant response, which is teed up and that could be very serious next level of sanctions coupled with other choices the president may
or may not make. >> we go now to the chair of the middle east. >> thank you so much, mr. chairman. welcome, mr. secretary. i will ask about iran, cuba, venezuela and palestinians. you testified in the senate yesterday that, quote, the policy is iran will not get a nuclear weapon, end quote. however, last month your deputy testified that the deal being negotiated is meant only to constrain iran's breakout capabilities. so which one is it constraining or eliminating? and if the deal is to prevent iran from ever acquiring a nuclear weapon, why are we allowing iran to enrich, to keep some of their stockpiles and centrifuges. your agreement is based on the assumption that we can verify if iran cheats but the defense science board and former cia
director hayden have stated that our capability to detect iran's undeclared or covert nuclear sites is either inadequate or does not exist. so can we catch when iran cheats and when they do cheat, not if but when, what consequences will iran suffer, and reports surfaced yesterday as the chairman said of an undeclared iranian enrichment site. what information can you share about this new site and will this development impact, how will this development impact the negotiations? on cuba, mr. secretary, yesterday in the senate you said, quote, the change that we are making, we believe, assists the united states to be able to promote the democracy and the rights that we want for the people of cuba, end quote. however, cuba spy vidal who's leading the castro delegation said that havana will not accept
a u.s. embassy that will assist cuba's civil society and said that, quote, change in cuba isn't negotiable, end quote. now the regime has arrested over 300 opposition members in just the last two weeks. berta soleil was among them. only three weeks ago, she was sitting in your chair testifying before our committee on the gross human rights abuses going on in cuba today. she returned to cuba on a saturday. she was arrested sunday. yet the u.s.-castro talks are still scheduled to go on on friday here at the state department. but the u.s. didn't even get one cosmetic commitment to democratic reform from the castro regime and the regime keeps demanding more from us. pay us billions of dollars from the losses we suffered from the embargo, utterly ridiculous. and just yesterday, mr. secretary, castro bestowed metals on those whom your
administration pardoned, including gerardo hernandez, who was responsible for killing u.s. citizens on the very anniversary of the killing of our citizens castro gave a medal to his killer, a killer who was pardoned by this administration. of all the bad deals that we have seen bergdahl, et cetera isn't this cuba deal the weakest one yet? and on venezuela, mr. secretary, yesterday, just a few days ago a 14-year-old child was killed by police thugs, actually just yesterday, 14 years old. he was shot in the head during a peaceful protest. we in congress passed a sanctions law to punish such acts, but you have not fully implemented our law. states decision to deny some visas to some people is only a small slap on the wrist. people are dying in venezuela and all we're hearing are excuses. enough is enough, why have you
it is in nobody's interest madame chair, for this to -- for the pa to fall apart. >> cuba? >> we don't want that to happen. i'll come to cuba in a minute. on the 14-year-old in venezuela that is horrendous. venezuela keeps moving in the wrong direction and making the wrong choices. and the answer is, the sanctions are being implemented, right now, as fast as possible. we are working with the national security council. we're working with the department of the treasury and other agencies to implement the provisions in the law as rapidly as we can. so we have no disagreement what so ever on the e gree jous behavior. we invite frequently president midoro to realize that there's a completely alternative set of options available to him.
we hope he'll take it. >> but he can commit these acts with impunity. nothing really happens. >> the law is being implemented. it is being implemented. the sanctions, everybody thinks you slap them on day one. there's a very specific set of requirements in the law for what you have to do to prepare in order to -- >> how about the killer of this 14-year-old? we know who did it. why don't we just -- why didn't we sanction them yesterday? we have the video. >> yeah, we're going to have to keep moving. and i'm -- >> let me just say that sapgs sanctions are being implay e plied. don't measure it where it is today. measure it by what gips to happen as this process of normalization takes place and we have an opportunity to be able to press those issues and shed more light on them and create the change we hope will take place. and i could go on in some length about that but i want to get to the other things you mentioned very quickly. on iran there is no equivalency
between what secretary blinken was talking about with respect to preventing them from getting a weapon and the question of what happens with respect to their compliance with respect to their nuclear program. if you have a year of breakout time -- by the way, everybody, i think it's publicly known number that has been batted around in the press that prior to our joint agreement, the breakout time was about two months, maybe three, max. we've already extended that. one year breakout is time it
takes to get enough material for one nuclear weapon which they haven't yet designed or been able to test or put on a warhead or explode or anything. so that's many more years it takes to get there. we don't lose one option that we have today not one option, during that period of time. slap back on the sanctions. israel is safer today than they were before we got that agreement, which by the way, the prime minister opposed.
he was wrong. today, he's saying we should share the sbe rim agreement. >> are you share the agreement -- >> of course. of course. >> i -- >> i think even today our department is on the phones and we're having calls. >> mr. secretary i'm going to make a suggestion to the members. members, if you use the five minutes to ask your questions, we're just going to go on to the next member and then we'll do the response in writing. we're going to go right now to mr. brad sherman of california. thank you. >> i have a lot of questions to which i'd just ask a response in writing. >> i'd actually hoped for to encourage dialogue.
>> i want to commend you for the actions in ebola. we kent chemical weapons out of the area. and we repelled the tax all without any u.s. combat casualties. a lot of people throw out other ideas. you should have done this, you should have done that. but every one of those other strategies would have resulted in an awful lot of american combat casualties. your strategy has done more than any other strategy should have. vietnam is 30 cents an hour. that is the bottom. they don't have freedom and they
senator kerry you championed recognition of the article mean yan genocide. we are now about to have the 100 anniversary. and i would hope that you show the courage that you are personally known for and on april 24th use the word genocide to describe what happened in antolia a hundred years ago. you said that iran is not permitted to have a nuclear weapon, ever because they're members of the mpt, unlike north dree e korea.
i hope that you would if your honor i recall efurnish 23rfor the record that once you're in the npt, you cannot get out. you've talked about one year to breakout. what i'm concerned about is how long to sneak out? the mek sometimes givers us inaccurate information. they now say that there's a secret fa till sill at lavanz 3. what i'd like toe know is are you willing to accept an agreement in which the iaea does not have the right to go
anywhere on short notice? or are we going to settle for the cat and mouse game? >> do we have time? >> we'll do the last question, but we need to keep moving. we only have five minutes for each member. we want to get as many as possible. so go ahead. >> clearly, iran does not have the right to step out. we will hopefully, have the ability to know immediately.