tv Politics and Public Policy Today CSPAN September 17, 2015 9:00am-10:01am EDT
captioning performed by vitac how do you see addressing that issue because i think once we all trust each other then it will be easier to go forward. thank you. >> i think most people would agree our country has one of the strongest commitments to the rule of law in the world, and it's something we at the department of justice and, frankly, the whole administration, thinks is very important and so we try every day to ensure that we're building trust and maintaining trust with the american public because we have to, and that's what the rule of law is based on -- trusting the folks who are carrying out investigations, prosecutions and the like. it is an important value to us and something we strive every day to earn the trust of the american people. >> any other questions?
yes? >> hi, russell, a law student. my question is to the government official. the issue is about conflict of law and the situation where some tech companies may find themselves when they have to comply with a foreign law to hand over data, but that would bring them into conflict with u.s. laws that basically would make them liable for breaking u.s. laws. how do you do this where tech companies are doing business globally and have to comply with multiple standards and laws? how does the doj address this iss issue, or what are your views? >> it's a really good question, and it's a question companies are facing more and more every day. i guess the point i would make generally on that issue is that's much broader than really encryption or even going dark. our companies today face those choice of law conflicts when
they're operating in a foreign jurisdiction. and so the companies work tlou those issues. sometimes they have to do something specific to a company. it will depend on the specific laws, the specific facts and circumstances. it is a growing problem in our global economy. absolutely. >> and so just to loop you into this discussion as well, we had a question earlier for amy about what would happen if this policy goes into effect and the perception of american businesses abroad. this plays into that a little bit. maybe you could take a stab at answering from a perception companies are working with the government or giving data to the government formally. >> i'll not even speculate on what that would do to trust the u.s. products abroad. there's also the issue of making
our infrastructure less secure and i think we'll see a real tangible effect of the horrible security crisis that we're in today becoming measurably more horrible because the tools securing it are less robust and less available. that would be horrible. >> i agree with matt on that. it does make it less secure. i'm going to disagree and put in i think we're making progress. >> did i say we were making progress? >> i think we're making progress. but it would ruin the reputation of all of these companies worldwide because you know if there is a master key that it is only a matter of time to it gets leaked. it gets stolen.
it gets misused. whenever there is one of these databases, one of these central rep repostories for information people use it to check up on their ex. they use it to find out what their neighbor is really doing. that would ruin the reputation and it would ruin the reality. is it really would be weaker. >> john is making progress no one else is. >> two points. one is, again, when we hear master key, golden back door, we have to be clear that no one is asking for that. number two is that here are arguments that companies' reputations will be ruined, it's a puzzling argument because today we have large companies that can respond to court orders
and warrants who have billions around the globe who use their services and we're not seeing some of those issues and so, again, i think it's important to understand what we are, in fact, asking for, which is that we don't want situations where there's warrant proof encryption, which is different than usinging strong encryption to secure data, to secure i.t. infrastructure because that is something that we really value because of our mission in the cyber security area, the cyber crime area. amy has talked about that before. i think that's important as part of this discussion. >> you're not asking for the golden key or the unicorn key that is only accessible to those -- >> the first time i've heard that proposal. >> except for all the companies who do it for their own business purposes. we have companies who can respond to court orders today. there's no magic key. there's no golden unicorn. they're able to do it. >> but they have no security. >> well, because companies may
disagree. >> it is the companies putting in security that you're getting upset about. i mean, the thing that has happened -- i was agreeing with what you were saying before that we have the shared values. we have all of this but we're putting in the encryption precisely to stop crime, pre precisely to stop espionage. that the reason why apple, google, others are putting device security intrinsically into the device is so that the system is there so that when you have exactly what you're asking for but now that we're doing it we're being criticized for doing it. >> and, again, i think it's important because this is an important point that is, i think, lost in the discussion. we want strong encryption. we want those devices to be secure. and i think the question is, and to the technology, is the only way to secure it a manner where
there is warrant proof encryption and there are a lot of companies that have disagreed with that because they have built secure systems and they have been able to do that balance between being able to access the content for their business purposes and having secure systems. now if the answer is that there is no way to do it, if the technology really believes they've tried really hard and that's the answer, that is something that the american public and folks should understand because, again, what we're saying when we have these court orders, these authorities that the public has given to us and they are not being used, we can't effectuate those orders, people need to know that. there's the discussion that we have to have. >> so i will admit that i'm flattered by the fdi's faith in my ability and my field's ability to produce these super secure products that you are worried will be warrant proof but, frankly, i'm puzzled by the
underlying assumption that we have any chance of actually doing that and that the internet that we have today is adequately secure for just about any purpose you could imagine. i think we're in a national security and public safety crisis as we rely on this horribly fragile, horribly weak infrastructure. and i'm really worried about what happens when we rely on it more and more. and i think that's the number one cyber -- and i promised myself i wouldn't use the word cyber today -- problem that we're facing. i think it's pretty close to an emergency. >> so i want to pause you there. we do have another audience question. on the side here.
>> the name is gary cohn, security technologist. one comment and question. comment is that as mentioned currently when served with a lawful order many companies are able to provide law enforcement access to the data gathering of customers. with that in mind, i keep thinking in my mind the target breach, the hack and all these company breaches that wouldn't happen if the data was encrypted especially. and now for my question. one thing mentioned in this debate is that assuming everything was encrypted, metadata would be available to law enforcement when served with an order. the former head of the cia said we kill people based on metadata.
what's the difference if law enforcement's needs -- that they need greater access to content if the intelligence community can make life or death decisions based on meta data alone? >> anyone want to take that? >> yes, so amy talked a little bit about the need for content. let me -- i think it's helpful to explain a little bit about -- when we say wiretap order what that actually means because i'm not sure a lot of folks know. what it means not only we affectionately call it probable cause, not only do we have to show probable cause that the person under surveillance and the facility that we want to target is being used as part of a crime, but we also have to show necessity. and so that means we have done -- we've either tried to do other techniques, less intrusive techniques, and they've failed. some of the techniques are physical surveillance, using an informant, using an undercover, pen registers, records that are
considered meta data and someone has to write up -- the investigator writes up an affidavit that shows they've done all these things or they're too dangerous to do for whatever reason. those things sometimes run hundreds of pages, huge, huge affidavits. then there's an a.pplication by the prosecutor that has to be reviewed by a supervisor that then goes to the main justice department, the office of enforcement operations, oeo, in the criminal division that is then signed off by a high-level criminal division official and then at that point it goes to a federal judge, a district court judge who does his own independent analysis that the information satisfies the statutory requirements. and only then do we get the court order. so it isn't the first thing that we do. in fact, many times it's the investigative it technique of last resort. when we have that order, we've had an enormous amount of internal review, a federal judge
who reviews it as well. and only then do we go to the company and say can we have the content of communications? and so in those situations the meta data has not been helpful. i think it's important to understand that in context, like this is not something that just happens right away. there's a huge amount of investigative resources and other techniques that are used before the wiretap context. before we get an order. >> we have time for about one more question. does anyone else have a question in the audience? yes? >> just hearing from you in that current context about all the use methods we use prior to actually asking for content, i'm curious if the doj or fbi will ever provide numbers on how many times this actually happens in investigations just because it feels like it's such an extreme situation that it's hard to imagine it occurs more than just a few times. will that data become available to the public? >> amy address that had a little
bit which is that we do need to do better. we need to get better data on that. part of it is just one of the hard issues is investigators when they hit a wall, they don't stop. they do try to do other things. and so for a long time we haven't been picking out all the different walls they've been hitti hitting. given the current discussion, we agree that's important data and we need to do a better job of collecting. amy talked about that. i do want to reiterate that. it is an important point that you make, we have to provide a sense of the scale. >> anyone else have any questions? i'll ask one more of each of you. we can go and go quick. i knew it would get heated at some point. just to try to bridge some of those differences there, karen, what do you think is the biggest thing tech companies or security pros or even just americans in general might be missing in the national security community's arguments? >> i think the most important thing is to start with when we talk about this issue, we do
have shared values. if there's nothing else that comes from this discussion, i think that's one of the important points because that often gets missed when we talk about the different issues with the technology, the competitive issues and other policy issues because those are all important parts of this, but if we can start from we have these shared values. we want to figure out what is the best way to maximize those values and then have that robust discussion on what the best ways. but if we're all trying to get to the same end goal that's an important piece. >> and what do you think the u.s. government needs to do to help its case? >> part of it we have to be clear about what the issues are, you know, providing important a data to folks as part of this discussion is also helpful. that's part of why we do these events is so people can hear directly from us what we're asking for or what we're really telling the american public which is those authorities are not being -- they're not as useful anymore because of the rapid change of technology and
what should we as a country do about it? >> and matt, there had been some questions earlier about whether the private sector, had done enough to try to solve this. what do you think is the biggest thing you think they're missing when they say that? and do you think it is worth more research or exploration going forward in the private sector to see if something is actual ly possible here? >> well, it's a research problem that we've been working on since before the fbi told us about their concerns, which is how do we build large-scale things that are secure? that's a high priority. of course as an academic researcher the government should put lots of funding into that problem and people like me think about it more. i won't pretend it's a brand-new problem. it's one that i think is an increasing national priority. >> and so, john, at a company where the business model is essentially to keep people
secure through encryption, what's the biggest thing you think the government is missing about how this could affect businesses, american or international, and do you sympathize at all with the plight law enforcement describes? >> oh, i think -- i sympathize with the plight completely. but we are in a multicountry world where there are not shared values across the countries. i'm in a situation where i worry about what happens when a warrant comes in from another country where they say even though this person wasn't even born there, their grandparents were and so, therefore, they have a right to certain data. i worry about the costs of how those of us who build this would be able to do this, and that it
effectively turns us into something that we don't want to be which is a super government authority that decides whose information which often is who lives and who dies goes out. that we are in a situation where the devices we manufacture are being built in countries we could be held hostage with that. and it isn't a matter of we are only in one area where we have shared values. we are in a huge, hostile world where there is information warfare going on or economic reasons for things that are theft, and the techniques that we have were as good as we are. i think that part of the reason this debate's come up again is that we're actually starting to make progress.
and there is a very difficult problem in those of us who are international versus the interests of one country or another or even countries that we share values with. >> okay. i think that's all the time we have. i will turn it back over. [ applause ] >> thank you, everyone, for coming. thank you very much to dell for sponsoring us today. thank you particularly to the department of justice and the fbi for sending out their good folks to talk about this and to all of our panelists, thank you very much. sign up for our newsletter. we'd love to see you very soon. take care.
gina mccarthy will answer questions on capitol hill about the federal response to the recent colorado gold mine spill. the epa says it's responsible for the discharge of roughly 3 million gallons of toxic water into the animas river after a contractor caused an accidental breech of the mine. our live coverage on c-span3. then federal reserve chair janet yellen holds a news conference. wall street investors, home buyers and credit card companies all waiting to see if and how the fed plans to raise interest rates. that's live at 2:30 p.m. eastern also on c-span 3. our road to the white house coverage of the presidential candidates continues saturday morning with a new hampshire democratic party convention live from manchester. speakers include five presidential candidates, former
secretary of state hillary clinton, vermont senator bernie sanders, former governor of rhode island lincoln chafee, former maryland governor martin o'malley, and harvard professor lawrence lesig at 9:30 a.m. eastern on c-span, c-span radio and c-span.org. campaign 2016 taking you on the road to the white house. another event from the christian science monitor now, interior secretary sally jewell answered reporter questions on the environment and natural resources issues including the renaming of denali, the highest peak in north america, the obama administration's policy on coal, and the future of climate change policies in the u.s. this is about an hour. here we go, folks. thanks for coming. i'm dave cook from the christian
monitor. our guest is sally jewell, her first visit with our group though we've met with her predecessors, so we appreciate her making time in her schedule for this. our guest was born in london, grew up in washington state, and earned a degree in mechanical engineering from the university of washington. right after graduation she and her husband warren, a fellow engineer, started their career at mobil oil in the oklahoma oil and gas fields. then our guest moved to commercial bank iing where she worked for 19 years. she joined the board of rei in 1996, became chief operating officer in 2000, and was named ceo in 2005. during her tenure at the company, rei tripled in size. she was sworn in as the 51st interior secretary in april of 2013. and then ends the buy graiograp portion. as always we're on the record here. please, no live blogging or tweeting. in short, no filing of any kind
while the breakfast is under way to actually give us time listen to what our guest has to say. there's no embargo. when the session ends promptly at 10:00. to help you curb that relentless selfie urge, we will e-mail several pictures of the session to all the reporters here as soon as the breakfast ends. as regular attendees know, if you'd like to ask a question, please do the traditional thing and send me a subtle, nonthreatening signal and i'll happily call on one and all in the time we have available. we'll start off by offering our guest the opportunity to make some opening comments. then we'll go to questions from around the table. with that, thanks again for doing this. appreciate it. >> thank you, dave. it's great to be here and nice to see some familiar faces and to meet some unfamiliar faces. i'm going to keep my remarks very informal and hopefully short so that we can get to what you'd like to talk about which is what this is all about. i want to say today is september 15. that is slightly more than two weeks away from the end of the
fiscal year which has meaning for the department of interior and the whole government in a number of different capacities. so let me walk through why september 15 and two weeks away from september 30th is so important to us and i think should be so important to you. first, we inherited a number of pending lawsuits around the endangered species act when the obama administration took office. a number of species had been petitioned for listing under the endangered species act and very little work had been done on those. so my predecessors entered into a settlement which put a date certain on when the figures and wildlife service would determine whether a listing decision was warranted. a number of those have deadlines
that have been coming up over the course of time, and one of the major ones that is coming up on september 30th is for the greater sage grouse. so that is one reason that we're 15 days away from a very, very important milestone in our history, and i'll talk a little bit about that to begin with. i want to pause and say another species that was a candidate for listing was the new england cotton tail rabbit. just at the end of last week i was in new england, new hampshire, to be specific, to announce alongside senator shaheen a listing of that species was not warranted because of collaboration of all the new england states. it is endangered on some state registers and they have been working collectively for a number of years to reclaim habitat critical for that critter. the event took place on the
lands of donna ambrose. they have 57 acres. he said he knew nothing about the new england cotton tail but he learned about habitats. forests where the canopy has been opened up, not tall trees but shorter trees, crab apples, fruit trees, and low lying ground brush, and that's the kind of habitat the rabbits need to thrive. so i spoke with him. we were on his property for this event. another landowner, actually a banker that retired to 100 acres and knew nothing about habitat clear cut, which he said he wasn't otherwise inclined to do, and planted some of the growth forests. it's those actions that have saved this particular species, the new england cotton tail,
from extinction. the new england cotton tail, like the greater sage grouse, is a species that is the indicator of an ecosystem's health. what rick ambrose told me was he has never seen so many birds and other critters on his property before in the time he's lived there since 1990. so that's a preview of the epic collaboration happening across 11 western states, 60 million acres of sage grouse habitat on public lands alone. i think it's about 165 million acres of the sagebrush ecosystem that has been winnowed away by a variety of different sources over the course of many decades. so on or before september 30, 15 days away, the fish and wildlife service will make a determination on whether the greater sage grouse should be
listed or not warranted. i will say the effort that has happened across these 11 western states, seven core states in particular, the efforts on the parts of states, the conservation service, private landowners, nonprofit organizations, energy companies, developers, transmission companies, grazers, ranchers, cattlemen, has been incredible. so i will remain optimistic and hopeful. we are waiting for the fish and wildlife to make their determination. that will happen before the end of this month. second, i want to talk about good legislation. legislation that has lasted the test of time, and that is the brilliant piece of legislation called the land and water conservation fund put into place by a visionary congress almost unanimously. the 88th congress back in 1964 that said as we open up the outer continental shelf waters
that are owned by all americans, let's take a small amount of the revenue from leasing for oil and gas up to $900 million a year, no escalator, and let's use that in a broad sense to offset that impact by investing it in public lands and waters onshore. that program has invested in states and public lands across every single state in nearly every single county, something like 99% of the counties if we're not yet up to 100%. 42,000 different projects. things that people care about in every community across the country, and i've been to many of them including community with senator shaheen in new hampshire which is doing a connector on a greenway project. in a place like that they have little greenway connectors and small pocket parks, national wildlife refuge, the white mountain national forest, all
beneficiaries of the program. the program expires, the 50-year authorization, it expires 15 days from now if congress doesn't act. i want to acknowledge that the senate energy and national resources committee under the leadership of senators cantwell offered a permanent measure to a bill -- an energy bill that passed their committee that has not yet had action on the senate floor. i appreciate that the president's budget called for full funding at $900 million. it was a much higher proportion, as you might imagine of offshore oil and gas revenues than today and yet the number hasn't gone up and congress has only appropriated about half, less than half, of that total $900 million a year. so that is the second reason we are 15 days away from a very important decision, and we are
urging congress at every level, and this is bipartisan, senator bur from north carolina and i have been hiking together on the and la appalachian trail where the trail could have houses right up to the edge of it on a connector piece between an existing state park and the trail. a very powerful statement quite a while ago and there's still no action taken, which is frustrating. of course we are also 15 days away from our budget running out. very, very frustrating as a business person, now two years into this job. my first year was the sequestration implementation year and immediately following that was the government shutdown. i can't tell you how ridiculous it is to try and run an organization with 70,000 people who are very, very committed to
their missions, which are of great importance to the american people, to have to work with them on shutdown planning right now because congress has not acted on a budget. very, very frustrating. obviously we are hopeful that a shutdown will not happen, and i think that would be consistent with how pretty much everybody on capitol hill is feeling. but it is very frustrating to not have any certainty at all about whether the programs that you have in place will continue and whether the people you have dedicated to this work at every level will be able to do the investments that they know are necessary to fulfill the mission that the american people have given them. so that's another reason. it's a bit frustrating. >> i'm going to play timekeeper. >> am i over? i'm way over. i said i was going to be short. i will end by saying one of the critical parts of the president's budget is the national park centennial.
2016, the 100th anniversary. >> let me pick up on that. i'm going to do one or two and we'll move around the table and let me ask you about the national parks. i was at an event where i heard national park service director jarvis talking about some staggering figure. if i weren't an old man i could remember what it was for your backlog in terms of the national parks. in 2014 there were 292.8 million visits. what do you know so far about where 2015 stands for the parks? how bad is the backlog? >> the backlog is bad. the park service alone, we estimate to be in he can ses of $11 billion. about half of that is in road infrastructure. so the highway bill and the ability to fund our roads oftentimes comes from the transportation package is very, very important to the backlog in the national parks. the other half is in the infrastructure, the historic structures, the facilities that people rely on and as we approach the centennial we will
have more visitation from around the world. i think we want to drive tourism both interm nal and around the world. i've had conversations with director jarvis about the kind of experience people are going to have because we have not made the investments in the people or the facilities needed to really put our best foot forward. >> one last one for me. i want to ask you about fires. your department runs the national interagency fire center. can you give us an update on what you've learned from the fires, the ones currently raging in northern california and others this year? how does it affect your department's budget? have we learned anything in terms of -- i know you've talked about wanting to ask congress to change how they fund firefighting. what can you tell us on the fire situation? >> it's very obvious right now to everybody watching the news that fire is capricious. you have really bad fire years, which we're having right now. you have fire years that are
more benign, and you can't put in place a budget that effectively anticipates what kind of a year it's going to be. so there has been more than just talk. there's actually been bills on the floor to do this. the president's budget, every year i've been here, has had a fire fix in it and it's relatively simple. it says that let's budget for what we're pretty sure year in and year out is going to be a level of fire suppression, and we calculate that by looking at our historical records saying that 1% of the most catastrophic fires absorbs about 30% of the budget. so let's take that 1% and call them the disasters that they are. what you see happening in california, what you see happening in my home state of washington, and i was just there
on the fire line on the colville indian reservation which is losing a massive amount of its future income in timber that's gone up in smoke. let's take that 1% of catastrophic wildfires and call them the disasters that they are, put them under the disaster cap which is where hurricanes are funded and earthquakes are funded and tornadoes are funded. that is the fund, the disaster fund that has been authorized where the country goes when we have a catastrophe. not a catastrophe of the making of hurricane sandy, which had its own appropriations of $60 billion, but of the year in and year out kind of unpredictable disasters that happen like wildfires. take that 1% out, budget us in our regular budget for 70% of our ten-year average suppression and year in and year out, some years that's going to be fine. badgers like this, we'll go to the disaster cap as opposed to what we're doing now and this year in specific which is going to the budgets that reduce the
risk of fire. going to the budgets that do burn area rehabilitation so we don't end up, which we will have this year, i'm sure, rain events, flooding, damage of infrastructure like our water systems, like our dams, like our roads which will happen if we aren't stabilizing those hillsides and that top soil and silt is allowed to run downhill. so right now we are taking money out of fire suppression -- excuse me, taking money out of fire prevention. takinging money out of burn area rehabilitation, taking money out of the kinds of programs that enable us to bank seeds, to replant native habitats to go into suppression. and i will say that while the department of interior is a major player in this, the forest service is a bigger player. fires this year are 52% of the entire budget of the u.s. fire service. this is the first year ever that they've gone over the 50% mark.
and they are dipping heavily into their fire prevention accounts this year as we speak. so taken collectively, it's crazy the way we fund this. senator widen, senator crapo, congressman simpson, congressman schroeder have companion bills that are essentially identical in the house and senate to fix this, and we have to have action from congress. if the images they see on the news right now aren't enough to inspire action, i don't foe what is. >> we're going to go to kate shepherd, mark, jennifer, brian, paul, tommy bird, david, and greg to start. kate? [ inaudible ]. >> a possible development of public lands. a lot of that happens under your agency. there's a lot of push back on the arctic drilling. there's more on the atlantic
coast drilling. basically pointing out this is in conflict with the administration's statements on climate change. where would you say the administration is on balancing the climate concerns and these fossil fuel development on public lands and how do you see that fitting under your tenure as interior secretary? >> i will say this that we are a nation that continues to be dependent on fossil fuels. the president has said very clearly that we need to move to a lower carbon future and i am very proud to work for a president that has been as direct and forceful in his messaging as president barack obama. his climate action, speech in june of 2013 was a very clear call to action for all of the agencies to do the things that are within our power without congress acting because congress has not acted on this as you
know to reduce our carbon footprint. we're well on our way with dramatic goals that we've continued to raise the bar. so that is an issue of reducing demand and providing other sources of energy to continue to power our economy. but right now we are sitting under lights that are most likely powered by coal in the east. i can't imagine maybe some of you walked here but most of you probably burned some fossil fuels in one way or another to get here. there are millions of jobs that are dependent and you can't just cut it off overnight and expect to have an economy that is, in fact, a leader in the world. so i take my job very seriously which is thoughtful development, safe and responsible development on public lands, thoughtful regulations that need to be updated from some that are 30
years old. i think it oversimplifies to suggest that one could simply cut off drilling on public lands of climate change. we all have a responsibility to act and there are things that we are doing and will continue to do to reduce the carbon footprint and put incentives in place for all of us to do a better job at how we use carbon than in the past. >> art from bloomberg. >> one of the things we talked about a lot is the coal leasing program. in new york there are these listening sessions going on right now. what are you thinking in terms of what interior can do to take climate in this leasing? reducing the overall amount? is it charging higher fees? what's your initial thinking. >> there are multiple issues at play with regard to coal.
we have one from the government accountability office that suggested the taxpayers weren't getting a fair return for tcoal being released. to make sure that there are -- royalties are being paid on arms length transactions rather than nonarms length transactions so that's one step. there are many communities dependent on cole and there are, like this one for example, in terms of power generation. there are also impacts that the impact of mining, the impact obviously on carbon as it is burned that we believe need to be highlighted and understood. so the listing sessions we've
had around the country get at just that. it's bringing stakeholders to the table. many of the listing sessions have been in coal country where people's jobs are affected but people's environments have been impacted by coal mining and we've heard in each of these sessions a variety of different opinions where people are coming from. so i think it's important that we listen. we know that coal is a significant carbon emitter within this country. the new power plant rules that have been pro-mumulgated by epae an effort to work with states to reduce those carbon emissions. i think that you need to pull up and make sure that across the landscape how carbon is accounted for is fair and is thoughtfully treated and that's what these listening sessions are all about. >> manuel? >> some people during the
listening sessions listed some way of charging companies for the climate and other costs of coal leasing and mining. is that foreseen by the interior department at this point? >> we are in listening mode right now. some of the things i have heard from people in coal country are if we're getting hit at the power plant with a power plant rules and and if we're hit at the mine site itself where the sale of coal, when does this stop and what is reasonable? you need to take all of these things into account. we are putting incentives in place for thoughtful use we need congress to take some action and i think that there has been talk about a cost on carbon that's not something the administration can do.
it's something that the congress will pick up. those who don't think that's a bad idea either. right now we're working with the hand that we're dealt. it would be helpful to have a partnership getting to a reasonable point people agree will drive the right kinds of incentives and behaviors to reduce the carbon pollution that we are experiencing right now. >> jennifer louie from hurst. >> legislation was passed recently that would give the interior secretary the opportunity to extend arctic businesses up to ten years. i wonder what you think of that idea and, more generally, when it comes to ultra deep water or arctic drilling where the technology for extracting oil safely may not be available today. does interior have the discretion and authority it needs to extend leases and allow [ inaudible ]? >> i'm not familiar with all the
ins and outs of the energy bill yet, so i can't comment specifically on that. we do have the ability to extend leases. we have the ability to choose not to lease. we have a process, thoughtful, five-year planning process that is under way right now for the 2017 to '22 period where we put a draft on the table. we have a draft for that period on the table now. we take input and we make decisions based on that input of what the final plan will be and that says what areas could get leased and which will be off the table for that five-year period. the length of the leases is something that we have the ability to adjust. so there have been requests made to make the leases longer in a place like the arctic because the drilling season is shorter. in the gulf of mexico you can drill year round. clearly that's not the case in the arctic.
our job really is to make sure that whatever is done is done with abundant safety precautions where people can be reassured that the environment is protected and the impact of those activities are largely mitigated. so we will be paying close attention to what happens in the senate energy committee. we're going to be playing close attention on the draft proposed plan, the five-year plan, and working on what an appropriate course of action is in the future. >> thank you. on the offshore leasing, you had a recent sale in the gulf of mexico that had relatively limited interest. does the low oil prices and low gas prices dampening the call from the offshore industry for additional leasing for more offshore production?
>> well, given the results of our most recent sale in the western gulf of mexico, that is a reasonable conclusion to draw. you've got oil companies that have experienced significant drops in their revenues. as a business person and a person that used to be in the industry, you obviously look at how much money you have available and where to spend your resources and when the money you have available drops a substantial amount you are pickier about where you make those investments and i suspect that's exactly what has happened in the western gulf. and i suspect that that will influence some of the feedback that we receive on the areas that people are interested in pursuing in this draft five-year plan versus not interested in pursuing. oil prices, gas prices have a significant impact on that. >> paul bedard from "the washington examiner." >> yes? >> your expectation is maybe that it's going to be a listing
of unwarranted and if that happens do you think you'd be able to win congressional support for the blm plans? and is there anything new on cecil the lion? >> i'm sorry, what was the last point? >> cecil the lion. >> okay. the decision rests with the fish and wildlife service. i remain optimistic that a not warranted listing is possible, but i have stayed completely arms length from them in terms of that decision. i will say that there have been all kinds of writers on various bills working their way through congress that deal with critters, most particularly the greater sage grouse. what has happened in this collaborative work is really the way, i think, the endangered species should work. people recognizing that it's
about habitat and if we work together and collaborate, we can find common ground that will protect these landscapes for the things that the residents of the landscapes, the visitors, the hunters and the fishermen enjoy as well as having thoughtful development whether it's energy, human expansion, roads, transmission lines, mines, all of the above are impactful. i do believe that there will be support for the blm to do its work and support for the fish and wildlife service to do its work. if we are able to actually get a budget out of congress. the discussions that took place in the house and the senate on both sides of the aisle generally showed support for the kinds of land management requests that we had in there relating to the greater sage grouse. so i think that there is an
understanding that with 60 million acres on public lands and a relatively limited budget, we have to do the job that people expect us to do. and one of the key things to tie it back to the fire question, an invasivequestion. it is -- it will take off after a fire and basically repopulate otherwise mature sagebrush landscape and exacerbate that fire cycle. to replace it with native bunch grass requires a lot of work, a lot of effort on planting. these are things that western states elected officials, no matter what party, want to see happen. so i believe we will have the kind of support that we need in our plans -- in our budgets if we get the budgets passed. with regard to cecil the lion, you know, it's a very, very
complicated issue. i think that in that case, the country zimbabwe is not a place where the fish and wildlife service has approved of the importation of trophies from -- i don't know specifically about lions, but certainly rhinos and elephants. because it is not a country that has demonstrated that the funding that a hunter might use to invest in a hunt there will go to conservation. i think there's just two countries that the fish and wildlife service will allow importation of trophies, because they have a demonstrated track record of investing in conservation. it's obviously a very emotional issue, a very difficult issue. i think that the incident around the famous lion helps raise everybody's awareness about the challenge of species of wildlife
trafficking, and that has been our primary area of focus, is how do we reduce the illegal trade of poached species, particularly african elephants and rhinos, a species you may not have heard of but is in trouble because of wildlife trafficking issues. that's where we focused our attention. there's a silver lining to the situation with the lion. it has raised awareness and given us a platform to make the case for wildlife trafficking in general. >> tommy burne from the salt lake tribune. >> the utah delegation sent you and the president a letter begging there's no national monuments named in the state of utah. my question is whether the president will act if the public lands initiative does not happen.
15 days away from ate sh shutdo there any agreement to keep parks open if there is a government shutdown. there were states that acted to help keep them open. is there anything in place to keep them open? >> so there is -- for those of you that aren't aware, there's a very comprehensive effort going on by a couple of congressmen in utah, rob bishop, who chairs house natural resources committee, and jason chaffitz, whose district a lot of really spectacular landscapes exist. we have a lot of people that are interested in some of those landscapes being preserved. i've heard from a number of tribal communities who don't often times agree on things, and they do reason are united in agreeing that there are lands in southern utah that warrant
protection. and those are lands that congre congressman bishop and chaffitz are working to protect in some ways. i haven't seen the public lands initiative in any detail. i've seen a very small map that doesn't kind of overlay things. so i appreciate the fact that they have worked very closely with local communities making sure they are also working closely with tribal communities will be essential. there's certainly an effort on their part to push this through. and that's what we are working with them on at this point in time. i'm not going to suggest that there is any kind of firm plan. if their plan doesn't work, we need to see a plan and react to that. we look forward to seeing it at their earliest convenience. i know a lot of work has been done on that. but as you know in the southern part of your state there are some amazing cultural resources and natural resources that right now have little or no protection.
is there a second part to your question? >> yeah. i was asking if there is a government shutdown, is there anything in place -- >> well, we profoundly hope there is no government shutdown. and that is the basis on which we're operating. we have to do shutdown planning. unfortunately, we're getting pretty good at that. i do not believe there will be a shutdown. and i have not put in place anything that addresses that if there is other than two years ago i did work with a number of governors who recognized that national parks and public lands were critical to their economies and the economies of a number of their communities. and should there be another shutdown, that situation will not change. we had 15 weddings on the national mall that had to be canceled. we had a bride that had spent $20,000 on a wedding in sh indio be canceled. these are the visible things that governors get called about.
what they don't see the hidden catastrophe of a shutdown in terms of losing a year's worth of scientific data because there's a gap in the data. they lose the ability to make sure that our satellite data is well interpreted for things that people rely on like google earth. so there are many, many things that aren't as visible at national parks that are impacted by a shutdown. i would say it's very, very important that congress not go down that pathog again. if they do, the national parks will be visible. but there's so much more that's not visible that i hope we don't get there again. >> david avanovich. >> we have blm now trying to
come up with a rule to prevent flaring and venting on public lands. will the president, assuming he goes to the u.n. climate talks in paris, will he be able to take a new blm rule with him when he goes there? >> we will not have a final rule by december. there's no way. we are working hard on releasing rules on venting and flaring of methane. blake, have we actually put a draft rule out yet? >> should be going over soon. >> okay. so we are in the process of that. the processing of rule making is cumbersome and probably should be. you don't want this to be easy or without input or without thought. our team is finalizing a rule. it will go to omb through oira. they will review it. when it comes out from that, there will be a public comment
period. once that public comment period closes, if it's not extended, then we can do a final rule. so definitely not between now and the paris talks. but i will say that it's crazy to vent natural gas into the atmosphere when natural gas is a fuel that can produce electricity at a much lower carbon footprint than other sources like coal. it is economical in some cases for companies to flare or vent natural gas, typically flare, meaning burning it at the well head because their target is oil. that's not okay. there will be emergency situations where you got to shut down a rig. you have to vent from a pressure standpoint or you have to flare it. but there's no reason that we shouldn't be looking at capturing that valuable public resource, getting a royalty on that resource and using it in a
more constructive way than just either blowing it up into the atmosphere or burning it. so those are the kinds of things our rule will address. the epa is also addressing a new source performance standard for new well activities venting and flaring. we are working on those. it has been transparent. continues to be transparent. but we won't have it finalized. >> greg cork from usa today down the other end of the table. >> thank you. you mentioned a couple of anniversaries happening in interior this year. one of them is actually this week, the board of geographic names is celebrating its 125th anniversary. two weeks ago you intervened and ordered that mount mckinley be renamed, which was celebrated by a lot of alaska native groups. but there's a number of other naming controversies out there. one is harney peek in south dakota, which a number of groups find offensive because it's named for a brutal general who
slaughtered a lot of women and indian children in the 19th century. there's a number of features named -- >> we will leave the remainder of this hearing to go live to capitol hill as a pair of house committees look at the animas river spill in colorado on august 5. the work of the epa and the contractor regained at gold king mine and the effects that had on the navajo nation on local communities. on your screen is guy na mccarthy. she will testify along with tribal officials who were affected by the areas where the spill occurred. just about to get under way live here on c-span3.