tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN March 2, 2016 4:00am-6:01am EST
interior. so you manage as much as i'm responsible for representing in that state. blm is the majority of that of course with smaller portions being controlled by the fish and wild life service, national park service. the bureau of ocean energy management governs the waters generally past three miles offshore, except for the gulf of mexico out to the territorial limit. or it's 1.76 billion acres. i know that's a lot to be responsible for. but in the part that i'm responsible for, which is the state of wyoming, we are officially back in recession with only four other states. and it's because in large part, i would argue, of the policies of the department of the interior, especially with regard to the coal moratorium and the
rules on blm lands and oil and gas management. and the rules are putting people out of work. there are railroad locomotives sitting idle in my state for the first time i can ever remember just parked. hundreds of them. in fact, nationwide i asked someone with the union pacific railroad this question and she told me the union pacific railroad has 150,000 locomotives parked with nothing to haul in the nation right now. that is the extent of the slowdown that agencies such as yours have put on this economy. we are unable to produce the wealth of this country in a way that can emphasize the importance of having clean, reliable redundant energy and concentrate our time on making
it even cleaner all the time. now, of course, a lot of that energy comes from land managed by the department of the interior, more than 40% of the coal produced in america is produced on federal lands. of course the vast majority of that is in my state of wyoming. wyoming also produces a large share of the natural gas and oil that's produced from federal lands, along with production in new mexico and the gulf of mexico. so our energy industry is facing huge challenges right now. so you can expect my questioning to focus on how the department of the interior intends to respond to this situation, the recession, the lack of jobs, our inability to effectively produce the wealth this nation holds. also i'm interested in hearing about management of the national
park system for the centennial and updates of management of wildlife and i look forward to your testimony, secretary. thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back. >> thank you. i appreciate that. we'll turn now to mr. sablom. >> thank you very much mr. chairman and secretary, welcome. thank you for your service. many of the questions i have for secretary jewell are local in nature. i'm interested in the programs that the department funds. but there are two concerns that i have that are larger. and so let me just make that my focus right now and i'll trying to be brief. the relationship between the united states and the republic of pa low is based on the administration of ronald reagan. today with the expansion of china, reagan's foresight that
palau would be an adversary. palau and the island of guam are links in a chain of violence that form a strategic perimeter to the east of china. china certainly understands how important islands can be. right now china is actually creating islands where none existed before. so i'm glad to see the department of interior with a proposal to submit their relationship between the united states and the island nation of palau. the agreement negotiated in 2010 to extend the contract for 15 dwreers. the department is positive for that agreement and says legislation will be sent up to congress to make it happen. i think we do need to approve that compact in this with the aggressive assistance of this administration. in fact i have legislation already reduced and referred to this committee for that purpose. mr. chairman, with all due respect, i hope we can find time to schedule the hearing on hr
4531, because we need to get on the strong defensive nation created by president reagan, china is not sitting back doing nothing and neither should we. on the other issue, last thursday this committee held a hearing featuring a representative of the treasury department on the obama administration's debt crisis. it was the action taken by this committee since the speaker's public announcement instructing the house committee jurisdiction to come up with a responsible solution to the physical, demographic crisis in puerto rico by march 31st, 2016. on february 4 committee ranking member john connors wrote the
judiciary committee chairman to address this fiscal crisis. while i still await your response, time is fast running out if we're to meet the speaker's deadline. it could be a humanitarian crisis on the island of puerto rico. thank you, mr. chairman, and i yield back my time. >> thank you. with the close of the opening statements we are now being able to hear testimony from the secretary of the department of interior, nz sally jewell accompanied by deputy secretary connor, i believe and the secretary of policy management and budget, ms. sarri. we thank you for coming here, taking your time to be with us. our entire written testimony appears in the record. now we would like to turn to you to an oral presentation. you know how to lights work. the time is yours. thank you for being here. >> chairman bishop, ranking member and members of the committee thank you for the opportunity to discuss the department's fiscal '17 budget
request. i would like to take a moment to mention the incident at the wile life refuge. the fbi with support of state and local law enforcement ended the occupation as quickly as safely as possible after more than 40 days. it was incredibly disrupp ty and distressing for our employees, their families and the community. i'm proud of our d.o.i. law enforcement personnel who supported the response and helped keep our employees safe. we continue to cooperate with doj, the fbi and others as the investigations move forward and we remain committed to working with local communities on the management of public lands. interior's fiscal '17 budget ask is $13.4 billion. half a percent above the 2016 enacted level. it builds on the successes we're achieving through partnerships, the applications 0 science and innovation and balanced stewardship. it gives us the tools to help
communities strengthen during climate change, secure clean and sustainable water, promote a balanced approach to safe and responsible energy development and expand opportunities for native american communities. these areas are core to our mission and play a vital roll in job creation and economic growth. the budget invests in your public lands providing $5 billion to support operation of our national parks, historic and cultural sites, wildlife refuges and habitat and sustained yield on our lands. the western sage step and the arctic and proposes ten year $2 billion coastal climate program to support at-risk coastal states, including funding for communities in alaska to prepare for and adapt to climate change. as the national park service begins its second century, the
budget provides $3 billion and includes a proposal for funding. i calls for full and permanent funding of the land and water conservation fund and extends the expired authority for the preservation funds. it reflects the administration's strategy to budget for catastrophic wildfires. and in response to drought challenges across the west, it continue to safeguard sustainable water supplies. we continue to engage the next generation of american to play, learn, serve and work outdoors with $103 million for youth engagement. this is mentoring opportunities, urban community partnerships with, scholarships and job training for youth and work opportunities in our bureaus. there's $20 million for every kid in the park initiative which introduces america's fourth grauders to their land, providing transportation support for low income students. we continue to promote a
balanced approach to safe and responsible energy development that maximizes a fair return to talks pa taxpayers. nearly $100 million for renewable energy development and infratruck chuf. offshore this supports the environmental enforcement with funding to strengthen responsiveness, overnight and safety of gas development. $20 million supports blm's development, modernize and streamline permitting and strengthen inspection capacity. we're expanding educational and job opportunities for native american communities with $3 billion for inian affairs, a 5% increase, to support native youth education, alaska families, public safety and building resilience to climate
change. the president's budget calls for a $1 billion investment in indian education and $278 million to fully fund contract support costs, a cornerstone of tribal self determination. the budget supports or commitment to resolve indian water rightings settlements and support water management with $215 million, a $500 million increase. cybersecurity controls across the areas, $150 million for natural has cards at the ggis. funding will continue development of a critical new satellite expected to launch in 2021. it this is a smart budget to strengthen partnership to balance the needs for today with opportunities for future generations. thanks. i'm happy to take questions. >> thank you. thank you very much. we'll now turn to the members
for questions. i would remind them we have five minutes for questions and also one other thing. secretary is the on one who's down there answering all of the questions. we get a chance to wait, gear up for it and go on the offensive. but i want you to be respectful of the time she has. give her enough time left to answer the question or don't ask it in the first place. because i want to go through everyone, i'm going to cut it off at five minutes. we've got to get everyone through here. please be respectful of that. >> mr. chairman, we will cut our questions short as long as she cuts her answers short. >> all right. you can argue that as time goes on. i'm only concerned about the total time. as soon as it goes to zero, that's it. unlike other traditions, i'm going to start off with the first questions if i could. and i'll cut myself off at five as well. i noted earlier that we received
documents subpoenaed from the gold king mine disaster. as we review the documents, we're going to wait your full response. when you testified last december you said the king mine disaster was an accident, specifically you stated we do not see any deliberate attempt to breach a mine. before we go into that do you want to amend that statement or retract it it all. >> i completely agree with it. it was an accident. >> i want you to look at the e-mail dated on august 7th, 2015. that's two days after the spill. the e-mail was sent by the blm's abandoned mine lead in colorado who is working on the project. they sent the e-mail to senior leadership within the blm colorado state staff. he wrote the e-mail after talking to the epa's on-scene coordinat coordinator. your employee talk to the epa in charge and e-mails all senior leadership at blm and basely says the epa was deliberately
removing a small portion of the plug to relieve pressure in the mine when the blowout occurred. there was nothing intention with a their actions of breeching the mind. they fully intended to pull it out and breach it. it was a major mistake but it was done on purpose. once again do you want to do anything about that before i go on? >> the epa work was preparation, as i testified when i was before the committee and i stand behind the testimony and the conclusions of the reclamation study. >> which don't go with this document or any of the others. one of the most frustrating parts, you gave us 6,000 pages, much of it redacted information, but this particular document we only got on the day we actually submitted the report from this committee that we had to go out and ferret out ourselves. this is a key e-mail that should have been there as part of the information that was given to us. one of the reasons we had to
subpoena more. this we should have had well wfr the first hearing that we ever had. this should have sbn part of the information that was given u to us and it was not. your except sat on it past the december hearing until we actually gave it out. that's if first day we received this document is the date we submitted our report. that's un acceptable. in the last five years your department said that 99% of the department's acquisitions have been inholdings. i doubt that but what i would really like to know is what sur pen taj of the total acquisitions are using the monies that actually abut federal lands on at least a majority of the borders which should be a definition of inholdings. what percentage of that comes from the lwcf funds. >> i don't have that percentage. >> as we've mentioned 9% of the property are in holding, blm and fish and wildlife refuge
boundaries. >> that's not what i'm asking. we have a different definition of inholdings. how many are abutted by federal lands on a majority of their sides? >> that's something we'll have to get back to you on. >> i wish you would. anything else we're spinning it again in something else. what percentage of land easements required by lwcf money were owned by a land trust that had land or land in an easement category. >> again, that's something that we'll have to get back to you on. it is very valid often to protect these lands for nonprofit organizations or other stakeholder to acquire those as we wait on funding. to help with the acquisition. >> but that doesn't help us in our efforts to try to figure out what our policy ought to be. if the definition of what a inholding is, and it is from what you're saying to what reality is then we have a
problem. i would like to know how many are going to land trust before we buy it and how can we guarantee recreational activities on the lands once you get hold of them. let me say one last thing. in every national moniment you've had somebody in the local delegation dumb enough to support it. if you were doing something in beer's ears, i want it very clear, there is nobody in the utah delegation, the senate or the house who supports it, no one in the state administration who supports it. you can't find a state legislature who has that area who supports it. even though the only elected navajo we have is in that particular county and she's a posed to it. the charnts that live in that area are opposed to it. i'm going to say there's going to be a different standard. if there es ooh something done in utah you don't have the same kind of local support you do --
i'm done. you're recognized. >> thank you very much. let me start off, madam secretary, with an easy question. the newspapers recently reported that the illegal occupation of the national wile life refuge in oregon has cost taxpayers $3.3 million in state and federal law enforcement expenditures. we've not seen an official estimate, i understand that the cost will be significant, potentially in the tens of millions of dollars once restoration of damage is complete. when can we expect a full estimate of the costs, madam secretary, and what can congress do to ensure that the lawbreakers, not the taxpayers bear these costs? >> thank you. >> that was an easy question. >> the answer is we're only now getting sbak into the refuge
after the criminal sweep has been completed by the fbi. so i don't actually have a number for you or a time frame but's something that we're estimating right now. it's cost a significant amount of money. we don't know the damage yet to the cultural resources or the natural resources. >> thank you. the gold mine, madam secretary, is the environmental protection agency in the department of the interior? >> no, sir, it's not. >> okay. some of the majority seem to be a little confused about that when you were here a few months ago. since epa is not in the interior department, do you have any authority to compel documents from them? >> no, sir, i don't. >> and as you're aware, epa was working at the gold mine when they released 3 million gallons of wastewater. this is nothing compared to the 330 gallons of that the mines in the area leak every year which
is what epa was trying to fix. but it's something worth trying to understand. to my knowledge is there anyone investigating what happened at the gold mine that does have the authority to compel documents from them? >> i believe that the epa's own inspector general is doing an assessment of the decisions made by the epa within that. but the limitation of our review was strictly technical in nature and that us with done by the bureau of reclamation. >> okay. if one addressed climate change will continue to make the american west drier and hotter. can you discuss the steps the department is taking to address the effects of climate change as it relates to the west water supplies in. >> i'm going to ask my colleague to take that question. >> thank you for the question, congressman. we're taking action on a number of different levels with trying to build resiliency in our water system to address ongoing
droughts as well as climate change for the long term. we're investing significant dollars in this budget. and in previous years in the water smart program, through the water smart program we've developed conservation actions, invested in water refuse opportunities and overall have created or otherwise conserved almost 1 million acre feet feat oef the last seven years. in addition to that we continue to work with many different communities to identify integrated plans to look forward and evaluate supply and demand and balance and individual river bayens work with stakeholders for plans lond term from a balanced standpoint, looking at the environmental needs. those are just a samp ling of the activities. we're just looking at this
across the board from a water supply environmental storage and conservation perspective. >> thank you. land and water conservation fund, an important tool from your perspective. what do we need to ensure that remains a successful tool well into the future? >> i don't think there's very many pieces of legislation that have been as successful and important to the american people as the land and water conservation fund. over 40,000 projects every county in america, local ball field to inholdings like some were trying to put together in the park right now that the con man is well aware. this are willing sellers, a desire of people to have easements for sportsmans access for fishing and hunting. lwcf has been a critical point. >> activities act's designations
of monuments, whether it's barriers, grand canyon, other areas being talked about. the prerogative with the president and i would hope that that doesn't slow down at all. >> ms. lamas. >> thank you, mr. chairman. madam secretary, regarding the onrr's proposed coal value ration rule making, the blm's evaluation of the royalty rate increases, the coal leasing moratorium that was initiated by your agency. you're destroying my state's economy and i'm not exaggerating. wyoming has the smallest population in the nation by far. and when half of our state is controlled by the department of the interior and the policies that you have initiated with regard to jacking up coal, oil,
gas royalties and proposed to increase them at a time when coal companies are going bankrupt, railroad workers are being laid off, coal miners are being laid off. there are coal miners jobs declining every month in 2015. and the year just passed. there were coal mine jobs lost every single month. in the face of the desire of this administration to literally destroy coal, oil and gas, how is it consistent with getting a fair return on the value of federal lands? because no leasing means no financial return. that's my first question. >> congresswoman, wyoming is blessed with many natural
resources. they also are tied to worldwide commodity prices. oil, gas and coal are tied to commodity prices. you also have a situation in the case of coal where natural gas has become a competitor to coal for electricity generation. there's no question that coal has been an important part of our energy past and will continue to be an important part of the energy future. but the prices of coal and how it interplays with natural gas and other sources of energy are based on worldwide commodity charges. there is a 20% supply of coal under lease currently on public lands right now. we're taking a look at a coal program that thaz not been looked at for many, many years. we're putting a pause until -- >> and madam secretary, i am going to interrupt you because that pause does not allow companies to plan. and there is no limits on how long these programs is going to
exist. why did you let the royalty policies charter lapse in 2014? >> i'm not familiar with that. >> the royal policy committee was specifically tasked with providing advice to you on royalty management issues and other mineral related policies. and i know because i used to sit on that committee. and i don't think the committee met during the entirety op president obama's administration. and these listenings sessions that were held around the country, 6 blm listening sessions, were -- if you would have listened to what was said in the listening sessions, you never would have put the moratorium on coal in the first place. so the policies of this administration are absolutely geared towards killing coal, limiting oil and gas production
on federal lands, diminishing the revenues available from those lands which hurts my state more than any other state. and the manner in which this administration has treated my state is absolutely deplorable. i love yellow stone national park, i love grand teton national park, devil's power, i louf right next to the bridger national forest. i love those spaces. that's only part of our state. the things that are being done at the national parks are fabulous, incredible. and i applaud you. but what's happening elsewhere in my state, which is the vast majority of my state is destructive policies that are destroying my state. families, jobs, ability to earn an income. our population will decline again as a result of the department of interior policies.
i want to tell you i'm grossry offended by what this administration has done to my state. mr. chairman, i yelled back. >> mr. chairman may i have a quick response? >> you've got nine seconds. no, you don't. i'll come back. >> not much time left. >> we'll come back. actually be careful. your firm may be an inholding. you're recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i have -- first, madam secretary, it is good to see you again and i'm sorry i was unable to be at the igia meeting. i was in the pacific. i appreciate this year's budget request. it maintains compact inpact discretionary funding of $3 million in this year's budget proposal. with budget constraints mandatory funding for compact inpact is only a fraction,
approximately one-fifth of what gsao estimates the jurisdictions need for providing jurisdictional services for the migrants. i understand that interior's budget proposal does not include a request for palau compact assistance. instead you're anticipating passage of the administration's legislative proposal which includes proper rations through 2024. palau is an important pacific ally and i'm concerned about any lapse in assistance. should there be a lapse, how does interior plan on continuing assistance. can you comment on the impact that not passing the palau contract? >> i completely agree with you about the importance of palau and the importance of a long term fix rather than a discretionary year by year portion of our obligation to palau.
we believe we need to step up and provide the full amount. we did have a recommendation to do that with a fund used for other purposes. we would welcome other opportunities to work on a permanent solution. i would say if we are not able to secure that, we're going to have to provide the annual amounts. palau is strategically important and been a very important ally of the united states since world war ii. >> i certainly hope that, you know, we'll be able to continue assistance if it doesn't come through on the administrator's proposal. secretary, i appreciate oia's focus on the coral reef management and evasive species control. i understand that there is an overwhelming need for funding from the technical assistance grant program or t.a.p. could you explain how the request of $21 million for t.
t.a.p. measures up to the grant po poles that oia receives annually. >> the grant program is a small fraction of the money that we receive. having been to guam and spent a lot of time with the representatives, it's much much smaller than the identified need that we've seen in all of these places. >> and secretary, as you know, we have a problem with invasive species like the brown tree snake and coconut rhinoceros beetle. in developing the biosecurity plan for micronia in hawaii, there's a plan for the evasive species. elaborate on how the interior budget request addresses interior's role in implementing or bp's recommendations, in
particular how does the budget address the challenges of evasive species? >> i'm going to ask kris sarri to respond. >> it's an extraordinary threat to the natural eco-schls and to the economy. one of the best thing can can do is early detection and rapid response when an evasive species is spreading. there's also investments in u.s. gs to look at rapidly emerging evasive spee shoois shees and try to help communities with that. >> i have a minute left. could you discuss how oia's budget request this year internally addresses some of the needed measures, such as a unified metric across jurisdictions that will more accurately represent compact inpact costs? >> i can say that we, as you
know we've put one stop centers in both guam and hawaii to try to streamline the process of compact impact. i'll have to look into specifically the latter part of your question. we've got a small amount, $30 million in the budget. the impact on guam, $144 million a year in unreimbursed costs, in hawaii $163 million a year. it pails in comparison. we'll get back with you on the specific question. >> i yield back. >> thank you. mr. young. >> thankfully this is the last time we have ms. jewel before us. ms. jewel you say you want to increase your budget 1% is that correct?? >> it's a half a percent, sir. >> what was the enacted budget of '16? >> kris, do you have the total budget for '16? >> excuse me, it's 13.3. >> no it was $18.3 billion. >> we're talking about the
discretionary. >> it's what was enacted. when you're saying it's 1% yb you actually have 11% increase, $2 billion over last year's budget requested by this administration. the other thing, the fish and wildlife propose rules in the state of alaska that take away our authority to manage fish and game. and your agencies assert the actions allowed by the natural wildlife refuge system improvement act. i'm an original sponsor of the act and i know the law, taking priority to any conflicts regarding refugees in alaska. now why is fish and wildlife doing this? >> well, sir -- >> you want us to go to court? >> the alaska department of fish and game manages wildlife. the fish and wildlife service and the park service also have charged with managing wildlife consistent with its rules. >> it's very clear.
read the law and you have not done that. the law makes it very clear the state of alaska has authority to manage fish and game on the represerves and on refuges nap's the law. i suggest you get your legal beagle we'll go to court. i already pass anytime the house to take away that authority. you're going against the act of this congress. i suggest respectfully you do that. you don't mess with the state by regulation. of course this administration does. taking away a right of the congress that passed it for the state. second thing, i'd like to know, we have an area called acec, special management areas designated by the blam to protect culture and scientific values. fish and wildlife resources our natural process of systems.
and three of them popped up in the state. two are in the 40-mile mining district. 700,000 acres set aside with restriction against mining. the other bun is in front of the gas line quarter so the mine can be developed. where did those restrictions come and what were they based on? >> the acee stands for areas of critical concern. >> what were they based on? >> based on an assessment -- >> do you have the assessment before you or are you aware of it? >> i do not have the assessment before me. >> both of these areas are minutely rich. one is a gold mine that needs a gas line and all of tud sit pops up, ladies and gentlemen so we can't get the gas to the mine. what's the reason? >> i'm sorry, sir? >> what was the reason? >> the blm is updating its resource management plan -- >> is it the fish and wildlife? >> i believe the resource
management plan you're talking about in the 40-mile situation is -- >> i'm talking about the mine right now. >> i'm sorry, i don't know. >> you don't know. >> i'm happy to get back to you for the record. >> and yet you're secretary. when you said i don't how many, 175 thousand acres habitat for polar bears. did you consult with the native group that's up there? >> the work on the polar bears was largely done at the end of the prior administration and there was -- >> no. you set this land aside recently. habitat. fish anwildlife did it. was there any consul station with the native groups along the coast. plain? sfl are you talking about in the natural refuge, sir? >> you put the polar bear as habitat, set aside 175,000 acres of habitat for the polar bear. was there any consultation with the native organizations up
there? >> the fish and wildlife -- >> do you have any consultation? did you have any consultation? >> it's based on science and work with people in the -- >> that's not my question, madam secretary. did you consult with the people directly affected and they have the right to take the bears yet they cannot do it under your recommendation of fish and wildlife. >> the office is located -- >> they did not consult with the people. that's an example of this administration. >> mr. costa. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman and the ranking member. i have some issues with regards to both the national parks service and the bureau of land management. but i'll confine those and submit those later. most of my focus will be on the devastating drought that has impacted the west in california and i suspect the undersecretary will be the default to answer the questions that i have. clearly this is impacted, as we
all know, farm communities, farm workers, farmers. last year over 600,000 acre that went unplant. the current drought demonstrated a devastating impact the combination of five dry years have had, clearly the climate is continuing to change. but the regulatory impact combined with those five dry years has been, i think, a double whammy in terms of the impact to people. during the five-year drought, let me give you a comparative analogy. the central valley project agricultural water supply were 100%, 100%, 50%, 25%, 25%. in the 20 years since that drought, regulations have been proposed rededicating water supplies to ore purposes were and limiting operational
capacity in the central valley project. while this effort has focused on readdressing the use of the water, no effort or little or none has been used to invasive species or predator fish which was in an earlier subcommittee hearing last week testified to be a significant cause of a decline in the fisheries. the result has been a stark review -- when we recently look at the central valley project and the surface allocations begin in the ninth wettest year on record, which was 2011, your allocations in a comparative analogies from the late '80s and '90s to 2011 were 80% allocation, 40% the following year in 2012, 20% in 2013, 078% in 2014, 0% in 2015 and likely an expected zero allocation this
year as well. and it is that devastation combined with five continuous dry years plus this regulatory scheme that has been so devastating to the people i represent. it seems clear that the regulatory reform is essential to providing the project the ability to meet contractual obligations. can explain to me that even why in years like 2011, the ninth wettest year in our historical record the central valley project was only capable of providing 80% of its krot chul obligation? >> i can provide a general yof view as to why i think that happened in 20 -- we've basically been in drought for the last eight years. >> e all get that. >> in the central valley of california. we were in drought halfway through 2010 and -- or mostly until about 2011. >> well, yeah. >> the rains and precipitation
came late in the year which is why the allocation was late. >> i respect all of your good work but i don't have a lot of time. for 20 years we've had an increasingly layer of regulatory requirements that are e deuced the water supply from 90% to 40%. that's just the bottom line. i guess i would feel better about it at the same time the water reliability had significantly decreased that we were increasing the populations of listed species that have declined and are at the lowest level that have been recorded. i'm talking about the native species. it's very clear that the current regulatory controls are not achieving their intended purpose for species recovery. that's just the facts. do you believe that in fiscal year 2017 your budget provides the agencies under your jurisdiction the necessary tools to implement measures that will result in goals of increased water reliability for californians and species recovery? >> i think we are investing in
both areas of water supply reliability as well as species recovery. the drought has taken a devastating impact not just on the water supply but also with respect to fish and wildlife populations too. there are metrics that have been -- that fisheries provided that indicate in the first few years of the biological opinions for the salmon species that they were doing better. the preplacement rate was inproving. >> i've got ten seconds la left. what do you think the alloy occasions is going to be this year? >> at this point, yprobably a zero from where we're at right now. >> did you say zero? >> zero. >> ooh i'll submit my other questions. thank you, mr. chairman. >> mr. lamborn. >> thank you being here.
in that order you note that there have been two previous moratoriums on coal lease sales that were in response to legislative action by congress that the enactment of nepa and the fiscal year 1984 interior appropriations act. but in your order you do generally cite skrars existing statutes but there has not been specific legislation that would offer a similar moratorium today. what is the specific legal justification for your order? >> we will provide a solicitors opinion if that's if that's hel. we went through this in detail, looked at the historic record, looked at what had been done in the prior two times there had been a review of the coal program under reagan and nixon and applies the same tools -- >> without the direction from congress in this case. >> we followed the lead of what
congress did last time -- >> which we didn't do this time. >> we're doing a pause on the program because it has not had a review in 30 years, sir. >> but congress didn't ask for this. >> no, but we did listening sessions around the country. we did listen, contrary to what was heard before and we felt -- >> this will be sorted out in the courts. changing subject, according to energy information administration, marketed natural gas production has increased by 35% from 2005 to 2013. everyone knows it's increasing. but at the same time, epa data shows methane emissions have been decreasing. in light of that, and in light of the fact that the epa is continuing efforts to reduce methane emissions from industry sources, why has blm jumped into this and is promulgating its own methane regulations, which sometimes overlaps with epa rules?
>> the blm oversees the oil and gas activity on federal and tribal lands only. it's a different authority than the epa. it is our responsibility to both collect revenues on behalf of all american people, and when methane is vented or flared, no royalty is paid to the american people on that, and second, to do energy development in a safe and responsible way, which means environmental responsible. so our venting and flaring rules, which we've done in consultations with states, including your own, colorado, have been to bring those into alignment and recognize that venting and flaring natural gas is not getting taxpayers or tribes royalties they deserve while also wasting valuable energy that's impacting the environment. >> there are those who are saying that the blm proposed regulations overlap and even conflict with epa. in light of that, are you open
to extending the comment period so that people can talk about the conflicts that are being caused by two agencies? it looks like they haven't consulted with each other. >> we've been consulting consistently with the epa throughout this process. in cases, we'll allow an extension. in other cases, we believe there's been adequate time. i'll have to look specifically at that. we always entertain that, but if comment period has closed, we take them throughout the process. we are intending to keep the venting and flaring efforts on track and believe there's been sufficient time to comment and i can reassure you we have been consulting with the epa throughout to make sure we're not in conflict. >> i would ask you to extend that period. now, because the blm venting and flaring rule impose new cost on federal oil and gas production, that's going to drive out marginal plays. it will drive out small players
who don't have the resources to retro fit new techniques and equipment. isn't this counterproductive to the obama administration's policies? there's a war on coal, and that means a shift to natural gas, but this reduces natural gas, so isn't that counterproductive. >> first of all, let me say, there is no war on coal. those are your words. second, i don't think it's counterproductive. i don't think it's okay to vent and flare natural gas into the atmosphere without efforts to collect it. that's a resource that belongs to all americans, to go up in smoke, or up into the atmosphere. we believe it should be collected. it does cost money. i'm sure there's also money to be gained from the production of this oil -- from the natural gas associated with oil. >> thank you. >> mr. splom?
>> thank you very much, mr. chairman. madam secretary, i want to first thank you for your continuing commitment to the expiration of the potential geothermal energy, particularly on the island of saipan. let me ask you, i have some other questions that i probably ask for response, but for now, the close-up program brings -- to wash each year, to learn how their government works, actually a government, they don't have direct participation on. we don't vote for president. their delegate doesn't have a vote, but it's a valuable use of federal grant funds. in fact, several people -- several of my colleagues in the northern mariana congressional office got interested in government. your office recognizes close up is a program that is, quote, necessary on an ongoing basis
for the insular areas and because there was no other source of funds in the federal budget, end quote. that's a quote from the oa budget. and close up had a specific line item of $1.1 million in your fiscal year '16 proposal. but for fiscal year '17, they've dropped any reference to close up. and i'm not sure what to make of that, so it's troubling. so i would like to receive today, madam secretary, that even though there's no specific mention in your budget documents, the office of insular affairs will continue to use technical assistance funds to report close up at the level that the program needs and i can speak for my colleagues that the representative from american samoa, guam, the u.s. virgin islands and the northern mariana, has wrote to your
assistant secretary asking for that commitment. we've got no response. so i'm going to ask you today. >> i believe we have a million dollars in the budget for the close-up program. but i'll have to check to provide more specifics. >> because she has not responded to a letter. if she had responded, i wouldn't be asking. >> okay. >> thank you. madam secretary, there's a special resource study to see if it will be feasible to have a national park there. there's something i worked since my very first year in congress. i would like to hear from you that the study has started, a schedule and that you have them in your fiscal year '17 proposal to keep the study moving forward and on schedule. >> and i don't have an answer to that either, i'm sorry. i'll have to look into that specifically for rot. whether it's specifically in the budget or contained within the
national parks broadly. so we'll get back to you. >> okay, i have very little time left. we have in the northern mariana memorial park, dedicated to the war on saipan. so we recently had a devastating typhoon last august. electricity and water services are restored. schools are in session. life is really getting back to normal. i have been on two visits and i am hearing from constituents, however, that the american memorial park which the park service manages, has been slow to clean up debris, repair damage and get the park fully open to the public. so i would like to ask, is it a money issue? is it because the park is supervised from guam, and that means an extra layer of decision-making? what can we do to speed things up, madam secretary? >> we'll follow up with the park service directly. we are constrained for
resources, but i haven't -- i was not aware of that until you just brought it up. >> thank you. thank you. and again, finally, i guess -- well, not finally. the igia met left week, i was traveling and not able to attend. i think the white house led response is great, but i'm concerned about results. i have never seen a report on what the outcome of this igia meetings has been. are the problems the island governors raised being addressed? are the governors satisfied with the results? is the igia process working? i don't know. so i would like to ask if your office could provide me with a respect on the problems the governors have raised at igia over the last seven years and what the outcomes have been, have we got them resolved? would that be possible, madam secretary? >> i'll be happy to ask insular
affairs to do that. i was at the last meeting and i believe we're making progress on the areas that were raised. >> i'm out of time, but thank you. >> mr. fleming. >> thank you, mr. chairman. under 131-32, no agency should promulgate any regulation that has federalism implications and is not required by statute unless the agency in a separately identified portion of the preamble to the regulation, as it is to be issued in the federal register, provides to the director of the omb, a federalism summary impact statement. madam secretary, yes or no, did the blm prepare a federalism assessment for the hydraulic fracturing rule? >> i believe we followed all of the appropriate regulatory -- >> i believe we followed all of the -- >> we seem to have this problem each time we speak.
did you or did you not do this? >> i'm sure we followed all of the appropriate rules associated with it -- >> well, apparently you didn't, because it didn't happen. blm believes there will be no financial impacts to states as a result of this rule. that came from your department. well, it appears that your agency was quite wrong in this assessment. several states sued the department of the interior, alleging that irreparable harm from this regulation will occur. and as you know, a federal judge has now found that there exists, a quote, incredible threat, end quote of irreparable harm in the way of lost revenue. this finding was on the basis of the four states claiming in their briefs and arguments that there would be lost revenue. north dakota specified an estimate of loss of revenue totaling over $300 million per year. secretary jewell, in light of this state's statements, do you
believe your agency was correct in not providing a federalism assessment? >> sir, because this is a matter of litigation, i don't think it's appropriate for me to comment. >> well, i have to say, the american people are so angry at washington and they have a right to be. i mean, this is absurd. you pass regulations without laws coming through congress. you just simply roll them out, they have negative impacts on states at a very critical time in history when it comes to the economies of our states, and you're not even willing to comment on the actions that you take. i just see that as very sad. but let me change -- >> i stand behind the need for fracking regulations. >> in the time that i have, i have another question. this goes to the national oceans policy and i'll quote from it as well. the order shall prepare and make publicly available an annual report, including a previce description of actions taken by the agency. now president obama signed the
executive order 13547 july 2010 to create the national ocean policy. what steps has the department of interior and its agencies taken to implement the national ocean policy? >> the intention of the national ocean policy was to facilitate interagency coordination on cost-cutting ocean issues and also to work closely with states. so it's something that we actually integrate into our work whether we're talking about science or looking at -- >> okay, but what i'm specifically wanting to know is about this annual report. have you been providing this annual report? >> that's something that i would actually have to talk to the council on environmental quality about, as they're the lead quality on this for the administration. >> i can give you the answer right here, no you have not done any reports, even though it's required. but what's interesting is this. in the order, it says, it shall
be applicable with international law, such as that reflected in the law of the sea convention. are we a party to that convention, that treaty? >> no, we're not a party to it. >> okay, then why is it that the administration fails to comply with laws that have been active, but intends to comply with laws that have not been agreed to? again, the american people are tremendously angry at washington, because we have a president and those who work for the president who insist on creating their own laws and not complying with the laws of the land. even though we all take the oath to faithfully execute all the laws of the land. so with that, i'll yield back. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you secretary jewell for appearing before the committee today and for your service at the department of the interior. i for one appreciate your work on behalf of the multi use
mandate, which is inherent in the department of interior's management of federal lands, and the department's critical role in protecting these lands for future generations. this is obviously not without its challenges as we're hearing today, but it is important that we keep in mind that these lands belong to all americans, that they're part of our national heritage, and that we have to keep this in mind as many difficult decisions are being made. i want to focus on the national parks and i want to special thank you for coming to visit my district this past fall as part of my river day. i know that i'm not the only member of congress where you've made a point to come out and see the remarkable national parks that so many of us are home to. and one of the real highlights of that visit was the opportunity to hand out and every kid in the park pass to local fourth graders. some of them had come from a nearby city where there wasn't a
resident national park. not all of us have the opportunity and i don't think any of them had ever been to a national park, so i think it's such an important initiative that you're taking, especially as you seek to engage diverse populations for the future. so important i think to the long-term health and -- not viability, but understanding of the important role that our national parks play in protecting our great heritage. in that vein, i see great numbers in recreational use of our national parks and i want to give you a chance to simply highlight that and it was great to hear congresswoman lucas speak so highly of the national parks in her district as well. >> thank you for the comments and appreciation for the national parks. we had record visitation last year. 307 million visitors to the national parks. this is the centennial year, 2016. i'm quite confident we'll see an increase on that number.
it drives tremendous revenues to local economies, billions of dollars. the outdoor recreation industry estimates in total $646 billion. a big chunk of that through national parks. chris, you have the specific numbers for our latest national park study. we'll provide that to you as opposed to scrambling through the paperwork here. but as you know from the park in your state, as the chairman knows from national parks in utah, and our other national parks, these are big drivers of revenue and tourism and jobs across our country. >> i actually have the numbers in front of me. in 2015 alone, the national park service confirmed 302.7 million visits, which was an increase of 292.8 million visits. i wish we could get more of those visits. 11 parks had more than five
million recreations visits in 2015 and overnight stays were up over 2014. so i think obviously a broad recognition across this country of just the unique opportunities that our national parks present. but yet despite widespread public support for the national park service, its budget has been decreasing. in the past ten years, the park service has had its budget decrease by 22%, compromising its ability to ensure the long-term protection of this great heritage. in my own district, lowell national historical park has had a 15% reduction in staff from 2010 to 2015 and a 22% reduction in the park's base budget. similarly at minute man national park, which commemorates the beginnings of the american revolution. there's been a 27% decrease in staff time, which is so important to fulfilling the
mission of the park and an 8% reduction in the base budget. so despite all that, how you all are doing a remarkable job and i think the visitation numbers reflect that. with that, i yield back the balance of my time. >> miss mcclintock. >> thank you, mr. chairman. in the 1970s congress passed laws such as neepa and esa that have been abused to drastically affect our ability to manage our forests. we've seen a decline in timber harvested and an increase in the acreage destroyed by catastrophic wildfire in the same period, which is proving that excess timber will come out of the forest one way or another. it's carried out or it's burned out, but it comes out. trees that once had room to grow, now fight for their lives against other trees trying to occupy the same ground, making
them susceptible to disease and catastrophic fire. after 40 years of laws that promise to improve our forest environment, i think we're entitled to ask, how are our forests doing environmentally these days? >> we welcome the bipartisan recommendations on how we affix budget for fires and budget for healthy forests, fuels remova removals -- >> you're not answering the question. would you say the environmental health of our forests has improved or deteriorated over the past decade? >> i would say it's deteriorated because we haven't been able to do the work. >> we need to look at the policies that are causing that deterioration. problems such as water smart at enormous expense have conserved a million acre feed of water over the last seven years. yet in the last seven weeks, in
the sacramento delta, we have lost a half a million acre feed of water to the pacific ocean due to the -- the water powers committee was told none of that water was used for any other purpose than delta smelt releases. it was all water that went to the ocean. what moral authority has the government to demand draconian conservation measures from citizens when their own government thinks nothing of squandering water on a massive scale, to adjust water temperatures for the fishes was done last year, or in this case, to save one delta smelt. [ inaudible ] -- costs us a half a million acre feed of water because one delta smelt was caught in the pumps and you don't call that draconian. do you understand how that sounds to the american people?
or the people in my region who have stretched every drop of water in the homes, have watched their lawns die, have lost their prized gardens, all in the interest of conversation and then are watching this kind of squandering and you don't even call that draconian? i would call it -- >> conversation measures through o our water program are not draconian. we have restrictions in place because of the status of the endangered species. having said that, we are working as best we can -- >> we just received testimony that the endangered species are declined despite all these policies. so they're not working, but causing enormous economic harm in the west. let me get to the question of our national parks. tourists don't go where they're not welcome. the number of overnight stays at the national parks has declined dramatically.
yosemite in my district has just changed management. this is the first day of new management and they just announced they're banning bottled water from sale anywhere in the park. how does this encourage americans to enjoy our national parks, when you're systematically removing the amenities that makes their stays pleasant? >> we certainly have no intention of removing amenities to make stays pleasant. i would say garbage has been a huge problem for us in parks and bottles in particular -- >> and yet there are bans and replacing the bottled water with boxed soda. how does that reduce the garbage situation? >> when people can refill their water bottles and -- >> but you're selling boxed water. >> i don't know what you're talking about with boxed water, sir. we'll have to look into that. >> let me ask you one other question. at peak tourist season, we have
lines over a mile long at yosemite. you have instituted in certain parts a pilot project that makes scanning of passes available so that people can gain instant entry. are you planning to bring this to other parks and yosemite and if so, when? >> answer that in the next round. you can come up here. >> okay. >> besides, you're never going to get people coming with dr. pepper, forget about the water and the gatorade. >> thank you, mr. chairman. madam secretary, you are holding your own with strength and dignity despite the disrespectful bullying, demeaning washington politics tone of this partisan line of questioning. i want to say thank you for your pursuit in helping southern california prevent the
catastrophe of the receding salt and sea, and the funding for the wed lands which is very much appreciated. i want to get your ideas on what we can do to further prevent the -- of the sultan sea. >> the salt and sea has been very encouraging. recently the state has stepped up to look at how the salt and sea restoration can be revitalized. we announced $3 million investment in the research program. so i think we collectively need to stay through that process to develop the appropriate restoration plan that will build upon the plan the fish and wildlife financed. i think that concept of restored, managed wet lands and a smaller sea is the way that we can manage the public health issues that exist there as well as look for water supply. >> thank you. and i understand that the desert
renewable energy conversation plan is in final stages of development, and i want to thank you for the work the dwepartmen has done to see this through to completion, so there may be clean energy development across southern california while assuring our pristine desert landscapes remain protected. i understand there are acres in the drecp labelled as unallocated much of this lying under the salt and sea, what do you have in place to review these lands over the next several years? >> congressman, there are unallocated lands as it's been developed. we'll have to look into the ones that are allocated under the salt and sea itself, i do know that we've worked very closely with imperial county and i believe we've got consistency with the drc planned -- >> i would encourage you to come up with a plan for the unallocated acres. my last question, but certainly not least, i want to thank you
for making many significant investments in indian country from the focus to native children and their health, security, and family stability to providing critical needed staff for the bureau of indian education. i look forward to discussing these matters in greater detail with someone from the department later this month. however, what are your priorities for indian country and travel policy moving forward this year? >> thank you for the question and for your support. indian education is critically important. we have a third of our schools that are in poor condition, getting ourselves on a path way to replace schools, which this budget begins to do, restructuring indian education and we appreciate reprogramming the support we got from the house and senate to do that. looking at the whole family to address issues like suicide in indian country, which is at epidemic pro portions, we have to work together and we're doing
that across the whole federal family, through the white house council on native americans affairs, so from the initiative for education, to law enforcement and providing opportunities for economic development, all these are part of our budget and the significant increase of 5% that we're asking for in 2017. >> thank you very much. can you elaborate on the work to prevent suicide within native american areas? >> yes, i'd say it's multi faceted, and it's also with hhs in particular, through samsa and the indian health service. when we dissect the issues of suicide in indian country, so much of it ties to very deep and persistent issues in the family structure. schools are a safe place where people can come. we are looking at pilots to use schools as places for training of parents, counselling. there are a number of youth
programs out there. unfortunately, where youth are the first line of defense against suicide, but in many cases, that's the safest place that kids feel they can go. we're working on all those programs, with a pilot at pine ridge, but looking at learning from that and taking it throughout indian country. >> thank you very much. i yield back my time. >> mr. thompson? >> thank you, chairman. madam secretary, thank you for being here. let me jump right into my questions. i'm pleased that the fish service recognized the whites nose sind yom was the driver behind the dedecline of the bats. and has ensured the rules allow for activities to continue that are not impacting the bat. however, it appears as if the sierra club and the centers for biological diversity intend to file suit regardless. can you provide the committee a sense of how you intend to defend the services used that
was for the authority? >> well, i would say that lawsuits are not uncommon, from all points in this job. i believe the fish and wildlife service has a defensible position, recognizing the primary threat is the white nose syndrome, but also recognizing the importance then of the remaining bats to having habitats that is conducive and the 4d rule looks at that and we believe it's legally defensible, but we'll have to determine that if we're sued through the court process. >> so will you commit to battle that in the court if the suit is filed, and i hope it's not, versus what has happened in the past, which appeared to be some back room deal where there's a compromise, even a compromise to the endangered species act law. just want to assure that you'll do your best to use the resources you have to defeat that effort. >> well, i'm not familiar with the lawsuit in specific if it's
been filed, but i know that we regularly defend our 4d rules and the actions that we take in the fish and wildlife service. but until i look at the specifics, it's hard to know. >> appreciate it. look forward to staying in contact with you over the issue. part of the budget request was a 350% increase for federal land acquisition. you know, according to the congressional research service, the deferred maintenance backlog facing federal agencies is almost $19 billion. how much of this backlog can be attributed to lands that were acquired use the land and water conservation funding? >> i don't know. we'll have to get back to you with that for the record. >> okay, when the department of interior purchased land, using land and water conversation fund monies, does it commit -- is a part of the process committing to, when that acquisition is planned and then placed? is there a commitment to
performing short or long-term maintenance on that parcel? >> let me just say that, you know, the conflation of dlefrd maintenance and larnd and water conversation fund i don't think is accurate. in many cases, when we make acquisitions, they might be for in holdings, where we reduce our costs because we don't have to provide access. they may be for conversation easements across private property. so there's a wide variety of uses and i don't think it's appropriate to conflate the two. something? >> i just wanted to follow up. often the acquisition can ease the management and operation cost for public lands and we take a look at that as part of the acquisition process. but in terms of the backlog issues, 50% of our backlog is due to transportation issues, so that's not directly related to land. >> but i want to deal with the percentage that's not, which is significant with the amount of acreage that the federal government owns and has taken
off the tax rolls and put into the public sector from the private sector. is there a consideration of affordablity when that decision is made? i mean, there's an acquisition of 42 projects, according to the president's budget, projected. 350% increase for federal land acquisition. was a part of that process whenever who put that pen to paper and put that plan together, there was a consideration of affordability, not just for acquisition, but the maintenance, the making sure that those lands are managed in the way that's best for the public? we see a lot of republic lands are not today. my colleague talked about the wildfire situation, invasive species. creating problems that spread around the public lands that many times are inappropriately
required and poorly maintained and bleed out into the private sector. those flames and invasive species don't honor boundaries. is that affordability considered? >> we do take into account -- >> how much weight is put behind the affordability issue? >> i don't know specifically the weight. there's a complicated process -- >> could you put it in somewhat -- put it in congressional terms or make it simple and forward it my way or to the committee, i would appreciate it. >> mr. kauffman? >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you to the witnesses. madam secretary, you and your team have maintained your composure and professionalism, despite a difficult tone that was set at the outset of this hearing and continued through some of the questioning. it's hard to have a civil discourse when you are greeted with an aggressive partisan gauntlet at the very outset. we heard every manner of attack and insult. i was half expecting to hear a
call to arms for people to head to their local wildfire r-- wildlife refuge. i can't help contrasting the low regard that american people have for this congress, with the very high regard they have for your agency and the national park service in particular. i know we're celebrating the 100th anniversary of the national park service and a poll from 2014 gave the park service 84% approval among western voters. and this was the case in every single western state. strong majority everywhere from wyoming, to nevada, not only support your good work, but they oppose these proposals that we keep hearing to give our public lands from the federal government over to the state. and if we needed an even more recent ratification of your work, we got it in the nevada caucuses recently where none
other than donald trump opposed that idea. his opponents were very much pounding that tired old narrative that we need to hand our public lands back over to the states. but he said that would be a bad idea. and i don't often quote donald trump or give him props, but he said, i don't like the idea, because i want to keep the lands great. and you don't know what the states are going to do. we have to be great stewards of this land. i'm going to stop there with the nice statements about donald trump, but i found it interesting that he trounced his opponents despite taking that position. given the bipartisan support that we've historically had for keeping public lands great, i want to ask you how your budget addresses threats to our land like extremists, like those who recently occupied the refuge in oregon. and specifically, americans want to know how are you going to ensure that the cost to the public, in terms of the damages
to property and the desecration of sacred sites and properly compensated? >> well, thank you for your comments broadly and specifically around that. there's no question the safety and security of the public and our employees is of paramount importance and the situation that happened at mallier was very frightening. we had people that had to pull their children out of town and leave town, that were being followed around the neighborhoods, in stores, being accosted by people that did not leave in their home community. and i don't think you get over that quickly. i have met with county judge and elected county commissioners from that region and they want to get back to normal. we have a thin law enforcement presence for the most part in our public land management agencies. they will be patrolling more in twos than singly as they did
before. we will do everything we can to make sure they're kept safe, but we are very gratified for the support from the fbi in that stand-off. i would say that while the safety and security of people will be of paramount importance, it's going to be difficult to do with the budget that we have. >> what about the costs that we incurred, which must have been very significant during this period of this siege, and the damages that occurred to public property during that time? i think americans want to know that those that were responsible, the law-breakers, are going to reimburse us, and that the taxpayers aren't going to pick up the tab for this joy ride that these criminals took with public property. >> i think it's fair to say that right now the taxpayers are picking up the tab. fortunately, there are a number of people that have been indicted and i hope that restitution will be a part of that. but whether there's any money collected will be a long time
into the future. >> can i quickly add our budget proposal does include a proposal for fish and wildlife service to have cost recovery. it's part of our budget proposal and we think it's applicable now. >> in a couple seconds that i have left, we continue to hear this narrative about hundreds of thousands, 500,000 acres in the west being lost to the delta smelt. secretary conner, that doesn't jibe with my understanding of how the system has operated. would you agree with that? >> i think it's correct. i don't know what the assumptions are there, it looks more like 60,000 -- >> you're over. and i appreciate your application for secretary in the trump administration. way to go. mr. benishek? >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, madam secretary, for being here. and contrary to what he said, i want to say something nice.
unfortunately we're dealing with a lawsuit there and a judge has reinstated the listing, but i appreciate your agency actually delisting a species that has recovered. and we just passed legislation here in the house this past week to rectify what we think is a bad decision by the court and affirm the position of the u.s. fish and wildlife service in that instance. so there you go. i said something nice. [ applause ] i do have a question, though, and i think many of the line of questioning -- >> say anything nice again, they'll take away your time. [ laughter ] >> i think, though, that there's a position here that we don't understand why we're acquiring more land when we have a maintenance backlog of just
maintaining the land. i think that's a theme that's been presented here fairly accurately. the answer of just buying in holdings, that doesn't ring true to me. it's a 350 percent increase in the funding there. and especially in my district, we have several national park service facilities, dunes, national parks, and i'm looking at some of the critical infrastructure issues that are there, and somebody mentioned the $19 billion backlog in total, but in my district, for example, at let's say sleeping bear dunes, there's a $19 million backlog of maintenance, with $4 million critical -- it's
called critical systems deferred maintenance, according to this nps inventory summary. so i'm reading over these documents, trying to figure out, well, what is the solution here, this is a huge backlog. but i also noticed too that, in a note here, it says, the parameters used to calculate the data in the report do not match the federal real property profile parameters or the federal accounting standards advisory board parameters. so these are apparently the standard way the federal government evaluates land and values, but they're not using this report. do you know why that is the case? >> i'll need the specific language in what you're talking about. i'm not sure what that refers
to. but can you clarify this 350% increase that you and mr. thompson -- >> it's a blm number here that we've got. proposed budget including $88 million for blm land acquisition, including $44 million in appropriate reetion, this is more than the $19 million enacted in fiscal year 2015. >> so this is specific to blm? >> that's the proposed budget? >> yeah, because the increase for the conversation water fund is not what you're suggesting. so i just need to coordinate on numbers. but let me say this, maintenance backlog is an issue. our budget proposes a way to reduce the backlog, 12 billion. of which half of that is transportation. >> you mean roads? >> yes. typically paid for out of the highway trust fund.
>> so why wouldn't you use the standard accounting techniques that the rest of the federal government use in developing these numbers? >> chris, do you know what he's talking about with that? >> i mean, we're trying to -- is this number too high, too low? why don't you use the same numbers as everybody else? >> i'm actually not familiar with this. so i'd be happy to get back to you on the record with this. >> i'm reading a national park service asset inventory summary published by the national park service. these are numbers that congress we look for, $19 million in backlog -- [ inaudible ] -- government measures things. >> we'll have to look back into that for you. i don't know. >> i don't know why we're not using the standard way and how does it affect the numbers. is the number too high, too low? how can i judge what to do if we're not getting accurate numbers and you're not using the
standard way that the federal government reports numbers? that doesn't make sense to me. >> we'll have to get back -- >> i applaud you with the wolf thing, but to me, in order to make a judgment as to how to proceed at my level, we'd like to get standard numbers, so i would appreciate a response in writing. >> i'm sorry. i was so enthralled and i lost the list. who comes next? mr. cartwright? >> thank you, mr. chairman. and to you secretary jewell for appearing here today and discuss the president's 2017 budget. secretary jewell, i'd like to discuss the abandoned mine lands and also the power plus programs to see what we can do to help clean up these old sites and provide economic development opportunities to rebuild our historic coal-mining communities, for the people of pennsylvania, especially those
in my district, the problem of abandoned mines is one that we have lived with for decades. in fact, there are 575 abandoned mines in my district alone. creating 382 miles of asset drainage affecting streams. many live in communities struggling to recover from the decline of the coal industry, and with coal production lessening and major coal companies declaring bankruptcy and in light of the u.s. geological survey's recent revelation that coal reserves are not as abundant as once thought, this problem will only worsen nationally. i've introduced my own legislation, to provide more funds for clean up.
offered amendments for the regions that need the money the most and i am the lead democrat on a bipartisan bill to direct unexpended aml funds toward clean-up projects that provide economic benefits. now i know the administration has been pushing to use these unexpended aml funds to clean up our abandoned mines and also to create jobs. and i look forward to continuing to work with you toward that laudable goal. my first question is, madam secretary, do you know approximately what the aml balance is right now, and how much is expended every year as opposed to what is brought into the fund every year? >> the total, i believe, is $11 billion. while we're continuing your line of questioning, we'll see if we can get the answers, if not, we'll respond for the record. but there's a lot continuing with power plus, that we'd like
to accelerate, and the recommendation is $200 million a year, a billion total over five years, be accelerated to address this issue right now. >> and i don't mean this as a pop quiz, if you want to get back to my office later, i'd be obliged. second, is there a scarcity of good projects and how large is the problem, or some reason to delay funding the projects? what is the total impact of these mines on public health and the environment? >> the impact is probably beyond measure when you look at the water quality, the sink holes, particularly in our own state, which i've seen first hand, the inability for people to develop on these landscapes because of the porous nature of the underground mining that took place before. so the situation that was rengeed earlier with the gold king mine spill, which is not coal, but that is indicative of
problems across the entire united states, both hard rock and coal. so we'd welcome an opportunity to work with you on a solution on a ban in mine lands and taking this money set aside by the coal industry, and put people to work at addressing it now. >> thank you, madam secretary, and i yield back my time. >> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary jewell, when can we expect the next five-year plan for oil and gas lease sales to come out? >> so we have submitted the draft proposed plan. this spring potentially, even this month, we'll have the proposed plan, which will have taken input from the draft proposed plan. we hope to finalize the proposed plan to a final by the end of 2016. so there will be an opportunity to take additional comment on the proposed plan, which will be released this spring based on comments from the original plan.
>> this seems like it's drawn out a lot longer than past five-year plans. is that the case? >> i don't believe that's the case. >> i'm going to ask mr. chairman, if we could submit for the record a letter to secretary jewell and other letters as well, requesting that areas in the south atlantic, mid atlantic, be included in the five-year plan. >> without objection. >> thank you. do you think your five-year plan will mirror the dpp as far as the areas available? >> well, there's been tremendous input that we have taken since the dpp and when the proposed plan comes out, you'll see the answer to that question based on the input we've received. >> i appreciate the input you have taken and i hope that it does. are we seeing any serious movement on permits for g and g activity on the south and mid
atlantic? because last year this time and a couple of times last spring, we had hearings with boeing and some of the sub agencies that are under you about g and g activity. and they've been slow walking these permits. i know that's u.s. fish and wildlife service doing that, but are we seeing any movement on that? >> yeah, actually it would be noah fisheries with the marine mammals works closely with. we had 13 conventional permit applications. three were withdrawn. one is being held pending additional information. one was issued, but they didn't choose to use it, and it expired january 11th of this year. eight are under review. six of them have applications with the national marine fisheries service. one hasn't determined if he needs one yet and one of them has not even begun that process. so we are being responsive as the requests come in. >> okay, i appreciate that. could you just put that in writing to my office for me.
just so i'll have that. we're asked about that quite a bit. want to shift gears. followed the story of the siege of the refuge closely. and i was looking at the history of that, i understand the ammons had water rights and grazing rights on blm lands within the refuge and then at some point in time, their access to that water was fenced off, and their access -- road access to grazing areas was blocked off. that's based on what i read in numerous sources, as i was investigating that. and i'm not going to get into oregon's issues, but are those common practices within the u.s. fish and wildlife service, within blm, to block off permitted grazing rights, or to block off water access? >> let me just clarify. i believe you're hawking about the hammons. that's completely separate from
the people that occupied the refuge. and those two individuals who are serving time for arson charges on federal public land, basically distanced themselves from the people that took over the refuge. >> i agree. it was the ammons, but their arrest and re-imprisonment was all part of what led to the occupation. so let's go back to the ammons and leave the refuge out. the ammons had grazing rights on blm land permitted, and water rights in the area that were fenced off, and the grazing rights were blocked. the question to you is, is that normal practice to do that when people have permitted grazing rights? >> we operate within the rights that people are granted. so i'll have to look specifically into the circumstances that you bring out. but there's nothing that i have heard from the blm or the fish and wildlife service that suggested that agreed upon rights were not provided.
and that's consistent with the way we protest. so there's something specific, we're very happy to respond directly on that. >> okay, we'll do that. >> okay, thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, madam secretary. i spent two hours in the dental chair before i came here and i think i had a better two hours than you're having. last week, and i thank mr. duncan for the tone of his questions, because i do think that the secretary's really doing a good job and the interior department is important to protect our natural resources in our country. last week, the leaders were in talking to us from the great lakes basin region and as you know, and the number one region that's on everyone's minds is the asian carp. we have 20% of the world's fresh water. as you know, thousands of jobs are tied to it.
$16 billion recreation industry. so protecting the delicate eco-system that provides drinking water, and lord knows drinking water is on everybody's minds throughout the country. and as it stands, more than 3,500 species of plants and animals. the presence of a single carp in the lakes could disrupt the entire eco-system and cause significant damage. and your budget request was a very modest increase of 669,000. how will this funding help the department prevent asian carp from reaching the great lakes, which you know, has us all very new on t newerotic, and nobody else asked you this, but is it enough? >> short answer is, on this invasive species and others,
it's not enough. and i hear it from every state and from both political parties. we have $13.5 million specifically for asian carp. the usgs and the fish and wildlife service, preventing the carp from getting to the great lakes, it's a serious issue. we don't want it to get away from us. this is really critical funding to maintain the work that we've done. if there was more money, we'd be able to put it to good use as well. >> thank you. i want to also applaud the fact that your budget proposes money for our ref yus system. i think a lot of people are not appreciating that it's a national treasure, a network of lands and water which have been established for conversation management and appropriate
restoration of fish, wildlife, and plant resources, so we're protecting these habitats from generation to generation. i was shocked to see more than 400 staff positions have been eliminated since 2010, or have been lost. your proposal to increase funding by $25 million for the refuge system would go a long way toward making the investments we need to be making in the system. what consequences have you seen from the elimination of these jobs, to invest adequate resources in the refuge system and how will you use the increased resources you're proposing and i hope we're going to give you? >> i'll give you an example from one refuge i visited, which had a staff of 16, is down to about six. they had a volunteer volunteer coordinator that burned out, because it's a full-time position. and this is a refuge that's
located close to an urban area. so the budget that we have, does prioritize urban refuges in particular, to begin to give some of these children that are so disconnected from nature in urban areas an opportunity to understand what's at risk, but it doesn't go close to addressing the issue of where we were a few years ago in terms of providing access, resources, invasive species control, hunting/fishing access, which is so important to people on refuges. so i appreciate your support. we will put it to good use, largely around visitor experience and the urban refuge partnerships, but it's nowhere near where we were just half a decade ago. >> thank you, madam secretary. i'm respecting your time limitations and would request asking a question for the record. >> okay, thank you. but you're just in pain, right? you're just in dental pain, that's the reason you're doing it, right?
>> i'm in dental -- that's right. tooth implant, i don't recommend it. it's more fun than this, though. >> probably more productive. >> thank you, mr. chairman. we appreciate you being here today. notwithstanding the intensity of questions today, they're very important, because we get the same intensity in my district where the glowing poll numbers on blm and parks isn't the same as the people that live next to them when they're subject to burning forests, wolf introduction, mountain lions and all this other stuff they have to live next to, getting after their pets, live stock and their families. so it's different when you live next to these areas as opposed to the cities where they get the
polling from. we've worked many hours with folks up and down the region who are impacted by this situation, as well as my colleague who is here today, offered a draft bill they think would really go a long ways towards resolving these issues and providing a water supply certainty to these folks in the region. so now what we have is a pressing forward of the dam removal. so what i have here is a copy of an agreement in principle. you just signed this last month, in which the department of the interior agrees to work to great a so-called non-federal entity. it proposes dam removal, leaving the water supply issues of the basin unresolved and they're doing so without the approval of congress or consultation. so is this non-federal entities you agreed to, subject to open government and freedom of information act requests? and since my time is short, i'll
ask you for a compact answer, yes or no. >> the non-federal entity has not yet been formed. >> subject to freedom of information -- >> it will be depending on how it's structured. i don't know the answer to your question right now. >> well, there's federal involvement here with your agency and others. >> it will be a non-federal entities formed by the states of california and oregon. >> but you're signers on the agreement? >> the agreement in principle, which will include provisions to create this non-federal entities for the states of california and oregon. >> this seems like a front company to avoid public scrutiny. my own staff had to work hard to get involved in the sacramento meeting. and we asked to be part of the one in portland and they didn't get back to us, but they will be there anyway. that sounds like a "no" to me, because there doesn't seem to be an opportunity for open government and freedom of information. i have another document here.
it's a confidential settlement communication discussion draft, which was circulated at that meeting i mentioned last week in sacramento. it specifies the non-federal entities must be created yesterday, due yesterday, was there a signature made by your office yesterday on the creation of the entity? the target date was february 29th. >> no signature by our office. >> okay, very good. this was just a month after the first document, the aip. and did congress authorize the administration to create a non-federal entity? >> the administration is not creating a non-federal entity. it's not a creation of the administration. it's a creation by the states of california and oregon. the whole premise here is, there has been a desire to have the federal government removed from the dam removal process. i understand that was an issue that was one of the reasons why
the restoration agreement legislation was not -- >> well, these are -- >> now you're taking the federal government out of the dam removal process. >> these are administration goals. now here's administration involvement, including this being a budget hearing, unless you're doing a pro bono, it's going to impact your budget as well. so the very fact you're involved and signed an agreement indicates that we are spending federal dollars in this process. is this a pro bono process? >> there has been significant environmental analysis done on the question of dam removal, and the bureau -- >> no, but are you spending money from your agency towards this effort? >> toward the analysis associated with -- >> the answer would have to be yes because you're spending your time and agency and staff people? >> that is correct. it so they don't feel it's important that they need authorization from congress to participate in this project, even though we're supposed to budget for it? >> there is federal authorization for dam removal through the federal regulatory
commission and the proceeding will go through the federal energy regulatory -- >> the process of creating a non-federal entity, a shell corporation, basically? >> that is not part of the regulatory process. that's a creation by the states of california and oregon. >> i'm out of time, mr. chairman. thank you. >> thank you, mr. chair. and thank you, madam secretary for being here and for answering all our questions. i want to talk about coal. and i want to thank you for pushing the pause button on federal coal leasing while you take a long overdue review, long needed review of the program. you've said before that this sort of thing, this kind of pause has been done multiple times in the past and i believe by republican administrations. is that right? >> yes, that's correct. both under nixon and reagan. >> so both under nixon and reagan, it's been done before.
we've had a bipartisan precedent for this pause, and you've made it clear that this will not impact existing operations. even with a pause on new coal production, since coal companies now hold, i believe, approximately 20 years' worth of coal under lease. but i think it could be even more than 20 years based upon current amounts of production, that coal use, as you've, i think, indicated earlier today, is actually on the decline and according to information i have from the energy information administration, coal production in 2015 was 10% less than in 2014. and that our use of coal to produce electricity in the united states is now less than 30%. i think that's great for the climate. i think that -- i hope that number gets even smaller as we
move forward and that we work with the department of interior to development more renewable sources for energy rather than coal. can you tell us in your words again, why is coal production down in the united states? >> largely coal production is down because of a change to natural gas in electricity production. we are the world's largest producer of natural gas. natural gas is both a cleaner burning fossil fuel than coal, as well as less expensive to construct new plants, and we have seen a significant transition. that, plus renewables and conversation is a large reason why coal has declined in its use. >> isn't it also true that other countries are now becoming less interested in purchasing coal and would rather also purchase more natural gas, is that not true also? >> yes, that's correct also. we've seen significant declines, for example, in china.
>> that's interesting. i think it's really important for us to get on the record, to say that these changes in coal production are not due to administrative policies, but they're really due to the marketplace. and that the marketplace now is driving down coal production, not administrative processes or policies. actually, i think we have unfairly, i think, been subsidizing coal production, such as from the powder river basin, and letting coal be produced or mined at rock bottom prices. so i'm glad you're taking another look at how we lease coal, that we don't give it away too cheaply, madam secretary, but while you're doing this review, i'm just wondering, are you going to include some of the external costs that burning coal produces on our environment and on our public health? >> it's our intent to look broadly at the coal program,
which will include the environmental impacts of the mining and burning of coal. and that will be scoped as we continue with this process in the coming months. >> well, i thank you. i think it's very important that we take this over-arching careful look at coal. i also want to commend you and your department for taking a number of positive steps, for example, the recent methane venting and flaring draft rule, is in my opinion, a win-win, both for the environment and the taxpayers. just last week, gina mccarthy said that the oil and gas industry is emitting far more methane than was previously assumed. so i think this rule will be timely and it's critically important. i also want to thank you for the proposed rules to strengthen oil and gas oversight in national parks and wildlife refuges. i think ranking member gra hal
va and i, with over 50 of our colleagues, asking her to finalize those rules as soon as possible. and the last question i have, there was a proposed renewable energy competitive leasing rule which was published almost a year and a half ago. when might we see that finalized, that rule? >> mike, do you have the answer to that? >> on the removable energy -- >> we'll get back to you on that. i can't scramble through the book in time. >> thank you, and i yield. >> mr. graves? >> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary jewell, thank you for being here, thank you all of you being for here and i want to commend you for including in the budget request, i've seen some of the projects you've participated in around the united states and i think when you acquire land from willing sellers, you make sure you're
using the right investment principles that preserves opportunities for recreation, i think it's the right move and i want to commend you for funding the program. but i want to pivot on that a little bit. atlanta water and conversation fund as you know is derived from offshore energy production. and so, while you were proposing to conserve lands in the west primarily and protect lands, in the west primarily, you are taking money from offshore energy production, which is primarily, in some years, up to 90% of offshore energy production, off the coast of louisiana. as you know, your budget request further slaps the gulf coast in the face by proposing to take those funds to fund the --