Interior Secretary Nominee Representative Ryan Zinke Testifies at... CSPAN January 17, 2017 2:15pm-5:01pm EST
to get started this afternoon, too, kind of, give a lay of the land here this afternoon, i will first proceed with my opening statement, then i will call upon the ranking member, senator cantwell to make hers. after she has concluded her remarks, we will hear from our colleagues, the montana senators. thank you, both. they will introduce our distinguished witness, and the other member of the montana delegation, representative ryan's inky. -- ryan zinke. i will then swear in the witness, ask him three questions we addressed to all nominees at confirmation hearings. so, that is how we will proceed this afternoon. i think it is important for us all to recognize that we also have a vote that is scheduled at
about 4:15 p.m., and, so, that will cause a little bit of an interruption, but we do want to try to move as expeditiously through this hearing as we can. before i proceed, i would like to recognize an individual that is well known to this committee room, and that is the former chairman of the energy committee, former senator frank murkowski, who i happen to know well. good to have him back. a little bit of favoritism there, but it is good to have you here as well. i would also like to welcome the new members to our committee -- we have three new members. we are pleased to have the new ms. cortezm nevada, masto, welcome, as well as the virginia -- junior senator from illinois, ms. duckworth.
and senator sessions has joined the committee and we know he is a little busy on some other issues, but we do have three new members and we welcome them. our first hearing of the new year, a new congress, a new administration, and i hope it will also be a new era for the department of interior. i would like to thank you, for beingn zinke, here. yours has really been a life of service to our country from your more than two decades as a navy seal, to your time as a member of the house of representatives. and of course, most recently, you have answered the call to continue your public work as a cabinet secretary for our next president. now, we have just begun to get to know one another here, since the president-elect announced his intention to nominate you. i have appreciated the conversations that we have had, and i look forward to continuing to in this more formal setting
here today. and as you learn more about each of the states that are touched by the department of interior, i particularly appreciate your efforts to understand how and why alaska is unique, the. now to state that alaska -- among them. not to state that alaska has had a difficult or tenuous relationship with the outgoing administration is probably more than an understatement. instead of seeing us a -- as a current alaska, the president and secretary see us as alaska, a wildlife refuge and we have lost access to lands and waters that even president carter had promised us would be open to a spirit we have had our long-standing right to manage wildlife within our borders ripped away. we have seen projects halted through the delay or denial of vital permits. for eight years, it seemed this administration has taken the
approach that alaska has to be protected from alaskans, and they have acted accordingly. the restrictions we face in resource development are almost unbelievable at times. through the interior department, the obama administration has attempted to ban energy development in all of the beaufort and chuck cc. it has withdrawn tens of thousands of water. it has tended to convert the plane in and work that was set aside by congress for its energy potential into de facto wilderness. it has canceled lease sales, closed half of the reserve, and imposed costly mitigation requirements. it goes on and on and on command we have had an opportunity to talk about that. the obama administration has repeatedly violated or sought to evade the no more cause. has rewritten management plans to cut off economic activities and other reasonable uses of public lands.
it has the practice of an opportunity and offered nothing in return, not even to alaska native villages that are threatened because of climate change. this reaches out to king cloak where the current secretary rejected a short, one line, gravel, noncommercial use road needed to protect the house and safety of nearly 1000 alaskans. without that road, we have seen 55 medevac's over the past three recentlyne, including an elderly woman who had a hip fracture -- she was forced to wait more than 40 hours for help to arrive. and while alaska may be the the reality is that our state is not alone in having suffered at the hands of the interior department. with little regard for local concern and opposition, the president has designated more land and water as national managements than the previous 18 presidents combined. , a terme level planning
that sounds reasonable, is another example of a strategy that has been used to reduce the influence of local areas so that someone sitting here in washington, d.c., can tell someone living in 40 mile alaska, or blanding, utah, what their life is going to look like. and of course, congressman guest: zinke, this is the -- congressman zinke, this is the interior department you are walking into, and i am counting on you as many alaskans are, in many americans are, to come in and fix it. i know you are a navy man, so excuse the expression, but we hope the calvary is on the way, and i have a list of some things that i think can be done to improve the situation. departmentinterior that fully understands the commitments made to alaska and abides by them, particularly are no more clause. we need god department to recognize that individuals such as john sturgeon -- we need the department to recognize that
individuals such as. just john sturgeon -- what they go through. we need to read -- produce resources, and restore through -- three put and the trans-alaska pipeline. we need a department that will lift decades-old public lands orders that no longer serve any purpose other than to allow the federal government to control more of alaska, and it will prioritize the cleanup of contaminated lands and legacy wells. in alaska, which has 223 million federal acres, but just one quarter of 1% of its land in private ownership -- again, we have 223 million federal acres, but one quarter of 1% of land in private ownership. recognize theust importance of land transfers and land exchanges. we have promises that have been made to our state at statehood that remain unfulfilled promises ade pursuant to --
promises made to our native ensuring-- know that our federal government honors those commitments to alaskans remains one of my highest priorities. we also needed apartment department that will rely on the expertise of the state and do more to assess our needs from volcanic monitoring to mineral mapping within its budget. and that is a lot on its own, but if you are confirmed, you will also inherit an array of problems and challenges that are much broader in scope. the park service reports it has an $11.3 billion maintenance backlog, meaning that while some remain intent on acquiring more federal land, we are not properly taking care of what we already have. the u.s. affiliated islands -- the territories, like the northern marianas and freely associated states like palau have issues ranging from worker visas to compact agreements that cannot be forgotten either. and then there is the bureau of indian affairs.
whether we are discussing tribal courts, education, and structure, or development, we must work together to improve and empower our native communities, and then begins with meaningful exultation with tribes to the legal requirement that the outgoing administration has often failed to meet. finally, congressman zinke, if you are confirmed, i expect we will work together in a manner that is thoughtful and respective of a true partnership, and i hope you will be able to show the interior department is capable of working with rather than against local stakeholders to achieve good results. i think in the conversations we have had, you shared a vision of how the department will look under your direction. we know -- we both know that will take hard work" cooperation -- and close corporation with his committee to fulfill your vision, but that work is worth it for all of us to truly care about our public lands, who want
to see the managed well, and to want the public to have access to them, whether for rock climbing, gold mining, or energy development appears so, again, i thank you for being here, for your willingness to serve, and i would like to turn to ranking member cantwell for your comments. you,antwell: thank chairwoman murkowski, and welcome to the former chair frank murkowski. well come to the new members, particularly on our side of the aisle, senators duckworth. i look forward to seeing senator sessions on the committee. we will leave that for another day's discussion. our two colleagues here, thank you for coming to support the nomination of your colleague, who has been nominated by the president-elect to be the secretary of interior. i will give you my congratulations on that nomination when we get to the q&a, but today we are here to discuss the office of the secretary of interior is where
of the most important offices of the federal government because it oversees our national parks, wildlife refuge, public lands, and it is responsible for protecting our nation's trust responsibility to indian country, and as the chair legend, too insular areas that frankly get very little attention here, and deserve more attention. the secretary is also responsible for much of the nation's onshore and offshore mineral resources, and it also manages the water resources in western states responsible for our nation's hydro system -- something senator wyden and i are very keen on, as well as our colleague from nevada. portfolio,-reaching and it is growing, and it very much impacts our economy. one of the main responsibility to the secretary of interior is overseeing our national parks. the park system includes 417 areas covering more than 84 million acres in every state with an annual operating budget of almost $3 billion, and has
more than 20,000 employees, but it is also america's treasure -- our national parks. and they drive in outdoor economy that provides over 6.1 million jobs and $646 billion in annual revenue. so, never underestimate the value of public land when it comes to recreation. last year was the 100th anniversary of our national parks, and while we passed a very modest improvement to our national parks, i believe our 100-year celebration deserves more, and i look forward to asking the nominee if he agrees with me on that. on americans want us to do more to invest in these crown jewels by providing jobs and recreational opportunities, and something i know we all can agree on, fixing the maintenance backlog. the senatesuccesses had last congress was passing a bipartisan legislation preserving our special places
through a bipartisan land and water conservation fund legislation, and i believe congressman zinke will have a chance to discuss this in his testimony, but i'm sure as an avid sportsman he knows the value of our public and was enthusiastic about us trying to, with bipartisan legislation to fix the land and water conservation fund. know,stituents want to with the new administration, are these public lands going to face an unbelievable attack by those who would like to take these public lands away from us and turn them over back to states? or are we going to continue to manage these resources for the incredible investment they are and continue to improve so we can get even more economic return. major responsibility of the department of the interior is the management of resource extraction. ,ver 260 million surface acres 700 million subsurface acres, and 1.7 billion ocs.
today's hearing is determining whether today's nominee is committed to minimizing harm, that we pay for cleanup, and that we have one fundamental principle that continues to be, and that is that polluters pay. be anis an continues to opportunity for us to ensure that these public policies according to the government accountability office are getting a fair return for the american taxpayer. we have seen over time problems at the false fuel program at the interior that the gao has said could cause over $200 million in lost revenue. the obama administration took important steps to fix these problems. the deepwater horizon oil spill in 2010 expose the consequences of going to have these kinds of regulations. the disaster caused us to put in major reforms to make sure important oversight and regulation were not pushed aside and that we monitor these programs.
i would have to say that the coal program is one that needs continued focus and attention and we will have a chance to talk about this today. the obama administration has adopted rules to ensure a fair return to text holders for our national mineral resource holders requiring everyone to pay for mitigation for the damages they cause. just today, the government accountability office announced a new conclusion after reviewing multiple types of energy and natural resources. they found coal mining alone gets a very special treatment in the ability to have bonding for reclamation requirements. gasyone house, oil and producers, wind, solar, and even hard rock miners have to pose in cash a third-party bond to make sure they can clean up the financial surety of the pollution that would be caused. this is something that needs to be addressed by the agency. i would hope that our nominee would address this.
today's hearing also affords congressman zinke the opportunity to show how he will uphold the trust and treaty obligations to 567 federally recognized tribes. this includes overseeing the bureau of indian affairs and indian education, a $2.5 billion budget in indian country. the reason i will take just a minute on this particular point is that our colleagues, many of whom serve on this committee, also served on indian affairs, will not have the chance to point these important issues out to the nominee. but clearly, these issues of stewardship as it relates to tribal land, support for tribal education, social services, and infrastructure, i think, regardless of the side of the i'll use it on, you will hear many things both on indian affairs and energy committee about how important these issues are to the constituents that we represent. it is also critical we understand the nominee's
commitment to caring at our obligations in insular affairs, and as the chair mentioned, there are many issues that we would get to in the q&a. i would like to bring up a few issues as it relates to the pacific northwest. there are issues where climate has caused greater impact on both drought and fire damage. this committee has taken bipartisan efforts to move ,orward on both of those issues collaborative efforts to make sure in both washington and oregon we are doing all that we can to plan for better resource management of our water supply and build capacity for the future, and we have reached consensus here in the senate as well on ways to stop fire borrowing and move forward on what our fuel reduction policies that would better serve our federal public lands. i would also mention a particular importance to all of us in the pacific northwest the important pending reauthorization, recommitment of the columbia river treaty, the
management of our federal hydro system between the united states and canada. need a lot of attention and direction. we hope we have the chance to ask you questions about that as well. thank you, madam chair. i congratulate the nominee and the door to hear from him and his wife and eating his family as he makes his introduction. murkowski: thank you. we now turn to the montana senators for the nominee, recognizing your seat on the committee, senator daines, we will hear from you, and then senator tester, to introduce the nominee to be secretary of the interior. it is truly mys: great honor to introduce a fellow montanan and american hero, and a good friend of mine, congressman ryan zinke he, and support his confirmation to the position of interior secretary of our new president donald j. trump.
have the entire montanan celebration before you today. we have both of montana senators, one who is a republican, one who is a democrat. i first met ryan in 1979 when we were both high school students growing up in montana. we were in dillon, montana for boy state. ryan from whitefish high school, and i was representing bozeman was captain of the soon to be undefeated state champion whitefish bulldog football team. he was also president of his clasp. after high school, ryan went on to the university of oregon where he was a full scholarship starting athlete for the oregon ducks, their football team, where he would win numerous awards for outstanding academics as well as athletic performance. and he majored in geology, the subject matter that i know has served him well in serving the people of montana.
and then ryan enlisted in the united states navy. ryan zinke is a u.s. navy seal commander whose assignments ,nclude the elite seal team six and part of that tenure was serving under general mattis as commander of joint special forces in iraq at the height of insurgent activity. i would like to highlight ryan's experience as a seal. because navy seals never quit. they do not know the definition of the word because they never do. navy seals also do not fail. they die trying. it is that worth ethic that ryan brings to every thing that he encounters. during his 23 years of service as a seal, ryan conducted special operations on four
continents. he trained and mentored thousands of men and women and nature of our troops were as prepared and as safe as absolutely possible when conducting these no-failed missions around the globe. he was also the guy the navy called upon to call -- go into units and see how they could be improved. whether it was looking at new advancements in technology so our special forces could invade new landscapes undetected by the or reviewing existing processes and implementing new policies that our ground force commanders and headquarters could communicate more efficiently during combat, ryan zinke has always been a trusted leader of the most amending missions, and it will be no different at the department of interior. as the deputy and acting commander of joint special forces in iraq in 2004, ryan led a combined force of special
operators through the streets of fallujah as the forward commander at the height of insurgent terrorist activity in what can only be described, and i quote "as a warehouse of death." ride was implemented with following out a strategy to advance our mission. he coordinated with other branches, nations, and government agencies, to achieve diplomatic and military missions . ryan earned two bronze stars and many other awards for his service to our great nation. we should also be thankful to his wife lola, and their children for their service. i might add, apples do not far for -- fall far from the tree. ryan's daughter is sitting beside him, was a navy diver, his son-in-law is also a navy seal. following his retirement from the navy after 23 years of
honorable service to our nation, ryan came back to montana and continue to serve, because ran for and won a seat in our state senate and then as montana's sole representative for the state house. in fact, he was the first navy seal ever elected to the u.s. congress. ryan has been a strong supporter of conservationists as well as responsible natural resource development and increased recreation access on our public lands. ryan grew up 30 minutes from glacier national park. i grew up 60 minutes from yellowstone national park. we both understand the importance of our national parks . in fact, ryan and i have shared a mckinsey boat together, flyfishing on one of montana's many blue-ribbon trout streams. ryan is intimately familiar with the vast jurisdiction of the
department of interior because he has lived it. he has seen his own hometown suffer due to bad government policies that hurt rural malta,ties like libby, coal strip, that depends on our public land access. after all, right is a born and bred montanan who knows that we must strike the right balance between conservation and responsible energy development, and he understands that a one-size-fits-all policy, like we see coming from washington, d.c. never works for real america. ryan zinke is smart. he has montana horse sense. he is the guy you want in your corner, whether you are fighting in the streets of collusion for your life, or fighting on the floor of congress for your livelihood. he listens and he fights for what he believes in. i have no doubt he will be a fighter for america, for our
the nextnds, as secretary of the interior. thank you, madam chair. senator murkowski: thank you, senator daines, appreciate your comments. senator tester, thank you for joining us here at the committee. proceed with your introduction. mr. tester: thank you, chairwoman, ranking member can well, distinguish members of this committee for allow me to be here today. tos an honor to participate introduce a decorated navy veteran and fellow public servant lucky enough to represent the great state of montana, the treasure state, the last best place. here, bothtime congressman zink and i had the pleasure of serving in the montana senate albeit none of the same time. i want to thank him for answering the call to serve our great nation.
i believe it is very. i believe it is very important or somebody who knows the west to serve interior secretary. the job of interior secretary is incredibly important, especially today as america's public lands come under attack by folks who one individual states to manage at twohich is the first selling off our public lands to the highest bidder. it falls on this committee to ask congressman zinc specific questions about how he views the responsibilities of interior secretary and how he will push back on this administration with his perspective, his montana perspective, whenever necessary. things like public lands, keeping public lands in public hands for our kids and grandkids , a very important issue at this moment in time. things like the deferred maintenance and backlog wreaking havoc on our national park system. like land and water conservation fund, how to work with congress and his administration to ensure full and devoted funding to initiatives like that visionary plan to water conservation fund. as the chairwoman pointed out,
things like trust responsibilities in indian country and the ranking member as well, for america's sovereign indian nations. and of course, resource development, how to responsibly manage our lands for energy and resource development and how to balance that with respect to clean water and clean air and wildlife and habitat that supports them. i am particularly encouraged by the congressmen support for protecting the gateway to yellowstone national park. just recently when a mining company proposed to drill just a few miles from the doorstep of this nation's first national park, the congressman joined me and local businesses and community leaders to protect our outdoor economy. of course, there are issues that the congressman and i do not see if he eye, but provides you with the answers that he has provided to me, i expect you will find he is well-equipped to hold this post with accountability. as a westerner, i know what is
at stake. so i am honored to introduce e congressman zinke it to this committee. i trust, as always, a navy seal will shoot straight. senator murkowski: thank you both for being here. and providing that introduction for our nominee. with that, representative zinke, if you would come forward, and before asking you to begin your opening statement and introducing your family, i will ask that we proceed with administering the oath, which is customary in hearings such as this one. then i will ask three questions. again, customary to operations within this committee. the rows of the committee which apply to all nominees require they be sworn in in connection with her testimony. please raise your right hand. do you solemnly swear that the testimony you are about to give
to the senate committee on energy and natural resources shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? mr. zinke: i do. senator murkowski: before you begin your statement, i will ask questions that we adjust to the nominee before committee p will you be available to appear before the committee and other congressional committees to represent departmental positions and respond to issues of concern to the congress? mr. zinke: i will. senator murkowski: are you aware of any personal holdings, investments, or interest that would constitute a conflict of interests or would create an appearance of conflict of interest should you be confirmed and assume the office to which you have been nominated by the president? mr. zinke: madam chairman, my investments, other interests have been reviewed by both myself and the appropriate ethics counselors within the federal government. i have taken all appropriate action to avoid any conflicts of interest, and there are no conflicts of interest or
appearances there up to my knowledge. senator murkowski: final question, are you involved or do you have any assets that are held in blind trust? mr. zinke: i do not. senator murkowski: thank you, representative zinke. you may proceed with introduction of family and your opening statement. welcome to the committee. mr. zinke: thank you, madam chairman, ranking member can members of thel, committee. thank you senators tester and daines for the kind remarks. it is an honor to a pure before this esteemed senate committee .n energy and natural resources before beginning my remarks, i like to introduce and recognize my members of the family who have joined me today, my wife lolita, who is also a member of the president-elect's hispanic advisory committee counsel. my two grandchildren, matilda and charlotte.
my daughter jennifer and her husband jack. and for the record, i did tell my daughter, do not join the navy and do not marry a navy seal, and you did both. , arens wolfgang and conrad back at school and hopefully starting today, so they will not be with us. as the son of a plumber and a kid who grew up in a small timber town in whitefish near glacier park, i am humbled to be before you as the president-elect's designee for secretary of the interior. i am also deeply humbled because of the great responsibility the position holds to be the steward of our majestic lands, the champion of our great indian nations, and the manager and voice of our diverse wildlife. upfront front, i am an unapologetic admirer of teddy roosevelt. whenieve he had it right
he placed under federal protection millions of our acres of federal land and set aside much of it as our national forest. today, those lands provide americans the opportunity to hike, fish, can't, recreate, and enjoy the great outdoors. it was on the land that my father taught me to hunt and fish, and the boy scouts taught me the principles of environmental stewardship and the importance of public access. it has also on these lands that many communities like the community i grew up in, rely on the harvest timber, mines to provide our nation with critical energy. without question, our public lands are america's treasure and are rich in diversity. i fully recognize and appreciate there are lands who deserve special recognition and are better managed under the john mayer model of wilderness, where and is anlight touch
observer. i also fully observe -- recognize the preponderance of our federal holdings are better suited under the pinchot model of use, using best practices, sustainable policies, and objective science. during my recent centennial -- and during the national park service, i found myself at a ceremony at yellowstone national park, our first national park established by congress and signed into law by president 1872es s grant on march 1, . as i enjoy the celebration under the famous roosevelt arch, i could not help but notice the words etched on the stone above. for the benefit and enjoyment of the people. i also could not help but notice on the plaque on the side, erected by congress and when i saw that, i thought, this is the
perfect policy of land that our great nation should uphold. great deedshave a and accomplish great things, both sides have to work together . higher purpose can only be achieved by both sides coming together for a higher purpose. in a nutshell, that is my commitment to you. withnfirmed, i will work each of you to ensure our public lands reflect higher purpose, so that our children's children, my grand dollars children -- granddaughters children, can look back and say we did it right. i have met almost every member of this committee, and i understand each state is different. i also understand issues within your state are different, and you have different priorities. but i'm confident that we can work together to get the job done.
when asked about what my goals might be, i would say there are three immediate tasks. ,he first is to restore trust and working with, rather than against local communities and states. i fully recognize there is distrust, anger, and even hatred against some of federal management policies. being a listener and a listening advocate rather than a death adversary is a good start. second is the prioritizing the estimated $12.5 billion in backlog of maintenance and repair of our national parks. the president-elect is committed to a jobs and info structure built, and i'm committed and need your help in making sure that bill includes our national treasures. third, to ensure that the professionals in the frontline, our managers, rangers, have the
right tools, the right resources, and the flexibility to make the right decisions to give a voice to the people they represent. as a former montana state senator and current congressman, i have learned a lot since i was a seal in the deserts of iraq. to a cobbler's my mission as secretary of the interior, if confirmed, i know that i will need your help. i will need your confidence and even perhaps your prayers. i look forward to answering your questions, and if confirmed, representing the interest of our great nation and giving a voice to all americans to include our great indian nations on how we manage, sustain our public lands, and the treasures they contain. none of chairman, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today and this committee. i look forward to your questions. senator murkowski: thank you, congressman zinke. i could not see her when you
were seated in front, but i would also like to recognize the representative from american samoa who is with us today, congresswoman ratigan. good to have you here. a great deal of interest, obviously, in that aspect of the jurisdiction coming out of the interior department. congressman, i would like to talk about the land management. you and i have had a good deal of conversation about the necessity to manage our lands and manage them well. if confirmed, you will be responsible for managing over 245 million surface acres and 700 million acres of subsurface mineral estate. i think we both recognize that is a pretty weighty responsibility. over 1/5 of it is in my state. that means your land management efforts have an overwhelming impact on the state of alaska.
we refer to the secretary of interior effectively as alaska's landlord. you are probably the most consequential member of the administration, outside of the president, in terms of issues that we work with. i take this nomination very, very seriously. i mentioned in my opening statements we have had a number of disagreements and a very difficult relationship at times with this administration. you have acknowledged that each of our states are different. i have walked you through our why we areto outline unique, why we are bigger and better and broader and faster, more complicated and challenging than most others. so my question to you, very , is how will your approach to management of
alaska's lands be different from what we have seen? how will your recognition of the unique aspects of a state like alaska be different in these years going forward? mr. zinke: thank you for the question. as you know, as we visited with each other, alaska is different. i recognize that. as a navy seal, i have spent time in code yet, the aleutian chain, have not spent a lot of time on the interior. but clearly, what has happened is folks in alaska are upset. they feel like the management, they have no voice. if you are looking at the timber assets along the coast in the southern part of alaska, those timber assets, forest fires occur, and yet, we cannot harvest a tree. in land, your pipeline is down at 40%. engineering wise, there is a lot of issues when the back lawn --
backbone of alaska's energy is that low. a lot of it, i think, has to do with these cost savings mechanisms put in place. what has occurred is we have made the field and we have those in the field, taken away the resources and keep on bringing them up to consolidation, layers and layers . a lot of these decisions should be made on the field on the ground by people who are closest to the problem. these are people that live in communities. a lot of the blm rangers live in the community. they understand immunities have to have a voice. different, alaska is it needs to be handled different because of the size. i also think, and thanks to your maps, i understand private land equity in alaska is so incredibly small. your resources are incredibly
large. the great people of alaska need to be a partner in the proper development of those resources. senator murkowski: we look norward to a partnership and a even partnership. when it comes to consultation, to truly listening to alaskans, it just feels like we have fallen upon deaf ears. isa more welcoming dialogue what we are anticipating going forward. when we talk about the resources of alaska and alaska's willingness to share those resources with the rest of the country, and truly the world, one of our great assets is our oil reserves we have up north. our trans-alaska pipeline is running three quarters empty. it now carries a little less than 500,000 barrels a day, and it is not due to lack a resource . instead, it is a lack of permission to access those
resources. will you commit to a formal review of all of the obama administrations actions that took resource bearing lands and waters in alaska that effectively off the table, including the decisions that specifically prevented the leasing of those lands and waters for development, and determine whether or not they can be reversed? mr. zinke: the president-elect has said, we want to be energy independent. as a former navy seal, i think i have been to 63 countries in my lifetime. i can guarantee you it is better to produce energy domestically under reasonable regulation, on an watch it be produced overseas with no regulation. i have seen the consequences of what happens when you don't have any regulation in the middle east and we can do it right. the backbone of our environmental policies have been nepa.
i'm a strong supporter of that. we also have to understand we need an economy. look, if we don't have an economy as a country, then the rest of it does not matter. we will not be able to afford a strong military, nor are we going to be able to keep the promises we have made as a great nation. promisesade a lot of to education, to our children's future, infrastructure, social security. all of that takes an economy that is moving forward. energy is a part of that economy. alaska is a critical part of that economy. alaska is different for a reason. you are blessed with great resources, you are blessed with great recreation, a little cold in the winter, but it is not palm springs. senator murkowski: you are from montana, you can handle it. mr. zinke: yes, we can. i think we need to be prudent to
make sure we are doing things right. over time, the government keeps on getting bigger and bigger, the bureaucracy gets larger and larger, and we cannot get something done. i think we should come as a nation, look at everything with an objective on to get things done. you.or murkowski: thank i will now turn to ranking member senator cantwell. senator campbell: thank you, congressman zinke he for your willingness to serve. going from congressman to secretary of the interior means a different kind of port folio. in this first round to cover three issues quickly with you. then give our colleagues a chance to ask questions. yout, obviously, representing the district you do in montana, have made a lot of statements about coal. i want to and -- understand for the record where you are. do you believe the administration does have a right
and should have a review of updating information about our coal program? mr. zinke: i think always transparency is important to any administration has the permission to ask the right questions. senator campbell: so you when a the review underway right now? mr. zinke: i don't know the specifics of that review, but i think we should always look at our energy portfolio with an objectivist because it is important. haveor cantwell: you don't an objective on taxpayers getting a fair value. mr. zinke: taxpayers should always get a fair value. senator cantwell: including on cold. mr. zinke: wind, coal, all of the above. senator cantwell: on the gao statement on a surety, making sure coal companies have the ability, just as other energy companies to, do you support that as well? mr. zinke: i have not read the specifics, but if it is a question that involves bonding
-- i am from montana, where we have decker, a lot of coal mines, strip mines. i think bonding is important. the also from a state, in 1800s, mine gold by going up and down stream beds and taking all the material and dumping it upside down. i don't think we want to go back to those days. some of the reclamation problems we had in the west are still not repaired. as a teddy roosevelt -- teddy roosevelt had the courage to look 100 years forward. i think we need to have the courage today to look 100 years forward and look back and say we did it right. senator cantwell: i hope that was a great endorsement of a stream protection rule, but on , youeddy roosevelt point have made comments. do you support making the land and water conservation program permanent? mr. zinke: i do. i think land and water
conservation has been important to montana, certainly in many of these states. we should look at it. if you are in the gulf states, i understand their point. the revenue comes from all offshore, and very little of it goes within the states that are affected most by the offshore industry. so i think we need to look at revenues and evening out the revenue source. always you should look at programs to make sure more revenue goes to projects. making sure the bureaucracy has not run over time. lastly, i think the states should have a say the local communities should have a say of where the funds go, more so than they sometimes do today. and of cantwell: that in itself may lead me to go down a different line of questioning as it relates to making sure federal lands state and federal hands, as your colleague from montana said. i want to cover the park area backlog and budget. as i mentioned in my testimony,
we have the 100 year anniversary, the teddy roosevelt theme you have struck is important. we are talking about billions of dollars to our economy from the outdoor access to our public lands. do you think we need to go further than what we have done in supporting our national parks and getting rid of the maintenance backlog? mr. zinke: i feel very strongly about it. as you point out, a lot of our national parks this last year are at capacity, we had record numbers. looking forward, what do we do about it? repairing the roads, backlog, trails, but also looking at the public land around the park to make sure we look at those trail systems, to make sure the restrooms are clean him up to make sure the sewer systems work. when you are talking about a $12.5 billion backlog, i was at a transition office, and on the enough, i looked at the park in front of the department of interior. the very park that everyone in
the department of interior goes by every day. the fountains do not even work. they are in need of repair. then you start asking, what about the rest of washington, d.c.? it turns out very few fountains work. then you look at the memorial bridge that goes across into arlington. i guess that need $150 million. we are out ofll: time but i will come back to this question. there have been questions about your viewpoints in resolutions, platforms about federal lands staying in federal hands. we will come back to that in the second round. senator murkowski: senator hoven. thank you,en: congressman zinke, for your service to the country and the u.s. navy, and for your willingness to serve as secretary of the interior. also i want to thank your family for their commitment to service as well, for being here. talk for a minute if you would about a balanced approach to
multiple use. many different resources and very many different constituencies you have to deal with, the national parks, but also public lands, native american affairs. so on the blm, bureau of land management, you managed to hundred 45 million surface acres , 700 million acres of subsurface minerals. talk about how you manage that in a way that is balanced and use. mr. zinke: in the spirit of roosevelt, it means you can use it for multiple purposes. i am concerned about public access. i am a hunter, fisherman. multiple use is also making sure that you go in with both eyes open, that means sustainability. that means it doesn't have to be in conflict if you have recreation over mining.
you just have to make sure that you understand what the consequence of each of those uses are. it is our public land. recentlyve seen most is our access is being shut off, rose are being shut off, and we are all getting older. when you don't have access to hunting areas, traditional fishing areas, it makes it an elite sport. elitismcerned about the of our traditional hunting, fishing, snowmobiling. making our public lands accessible in the spirit of multiple use. single use, if you look at the areas,del of some of our i agree, some areas need to be set aside that are appropriate for man to be an observer. there are special places in our country that deserve that recognition. but a lot of it is traditional uses of what we find in north dakota and montana where you can hunt and fish, you can drill an
oil well. make sure there is a recognition project. make sure there is a permit, nepa. if you are doing something more intrusive, make sure you monitor the water. everyone enjoys clean water. i don't think they are in conflict. you have to do it right. senator hoeven: as somebody who looks to hunt and fish, i appreciate that answer. we have had a real challenge with the dakota access pipeline protest. state and local law enforcement has worked very hard to keep the peace and keep people safe, but we need federal law enforcement help as well. in your case, that means bia law enforcement. if you are confirmed, will you ensure that bia law enforcement works with state and local law enforcement to resolve the ,ituation to keep people safe and to make sure the rule of law is followed? mr. zinke: yes, and we talked about it in your office.
if confirmed, i will be a very busy man traveling. i will travel to utah, alaska, north dakota. those are three impending problems that we need to resolve quickly. i have great respect for the indian nations. the last time the sioux nations all got together, i would say wouldl custer probably say that was not a good issue. there isat this and deep cultural ties. there is a feeling like we have not been a fair consultant, fair partner. i think we need to listen to that voice. .hat is part of the trust outside of washington, d.c., when you start going west, north dakota, there is a lot of anger. there is a lot of mistrust. not everywhere, but enough where
i am concerned. i'm concerned we need to be better partners. we need to work together, we need to work together as a congress. we all rise and fall on the same tide. we all love our public lands. the duty of the department of interior, as the secretary, is to make sure we have broad consensus of what we are doing. every state is different. thank you.ven: my final question is one-size-fits-all. too often in federal government we see a one-size-fits-all, versus empowering states and people at the local level. to do what makes the most sense, given their part of the country. i would ask you to just give your opinion on the one-size-fits-all versus working with states and localities and tribes to do what works across the country. mr. zinke: i would characterize the view from the potomac as a lot different from the missouri.
you do need to listen to local folks. they live there. the consequence of an action that is one-size-fits-all affects real people. i think you need to have a voice, you need to listen, and you make sure that you involve the communities at the lowest level. again, some cases, we have a lot of blm assets, i know a lot of rangers. there is a lot of frustration on the front lines, too. they don't feel they are empowered to make the decisions. their kids go to the same schools but when they do not have the power or the flexibility or resources to make the decisions, everything is five layers above, that is part of what we face. we have to re-incentivize the line, remove the middle management, and get them out where they are necessary. that is the front line. , froms from basic 101
being a seal, if your frontline is not happy, the chiefs, the sergeant, then the rest of the force is not doing well either. in this case, the front line of blm and the park service needs p, with thed u flexibility to make the right call. senator hoeven: thank you, congressman. senator murkowski: next we will turn to senator sanders. i would advise committee members, we have always operated under the earlybird rule. perhaps there has been some discussion about what really counts as earlybird, but i'm going by what the clerk has observed when members came in. senator sanders will go next and he will be followed by sen. gardner: senator sanders: thank you, madam chair. congressman zinke he, thank you for your willingness to serve. i have three areas i want to touch on. trump haselect more than--
suggested, stated in his view that climate change is a "hoax." here to beare not administrator of the epa or secretary of energy, but the issue of climate change is very , an issue that the department of interior deals with. is president-elect trump right, is climate change a hoax?
mr. zinke: the best answer is three things. first of all, the climate is changing. that is on disputable. i am from glacier national park. senator sanders: you don't have any more glaciers there. mr. zinke: i have seen glaciers from my time receipt. in fact, when my family was eating lunch, the glaciers receded during our lunch. senator sanders: if you could come it is the president-elect right, is climate change a hoax? mr. zinke: two more points. the second is man's influence. that is undisputed will as well. climate is changing, man's influence.
i think where there is the date is what that influence is, what can we do about it. , ithe department of interior will inherit, if confirmed, the usgs and we have great scientists there. i am not a climate scientist expert, but i can tell you i will become a lot more familiar with it, and it would be on objective science. i do not believe it is a hoax. senator sanders: you do not believe it is a
hoax. mr. zinke: i don't know definitively. there is a lot of debate on both sides of the aisle. senator sanders: actually there is not very much debate. the scientific community is unanimous, climate change is real and is causing devastating problems. there is debate within this committee but not within the scientific community. next question, dealing with climate change, if climate change is already causing devastating problems, should we allow also fuel to be drilled on public lands? mr. zinke: again, we need an
economy and jobs, too. in my experience, i have seen 63 different countries. i have seen what happens when you do not have -- senator sanders: i do not mean to be rude, but i'm taking your answer to be yes, we should allow fossil fuel to be drilled on public lands. mr. zinke: i am all about the --all of the above energy. senator sanders: will you encourage wind and solar on public lands? mr. zinke: absolutely. all of the above. i think that is a better solution, going forward. senator sanders: some of my conservative friends believe that they should come when we should privatize the national park system. what is your feeling on that? mr. zinke: i want to be clear on this point. i am absolutely against transfer or sale of public land. senator sanders: good. that is a clear answer. mr. zinke: cannot be any more
clear. senator sanders: no, you cannot. i have had the opportunity to get around the country in the last year. i have met with many native american tribes. you discussed this issue. i think it is not debatable that throughout history, including today, the united states government has treated the native american people with disrespect, has ripped them off, has abrogated treaties, and right now we have in many native american communities and reservations people living in unbelievable poverty. incredibly high unemployment rate, youth suicide, unspeakably high. do you agree with that assertion , and if so, what do you propose to improve life for the native american people throughout this country? mr. zinke: i have great respect for the indian nations.
montana has some of the great nations. the gentle man behind me is from the great crow nation. three things. sovereignty should mean something. when we say a nation is sovereign, it should have weight. stay on that,s: you are right. sovereignty should mean something. what does that mean if you receive a nomination? mr. zinke: from the perspective of a montana congressman, the paperwork, the bureaucracy within reservations far exceeds what is outside. hats at one time we view the indian nations as almost children like where we had to manage every aspect of their it has affected their ability for self-determination. i agree withrs: you. also, health care and education are serious problems on many reservations. will you take a hard look at those issues and try to improve
the quality of health care and education for the native american people? mr. zinke: yes, i will be right i take it seriously. i have been too lame deer. as bad as the v.a. is -- senator sanders: some of us do not accept that. indian health in montana is worse. let me repeat that. it is worse. when you have individuals that need carolina, and you only have , and they don't see the doctor and the next day they come back and they don't see the doctor -- senator sanders: an issue that you will address? good, ok, thank you. senator murkowski: sen. gardner: senator gardner: thank you for being here today and your commitment to the nation. i was pleased to hear your comments to senator cantwell the land waterg
conservation fund permanent. i believe this is the most important conservation program in this country. every state has been touched, every state has had iconic f.ndscapes preserved by lwc the outdoor recreation economy in colorado is about $13.2 billion in economic impact, creating over 125,000 jobs in our state. lwcf is an important part of that. will you work with congress to make a permanent? mr. zinke: you have my full commitment. all three of the montana delegation voted in favor of it. it is an important program, especially in the west. in montana, it is particularly important with public access. the checkerboard system out west has made it difficult to sometimes the transit between forest service and blm, you need a bridge to go between the two. the lwcf has been important in that. i would support that.
senator gardner: i have always what weoradans, need is more colorado in washington and less washington in colorado. perhaps we can sure some agencies like the blm of potomac fever by moving them out of washington? for example, if you look at the numbers, the bureau of land management administers over -- .8 248 .2 million acres are located west of the mississippi river. that is over 99% of blm lands located out west. no question, having some would, iers at west think, vastly improve and result in better policies for ranchers, landowners, energy producers, constituents who enjoy these lands. blm planning 2.0 is a great example of how little washington understands about the west and how bureaucrats get in the way
of how things work, and the one-size-fits-all approach has failed public policy. do you believe in the notion of putting our federal workforce, portions of it, that specialize in public lands initiative, closer to the lands and the people they affect? mr. zinke: i think they should be closer to the land. in some in its is in utah, where you have 62% blm, you can look at different management schemes on it. has toartment of ag which are programs, a lot of tools that we can use. , thenk the bottom line is decisions often times are better at the frontline if you empower your people to do it. there is a saying in the direction,entralized decentralized execution. that means we should hold true nepa, the values that we believe uphold,ntry we should
public access, clean air, clean water. uphold, public access, clean air, clean water. but how you execute day-to-day operations sometimes, often times it is better if it is done on the front line. they live it every day. so yourgardner: commitment working with agencies -- mr. zinke: i am looking at the organization across the board. like in department one hundred years ago. i keep going back to roosevelt because i'm a great admirer, but i think he did a lot of things right. decideds ago, roosevelt to take a bold move, and it was not particularly supported at the time, not by all parties. but he didn't do a lot which we live in the legacy of roosevelt today. i think we have to be bold and look at what the department of interior should look like 100 years from now to better manage the problems we have coming, and there are a lot of problems. recreation will be a bigger piece. they are not making any more
land. we need to make sure that what we are doing is appropriate, we need to make sure clean air, clean water, those types of wings. my daughter's children can look back and say we did it right. senator gardner: final question in a time remaining is this. if you go into the colorado state capitol, there is a saying where it says here is a land where the history is written in water. no water flows into the state. that is an incredibly important part of who we are as a state. i would like your commitment today to protect the private water rights when it comes to our water rights system, understanding federal overreach into water is dangerous for me to holidays, individual water right holders, but also to continue to work on permits and water storage projects as we work along with water conservation, the need to store more water in the west is real. we need help protecting water right from the government but
also being able to store more water for the future enrollment -- enjoyment and growth of the midwest. mr. zinke: no doubt water today is a commodity and will be more important tomorrow. there is a setting in montana, whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting. water is incredibly important across the west and every state. even michigan, with the recent thing. bill,f the infrastructure we will have to look at water storage, look at better ways to some of ourave -- aquifers are at risk. community,in the ag recreation community, the water is an issue. tomorrow it will be a bigger invest in thewe infrastructures and policies that make sense for tomorrow. senator murkowski: sen. heinrich: is followed by senator alexander. earlier,rich: you said
you oppose selling off public lands, turning them over to the states. ofever, on the opening day the 115th congress, you voted for a house rule that makes it easier to give away our public lands based on the idea that those lands have no financial value, no score. how do you square the two things? mr. zinke: no vote was a rule vote in the house, one of many roles -- rules. i would characterize it as, it was an indicator of how upset people are about our land policy at the moment. particularly if you were in utah, nevada, wyoming, colorado. people are upset. idaho. montana. but it has no way, unless it is executed. i think it is a shot across the bow that we have to do something. i started out my remarks by
saying my number one is trust. i have to go out there and restore trust. the reason why -- one of the reasons why people want to sell or transfer public lands is there is no trust. they feel they do not have a voice. they feel they don't matter. they should matter. heinrich: and that was part of a bigger package, would you support it? mr. zinke: i would not. .'ve voted 17 times for lwcf sen. heinrich: answer. you mentioned you are a teddy roosevelt fan. he signed the antiquities act. national have new monuments established in the past six years. in my home state of new mexico, we had two new monuments that have already proven to be incredibly popular with local communities and which are already driving economic growth
for local businesses. frankly, my navajo and pueblo constituents are also very supportive of the new national monument because it protects some of the most sacred sites in their historical homeland. i have letters here from business owners, sportsmen, faith leaders, county commissioners, veterans in new mexico asking for your support rte and rio grande del no monument peaks. i would ask that these be submitted for the record. the antiquities act is the law of the land in communities in the mexico are already in the process of developing management plans for those monuments or will you commit to working in good faith with these gateway communities am including tribal communities, to make sure these monuments are a success, or even to make sure that these monuments are great? mr. zinke: i will absolutely work -- commit to working with
you. there are some that are more controversial than others. a monument, when it falls in a state, i think the state should have a say on it. i have always considered monuments, as i drive across ntana, a pretty big state, generally when you see a monument, i always envision it as a battlefield, location that deserves special recognition. larger monuments that are millions of acres that do not --e support of the community there is no doubt the president has the authority to amend a monument. it is always in the papers. it will be interesting to see if the president has the authority to nullify a monument. certainly, my counsel -- senator heinrich: what is your view on that? mr. zinke: legally, it is untested. what i would prefer is working in a collaborative effort with the states. if the states like their
monuments -- we have been in a state of maine -- that the state is culpable with it as it is, and they have a management plan, we should work with the state and be an advocate. if a state is upset about a monument, they have a plan that is different from what was done, then we should defer a lot of that to the >> authorizes vicinity monument -- rescinding the monument? >> i am not an attorney, i got. senator heinrich: that makes two of us. i would think that the president would nullify and it would be challenged. thedetermine whether or not legal framework allows it or not. i would hope that the right ask is that we would work with the
states. i think we have all benefit from a lot of our monument. theainly in montana, battlefield of little big point has been enormously important to the state of montana. they are very happy with it although it is worth. alexander. alexander: thank you chairman. i look forward to supporting you. i think you have a chance to be a terrific secretary of the interior. president reagan asked me to head up a president's commission outdoors. worked on it for two years looking ahead for a generation to see what our outdoor recreation activities should be. the main conclusion i came to was that there should be one policy for the west and one for the ease. there is some any differences. this committee is filled with westerners. i need give you an eastern
perspective from my side. we don't have much federal land in tennessee and north carolina. we like what we have. one area that i would ask you, in the newspaper today, the national park services established a panel to review the devastating chimney tops fire we had in the smoky mountains national park so that we can learn from it. it is unexpected for us, we are not used to that. we had 80 inches of rain every year. this fire started on chimney tops and a hurricane lu and differe -- blew it and it burned up half of cap bloomberg. could we see if there are any lessons learned? >rep. zinke: i've been that, it is a wonderful place. willing to work with you to
see what the best pass -- path is for that so it will happen again. >> i'm impressed with the heroism of those who responded. but they will to do what they can do better. the difference between the smokies and yellowstone and your territory is that that land was already owned by the united states. the smokies were bought by the people of tennessee and given to the national park. we have a lot more visitors because of the location. twice as many as yellowstone. that is such a prized place. and yet, our funding, our appropriation for yellowstone is wanted twice the total body for the smokies. because of the restrictions that established when people give to the federal government, we cannot charge and anticipate. will you take a careful look at the allocation of the funding
between the smokies and the other parts to make sure that our most visited national park at its share of funding -- gets it's share of funding? rep. zinke: yes, we need to look in the formula. the smokies are different than the national parks. we are hoping we can take a big deferred maintenance on in the structure. there is a number of roads and facilities and that. we can do better. thiscommittee''s guidance. >> my last question has to do with the recommendations with the commission on the americans outdoors, 30 years ago. there was -- i hope you'll come
the end along with other senators here in wanting to help you help to find a way to permanently authorize that. it makes a lot of sense to take money from oil and gas expi ration and use it for a benefit for the environment. the problem is, we had a $20 billion backlog that we haven't appropriate. it is important to do that. we have found that 30 years ago, most outdoor recreation occurs near where we live. near cityof us lived parks. that is the importance of the land water conservation fund. another important set of recommendations had to do with land trust, greenways and scenic
highways. -- biways. will you take this opportunity to look ahead another generation and ask the question " what outdoor recreation opportunities will our children and grandchildren have?" the 30th anniversary of that report. a generation has passed and it is time for the next look. rep. zinke: this brings us to the small point of the next generation of millennials. we have to incentivize outdoor activities to teach our millennials the importance of the great outdoors. theou look at the numbers, demographics are different. the people visiting the parts are the older generation. we have to look at new ways of incentivizing younger millennials to experience the
parks, to experience the outdoors, to teach them the value of our public lands. how do we get our kids out there and enjoy the great outdoors? i would argue that it is being bet -- better than being in front of the tv or playing video games. welcome, inan, 2013, mr. trump tweeted on the military sexual assault by blaming the women who served and 26,000 in his tweet, unreported sexual assaults in the military. what do you expect when equipment and women together? later in 2016, he descended aat tweet and he said it is correct tweet and it are many people think that is absolutely correct. following that commander in you put out a
statement of praise for mr. trump and at no point did you call him out on that tweet. at appointed to call on him to apologize for that tweet. i wonder, as someone who is about to take charge of the major federal agency, it was extremely rugged conditions, i wonder what that says to the employees of our natural park suervice. you defended the president elect's bragging about his own commitment of sexual assault. you dismiss it as locker room talk. i just had sit on the committee that investigated on a bipartisan basis. be surermed, how can we that you will another way in dealing with this issue of sexual assault at the national park service?
thank you for the question, i take issues of sexual assault harassment there is tillerson -- very seriously. conversation a with the president-elect about the statement? no, i have not. i have about the park service, there are problems in the park service, problems of sexual harassment, or ralph. -- morale. who wouldn't want to be a major? -- ranger? today, they rank at the bottom of employee satisfaction. whether it is sexual harassment, whether they feel they don't have the flexibility to make ,ecisions, whether they feel
there are a lot of reasons, i have to get to the bottom of it. you have served and thank you for your service. you understand that morale is bad at the frontline. it makes sure that mission success is going to happen. ofual harassment is part what is killing morale. i'm going to go out and listen, one is on the sexual harassment issue. they have to leadership, from the top and the bottom. we have zero tolerance. >> what type of policies would you put into place? history of being willing to participate in gimmicks. legislation cowrote to require women to register for the draft despite not supporting it yourself because you was to send a gimmicky message that actually backfire on you.
that bill actually passed. they had to come to your rescue and all that out of the conference report on the ndaa. you yourself have a history of saying that women who serve in combat provide a distraction and we can't afford it. in that debate, i was there that night, i think we were there until after 3:00 a.m. you said that the enemy doesn't recognize men and women in uniform. they recognize weaknesses. by talking about men and women serving together in combat, men and women both are in very rugged conditions in the national park service. with a history of being willing participate in this gimmicky bill, what are you going to do when you lead federal employees at the national park service. the topic of women serving the
military and signing up for selective services is not a gimmick. i was say that is the mischaracterization of the importance of the issue. >> you did not -- you did introduce a bill that you do not support. rep. zinke: i think america needs to have that discussion. every table around montana was talking about it. i don't think it was a gimmick discussionut in open whether or not women to be part of the selective service. i have served in combat with women. everyone has a role, as you know. >> do think women serving at the front lines we cannot force -- weaken that force? rep. zinke: not at all. i think everyone has the same respect. i think the jobs are different. in the park service, i think there are women that assume every role.
i think that is an opportunity that has been given to women before before --i'm not sure when. a long time. i take service. >> senator lee. thank you so much better chair. we appreciate all you have done. i agree with what one of our colleagues said. the public land issues are often very different. when you ask people from different states, direction they may have might differ depending on what part of the country they come from.
those who are east of the mississippi are likely to be feeling different than those west of the mississippi. there are a lot of reasons. of thisarticular is land at the federal government owns, we are talking about roughly 30% of the land mass in the united states, the overwhelming majority of the federal land is in the western united states. it affects many in the western united states in a very real, very personal way. the poor and middle class bear the greatest burden. reason, the seemingly those under the interviews act, it is particularly troubling. stroke of us with the the executive 10, the president of the united states can up and communities. can change traditional ways
of life. they can change religious practices. they can lock up hundreds of thousands of acres of land. with one action, in some cases, over a million acres. to begin, i want to ask you the same question that i asked the person who would be your predecessor if confirmed. sally jewell. you view local support as a of adent to the creation national monument under the into act? -- antiquities rep. zinke: i think it is critical to have state and local support on the monument that they participate in. in the case of salt lake or utah, i'm concerned about the schools and the funding mechanism that the schools are.
it has been largely taken away, that is a concern. if you start at the local community level, the grassroots, and you build, there's participation, then we have a problem. you plan, planning prevents a lot of miscues and execution and part of the planning process is to go out, get community support, make sure your governor and elected leaders are behind you. then talk to the president that makes the decision. everyone should be on the same page or at least about on same page. similarly -- senator lee: i encourage you to come to utah. the president designated 1.5 3
million acres in southeast utah in san juan county, against the lonely opposition of -- overwhelming opposition of san juan county. against the opposition of our governor, all of our statewide elected officials. when you hear from them is please, mr. secretary, do something about this. utah you consider visiting and talking to the people affected by this monument designation? and based on what you hear, consider having a conversation with president trump about revisiting this unfortunate misstep? rep. zinke: thank you for the question, i am committed to restoring trust. i will go out to utah first and
talk to the governor, the people in the ground, come back and make a recommendation to the president. i think that is important. guy, i be a very busy will go out there and the state of washington, i will go to alaska, i have committed to going to everywhere. this is going to be a deployment, i apologize to my wife in advance, i will be gone for a while. lee: i do want to say in closing that i appreciate your visiting me on this. there is nothing in the antiquities act that prohibits revisiting this. i'll to point out that there is a distinction between talking manageho should own and public land. hand, suggesting that exxon mobil should set up a drilling rig under strongman
arch. that is a strawman argument. thank you madam chair, welcome. echo concerns that in officer said about wrestling. stabenow: i hope that you will create a environment where victims can come forward without retaliation. those are very serious things. you have a absolute commitment, i do take it seriously. the work environment is incredible. there are 70,000 professional women in the department of interior. when you walk in the door on the
morning, you should have the right expectation of a work environment that is conducive to success. if there is a culture of sexual harassment, that is flat-out wrong. i'm going to stand out -- stamp it out. if confirmed. stabenow: we are very concerned about water quality and water relates to our economy. not just in michigan, we have actually four of us out in the community. represent 20% of the world's freshwater. these are very serious issue for us. we are look at this, looking at a various draft to
the great lakes, one of the big ones relates to what is happening in terms of invasive species. including this big 100 pound fish. it has no functioning stomach and it is something of great concern to us. would you confirm to advocating for the necessary funding for programs and agencies at interior like this and wildlife service? iscriti -- that critical to protecting invasive species? rep. zinke: checking invasive species, i understand that in michigan, after our conversation that the opportunity to look at it in more detail, it is a threat. i got the message, it is a threat. having a 100 pound carp jump out of the water, it is a big issue.
to make sure we isolate, eliminate and control, there are intotive species all hawaii. we do need to sharpen part of the infrastructure bill. we will look at that in our water networks. partly doing our water. it is abundant and to make sure our watersheds are protected. we need to make sure that invasive species are part of that program. >> interior has played an important role when talking about partnerships. we have had every agency, every department that in any way touches on this issue working together for a number of years now. stabenow: we have invasive carp, and a $7 billion recreational fishing industry.
a $14 billion boating industry as well. this is critical for us. one of the other areas that is very important in terms of fish and wildlife working together with state and local fisheries and natural resource managers relates to sharing scientific information. you have talked about working with the states, working with local communities, these are very, very important areas. based onecisions made science, on what is really happening. as we look at scientific information being shared, if confirmed, but you advocate to funding levels that in sure -- the availability of critical scientific information without regard to religious or philosophical ideology, need to be focused on science. rep. zinke: management decisions
should be made on science. as a geologist, that is step one. you need to manage the numbers. having objective science, part of the good thing about the job is that i do have a lot of very talented people within the interior department that are objective. they want to do the right thing. they want to share information and i want to make sure that we do coordinate and open up the channels of the different agencies and public and private institutions that have a lot of talent too. the intelligence community, i'm more familiar with it, we sometimeget stoned piped. >> thank you. congratulations on your
nomination, i look forward to looking forward to -- working with you. interior's is of tasked with managing countless water resources, many acres, thank you for coming in visiting with me about this before the hearing. the obama administration has used it as a department of preservation. ndsy are locking up la as if they exist within a vacuum. they disenfranchise people who are most invested in the stewardship of our resources, the people who live on the land. i look forward to you and your new approach. the new approach of administration. barrasso: will you confirm
to ending this moratorium on ederal lands? rep. zinke: behind bar me, a mao works in the coal agency. if you were to take all out of the picture, the unemployment rate would probably be in the 90%. they are very keen on making sure they have their jobs and we give them the ability for some determination. of moratorium was an example one-size-fits-all. it was a view from washington, not a view from the states. particularly, if you are a state such as wyoming, and parts of montana, west virginia that were coal important. president-elect has made a commitment to end the war
on coal. i think we should be smart in how we approach our energy. all of the above is the correct policy. coal is a great part of that, our energy mix. i am a great believer that we should invest in the research and development on coal because we know we have the asset. beginning to cleaner -- we can make it cleaner, better. we should be leading the world on clean energy. it is about science, investing in our future and not looking in our past. i am planning on introducing a disapproval resolution on the blm flaring will. that far exceeds the authority of the dlm. it will ultimately put federal lands at a greater than headed
-- competitive disadvantage. william rivers this rule under the congressional review act? rep. zinke: i think with the driving force is that we are venting a lot and we are wasting energy. that is troubling to me. the amount of venting in north dakota alone almost exceeds what we get out of the fields. beot of the wasting can reproached by having an infrastructure. let's build a system where we recapture that energy that is otherwise be wasted. that is an enormous opportunity. it is anonymous for our natural -- enormous for our natural gas. we haven't talked a lot about overseas but energy is so critically important. if we want to check russia, let's do it with with natural gas. we want to put pressure on iran supplantsome plan --
iranian crude. we can't do this without the great state of wyoming or alaska. we have to think globally on it. it is better to produce energy in america and get better over time then watch it be produced overseas with no reuglation. that is understandable. -- indisputable. sen. barrasso: western governors during the development of their plans, plans which were used to justify what they called non-warranted status on the endangered species, the plant on this.ally the post -- deposed this.
you bring this back to the state and preventing this top-down mandate? rep. zinke: rep. zinke: my understanding is the sage grouse decision will come before the department of the interior sometime in march. i understand there will be options and alternatives, proposed alternatives. i will work with you when i see those documents, all of you when i see those documents, to make sure we are doing the right thing. what concerns me about sage grouse is there is no target number. i'm not sure you can manage without a number. if we just grab management of property without a number, i .ook at that with a suspect eye everyone loves sage grouse, everyone understands we have to protect the species. generally those living in the ground are in better position and we should be an advocate and partner, rather than heavy-handed and just taking turns, particularly when we
don't have a number. sen. murkowski: sen. wyden, who has been very patient. sen. wyden thank you, madam chair. as a fellow oregon duck -- rep. zinke: go ducks. wyden: i appreciated to visit in the office. when you go into a small western town today and you go to a coffee shop, where the decisions get made, you will see ranchers and timber mill owners, environmental folks, and they will all be sitting around, and you ask them what they are doing . they mention one word, and this is true all over the west, and that word is "collaboration." they have decided that everybody has just enough clout to block the other side, and nothing happens unless they collaborate.
we really set the model for this in this committee with our resource advisory committees. this is really probably what i am more interested in -- i remember being on this committee when chairman murkowski was getting us involved in these resource issues, and maybe we have some kind of club for ex-chairs of committee or something. we started talking about collaboration then. on this sage grouse issue, which we are all deeply committed to aking sure there is not listing under the endangered species act, we are going to have to have a federal, state, .ocal collaboration . this is apropos of the question for my friend in wyoming. i think you just mentioned one of the roles that the federal government better play, and that
is setting a target. when theve always said federal government set the target, and then we say to local go do your thing, because what works in roseburg, oregon, may not necessarily work several thousand miles away. tell me a little bit about how you are going to approach setting up the federal-state collaboration on what is one of the biggest, most important collaborations we have seen in years. for zinke: well, thank you the question, and i do believe the oregon ducks are going to be better. getting to reward together, because it takes a lot of resource, it takes time, it takes effort. the frustration is, you get together -- farmers, ranchers, environmental, all stakeholders -- and after a two-year venture,
you come up with a plan and there is fighting and discussion and compromise. you come up with a plan and the plan is ignored, or it is suitable double times. we have to incentivize coming together for a plan. from the federal government, i have been an advocate of empowering the plan taste on broad central goals. in the case of sage grouse -- sen. wyden: like targets? rep. zinke: like targets, yes. management numbers. what is the goal? i don't know how you make a management plan unless you have a goal. it has to be scientifically, objectively based to protect the species -- sen. wyden: let's move onto for free because i like the answer. you said there is a role for the federal government with targets, and i'm very much sympathetic to your point and senator barrasso 's point that we also have to have a strong role for local
folks in the state and the like. apply it now to forestry, where once again we are trying to find eyond years of gridlock. i've written a proposal for our state. it doubles the harvest in a sustainable way on average each year for decades, while protecting our treasure. there are other ways to go about doing it as well. the oregon delegation is trying to find some common ground. how do you do it, in your view, without going to sufficiency language, which basically has generated ever since the spotted owl polarization and all the fighting? rep. zinke: well, thank you for the question. it is an excellent question. thehe house side, we had forest act, and what we hoped would happen is the senate would take it up and between the
committees we would work together and fine-tune it, because there were parts that neither party like. it did not exclude any stakeholder in our forests. our forests, as you recognized -- i am pretty good friends with chief tidwell -- 71 acres behind in removing dead and dying timber. we need to get to it because the goal should be healthy forests -- sen. wyden: let's do this. would you furnish that answer to me in writing? i want to know how we bring about collaboration without sufficiency language could my time is up. --ant to thank you in our for your support in our bipartisan effort on fire borrowing, which is an insane practice that discriminates against preventive forestry get sen. murkowski: thank you, senator wyden. sen. daines. sen. daines: i echo your comments on collaboration.
the other thing i hear in coffee shops around montana, besides collaboration, is "litigation." we collaborate, we have agreements, and in extreme groups stop it in court. representative zinke, welcome to the committee. froms been a long path 1979 as juniors in high school to being here. what an honor. it is wonderful for your family here. i cannot be a prouder montanan. in fact, when confirmed, you will be the first montanan to serve in a cabinet position in our history, going back to our statehood in 1889. you will be a strong advocate for our public lands, strong advocate for american energy. you have made that clear here today. and you have been tenacious in working on behalf of indian country in the house, working on
behalf of our 12 federally recognized indian tribes, and i know you will work on bringing prosperity to their communities. on montana, we are unique blend. we are a blend of numeral haggard and john denver. mastering that is a challenge. but it requires on a common -- but it requires a common sense approach that makes our country stronger. i think you have mastered the melody, which is why you have secured the support from such a diverse number of sportsmen, industry, tribal groups. there is an impressive list here, representative zinke, that is singlespaced, two columns representing the flyfishing trade association on your behalf, the nra, the rocky mountain health foundation, the theodore roosevelt conservation partnership, the national cattlemen beef association. these are just a few of the many on this list, not to mention
tribes from across the country. the list goes on. walk.s a tough balance to it is a lock of wisdom, and you have walked it well, circuit i would like to some of these letters of support. -- submit these letters of support could thank you. representative zinke, why do you want this job? rep. zinke: thanks for the question, thanks for your remarks. i love my country. i love public land. and i love teddy roosevelt's idea that we should think bold and big and prepare for the future. in this job i take very seriously, because it is all of that. our country loves our parks and our lands. our nation should be better
equipped our indian tribes with the ability for self-determination. and when the department of interior has an influence over a fifth of our territory, that means influencing the beaches in to theith clams fisheries outside hawaii, and even this body, we are all different but we share a common purpose, to make our country great again. i think as the secretary of the interior, i think i will have inherited 70,000 hardcharging, dedicated professionals that want to do the same thing. my task is to organize for a better future for interior and our country. i will work with anybody. as the list would indicate, i've never been red or blue. to me it has always been red, white, and blue. politically, i've never asked an individual serving next to me
whether they are republican or democrat. what matters to me is they are american and love their country and are committed to a mission of success. we have a very important mission in the department of interior ahead of us. sen. daines: represented a zinke , a lot of concerns mont anans have had with previous interior leaders is that the decisions are made with disregard of the impact on those close to the land. as we travel around the state together, one of your favorite lines is "a lot of the bureaucrats in d.c. couldn't find montana on a map." whether it is monument designations, sage grouse, too decisionsanans faced made by out of touch washington, d.c., bureaucrats. what are your views on facilitating more control and management of federal land out west? we have a true westerner out
here, so many from montana. how can we make the department of interior look more like montana and get closer to people? rep. zinke: great question. i would say we need to shore up our front line. if our front-line managers don't have the resources, they don't have the authority to make the decision they know is right, there is a problem. in the military, it is like being in the front line and asking for a bullet. you got to go all the way to the back headquarters to get a bullet, and when you finally get it, you got to ask permission to shoot it. if you get permission to shoot it, you have to get permission to shoot it right. that is what happens with front-line managers. blm folksing a lot of because they are just had it. we need to shore up the front line and empower the front line to do good things, with broad guidance. and understand that their guidance -- they should be incentivized on their evaluations working with local communities.
that is how you do it. evaluation,n the how did you collaborate? did you talk to the local community? do you have the local community's support? that is part of it. i think collaborative efforts work. generally, they deliver the better outcome. think my most i important task, is restore trust. when a blm truck or fish and showsfe service truck up, you want to see management, and you want to know it is in good hands. i think in many cases we have been too heavy-handed as a nation, and there is a separation between those living in the land and those managing it. unfortunately, a lot of times those management decisions are made here. you're right, if you don't know anddifference between butte
bozeman, maybe you are not in the right position to make those decisions. sen. murkowski: thank you. we will next get to sen. cortez masto. congressman,asto: nice to meet you for the first time. unfortunate we didn't have a chance to meet prior to today. with your indulgence i will jump in because i am in one of those western states, particularly nevada, where he do with 8 federal agencies on a regular basis. your role as potential secretary of interior is very important to us in nevada. had to sayt you about the antiquities act. many get one more committed from you. we had more national monuments declared and i would love for you to come out to nevada and take a look at those monuments. there was vocal opposition, but i will tell you about the majority of nevadans support these designations. if you would make a commitment to come out, we would love to host you. rep. zinke: i will make a
commitment, and i will make a commitment to every member. if you have a monument in your state, before i make a recommendation to the president, i will talk to you. i will talk to the delegation. i will make sure we are all working together on this. that is what the secretary should do. sen. cortez masto: thank you, congressman. i appreciate that. i appreciate the discussion on collaboration. and your gold of restoring trust by working with locals and local communities in the estate. one of the areas is in nevada, most people don't realize there are 32 tribal reservations in nevada. i would love a commitment, if you would guarantee that tribal members have a seat at the table when it comes to decisions, activities, and land management year their communities when it involves the department of interior. rep. zinke: yes, ma'am. having a discussion with the great state of minnesota, i
think we all would like to see bia be better. how we do that, because they have not been better -- we need improvement on that. we need to do three things. again, sovereignty should mean something. when we say you are a sovereign -- let's have a discussion of how to empower that. .econdly, respect in many cases, our indian nations have not had the respect they deserve. lastly, how to empower great nations for self-determination? what tools do they need? education oftentimes is lacking. it is state-by-state. some of the education opportunities in alaska far exceed anything in the lower 48. that is not always the case. sen. cortez masto: thank you. i appreciate your comments. wild horses having been brought up yet.
as you may or may not know, in nevada this is a big issue. the wild horse population in nevada is over 31,000. blmcurious, how would the under your direction humanely handle the wild horse and borough population crisis? .ep. zinke: great question i've learned more in the last couple of weeks about horses for multiple states, and this is where we will have to have the discussion to work together. clearly the present policy is a disaster. it is enormously expensive. very great horse man, sensitive to making sure that horses don't starve, that we treat animals in a humane way. them out and spending millions of dollars every year on a program that is not working? let's work together to figure out how to fix it. we are great nation. we can fix the burro problem can fix the horse problem.
it is not just nevada. it is a problem in florida, too. sen. cortez masto: thank you. and water problems is an issue for western states. this i don't think has been brought up, but seven of 10 people in nevada get the water supply from lake mead. the last 15 years of drought has ring around lake mead to show the level has decreased. it is obviously a concern of ours and many of the states up and down the colorado. california, and nevada are in principle agreement on a drought contingency plan. our concern is with this transition, there is going to be a real impact on the water supply for nevada if there is a lag time during this transition. i would like to know how you will exercise your authority and leadership to help the states finalize and implement their drought contingency plans. rep. zinke: and thank you for the question.
as i mentioned earlier, water is critical for a number of reasons. we have to look at storage, we have to look at efficiency, we have to look at our infrastructure, all of which are behind. and then negotiate in good faith. when everyone walks in a room with an agenda and they are unwilling to budge from that, that is not good faith. leadership is recognizing the importance of having a win-win, and also recognizing that we have to do better on our infrastructure. we wasted and norms amount of water -- waste an enormous amount of water in this country, just not having enough, especially in the west, not having enough holding capacity. some of our dams are lacking. we need to manage resources that are and doi can have a huge role in that could sen. cortez masto: you are committed to working with the states on that? rep. zinke: absolutely. sen. murkowski: senator risch.
senator risch: thank you for taking this on. as you can see it will be a contentious job from time to time, but 70 has to do it and i'm glad you -- somebody has to do it and i'm glad you are there. thank you to the president-elect for picking a westerner to do this who understands' shoes. my years here have taught me, what a difference between east and west. i have come to the conclusion that the mississippi river gets wider every year. i watched in tennessee as the fourth fire burned this year, and your heart goes out to those people, and everyone in tennessee was just a guest -- aghast with this. we deal with this every year. haveber of the senators fires substantially bigger than what happened in tennessee. i don't mean to denigrate what happened there. we have fought in a bipartisan fashion to get fire funding
straightened out and we have not been able to do it. hopefully with the new administration we have some change and we are going to be able to do it. when you look at the percentages of our states that are owned by the federal government, two thirds idaho, substantially more in nevada. think you'll find it is frustrating because the people who live east of mississippi are sometimes very cavalier about our problems, and probably one of the poster children for that is the monument situation. the president with a stroke of a e republican or democrat, said the site -- sets aside million or more acres. if this happened in the east people would be up in arms about it. and yet it happens and it winds up on the front pages of paper and it is gone, nobody thinks
about it again. the collaborative method discussed here is critical in these public land situations. i did it when i was governor. sen. wyden has referred to how they have been doing it in oregon. that is the way these things get done and they will get done in the future and the only way they will get done. and a lot of us have introduced a bill that is going to do something about that as far as the monuments are concerned. the states really have a role in this, and that brings me to my next point that i want to make before i run out of time, and that is to talk about management in the department of interior. they don't call it the department of everything else for nothing. it's got lots and lots of anderent responsibilities what have you. one of the most frustrating things that happened to us with the department of interior is with the sage grouse. to his greatazar, credit, went out and said, hey, we have got a big issue with the
sage grouse. governors, why don't you sit downgovernors, why don't you sit down and see if you can to do something about this? and they did. in idaho -- i don't know about the other states, but in idaho that was done incredibly well, bringing all sides to the table, using the collaborative method, including people from the united states fish and wildlife service. fish and wildlife service. he had a seat at the table. they constructed a plan, it was a give-and-take process, and when they were all done, the plan was approved by everybody, unanimously, including the u.s. fish and wildlife service. the plan comes back to washington, d.c., and the blm says, with a second, not so fast. when i first met sally jewell, the first thing i said to her after niceties was have you ever heard of sage grouse? she said, "no, i haven't." i told her the problem we had between blm and the fish and wildlife service if
marketing people were fighting with the accounting department, you would step in and do something about this. i want some help on this. fish and wildlife service says it is all right. blm says we have experts here who says the plan is -- well, what are we doing there? one agency and they are employing scientists on both sides that will fight with each other? why bother having fish and wildlife service blm will overrule? we have had some progress but that is fallen off the chart. what i want to talk you about is management. my good friend on the right says there will be wholesale changes at the epa. i hope we can do the same thing at the department of interior. it is frustrating and it makes us angry and when you have 2 federal agencies in disagreement with each other, and the head of the department won't step in and say, hey, i am going to resolve this. blm, stand down these people are in charge of wildlife.
if you don't want to do that, fine, but let's get rid of fish and wildlife service. we are paying a lot of money for it. let blm do it if they are the ones that can overrule them. i'm encouraged for the -- i am encouraged by what i see your today. have you visited the interagency fire center in boise? rep. zinke: no, sir. i have been on the front lines of multiple fires. isch: you will be impressed when you visit. i know you are going to do that. it falls under what i talked about -- they have a map there dot for everyed fire started in america each year. thousands of them. right in the center, it is located there for good reason. my time is up. thank you very much. sen. murkowski: thank you, senator risch. senator king. senator king: thank you.
welcome to the committee. i enjoyed your testimony today. i want to thank you for your grateful our condition that climate change is happening and human activities are contributing to it and the image of the glacier retreating during lunch. i will add that to my arsenal of climate change anecdotes that the theme of the hearing today in many ways has been one size doesn't fit all, collaboration and consultation and communication. you alluded to an issue we haven't named. there is a national park rule about you cannot exploit natural resources on a national parks. indicating national park were people have been digging clams since time immemorial, suddenly the park decided you cannot do that anymore. that to me is an example of how there should be a better communication and relationship between the park, which is an enormously important asset to the state of maine, and its
neighboring communities. do you agree? agree, and i'm glad you appreciate the theme has been collaboration, restoring trust, infrastructure, and making sure our front lines the right tools to make the decisions and work with the local communities. senator king: i hope you will take that message throughout the department about listen first and asked later, and i think -- act later. i think we can have come as you say, restoration of trust and confidence in decisions where they are made if you want to move blm out west, you can maineark headquarters to if you choose. too far away? the backlog with the parks is the straightforward problem of funding. we should be funding to payment and is of the parks. we have put it off for 10 or 15 years. i hope you will approach the
next big upcoming budget to say that this is part of our obligation to pay to park rangers and all the expenses of the parks and to chip away this backlog. when you consider that? rep. zinke: absolutely, and that is by this committee is so incredibly important, and the chairman in alaska is so incredibly important. i may own the helicopter, but i have to ask you for the gas. atorder to fund the parks the level, it goes through this body, and i have to convince you that the money spent will be privatized. i have to convince the president-elect that the parts are his priority as well. because they should be america's priority. senator king: well, the point made earlier about the backlog, the chairman talked about the return on investment is gigantic in terms of what we put into the the economic activity they generate in their areas. it is a good investment for the
public and, i believe, for the government itself. -- we arencern talking about in recent days a major defense bill. we are talking about a major infrastructure investment. we are talking about major tax cuts. all of those together don't really add up in terms of the arithmetic and budget and deficit and debt. therefore there is going to be a lot of pressure on various areas of the federal government, particularly nondefense areas. will you resist stoutly with of the heart of a navy seal efforts raid the land and water conservation fund to fund other government priorities? i am on record of supporting full funding for the land and water conservation fund for a reason. i think it is an incredibly important program that has done great work. this is probably one of the reasons why the president-elect put a former navy seal in place. i don't yield to pressure.
higher principle, yes. but my job is to advocate for the department of interior to make sure we have the right funds and be a voice in the room on great public policy. going to be a lot of times when i will need the help of this funny because i do not have the authority. follow the law. i think the law needs to be adjusted in some areas, as this body has often said, and in order to adjust it, you will have to have trust. whoever executes it will have to do well. and i need bipartisan support to make sure the law is justice support league -- is adjusted support -- to make our park parts do a lot better. senator king i learned as a
letter, when you get the answer you want, you sit down and shut up. senator murkowski: thank you, senator king. senator flake, right on time. senator flake: thank you, madam chair. replowing oldt ground. arizona is home to a lot of the landnd between that the department of interior and thesters directly land administered for the tribes. that is half the state. and tribal land, that is 85% of arizona. inonly have about 50% private hands, and that means decisions made by the federal government, including interior, have a real outsized impact for the state. thank you for coming to my office.
i know you committed, and itself like everybody else to visit their states in the early stages, so you will have a busy travel schedule. we mentioned in terms of the drought and the colorado river. the basin states are close to an agreement on a dropped intimacy plan to leave additional water behind the dam at lake mead so we do not hit that troubled stage where there are arbitrary cuts. it is crucial for arizona that we work with interior to ensure that arizona water users, to the extent they leave water behind the dam, that that water does not disappear down some can now in some other state. that is the only basis on which some contingency plan would work. we continue to work with us. assurance that will
have to go forward until there is a drought contingency plan. i commit to work on that. i recognize water, particularly in the west, is a big state, in every state in the west. we got to figure this out, and i think some of it is infrastructure. -- and thatements will make sure the infrastructure reaches those requirements for it will be efficiency. it will be building better capture facilities and look at the infrastructure we have. we are wasting a lot of water. there is no question. let's make sure every drop is precious and our water is clean. i think we can do that. >> last year i introduced a settlement accurate last week i
introduced a bill to make necessary clarifications to the white mountain apache tribe settlement. i know you were the sponsor of the blackfeet writes water settlement act, so you understand the importance of the settlements for both the tribal and nontribal users. count on you to work with me and the tribes and other parties in arizona to make sure that the settlement moves forward and that we get the necessary characterizations to the white mountain apache tribe settlements? to thank: i would like senator danes for his work on the blackfeet water compact. it is a treaty obligation, and i think we need to uphold our part of that obligation of the water compacts. state, thee the tribes, and the federal government, and within the federal government, it is not easy.
the importance of working with you on the compacts, and also the importance of getting them resolved. a liability that is out there. we need to recognize our liability. let's work together to get them done. cattle ranging has a long history in arizona and continues to hold a prominent place in our present-day state as well as our history. i come from a ranching family. this past weekend i was on the farm i was raised near snowflake. ranching is never an easy business, but it is made more difficult with issues that were already raise with the b urros and mexican gray wolf in southeastern arizona. the lack ofinued is cooperation and coordination between federal agencies and the
local land users. you have committed to working on this. you will be hearing a lot when you come to arizona that the issues that we have with wild burros as well as the mexican gray wolf issues. mr. zinke: i concerned by the oric of whether it is blm the forest service. i grew up where smokey the bear was revered. who could not like smokey the bear? and now in some parts of our great nation, it is feared when they see smokey the bear. they think of law enforcement rather than managing our forests. i am very concerned about that because it has implications of the next generation. we have to come together and make sure that the management, our team out there, is viewed as helpful as land managers, and not to be feared.
you want to stop by and say hello. you do not want to avoid. the further you get out and parts of alaska and parts of montana, they are viewed as law enforcement and abstract lists. and i think we need to be -- obstructionists. i think we need great leaders in this nation to recognize it and go forward with solutions to make sure the next generation at law enforcement, bll, or fish and game as good neighbors and helpful rather than to be feared. senator murkowski: thank you. senator franken. franken: let me get this right smokey the bear is not real. mr. zinke: he is real to me, sir. senator franken: thank you for your service as a navy seal, to your daughter's service as a
navy seal, do your son-in-law, who frankly terrifies me. he is out with one of your grand dollars, who by the way, you are the unsung heroes of this hearing. you have been wonderful. you have a beautiful family. mr. zinke: thank you, sir. : i want to get into what i consider a false choice. hearhe false choice that i you have iterated a couple of times is between addressing climate change and the economy. i think that is a false choice. i think it is a false choice because, one, if we do not address it, is going to cost us a tremendous amount of resources. hurricane super storm sandy cost about $60 billion because sea
level has risen. er national will be the lake now snow park or mountain national park, but it is not going to be glacier in 30 years. in minnesota, we had built lots of clean energy jobs, and we are addressing climate change. and we put in a renewable energy standard. and it has been very successful for our businesses. that in 2010letter -- and i would just want to get -- inlarify your stance this letter, you have urged federal lawmakers -- this is a bunch of state legislators, hundreds of hundreds -- to "pass coverage of clean energy jobs and climate change legislation." this letter also said that
climate change is a threat for instability in the most volatile regions of the world. and that the climate change threat presents significant national security challenges for the united states, challenges that should be addressed today because they will almost certainly get worse if we delay. i completely agree with that letter. and i ask unanimous consent, madam chair, to include this in the record. thank you. 23 were a navy seal for years, so you probably know better than most people here about protecting our country. i completely agree with your stance in this letter, that climate change threatens our national security. the defense department certainly knows that.
it needs to be addressed as quickly as possible. so i want to ask you, do you still feel that climate change nationalificant security threat and one that requires immediate action, or has your position changed since you have been in congress? mr. zinke: that is a great question. senator franken: thank you. mr. zinke: i want to be honest with you. the three tenets of climate change of one, we agreed that the climate is changing, we both agree that man has had an a major influence great if you just look at co2 levels and how they parallel with temperature rise in last year on record. this is goingn: to be happening. and sea level is rising. mr. zinke: and i am not an expert in this field. but what i do know -- senator franken: that is a
copout. i am not a doctor, but i have to make decisions. sit on theand i national resources committee and have went through hundreds of hours of
testimony on all topics . there is no model today that can predict tomorrow. so where we agree is we need to figure aience model out and figure what do we do about it. what do we do? when you say that we want to -- wants co2, recognize that the ocean is a contributor to it. plan a small rise in temperature in the ocean a say big in thence in co2 -- ocean makes a big difference in co2. ensley level,n: and that means storm surges going tremendous damages,
to create climate refugees, and are going to require -- and i know i'm out of time -- they will be requiring the use of our military. if we do not do something about it -- and i think this is a false toys. we can build an economy, sell to the chinese, sell clean energy technology, that is what we should be doing. i am sorry i have gone over my time. senator murkowski: we have a vote coming up shortly and i would like to get to the remaining numbers who have not had a chance to ask west. it is my intention we have a second round after this, but we will be able to take a break as well. let's go to senator portman. you,or portman: thank madam chair, and commander zinke. we have had a lot of discussions about issues relating the department of interior and your role, one that i want to focus
on is the national parks. i think it is a great opportunity for you and our country to do more to deal with the $12.5 billion maintenance backlog we are talked about, to preserve and protect these great treasures. we just went through a process of considering this. the legislation, which was tied in with the centennial last year, passed in the wee hours of the morning just about a month ago. it passed with the indispensable help of the chair and ranking members here today. worked onthing i have for nine years, going back to my time as the office of management and budget director. we put a centennial challenge together. it helps with regard to the parks service by allowing private sector funds to be raised to match federal funding, and, second, it helps the foundation to raise funds. that money will be within your discretion. it is used for deferred maintenance and i hope some will
be used for other special projects to enhance our parks. , areestion to you today is you aware of this program and its potential? let me give you an example, thanks to lisa murkowski. even before it was authorized, some of this was happening, and the match was almost 2-1, in other words, a dollar of federal funding resulted in two dollars a private sector funding coming in. i think it can be greater than that. how do you feel about the program? are you supportive of it? would you support funding this in the appropriation cycle? mr. zinke: thank you for the question. i am aware of it. i think it is a great opportunity. interior, itary of turns out i have a number of boards with the diversity of towns, both in business and in conservation, and foundations
like this offer a unique , andtunity for innovation looking at different ways of not only funding our parks but also looking at protecting our parks, trail building. trail building is an opportunity we need to look at. how to reestablish a national trail building program. a lot of that will come from private sector. foundation and other boards are a unique opportunity to leverage, and i am a strong proponent of it. i'm glad toman: hear that, and this priority is crucial given the state of the parks. in ohio, we do not have a lot of federal public lands. we have a beautiful park, which is top 10 in visitation. when you are on your tour between hawaii and lantana, we expect you to -- and montana, we expect you to see our parks
where there is access to a huge population in the area. and a lot of young people and a lot of schools are engaged, which is what we need, getting millennials involved. with regard to rules, the department has finalized in the last 60 days for your confirmation, should you be concerned, i'm concerned. i have heard constituents worried about job losses, and other it cannot make -- and other economic impacts. with regard to the rules that have come in, and with regard to the stream buffer rule, what are your thoughts? 11th hour i find the rule to be problematic, because it just me there was no user collaboration or the collaborative effort was not effective. and so generally, the last hour rules result in distrust in
policy that i think is not conducive of a collaborative and trust relationship. if confirmed, we will look at whatever is in my power and authority and evaluate everything on the table, as it should be. specifically, different rules, but in general, when you have a last-minute rule, and eat it was a last-minute decision, and there was not working with this body. senator portman: i appreciate that. great lakes, i will not ask you to answer, but senators that are now and i asked you about the invasive species part of this. fish and wildlife do the monitoring and the early signal warning. we look forward to working with
you on that, and i appreciate your commitment to her and us who what to help preserve the great treasure of our great lakes. thank you. vote,r murkowski:information fo has started. we will take a break and be back at 5:00. -- senatorona hirono? rono: you mentioned coming to guam and other places as well as the other compact nations, palau, and micronesia. they would love to see you should you be confirmed. i know that. youdiscussion about energy, set a number of times that you support all the above. that innds great except all of the above, what is happened is the fossil fuel side ofenergy has gotten a lot
support over decades, so i hope when you say all of the above that you will also be committed to providing more resources and /levels, particularly r&d &d.particularly r7d. mr. zinke: i have been a strong proponent on the record for research and developed of the different technologies, different innovations, different opportunities in the spectrum of the energy to include looking at traditional sources to make sure we are better at doing that. --tainly her solve all certainly, horizontal drilling. all of the above is the right approach. when comes out of the tested and into feeling, energy needs to be affordable, reliable, and abundant. no: when you
recognize that climate change is upon us and it is a multiplier, ands a threat multiplier, there has been tested vacation to that. more than continue to provide the kind of sustained support we have provided to the fossil fuel side. to the question of infrastructure, because i am all for of what you're saying about the need to pay attention to the infrastructure needs of doi. but then there's the issue of how we are going to pay for, and i'm glad you are not going to raise a -- to pay for some $11 billion in infrastructure needs. since departments do not operate in a vacuum, would you support privatizing social security or privatizing medicare in order to
pay for doi's infrastructure needs? mr. zinke: so how are we going to do it? evade the inserted looking at our budget, we spent 7% of our budget -- 70% of our budget in entitlements. we are not going to be able to cut our way out of the problems we had. nor are we going to be able to tax our way out. the only hope of america is to grow our way out. and we can. energy is part of it. innovation is part of it. but we are going to need an and we cant grows, compete, not only can we compete, we can dominate. god has given us so much. i think we can interrupt. i hate to
thank you. youounds to me as though would look to grow the economy rather than cutting back on these kinds of programs that so many people, especially our seniors, lie upon -- rely upon. talented as you are, you will not be able to do the job by yourself, so you will have the opportunity to weigh in on the people will become your deputies, etc. what kind of policies would you look for in those people? ,r. zinke: loyalty, teamwork ,rust, confidence, commitment and each of the divisions has different challenges, and the challenges in one is different than in fish and wildlife and blm. you have to put the right person in the right spot. from a seal perspective, we need
fearless roughriders that will make the decision regardless of whether you are going to get sued or not. our policy has been whether we are going to get sued. whether it is the right wrong policy, and this is where i will need your help in order to develop the right policy. should not be in fear of being sued time after time again. we should develop the right policy people in place are willing to make the right decision. senator: i hope so. with the chair's indulgence, i would like to ask one more question about sexual harassment in the department, and clearly this has been going for overweight too long, when it first came to light. the military from sexual assault in the military is a huge scourge on the military. i would want your commitment that you will do whatever you need to do to prevent, which
includes changing the culture, by the way. it is a culture within the park service that lends itself to sexual harassment, do that there will be prosecution, meaning there will be accountability of the perpetrators of this kind of behavior, and that you will do specific things to prevent retaliation. these are the very kinds of occurrences and factors that have been a scourge in military. toould like your comment making those kinds of changes, and i will be following up with you. have mye: you commitment. it will be zero tolerance. and i will be fearless in this. senator murkowski: thank you. with that, we will stand at ease until just about 5:00 when we will come back for a second round. thank you. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute,
which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> from montana, ryan zinke be the interior secretary, testifying before the senate energy committee. they are going to take a bit of a break. the senate is in votes on the floor. a bill dealing with the gao. ingressman zinke reelected november. a former navy seal, and he is
the choice of donald trump to be the next interior secretary. ist we expect will happen once they wrap up the voting on the floor they will come back for a second round of questions for senators in the energy and commerce committee. we will continue to cover that life. that will be live on www.c-span.org, so you can stream that. we will record it and show all of it later in our program schedule on the c-span networks. on c-span we will go next to the senate health, education, labor, and pensions committee, a hearing from betsy devos to be the next education secretary. you see the witness table's rather by reporters and photographers and others. hearing should get underway momentarily here on capitol hill, expected to go to about 8:00 eastern. some news from the white house this afternoon -- the day earlier was the last news
conference from josh earnest. we will show that to you on her schedule and online. this afternoon president obama announcing he has commuted the sentence of army private chelsea manning, who have been serving a 35-year term for leaking hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables and military reports to wikileaks. living the president also issued general james cartwright, the former vice chairman of the joint chiefs of staff who pled guilty to a felony charge of lying in the court of a leak investigation. that is the latest just from the white house. the president tomorrow will hold a news conference. but for coverage of that on the c-span networks as well. on c-span we are waiting for the start of the session -- senate education committee meeting to meet creek senator alexander has voted on before. he should be here shortly.