tv U.S. Senate CSPAN June 10, 2013 8:30am-12:01pm EDT
department. i want to just take a minute to highlight a few provisions in the current budget proposal. overall, i'm pleased with the administration's proposed budget for the department of the interior which is $11.7 billion, nearly a 3% increase over the 2013 continuing resolution level. budgets are places where you've got to make tough decisions, and the administration in many particulars has done a thoughtful job of putting scarce dollars in the right places. the president has made the conservation of our public lands through our national parks policies encouraging outdoor recreation and support a high priority, and i strongly support the president's commitment. outdoor recreation, as we have talked about in this committee, is major, major business and a jobs producer for our country. studies have found that americans spend $646 billion each year on outdoor recreation. that equates to over six million direct american jobs.
and secretary jewell understands a whole lot about this because she's been living and breathing it in the private sector and is acutely aware of the link between conservation, jobs and economic growth. it's encouraging the administration has proposed partial mandatory funding for the land and water conservation fund in fiscal year 2014 and intends to see full mandatory funding starting in 2015. i look forward to seeing the proposal to authorize full and annual funding for this program. lwcf is an essential component in the cup's effort to conserve lands and provide areas for people to get outside and recreate. with respect to our national parks, i've been exploring new ways to provide necessary funding for our parks. i've talked about this at length with director jarvis. i'm going to want to discuss it further with the secretary this morning because, clearly, with the enormous challenge presented as a result of sequestration we ought to be looking at fresh
ideas, creative, new ideas, ideas that bring in the private sector, look to public/private partnerships to do a responsible job of addressing the needs of our parks in a fiscally-challenging environment. turning to energy issues, the department plays an important role in providing energy resources for the country. significant strides were made during secretary salazar's tenure on the siting of renewable energy projects on public land. the department just this week announced its first lease sale on the ocf. secretary jewell, we're going to encourage you to continue those efforts. i'm also pleased to see strong support for the department's new energy frontier niche tef that promotes responsible energy development on our public lands. as the secretary knows and colleagues, we talk an awful lot about it here, we're especially concerned about the management of our forests. as the length and severity of
both drought and wildfire seasons has increased year after year, and i'm one who believes that certainly a measure of this is due to climate change. it's clear that federal forests are in poor health making them more vulnerable to catastrophic forest fires. and as we talked about just a couple of days ago in this room, i am troubled that the president's budget request includes nearly a 50% reduction in hazardous fuel treatments for the department of the interior. as we discussed on tuesday, youu were not here, secretary jewell, but i'm sure you've gotten the report. we're anxious to work with you, secretary vilsack, and we're going to make sure that the folks on the office of management and budget side are part of these discussions as well to get a new, big picture effort to improve our policies with respect to fire budgeting. finally, i'm grateful the administration's budget proposes
to extend the payments in lieu of taxes program as a permanent program at the full funding level in fiscal year 2014. the secretary knows how strongly we feel about the secure rural schools program. that, of course, appears in the forest service budget, and we also note that there's a very important component that is run by the bureau of land management especially for the omc lands. i'll be working on legislation to address long-term funding for counties as well as fund -- as well as jobs from increased forest management. and on that point we appreciate the proposed budget increase of $1.8 billion in the onc forest management program to increase the volume of timber offered for sale and for other forestry work. this is of enormous importance to oregon. as the secretary knows, we're increasing the harvest. let me underline that, increasing the harvest on o to nc lands.
i've recent he released legislation to make that happen and look forward to working with the administration, with colleagues on both sides of the aisle and making it a bicameral effort with the house of representatives as well. with that, i'd like to recognize my colleague, senator murkowski, for any comments that she'd like to make. i so appreciate the chance to work on these issues in a bipartisan way and welcome my colleague's remarks. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and welcome, madam secretary, mr. hayes. good to see both of you. madam secretary, first, i want to thank you for your commitment that you have made as it relates to king cove, the director of indian affairs, mr. washburn, is going to be visiting king cove in late june with. the commitment that you have made to visit in august is one that, again, i appreciate, and i look forward to joining you on that trip. i don't want to belabor this
point, but i am, i am looking forward to this visit for a number of reasons. first and foremost, to introduce you to my constituents. i think you know how strongly i feel, how strongly the members of the alaska delegation feel about this road that we have been talking about, this 10-mile, single-lane, gravel, non-commercial use road that would help provide for, essentially, emergency access for the residents of king cove to an all-weather airport. so we thought we had reconciled that in the 2009 omnibus act. it's not done yet, but i want to work with you to see that we finally and fully resolve this fairly for the citizens of king cove. i do have a number of questions to ask today. i know that we're going to have some votes that are going to interrupt, but i do hope that we will have a chance to have further discussion about some of the things that i find really
timely for us right now. one that i want to bring up is the situation that we have with our legacy wells up in the national petroleum reserve. my statement has been that i think the d. is presiding -- the department is presiding over an environmental disaster within the national petroleum reserve and that this has to be addressed, it has to be remedied. we have more than a hundred wells that were drilled by the federal government, and then they walked away. they abandoned them. and these legacy wells, as they are refer today, are full of contaminants that pollute the environment. the federal government has all but abandoned the responsibility to clean up after itself. blm's budget has contained base funding of only about a million dollars for cleaning up these wells, and yet the last two sites cost $2 million each to remediate. if we keep up at this pace, it's
going to be more than 100 years to clean up the mess that the federal government participated in. and as i have told you, madam chair -- madam secretary, in person and recent hearings, it's categorically unacceptable. and so is the administration's proposal to use alaska's share of future npra revenues for remediation. i met with the mayor of the north slope borough, charlotte brower, as well as others several weeks back. i know that you had a chance as well. i have a copy of a letter from the mayor, from our commissioner of natural resources, from the president of asrc and the president of the community on the north slope that i would like to have included as part -- >> without objection, so ordered. >> thank you, mr. chairman. a related concern is the pattern of falling production on federal lands. it's true that our nation is in the midst of an historic oil and
gas boom, but it's also true that production on federal lands is in trouble. contrary to some of the statements, the rhetoric that we've heard, oil production from the federal estate actually fell 5% last year after falling by even more than that in 2011. natural gas production from the same federal areas, meanwhile, is in virtual freefall, down 8% last year and down 23% since 2009. fact of the matter is that america's energy boom is happening in spite of federal policies that stymy our production. we should be opening new lands to development, making sure that permits are approved on time and preventing regulation and litigation from locking down our lands. and if anyone's looking for a place to start, i'll invite you to look to alaska. i also want to very briefly mention before i conclude, mr. chairman, this sue and settle tactic that the department has engaged in to enforce the endangered species act. sue and settle, in my view, is
alarming, and with decisions now due on hundreds of species, the economic consequences could be considerable. madam secretary, i recognize that you have a unique background to sit before us as the secretary of the interior, background in the oil and gas industry, in the private sector, in the conservation community. i think this is all the right mix, and i welcome you in this position. you have promised to bring stakeholders together to help solve problems, to be that convener. we need that and, again, i welcome it. i'm hopeful that you will bring that fresh perspective to help us move through some of these longstanding stalemates. i look forward to working with you and thank you for being here this morning. >> madam secretary and colleagues, here's where i think we are with the votes at ten. if the secretary takes ten minutes or so, if she's comfortable with that, we could have each senator who's present here get five minutes' worth of questioning in before the vote.
it will be tight, but if colleagues find that's acceptable, let's give that a try. secretary jewell, welcome. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman and ranking member murkowski, other members of the committee. i appreciate you being here today and congratulations on grandparenthood, senator franken, that's pretty exciting. i'm looking forward to that day. no pressure on my kids though. [laughter] >> [inaudible] [laughter] >> i want to begin by echoing comments of chairman wyden on the colleague to my left, david hayes, has has been an enormousp to me and the american people through the department of interior. it is very helpful to me certainly today to have him beside me, but more importantly, he has been very generous with his wisdom and his experience. i'm going the miss him terribly, but i know he's only a phone call away, and i'll make sure i'll have a hotline to his office as he supports students
at stanford university. so we will miss him, but i'm very happy he's with me today. >> well said. >> i want to thank you for inviting me to appear before the committee. i have learned a lot in these seven and a half weeks op the job. i've been to many, many places around the country, many of your states, and so what i want to do is just organize my thoughts into a few broad categories. i want to start with energy on shore. onshore oil production on public lands is actually at its highest level in over a decade. the amount of producing acreage comets to increase, and i'm very -- continues to increase, and i'm very happy, ranking member murkowski, to provide you with statistics different from the comments you just referenced in terms of oil production. i have looked at the leasing reforms the blm has put in place, we've actually had the lowest number of protests on lease sales on blm land in ten years, so we're making progress there. and i know the team is working
hard on reducing the time for permitting and approval of new projects. we're still committed to getting that done. i also want to reference the hydraulic fracturing rule that we released just a short while ago with the 30-day comment period. lots of comments have been made on that, 77,000 of them since the first rule was put in place. we changed it significantly. one of the consistent things i've heard is a request for more time, and so i'm announcing right now that we're going to give an extra 60 days to that comment period on the hydraulic fracturing rule. so rather than expiring here in a week or two, it will have another 60 days on top of that, and i think that will give ample time for people to express their views on it, but we do need to get on with this regulation that's been over 30 years in place, and technology has moved forward. i also want to say that alaska, of course, is an important component of our nation's energy strategy. the plans that we have for the
national petroleum reserve alaska provide access to over 70% of the oil potential there. it also supports infrastructure needs but recognizes the importance of providing protection for vital subsistence habitat like the lake which certainly ranking member murkowski's very familiar with. on the offshore side, sorry senator landrieu just stepped out, i've been out on oil rigs and oil production platforms, visited a deepwater floating rig which had a major voifer in the gulf -- discovery in the gulf of mexico. it's a very substantial project and something that is growing in development. also went to a production platform from chevron and saw that, how the technology has evolved since i was in the industry and, frankly, how it has also stayed the same in many ways. in april we announced the proposed sales of lease sale 233 which will make available 21 million acres offshore texas
which will be the third sale in the current five-year program. we have also implemented key reforms that reduce the time for review of exploration and development plans for deepwater drilling in the gulf of mexico, and i will say there's actually now more floating deepwater rigs operating in the gulf than prior to the deepwater horizon spill. i think it's something close to a 25% increase over what was happening prior to that activity. our bureau of ocean energy management has begun a programmatic environmental impact statement to support assessment of resource potential off the mid and south atlantic, and that is continuing. on the renewable side, as chairman wyden mentioned, we have a critical role to play in renewable energy and particularly in fulfilling the president's goal of doubling electricity generation by 2020. on public lands. and as a overseer of those lands, i'm pleased to say that since 2009 we've authorized 42 renewable energy products on public lands. that has the potential to
produce electricity for more than 4.2 million homes. and on the offshore side, the bureau of ocean and energy management just issued a notice that we'll have our first-ever competitive lease sale off the coast of rhode island and massachusetts with another one to be held offshore virginia this year. that's about 2 78,000 acres and could produce electricity to power 1.9 million homes. now i want to shift gear toss federal lands and reference something chairman wyden mentioned which is the national park centennial. it's coming up in 2016. i hope that you will all join me in making sure that we take this milestone seriously and engage the american public more in the support of our national parks, but also broadly our public lands. besides being out in a number of national park sites, i have also joined with young people in several places, one a city park in portland, oregon, and another one in jamaica bay national
recreation area where we were working with shovels removing invasive species, in the case of new york city, shoveling sand that was delivered by hurricane sandy in areas where it wouldn't have been previously. most importantly, engaging young people in conservation and building a connection to those lands that will stay with them forever. this 21st century civilian service corps is listening and learning from the civilian conservation corps, but doing it in the form of public/private partnerships; again, referencing chairman wyden's comments. and that is a great lesson of how we connect people to public lands in a way that stays with them forever. and i hope that you'll join me in supporting more of those kinds of programs. as the chairman mentioned, we in our budget are looking for mandatory funding of the land water conservation fund over a two-year period. those funds have been used to support every single county across the united states. very, very important program that has made a big difference on a local level, but also a big
difference on a national level. so we hope you'll support us there. as the chairman mentioned, we're committed to insuring multiple uses on our public lands so they support the resources and the opportunities important to americans. the onc lands the chairman mentioned, we're very exit committed to supporting sustained yield with the blm and working closely with the folks from oregon and california on that. and one of the things that you're keenly aware of is our commitment to wildland fire fighting. 2013 season is, unfortunately, off to a hot start. you've seep fires in california -- seen fires in california, new mexico and arizona. this is early, it looks like it could be a severe fire season. our ability to fight those fires is certainly impacted by sequestration to some degree, particularly our ability to reduce hazardous fuels and to remediate after fires, but we're working in a way that is so cooperative across agencies to do the best job we can, and i've visited boise interagency fire
sent along with senator rich. we saw what's happening there. i think it's very encouraging the way people work together without regard to agency, but it's a big issue and something we'd appreciate your support and help in addressing over a longer-term basis. and be last i want to talk about water. water, as chairman wyden takes a drink, is critical to our lives, but it is under a lot of pressure from population growth and a changing climate. i want to give a particular nod to my colleague here, david hayes, also mike connor, and ann castle, assistant secretary for water and science. their doing a really great job of convening people together to address these really, really significant issues, providing leadership to communities as we address the competing demands for water, the need to increase water availability, restore water sheds and resolve conflicts that have been out there for a hong time. so through water conservation, water smart is the program that
we call the best drop of water that we don't need is the one we don't use, and we certainly played an important role in finding ways to stretch existing water supplies and highlight best practices that are out there that everyone can learn from. and to wrap up, i want to just say that sequestration continues to be an enormous frustration. as a business person, you would never run a business the way we are required to run government with sequestration. i know that budget times are tight. we're committed to being very thoughtful about the money we spend. but doing it across the board in programs that are important to all of you is not a sensible way to run our business. we've frozen hiring, we've done furloughs in some cases, we have had to cut across every line item, and some of those line items are very important to all of you. so i ask for your support in getting us past this sequestration period and on to a much more rational budget climate. and with that, i look forward to taking your questions and thank you very much. >> thank you, madam secretary. we're also going to call another
audible. we've had other senators come on in, and so i think we are going to have to come back for a few minutes after the vote. several colleagues have been very gracious, senator murkowski, senator franken about the possibility of keeping this going, and so my hope is we'll be able to get most of it done before the end of the vote at 10:15, and then we'll come back after that. just a quick question on the onc matter, secretary jewell, and this is really to confirm something. as you know, the oregon delegation feels so strongly about this. we've got 18 of these onc counties that are really hurting. we're pushing very hard to get the harvest up. we talked when you were in portland about you all, particularly the blm, giving us the technical support so we can get into these maps and find a way to address the kind of partition concept, have areas where you focus on the harvest, areas where we protect the treasures. could you just state publicly, in effect, what you said
privately, that you will be there to give us through the blm the technical support we need here over the next few weeks? >> turn this on. happy to work closely with you with the blm, and i know the checkerboard situation that is prevalent throughout the west is a challenge in terms of managing these resources, consolidating, doing it in a thoughtful, sustainable yield way, it's something we're committed to. so the blm people would be happy to work closely with you on that. >> very good. let me talk next about national park funding. and we've had several senators raise concerns about authorizing new national parks. given the scope of the backlog, this very significant lack bog. i'm one who say finish backlog. we've got colleagues here, democrats, republicans who want to designate new parks. i support that effort. i also share the view of colleagues who say we've got to come up with a fiscally responsible approach to deal with the backlog.
we've been talking to the director, john jarvis, about it. and my question is, i understand that you all are reviewing several funding recommendations that are in the national park conservation association report. the park concessioning theirs have -- concessionaries have offered ideas through the bipartisan policy center. can you tell us a little bit more about ways in which we could look to bring in the private sector, fiscally responsible approaches given the fact that we're going the try hard to build a bipartisan coalition so that we can have these new parks which you and i have talked about, they're good for our future, they're also good for the economy. but i think colleagues are making legitimate points about the backlog, and tell us what ideas you may be looking at from the park conservation association, the bipartisan policy center. >> thanks very much, mr. chairman. this is certainly something that i'm familiar with having served
on the second century commission of the national parks early with senator portman, although he left us to run for elect i have office -- elective office which we certainly appreciate as well. there's no question that we have a significant deferred maintenance backlog. it's estimated to be over $11 billion in our national parks, and that is really something that has been accumrating over many, many -- accumulating over many, many years of not treating our assets in public lands in the way we might do them in the private sector in terms of setting aside deappreciation. and that has more to do with appropriations and less to do with what the national park would like to do. they would like to maintain these facilities. but it is a challenge in budgetary times, and we need your help to put the federal government's part in the budget to supplement what we might do from the private sector. there are opportunities for private sector engagement. one of the things that the second century commission worked on was public/private
partnerships and recognizing that people love their national parks, and there is an opportunity to leverage that love of the parks to find ways to support and recognize private donations. but i think it's fair to say, and this came from the second century commission as well, that private philanthropy should be the margin of excellence for the parks, not the margin of survival. i think it's critically important that we step up as a federal government to support these assets that are so important. and there's hardly a senator that i visited with on either side of the aisle that didn't have some wish or desire to related to a national park in their district or certainly public lands in their district and sport for them. support for them. so we do need to work with you and with the appropriators on adequate funding to begin to address the maintenance backlog, but we are very willing -- and i know director jarvis is in particular -- in finding ways to support and enhance private sector engagement. and just a quick story. i went up to the washington monument with a private donor
who is splitting the cost of the renovations for that facility, david rubenstein. and i appreciate his support. he's setting a great example expecter private sector, and -- for the private sector. >> i'll give just one more question on the record. on the issue in oregon which is a classic type of challenge, commissioner connor testified a few weeks ago that the bureau of reclamation didn't anticipate any supply cutoff to on-project users. if you could just get back to me in writing with a we can confirmation of that -- with a quick confirmation of that, i have not heard anything to the contrary. my time is up. if you could just get back to me with a response reaffirming what commissioner connor said, that'd be -- >> sure. we're happy to do that. >> senator murkowski. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and, secretary, i'm going to defer my questions until my colleagues have had a chance to address theirs, because i'm going to be coming back after
the votes. but i did want to just put a statement on the record. you had noted in your opening statement that oil production from federal onshore lands is at its highest level in over a decade. you noted that perhaps our commentaries differed. i had said that oil protection from the federalist state actually fell 5% and the reference there. so i think it is important to just give some of the numbers here very briefly. because i think it can be confusing. federal onshore oil production was at 89.5 million barrels back in 2003. it's gone up to 108.7 million in 2012. so you do have a substantial increase there. but it's not the full picture, and that's my point. because on federal offshore production we've seen that fall from 532.7 million barrels in '03 to 430.6 million barrels in 2012. so what we've got is federal
onshore production, um, which rose by about 20 million barrels, but federal offshore production fell by 100 million barrels, more than five times the onshore increase. so i think it's important when we're talking about this we look at the full picture. so if your numbers are different than mine, i'd be happy to share with them. but with that, mr. chairman, i will defer to others so that they can get their questions in before the vote. >> very good. senator franken. >> yeah. can i ask did the bp, the moratorium after the bp oil spill, was that, is that really what has caused that dip? i mean, we had a huge thing happen, and there was a moratorium after that. is it okay if i ask that of mr. hayes? >> sure. >> mr. hayes? >> yes, senator. it is true that oil production in the gulf did decline because of the safety issues that arose
and the need to upgrade our safety standards. the good news is that there's -- eia recently reported a very strong upward trend now in the gulf. the secretary mentioned a major discovery. there have been ten major new discoveries. there are now more than 50 rigs drilling in the offshore. the lease sales are very strong that we're having, that we've had in the central gulf and the western gulf. so we expect to be back to where we were and further. but there certainly was a time that we did a pause and increased the safety standard and changed the way we did business, and that did affect, we believe temporarily, production of the offshore. >> yeah, i'm sorry. i just wanted to clarify that, and shame it might come out of my time to put pressure on the secretary's children for grandchildren. [laughter] i regret that, but i'm going to be chairing later, and we can
find out the whole story there. secretary jewell, i want to very briefly talk about an issue that is really important in northern minnesota. there are 93,000 acres of school trust lands that belong to the state that are trapped in the boundary water canoe wilderness area which means that they can't contribute to the economic development of the sports schools in minnesota. the forest service is working with the state to both purchase land from the state and to exchange the rest of the lands with minnesota. the superior national forest has submitted to the administration a preproposal for the purchase piece, and i want to urge you to give every consideration to this application, this important issue to minnesotans and to our schools. ..
it's critical obviously to our economy and to our well being. we need water for farming, for healthy ecosystems, and we needed for energy production. the drought that devastated so much of the country last year drove home just how important water is. to make ourselves resilient to drought we need to monitor our groundwater resources. we need to know if the rates at which our aqua first recharge are sustainable, given how much water is being taken out.
your department is issuing a lot of oil and gas permits in drought prone areas. these activities require huge amounts of water. for instance, a single hydraulic fracturing will use between one and 10 million gallons of water. we've even heard about competition now between farmers and oil and drilling. so, can you just give me your take on, walk through how you consider water issues when issuing permits for energy development on public lands, the largest wholesale supplier in the nation is the department of interior. you have to be leader in sustainable management. can you give me, just walk through these considerations. >> i'll do it at high level and i'll ask my colleague to weigh
in with a little more detail. first on hydraulic fracturing, one of the things that we are encouraging is the reuse of hydraulic fracturing fluids so it can be reused. another thing that's happening within the industry is using produced water which is salt water from lower depths for hydraulic fracturing as opposed to water, groundwater that may be competing with other resources and those activities are being encouraged. the water jug is controlled by states, and so as energy companies purchase one of their purchasing it from us or asking us for it. it's coming from state and local resources. so i think that the role that we can play it is encouraging reuse and monitoring appropriate use so there is in competition for the. it's certainly very expensive for the energy companies to buy water for these purposes as well. david, i want to turn to you to
get perhaps a little more detail specific to this topic. >> just very quickly, senator, obviously the water usage is a big issue for us. the presidents budget drew on the requirement that congress layout force in two in 2007 for water census. we are sending, we're asking for about 15 million for inner-city geological survey to help provide the data for that. in terms of permitting what the secretary said his are important. typically, the states have primacy with regard to the water use. the proposed fracking rule that is now for further comment suggests that we require a tracking of that water, because when it comes up it can become if it's not handled properly it can cause damage to, for example, the public land. but we look forward to refer the dialogue. >> let's do this. we're going to senator franken come with a good portion of the back afterwards.
>> madam secretary, you brought a sequestration. i just want to ask about this revenue owed to states under the mineral leasing act. in march the department of interior notified states that it would withhold over $109 million of revenue during the remainder of fiscal year 2013. this is before you confirmed. this is before you were sworn into office. at the time the department said its decision was in accordance with the budget control act of 2011. that's a question. three weeks ago a bipartisan group, 10 senators, five members of this committee, senator heinrich was one, send a mark yudof, senator hoeven, senator lee and i sent you a letter along with, sent a letter to omb. but in that letter we asked omb to confirm that your department was returned mental revenue withheld in fiscal year 2013 to the states and do that next year, fiscal your 14. we explained that a provision within the federal budget law
required the department to return without mineral revenue the states for sequestration took place back in the mid 1980s. the same provision of the law applies today to this request which took effect this year. you have a copy of letter to omb. and you can from the department will return mineral revenue withheld in fiscal year 2013 to the tune of $109 million to 35 states to which it is owed? >> senator, thanks for the question. your letter understand the importance of mineral revenues to the states. we are doing our best to comply with a balanced budget and emergency deficit control act, otherwise known as the sequester, and our understanding is that we were required to withhold payments. it is designed to be inflexible, damaging and indiscriminate. it is and this is an example of that. so i will be fulfilling my obligation under the law. whether that requires a repayment to the states or not
is something that certainly omb is the right place to assess it, and if we're asked to do that we will absolutely will do that. we appreciate importance of the states but we're doing our best to comply with the law as it is written. >> i'd like to ask about blm regarding fracking. commentary in the '60s. oil and gas producers will be able to obtain a variance from blm, rules in states which have their own hydraulic fracturing rules which will exceed bml's -- blm's rules. with the olympus is also blm may resent is a variance or modify the condition of approval at any time. so this is hardly the certainty that you acknowledged during her confirmation process. is so important for the private sector. you said they need certainty. it's unclear to me why blm is adding federal regulations on top of state regulations. wyoming adopted hydraulic fracturing regulation about
three years ago. nearly all states have meaningful oil and gas production have adopted or in the process of adopting their own hydraulic fracturing rules. many states such as women already apply the rules to federal lands within their borders. so industries that blm's rules is a solution is to be looking for a problem. the belief states which are currently regulating hydraulic fracturing are doing a sufficient job and if so, which states do you have in mind? >> senator, i want to say that it's highly variable between states. the state of wyoming is sophisticated in its oversight of hydraulic fracturing. we applaud that. we understand the resources within the state, and i think it's a good example of a state investing an effective job. our role is to provide minimum acceptable standards on public lands. that is our over some half of the american people and that's what we're doing. the reason for the comment period, 30 days initially and that extension of 60 days, is to
provide an opportunity for people to comment on those rules to determine if it's problematic for them. we will be listening to this comment and reacting -- >> the variance process leads to inserting. it doesn't get the kind of certainty you talked about in your confirmation so i appreciate that. final question about leadership of bureau of land management. bob abbey the director returned. president obama has yet to nominate a successor. as the president considered a replacement is critical that you look to qualifications outlined in federal law. the federal land policy and management act states the bureau, the director of the bureau shall have broad background in substantial experience in public lands and natural resources management. bob abbey had over 30 years of expense working for land management agencies prior to his nomination as blm director. his predecessor, jim caso, also over 30 years experience in land and natural resource management prior to his nomination. do you believe the blm
directorship a broad background in substantial experience in land and natural resource management as the law -- as the law calls for? >> i'm going to do my best job to find someone who's highly qualified for the position, that has requisite experience. i need to take into account the talent that exists throughout the blm and the ability of an individual to lead the organization, leveraging the talent that is a. that's what we do in private industry, take all these things and to get and certainly committed to doing that here as well. >> thank you, madam secretary. thank you, mr. chairman. senator heinrich will be next. just because i think colleagues are trying to figure their schedule, what we will do is we'll get as many colleagues in, central address, so she'll be next before 10:15. but when the votes start at 10:15 we will break, it is that those votes being done at 11:00. senator franken, we will come back and senator murkowski.
we will just keep going and senator landrieu will be next, and after senator landrieu will be senator risch. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman to i apologize. i had to step up for another meeting. oken, secretary jewell, and thank you so much for taking one of their first trips down to the gulf coast to understand your off the coast of louisiana at one of our offshore oil and gas rigs. we really appreciate you reconnecting with that important industry and resource for our nation, based on your experience come in your, earlier in your career. i wanted to bring it to issues and have questions just on two issues. first is the request in the budget for the land and water conservation fund. there are many of us that are very interested in funding the land and water conservation fund were many reasons. there's a federal site that helps our parks in our land acquisition. there's a stateside that helps are staged to really leverage those conservation dollars to
expand recreational opportunities and save special places. i don't think there's really a member on this committee that doesn't want to do that, within reason, recognizing the western states think they have too many, too much land already purchased by the federal government. and i acknowledge their concern. however, my concern is that in this budget we are using revenues generated off the coast of louisiana and texas, when louisiana and texas and alabama and mississippi and florida our coastal areas have so much in need. the money that we are generating it seems like to me, which is pretty significant, i'm going to put up a chart in a minute, is basically being used to fund the land and water conservation fund all the money goes elsewhere in the country. we are saving the redwoods, you know, in the northeast, in california, and the sequoias but we're not saving the marsh where
the revenues are coming from. do you have a comment about that? what are your general feelings? and i say coming from louisiana, i me, our state is deserving platform for the production. without the south will louisiana, texas, there would be no way for the federal government to access resources that are clearly ours. but without our states that could be no access to the offshore. >> thank you for the question, and as i mentioned in my opening comments i support full funding of the land and water conservation fund which is not been the case for more than one year, in almost 50 year history. i appreciate the revenue generated to the martial oil and gas production because i went to the gulf coast i saw firsthand the positive impact it has on the residence of louisiana through the jobs that is greedy, including visiting our offices there which has over 500 people
in the offices their -- >> listen, we appreciate the job, that 500 jobs and the jobs that are created along the coast do not compensate for the loss of revenue. this is 6 billion in 2006. it's projected to be 11 billion annually coming off the coast of louisiana and texas. and yet we are struggling here for years trying to get a fair share of that money just to be kept at home along the coast that is producing these revenues. now meanwhile, if you put it the other chart, the inland states can which i do not, yeah, i'm a little jealous actually of what the deal that they were able to get because wyoming and new mexico, senator, your state as you know, keep 50% of their revenues. the western states have a deal with the federal government. all the money that they generate
on federal lands they keep 50%. so over the course of time a western states have kept $61 billion, the western states, to spend on anything they want. not even on conservation. they can spend it on schools, hospitals, roads. they don't even have to spend on the economy. meanwhile, the gulf coast states get nothing, did nothing. we generate more money than they do, and in our case, we are even willing, at least for the state of louisiana, we are willing to dedicate all of that money to coastal restoration. so i just can't impress upon the both of you how critical this is. and i want to thank the chairman and the ranking member for their support of this general concept. now, how we work out the details i don't know, but again i want to say to the western states, i just want the same deal you all have.
and i'm even willing to take a little bit less. i'm willing to be more flexible. the people i represent are truly desperate. this is the largest land lost in the continent of north america, and the whole content the largest land lost. alaska series erosion issues. but i don't think you are as serious as louisiana's. this is a river that supports the whole nation. this river is not a string or a little paddle place where you just paddle around and have an enjoyable time. we are putting the largest tankers and commerce down this river. so i'm not going to stop on this. and i just want to tell you that, or share with you, that i'm going to be watching this budget very carefully. the second question i have a will not ask. my time is over but i will submit is on the permitting process. we cannot produce any of these revenues, not in the western states, not off of our shores without streamlined efficient
best practices permitting. and i'm still, despite the good work that you are doing, hearing complaints from the industry that they've got to get some green lights to do. they can do it. they can do it safely. they need permits. thank you very much. >> senator risch. >> thank you for visiting for interagency fire center in boise. i think you'd agree with me after you and i toured the facility that the agency is prepared, ready and willing and able to take down the 2013 fire season, well-equipped, even better trained. at the end of the day of course it will depend upon the fuel loads and mother nature and the number of fires that they have to deal with. but we appreciate your input and we certainly appreciate your appearing here. they have already been tested last friday. they had a fire, a small one, but nonetheless a fire, less than five miles from the facility. they will be at it this summer. you and i've had a number of
conversations about crops. you're probably tired about hearing about it but i just want to get a response from you, now that you've been on the job for a while and been able to review this. you and i talked about the letter that first of all the comments and the suggestions of secretary salazar made regarding how we should rehabilitate the population of the sage grouse. and particularly his letter of december 18, 2012 which outlined the department of you how that should be done. and then the question for the record and interest were attached. and all of it is in sync with my view of a collaborative method and a state driven method to address this issue. and i think in sync with what your view is about the collaborative system. after you've been on the job now for the period of time you've had, he having more thoughts on this? are you still in agreement that
this is the best way to pursue how we do what all of us want to do, and that is preserve, protect and rehabilitate the greater sage grouse? are we still on, still -- >> i believe we are. i've seen great collaboration from states, private land owners, the bureau of land management, indian tribes, all in working together to see how can we preserve and protect this important habitat. challenging issue with wild land fire as you know, but these are things that we want to work on together and it is great examples out there for us to learn from and we certainly are going, some very committed from an ongoing collaborative effort as you described. >> i appreciate that. we know that in past years all of this has been driven top down from the federal government. i think we've learned that this new approach of doing it from the state up seems to work a lot
better at actually gets results. so i'm delighted to hear that you remain committed to the. thank you very much. thank you, mr. chairman. >> i thank my colleagues. this is where we are. senator portman can't come back. and high enriched is being very gracious. he will chair at 11 and cinda mccaskey will be here. senator portman, we can get you in before the break. >> thank you very much mr. toomey. i always thought he was a particularly thoughtful guy, and it's been proven. is also my minty. we say we have a relationship year. i think it's the reason is going to do. is looking for something. [laughter] thank you. quickly on hydraulic fracturing, i know you -- think you protest but on that. it's a big deal because as you about 90% of the wells are on public lands.
ohio franklin have a lot of public lands. however, we do a lot of fracking and we've been doing it for about 50 years and we have some good regulations we think they're some of the best in the country. with no document cases of any groundwater contamination. we are proud of that. so i would just raise the point that on average it takes 307 days to get permits on federal lands. and this is one reason i've been working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle on permitting reform. we are now 17th in the world based on the imf the metrics for the ease of doing business with regard to building something. it affects everybody, developers are seeking approval for major capital projects whether it's on the gas or whether it's a wind or solar, are facing the same thing. on federal lands, going through multiple separate agencies and the threat of litigation can go as long as six years, even
though, so it's uncertainty. i think is leading to a a lot of investors being hesitant to make these kinds of commitments to capital investment. so i would hope that as you look at visual look at what states are doing, and specific our state of ohio. we do have a good record. and second that you help us with his probing bill. this is not something with introduced yet. we're still looking for input and ideas but want to make sure that we have it, have the input from the department and that it's a bipartisan effort going forward. second, want as your comment on that, as a short period of time that if you have any comments, that's why i raced to a quick issues. this bill can we talk about this during your confirmation process that passed the house last you with a vote of 386-26. it would take this prayer that
fdr said on the day of the invasion, and as you today is the 69th anniversary of d-day. we are interested in moving it forward in the senate as well. laster senator lieberman and i were able to make some progress but not get it through the process. we would love your help on that. the park service has worked with us to ensure the bill is subject to the dandridge's entry due process, and begin your support on that would be terrific. i thought i had to raise that. it's as wonderful for. finally, our national parks, your comments i think were correct, that we need to do better on the public-private partnership fund. i'm interested in your specific example of washington monument. this $11 billion backlog, and the deferred maintenance backlog, the valley national park for memorial day, the top
10 park in the country. i'm told best attendance. they've got some serious concerns on this very issue. so my question to you is, in the process of the centennial coming up, you all have a plan to try to encourage more public-private partnership? we started this initiative that you know a lot about. and the notion was centennial challenge, challenge the private sector to match dollar for dollar. do you have a centennial plan that you'll put together? we haven't seen one yet, and we are as you know trying to encourage the. mark udall and i sent a letter around the colleagues. you may have seen. so anything you could tell us about what you were doing on the permitting come in gaza world war ii prayer, any thoughts on the public-private partnerships as the come up to centennial we would appreciate it. >> i'll try to do this quickly.
first on the centennial. there's a lot of work going on with national park foundation, and with the national park service, and very -- various advisory boards to look at what we can do to facilitate public private partnership that it will be a very important part of that. but also raises ability among the amount of people. people love their parks but we want to give them an easy opportunity to support the parks, so that is coming and sure that the legislation involved i will make sure that you are well aware of that but at this point we are working within the park service and the external friends and so on to facilitate that. on permitting side, there's been a lot of work that has been done by the blm to streamline the permitting process. we've also done offshore. there's lessons offshore we think we can bring onto. there's need for automation. we've also found unfortunately with sequestration across the board, the office is the most active still have to scale back
their operations. tthe getting past that would be very, very helpful. so there is a lot of work going on. in the 2014 budget there is a request for see generated to support the activity so it doesn't become just struggle a line item in the budget that can be cut. it's a debate on the demand which will depend on the ares that we are, with him is going on but it doesn't, formation still go across state lines but that's how we are required to fund these agencies so we need -- will need your help on some of those things were streamline. on the world war ii prayer but we appreciate importance of sacrifices made in world too. happy to continue to work with you on that bill. >> we will stand in recess until 11:00, or until the series of votes have concluded. and i will be back. thank you.
>> [inaudible conversations] >> secretary jewell and secretary hayes, thanks for your patience. we're going to get started here. i'm going to go ahead and ask a question that i help offer earlier, and then we've got a couple of other senators who have been very patient as well and we will get to them as quickly as we can. secretary jewell, you mentioned interagency cooperation around her firefighting effort. that is very timely for me right now. that coordination is especially important when it comes to post-fire rehabilitation and flood prevention. in the committees that oftentimes downstream from the department of interior, land, as those downstream for forest
service one. on any additional authorities that you need to ensure seamless and coordinate response between the interior agencies like blm, bia, fish and wildlife service, park service, and for forest service to make sure that we are meeting these challenges as, and as coordinated as seamlessly as possible? >> senator, thanks for bringing up the important issues of wild land fires. i would say that on the coronation front we are very well coordinated. and when i went to the interagency fire center a with a with secretary vilsack, and all the various entities of the federal government as well as the state governments and local governments are well coordinated. i would say that you raise an issue of round posts by remediation, and making sure we prepare land for fires in advance whether that is
prescribed burns or hazard fuel or other means. a living squeezer and budgetary standpoint and that is the biggest challenge i would say that we face. when we gather wild land fire, for example, on rangeland, the ability to go back after that and we plant native shrubs, sage and so one is really, really important if we don't do that you end up with cheatgrass and other non-native species that are much more prone to fire and actually -- we've not had sufficient money to be able to do that work and that's very important. not to mention our tribal lands where you rent it's important source of jobs for tribes as well. i would appreciate support in making sure that the emergency part of firefighting desegregated so that we can year in year out do the right job in terms of management lance wild land fire. >> i appreciate that. we recently had a hearing earlier this week with the
forest service about this issue, and we've had real challenges in terms of some of the downstream impacts on tribes and other communities in new mexico after the big fires of last year and the year before. so it's something i'm more than happy to work with you on. senator franken brought something up, which i hadn't thought of today bitching but i think there's a little attention. he talked about the issue of land consolidation and state land within federal lands. not knowing the specifics of the situation in northern minnesota, i can say that that is an enormous issue that is not perceived as a lot of attention, that is ubiquitous across much of the west, whether you're in new mexico or utah or nevada. you have the situations where you have state lands checkerboard through federal land. and it makes a very large research efficiency issue, and some of the tools that we
typically use to consolidate and to land swaps and other things are limited in that case, particularly the land and water conservation fund's which we can't use to purchase state land. i've proposed re- authorizing, which was used for about 10 years and actually resulted in higher disposal rates at the olympic also was something we could use to resolve these sorts of complex and then focus those resources back on high-value land. but i would be curious if you have any sort of concerted effort, and i would encourage you to give this issue it's due while you're the secretary. because i think it's something that has festered for a long time and that leads to a lot of unnecessary management and resource conflicts to join states and the federal government. >> i very much appreciate your
support of reauthorizing so i think that's a useful tool that is worked in the past and will be helpful to in the future. so thank you for your support there. we are in full agreement. i would say that we've done more on a case-by-case basis as land swaps have made sense and certainly some are pending that i'm aware of. there's also some lands that are federal may not serve the federal government as well. they might serve the state, so we are very open to that and i think have the procedures in place to be able to deal with those things but i don't a quick look at nasa should only land scape level, but we do and concept fully. >> i know it can be challenging and oftentimes there's transparency issues but i would urge you to take a look at that when it's done well, it can definitely serve the public. it's just the two of us. >> all right.
>> i'm looking around on my list. >> thank you. i appreciated, mr. chairman. madam secretary, let me start with some questions that i alluded to in my opening, and this is as it relates to the legacy wells. i think that you feel my frustration and my concern but as i mentioned in our conversations earlier, if the federal government was a private operator and had abandoned these wells as the federal government has, the state would have an opportunity to levies and finds on that private operator and our estimates are that would be about $41 billion in fines. and so i've just been so concerned about what i believe to be a double standard here because i think we do have an expectation. if you're going to be exploring
and producing in an arctic environment, there is an absolutely, to be responsible, to be cautious, to really be careful. and so it just hurts to see what we have left. and so now we get to the part where okay, it happened, let's figure out how we're going to clean it up. and i thought that we had, that we had agreed that look, we've got to be a better path forward rather than telling the states you figure it out. and so when we met before the interior last month, i thought we had a pretty good discussion on how we might work together to find a path forward that didn't require the states to pay for the federal wells remediation efforts. and since that time i've had constituents come back to me who have had meetings, not only with
you but those in your department, and they have effectively told me that they believe that the department, and that you, actually support and agree with the proposal that was put out again before you took the position as secretary. and those decisions that were made before you came, you're now kind of stuff to do with them. but i guess the question that i would have of you this morning, and i have submitted a letter from mayor brouwer for the record that outlines their concerns about that, is, is it your opinion that the state of alaska should be held financially responsible for the federal government's responsibility to remediate these wells? >> senator, i completely agree
that the legacy wells are a problem that we need to solve. they were drilled by the usgs and the navy years ago to assess the potential of the national petroleum reserve in alaska. one of the reasons with a sense of the resource potential there and, of course, modern techniques have been used as well. they do need to be cleaned up. i'm pleased that blm has done an assessment and a shared with us tonight priority list of where they would go first so that we do with the worst defenders first. do need money to be able to do that, and you know, i would like to think that as the resource was assessed in part through the use of these wells that the revenue from the resource, state and federal, be used to help in the cleanup. i think that it is a revenue generator puts oil in the pipeline, but we need to work on figuring out how to pay for it because right now there isn't sufficient money. >> i would agree that we have a very difficult budget limitations. we all know that but i have a very difficult time suggesting
that those revenues that would go to the state that in turn go to the residents of the north slope, and again i would refer you to the mayor's letter and the commission's letter, as some of you think it is right to take those revenues that would go to those residents for novi that they have gained from the exploration of these wells some 30, 40 years ago. all that's left is an eyesore and the level of contamination. i want to work with you on a path, but if the path is going to mean that monies that would be going to the state of alaska and the residence of the north slope are going to be choked back, that's not appropriate. so i'm hoping to hear you say
that you willing to work with us to find a better path forward spent i'm absolutely willing to work with you and find the money that we need to remediate the legacy wells, and certainly committed to doing that. and increased suggestions you have on how we can fund that, we would be all fears. >> well, let's work on this. we do need to be creative, but being created does not mean that we assess the state for the cost of the cleanup that the federal government is responsible for. the of the area that i wanted to visit with you on, and this is again a little bit of a rub to alaska, as you know we became a state some 50 odd years ago. our lands have not been yet fully and finally conveyed under the terms of the native claims settlement act lands that are
owed to our native people have not yet been finally conveyed. we're working on that. we've had some good discussions about some ways, and thinking clearly, can we use a different methodology to do the surveys, how we reduce our costs to still accomplish that same goal. and i think the best is a good step for us but again, in the proposal that we have before us, this budget, effectively alaska, those revenues that a countersuit we're saying, okay, we will take from you in order to complete the conveyances, pay for those conveyances. i cannot understand why any state should ever be expected to effectively pay the federal government to perform that federal obligation of conveying
the land that have been approved by congress and clearly passed the administration. and yet somehow or another it seems that the interior department is suggesting that alaska needs to share in this financial burden. so you need to know that, again, i've been pushing on this issue since i came to the senate. we advanced legislation that put in place an expedited process, and we're still nine years later, we still have not yet fully and finally finished these conveyances. so we need to make better progress on that. we've got more in the budget this year, that's helpful, but again we are still looking at decades and decades before these conveyances are complete. so i'd like to hear your proposal and how we might move
forward with that. but again, if the expectation, the state is going to have to pay for the conveyances, or the costs that are associated with the conveyances, it's just not going to work. >> i'm not aware of anything that suggested the state pay for the cost of the conveyances so i appreciate an opportunity to work with you and but understand that. >> what they're suggesting is that a share of the mineral payments that alaska would receive would be utilized to help cover the costs for the conveyances. >> okay, i'll look into that. on the survey them so, the blm is committed to expedite process we can move forward. we agree we want to convey these lines but i really appreciate your willingness to do an expedited process and use mapping techniques. the way the legislation is put, a state ever to mouth. you know how impassable and senseless that is alaska.
we will be working with blm to get it forward. i hadn't heard of the issues about the state and come and we'll look into that further. >> i appreciate you looking into. the other thing i learned in my most recent meeting was that, in fact, there will be no surveys that will be conducted in alaska this year. he pointed the finger to the budget, but if there's no surveys going on at all, how are we ever going to get this done? so if you look into that as well i would appreciate it. thank you, mr. chairman. i've got over my time. i've got another question but i will defer to my colleague. >> thank you, senator murkowski. senator scott. >> thank you very much. secretary jewell, thank you for appearing to force today and taking time to answer a couple of question. i know your new on the job. congratulations on your confirmation but as it relates to the environmental impact study in the atlantic, we running about a year late.
do you have, been able to discover why we're running about a year late? >> senator, this is for the geological survey activity? i know it's in process and that doing to programmatic the eis right now in order to move forward on that. deputy secretary, you know about delays? are we on schedule as forging a? >> senator, we've been pushing forward on this actually. i recall a year ago we accelerate the schedule. my sense of it is that we are moving forward in a deliberate pace. we are very, very interested in getting this done. and so we are certainly not dragging our feet. we're telling our folks would want this environmental analysis done. >> do you believe you been of folks working on this project as we speak now? >> yes. we're getting it, again with the
time of the question is a challenge but we are very committed to funding the effort and bringing it to completion. >> the one thing, this started before this question so we are about a year late. so one of the question i would have for you is, do you have any expectation on what you believe will be a part of the completed eis? do you have any idea on what the report will show? any indications at all at this point? >> i have no personal knowledge of any special items there. my understanding is that it's a very vigorous analysis that will be put forward. they are our consultations with the other affected agencies, including no one in particular. those are proceeding along. so we are helpful -- as you know, environmental impact statement is a major deal, particularly for such a large area, as the mid and south
atlantic, but nothing on the horizon as far as we are aware in terms of issues that would be out of the ordinary in terms of eis. >> certainly you have expressed moving forward, collect more data so that we'll be in a better position realizing some the date is about 30 years old. so for us it's an important part of the equation to get the rabbit and the opportunities in our atlantic ocs. we think about the companies that go out and perhaps discover the resources, after discovering the resources the question is will we have the opportunity to then gain, get those resources? my question is if you look at that companies necessity on return of investment in what you think the prospects are of our ability to move forward and provide the companies within necessary opportunity to recoup
some of their investment? >> as someone who spent the early immigrant in the oil and gas industry i appreciate not only the importance of resource development but also that timeframe that it takes. these are massive investments when you talk about exploring and developing new areas. so i think this is the first step towards the geological and geophysical analysis, will take time for industries to analyze that data and to decide where their priorities are and where they want to be. and certainly we will be there in terms of lease sales to open the land as appropriate. not in the five year plan, but it came out in 2012-17, but the data would be accessible once we do the announce. and so companies can plan for the. having been recently out in the gulf of mexico, these are long-term operations. they require infrastructure developing and planning. and in my early career i did
some of that development and planning, and so i think when 2017 rolls around in that five year plan is regenerated, that would be opportunity for people to actually do the exploration activity. >> on any other obstacles or impediment to moving forward in your perspective that you would like to discuss because i think the programmatic eis we're doing will be important and identified is the obstacles exist but there's nothing i'm aware of at this point in time. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> is that it's a? >> yes, thank you. >> we will do another quick round for those folks who stuck around. senator murkowski, why don't you go first and then i will wrap up with a couple of questions? >> just a couple here to follow. this follows on senator landrieu his comments about revenue sharing, something that she and i have worked on for a period of time your we're hopeful that we'll have an opportunity to have that bill presented here before the committee so that our
colleagues can take a look at it in your confirmation hearing you indicated that you would be willing to work with us on the concept. so the question is whether not you had a chance to look at our legislation. if you think it is an approach that you might be able to support and work with us on? >> senator, i haven't looked at any specific legislation. i know that it's a tricky issue in terms of federal revenues going here, and then, you know, what do you use to support the federal government. these are assets on the outer continental shelf that our federal assets. i'm happy to look into the bill come a language i haven't seen specifically. >> when we're talking about thinking outside the box and how we're going to deal with some of the issues, that are at play, i know that the chairman has mentioned that when you talk about revenue sharing, it needs to be broader than we've envision in the past and it might be able to assist us with
some of the issues that we face. for instance, on land with our growth funding. so i would amend that to you for your review. we have had a whole series of hearings, and move some public land bills through the committee already. i'd like to think that we can move them through the floor and see passage on them. but one of the issues that comes up continually as we do with parks and parked issues is a fact we have a $13 billion park maintenance backlog. and a lot of the conversation around this is, should we really be adding more to the parks when you can't afford to maintain what we already have the and so it was noted by yourself and by others that we've got the parks centennial coming upon us and just the year after next. it seems to me that this can be a great time to really kind of
reevaluate how we establish, how we maintain our parks as we move into this second century. and we also how we build support for our parks within our local communities, and effectively nationwide come and whether it's giving support through private dollars, whether it's just getting the local people engaged and having ownership in their parks. i think that that's going to be important for us. so it's very generically asking if you will work with chairman wyden, work with myself and other members of the committee to review the options and really how we define the path forward for the parks as we advance into the second century of our national parks. >> thank you, senator. there's no question that this historic opportunity, the centennial, that will fall on this congress and this administration is
extraordinarily important to see. i'm very happy to work with you and senator biden on whatever we can do to address the maintenance backlog on our national parks and look more broadly at just the challenges we have and i'll also say that sometimes you've got a willing buyer and a willing seller and the federal government on private lands doesn't have should increase the cost i don't want to stop doing, thinking about landscape level issues and what we need to do because of the maintenance backlog, we want to knock it down but i think i'm learning about the complexity of land management and landscape level conservation and understanding. so would really love to work with you and chairman wyden and others on this committee for a more permanent solution. solution. >> good. another thing that we discussed a lot is duplication of efforts within government agencies, the redundancy that is inherited.
and inventory of programs last week, and hundred heading for bureau of land management there's a program called wildlife issues. another one called threatened and endangered but if you look further down you see that bureau of reclamation also is a program called fish and wildlife management and development. they've got another fish and wildlife management and development. i say all this is just that it looks, just from the casual observation from you've got about 24 different programs within fish and wildlife and then within the other department. i'm not suggesting you're that all of these 20 programs in the three bureaus are duplicative, but it does kind of begs the question as to whether not they are and what kind of review is underway, and just from the department perspective, because you got your folks working internally -- looking internally to make sure we are smart and how we are advancing his
programs and paying for these programs. >> if i could take just a minute to respond. these are budget category titles, but i've observed as i've gone core door by quarter and sat down with a lot of people, leveraging, the our scientific resources that are available in the usgs and the fish and wildlife service that are working to support those wildlife or fish needs that are in the national park service's other the olympic i'm looking for opportunities to streamline where we can. i don't see a lot of overlapping efforts. we have sort of land manager on the ground that's trying to do the work with the scientists, but maybe at the usgs there's ways that data knits together but i appreciate the sentiment that we need to be making sure we're not overlapping. and i'm certainly committed to doing that. >> knowing that you're all looking at that is important. then one final question. fish and wildlife came out with
their draft conservation planning or eis. it did not include a development of alternative for him and gas. i've been told the service's rationale for this was that development required an act of congress. but the draft plan also included some alternatives for additional wilderness and wild and scenic river which also require an act of congress. it seems a bit inconsistent there. so the question to you is whether or not the conservation plan will include an oil and gas development alternative, and if not, why would you -- by the extent i will give a high level and china and ask my colleague to add more color. the president has made it clear that it is not part of his agenda to see on gas exploration
and the wildlife. i supported it further details on this, david is very immersed in issues around the arctic and it's been really committed to the issues they. so, david, would you mind? >> senator, i believe that the fish and wildlife service was consistent in not including the alternatives that would require congressional action. >> but you would agree when have an alternative that allows for additional wilderness or, that that also requires an act of congress speak was yes, absolutely, but, in fact, all it does is, there is no actuation of any wilderness designation by an agency. there can only be a recommendation. and then as the secretary said, and, of course, the law is very
clear on the oil and gas i about needing congressional issues, decision before going forward. let me just, if i can, senator, mention, thank you for your arctic leadership. and it just wanted to state publicly that the white house came out, as you know, with a new national strategy for the arctic and promised to have some outreach sessions in this month, in alaska, as a follow-up. and we are going to go forward with a listening session in alaska at the end of next week and we'll have leadership across the government in those sessions and are taking very seriously the issues that you take so seriously. and thank you for your leadership in the arctic generally. >> well, i appreciate what you have done with the help on the arctic issues, your leadership,
and advancing these reports was very important to you will be missed and i said that i'm not afraid to say publicly. i think you've been a big help to us, and i appreciate that. let me just conclude then. do you know, david, when the final plan might be released? do you have any timeframe on that. we do not have a timeframe on that, senator. >> and end the income you mentioned the listening sessions up north, and i was pleased to see that the we'll be moving forward, trying to get things been down so we can make sure that the appropriate folks are in place. i was a little trouble this morning, that there's an article in one of our online newspapers, and the headline is are the into departments class the listening sessions just hot air? it takes a punch at me but it takes a punch at you.
not you personally. me personally. but i do hope that they are not hot air. i do hope that there's real substance that we, we as alaskans are not only engaged, that i will reach out to my colleagues from all states, and new mexicans need to be reminded that we are, it's our nation but it's not just alaska as a state. we are an arctic nation. hopefully these listening sessions will allow us to push that reality out to the people. so i look forward to working with folks at interior on that. and that, i thank you for your indulgence, mr. chairman. >> thank you. senator lee, why don't you go next and then i will wrap things up? >> thank you, mr. chairman. i also thank our witnesses for joining us. madam secretary, as you've undoubtedly heard from someone y western colleagues on this committee, the potential listing of the greater sage grouse on
the endangered species would have some far ranging impacts on the people of utah and on the residents of several of our neighboring states. as you know the state of utah proposed a management plan that would protect more than 90% of the utah's greater sage grouse well significant limiting the adverse economic impact that these efforts would have. so we see it as a real win-win potentially, should it be approved. during the confirmation process, you expressed quite repeatedly that cooperation and coordination with states and with all the stakeholders involved would be the hallmark of your tenure at into. the city utah and 3 million residents count on your commitment to give series consideration to a proving our state management plan for the greater sage grouse? cannot count on your commitment to work with the state of utah and with other western states on
>> it's circumstances described as settle case resolutions. settlement of these cases resulted in nearly a hundred new federal rules, many major rules, meaning rules that carry annual aggregate compliance impact of a hundred dollars or more. some of the cases involve epa settlements under the clean air and water act. more than a few of them fell under the jurisdiction of your department highlighted by key fish and wildlife services under the endangered species act. the process i'm describing allows agencies to avoid, in some circumstances, the normal protections that are built into the rule making process including first review by the office of management and budget, but also including not
insignificantly the public, the review process by the public, the opportunity the public has to review the proposed rule making. the secretary of the department of interior begins, do you think the practice of settlement agreements and furthers policy goals is consistent with your commitment to how you want to run your department including the commitment to transparency? >> [inaudible] senator, as a business person, you want to avoid lawsuits at all costs. i've been struck with the amount of lawsuits filed, and we're trying to uphold the laws, people differ with that, and they sue. as a business person, i know that sometimes the most cost effective way to deal with a lawsuit is to settle, certainly not something i want to make any kind of practice of, i want to avoid lawsuits to begin with making sure we have parties
around the table that understand the loss and what we're doing in upholding the law, and, certainly, transparency is something i've been known for on the business side, and i'm committed to be transparent in the process as well. i do know that we have laws that have time requirements on them such as the endangered species act, and we are overwhelmed sometimes with the amount of volume that comes in, and we work to try to address the underlying needs in the most cost effective way that we request in dealing with upholding those laws, so the lawsuits all now bear my name, but it's -- we want to avoid lawsuits to begin with, and that's my commitment. >> engs -- i understand that, and i respect that, and i understand that as a businesswoman when you were involved in lawsuits, you had an obligation to find resolutions
to the cases, and you also had a natural inclination to defend the most important thing for your business, and settle only where it was reasonably possible without doing harm to your business. settlements involving government are sometimes a little bit different because when the aim of the lawsuit is to achieve a different policy, that can have the effect of a law making effort, and so whether it's not distinct adverse interest on the part of the government with the plaintiff, you do have potential for what some people call a friendly suit or a friendly suit resolution where two people agree, the government agrees with the plaintiff, yeah, that's a good policy, implement that, and there's defactor law making by means of a friendly suit resolution, and that's the problem we're concerned about there. mr. chairman, if i could have
your indulgence to ask just another line of questions? i know it's a short time line. is it a possibility? >> how many do you have? >> just one more. >> you bet. >> okay, so the united states congress recognizes the need for development for domestic oil shale resources with the passage of the energy policy act of 2005 in which the congress directed, now almost eight years ago, the department of the interior to establish commercial oil -- commercial oil shale leasing program. following an extensive public process, there was a final programmatic eis for oil shale development and establish the commercial shale leasing rule in 2008. in 2009, a group of nongovernmental organizations challenged the 2008 oil shale management plan resulting in a settlement agreement with interior followed by new oil shale regulations in 2012 that reduced the acreage available
for oil shale development by almost 75%. just a few weeks ago, there was notifications that ngos is planning a lawsuit concerning the new regulations, so with the understanding that all these decisions were made during secretary salazar's decision, do you commit to take a fresh look at the oil shale leasing program and whether it complies with the objectives of the energy policy agent of 2005? >> senator, as i understand, we have about 600,000 acres of available for the leases, and the reality right now are more economic on oil shale development, not to be mixed up with shale oil. >> right. >> that, you know, there's work to be done to assess the value of the resources and the potential for the future. certainly, cometting to do that is part of the president's all of the above energy strategy,
and i'm supportive of that. i'll ask my colleague, david hayes, to provide more detail specifically relating to the programs. >> senator, i would just add that there was a litigation of the a lawsuit, but what followed was a notice and comment proceeding that led to the final rule that's before us. >> sure, i understand. >> right. >> i didn't intend to necessarily lump that. >> okay. but i think our view is the time rule is solid, we are open for business for demonstration projects in the oil shale area. >> okay. sounds like you're prepared to defend the -- >> correct, we are. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you, to both of you for your service and testimony. >> thank you, senator lee. a couple more things i wanted to bring up, and i very much appreciate the ranking member's comments around the need to address the backlog in the park service and to the addition with
our conservation and public lands dollars. i thought i'd bring up a situation we have in new mexico where we have a national preserve that's basically a one off model. it's almost an agency in and of itself. spending per visitor right now is $250, per visitor. you drive across a two-lane road to the national monument, and the spending is $13 per visitor. often times for the same visitor. i thought i'd bring that up. we are going to be looking at legislation on this committee to consider transferring management of that park service to see if we can't achieve some level of efficiency there, and so i just put that on your radar screen. i did want to ask a question about the work that the blm has done around we newble energy on
public lands. i think you've done an incredible, using existing authority, i would note that congress is really never directly addressed the question of how best to cite wind and solar project and solar. are there additional authorities that you feel help facilitate good citing of renewable projects on public lands, and what issues you ask us to consider if we look at legislation op the topic. >> senator, thanks for the question. one of the things that's exciting to me as i enter the job is the potential that we have to use modern techniques to better understand the whole land management picture. we have dope good work over the last few years on understanding the solar and wind energy potential, understanding the environmentalcepsivities, and i
think that's very, very useful. there could be some things that we would work with you op that facilitates the development, certainly trainings mission. as you are aware are in your home state, an important element of that. perhaps there's ways to work together to streamline that as i become more steeped in the rules and the law making process. david, do you want to add anything to that? >> i would just add, senator, the wind energy guidelines that came out of the federal advisory committee efforts that included developers, crones vaitionists, and government officials provide criteria for citing that help developers understand what types of sites are going to provide the least likely conflict with birds and bats and other species. we appreciate, also, your support for the solar citing
approach that we've done working collaboratively with parties to identify solar energy zones that attract industry to the best places we think, and our sense is that we don't need new authority here, but we're open to validation of the efforts, and we're very pleased with the cooperation across all interests, developers, conservationists, tribes, state, federal interests. only together have we been able to cite over 12,000 megawatts of renewable energy in four years. >> so i will say i very much appreciate your efforts and your attention to the transmission issues, something that certainly has, you know, there's an enormous amount of generation right now that's just waiting for the transmission for us to be able to move energy potential
from new mexico into markets to the west, and that is the bottleneck right now, being able to get good transmission to do that. one more question, and we'll wrap up. i know you have a speaking engagement in a few minutes. the department's 2010 oil and gas leasing reforms introduced the master leasing planning process to allow blm to have an in-depth look to areas open to monroe leasing. i think we can all agree there's many places on public lands who are energy development is not only appropriate, but often times the highest and best use, but there are other also places where development may be incompatible with important uses like hunting, fishing, wawsht shed protection or the preservation of important, cultural sites. how can the master leasing plan help identify and resolve the cop flicks seen there with other resources including culture
resources, in particular, tribal sacred sites? >> thank you, senator. this fits right into my comment earlier about the potential that we have on land scape level con vir vaition marrying with g iring's s mapping. people on the ground in the communities, tribes know their sacred sites and people in the community know special places that are very, very important to them, and they know, you know, the land like the back of their hand. oil and gas companies, mineral development companies understand the resource potential as does the u.s. geological survey, and it's important to know those things to help facilitate the transactions where there's no conflict, and if there's substantial cop fliblght, we know that up front and plan accordingly, and i think that's really useful so david has done great work in terms of the notion of landscape level planning, cooperatives that have been helpful in terms of thinking about water on a water shed and landscape level, fire
management, habitat, and we have great potential to accelerate this now given the technology advancements that we have with mapping. we activated the more data, and we can overlay leek the sacred sites. >> i think the tools are important. we are, obviously, in north western new mexico, we have incredible oil and gas resources and some of the most important archaeological sites to be able to have it better than trying to reverse engineer once you got a mess on your hands. members of the committee are going to be able to submit additional questions in write, and i certainly ask you answer those for incollusion in the
hearing record, and i'll defer to the ranking member for your last questions. >> it's not a question, mr. chairman. i just wanted to make a clarification. when i mentioned this article yesterday and hot air with you, we got a couple different listening sessions going op this week in alaska. we have the boem hearings, and apparently, that was what the individual was references, and you got your listening session next week on the 14th is what i understand, and i am hopeful that we will have good commentary on that. i just want to be sure we're clear for the record here that when we talked about the national arctic strategy, we're on the same page there, and then just one final clarification relating to the question that i had asked about anwar there. it's my understand that that nipa requires the department analyze all reasonable alternatives for anwar including
the oil and gas development. i understand that the president's position, and i understand the position that has been it rated here, but it's my understanding that you just can't decide not to include a developer alternative because you don't have support for that, but that the regulations, the requirement requires the department evaluate the reasonable alternatives, even if the alternative requires app act of congress. i just ask you to look at that. i understand where the politicians is on this. i just. to make sure we comply with the requirements out there. i apologize for taking so much time, but as the secretary knows and mr. hayes knows, when we talk about the department of interior, its role in my state, there's a lot we got to talking about, so i appreciate that. i look forward to seeing you in alaska, mr. hayes, and,
jason furman currently serves as principle deputy director of the other economic board adviser to the president. his nomination has to be approved by the senate. coming up at 12:15 eastern this afternoon, we'll be live here op c-span2 with the discussion on the future of medicare advantage. it's hosted by the alliance for health reform. again, that's at 12:15 eastern. the u.s. senate gavels in at two. they'll continue debating immigration, and later in the amp, vote on time passage of the farm bill. the attorney will be sworn in this afternoon to fill the seat of the late senator frank lot pberg. live coverage, and the u.s. house meets only in a pro forma session with no legislation business to be conducted. >> the army corp. of engineer official in charge of water infrastructure projects testified on capitol hill
wednesday. major general michael walsh told the infrastructure subcommittee about the new core of engineers' initiative to complete the state studies in three years for under $3 million and be fully coordinated by all three levels in the corp. of engineers. this is two hours. >> good morning, the subcommittee of transportation and infrastructure water resources cube committee will convene. at this time, i'd like to welcome general walsh of our testimony here, the committee here in today eats review of the united states army corp. of engineers chief reports, and at this time, i ask unanimous consent that members not on the committee be ready to sit with the committee in today's hearing. hearing no ob jecs, so ordered.
in order to yield time to our chairman of the full tni committee for opening remarks he may have. >> thank you, mr. chairman, i appreciate you letting me go first. i have a 14-hour day in the articled services committee day. i hope it's only 14 hours, but we'll see. also, i'd like to welcome congress mapp kramer from north dakota who has a keen interest in what the the corp. does and welcome to listen dias to listen in. thank you for your service, and i know you're going off to greener pastures later in the year so we really appreciate your service. thank you for being here today, as well as mr. brownment thank you for being here, and look forward to hearing from you. it plays a role in the water development resources act, warda. chief reports makes final recommendations to authorize specific construction activities, and that, i
understand, is a chief's report. that's the first i've seen or heard how large they are and extensive, but seeing is believing. this hearing will bring greater transparency to the process and will provide the committee the opportunity to closely examine current pending chief's reports. it is critical for congress to reengage in the development of the nation's water. congress must have a role in determines agency priorities and ensuring we fulfill our constitutional spojts. over the last few months, there's been hearings, and thank you for the hard work in putting this together and participating. while it once took -- excuse me, the themes that emerged from the public forums include the importance of project priorization, public-private partnerships, and sponsors, especially study acceleration. while it once took the corp. three to five years to complete
a study, it's now the normal to take 10-15 years to produce it study, no wonder it takes so much time because the corp. by law and regulation reviews in detail many alternatives. because it's costly, complex, and long, does not mean it's a better project. it's not necessarily the fault of the engineers. the agency clears hurdles placed in the way by other federal agencies like the department of interior, and in some cases, nonfederal project sponsors have difficulties on their end. congress has only enacted two laws in the last 14 years, and we have many goals to accomplish, but one of the most important is to get back to a two year cycle to ensure congress has a fund mal role in the projects and oversight of the agency. again, that is absolutely, for me critical. no reason we can't. i thank the chairman for the
hearing, and general walsh, thank you for being here today, and thank you so much for your service to the nation and your wife's service to the nation because she's been by your side all along. again, thank you. i r i yield back my time. >> thank you. i appreciate your interest and hard mark workmanning op the bill that's proved our economic competitiveness and move our e ports in job creation. i yield time to kim bishop for comments he may have. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. i, too, welcome the general walsh and colleagues and thank you very much for your service to our country. a simple statement. the water resources development act can create jobs and provide critical protection and support for our communities, our businesses, and our future. over the the last six months, this committee had round tables, listening sessions, discussions with stake holders, meetings
with the corp. of engineers, holing hearings with the intent of working towards developing a viable path forward on a water bill. congress has been integral to the planning and construction of water resources projects since the nation's founding. from the authorization of aids to navigation in the 1700s through the passage of several rivers and harbor act in the 1900s to the first enactment in 1974, congress has established an ordered process for integrating needed policy, direction, and project authorization. the goal was to have a water bill every two years and a process to support a water management process. since 1974, a period of 40 # years, we have had ten subsequent, not quite the two-year average congress envaition. our challenge is that the last successful order was in 2007, and now we're faced with substantial hurdles with respect to water infrastructure needs, increase numbers of water related disasters, national
financial challenge, and reluctance by this body to provide projects specific gyps to the administration. we have heard repeatedly from members of congress and the public on the importance of water to the nation and to our local communities. no one questioned the value of a well designedded product constructed, and manage project whether for flood control,-and-a-half vaition, storm damming, or restoration. it helps the nation. the speedometer in this committee and especially in the subcommittee is to authorize water projects and direct the mission of the core of engineers. if we do not perform that speedometer, we end up with two things happening. one, the administration ends up prioritizing projects, often on an entirely different set of met tricks than what we want, and, two, the process becomes more con that lewded and time consuming resulting in inefficiencies and frustration. i'll reiterate. a well-constructed and
legislatively designed water bill will provide jobs, provide direction, and most importantly, allow water projects to be constructed that will protect our communities, their economy, and their lives, nothing could be more important for us to do. today's hearing is about the process that the core goes through to develop review and ultimately authorize chief of engineers' reports. these chiefs' reports become the vehicle for congress to authorize a select group of new projects and get in line for a appropriations to actually construct them. hearings focused on several related issues that must -- may be addressed. this hearing is focused on addressing the 25 yet unauthorized chiefs' reports. i wish to state clearly a successful order must include more than just policy and reports. we have to find a way to address specific projects for flood control, hurricane and storm damage reduction, navigation,
harbors and waterways, environmental restoration, and water supply. this requires that we provide the corp. with adequate resources and direction. the bottom line is that we have to do more and by doing more we will create jobs, jobs that will help stean our nation's financial recovery. today, we are going to hear about the amount of time it takes to get a chief's report developed and shepherd it through the process. the chief report list todays 25 vetted and administratively approved projects. we had good discussions with the colleagues across the aisle and corp. staff to look for ways to make the process more figure. we all may have our and ideas why it takes so long, in the case of some reports, upwards of ten years to make it through the system, one thing is clear to me, and that is we have met the enemy, and it is us. congress and our desire to help the direct the add min streetive activities of the corp. of engineers set up a long multistep process to move
projects from planning to construction. we, the congress, have overlaid a project process large by -- largely developedded by politicians overlaid by another defined by the reality of the appropriations process overlaid by yet another process, the budget oversight approach performed behind closed doors of the office of management and bimght. the end result is a mind numbing multilayered flowchart with a minimum of 21 major steps along the journey aiding and abetting in the creation of the time consuming approach, and we now have a chance to move ahead if we work together. this can be captured in three bullets. the water resources development act is designed to work first timely when done under regular order with congress providing leadership on moving specific projects in a timely manner, works when projects are funded
at the appropriate level, not nickeled and dimed over ten years, and works best when congress, not the administration, determines project priorities and when it is done in a bipartisan way. we are committed to working with the chairman of the subcommittee and full committee and staff to develop a water bill to meet the needs of the american people, our colleagues, and the administration. thank you, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> i yield myself time for opening statement. first, i'd like to welcome the general and thank him for the service as he looks forward to retirement in object. i think the corp. losing a huge asset. we are reviewing the chief's report. the process to undertake the projects and some steps carried out internally to accelerate the process. the u.s. army corp. of engineer is the largest agency beginning water resources program in the 1800s when congress, for the first time appropriated money for approving a river navigation. today, they construct projects
for the purpose of navigation, flood control, beach erosion, and shoreline protection, hydropower, recreation, water supply, environmental protection, restoration, and enhancement in fish and wildlife mitigation. the plans process considers economic development and needs to address problems. the plans process accuracies the needs and a system, contacts, and explores a full range of alternatives in developing solutions. the u.s. army corp. of engineers 1 subject to all federal statutes including the national environmental policy act, the clean air act, clean water act, endangered species act, fish and wildlife coordination act, and previous water resources development acts, flood control acts and rivers and harbors agents. these laws and associated regulations and guidance plan the corp.'s planning process. when carrying out a study, the national environmental policy act, nepa, requires the corp. of
engineers include ash identification of environmental resources to be impacted by the proposed project. an assessment of the impacts, a full disclose sure of likely impacts b and consideration of a full range of alternatives including a no action alternative, action by other alternatives. nepa requires the 30-day public review of any draft document in a 30-day public review of any final document produced by the corp. of engineers. additionally, when carrying out a feesability study, the clean water act requires evaluation of the potential impacts of a proposed project or action and requires a letter from a state agency ensuring the proposed promise or action complies with state water quality standards. the army corp. has to formulate plans to ensure reasonable alternatives are evaluated like plans that maximize net national economic development benefits and others that incorporate other federals, state, and local
concerns. advanced impacts is included in each alternative plans reviewed in the study. the corp. of engineers is responsible for identifies areas of risk and uncertainty in the study. decisions can be made with some degree of reliability on the estimated cost and benefits of each al terntive map. typically, a plan recommended by the corp. of engineers is a plan with the greatest net economic benefit consistent with protection of the nation's environment; however, the core does not have -- however, the corp. does have the discretion to recommend another alternative if there's overriding republicans for recommending another plan based on other federal, state, and local concerns. by now, many of us have seen the actual sides of a typical studies carried out by the corp. of engineers. on the desk here is a one feasibility study from louisiana cost line that's 9,000 pages. it's stocked up there. while they are complex projects to be reviewed by the public and
other state and federal agencies, the level of analysis required by other laws and regulations cripple the project delivery process. for example, the waterway natch gages project was authorized in june 1997 and the chief's report was transmitted to congress in 2011. according to the fees about project, about more than 120 alternatives at nine depths evaluated prior to completed chief's report. we are studying projects to death, but it's not the fault of the engineers. congress needs to change the way the core carry out business. it is no longer acceptable they take dozens of years to complete. they are on the hook for the studies and for the length of time it takes to carry them out. delaying the benefits of these projects are supposed to provide. and as we move forward what will
be a policy-heavy water resources development act, we focus on accelerating the study and project delivery process as well as better prioritizing these worthwhile investments that the american public has relied on for decades. at this time, again, i welcome general walsh as our >> he's accompanied by mr. thee dore, chief planning and policy for the army core of engineers. general walsh, welcome again, and the floor is yours. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you distinguished members of the subcommittee. i'm really honoredded and prief leming to be testifying before you today to discuss the planning process and chief's reports for the army corp. of engineers. my full testimony will describe
all 21 reports that have been favorably completed through the executive branch review. enactment of the word of 2007. these proposals fall within the main missions of the corp. of engineers providing a net benefit to the nation. i want to take the time here to discussion four goals of the corp. of engineers and specifically the efforts we're making to transform the works program. first, we must support the war fighter with the work in areas of operations underneath the combat and commanders and on u.s. installations around the world. where of the deployed civilians have civil work experience, which supports the mission inside the theater, and this work provides broad ping experience that assist them and us when they return from harm's way. secondly, transform works by modernizing the planning process
enhancing the budget development process using a smart infrastructure strategy to evaluate water resource projects and improve the methods of delivery; third, we have to reduce disaster risk and continue to respond to natural disasters under the disaster response frame work as well as op going efforts under flood risk management; fourth; prepare for tomorrow for the future challenges focusing on research and development efforts to help solve the nation's greatest challenges in both the army and in the nation. the corp.'s been working to better equip the program to effectively meet the current and future needs and ensuring that decision makers are fully informed. the corp. mapping process mod earnization effort emphasizing execution and instills accountability and the model to produce quality projects that
address the water resource priorities. the current focus is to facilitate the decision documents that appropriately address increasingly complex water problems that plague communities and constrain economic activity. the corp. recognized the need to modernize its approach through the initiative called smart planning. smart stands for specific, measurable, achievable, risk-informed, and timely. it's to investigations reduces resource requirements by appropriately focusing on the key drivers to resolving water resource problems complying with all the laws and regulations. the goal is to complete most feasibility studies within three years for $3 million or less. the end product is a decision document that has been fully coordinated by all three levels inside the corp. of engineers,
our organization. in shorthand, we call this goal three by three by three. the court expects full implementation of the approach in 2014 and has been working with the federal and nonfederal partners to use the new approach in evaluating water resource problems. the corp. is prioritizing the current portfolio of planning studiesing applying the new approach to new and ongoing studies reducing the number of studies in the portfolio focusing on efforts of completing the studies more effectively by prioritizing funding. ensuring the performance of key features was infrastructure is more costly over time. operational demands have grown and changed particularly over the past 30 years creating additional stress, and we're working on the infrastructure strategy to address these growing needs. the infrastructure strategy incorporates four focus areas, integrated approach to asset management, managing the system
over its life cycle, managing whether a group of projects or related projects should be a federal responsibility prior to substantially furthering investment in that project, and potentially looking at al terntive financing mechanisms. transforming the way we deliver civil works program requires state of the art processes and highly skilled work force capable to respond to current and future demands. the strategy is to have a reliable and efficient method of delivery linking technical capabilities to uniform national standards, maintaining corp. competencies and having processes throughout the corp.. the corp. has a strong tradition of working collaboratively with nonfederal interests and plan to deliver products. the current transformation initiative is no different. the partners include states, tribes, local governments, nongovernment organizations, nonprofit agencies, and the public. these partnerships are
increasingly and will -- are increasing and likely to continue to increase sharing common goal of looking at reliable and resilient infrastructure for the nation. mr. chairmannings that's my statement, and, again, i appreciate the opportunity to address today. >> thank you. i'll start a round of questions here. you know, talking about the process, and sometimes there's been multipurpose projects. you know, a navigation project and other projects in conjunction. i was wondering, some of the projects, especially with the 2k34eubg downturn we've been experiencing, an example, if we have a deepening project, which we have major challenges to projects that way, should, like, should be boot strapped with a restoration project or break projects up and focus on
economic ones to move the economy along, and there's nothing with environmental benefits, but if we get the economic benefit right quickly by making that -- by focusing on the project and maybe, you know, laying off. of course, it's moving that way, you know, to look at the benefits, economic and environmental, and to say, you know, if we get this part of the project going, we can get this part done, and then maybe work on the latter later when the resources become available, especially if the partnership with the local sponsor is having challenges meeting obligations for their cost share. yes, sir. on a particular project, we have three missions in the corp.,
flood risk, reduction, and ecosystem restoration. as we put forward the president eats budget request, we look at a balanced approach in making sure the portfolio is funded in all three major missions. in a specific project that has different features, we work along with the sponsors in putting together a schedule that meets all of the requirements in that balanced project. >> okay. i notice on the 25 chief reports, here today for us, it's a toll of $14 billion, you know, proposed spending, and i noticed op the navigation side it's 2.1 million environmental administration is four times that. flood control is about four --
like, four billion, so basically, looking at environmental restoration four times more, twice as much on flood control. can you comment why there's such a, you know, discrepancy, difference in the numbers, you know, four times more navigation, twice as much as flood control, why that would, you know, come about that way? >> well -- >> especially considering the challenges there with the infrastructure with the rebuilding and refurbishing hard assets. >> chairman, i don't know or they came in because that's how the chief's report were completed. they were not, as far as i know, directed one way oar october another. that's more reports out there coming in between now and between the end of the year that changes that ratio drastically
as well. >> you're aware of it >>? >> yes. >> they are out of rate there. >> yes. >> you talk about smart planning, and i have a chart there, the civil works delivery process, and jeez, i don't know, a 20-step process takes, i don't know how many years k maybe 15 years? is that typical; right? >> sure. >> is there anything drsh are you familiar with this? >> yes, sir. >> is there anything in the smart, or three by three you can combine these different areas and condense them or what -- do you have any recommendations? >> yes, sir. the key item-under-par the smart planning that we have the scope of the project, the scope realistically, and many times we have looked at alternatives that
may have not quickly gone to a solution that's required. i'm not looking at cutting out particular processes there, but making sure we get through them more rapidly putting together a planning map with a product bringing all three levels was corp. of engineers, the headquarters, division, and the district, look at the scope rapidly, agree with them all so that we give direction to the district to move forward more rapidly. >> let me sum up, general, i have a question on that. when you bring the district, the region, and the headquarters together, i assume the purpose is so everybody's looking at the same time so it's not going through one level, then they don't know about it -- i guess my concern would be -- if it's done right, i think it makes sense -- but my concern is that we don't have just a top-driven
system from washington that overrides -- doesn't let the process work either. i'm really concerned about one size fits all policies coming out of this town. if you, you know, if they are all at the same time to, you know, speed up the time, that makes sense, but i -- i have a concern about, you know, taking the local and the regional out of the picture. how do you see that fitting? >> sir, the local sponsor who typically comes up with a good deal of the funning has significant control of the process. when we go through planning, it's looking at different alternatives and whether they have policy issues bringing thing, as they bring it forward, but also to look at risk assessments on if there is a particular area that -- a particular solution that they want to bring forward, there's half a dozen risks that you need to identify and work through to
get through the policy review here at the headquarters. >> since you're -- i think you've been in the position a little over a year now? >> yes, sir. >> what have -- i think you've made work to speed up the processes, what have you seen? the backlog? how are we doing on the backlog? >> sir, this drsh what we've been working on specially is the mapping -- planning process, and what we had was 650 feasibility reports that were out there in various shapes, many of them unfunded for many years so we went through a process of putting these projects that were active into an inactive status and took those off the shelf. we reduced that to about 200 and will be funding those that are closest to being complete, we'll put priority op those, finish those, and get to the next one.
>> that makes a lot of sense. my time's up. i yield to mr. bishop. >> thank you, mr. chairman. general walsh, thank you very much. those point that the chairman made in the question, he citedded the chief reports that post ward 2007. the 14 chiefs report we get in between now and december 31st, their break down, navigation 21% environment 14%, flood risk management 43%, and hurricane and storm damage, 21%, it just shows the difference that you had one prop that had a density in the environment. we now have another crop with a density in the flood risk management. i would imagine that's typical in terms of how projects distribute themselves over a period of time; is that right? >> that's creeling, sir. >> thank you. general walsh, you've been, perhaps thee prime mover of the
three by three by three process. it's been in place now for about three years. can you identify with a degree of specificity how it's worked? has it improved the efficiency? has it reduced the time it takes to move a project from the point where it's nationuated to the point it's ready for construction or under construction? >> yes, sir. i believe that it will move the process forward in regards to getting a chief's report. mostly because we'll have the full vertical team that's the division headquarters, my headquarters, and the district working before a project starts, and what we call a planning cheer represent to make sure we're looking at all the alternative solutions to a particular project. really, what we're looking at is start at the start, make sure
we've got scope, realistically what the possible solutions are. we then look at -- put together a risk register, things we have looked at, but we think are not going to be a major player in the particular project. we'll put a risk register together, say we look at that particular issue, and don't believe it's going to be a major part of the project, so people understand that we've lookedded at that particular issue and pushed it and moved it off to the side, so, yes, i think we're going to move things more rapidly. as we move into a decision-type of report, not getting so much data to fill the report up and look at a lot of different things, what are the minimum things to look at for the decision making to make a decision? sir, we've been looking at a more efficient and effective way of doing planning for a number
of different chiefs, general was looking at that specifically, regime bosick adopted the approach in the campaign plan. the three by three medicine of planning modernization is codified in the chief's campaign plan. >> what impact, if any, has the three by three by three approach had with respect to the prosays followed by other federal agencies with respect to corp. related projects? >> sir, we're working with the other federal agencies, boat here in washington and at the local level on explaning to them how the process works as we move from decision to decision to decision, and so i think we're working together closely. >> okay. thank you. it remains the case, does it not -- and please correct me if i'm wrong -- that the biggest
impediment to move a corp. project from initiation to its completion is the funding source, whether it be the funding source from the federal government or whether it be a funding from the nonfederal partner with which the corp. is working; is that correct? >> yes, sir. the stop and start funding certainly hurts or increasings the duration of a study. >> so when i said in the opening remarks we have met the enemy, and it is us, in part, what i was referring to was a process that we have imposed on the corp. coupled with the process that exists in other federal agencies, but the other is that we're simply not giving you sufficient resources to do the job that we've task you can doing; is that correct? >> two things, sir. one, a lot of projects throughout the u.s. and trying
to -- trying to get to them, trying to get to them all with the limited funds that we have, what we are looking at now is taking those projects that are closest to completion, give those a little bit more on the budget priority, knock them out, and go to the next one, but, certainly, how much funds we put on a project is significantly impact its duration. >> thank you, my time expoired. thank you, mr. chairman. >> mr. crawpored. >> thank you, mr. chairman. regime walsh, thank you for being here today. in why testimony, you mentioned the need for corp. to prior advertise federal funding op the highest studies. give us detail on how you measure the preference of pending process and studies. >> there's a number of met tricks that we look at, certainly. one that we move forward with in through the administration and over here is the net economic
number, the cost benefit ratio, but that's just one of the items that we look at. we also look at impacts to the impacts of the environment and a number of other ratios as well, sir. >> what role does the corp. division and district office play in determining priority projects? >> sir, when we were looking at the 600 projects that were on the shelf, i asked the division and district command specifically which ones they would not be able to continue because of funding or nonfederal sponsor, and they sent back to us which ones they were not able to move forward, so they are clearly inside the loop in prioritizing. >> okay. shift gears a little bit. can you give your assessment of the mifsz -- mississippi tributary's project?
>> well, sir, could you repeat that, sir. >> your assessment of the mrt. >> yes, sir. the -- my assessment is that it's -- it's been quite successful from a systems approach in 1928 after the 27 flood, the chief of engineers at that time decided to look at the lower mississippi from a systems approach. the nation has invested about $13 billion over the last 60 years on that project, and it has prevented hundreds of billions of dollars worth of flood damages. in 2011, when we had the high flows, record high flows, we had to open up all three flood ways down on that so that we were able to move water laterally and not stack it up and lose some of our major cities. in 1927, there were hundreds of -- tens of thousands of people lost lives, and in 2011,
there was no one that lost their life due to the flood because of that project. >> so, and how would you gauge the recovery of the mrnt in light of the 2000 flooding that took place? has it recovered pretty well? >> general peabody has been repairing the levies and using the funds that have been appropriated during the supplemental rapidly, and so i think it's recovering very well. right now, there's heavy flows, heavy waters down in the lower mississippi, and not -- has not been significantly impacted from the damage that we had from 2011. >> excellent. finally, in october 2012, there was lock hours of operation due to stagnant funding and the need to address a growing list of maintenance projects. currently, is it -- is it currently possible for the corp. to accept non-federal funds to increase hours of operations of corp. operated locks?
>> we're looking at that specifically as how to address that, the concern where we have for what i call levels of service. if you have over a thousand lock cartilages a year, we'll continue to provide the 24/7 service folks are used to. if there's less than that, we reduce the levels of service on the graduated scale. we've got a team trying to figure out how to pull together the public-private partnership on how to transfer some of the lockage responsibilities to someone else. >> thank you, general, congratulations op your retirement, and i yield back. >> thank you, sir. representative napolitano. >> thank you, mr. chair, thank you for your service, and good luck in your retirement. >> thank you. >> one of the things that's not spoken to is the sequesteration impact on your staff, the
ability to move projects a en-- and if you were to -- by some crystal ball magic or something get money to do the projects that need to be done, would you have the trained personnel to do it? >> it's trayly important that we have trained people. i look, really to be a master you need three things: education, training, and experience, and a lot of our staff have that, but a lot of them are reaching that mature age moving on to other places. we are revamping training, particularly in the planners -- in the planning community, and m. tab is putting that training together now, and we're requiring that planners be certified in the work that they do. >> so it is possible you may not have enough experienced
personnel to carry out some of the projects if you did have some other funding? >> what we do, congresswoman, is what we call methods of delivery. if the planners in one particular district don't have the experience needed to bring a feasibility study home, they will bring -- they will go to other districts that have that trained personal to get that work accomplished. >> bartering to people? >> no. actually, it's to work that experience part, so those people who have a lot of experience, let's get them in there, bring the folks who have not done a feasibility study along with them. certainly, the sequesteration required us to put 253 million off to the side for the sequesteration bill which is significantly impacting the water resource. >> thank you for the answer. the -- we've had a problem with raising levies, and one of the
water agencies wanted to participate and help pay for the study, and we found you very hard to have accepted money. that should be a priority because there are entities willing to work financially support a project or at least increase the state portion of it to be able to get it done because of many factors, security, the environmental, the -- keeping more water captured, ect.. >> yes. we're -- we have an ability to do that called contributed funds, and there is a process where we are taking sponsors funds above what they're required, making sure we bring it through the committees who are oversight, have oversight on those, and we are accepting their funds. >> i'd love to have some of that information, general.
.. number, the vc ratio is less than one and then we will stop work on that particular project. so yes, there are, as we go through the process, there are some that drop out because there's not a viable solution that we, the corps, can be involved with. >> from your express does the process capture reviewed the
necessary technical and financial issues that are important for the implementation of most costs of corps construction project? if not can you identify where additional oversight or renew could be value added? >> congresswoman, we by wrda have an independent technical review of our work on particular projects that are over 45 million, or contentious. so congress required us to do that so we do have outside folks come and take a look at our work. since congress put the into place, we've executed 29 projects going through the independent expert review panel at about $9 million worth of cost. most of those reviews have not changed anything in our reports in regards to the solutions. they have recommended a number of different areas that we tell
the story slightly differently as we put our reports together. >> thank you for your interest. i yield back. >> mr. gannon. >> thank you. good morning general. the project the course and working on prior to my time, my three years in congress and even prior to my eight years before that in the state senate, i continue to work with them before i was in elected office and now for nearly 11 years that i've been in elected office. and my question is not so much on the project as much as it is on the process. you presided over a civil war review board on march 27, that resulted in the unanimous vote on the project i'm talking about. as you know this project has been long overdue in many of the new smart playing techniques that you discuss in your test like eventually applied to this study. so my question is, can you discuss the challenges that had
led up to the delay in completing this and how your new planning techniques were applied to get over the finish line, ultimately leading to a planning award that she received for the project? and secondly do you think it can be used as an example for legacy projects going forward? >> thank you, congressman. yes, part of the delay was the funding stream that gaming for that particular project. it would start and stop 100,000, one year, 50,000 the next year, the following year wouldn't be any fund. so that cause a lot of concerns. another good portion of the project was the local sponsors wanted to find a solution that was not viable, and so we looked for pretty much a damper flood storch up in the foothills. we have to look at that from an engineer perspective also from and of our middle perspective
and its impact on california water. it took a number of years to look at that and described as was mentioned by congresswoman napolitano that that solution is not viable. it took a while to get through that finally. they came up with a solution that delivered to the review board two weeks ago. and it's an excellent product. we will put that out for a state agency review now, and it is about, about this thick, about 100 pages of what's needed to make that decision you. >> so now the city has been released for the 38 agency review, what do you anticipate a completed report? >> we will put out for public comments, address those comments and suspect will have a chiefs report by the end of the year. >> in going for what you believe is the best course for cars to
take in authorizing new projects and ensuring their completed in a timely manner? >> the process is to put together a word or authorize the reports that the chief of engineers has gone through extraordinary details in making sure that they are complete and together. before that report comes to congress, we do a district court a control to make sure that that's completed from a quality control point of view. we take the report and bring it to another district to review it again and we call the agency technical review. and we have policy reviews up here at the headquarters. twice it goes out for public review, state agency review. and so by the time he comes over here as a chief's report through the administration, we are giving you an excellent product. i usually call the chief's report is the gold standard for
congress to authorize word of process. >> as we are moving through the wrda process is anything you can see don't make this process more efficient, more streamlined, things that you would need congressional authorization for? >> sir, there's a number of items that we're working on as we are trying to streamline, and husband of the funds that we do have. we have a lot of projects that we should be looking at. and practicing whether they should be the authorized or repurposed or taken off the federal books because they're not providing a federal return. so we are looking on the de- authorization process and how can we through the administration figure out how to work that particular process. the other things that we're looking at, sir, is alternative financing. is there a way for others to finance if we're not going to be able to get a steady stream
through the federal appropriations process. maybe others can do that very similar to here in virginia. they have a public-private partnership with a private organization has built portions of the highway and are being reimbursed from a different process. so there's a number of different areas that's not quite ready for us to share, but we're still working on those things as we move forward. >> and a final very quick question. our dance no longer viable in california under the court opinion? >> i'm not sure how to answer that. i think those dams i worked on were not, in services and second of the work needed for its intended purposes. there are some projects that its intended purpose is no longer necessary. and they should be transferred probably off of federal books to
somebody else who does need those particular projects. but i couldn't say from a blanket statement that any damn is not needed. >> thank you. i will follow up in writing more specific, question. thank you. >> senator frank of? >> thank you, mr. chairman. one of the reasons, sitting here, because projects that army corps is working on our very, very essential to the economy of south florida and also health and safety because just for example, ever grades -- everglades registration, our very, very important. i want to just say both the chairman and the ranking member that i agree with both your statements are and i'm glad that we are stepping up to the plate to take responsibility because just from my experience working back home, the process of getting a project, getting key
support, just pull the hair out of your head really. i guess that's the best way i can explain it. without a tribune blame, because i always think congress should take responsibility and, therefore, streamline this process. and funded where it's appropriate but it don't think it's one or the other. i think it's both, that perhaps certainly we're not doing our job with funding but it seems to be we've created some roadblocks, maybe over protectiveness in certain areas that we can really give a little bit of leeway. and i, mr. chair, i also want to make the comment that i know the approach this in a state which is basically seems to me to give away our responsibility on these projects. i think they have, they've said
they will allow, authorize any project that has achieved a support. from my point of view, i will say from south florida, we been waiting, for example, for chief support in port everglades for more than a dozen years. i don't know, maybe 15 years personal. i think we are on track now, but maybe not to be finished until the end of the year. it's a dredging project. with the expansion of the panama canal, we really can't afford not to have an opportunity to de- authorize, just for the amount of money or -- >> i believe the senate wrda bill gives any chief's report that gives omb the ability to move it forward. you know, senate wrda bill
actual delegates our response, i with our congressional responsibly to the executive branch, as in a three-year timeframe i understand. i believe that's what you're referring to. >> yes, that's right. that's correct. i mean, i think that, well, i think we should keep the authority, mr. chairman. but i also, i'm concerned about the tie-in as giving the chief's report out and give these projects authorized. i want to emphasize the fact that the panama canal expansion i think in 2015, the that's the projected date, that ports like port everglades, and there's others, really need to get moving on these dredging projects. one of the questions, either very specific, simple question which is, without reauthorization in this particular congress, if we
actually do pass legislation, is it true that you cannot go, even if you get a chief's report, let's say by the end of the year, that you cannot go onto the next stage of the plan and design? that we would have to wait for another bill, another authorization? >> to get into construction, we would have to have the project authorized. there is a process where we can start planning engineering and design to do some of the work prior to that. but again from a funding level, there's less and less ability to put planning engineering design on the project before its authorized. >> just, mr. chair, i would just urge that, i agree, i absolutely agree with your comments that we
need to streamline what's going on, but i hope that we will not use that as an excuse not to miss some of these very important projects forward. thank you, sir. >> mr. hanson? >> thank you. of the total number of projects that you work on, how many fit within the three by three by three criteria in? >> congressman, it's going to start in fiscal year '14, although everybody has, or most of the districts have taken and wrapped up with the ideas of smart planning, looking at making sure we have the scope down correctly, and moving forward. the direction from the cheese out to the field is, if you want to be in the budget request in
the 14-15, that you need to have your project we scoped using the three by three methods spent what does that look like in real terms? i mean, you certainly can look backwards and figure how many projects would fit into that criterion. so as a percentage what does a really cover? and are we avoiding the vast number of much larger projects that are even more important? letting them fall to the eight, 10, 12, 15 your timeline. >> no. those projects will be in the three by three method with the -- with the exception of watershed approaches, which we're still looking at how to streamline a watershed study. >> you use from the 1974 public law, 93251, a discount rate for
water, this is in your testimony, water resource development act of 7%. you mentioned that this is not the same, discount rate used by the executive branch for budgeting and economic benefits are how do you, since it's almost 40 years old, how accurate is that and how much sense as a makeup to to discount rates out there? >> sir, as we put together the chief's report, we use the current rate. and as it goes through the administration, they use the 7% as they tried to i guess it allies the projects that were finished seven or eight years ago, or 30 years ago, to those projects that are coming through now. >> how much time is spent spinning your wheels around a project that is funded and takes
over five years? during the process is actually, the funding is lost and not refunded? >> i'm sorry sir. i didn't understand the question. >> congress fund these projects forever to time, and clearly that time spent in many cases before the process can be studied has expired. what does that mean in real terms to you? >> certainly it slows the project down, both federal and nonfederal funding. so if there's not a steady stream of efficient funding, the project continues to be inefficient and not able to deliver on -- >> but doesn't also suggest because it takes a lot to study these that the process shouldn't be started unless the funny is guaranteed to the entire timeline? >> we use the funds that's appropriated until their expired, and then put a project
on hold for lack of funds. >> thank you. thank the chairman. >> representative holmes norton. >> actually that question my colleague went to one of my major concerns. given the number of projects that have been fortunate enough to be started, but not completed, is that process, is the process of funding depend upon annual appropriations, or up on funding in your, that you set aside is somehow in your own budget? >> typically, congresswoman, that's from an annual perspective, but there's a number of caveat's that if you
funds that you didn't expand in one year you can carry that over and keep the project going with over funds as well. >> i'm wondering what happens if a project is started, no funding for a number of years. i very much appreciate new approach. i don't see how could've been avoided in the first place going to those who are closest to them heeded -- completed. the only factor doing that now suggest that you want doing that before. and you weren't doing that before, and just all of these uncompleted projects, how did you keep the funds from being wasted? how were you funding these projects if you weren't going to the ones that are closest to
being completed? >> congresswoman, each of the projects that we move forward was with the idea that we're going to bring them to conclusion. as we're putting together a planning study we're doing engineering analysis. we are doing real estate announces. we are doing flood economics, environment. and all of that data is still there and available. if we can't use to move forward with a federal project, perhaps the locals can use the -- >> i'm interested in projects that may have been started and not completed. i mean, how many projects are out there that have been started and for lack of funding have not moved forward? >> many. >> no, if you ever get back to such a project, don't you find that some of the work has to be repeated or that there has been deterioration of engine and pointed?
would you describe to me what leading a project, waiting for funding does to that project, its completion and the efficiency of doing some? >> it will significantly impact generating the benefits that the project -- >> there will be some deterioration of work already done? in? >> if we start a physical construction, certainly that would be the case. and we have a project that we call on stead that will be out of the door at the end of the year and will start slowing this project down to the point where we'll be taking all the workers off of the site and just putting security guard at it. >> this is one, if anybody's interested in government waste, this is one of the most one of the greatest wastes one could even imagine. because if you ever get back to that project, you can't even
assure me, general walsh, candy, but you'll ever get back to such a project? because the funding may not be there? >> right. without the authority and the fund to move forward to completed project, we would have to close it down. >> so you can have a partially done project and all of that money should be counted as wasted. there's a project here in addition to a clinic that is considered high priority. out of talking about the levy on the mall. the reason of course is that it is high priority is that all your iconic monuments are located either on the mall or in the vicinity of the mall. you have difficulty with the contractor. i've been briefed on that. what is the state of this levee project on the mall? to protect the national mall. where you were only funded for
phase one, and what will come of face to? >> well, we will be able to use the funds appropriated to move forward as far as the funds are available. hopefully it will be enough to finish up phase one, as you mentioned that we have had a challenge with the current contract at and we have moved him off the site and have asked his insurance bond to come and take a project over. a district commander is due in negotiations with -- >> is there any chance that the levy on the national mall would be left unfinished? >> if there's not enough funds, then we would not be able to finish. >> but you say the funds had been appropriate. your problems with a contractor. you have surety. now that you have surety, can you assure me that, with the
available insurance, the levy, the mall that he will be completed? >> i can't -- >> at least face one. >> i can't give you that assurance right now, but it will talk to the division and district commander and respond to you. >> i wish you would get the response to the chairman who unsure would let me know within 30 days. thank you. >> mr. webster. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i had a question, general, there is a list of the final reports that are still under development. we have four projects in the everglades as you know.com and there is one that still not finalized which would be the fifth project. there is an italicized geekier of december 2013, which would be this year, that it is the potential of being finished. that is though a little something that says, barring any
legal problems, the project is the central everglades pilot project, and is an ongoing decades old lawsuit dealing with water quality. and i would assume that would be maybe the biggest holdup, i don't know, but my question is, is there any guarantees that that could be settled before the end of this year, or anything that might be able to tell me about that that we could finalize that after, it's been going on for a long time? >> yes. we are working on it diligently. we've briefed the assistant secretary for army faired off and on that particular project. you know, i couldn't guarantee we're going to have it done but we are putting the appropriate amount of effort to make sure we can deliver on that. >> would it be true, if we were
to stay with the way it's done right now, and the 2007 wrda bill and policy would remain the same, if we missed that deadline for getting the cheese report, and you have to wait to the next passage of another wrda bill keller to get included, would that be to? >> what we are looking at in particular, people, people sometimes think that it just needs a cheese report submitted to congress. what it really needs is a chief report decimated to the administration, goes to administered review and then sent over to congress. i believe the current authority as the chief reports that come through the administration are available for the congress to authorize. >> i was looking at in my next step which is a big step of getting the cheese report. next step is a chief report but it will be over to congress until it comes through
administrative review. >> but my question is if we missed that deadline, we would have to wait, if current policies taken place would have to wait until the next wrda bill in order to get the project moving? >> yes. that will be the next opportunity for regular order to pass an authorized project. >> thank you. yield back. >> mr. nolan, do you have a question? >> thank you, mr. chairman. and general walsh, thank you for your service, and your testimony here today. i just got a couple of quick questions here. i don't know if you can answer them or not, i hope so. the person who is quite familiar with the committee and the army corps and some others have suggested to me that in reviewing the chiefs report over the years that perhaps as much as two-thirds of the wrda
projects have been concentrated in the southern united states. and perhaps that's a result of katrina and the bp oil spill. but the state of mississippi, louisiana, texas, alabama and florida, how much of the total corps budget, in your judgment, is spent in the katrina impacted area versus elsewhere in the united states? >> congressman, that congress authorized $14 billion to build the flood damage -- around the greater new orleans. so that large amount of funds kind of changes the ratio of what things look like from around the u.s. so i don't know what they be your friend davie, but certainly that $14 billion, we are about
$11 billion into that particular project, 3 billion left to work. >> if you exclude that, taken out of the picture, how does it abortion across the country, do you think? >> i hadn't looked at it from that perspective, congressman. i've worked as a district commander in california in both san francisco, sacramento and we have plenty, enough projects there to work on. i was to commend for south atlantic division and had a number of projects also on the southeast. then it was a commander for the mississippi valley division. so from where i was sitting it seemed to be evenly placed, but i never sat down to work the numbers or the authorizations, really, you know, what we depend on what data that you're looking for, authorized projects or funds to a not quite sure what that speeded just trying to get
a feel for all the projects and the money is going. one other unrelated question, but an important one, and that is how much additional revenue do you estimate is needed for the corps to meet, what the court perceives to be the nation's existing needs to? >> so i don't know if i have an answer to that. certainly the water resource needs of the future in america will become more acute. ..
we have to address the water problems of this nation in the future. >> and that will require more revenue. >> that will require more authority and funding. >> thank you, general, for your service and the great job you do. >> mr. davis? >> thank you. general walsh, mr. brown, thank you for being here. jen greer also. it's nice to embarrass the stuff once in awhile -- >> i tried to do that also. >> jen greer and i worked together at the st. louis district and i had the pleasure working with the st. louis district personnel and rock
island and louisville district personnel. you have fine people that work for the corps of engineers. thank you for what you do. i want to center most of my comments and questioning on the metro east levee project in southwestern illinois. as you know, the levee district, a local district was created in 2009 called the southwestern illinois flood prevention district which was set up to bring revenue and to provide the local share of upgrading our levees that protect many of the areas in self western illinois. it seemed at that time that fema was through a the accreditation process to move the levees and to deaccredit them and rising costs for my constituents and your constituents in southwestern illinois. the locals have done their job.
they've put together a plan of action. they have made sure that they've gotten a revenue source to be able to move projects forward and they are a little frustrated right now. the first issue that has been brought to my attention is that there seems to be multiple layers of review in the st. louis district and in washington, d.c.. and it seems to salles project -- austal the project and we fight a battle of who's going to wait the longest, fema or the core for the locals to actually get this project done. at a time when federal funds are limited and we are asking these local sponsors like the southwestern flood prevention district to take on more responsibility for improving these deficient levees, what is the according to expedite the streamlining the technical and regulatory preview process of these local the sponsor project? and in particular, in them metro
east we have projects designed by private engineering firms, licensed professional engineers with documented expertise, but it seems the designs get caught up in these letters that i mentioned. so can you explain this and answer this question? >> yes, congressman. what -- by the way, what the local levee district was excellent in bringing in revenue so they can fund the project so that they need to move forward. the metro east project was authorized to provide a 500 your level of protection, and the locals wanted to work through and not go right to the 500, they want to go to a 100 level of chance of flooding through the 500 years. we have been working very closely with that board making sure as they do the engineering we have something called the 408 to make sure they are doing the
engineering correctly before they significantly influence that levee. we wouldn't want -- and adding to what degree -- we wouldn't want them to do something on the levee that protects that city that wasn't a tried and true method of providing the flooded reduction in that particular area. working closely with the engineers from there, they were using a technique that we hadn't seen used in a large way in that area. so we had to make sure that it was not only cutting edge, but also going to be providing benefits that were talked about. i think over time they recognized that was not the solution, and they've gone back coming up with a different, more tried and true engineering solution to that project. >> well, thank you, general walsh. my time is running out so i'm going to throw a few things in my last line of questioning to get you to respond.
first of all, when do you expect the decision that might be made so that we can move through this 408 process? what is your -- is there in the other information the locals need to provide that is subject to leave you, and could we get a time line on when the decision is expected? also, could you let me know when a decision is expected on the request by the locals for project labor agreement? the comment period is still open, but i want to know if you expect a decision soon coming and if so, when. also, general, i look forward to working with you on a couple pieces of legislation that i introduced. i want to see private partnership, the private public partnership act, the win3p project. i look forward to seeing projects up and down the mississippi and illinois river move forward and would love to hear a response on how you think that could affect the outcome of
the upgrading the lots. and also, since i represent an agriculture district, we have a bipartisan piece of legislation called the mississippi and navigation act. so, hopefully both of these proposals that are in the senate bill will be put in the house word of bill and i would like your take on both of them. thank you. >> thank you, congressman. >> mr. garamendi? >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you very much for the work that you and the men and women in the core do. it's extraordinarily important across the nation. i believe we have issues on the misery or some issues with the levee brakes. so the protection of the population from flooding is of utmost importance. it certainly is in my district and i represent 200 miles of the sacramento river valley including the river systems and the delta and california. for us here in the dias we have
a responsibility we took for under $15 billion out of the budget for sequestration and asking you to do more. i don't think that's responsible for us to do such a thing, but we did it. hopefully we can replace that money and more. the earmark is an issue. we've had many discussions about that in this committee. and we really need to get at that. it's something that's very important. we have the responsibility. and we have forgone that responsibility by eliminating our ability to direct projects. and i would -- i think we all know that. and we ought to find the courage to revisit and overcome the earmarks. specifically, general, you mentioned the 408 in the previous question. we - 408 issue on the levee project, the river program. about 40 miles of levee, of what most important to the city and
the surrounding communities. i know this is being processed, and i thank you for the work that is getting done in the 408 approved and out of the way. there are no issues, but if there's a further delay, we will miss this year's construction on a section of the river levee that has broken twice in the last 40 years. earlier many lives were lost. this is a shanghai proportion of that. i ask for your attention to that, and if possible, quick action on it so that that project can get under way. it is not federal funding involved here. it's a local program and state. beyond that, there are going to be many issues. there was a bill that was passed by the senate that only authorized those projects that have the report at the time of
enactment, which will probably cause projects that are important to members in this house and maybe some senators to be delayed as was discussed for some period of time until there is a new bill. we ought to take a close look at that. general common for comments on this would be appreciated. how can we overcome that particular problem where we would be dependent upon the chief's report until there is a new bill which could be years in the making. >> congressman, both the chairman and the minority have talked about that in their opening statements when the water resources development act started in the 70's and was under the impression that it would happen every two years and that is the method to authorize.
on the senate peace getting back to regular order as mentioned by the minorities is the approach. >> i suppose it wasn't a fair question to you. so, my apologies, general. i will let it go at this if you just look at the center project on the feather river. the 408 issue is before you and your shop and quick preview. all of the issues were addressed in the earlier review, and if you could pop that up that would be helpful and if we could get that project under way this summer in anticipation of next year's grain particularly on the shanghai banned. thank you very much, general. mr. chairman, i yield back. >> we will take a close look. it hasn't made its headquarters yet and i'm expecting it later this month. >> mr. chairman, if i might,
just general, california's then in the president's budget not well cared for. a lot of projects and a lot of work and i want to once again think the corps and the men and women in the core for their work on the project in california and we really appreciate. hamilton cities and others. >> thank you mr. chairman and general for being here. i'm over here. my name is ribble for northeast wisconsin including the cities of wisconsin athelstan. right on the shore of lake michigan. and i apologize in advance if my questions are redundant from something you've heard before. i had to step out of the room for ten minutes and somebody might have talked along the same line. but i've heard a lot of comments today about how do we speed things up? how do we make this more efficient? how do we actually get there? and based on your testimony today, it sounds like a project typically begins with a reconnaissance study, which when
that's done initiates a feasibility study which is six steps in a feasibility study,, currently going on there is a nepa studies and a series of checkpoints during the study to make sure that you are applying with the law. and then after that, there is a quality review of the study. after that, there's an agency technical review of the quality review, and then an external peer review. going on in to your testimony, they require a quality assurance review of documents that they are going to transmit to the corps headquarters which then corps headquarters performs a 45 day policy review in advance of the civil works preview. after the cwrb determines it sufficient, if the study is released for a 30 day stated agency review. after the state and agency review is done, the report of
the chief of engineers is finalized and processed in a final package that includes the agency responses to that. a signed report of the chief of engineers transmits to the secretary of the army for civil works. and then goes upon receipt of the report from engineers shall review and provide any recommendation regarding the project to converse with him 120 days ascw prior to the transmittal of the chief report to congress is responsible for determining the recommendations of the chief of engineers are compliant with army policy and putting applicable walls, executive orders and regulations, which entails an additional review to make sure that there are no unresolved issues. in addition, at the end of this coming you said in addition, the office of management and budget under executive order 12,322 reviews the proposed project for consistency's with principles and guidelines. i'm glad that they are reviewed.
i'm assuming some of these are required by law. men and women like those of us sitting up here at the table making you do these reviews. some of them are probably your efforts to make sure that things are done right. but it seems to me that we have created a system of previews that is now handcuffing the core from doing things that your core competencies should be able to do without these lawyers. i'm wondering is there a lack of confidence in the team that you require all of these reviews? or how do we get to the place that we can actually streamline these things so that the process can move forward which was saved the taxpayers money and work would get done and what actually boost our economy. >> thank you, congressman. sounds like you've got our process down. and if you are looking for -- no -- it is a difficult challenge
to minn fi jeeves report through all of the process these which is why they have adopted the planning modernization process as part of his campaign plan so that we can do a chief report in three years. so that is his requirement to us, and we are moving forward with putting those together. what that means at the beginning of the process we bring the three levels of the corps of engineers -- the headquarters, division and the district and non-federal sponsor together -- and we go through to make sure that we are scoping the project realistically. if it's a flood control project, what are the solutions to solve those. let's look at the policy level issues at the beginning of it as we are scoping the project and bringing it forward. >> can i interrupt you for a second? is this process the same for all projects or is there a difference between a flood
management project which seems to be fairly complex and may be judging the way in wisconsin which seems pretty simple to me. >> if the project is going through to get authorized by congress to have to go through this process to get. if it is a small project we have continuing authorities programs for those that are 5 million less and that is an abbreviated, some people say abbreviated process. but i think trying to get to the chief's report in three years is a key item that we are working on. to get through all of those hoops and hurdles that you mentioned. i call them hoops and hurdles but they are good policy reasons of why we do a lot of those particularly the state agency review and public review because there are things we might not have looked at as we are doing the engineering analysis the and so we are looking to get those
things completed in three years. >> in the ability that you can to let us know what we can do to help you to streamline this process, whether it is, current review system or something because this is hugely expensive to the taxpayer and the delay is more costly to the economy to it i don't mean to be critical i'm just trying to get my arms around a better policy going forward and with that i yield forward. >> thank you mr. chairman. i recently had the pleasure of welcoming your crew from new england, my district a couple weeks ago which people were very excited to have the day and we want to thank you. my grandfather helped build the locks and dams back in the 40's, so a long history. in the past, as it has already been mentioned by my colleague, the conference prioritized projects and the continuing
authorities program. given that that is not now happening and we are much more restricted in that, i am concerned that the program is over subscribed heavily. and how -- can you talk to us a little bit about how the court prioritizes projects in the continuing authorities put at this point? how many projects are currently in nicu for example? >> in the continuing devotees program, there is a -- it is oversubscribed in trying to get to those projects that are closest to being complete and prioritizing those funding is at the highest reasons and then bring them into a conclusion. and then going to the next one down on bill list is the best way with the capping of the program as the best way to go through it to get them to
completion and then get the next one. so instead of lots of projects with limited funds, let's work down the list. >> if you can give any advice, for example, i have a project in my district in connecticut that house matched funding coming in from the epa on some elements, coming in from the state government on a variety of different issues. is that something that's what receive additional priority because you already have additional funds and elsewhere. >> would certainly be included in the thought process in regards to the prioritization. but again i don't know where that project is and how close it is to completion, so i would have to look at that. but suddenly having more people at the table, contributing funds to a particular project is something that we are looking forward to in the future. what we are looking forward to putting a budget together
sometime in the future on the watershed approach right now we look at project by project and sometimes a project may have a negative impact in another area. so we are looking at how to look at all of the water resources needs in a watershed. we would bring in all of the federal agencies, non-governmental and local governments to try to figure out how to work on solving the needs from the watershed approach. >> i'm very grateful to hear that because we are not in of water stress regions of california. but rather these issues on watershed where if one community does one project, you can actually just aggregate issues further down the stream of floating issues. we are working very hard in connecticut, flexible, on the restoration of borders and screams. that's come in conflict with levee requirements in areas from 50 years ago and we have a great deal of tension around that city
water should approach would be extremely helpful for a district like mine and where we have this increase of severe weather regions, which in my previous hearing we were hearing about severe weather even, science committee. that we are going to see more of this and we are going to see more rapid downpour putting stress on the watershed that previously didn't have flooding and aren't going to have flooding. so again, we share concerns about inadequate funding making your job difficult, making your task and our shared task of ensuring the safety of the community and our citizens, putting them at risk. we look forward to working with you. thank you. i yield back the balance of my time. >> mr. rice? >> thank you, sir. thank you congenital walsh, for being here today. i had the opportunity to meet with general walsh. pure decades of distinguished
service, and honorable bright man who has done a lot for our country and your work on this is critically important. i hope if there's anything more important than keeping the nation competitive with the rest of the world i fink we are feeling a little when that regard ought because of your efforts but because of ours. infrastructure is the key to that dollars -- to find the infrastructure dollars. in the studies that you have to undertake, it allows the infrastructure dollars to be diverted into the studies, rather than digging ports or laying asphalt or building levees. so, that is my concern. i listened to the process that
mr. ribble laid out and i realize we have an incredible amount of work to do in that regard. certainly we have to protect the environment, but we also have to protect our economy. anything we can do -- i think we have placed you on a fais. you are caught between congress encouraging you and pushing you to make things happen more quickly and trying to satisfy phill -- velo laws that we have put in place. i appreciate your effort to do both and i want to know what we can do to help you accomplish that. >> congressman, i think the recognition that the infrastructure is key to the future of being competitive is going to be very important. a lot of times when we talk about infrastructure, we talk
about the roads and the runways and sometimes we forget to talk about the reverse. so, as a nation we address the infrastructure issues of the future we need to also recognize that fourth r as we move forward. the civil engineering released their report a month ago that said our infrastructure is a d and isn't getting well fast. i don't know how -- it will be a challenge to remain competitive as we head into the future. as other people are beginning to develop their water resources such as brazil, india, china i and others. so, i think as a nation we need to recognize that the infrastructure is tremendously important. and not so much in expense, but an investment of future benefits. >> i completely agree with you and have used those same words. when i look at projects like the
port of miami which have taken over a decade for approval it doesn't involve any federal dollars. and when i look at the fact that the panama canal is open for these in a year and a half, and we are only going to have to ports on the east coast that can take, i recognize that we have got to get ourselves out of the way and get these infrastructure projects built because if they drop the cost of transporting a container by 10% and we can't take these ships, then we are placing our american businesses at a disadvantage and we will lose real american jobs. so we have to work our way out of this conundrum and simplify this process. i appreciate the fact that you have put yourself into this with this three bytes read by all the encouragement to you is we get it to a one by one. [laughter] because when i think about the fact they've been working on
this miami port project for 13 years, and you mentioned brazil, india and china -- i wonder how many ports have been deepened in that area and that 14 year period. even if we started building today, that project wouldn't be completed by the time the panama canal is up. i look for your suggestions on how we can deal with it. c. three. i yield back my time. >> thank you. >> the gentleman from north carolina mr. meadows is recognized. >> thank you, chairman davis and general walsh. mr. brown as well. i don't want to address any specific projects, but i do want to go back and follow-up on what the gentleman from south carolina was hitting on, and it's about the speed of the project. we never kill a project we just study it.
the problem with that is we studied and studied it until eventually it goes away or it gets defunded or people hall were so much that we've got to do something about it. so, with the three bayh three process, i see a lot of our problem being more regulatory and administrative verses those that are dedicated by congress. what i would ask you to comment on specifically is what regulatory agencies do you see whether they are federal or state agencies creating the most burdensome regulatory compliance issues you are having to deal with to get some of your studies done so that we can get construction to actually happen. >> well, sir, we work with the federal regulatory agencies, state agencies -- >> if you could eliminate one,
which one would it be? >> i don't know why let the elimination of any agencies that are out there. certainly -- and i know you might agree if you have traveled to a lot of international places -- some places that don't put as much effort in their environment, and they are water and air that's just deplorable. so, our environmental laws were put in place and have significantly help our environment. >> so you're saying you wouldn't change any of them? what i'm trying to find out, what are the regulatory things you're having to deal with that if you were in my position he will say let's get rid of this? and you're saying every regulation and every policy we have out there right now has an ultimate good? i think you're quote was that it's a good policy. so you're saying you wouldn't
get rid of anything to speed up the process? >> at this point as we go through the regulatory process, as people are looking at the things that was authorized by congress to look at if they are talking from a federal perspective, from the state certainly the state historic preservation is something that we need to look at as we go through a particular project. and i think to look at things from the historical perspective we should be doing that as well. so i can't think of something that i would say this is the red star that i should ask you. >> not a single federal regulation that you would get rid of? >> not a red star question that i would tell you, no. >> are there any agencies you would prefer that you don't have to work with somebody from a different agency so that you can streamline the