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tv   Senate Energy Hearing on Interior Budget  CSPAN  March 16, 2018 8:00pm-10:14pm EDT

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.. >> interior secretary ryan zinke testified before a senate committee on the 2019 budget request for the department. the secretary also responded to questions about allegations that he used taxpayer money to fly on private jets. this is two hours and 10 minutes.
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>> good morning. the committee will come to order. we are here today to consider the presidents budget request for the department of interior fiscal year 19. this is the first of three budget hearings we intend to hold this year that we will be looking forward to hearing from both the department of energy and u.s. forest service in the weeks ahead. secretary ryan zinke, welcome back to the floor of the committee. appreciate you being here this morning with your team. you and i have worked closely to chart a path to greater energy security which as you have noted, runs right through the state of alaska.
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i would like to thank you for all you uhave done to help alaska and the nation this past year. he made one of your first trip to secretary up north. and i also thank you for just recently sending debbie secretary bernhardt and assistant secretary bayless to the state next week. without you engage local communities and stakeholders as interior lays out a framework for responsible exploration and development in that 1002 area. thank you for sending them up. the budget request aims to build the momentum created over the past year. the department is requesting a total of $11.7 billion in discretionary appropriations for fiscal year 2019. overall it is a reduction of more than $1 billion to the current level but in line with the administrations efforts to shift more funding to defense needs. while i do not agree with everything in the request, i think it is fair that is a lot better than we have seen in recent years and i thank you
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for that. it focuses on taking care of the land.the federal government already owns. rather than continuing to buy more. and it will help us increase responsible production about funding natural resources that we both share. one highlight in the effort is the new draft five-year plan for offshore leasing. which put almost all the areas on the table, at least from the start. i was emphasized that it was the starting point. they can lot of members of the committee i support a new plan that provides greater access, while protecting areas where development may not perhaps be right at this time. this request also reinforces our efforts to improve our nations mineral security. both the president and you secretary think you have recognize that this is a critical issue. we need to continue to address our mineral security this year through both continued administrative actions and complementary legislation. within the request i support the funding proposed for modern
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geologic mapping which will greatly contribute to the effort. during her confirmation hearing, mr. secretary, you may commitment to work on the backlogs of deferred maintenance and the national parks. this request reflects that commitment to the legislative proposal to create a new public lands infrastructure fund which was recently introduced by senator alexander. of course we're still examining the proposals and details of that bill. senator portman had long been laid on many of the parks issues and also has a bill that we anticipate will be looking at in the weeks ahead. mr. secretary, i do appreciate your effort in reducing that backlog priority. in working with not only the members of this committee, senator portman and senator alexander but others on this. one thing we can all agree on is that the federal government needs to be a good neighbor to
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those with federal lands in their states. that front the administrations proposal to extend this in lieu of taxes program i think is a good sign. with regard to territories i was pleased were able to authorize in 2010 agreement to continue financial agreements to -- as part of the defense authorization bill. i want to fully fund that agreement in the near future and finally meet obligations to our partners there. finally let's take a moment to note interesting data that the partnership for public service recently sent our way. according to the survey the department .of interior improve on all 10 workplace categories in 2017. from effective leadership and empowerment and fairness to strategic management and support for diversity. i think we know that the department has not always fared well in these types of surveys. last year showed improvement so i appreciate your continued work to ueimprove the culture a
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performance. i think that we are seeing that prove out. again, mr. secretary, i thank you for being here this morning. i thank you for your leadership.we all have opportunity for questions after hearing your statements. i thank you four appear before the committee. >> thank you, madam chair. the trump administration in the past is overseen an attack on public lands and the nation strong conservation ethic that i believe is unprecedented. this budget and the secretaries actions i think represent an abandonment of the secretaries stewardship responsibility of the public resource. in 1903, the supreme court described the secretary of interior as quote - the people's guardian of our public lands. secretaries inky assurance during his confirmation hearing that he would manage the interior department like teddy roosevelt conservationist. i believe his actions and public policies have been the exact opposite. in the past year, the president
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and secretary zinke have abandoned responsibility stewardship of the public land and undermine the public trust by removing over 2 million bears ears e national monument and grand staircase in utah. it is proposed opening up drilling on the outer continental shelf waters to oil and gas and places that united states previously turned down. it is suggesting allowing trophy hunters to import other elephant body parts. many of these actions are not popular with the public. and are legally being challenged in court. i believe these actions will ultimately be overturned as unlawful exercises of presidential or secretarial power. they also show that secretary zinke and the trump administration abandoned any pretense of a balanced approach to managing federal lands is that a favoring industry over
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conservation and the taxpayer. the presence budget proposal for 2019 attend has responsible for stewardship of the nationals resources and public good. let's keep conservation incorporated programs and favors energy development at any cost. at a time when the visitation to the national parks is at record levels, the budget proposes cutting management and maximum programs at the national parks is that of maximizing the opportunities for our citizens and the public. these funding and staffing cuts are made worse by the secretaries ill-conceived proposal to raise park entrance fees to $70 and some of the nations most popular national parks. including mount rainier and ludwig national park in my state. this is almost a 300 percent increase. how does that make sense? the two national proxima stick together have more than 4.8 million visitors per year. your proposal oswould increase that park entrance fee and cost visitors to the parks an
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additional 215 million dollars per year. the impact on the parks, it impacts the livelihood of businesses and communities throughout my state. secretary, while my constituents are hearing about private jet rides and expensive doors, they want to understand why someone is proposing to raise park fees at this level. i have heard from many washingtonians and their concern that they will not be able to afford going to national parks and the fees are absurd. these increases impose on americans public lands are also in sharp contrast to the millions of dollars of royalty reductions that the secretary is proposing for oil and gas and coal companies. the staffing and budget cuts in the national parks also combined with similar budget cuts and virtually all nonenergy programs in the interior she is the administrations failure to recognize importance of the outdoor recreation economy. further proof of the administration efforts is that
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almost all appropriate funds for the land and water conservation fund are cut. one of the most successful programs. in fact, the budget goes further by proposing to resend previously fuappropriated land and water conservation funds. it also dramatically cuts funding programs to the management of water in the west. and i can tell you, this committee has dealt effectively with this issue. but a lot more needs to be done. we can't have programs or conservation programs, drought resiliency programs, grants to help fund rural and tribal communities cut, leaving both farmers, fishermen, tribes and communities high and dry. secretary zinke proposal policing is also presented in my opinion. it allows for offshore oil and gas drilling and over 90 percent of the coastal waters, including off the coast of washington and oregon. and these are things that have been considered in the past and shelved. dramatic increases in offshore oil and gas development in our
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area proposed a direct threat to a robust coastal ocean economy. the patient communities, recreation communities in my state are opposed to this idea. secretary zinke is also playing a political game in choosing where opto drill is a secretari decision less than exemptions of learned while ignoring opposition from at least 10 other states. i think it has made this process seem very arbitrary and capricious to taxpayers. on top of that, obviously there are other safeguards and regulations being proposed to roll back to the presence budget would also -- environmental resource. this is very important as there are important questions we do not have answers on oil. emily took one minute for that. the senate and the house have upheld important legislation to make sure that we have common sense regulations relating to oil and gas leasing. and not unnecessarily the waste
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of methane gas. fortunately, the courts have continued to say that we need to hold this up. making sure that the administration takes action. but the administration continues to block the ffimplementation of these important rules. lester the sentence book on this and they defeated an effort to roll back the methane rule using the congressional review act. senators recognize that wasting $330 million of the publix national resource era and yet, the city has continued to try to come forward in various ways. so i am madam chair, c disappointed this budget proposal and the actions of this administration as it relates to these important issues. yes, i can talk a lot about private planes, helicopters and doors. there are also very important policy issues that they hope to focus on and get answers from my constituents. thank you. >> thank you, senator.
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collins, cantwell. i need a little coffee! it is daylight savings. secretary ryan zinke. we welcome the opportunity to speak to the fiscal year 2019 budget request for the department of interior. these proceed. >> thank you, madam chairman. ranking members. many members. the opportunity to offer e support for the presidency 20 budget for the department of interior. with your permission i would like to submit my entire record. >> it will be included as part of the record. >> the president has made it very clear about his priorities. he has spent the first year in office keeping the promises he has made to the american people and their many promises and their many promises kept. this budget is a major step towards keeping another one of
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the presidents promises, rebuilding infrastructure. the president is the son of a plumber as i am. i look forward to working with him restoring the brightness and historic investment of public lands infrastructure. this is the largest investment in our public land infrastructure in the nations history. let me repeat that. this is the largest investment in our public lands infrastructure in the history of this country. our public lands are our greatest treasures. but they have suffered serious neglect from our nations leaders over the years. from both sides. our interior deferred meanness backlog is $16 billion. $11.6 billion of that can be found in the national park service alone. this includes everything from our roads, bridges, tunnels, visitor centers and restrooms.
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at the grand canyon national park, as an example, visitors receive water from an obsolete pipeline. it has broken more than 80 times the 2010. this forced emergency rationing, costing millions of dollars to fix over and over again. the presidents budget proposal requires legislation for new public land infrastructure funds to address deferred maintenance problems and this is a legislative priority. the fund would provide up to $18 billion over 10 years for maintenance improvements in our national parks. our national wildlife refuges and bureau of indian education funds. similar to the water and land and water conservation fund, it would be funded from energy revenues. all energy. not just oil and gas. all energy from public lands.
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the budget also includes is $1.3 billion for construction repairs. infrastructure is not merely an expense. it is an investment, improved infrastructure is an economic driver. t our public lands should be fo the benefit and enjoyment of the people as the roosevelt arch in yellowstone national park. so proudly proclaims. in 2016, 330 million visitors went through our parks system. half a billion through interior lands. it is estimated that those .4visitors spent $18.4 billion our parks alone. overall, recreation is $887 billion in consumer spending and employees 7.6 million people. all americans should have the opportunity to enjoy a national park. but without an investment in the infrastructure to go along with a record-setting method
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visitors, we are loving our parks to death. i was pleased to join senators alexander, kang, daines, heinrich, gardner, phyllis, manchin this week -- and introducing the blueprint act which is in the budget. it is bipartisan. along with being the chief steward of public lands i'm also responsible for the education of 40,000 american indian students that deserve a world-class education too. the infrastructure fund supports hundred 50 bureau of indian education schools in 23 states. the school meanness backlog stands about 634 billion. also across indian country, the major epidemic is a problem along with drugs. with the presidents leadership, we are cracking down on drug dealers who are o selling out t our kids.this proposal
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invests in joint federal efforts like opioid task force that we have already conducted. we are also seeing a great opportunity to reorganize the department of interior for the next 100 years just as teddy roosevelt did a century ago. as a retired navy s.e.a.l. commander, i believe in giving more authority to the front lines where they should reside so decisions can be made at a local level rather than washington d.c.. clearly the one-size-fits-all model has been ineffective. the budget includes $18 million to begin shifting resources to the front line in the field and establish unified digital boundaries for interior bureaus. this organization will enable us to achieve our core mission of stewardship. planning this organization i've taken account of feedback of congress, governors and
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interior employees and stakeholders. it is an organization based on science. watershed life -- wildlife corridors brought in professionals to look at it. adjusted the boundaries originally a practical and i met with the governors. like , roosevelt century ago we went to achieve the greatest good for the greatest are using best science and best practices. this budget also recognize the american strength relies on american energy. under president trump we are pursuing energy dominance. last year was about energy. this year is a pivot about conservation, infrastructure and dereorganization. the president has delivered his promise of energy. the budget includes $3 million american energy development to continue our mission. presently, we stand at 10.6 million barrels a year in the country. the first time in 60 years we are exporting liquid natural
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gas. all told our budget request for fiscal year 2019 is $11.7 billion. with the proposed transfer of the department of defense for compact that raises it to $11.8 billion. this budget clearly lays out top priorities of the administration and space to the priorities of the american people. rebuilding our infrastructure, fixing our schools, achieving energy dominance, and holding on for fiscal responsibility. above all, we do it in a responsible manner. understand that we are the steward of our greatest treasures. with that i am happy to take your questions. >> thank you, mr. secretary. and again, i will repeat my thanks for your focus on the energy side of the business that you and the president clearly addressed last year. and we have, i think, a great
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deal to do to fulfill what was begun. but we have made considerable progress and i look forward to even more of that. i am going to keep my questions this morning relatively parochial to alaska. i know members will have questions about the backlog and reorganization. i will go broader in the second round. but let me first begin, mr. secretary, with the eastern interior resource management plan. as you know this came down in the last few days of the obama administration. one of the plans particular, this is the 40 mile district, turned a management machine that worked for decades that literally turned it on its head. in addition we have our gold miners in the 40 mile district that had some real trouble working on standards for revegetation. and this has been really quite
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problematic. so the question for you this morning is whether or not we have any administrative, excuse me, administrative options to address some of the very valid concerns that exist with regard to this 40 mile plan. if you're willing to work with us to help restore balance to that plan and specific to the revegetation standards. if we can find a solution to help our minors out in that area. >> thank you for that question. restoring trust in being a good partner is what interior should be. a government should not be an adversary. and it has been clear across the states that some policies have not been willing to be developed when you listen to the local populations. while i did have the deputy secretary and our asl up there talking to the 40 mile miners
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there are some administrative procedures that we can do. we are looking at streamlining it. reclamation and mining as a geologist, the fair preposition is, if you're going to develop s on federal land, there needs to be a reclamation plan to make sure it is returned to as good or better condition than what you found it. there are a number of advanced technologies in reclamation that we need to incorporate into our regulatory framework to ensure that happens. often times, our regulations do not take into account innovation. they do not take into account science or best practices. so when a regulatory framework becomes punitive on an industry and the local population use it as targeting, then there is a breach of trust. so, we are aware of it and we look forward to working with you and the good folks up there to make sure we have a path forward.
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>> well, and i thank you for the willingness to work with this. again, these are the small, some of them are the smallest of the small. the gold miners operating out there and again, in an area and in a manner that is certainly sensitive to the environment. they have been able to make it work well for decades. we want to t be able to return to that but we need some working with the administration on this. another effort in rural alaska is the ambler road which would help to facilitate not only minerals, but jobs in the region. and there is an issue that is coming up right now with regards to permits and approval for ambler road. and one issue is whether or not the park service can complete its assessment prior to the completion of the nepa and the
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eis that comes with it. it has been one of the situations where we just cannot seem to get the agencies on the same page. all i am asking for this morning is your commitment to work with the army corps on this issue so we can make sure the basically the federal agencies are working together instead of a little bit here, a little bit there. it needs to be more coordinated and your system this would be appreciated. >> and thank you and i agree with you. part of the frustration has been multiple agencies involved in the same project with different objectives, different locations, independently producing multiple biological opinions with results and delay, arbitrary results. so part of the reorganization in the interior is to address just that.
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making sure the arms of the government work together to produce the best possible outcome given based on science, best practices, longest good, greatest term. so we are working and i'm happy to report that we are going to have the decision on it shortly. we have the lead. we are working with the army corps of engineers. the president also has tasked us to look heavily at the army corps y of engineers to see if can't look at streamlining the process with the army corps of engineers.which affects a lot of our projects. they are really good people but some of it, rdthe way the syste is set up, does not allow them to move forward and this is an example. >> well, it is an example and i appreciate the focus from within the department on permitting. and some of the regulatory overlap that we just get snarled up with. so the effort that has been made to move forward on a
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permitting perspective has been appreciated. we just need more in that area. senator cantwell. >> thank you. mr. secretary, you're asking working americans to pay higher fees on entering national parks, is that correct? >> our proposal looked at multiple options in our parks. one of them was to look at our top 10 parks or so and look at peak season. our proposal also looks at our past. i have spent a lot of time in the kiosk and it is amazing in our parks which the maintenance, as you know,, we are far behind. but when you give discounted or free passes to elderly, fourth-graders, veterans, disabled, and you do it by the carload. there is not a whole lot of people actually pay at our y front door.
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as well as you have a lot of foreign guests. a lot of population of them. so we are looking at ways to make sure that we have more revenue in the front door on themselves. because when you have a park like rainier, the money they receive in the front gate, want to make sure more because the park superintendent. so he has flexibility in how to spend it. right now much of it comes back to washington d.c. and the superintendent do not have enough flexibility in my opinion, to spend the money. park fees, does not and will not ever addressed $11.7 billion. it just won't. a lot of the parks have record visitation, certainly last year we expect them to have record visitation again and we are looking at the proposal of many different options. one of them is during peak season, raising the rate.
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we have not yet concluded and likely liwe will look at it and make sure there's not any unintended consequences. >> and i understand your statement they think we should raise them on veterans and fourth-graders? >> no, i am saying this. we subsidize and we allow by design, a lot of people to go through. if you are in a car and you have a veteran in the car, everyone, whether they are a veteran or not, is free in that car. the same thing with the disabled.same thing with an elderly on passes. basically, one person with the past, everyone in that car comes in for free. whether for not that is correc we are looking at it. but what clearly is the case as we have been $11.7 billion backlog. the greatest bargain in stameri is the $80 a year pass.
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i just shook my kids to the theater. after paying and having popcorn is more than $80. and this is a pass all year long. this is ways that we looking at to make sure we have revenue coming in the door of the principal parks and it is appropriate. making sure we still have value. because american parks belong to the public. they belong to all americans and everyone should have access. >> well, we definitely think we should be increasing access. not just incentivizing it. i want to ask you about the issue about the agency and spending money on things that may not be in the public interest. he took a private jet home from las vegas. do you think that was a mistake? >> first, insults, innuendos are misleading. i never took a private jet anywhere. the previous secretary spent 80 trips just under $1 million. i took three trips, one of them, was with the senator,
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your chair. on a prop plane. a second one was with the governor of the virgin islands and the prime minister. again, a prop jet in between on this to make sure that we were on time. and the third was to take a king air, late at night, after traveling all the way across nevada to meet and 8:00 in the morning meeting with the governor of montana. for the governors conference. so i resent the fact of your insults. i resent the fact that they are misleading. i resent the fact of doors and i will go through line by line. and do you know what? also, sally jewell, i think she was right. i think her travel patterns, even though she took a private chartered airplane, was met by helicopter, and a height, i think she was right because as interior, she was a hiking and
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doing what she was supposed to be doing. so given that, if light from the north slope down to anchorage, with the chair, to allege it is a private jet, is inappropriate. >> well, mr. secretary, i'm giving you ample time in a simply ask you a question about that private jet trip to vegas. i guess we will ask you in writing and maybe we will get an answer. the ig is looking at this issue. and we are looking at the larger issue of how time and money is spent. and the reason why we are is because of our citizens who want to know why there park fees are going up and they are reading the stories. so i think the ig said they agency made a mistake when it was trying to use wildfire preparedness money to take helicopter tours in nevada when that was not the purpose. so, what we want is to see the answers and transparency within the agency. so will ask you again for the written record and hopefully we will get a more succinct answer. thank you. >> senator.
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>> thank you, chairman. thank you mr. secretary for being here. i appreciate your testimony and acknowledge that there are many issues facing the department requiring immediate attention. after we spoke about several billion-dollar problems facing the department. -- over the last several months the department has offered a series of proposals for raising additional revenue. i would like to ask you to talk a little about how you envision is programs would work together. to deliver funds on the ground. >> we face in a number of challenges in the interior. one of them is we have multiple bureaus with different regions. we have, readers are not based on ecosystems, watersheds, so structurally, it is very difficult for an old department like interior to work together. i give the example of a fish
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and trout in the same stream. upstream you have a damn and dousing of irrigation. if the stream goes by the fish are -- the fish are fish and wildlife by me. upstream, watershed or temperatures generally army corps of engineers. downstream irrigation is bureau of reclamation. a forest service holding, department of agriculture, subsurface is blm. same stream, same issue. you can have multiple biological opinions, produced independently! with different results. some of them none reconciled. so i think we should look at making things like recreation, permitting and nepa to do it jointly. to rearrange our regions to be unified. based on watersheds and
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science. that will be enormously helpful. recreation, our trail systems should connect. nepa system should be in the same page in the scope and permitting and, nepa and permitting need to be separate because they comfort the benches. but it should be everyone there in the beginning. the department of defense went to a reorganization act in 1983 as you know. by forest fires this way jointly. but when we manage our land, we are not in a joint scenario. which i think will be the biggest help in eliminating some bureaucracy. >> thank you very much imr. senator. january 26 of this year, the blm issued a draft environmental impact statement for the congress county oil and gas project. a project for wyoming. blm estimates the project is going to bring 8000 jobs as much as $20 billion in economic activity to the state. i have concerns the blm draft
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environmental impact statement needs to be revised to maximize the success of the project. specifically the draft eis does not include clear guidance for year-round drilling and it doesn't fully acknowledge the ongoing work by the state of wyoming. specifically to implement our guidance on the greater sage grouse core area of protection. the timely correction of these errors and completion of the environmental review for this project is critical to the states economy and donations energy security. i asked mr. . secretary if you will work to ensure that the blm will complete the final eis in a timely manner and issue a record of decision consistent with the administrations commitment to achieving energy dominance. >> we certainly will commit to working with you and making sure the eis is fair. and make sure takes into consideration the stewardship responsibilities as well as the presidents energy dominance
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policy. as secretary of interior, it is really two sides. even roosevelt said, that conservation is as much development as it iis protection. and as interior, i have responsibilities on both sides. i am not oil and gas centric. i am american energy centric. and there are places where drilling for oil is absolutely appropriate and there places that are not. and so that is why we have nepa, those are the process of nepa has been the backbone of what i think is strong and appropriate policy in the country. so our commitment is to get the eis out and make sure it is done fairly. make sure it is done based on science and then from there, we the best determination we can. >> and finally, mr. secretary, lester when you testified before the committee on the
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department budget, asked her to take steps to ensure that the blm field office was like the one in casper had sufficient resources to process the new oil and gas permit applications and clear the sizable backlog. i am t encouraged by the progre the department has made on the issue. also encouraged by the attention you and deputy secretary bernhardt have paid to this and other issues with cooperation among agencies you all receive. i look forward to getting to work with you and your staff to resolve lingering concerns with the departments proposed action for the moose wilson road in the national park and i continue to urge you to listen to stakeholders across the west as we move forward with your ambitious proposal to reorganize the department. thank you. >> thank you. >> mr. secretary, during your esconfirmation hearing imagine teddy roosevelt nine times. oregonians have a strong appreciation for teddy roosevelt is a conservationist and as a president.
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but his signature he created the crater lake national park. it is the deepest lake in the united states known for its beautiful blue. teddy roosevelt understood that when you sell off for exploits your public lands, you don't get them back. mr. secretary, that is something you do not seem to understand at all. first, he pushed the largest reduction of conserved treasure public lands in american history. 2 million acres sacrifice for private exploitation. second, you propose opening america's precious codes for offshore oil drilling. only to walk it back in one state where it seemed it was a potential republican senate candidate who opposed it. i can tell you in our state,
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oregonians do not want to look out over haystack rock and see oil derricks. third, during the most expensive wildfire season in recorded history, you played a shell game with a wildfire account at interior to pay for an unrelated helicopter ride. and this is another matter that the inspector general is looking at. so my first question, mr. secretary, is, would teddy roosevelt be sitting where you are today advocating the virtual elimination of the land and water conservation fund? >> mr. senator, i challenge you to give me one -- >> i would like a response to a question, mr. secretary. time is short. >> it is short and challenge you to give me one square inch of land that has been removed from federal protection. one square inch.
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in the case of bears ears, as you stated, bears ears after restored, 400,000 acres of wilderness. after restored almost an entire national forest, the boundary of the revised area is still larger than zion and bryce canyon combined. what i did do is increase public access. and traditional rights. under the trump administration interior, we've actually increased ordinance last year. specifically in new mexico. and i worked with the delegation in utah because utah where bears ears and staircase is the entire congressional delegation including your colleagues and the governor wanted it rescinded. i did not resent it. -- >> now you have wasted half of my time. could you give me a reason for an explanation for whether
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teddy roosevelt sitting where you are would advocate a budget that virtually eliminates the land and water conservation fund? >> i believe that the land and water conservation makes $122 million available. it does not add more property into the federal estate. but our budget also has the largest investment in the history of this country on three critical areas. one is maintenance backlog of our parks system. two, maintenance backlog of our wildlife refuge system which teddy roosevelt initiated. and thirdly, making sure that we meet the treaty obligations of 40,000 american native kids. that is the largest investment in history of this country. so i believe teddy roosevelt would be proud of the focus on preserving, protecting and maintaining our treasures. >> what i asked you though, because it is in your budget,
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is whether he would support something that is so fundamental. for example, to what you said, in your prepared statement. which is increasing access to public lands. and i'm quite certain that teddy was about would not be here defending the virtual elimination of land and water conservation fund and i want to close on a personal note. mr. secretary, you and i talked a lot before your confirmation. and i felt, in an attempt to build a bridge to work with you, particularly in a state where the federal government owns most of the land, i would support your nomination. and i did. i voted for your nomination. i will tell you right now, as of today, it is one of the biggest regrets of my time in public service. thank you, madam chair. >> senator portman.
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>> thank you, madam chair. secretary, thank you for joining us today it is good to see you. we have talked about our shared passion for the national parks on a number of occasions including the national park number 11 visited park in the country. and also ohio's home to other great national parks as including the dayton heritage national historical park. where the wright brothers rate work is preserved. like you, i'm very concerned about the $12 billion maintenance backlog at the parks. that is why i am pleased that with the help of chairman -- and the ranking member we were able to pass the national park service centennial act. this is at the end of 2016. as you may recall. that has worked in the sense that wit provides funding that is not matched. we think that about $65 million
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from the federal government has gone into this challenge project has resulted in about $500 million in nonfederal funds. a lot of it comes from the national park foundation. there is a $460 million since 2016. so that is helping and again, i think sharon murkowski for ensuring that the centennial challenge part of this, which is the part that can leverage private sector funding, was included in the fiscal year 2017 funding bill. $20 million in mt, $50 million in 16. my question for you is, how can we ensure we have a stable level of funding for that centennial challenge? as you know, in the legislation which codifies something congress already did by appropriations, also included a funding source. that was to be sure that the senior -- was reformed so we
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would have some funding on a naval base to be deposited in centennial challenge. my question for you is, how much has the centennial challenge fund received? if you can tell says part of that senior pass and how much you expect to be put in the 2018 and 19 as part of this increase? >> thank you for your question. in the budget is $15 million for the centennial park challenge fund. i have talked to the national park foundation. they have done wonderful job, the target of raising private funds is just under a billion this year. and i believe that it will make it. we have a great board. as you know, when you are addressing an $11.7 billion backlog, even though the centennial was a great program, it did not meet the requirement of our funding of our parks. the last great effort was really mission 66 back from 56
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to 66. iowhich was a great effort and much of our buildings today are a reflection of that program. >> if you just let me for a second, is a look at that fiscal year 19 better from you all, jesse running for the centennial challenge. with the exception of the senior pass. again, we fought hard to get the funding into the appropriations bills and crs and now the -- again, kevin murkowski has been a leader on that. my question to you was, -- >> i have 15 million in it. >> in the fiscal year 19 budget? >> mandatory funding in 2019. >> is that from the senior pass? >> i will figure out whether it is from the senior pass but it is offsetting collections which i believe it is. >> okay. >> i will check what it should be. >> it will be historical level.
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that happens, great. i am asking if you want to work on the appropriations to make sure we can continue this important part of the overall effort to deal with the maintenance backlog. i agree with you it is not enough. but it is critical that we have it. the broader mpquestion is, how you get at this $12 billion in a more significant way? and as you know i have legislation i worked on the last couple of years with senator warner. it is called the legacy park act. to provide remedies for maintenance backlog projects. my question is can you commit to working with us on the legacy act commission we can take these reviews and provide a funding source to deal with the maintenance backlog? >> certainly can. to be clear, the proposal in the budget is capped at $80 million. dethe proposal that i do suppor is taking and addressing how do
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you get to $18 billion in revenue? i think is a fair preposition that if you look at energy across the board whether it is wind, solar, mining, any energy, and i think if you will gain resources and wealth from public lands, then a fair s.preposition is, he should als contribute to the maintenance backlog and preservation of those lands. so that is where the $18 billion comes from. we think that we can get there in eight years. given the scale of what has occurred. especially if alaska comes online. >> we would love to work with you on that. i hope you will work with us. your proposal as we look at it does not have guaranteed funding. because the treasury has an estimate of what will come in and anything over that estimate would be provided for maintenance backlog. our legislation is a little different. it provides that funding as a secure source. in other words, it is guaranteed. and another you have worked with other senators apparently
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on another proposal, but we have been at this a wild. i think a good proposal is bipartisan. i hope you will be able to work with us on this proposal as well. >> absolutely, you have my commitment. i will work with you. i think we both share the same issue that we have to address long-term. so 10 yes or no we do not look back and we are still behind. so i think it's a long-term solution. i do think we are similar on energy. i am more inclusive. i include wind and everything that is on federal land. i would love to work with you on it. >> thank you. i have another few questions for the record secretary, thank you for being here. >> senator smith. >> thank you, madam chair. and secretary zinke. it is nice to meet you. i would like to ask about the lewis whand clarke regional wat system. which is, actually you know a critically needed one or project that serves south dakota and iowa and minnesota. our states have been awaiting
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federal funding from the bureau of reclamation to complete the project which was authorized about 18 years ago. and when it is finally finished is going to be a vital source of drinking water and also a very important economic development driver in our three states. and in southern minnesota where there is actually a shortage of water. the federal funding of this has been delayed and of course, as you know how this goes, ultimately means that it ends up costing more. the estimate, current funding levels we would be completed with the product by 2048. costing the taxpayers an additional $55 million. in the meanwhile, the state, including my state have been filling the gap. so that the project will continue. my question is this, in the presence budget, there is $100,000 for this project. which is clearly not a serious number. would you agree with that? >> you -- overall the budget is
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$34 million. the presidents infrastructure has a significant i think 25 percent in rural but you are right. it, at the end of the day, the budget is difficult on the bureau of reclamation. we think there is some flexibility in infrastructure. particularly when it looks at the bureau of reclamation holdings. i am from montana. and there is a saying that whiskeys for drinking water is for fighting. and montana on the east side there is a number of these legacy projects from bureau of reclamation. that need federal assistance. the grand bargain though, when you're reclamation was put in place, was the federal government would come in and invest. and then over time the land users, the water users, would pay for it.
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and that title would be transferred. we have enormous amount of holdings that we have not transferred title. even though the water districts have now paid for the projects. but we still are responsible for maintaining them. i think in the budget also, we ask for some authority. at fthose projects now are in a good place to transfer, so we can be relieved of the maintenance responsibilities that will allow us additional funding to do with the bureau of reclamation was intended to do. >> i appreciate your agreeing with that. i would just ask for your commitment to continue to work on this. i think it is extremely important to all three of our states. coming originally from new mexico i understand the vital importance of water. so, thanks for that. it sounds if you're willing to work with us on that. >> thi am committed.
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i think rural water is so important for a number of reasons. but i have always -- i think i had the best guys as far as brenda and alan -- in the bureau of reclamation team. they are from rural places and they are committed. and i am committed to work with you on this project. >> tethank you. k he very much. i was going to touch on the land and water conservation fund but i think that senator wyden has covered up for us. in just a few minutes, i have left i would like to highlight something which i think is important to minnesota that is in the budget which is the important pilt program pretty music huge northern counties are suffering because a lack of property tax base. i hear this from our county
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commissioners all the time and i just really appreciate how important the payment in lieu of taxes program is for not only minnesota but many western states as well. i just wanted to see if you had any more comments on that important -- >> we appropriated 465 million which was the same level. and again, i am from montana. you know, a timber town at one time. but it would be nice if the federal government would be better partners. so that our federal lands could be used in a responsible manner. but minnesota, you know one time we had a lot smaller timber mills out there where people could gain some land and wealth off the is a challenge when the federal government is the biggest landholder and there is no economic, viable business there. so, with pilt we understand.
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we sprayed it to that level. clearly from the west the last time on pilt so we remain committed to it. >> thank you very much. thank you, madam chair. >> thank you. senator cassidy. >> mr. secretary, congratulations on your leadership. the chair and committee imagine at the outset over the last year morel has improved. diversity has improved. not bad for a navy s.e.a.l. commander, good for you! let me thank you for being here. thanks for visiting south louisiana. is vanishing. we have had a hard time getting permits to repair our delta. for the time i get the permits the delta is gone. so thank you for your commitment to make that work and thank you for the decision and the proposed budget to th maintain the payments to the gulf states. we need that money to rebuild our coastline. first is existential. i want to get a couple of things straight. they're getting hectic printing a private plane from the more slope where, madam chair?
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>> we went to fairbanks. >> if you had driven that, is it possible and how many miles is it from one to the other? >> from where we began it was not possible to fly. we were up in the -- >> could you drive? >> excuse me, it was not possible to drive so we had to fly. there is a whole road. >> how many miles is that? >> to fairbanks it is 400. 350. >> but there is no road? and they are giving you had for that? mrs. secretary, take that. because if you have to get to the north slope and there is no road to get back we need to be you got to get there somehow. >> i have been shot out before. i'm very comfortable with it. you right, fear no man. do the best you can. everything i do is scrutinize. i am willing to take attacks on myself. i do not like attacks on my to family my kids which i get raped all the time. but we are pretty tough.
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we are a military family, we are pretty tough about it. you right, fear no man. wake up and make sure we are accountable. everything i do is looked at through a whole legal team, office of ethics -- >> let me congratulate you for being so gracious regarding your predecessor, secretary jewell. who i guess, you point out that she took and tricks totally million-dollar in cost. so again i think that is gracious of you. i think that this would be important to you someone in las vegas going over an interior issue. one more thing. we in louisiana, have recognized you cannot be pro-environmental on this you are pro-business. and you cannot be pro-business unless you are pro-environmental because one thing sustains the other. i think the interior department has spoken of decreasing the royalty rate for offshore oil and gas for leases sold later this year from 18.75 to 12.5. i get that.
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there has been a real difficulty in jumpstarting development out there. without the development there will be money for the land water conservation fund. so there is national interest in that. let me say, my question that relates to this. how does interiors analysis project their revenues would be impacted if the recommendation is accepted? >> well, tcertainly the adviso board is just that. an advisory board. they made several recommendations as he pointed out. one of them was to remove her lower the royalty rates. on the gulf, we are due to put up or the largest acreage and history of the country. and in the central and western gulf. we think that the interest is good on that. >> the interest, is it bought
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by the -- he>> the data is, i would say y can go either way on the data. lowering the rate one could say it increases the production. ... we saw companies like exxon, $50 >> and it's more expensive. the gulf has an advantageho that you have sub-sea infrastructure, so the gulf has advantages as opposed to both the east and west coast. i think this lease sale will be a bellwether on offshore probably in the next ten years. >> so in the one sense, you could have increased revenue if you have more production to offset the lower royalty rates. any modeling of that or somehow -- obviously, we in
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louisiana are concerned because funningto to rebuild our coastle is linked to that, and those who get money for the land-water conservation fund likewise concerned, so any modeling on that? >> we do have modeling. we'll share with you what we have. again, it's a supply and demand model. you'll lower the royalties, you make it more attractive. production increases and revenue in some cases can increase. moso what you want to do is make sure your royalties are fair, appropriate, don't penalize production; incentivize overall energy dominance but make sure that also that you incentivize reliable, incorporating innovation into our regulatory scheme. what i'm hearing from the industry is regulation that incorporates innovation, best science and best practices is not punitive is as much of an
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economic driver as royalty rates. >> got it. i yield back, thank you. >> thank you, senator cassidy. senator cortez masto. >> thank you. secretary zincrt key, it's goodo see you again. want to start with renewable energy. we've had this conversation, state of north dakota, 87 -- nevada, 87% of the land is owned by the federal government. and the interaction we have is important to the state of nevada. one of the areas we have been focused on is renewables and responsible development of wind, solar and geothermal energy on public lands has long had bipartisan support including from you during your time in congress as a cosponsor of the public land renewable energy act, and it's played a growing role in our economy. solar now supports more jobs than natural gas and over twice the jobs in coal according to a 2017 department of energy report. yet for the second year in a
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row, the administration's proposed budget looks at cutting renewable programs by almost half. a 40% cut for fiscal year '19. looking at these numbers, it appears that renewable energy development is not an important part of the department's charge. if this administration is committed to what i've heard you say time and again, all of the above energy strategy, then why is renewable energy the only energy program that is proposed beingye cut? >> thank you for the question. and that is a great question. we looked at the expected demand, and the expected demand by all our models was about $73 million, and that's what we, we funded at. it's down from 20. with solar there's some projects out west particularly in california that are proposing 338,000 acres of a solar field on federal land.
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that's 500 square miles. so every energy, as you know, every energy source has its consequences. wind chops up birds, i was criticized for saying 750,000. i have the study that says about, let's see, 800,000, over 800,000 bats and 573,000 birds. so that's a study from the usgs. so wind chops up a lot of birds. solar, when you put a solar field in, it's single-use. you're not going to hunt on it, you're not going to recreate on it, and it's tough for habitat. but our policy is all of the above. and there are appropriate places for wind, there's appropriate place for solar, we just have to make sure that we understand the consequences and have a national dialogue. it is better to produce energy inie this country under reasonae regulation than watch it get produced overseas with none. core to our economic
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well-being and, quite frankly, morallyat to produce energy in this country is morally right. because i don't want to see your kids having to go overseas and see what i've seen. >> so can i just clarify my understanding, your concern is the environmental impacts that solar and wind have, and that's why you've taken a look at cutting this -- >> no -- >> that's what i've heard. >> our budget reflects the expected demand. there was great demand in solar early. solar demand -- >> did i not just hear you say in offshore oil drilling there's low demand, but yet you're increasing the budget? >> no, what i said -- >> i'mer just confused with the overall energy policy of -- >> no, what i said was in offshore we'll see. the lease is about, in march, i think it's going to be a bellwether of interest offshore
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by onshore. there's no question that offshore oil and gas is riskier than onshore. secondly is the shale plays -- >> riskier in what sense? environmental impact or the fact that nobody will come out because itt doesn't pencil out? cost prohibitive? > it's riskier for a number f reasons, one is environmentally. whenen bp, it's well over $20 or bp has paid. >> but yet the budget has increased for that. so let me move on because i -- we'll submit these on the record. isthe reorganization, you and i have talked about this, and i so appreciate -- this is a tough thing to do. i've talked to you about the fact that the death valley indian tribal reservation is both on idaho and nevada state line, land. straddles that, right? so blm in idaho treats them differently than blm in nevada. yet what i'm looking at is cutting nevada in half for your
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blm regions. i don't understand that, so i'm asking for a commit to work with the stakeholders and the governor and the state of nevada to address our concerns. will you be committed to doing just that? >> i am. i have talked to the governor, and i now understand he's in support of our plan. if you have a map in front of you, nevada's already divided in multiple regions. we're going to -- our plan as of right now is keeping the blm directors because almost all the states that have blm enjoy the relationship with having a blm director, a sate director. -- state director. but our larger issue is trying to bring bor, bia, park service, the different bureaus within interior and realigning to make sure we're on unified districts. unified regions. based on watershed and science. and you can see the map on the right is our current
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organization. and you look at nevada, nevada is carved up probably seven or eight different lines, and the map on the left is how our proposal. what we've done is we've looked at science water sheds, wildlife corridors,e ecosystems, this we have brought our sess in, and these are career professionals -- >> career professionals, and so letn' me -- my time is running out -- [inaudible conversations] >> yeah. can i just ask for a commitment that you come back to us and go through this and be willing to talk to us more about what is going on here? because we have not had the opportunity to explore this with you and your staff. >> absolutely. >> thank you. >> and congress has a critical role in this. that's why it says draft. so we're introducing it to you. we'll go through, i'll just kind of outline the steps we've taken thus far. we are to the draft of where we are. but both the house and the
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senate have an enormous amount of say in this, and we think we need to reorganize and unify districts. we're willing to work with it and board it out be there's some adjustmentnt that needs to be made, great. >> thank you. >> thank you, senator. and i think these are issues on this reorganization that we'll be, we'll all be learning more about. but the opportunity to have the one-on-ones, i do think, is important. senator gardner. >> thank you, madam chair. thank you for your time and service today, thanks for your investment in our public lands. that's going make a huge difference ase we get and deal with this backlog of maintenance international park system. enos mills who was the idea behind rocky mountain national park said within national parks isan room, glorious room, room n which to find ourselves, to think and hope be dream and plan and rest and resolve. and i thank you for the resolve
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you are showing to address the backlog facing our public lands. wantom to talk about the condui, more of a comment than anything in southeastern colorado authorized in the 1960s, the arkansas valley conduit was signed into law by president kennedy, we've had a number of people providing resources, dollars to this pipeline from pueblo, colorado, out toward lamar, c.o.d.. hundreds of or -- colorado. providing clean, abundant, affordable water to some of the most economically distressed our state. the california water conservation -- coloradoda water conservation board has mitted millions of dollars to this. 50,000 people depend on it or for their drinking water. we've had previous conversations with administration officials in this administration as well as previous administrations, southwest -- excuse me, southeastern water conservancy district and the state of colorado have joined together in
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working on this. just would thank you for your commitment to working with us as we work through the needs of the arkansas valley conduit and just to thank you for c that commitment, secretary zinke, to work with us on that. also thank you as well on the blmm reorganization headquarters relocation. the federal government owns roughly 47% of the land out west, the bureau of land management is responsible for administering 245 million acres of federal surface lands and all but 100,000 acres of those, of that number are located mostly in the 11 western-most states and alaska. so at the beginning of this congress, i i introduced the headquarters relocation act the sole purpose of which is to relocate the headquarters of the agency so that people who work there are among the lands they manage. ifo already have a number of fid personnel out in the states where the 245 million acres reside. but we can get those headquarted
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employees there as well. -- headquartered employees there as well. certainly pleased to see within the budget request interior's planning of modernization of the organization. top of list. i think it should be relocating the headquarters out west, and i'd like to plug personally grand junction, colorado. some others may have different ideas, but i think it's a uniquely qualified location to host it. i just wanted a brief update, if you could, on the agency's relocation process. >> well, thank you. and you'll be happy to know that anvil point, which has been languishing for decades, has been resolved. the check is in the mail. >> that isti damn big news, mr. secretary. >> that is, that is big. >> reorganization -- >>d if you don't mind, let me just stick on that for a little bit. that's a big deal. >> it is a big deal. >> and i b want to thank you for that. >> wayneca county in new mexico, for those -- there was commitments made that money was in the account but never
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distributed. and you had swain county in north carolina, you had anvil point, and the money was being held butal never released for se is issue. so we have looked at it, we've resolved it. soso the payment, my understanding, has been made or is in the process of being made. government check's in the mail. >> secretary zink everything, just for the information of the committee, this is something that has been a broken record. scott tipton, myself, others in the colorado delegation have been talking to you, to previous administrations aboutu, this, secretary salazar, senators udall, gosh, senators salazar, everybody has been involved in this. this is $18 million to the people of western colorado. thank you. thank you, thank you for that. >> and my expert has said the payment is going to be made march 28th. so end of the month. so check's really not in the mail, but it's coming. >> thank you fornk that.
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and i'm just going to yield back my time and call the county commissioners out there who are going to be doing some handstands right now. >> well, on the reorganization real quickly, 16 percent of interior is of retirement age today. in five years 40% of interior is at retirement age. is looking at replacement as people retire, looking at pushing more assets out west, it makes a difference if you're a gs5, a gs7 where you live. san francisco, seat ising -- seattle, washington, d.c.on are very expensive cities and, quite frankly, the quality of life if you're a gs7, gs5, entry level, it's difficult with a number of reasons. so we are looking at smaller communities out west because, remember, the organization there's three areas we're focused on; recreation, permitting and nepa. and we think we're going to do those jointly.
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and all those don't have to be co-located, but the recreation has to be coe-located, the nepa has to be co-located and the permitting has to be co-located. we have 2600 sites in interior. we are looking at smaller communities particularly in areas like blm and in these different regions where interior folks, entry level, can enjoy a quality of life, have a chance to buy a house, have a chance to, you know, have good schools, good schools. or good hospitals. we haven't determined where. we think we'll probably have three candidates within the different regions for that and then workod with congress to gea metric applied to it so we do it by best practices and science. but certainly, you know, the smaller towns across the west -- and there are many in everyone's district -- is kind of where we're centered on at the moment. >> thank you.
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>> thank you, senator. and congratulations on your good news. senator king. >> thank you, chair. a couple of quick questions on this royalty issue. has the decision been made or is this a proposal to go down by 35% in royalties in offshore. >> no, the decision has not been made. >> and is there data to support this change? is there economic analysis that somehow the current rate is impairing the ability to lease these properties? >> there is data, there are recommendations -- >> from whom? >> yeah, but to be clear, where are we in our energy? the president signed an executive order tasking me to look at energy and finish. >> i'm, i'm sorry, mr.-- i've got very limited time. is there data to support a 35% reduction in the offshore drill that indicates that this is
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somehow an impediment to the executionis of leases? yes or no? >> i would say there's an argument.g >> an argument is not data. in other words, there's been no economic analysis to justify thisis massive cut? theset resources belong to the people of the united states. we're taking money out of the pockets of taxpayers. >> well, i i agree with you. and so i haven't made the decision because i i have not looked at it in detail. there's an argument, there's an argument on the other side too. and the data is not conclusive, although i have not looked at it in detail. i justth looked at the broad brush -- >> has any analysis been made of what the cost to the taxpayers would be of thiss reduction? >> there is no doubt that when theyda present the recommendatis to me, the supporting data will be there. >> they being the royalty -- >> yeah, the royalty committee which is finish it's an advisory board. >> could you supply for the committee the names and affiliations of thehe members of that committee, please? >> sure.
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>> thank you. >> but i can tell you that i think the industry, the energy industry, oil and gas, is doing or very well. >> i would say -- >> so current rates, they're doing very well. >> well, that's -- you just made my argument. [laughter] >> well, and, you know, but i have not made a decision. but when you're producing as a country 10.6 million barrels a day, first time in 60 years we've, we're exporting liquid natural gas, the oil and gas industry is doing very well. >> fine. and i appreciate that and hope you will apply that analysis to this rather significant change. second question, you made a proposal or the the president's made a proposal on offshore drilling. i hope you will take into consideration the interests of the states involved. in maine during a nor'easter last week, we had a turnout at a public meeting. i asked my office i said i bet it was 95% opposed, they said,
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no, you're wrong, senator, it was 100% opposed. ouros legislature's opposed it unanimously, our delegation is unanimously in opposition to it. and the coastal economy of maine is e e enormously dependent upon fisheries, lobsters and visitors throughout the year. so i hope that that will be taken into consideration because the benefit we see is minimal, and the cost, potential cost is enormous. >> this is what iec did. the last administration took about 94% off. i did it zero based. so i put everything on for discussion. >> and i know that -- >> knowing -- >> you took florida off, and i'm only suggesting i hope you do the same for maine. >>we well, by putting everything on weee had a discussion. florida's different for three reasons. one is that every member, both sides of the aisle, wrote me an immediate letter said we don't want it. >> that's true of maine as well, by the way, mr. secretary. >> second is your governor, governor of maine is for it. and third, florida has a federal
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moratorium in place til 2022 which no other state has, a federal moratorium. so had i left florida off in the beginning, it would have been arbitrary and capricious -- >> well, i'm not arguing -- >> but florida's still in the process. >> i'm not arguing that you made the wrong decision in florida, aisle just arguing -- i'm just arguing for a similar decision in maine based on our circumstances. a different area, park fees. has a significant increase -- and i agree we need to look at fees, and i agree we need to look at and it should be part of the analysis. my problem is the proposal, the increases are soo significant, i wonder if there's been an elasticity analysis to determine whether we could end up losing more moneysi than we gain by increasing, for example, for a person from $12 to $30, a vehicle a from $25 to $70, those are really significant, and there can be two results, a reduction in visitation and also a closing off of the parks to
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the people of america who we want to have access. >> i agree. and we had, we have several proposals, and we have not made a decision yet because of the data. but you're right, one of the proposals on the table was to look at the peak season on our top ten parks, and that's where the significant increase is. still, the greatest bargain is $80lo for a year pass. that's the greatest bargain in america --? b >> no, the greatest bargain used to be the senior pass which was $10 for life, which i have. >> for life, yes. [laughter] now it's $80 for life. butli part of the value of entrance fees is what we want to do is push more flexibility to the park itself, the superintendent. so we're very aware -- we haven't made a decision yet. clearly, it's on both sides of the issue. we wanten to make sure that the parks remain of value and
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accessible for america. that's the promise this country made, and that's the promise that we'll keep. we have not made a decision. i'm aware that a increase hurts some families, and the intention is not to hurt families. >> the magnitude of the increase. and, of course, motorcycles went from $20 to $50. now, for me, i'm just kidding, but when you see a motorcycle change, that gets my attention. but i think your answer, to summarize on all of these issues that we've been talking about today, is data will be collected, data will be made available and final decisions haveol not been made, and you wl listen to the views of the people of the states involved, is that correct, mr. secretary? >> as well as i'll listen to this committee on it. so, you know, about half our parks don't charge. so there's also -- we're inconsistent across the board on what we charge.
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a lot of our parks either don't charge, or there is a tier system that they're not adhering to. that's part of the n issue. and then what represents the best value. and how do we do it. some of our parks when you have yosemite which is the experience, the w visitor experience is a parking lot, it is so crowded, yosemite, yellowstone, some of our principal parks, we love them to death. also we look at how do we manage people, traffic, do we go to a transporter, a public transportation system because it is untenable, unsupportable, unsustainable the way we're doing, we're managing our parks, let alone the backlog. so all these -- >> we've got to move on. >> i don't disagree, i just hope it will be done over time and systematically and data-driven. thank you. >> thank you. senator lee. >> thank you, madam chair. thank you, mr. secretary, for being here. i want to thankem you in particular for your leadership and for thek president's
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leadership in addressing the concerns expressed by people in utah, particularly in southern and southeastern utah, issues related to the bear's ears national monounit i note -- monument. i note that some criticism has come your way and the president's way, but what you did was courageous, and it was the right thing to do. let's take, for example, the people of san juan, utah, our poor county. nearly all of the land is owned by the federal government. the case before the bear's ears national monument was designated on december 28, 2016, and it remains the case since then. it also was the case before president trump made the modifications to it, and it remains the case now. what changed with the monument designation was that people in san juan county, the people of
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utah particularly those closest to the monument, were even further put outside of any process that might determine how that land can be used, how they can access that land sometimes for recreational reasons, many times for religious purposes as the land is considered sacred by the native american tribes residing in san juan county k utah. san juan county k utah. this was a big move that was made and a move that was much appreciated by people across the political spectrum, in communities throughout utah, especially southern utah, and i appreciate and applaud you for doing that. secretary zinke, i'd like to talk to you a little bit about a topic that i know you and i have discussed in the past, it deals with blm law enforcement. as you know, blm law enforcement has earned something of a poor reputation throughout much of
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the west, and this is particularly true in rural utah because of the agency's history particularly through certain personnel of intimidation, of heavy-handed tactics and of flagrant and in some cases well-documented abuses of authority. one major problem has been bl m's sometimes blatant disregard for state and local law enforcement. during the last administration, for instance, blm allowed eight of twelve cooperative agreements with local law enforcement agencies to expire. this flies directly in the face of statutory guidance from flipma that directs blm to achieve, quote, maximum feasible reliance upon local law enforcement officials. logic and the law dictates that this is important, and it's --
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logic certainly dictates that minimal-- help from local law enforcement means maximum strain on the department's resources. and that also is going to lead to maximum strain with states and with local communities affected by these vast swaths of land over which the blm has charge: this is certainly the case in many places in southern utah where trust between local residents and blm law enforcement officials has completely deteriorated. so wanted to ask you about what you're doing as the secretary of the interior and what you look forward to doing to change the culture of blm law enforcement and to maximize reliance on local law enforcement within the west. >> great question. i have great respect for law
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enforcement. it's difficult especially onlyimes when you're the guy out there, isolated duty stations, long ways away from help, and there's a lot of activity that's not good on federal lands. this covers bia, covers blm. but i am in support of cooperative agreements because when you see a blm truck, the first thing that i would like the public to think about is landab management. and when m you see a blm light o on behind you, i would like the public to think about maybe there's a lost kid out there, have you s seen a grizzly bear, have you seen -- and not getting a ticket on a countied -- countied road. and we have fired four to readdress, and it's about public trust. and law enforcement individuals haveve a higher responsibility because they have avi badge.
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and because they have the badge, they also have to make sure that the power that is given them is exercised correctly. and the heavy handedness has led to a breach of trust. especially out west. and we are very aware of it. we've taken action to restore trust. we think the cooperative agreements are good. with when there is an issue -- and there's been several issues recently out west -- i think your first line of defense or our first action is probably call the local sheriff. he knows the people, he's an elected official, he's not an appointed federal agent, and there's goodness of having a elected official take the action and be the face of enforcement. and that, certainly, is the direction that interior is headed. >> wonderful. i appreciate that.
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my time's expired. i appreciate your insight into this, and i would add to that just that is one of the reasons why we have a long, proud tradition ofr' local law enforcement in this country, is forpr precisely the reasons you describe. when we allow the law to be enforced by people who are accountable at the local level, good things happen. core respondingly, bad things happen when we have people who are accountable only to someone 2,000 miles away. i appreciate your leadership in this. >> thankou you, senator lee. senator hirono. ..
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europe is testified here. splenic if you go back to 2008 interior was the number two generator of revenue behind the iris creates a banner year but didn't offshoring guess the revenue was $18 billion a year. when we first took office it was down to about 2.6. given our growth, are projected income especially in alaska comes on line, given thate will see but the interest is. we think we can do it within eight years. it's our best guess. $18 billion. we think we can recover the $18 billion in eight years. >> that this is based on projections of the revenue from new energy. >> what we did was we took a baseline.
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congress, the executive doesn't have the power. then the budget but it has to have a companion bill to it. what we did is we looked in the budget of taking the baseline that we had in 2017, but 2.6. new energy as all of the above. there's also wind, solar. >> do you believe it's quite certain you will be able to reach at least $4 billion every year including new money for maintenance and this is something that can be relied upon so employees will know how much money to expect for maintenance purposes? >> i would say it's a better bet that funding lw cf the reason why we have $11.7 billion in backlog is that we as a country have not been able to address
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the backlog that we all know is there. i don't give criticism to the house and the senate. i was a member obviously at the house but our current system doesn't provide any assured he either. >> senator portman mentioned it would guarantee this kind of funny and i think that'snk possiblyro a better way to go. he mentioned several times that your organization bases decisions on among other things science. you believe that science and scientists within your department should feel free and unafraid of lyrical interference to present their science even if it includes the words climate change? >> i'm a strong believer in science and quite frankly i was criticized because with my right as interior to look at a usgs document as it pertained to alaska prior to publication. i didn't change any comma but i did want to know this. given the same data why would
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the energy resources so radically different between one study and the study that was done just a few years prior? what methodology did they use, the geologist what methodology dide they use to make sure thoe resources were recoverable? >> you referred to usgs support where in a report stated sea level rise increases coastal flooding. this was a study done by usgs and yourg. department excluded e reference global climate change this is why ask the question. reports they use the term climatehe change do you edit those? do you censor them? c >> i believe the rapport you are speaking about was not edited at
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all. it could have been interpreted because it's a press release and not the report but any reference reference, and the allegation. >> excuse me i have to correct you mr. secretary because the speakers abstracted that sentence. this isn't the first time there's an issue of whether or not the administration believe that climate change is science-based so this is why we have some concerns about what the policy of your department is whether scientists are able to make certain statements based on science that includes the term climatech change. you are sitting here telling me that you do not censor or edit out references to climate change change. please answer yes or no. >> are you suggesting that we
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change the document itself? >> i'm asking you whether the word climate change is somehow not acceptable in your department and your preference would be within your department not to refer to climate change? >> i don't have a problem with climateto change. the climate is changing as it always has. the changes in the way we don't understand that man has been in influencer on this. >> correct uart editing out those references and publications? >> there is no incident at all that i know of that we ever changed it comma on the document itself. we may have on a press release, this is how we announce it but i don't open a document we have changed and i challenge any member to find a document that we have changed our report. i read them all. i don't change, then i can tell you i know i have the right if they work for me to read it prior to and i have questions on
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it. i'm a geologist. why did they come up with this conclusion? i think i have a right to know. the staff is the same thing. >> a some what we know about his administration's view on climate change it would comport with thatvi view that climate change would not be included in a press release from the department. thank you madam chair. >> secretary zinke i think you are pretty clear in terms of your views onnwe climate and you are not altering the reports that are coming out from the agency. senators daines. >> senator zinke is always an honor to have you before this committee then i want to start byay thanking you for working wh me and others on the committee introducing the national parks restoration act. the chairman and the subcommittee of national parks, as a fellow montana and secretary sankey i'm so grateful
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both of us got to grow up in montana and i also want to tell you i'm very proud to be the first montana to ever serve on a presence in our state's history. proud of that. we have both grown up in the shadows up to our national park system's crown jewels. secretary zinke you grab in the shadow of glacier national park. i grew up close to yellowstone national park that i noticed in the backlog to our international parks has been a priority for both of us. i always want to stress the importance of addressing the issue of sexual harassment and worked worse environment issues that i know we are working on at the department of the interior but federal agencies and particularly the u.s. forest service there's a strong need to take this head on across federai agenciesfe. i also want to thank you for being a strong ally for space.
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secretary zinke you have been a strong supporter by legislation to reverse the 9th circuit court'sse disastrous cottonwood decision. this decision was so disastrous the obama administration supported us with bipartisan support to reverse the decision. as you know the decision imposes unnecessary red tape on federal agencies and the obama administration said and i quote that administration had the potential to cripple federal land management. secretary zinke can you elaborate by the department of the interior and the fish and wildlifeor service made the cottonwood decision to needlessly slow down man -- land management? >> thank you. the cottonwood decision, what it essentially does is it halts land managementes plans when there's a change in species status.
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that is unworkable at the ground level. we have a lot of challenges and thank you for your support in making sure that our parks and maintenance and infrastructure and the backlogs addressed because no one loves public land more than we do but we also have to look at active management and when decisions are made in the court that prevents our professionals for managing land from reducing dead and dying timber, from removing protections of a species that's recovered we should be applauding species have recovered and we take them off the endangered and threatened a list. we should applaud that the system has worked and diverts those assets to another species that is threatened and need some help. but the courts have been tough
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lately about what i think they are legislating a lot of times and it's hurting our ability to manage. it has the consequences on our ability to be stewards of our great treasures of wildlife in the land itself. >> thank you secretary zinke and i hope given we had the obama administration supporting us on this cottonwood fix in the trump administration supporting this i hope we get the fix in this omnibus negotiation. sec or terry zinke i want to turn towards the issue of work lace environment. can you update me on what the department isde doing to address sexual harassment and other work place environment issues? >> i will fire 400 if necessary because i is a former neal -- navy s.e.a.l. commander i think we should have a work
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environment that is free of harassment and free of intimidation. it was amazing to me the lack of process, the lack of commitment, the lack ofck priority about an issue that is of virus. the cancer that will bring down anyce organization. we put processes in place. the leadership team meets and talks about it regularly to make sure we are addressing it. i think we have made great progress on it. i had an advisory board that resigned in one of the members stated that they knew about sexual harassment but it wasn't my job to say anything. i'm not sure what type of advisory board that is. if i would have known about it i would have fired them before they resigned because that type of attitude when you see sexual-harassment nec
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intimidation and he don't say anything that's exactly what's happened across thisth country. it started with the hollywood group and i'm glad hollywood has addressed the problem. i'm glad this country has addressed the problem because are right. when you see something, say policy in thehe department of the interior. >> thank you for your leadership leadership. i appreciate your leadership in that important area. i am out of time. i'm going to submit additional questions. [cheering] house the regarding the maintenance that was as well as the black feet water meant settled -- water settlement funding. >> thank you senator daines. the issue of the advisory committee that you just raised mr. secretary, i know with regard to the various advisory boards and the various advisory councils out there you had
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invested a review of the same. i hear from people in the state they want a process that allows more for their input. yesterday a report came out announcing they renewed the charters of 21 resource advisory councils which had temporarily beene suspended. can you give us a quick update here on your national review policy process for both the internal and external panel and give us some sense of the timeline as to what folks might bebe expecting getting back to regular meeting schedules? >> when i assumed the position, i have over 200 advisory wards, 200 and so here is what i ask.
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i said tell me who is on your board. tell me what you have done in the last two years. tell me what your expectations are in the next two years. tell me what your mission statement is in your budget. >> reasonable so far. >> what i did is i suspended everyone until they could provide that information because i want to know. i think a lot of these are meaningful and those that did not provide that were in suspension. we contacted everyone. where we are today is we can meet again but i thinkai it wasa reasonable expectation to ask people on some of these wards, what do you do? what are your goals and if they need assistance and a lot of these boardsrd are volunteers. we do pay $10 million a year on
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administrative costs but a lot of the boards require an enormous amount of commitment and time. what can i do as a secretary to help them on it and if they can answer those five questions maybe we need to review with what the leadership is on those boards or review whether those boards are important or not if they are not doing anything. think we are pretty good with the boards we have now we are issuing our reports and they are coming back to us with reports as they make their goals i'm pretty comfortable with where we are. >> it's important to do an analysis every once a while to see who's there and see what folks are doing. i mentioned in my opening statementt my appreciation not only for the executive order for president trump by your order on
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security. you've got $19 million in your budget. i know that we need an awful lot more to just map out the country here. given p that you are putting ths priority within the budget how do you see a process for these funds and what steps are you taking in the department to address some of the supply-chain issues that you've been racing here like. >> thank you for the question. as you know the usgs delivers a critical minerals report. americans should read it. >> if we find out how vulnerable we are. >> we really are nsf former ceo of the number of components that the modern warrior has that we rely on overseas for a lot of it
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is a national securityl issue. also the usgs has sent prioritized and focused on it for a long time. we think we can get there using new and modern technology, uavs so 20 years ago when we set up the field map in a lot of areas it was labor-intensive than it was going to be a long time. modern technology come on in tech takes. early uavs we can catch up quickly but the usgs has to prioritize this in the national interest to do so and some of the techniques quite frankly are flying over the magnetometers because they won't be over see what's below a this surface. as a geologist i'm hopeful we will catch up and the areas that
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we think are the best value with the greatest potential. it will be a long time. what i can tell you when you look at our current map in north america it does a good job when it gets to the border it stops. there is great opportunity but innovation, best practices, gratis good, longer-term. that.ppreciate buford in this committee helping other countries doing their mapping but we are deficient in this country. >> senator mccain. secretary thank you for joining us today and i wanted to follow-up on that point. i serve on the armed services and intelligence and i commend
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you on focusing on the critical minerals issue because it is a serious national committee issue and the first thing we need is to know what we have and what we don't have and how to proceed. i just think as i say this as a long-term national security and a very important role for a department d so thank you for bringing new focus to that. secondly want to thank you for the work on the back love bill andd addressing it in a serious way. as you may know i'm a co-sponsor of the bill was senator alexander. i think it's created a response. doesn't guarantee the funny but it makes it like he and basically i'm for anything that will deal withwi the back log si appreciate that. finally just a detailed question on the leases, think you mentioned there's a lease offering going out this month, later this month are fairly soon and i presume that rfp if you will will be based upon the
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existing world see rate not the proposed rate come is that correct? >> the reason we are offering the largest lease in the history of this country offshore is primarily the central and western gulf. the leasing is little different because when you lease it takes about three years to go into production. again the lease is a bellwether where the market is going. >> the people who are bidding i would assume are assuming current levels which would be an indication of a data point as to whether or a not this lease nees to be changed. >> i would categorize that absolutely has to put it. i think there leasing it without anticipation one way or the
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other whether ruby and adjustment in the royalty. they are leasing should the onus basis of what it is today and not a perceived direction shift. >> thank you. final point on the part be. as i mentioned some adjustments are almost certainly necessary but i wouldmo hope perhaps we could step back and do more conference to review and slow down and not impose this visitation season and have a more thorough analysis. again i don't want to end up with fewer people and lower revenues and cutting off access to people that all americans should have access to. >> the interior is not going to do anything unless it's well thought out and there unintended consequences sometimes of actions. one of the main reasons we are
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getting more visitors is because people don't travel overseas as much. they have found great programs so we want to make sure what we do doesn't have any unintended consequences. on a broader scale we also are looking at ways to innovate our park fee collection system. >> one of the things i've been pressing for three years is an app and there's a pilot that have worked very effectively. a percentage of the fees were done on line and that's another way we canan increase fees. >> are looking at kiosk or going on line and doing them. a lot of people enjoy the vision station by thevi ranger degradig in the map and maybe a fast-track to go through for frequent visitors. we are looking at different
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innovate new ways to use technology and integrated into the system. we are not there but we are also not bear on the decision. and no doubt this committee has an enormous amount of passion in our park fees and should be go forward this committee will be notified first and in advance so you have comments will take them into consideration. i would say the season is going to be a a lot like last season except it's going to be probably greater visitation. >> i believe that's right and that's a testament to how wonderful the parks are. thank youd mr. secretary. >> senator cantwell. >> bank madam chairman. i'm sorry it a step further things. secretary zinke i want to go back to the rural waterck issue.
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in your project for communities where the product communities with less than 50,000 people i wanted to bring it up are being impacted by drought and you are working diligently to come up with ways -- i think there's actually three projects in montana that are going to be impacted by this as well. it's a 60% cut. why cut at a time when water is becoming such a major focus for us on the claims of resiliency programs helping our western states deal with the impact? >> i share your concern. for a kid who grew up in montana, water is the economic driver. there's number of districts that are sold -- sorely underfunded. part of the work looking at the in,s when acclamation came the agreement was federal
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investment would be repaid over a. of time -- over a period of time by the water users. we have a lot of holdings, the title has never been transferred even though the water district have repaid over time. that is eating our maintenance budget. in the president's infrastructure bill, which it should be bipartisan, 25% of that bill specifically looks at rural. infrastructure in rural is often times the water. i share your concerns on the water. i understand how important water is. sen. cantwell: i think the thing i would say deserves a major infrastructure investment is anything that can take the existing sources of water and use them more resiliently. i think that is why you are
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seeing -- what you are seeing some committees trying to do. when you get an aquifer or something that fall, you need help and support in doing so. i would assume these smaller communities -- on the oil drilling, would you consider taking the comment period and expanding another 60 days? this is something we have written to you and asked about. sec. zinke: yes, you should know, off the coast of oregon, washington, most of california, there are no known resources of any weight. i put everything on so we can have a dialogue and take what's appropriate off. i'm going to markdown washington as opposed to oil and gas trolling. -- drilling. i know where every state is, every member of congress across the board.
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the comment period has closed. i know where people are. i certainly know where the state of washington is. the state of washington is passionately opposed to oil and gas drilling off the coast. i have committed, and the president has committed, to make sure our plan, which will be finished our first draft, you will get another bite of it, probably late fall on a proposal. our proposal will have the interest of washington reflected florida,an as well as the gulf states, and where there is a norm is opposition, we will do that. maine also does not have resources of the coast. i was sure the maps we have as far as the geology goes, where the areas of interest are, and where the areas of interest are not.
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sen. cantwell: would that include doing no analysis of those opportunities for the future? one of the things the communities on the coast are worried about, fishing communities specifically, some type of testing that would be done to discover if there were undiscovered sources. the communities are very concerned. sec. zinke: for many, they have used seismic as a predecessor to oil and gas. seismic also is required for wind. seismic should be required in many cases for mining. the argument that seismic is the coast,, a lot of particularly the east coast and the gulf, rely heavily on reclamation done by offshore mining on federal land. i can tell you from a geologist, offshore mining is a norm asleep --tructive environmentally
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enormously destructive environmentally. seismic is not necessarily a precursor of oil and gas. the other side of it is, i am confident e oil and gas reserves on short to meet our countries needs. i am confident we do. to the my response interior is we should know what our reserves are as a country. seismic is appropriate. there are places where seismic is not in the interest of taxpayers interest. particularly if the urology was just there is no oil and gas. you would do point seismic if you're going to put a wind field out there. given that the design of a winfield also affects fishing. with got to be smarter. >> i appreciate the chair allowing me to go.
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i did want to file some thing for the record. removelieve when you part of utah's monument that is now going to be open to mining claims and uranium development, you did take an inch of public land out of that use. you and i can dialogue. thank you madam chair. >> thank you senator cantwell. mr. secretary, i appreciate the time you have given to the committee, how you have worked veryspond to not only local interests, whether it's ,hat i raised with our 40 miles or senator gardeners news that the county that -- is going to have a good day today. but also the broader picture of
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reorganization you are proposing within this department, the on the respective regions, how we ensure we do ,ight by our national parks with a focus on the maintenance and backlog. because this is the first fy 19 budget hearing that i have participated in, it is going to be a long couple of months between my role on this as antee and appropriator, but on the committee, as long as i can remember, when we have budget requests, i will ask the question of you, in terms of what -- you look at your budget for a department of interior. where do you see this administration's priority and focus on the arctic and arctic
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related activity? i'm sitting here with my cochair of the arctic caucus, senator king, and we have -- i think we have worked hard and will continue to work hard to raise the interests, the awareness, of not only this administration, but administrations that have preceded you in focusing on the arctic as a place of , butderable opportunity also challenges as we recognize that we have -- much of it is lacking by way of infrastructure and how we are able to take the opportunity of a changing and evolving arctic. you,s a long lead up for but i put it out there to you and everyone else who is going to come before any of the
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committees i sit on, we are going to be continuing to ask about the administration's arctic priorities to ensure that this does continue to be viewed as an area of focus, not only from the budget perspective, in terms of national priorities. sec. zinke: i would think three things. the arctic is a national security interest. it is imperative. secondly, energy dominance is not possible unless alaska's resources come to bear. natives.the alaskan better we need to do being partners, particularly with our wildlife management. the folks i have met there about whether it's wailing, or seals are walruses, no one knows
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better how to manage those alaskanshen our native . i think there's a lot of room looking at ways we can be better partners, comanaging areas, it -- they are so much more knowledgeable and we are. i think the arctic area, for national security, from oil and it's an enormous amount of gas on the north shore . we have talked about different approaches on how to recover that. overall, liquid natural gas is probably a rich fuel. someone argue with that. ourlook at how to bring natural gas resource to bear
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certainly, you have to talk about alaska. i'm very bullish on the arctic. i don't think there ever been done take interior that has focused more on the state of .laska we spent a lot of time in alaska for a number of reasons. i think the relationship between the real the -- the interior and this committee will only grow. sen. murkowski: i appreciate that. you feel that this administration is focused more attention on alaska. we have received a lot of attention in previous administrations. most of the attention has been on how we can basically locked up more of alaska rather than to work, to not
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only access our resources, what to do so in a balanced way. we have a special environment, special opportunities. we appreciate you working with us to allow us to achieve that level of independence that any state would want. independence to provide for your people and take care of your land. your focus onr the opportunities we have their, and in particular recognizing the great benefit, the great value our indigenous peoples can provide, whether it is in operation of -- comanagement or consultation. we have not had much discussion here in this committee about
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your role within interior. with regard to the various agencies that have oversight, whether it is through bia, particularly through bia. we need to get that position filled. seeinglooking forward to that assistant secretary advance quickly. you have a big job in front of you. we have moved several other men and women that you need to help run the department. , unfortunately, has been held through a process that is frustrating on all ends. my goal is to make sure that you have the team in place you need to do not only execution of this
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budget that is being laid down, but the focus on the public assets, the public resources that you are charged with, as well as the people. we appreciate the job you are doing. appreciate the positive relationship that you trust you, and the are working to restore with the people of alaska. it is appreciated. it is noticed. we will welcome you back anytime. with that, the committee stands adjourned.
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] >> at afternoon everyone and welcome to this afternoon's briefing that is being brought to you once again by the environmental and energy study institute efi and the novim grew. my name is carol werner i'm the executive director of the environmental and energy institute. this a


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