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tv   Interior Secretary David Bernhardt at Steamboat Freedom Conference  CSPAN  September 2, 2019 6:12pm-6:44pm EDT

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from congress and beyond. a lot has changed in 40 years but today, that big idea is more relevant than ever. on television and online, c-span is your unfiltered view government, so you can make up your own mind. brought to you as a public service by your cable or satellite provider. next, interior secretary david bernhardt talks about forest fires, moving the bureau of land management staff from washington to colorado, and changes the trump administration is making to the endangered species act. from the steamboat institute freedom conference, this is 30 minutes. ♪ sec. bernhardt: >> good morning. can you hear me? i'm a little deaf. first off, thanks for the great introduction. i really appreciate the chance to visit with you all today. it is a tremendous honor to
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serve in the trump administration and secretary of the interior. frankly, it is great to be back in colorado to discuss my experience as a member of the trump administration and describe the work we are doing at the apartment to better serve the american people. and described the work we are doing at the apartment to better serve the american people. up a couple of hours from here. like steamboat, it is largely surrounded by land that are managed by eager -- you do before service or bureau of land management and i grew up hunting and fishing on those lands and that instilled to me at a young age the importance of public access and protecting the natural beauty of the wednesday.
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the reality is that the cold coke, history and the economies of rural communities throughout the west depend on both the development and use of those , as well asurces the conservation and recreation associated with them. i left this area and the last time i was here, i was just out side on election night in 2016 and about 9:00 p.m., i realized i was going to be required to attend a meeting regarding a presidential transition the next day, so i hot footed it out of here and that was the last time i was in steamboat. goan assure you that as i
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from steamboat that night, i put my thoughts together on an implementation plan what it might look like for the department of the interior and i was struggling with one question. , was thetion was president going to keep the promises that he had made to the american people? >here's why. during the campaign, the president was extraordinarily clear and detailed on what he said he would do for the american people as a related to the department. it wased out that apparent to me that the president and senior team were deliver and toto was as the team going to look like that he needs? have a that he would large majority of the folks and
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also need great actors in state government and public lands and we also need some experienced , so that is the team that i worked with to assemble and ultimately propose to the president. that team has spent every day working to implement the president's vision as it relates to the department of the interior. we have done that at quite a clip and the reality is we were able to do this because the president has been fearless in making decisions and he actually leans in when things get heated and i believe by the end of his term throughout government, we will have a historic legacy of accomplishment. if you look at a proper support today, things look pretty good under the president.
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the u.s. has added 6.2 million over 1.1 million this year. the unemployment rate is at a historic low in july marked the 17th consecutive month that it has been below 4% with minorities seeing the biggest gains. the interior is not sitting back during this either. ,o far in our first two years we have delivered over $3.7 million of the regulatory relief to the american people. become helped america the number one producer of oil soared and revenues have . have the highest number of oil and gas producing on federal
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leases since 2008, but also worth noting that we have leased the least amount of acreage what hasat time, so happened is it has generated more production. i have not seen him in 20 years. the list goes on and on leading to jobs. the president's agenda has rolled back regulations and cut red tape. we have been number two and three in the entire government for our deregulation efforts. what have we done? streamlined the process for infrastructure projects and dramatically reduced the time
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frame it takes. let me tell you a fascinating story. when i got to the interior, if a state director sent us, on average, it took us 199 days to deliver that document across the street. right now, we are averaging about 32 days. how did that happen? we did not change a single environmental standards, but we said what is it take 199 days? they looked around and said we don't really know. i said show me how this process got set up and said we really don't know. i've pasted together and let me tell you. 1990's, a state director just send a document anytime they wanted and that
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works for a while and then one went to chief of staff down andoffice and sat i'm sure he had a cup of coffee and there was at least three newspapers on his desk because these were the only ones you get at the department of the interior. anything else, you cannot get it. i we had one of those and he opened it up and guess what he saw? an article about the department of the interior and he was surprised. he did not know that we were about to announce this thing and i don't know what it was for sure, but i do know what happened next. he said i want to see every notice and also wanted your
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percent confident he had no idea. immediately, he starts working on the federal register notices. [inaudible] says what are you doing? he said, i'm reading federal register notices. youdeputy secretary says cannot do that. that is an operations issue. immediately, the chief of staff says ok, you can read them to. once that happens, the solicitor said wait, you cannot read anything unless i read it first. this is not an exaggeration. happens, they are like what is the deputy secretary reading?
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the federal secretary notes or , they bureau directors also start reading them. once a bureau director read people decide they are to read them to and suddenly you have 199 days. i look at that and said maybe we could have a briefing and just put everybody in the room and have a little bit of time to read it. that is what we did and that is what we are doing. i challenge the folks on the field and said i'm going to speed this up. he says you have to read the andment because i went asked them if they were reading it. they all raise our hands. they said i have read it, i have some questions.
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i engaged in a series of meetings and cut the pages that i wanted because their duplicate. -- duplicated. takee have documents that a lot less time. that is just one example into , ae you another example actually 30 ago, something days ago, i sent a letter to congress and my plan folks and move capabilities from washington, d.c. to the west to reorganize and realign and strengthen the bureau of land management.
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why did i think about doing that? first off, you have folks like cory gardner and others talking about this issue. they have been talking about it, talking to secretary zinke he about it. my lease was about to expire and d.c., leases are pretty expensive. no way we are doing that one, so i said we have to think about what we are doing. money pay them additional to try and keep them in some degree of parity with the rest of the government. it really does not work that well, but we do that and i said why don't we do this? resources, our
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operations folks are struggling. first off, do we need this particular job? great.o, too, if we need this particular asking those questions lead to some interesting things. , a seriouse of the challenge. guessyou want to take a where the leadership is? actually, the leadership is in washington. there are not many wild horses or boroughs. the question is, maybe they should be somewhere else. we have a wonderful training
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center in arizona. our top training folks are? washington, d.c. most of our mining is done in nevada and arizona, but out of mining folks -- our top mining d.c. were in we could create centers of excellence, solidify the area and so that is what we proposed to congress. they had 30 days to get back to and that 30 days is expired. we will be beginning the implementation phase of that. we are going to house our headquarters in grand ocean. i have gotten a lot questions about that. let me tell you a true story.
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for years, the department of the interior struggled. aree guys and gals that extraordinary managers in blm in the force and park service, they are not really excited about moving to the sea -- d.c. now why would that be? beyond the obvious reasons, the reality is they are almost guaranteed that the square footage of the house would shrink dramatically, their commute is going to expand and i think we will see our best and brightest begging to get in there. those are just two of the things we're working on that i wanted to give you a little bit of perspective on. i think we are setting a track record and paste that is really reason [nod and the
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audio] >> with that, i tell you, thank you much. >> good to see you. >> i want to tell you force fire prevention. can you talk a little bit about the approach and if that has changed to mark -- has changed? president says he feels
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strongly that we need to have active management, so he issued an executive order that gave us pretty clear direction on that. in january, another order pretty and we have about 4500 folks that are dedicated in a regular fire season and this year, we have about 2500 different active management onjects that we have going throughout the year. we have received the message of the president pretty clear at a very good clip and i think at least 1.2 million acres. >> that is incredible. theant to touch base on need for reform. i was kind of staggered to see
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how much regulatory burden you have cut back on. of paperwork, something that is legible that can result in a decision. to talk about your efforts to make environmental impact statements for use of federal land that is actually useful for business and environmental protection? >> i'm a big believer in the national environment policy act and it has two primary purposes. the first is to ensure there is an element of public participation before we make decisions that have environmental consequences. the other is to ensure a decision-maker before making a decision and when i got there, a
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couple of things happened. staff saying we need some time frames and then they started handing me their documents. some of these are 8000, 12,000 pages. >> this is what a business has to look at? >> that's right, in order to make a decision on errol when we have to go through this process before we make a decision. is, doesquestion anybody read these? much.ned out, not that then the question is, does that even further the purpose? i set a goal of a time frame of the year where we give lots of waivers. why did i pick wanted to 50 --
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150? amount while ie was drinking a cup of coffee on a sunday morning and it seemed like it would be necessary to actually utilize the document and make a more informed decision, so that was our target. everything -- 150 four everything. that is just a paralysis of an and ans in government applicant should get yes or no. we don't need to waste seven years telling them nothing. >> that is dealing with use of federal land.
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another is the endangered species act. talk about how your approach to obamaas differed from the administration approach and how it is better for endangered species? matter fact,has a published three rules, to the rules we published jointly with the department of commerce the endangeredge act,es act jointly and the the purpose and the goals are phenomenal. it says species protection matters. at the same time, the implementation, we believe there are a number of places where it was unnecessarily conflict driven and not really focused on
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the efforts that would optimize conservation and protection of species, so one of the things we , one of our roles basically clarifies that if you are a likelyns easy, you are to engage in extinction, but not there yet. regulationilor the to precisely set what type of .ctivities can occur
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we have also streamlined the way our process will work with other agencies and created a number of flexible measures to take away just the need for documentation and then we clarify the scope of our consultation efforts. what i think this will do is i will are -- will really sand some of the rough edges. it is requiring the same point and comeis to slightly different regulations. those of the few we are doing. >> i know we will take a question -- couple of questions on note cards. question, with the blm location, we hear about during
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the slump? is it bringing people closer to the communities being affected, making for the have steak in the community, but i have been surprised how it has run into stiff opposition. i wanted to talk about the challenges you faced when you are doing some of these with the institution and bureaucracy and how you are planning on taking that on. thisrst off, i think and what i have been fascinated by is on my travels west, i normally go to blm offices when i'm on the road and have been shocked there are folks out there that see things differently, and my view is, that is what makes
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america great on one hand. on the other hand, they haven't analyzed the problem or come up with a solution, because if they had, i wouldn't find myself in the process of trying to figure out how to make a system perform much better. ost: i am taking a look at questions from the audience. and there is a lot of interest on greenland. [laughter] secretary bernhardt: the beauty of greenland is that you have significant minerals, i'm with that. but i'm with the department of the interior. that is for someone else. [laughter] host: i want to hear about how your experience as a colorado
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an defines you as an outsider, and what are you bringing, what perspectives are you bringing that an outsider wouldn't know? secretary bernhardt: any decision i make at interior includes what that means to the local community. in my confirmation process, i met with a senator, and he said something about federal land, and i said, it is very important that we understand that certain land is used for multiple use. certain land is used for our parks, and follow whatever law you want, but different uses for different purposes. at he said, there aren't that many people out there. [laughter] and i was offended by that. me.e did not vote for but that is the truth. it is very easy to be 25 hundred miles away and make a decision about a piece of land that you
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know nothing about. growing up in rifle and living through the boom and bust, living through the ultimate revitalization, i think that adds a lot to ensuring that decisions are sound. i'm reluctant to initiate radical new programs without a really good sense that i understand the pathway and the consequences of that to the existing community, that is important to me. another question i am is,ng come up repeatedly the audience is curious about how you balance the rule, concerns about good stewardship and concern about making the most economically of federal lands. can you expand your thinking on
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that? secretary bernhardt: my thinking on that is pretty easy. congress has worked very hard over 150 years to clarify those types of things, so we manage our national parks differently than we manage our bureau of land management lands. we manage our wilderness areas differently than we manage areas that are not wilderness. we manage our fish and wildlife refuges differently. ultimately the management paradigm, and i must operate in a reasonable way within the paradigm they give me. that is our job. i want to bring up the wildlife issue again, because there is clearly up a lot of -- clearly a lot of interest. one custom that's one question i am getting repeatedly is what can be done about the incredible amount of dead trees on federally owned lands? secretary bernhardt: one real
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challenge is getting in there early enough. if you wait too long, those are ultimately uneconomic opportunities. the forest service, which is most of the area out here that thehas trees like that, forest service is working on doing some of the very needed reforms that we have done. it is looking at streamlining. but to do that, it needs to be -- you have to have a planning process that is effective. you have to ensure people have an adequate opportunity to participate that -- participate in that, and it needs to be done in a timeframe that the product is economically when you can get out of the area. otherwise, you're just going to have catastrophic fire. for: i know you are pressed time, so we will let you go, but he did have one last question. i got to visit the secretary in his office and interview him, and one cool thing i didn't know is that the department of the interior has all of this really
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art and artifacts about interior lands per my favorite was a 13 foot polar bear outside the office. i wonder, does he have a name? secretary bernhardt: his name is dale. [laughter] he has a twitter account and he is a fan of the caps. host: thank you so much. secretary bernhardt: thank you, guys. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] announcer: ruth bader ginsburg delivers remarks in little rock, arkansas as part of a special lecture series hosted by the clinton foundation and clinton school of public service. live coverage begins tuesday at 7:30 p.m. eastern on c-span.
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earlier today, former vice president joe biden spoke with reporters before his visit to the hawkeye area labor councils labor day picnic in cedar rapids, iowa. we will show you that up next. after that, the former vice president speaking with voters at the picnic. mr. biden: right here. how are you all doing? come on up. you all know jill. president, one of your opponents on the democratic race was using profanity to give everyone's frustration with the lack of action and the shooting. what do you say to americans who do not believe the political process will be able to do anything? mr. biden: it is about time the president of the united states does something. they both came to a head this weekend. one is climate change. it is an existential threat.


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