tv Newsmakers Rep. Rob Bishop R-UT Natural Resources Cmte Ranking Member CSPAN September 22, 2019 6:03pm-6:36pm EDT
america unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court and public alice events from washington, d.c. and around the country. so you can make up your own mind. c-span is brought to you by your local cable or satellite provider. c-span, your unfiltered view of government. >> joining us on newsmakers this week is representative rob bishop, republican of utah and the ranking member of the natural resources committee. representative, thanks for joining us today. rep. bishop: thank you for the invitation. pedro: along for the questioning is ben hulac of cq roll call, covers congress and the environment, and miranda green with the hill, who is an energy and environment reporter. thank you for joining us. you can start. ben: hi, congressman. this is ben. there are millions of people globally right now striking for action, political action on climate. places like australia, japan,
the philippines, uganda, germany. people are in the streets right now, pressing their governments to do something about climate change. where do you think that urgency is coming from? what is the impetus driving folks out to the streets to demand action? rep. bishop: i don't have access to someone's heart. if you want to know, you will have to ask them. from our perspective, we want to make sure that our actions are not overreactions and they are actions that meet the needs of the time and meet the ability of us to make positive changes that will help the american people. if you want to know what the incentives are for other people, i cannot do that for you. sorry. miranda: to build off of that, what do you think republicans could or should be doing to address climate change, since obviously it is an issue that is important to a number of americans? rep. bishop: actually, if you look at the number of bills that have been introduced by republicans already, especially in our committee, i think we have talked about that. we most recently did one for an energy policy for america that
was all of the above actions that would encourage all sorts of energy production in an effective and efficient way. and we would also partner with states to make sure the states truly have a say in what is going on in their particular area. those are the other areas in which we are looking at. there is a whole range of options and opportunities if people would actually try and be bipartisan in this and allow us to have some say in the process. miranda: that is aligned that -- a line that republicans have used, that the democrats are often going it alone when it comes to climate change issues when there are bipartisan ways. and especially in the house, i know you were recently a cosponsor on the america first energy bill you introduced a couple of weeks ago. can you talk about what is in the bill and why you think this might be a bipartisan solution to climate change and health? -- climate change in the house? rep. bishop: it was ironic when we dropped that bill, because that was the democrat energy week in which their proposals basically did nothing to actually have a comprehensive
energy policy. all it was was saying no to things that were existing to basically pay off special interest groups. what we were attempting to do and what we were dealing with that is, but they policy that -- come up with a policy that does have an overarching emphasis on making sure that we have an all of the above energy policy. that we are putting emphasis into fossil fuels as well as renewables, and giving incentives to states to be partners with that. the ability of states to keep half the royalties is something that we are doing, and the last administration, they decided to take 2% out for administrative costs and take it out of the states' side rather than the federal side. that is ridiculous. actually allowing states to become part of the permitting process is one of the ways we can move forward not only for traditional forms of energy but in alternative and new forms of energy. those are the things we are dealing with. we are also talking about other issues that can help facilitate those kind of changes. the idea of the blm
trans-locating their people from washington back to where the land actually is, that is one of those positive elements that i think we can build in the process. ben: let's get specific, congressman. to lower the emissions, what is the republican plan? the warnings have been stark for years that climate change is a severe and grim threat locally. -- globally. what do you propose be done domestically? bill policy ise an overall approach to make sure we are not dependent on foreign sources for energy, so we don't go back to the bad old days of jimmy carter, when there were actually oil embargoes, and he was telling us to simply get used to being cold and in the dark. in addition to that, there are two ways to solve this problem. and the other side is not talking about both those ways. you can either prohibit emissions from going into the air in the first place or take them out of the air. it is called carbon sequestration. if we were actually active in carbon sequestration opportunities, we could use
existing processes we have, especially on public land, to pull enough carbon out of the air to meet the paris accord standard in that alone. there are a whole lot of opportunities. and what i am trying to say is, we are not really having a great dialogue on what the options actually are. some people are concentrating only on a narrow brand, on a myopic approach, when there are lots of things. and carbon sequestration is one of those areas we need to discuss, because the potential is huge and massive. we don't have that discussion going on yet. sad. it should be. ben: i agree the ground is softening around carbon sequestration, and there are plenty of more centrist democrats who talk about sequestering carbon. but what about other sectors? what about transport and agriculture? rep. bishop: you are looking at it well, because they are starting to pick up on it, and that is one of the things we need to do. it comes into the basic idea of what you do and how grazing can help you meet this kind of standards. i'm glad there are some people,
especially those who are presidential candidates, who are actually starting to talk about that issue. i need those who are in congress to start becoming specific and start talking about the details of how you can use that. there are lots of demonstration programs we can look at. we should be doing that. miranda: congressman, do you think that is something your democratic counterparts in the house would get behind? have you had any conversations with them about bringing up a bill to talk about carbon sequestration? i know carbon capture is something the senate has flagged, but we haven't seen much movement in the house on that. rep. bishop: no, we haven't. there have been some bills that have been floated around doing project. nice first step but it doesn't meet the goal of where we need to be. pedro: does the carbon tax fit into an all of the above structure? rep. bishop: i think that has a role, but if that is where you put your basic and all your effort, some people have done in the past, you are missing the boat. there are more creative ways than just that alone. miranda: you mentioned 2020 candidates and how some of them are talking about grazing and
carbon capture issues. one of the topics that has come out in a lot of that climate policies of theirs has been placing a moratorium on oil and gas drilling on public lands if they were to be put into office. i am wondering your thoughts on this policy. obviously, being ranking member of a committee that oversees the interior department, which, under the trump administration, has proposed increased oil and gas drilling on public land. do you see this as a feasible position? rep. bishop: i think you are seeing, if you take what the democrat presidential candidates are saying publicly, that is for political purposes and is really counterproductive if you are try -- trying to come up with an overall conference of policy. but it does illustrate one of the things we are trying to talk about. if indeed you are talking about energy production on public land, those public lands are found all in the west. if you have a bureau of land management that is closer to the people and the land, you will have better decisions and ideas being made. which is why i am so excited about moving the bureau of land management from washington out
to the west, where there can be a better correlation between what people need, what people want, and what you can actually produce. hopefully, a better understanding of how public lands can be used. miranda: you are talking about the proposed move to move the headquarters of bureau of land management from washington, d.c. to colorado. this sounds like something you are supportive of. what about the criticism that moving so many employees from d.c. away from washington will kind of bury the management of that important department and kind of put them out of sight, out of mind in the president's ear. rep. bishop: i don't buy that at all. a lot of the arguments i hear is throw ideas out there and see if something sticks and is picked up. those are those ideas that are out there. there is a professor at the university of maryland that wrote a book on public lands that said in the 1800's after the civil war, our policy was homesteading. we passed all sorts of homesteading laws. i think the last was 1912, 1916.
each of those was a failure because the people making those -- managing the lands were miles awaysands of in washington, were trying to make decisions on lanes in the west. if you really want people on the ground, making decisions and not fearful of being overturned, put them out there were the land is. -- where the land is. bureau of land management lands where most of this stuff can take place, where carbon sequestration will take place, where energy production will take place, are placed in the west. allowing them a greater understanding of where they are and what they are doing will just benefit us. when i deal with land managers in my home state of utah, the ones who live there that are part of the blm, the part of the forest service, and part of the community, they make great decisions. it is only when you move up the food chain to come to washington that we end up with problems as far as dogma overtaking what reality should be. this is what we are trying to get away from. that is why this administration is wise to do an entire review
of what the department should be doing, what the bureau of land management should be doing, and where those decisions can be most effectively done. and moving them out not only to different parts of the west is a brilliant move to actually make it more efficient and more effective. ben: to be fair, congressman, there are regional offices in colorado and really across the country. but i want to talk about methane now on public lands. the epa recently moved to roll back methane regulations on the industry. and this was actually against the wishes of a handful of oil and gas majors, exxon mobil, bp, shell all opposed that decision. where are you on methane regulations on public lands? it is a greenhouse gas that is about 80 times more potent than co2. what should we be doing about it? rep. bishop: once again, i want people to understand the details of what they are talking about. and if you float them out to the west, that is going to happen in a better way. i'm not going to talk about the
details of the methane proposal right now, although i realize that what we are doing, and a lot of the decision-making is kind of done in isolation because we are in washington, not where the processes taking place. let me move on to the next topic. miranda: obviously, you oversee public lands in your capacity as a ranking member of the house natural resources committee. one thing that happened this week, kind of last minute, late night, was on wednesday, the interior department announced it was going to be transferring from its public lands to the army to help with president trump's border wall building for a couple of years in a temporary capacity. what are your thoughts on this move? rep. bishop: you are going to have to do that one way or the other. when you go from our border, our southern border from california and the pacific coast to texas, 80% of the border is already owned by the federal government. over half of that is already under wilderness designation. if you are going to do any long-term security impacts, you
will have to deal with federal land one way or the other. so it makes sense. it is kind of a logical application of what has to simply because the federal government has had five decades of buying up more and more property, and along there, they bought up almost all of it. miranda: do you have any thoughts of what this will mean that the army will be control of the land and what interior's role will be when they get the land back, potentially with a wall on it, in five years? rep. bishop: hopefully, it will be an issue with when we look at security, we have an organized and appropriate way of dealing with it. right now, we have a memo of understanding between homeland security and interior, which is actually kind of a mishmash of this communication and -- misinformation and misunderstanding. what i would like to see is make sure we have security there. one of the things also has to be recognized is the border patrol is actually limited by 17 federal laws on what it can do to fulfill its job along that border. the ability to have east-west access which is essential for
hot pursuit, which goes into one of the wilderness categories that are there, that has to be rethought and reconfigured. if we want to really have access to a secure border so we can look citizens in the eye and say, yeah, we, as a country, can secure our border. we not only have to have a wall, which is important, but we also have two make sure the border patrol is allowed to do their job. right now, there are certain federal laws that prohibit them from doing their job. i want those to be part of the overall discussion and process. if you do that, we can have a comprehensive policy. miranda: what would you like to see them specifically be allowed to do? how would you like to see their role expanded? rep. bishop: right now, in that 50%, they are not allowed to do any kind of patrolling except on foot or on horseback on special horses. that's ridiculous. if they are trying to intercept somebody that they know has already come over the barrier, the goal for them is to try to do a pincer movement with some of the border patrol behind them and in front and capture them together. the way it is right now, with
their inability of having access east-west, some of those guys will be to tucson before they have a chance of being behind and in front of them. that is the kind of flexibility that is, right now, prohibited by some laws and needs to be put into place. the memo of understanding tried to deal with that. but one time, the memo of understanding is kind of one-sided. it puts a border patrol agent in a precarious situation that if, at some time, a land manager does not like the decision he made, it could jeopardize his career. we shouldn't be doing that. it is silly if we are going to have a comprehensive approach. pedro: this is our "newsmakers" program with rob bishop. he is the ranking member of the house natural sources committee. -- resources committee. joining us is miranda green of "the hill" and ben hulac of cq roll call. ben: let's get into a little bit more esoteric area of jurisdiction for the committee which you sit on. you have jurisdiction of outlying territories in the u.s. there are places in puerto rico
as well as barrier islands off florida in the gulf of mexico and really in the mid-atlantic region where folks, american citizens, are losing their homes, their lifestyles are being upended. a lot of people would call these people climate refugees. do you agree with that, and what should be done with them? rep. bishop: actually, you are expanding our authority a little bit. we have authority over territories, not necessarily some of the other areas. when it deals with puerto rico, we have pure jurisdiction over there, which is why we passed a bill before the hurricanes hit to try to make sure there was some kind of political stability and they were not debt ridden. when the two hurricanes hit puerto rico, it also illustrated how terrible the structure was -- the infrastructure was there, so we had to rebuild that infrastructure. that has been a complicated process. the new governor of puerto rico is someone i have ask -- i am excited, i have met with her.
she's met with the promesa board three times now in the first couple of weeks in an effort to try to coordinate their policy so we can reach policies for puerto rico which is going to make them more resilient, more being able to withstand those kinds of hurricanes that maria and the devastation maria did, and also to put a political stabilization so we can attract more businesses, industries, so that puerto rico can really thrive, as it has the potential of doing. that is what my committee is dealing with. ben: what are those policies specifically? it seems you are talking about resilience. rep. bishop: in puerto rico? ben: in puerto rico. rep. bishop: first of all, you have to organize the utility company that happens to be there. they are making steps going forward with that. but you also have to have a policy that is not based on simply rewarding special interest groups and a policy that is not based on actually incurring more debt to get out of debt. that is where the promesa board needs to work closely with the governor. this new governor is, i think, willing and able to do that.
her first efforts are showing we can do that, to put them on a sound financial basis, which will attract capital which will also help in the resiliency factor that we need to rebuild the infrastructure of the island. i'm excited about this new governor and the promesa board being able to go forward without arbitrary roadblocks in their way. i think you'll find a bright new day. we do have a commissioner who sits in washington that represents those 3 million americans in puerto rico. she's doing a fantastic job. representative gonzales is doing a marvelous job and helping to organize and coordinate all these efforts. i certainly hope we maintain her expertise in washington. it's of great value to us. miranda: to piggyback off the hurricane events and devastating weather patterns we have seen in places like puerto rico and we have seen recently in the , which isd texas
experiencing devastating floods, what is your thought on the role the federal government play in helping those impacted communities impacted by storms? rep. bishop: actually, the united states has made their entire commitment to emergency funding and fema efforts for many decades now. we need to go forward with that, making sure we are partnering with those states, that, when an emergency hits, we should do that. it would be nice if, some cases, you could alleviate some of those emergencies. obviously, we can't have a federal policy to mitigate against hurricanes. but the devastating fires we are experiencing in the west are creating all sorts of catastrophic experiences. if we were to change policies of how we manage our federal forests and be in line with what the states and tribes are doing in the forest, we can mitigate that kind of catastrophe so it would not be so devastating in the first place. and that is an area in which our committee, if we were coming together to talk about real solutions and help grow people, -- and help real people, that is an area where we could make some big difference. miranda: you are talking, of
course, about forest cutting and getting rid of the brush underneath trees in forest fires. this is something president trump has talked about at length, something he believes california should be doing more. why do you think representatives of that state had pushed back on the thought? the fact that forest management and logging is what is needed to adjust fires in the west versus climate change, which they believe is the reason for these fires? rep. bishop: i'm sorry. look. it is very clear that, when you have bad management, not only do you have areas that are thick with fire potential, with underbrush, but you also have dead trees that are useless to anybody. if you were to have active management of that -- and i'm sorry, every time i talk to the forest service -- and every time i talk to state fire, forestry agents, they tell us if they had greater controls and exclusions to have better management techniques and tools, these fires would not be as catastrophic.
and that is really a policy. not only a policy we are doing but also the policy that every time the forest service wants to be proactive and positive, they get sued by a bunch of special-interest groups. to me, the litigation costs that the forest service is dealing with becomes one of the major problems as to why we are not actually having good, active forest management. one of the things we passed a couple of years ago was a stewardship approach to give states a greater say in how they are working to manage the forest. it is very productive. that mitigates against the extreme litigation tactics used in the past. ben: congressman, how long have you been on the hill? how long have you represented utah? rep. bishop: i am right now in my ninth term. ben: what would you like your climate legacy to be? you have been there 18 years, roughly. rep. bishop: i have a year and a half to go. ben: what would you like your climate epitaph, if you will, to read? rep. bishop: i would hope, in
that narrow range of issues you are talking about, that we would be able to really have good management of our federal forests and that we would have good management of our public lands, which basically 44% of all blm property, anyway, to make sure they are of better use, better value to the people who are living there, and also, especially on the other lands, that we can use some carbon sequestration. and if you actually use grazing policy properly, that can be one of the big things that i do not think people are looking at right now that i hope they could be in the future. ben: what other sorts of silver linings, what other sorts of under-the-radar tools to fight climate change do you have on your mind? you talk about grazing. aforestation, is that top of mind for you? rep. bishop: part of it that no one is really talking about is we passed n.e.p.a., national environmental policy something act. which the idea was to make sure everyone had a say in the process.
it has now been kind of absorbed and abused to make sure everyone now gets the chance to sue to slow down the process. we need to have n.e.p.a. reform. states have reformed their state n.e.p.a. laws. canada has reformed their laws. we still are piddling around with this law that desperately needs to be reformed. if we can use that policy as designed for real people to have a say in what is going on and not a tool to encourage more litigation, then we will have made a major push to try and help this country move forward. that is one of the things i would like to see going forward. miranda: congressman, you are considering retirement. it sounds like that is something you are committed to be doing. am i correct? rep. bishop: after this interview, probably, yeah. [laughter] miranda: is there anything you would like to achieve in the next year and a half that you have in congress? rep. bishop: there is so much we could and should be doing. not only in policy but also in procedure.
and i would love to talk to you sometime about procedure. unfortunately, i was an old history teacher and government teacher, and i realized, when you talk about procedure, everyone's eyes glaze over because they don't care about it. but if you have bad procedure, you end up with bad policy. i would love to try to reform some of the procedures used in congress and in our community in the long term so we can come up with better policy decisions. there was a very wise congressman who once said "if i let you make all the policy decisions and you let me do the procedures, i'll screw you over every time." that is one of the things i hope we could work with, in the next year and a half, to try to make long-term improvements and how -- in how we do things, not necessarily just what the things we do are. pedro: such as what? rep. bishop: pardon me? pedro: procedure changes, such as what? rep. bishop: votes. roll votes indicate people are not on the floors to hear debates, people are not at hearings simply because we have a policy of roll votes that
doesn't happen. in the states. that happens here. if there is one procedure -- your eyes are glazing already. you do not want to talk about that. that is one of the procedures that if we could actually make a change in that, they would have a huge impact. there was a time when people used to come from the senate. henry clay talked about coming from the senate, because it was boring, to listen to the robust debate on the house floor. fisher ames used to talk about how he would go to the house floor to listen to the debate and would make up his mind when he heard the debate. that is not happen anymore. that does not happen because of the procedures that have evolved over the last couple of hundred years. those are the kinds of things i would like to push back on. pedro: representative bishop, before you go, do you have any thoughts on the recent attacks in saudi arabia on the oil production plant? what does it say about not only the global supply of oil but the position the u.s. currently is taking as far as oil production? rep. bishop: i hope we are prudent and cautious in how we go forward. that presents and actually gives us another warning that we should have gotten in the 1970's when they tried the arab oil embargo.
but it also means that america must make sure that our energy policy is all of the above, and it must make sure our energy policy is based on the idea that we need to be energy independent. and if we are energy independent, we can be a source of support to our allies. if we are not doing that -- and unfortunately there are voices right now that are simply saying our only energy policy is to stop doing stuff. cut it out, not do it. that is a very risky approach. i think this should reemphasize what we should have learned in the 1970's. the united states needs to be very vibrant and progressive in our energy policy. host: this is representative rob bishop. he's the ranking member of natural resources. again, one more question, real quick. you were talking about retiring. do you have any thoughts on the rash of gop retirements that has happened the last few weeks and do you have a why to it? rep. bishop: again, you'll have to ask the individuals. there are individual reasons.
so far the retirement schedule doesn't seem to be many different than past years. people do not realize. there is a large turnover in , usually about a third turnover in members of congress with each election. one of the reasons -- you remember, when mike simpson from idaho was elected, he said as his goal to personally meet every member of congress. he could never meet that. one of the reasons was the turnover that happened, 30% that he had already met had left and another 30% were new. there was always going to be a turnover. i don't see anything different in this year's turnover rate so far that has been different than in years past. pedro: representative bishop, thank you for your time on "newsmakers." ben hulac, you started off talking about climate change. you heard his responses as far as the typical separation, the chasm, between republicans and democrats. did you learn anything new about where that chasm is? ben: not particularly. he was not clear on details about any sort of republican strategy to address climate
change. i asked him about folks striking globally, many millions of people doing that right now, and he sort of punted on that. for me, it was, he's been on the hill 18 years, almost. sorry, congressman for adding a little bit of time there. this is consistent rob bishop. pedro: miranda green, anything you learned about that back-and-forth as far as where republicans and democrats are on that topic? miranda: on climate change, i think it shows that the republicans in the house and senate are following the lead of the president when it comes to talking points on climate change, which is that energy first, energy independence is an important part of the president's role. it is an important part of grab oning the u.s.'s job creation, something the ,resident likes to talk about in his speech at the white house.
i think what bishop said is the same thing, that the u.s. needs to consider all energy sources, it can't take them off the table. i think of saudi arabia, the oil crisis, that fuels the fire because of what losing oil from them would mean for businesses here. with him leaving, coming up, it is unlikely the position will change but as a ranking member of the committee, with democrats in control, there is more of a split on that idea of what can be done about climate change and how we can shift from oil and gas to an -- to renewable energy that is in the back of his mind but maybe not changing his opinion. >> he was animated when he talked about moving the bureau of land management out west. what is the reality and what are the issues facing that kind of move? the secondis is government agency that has been proposing a move.
the usda is proposing moving scientists to kansas city. the fact that both those announcements happened at the same time that a lot of controversy and raised eyebrows. the interior department has been pushing a move like this for a while, the idea that we cover lands across the country, that we should have representatives of the agency spread out across the country. what he didn't mention is, the bureau of land management has already been largely spread throughout the country. only 10% of employees are still based in d.c. and for now, the plan is to move almost the remainder of those employees out west as well. that includes congressional liaisons, people who are tasked with going to congress every day and talking to congress and pushing the issues of the blm. specialists are getting placed in colorado. there have been a lot of concerns about the legitimacy of the plan and the reasoning behind it.
ben: i think miranda hit it pretty well. the bottom line is, these offices already exist. it was interesting, the secretary of the interior that oversees blm as an agency is a , the ally of cory gardner senator from colorado, and he was pushing hard to get grand junction, on the western slope of the state, to host the new blm headquarters. the political objectives are fairly transparent here. cashis an effort to simply in some political chips. miranda: we have to remember ryan zinke he was pushing this. there is some belief that this is a remnant of his legacy, wanting to follow through on a plan that started under him. and the fact that some of these jobs that are going to states that seem to be unclear, the reasoning behind them leads to
the fact that they wanted to move them somewhere and these are places that are ready to have officers. >> miranda green covers energy and environment for the hill. and thers congress environment. thanks for being on the program. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] on c-span, we will have president trump's remarks at a religious freedom event at the united nations in new york city. 7:00, a discussion on first amendment rights when it comes to social media. on c-span two, at 9:10 a.m. eastern, public health officials from major cities will describe how they address the measles outbreak. and at. senate gavels 3:00 p.m. to consider the
nomination for deputy treasurer undersecretary for labor affairs. minister --ime british prime minister boris johnson's decision to suspend parliament is being challenged. gina miller says the prime minister went beyond his authority or suspending parliament until mid october, two weeks before the u.k. is scheduled to leave the eu. attorneys in the case presented closing statements to the u.k. supreme court in the case miller versus the prime minister.