TUOLUMNE BAND OF ME-WUK LAND INTO TRUST; Congressional Record Vol. 162, No. 107
(House of Representatives - July 05, 2016)

Text available as:

Formatting necessary for an accurate reading of this text may be shown by tags (e.g., <DELETED> or <BOLD>) or may be missing from this TXT display. For complete and accurate display of this text, see the PDF.

[Pages H4257-H4258]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  Mrs. LUMMIS. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the 
bill (H.R. 3079) to take certain Federal land located in Tuolumne 
County, California, into trust for the benefit of the Tuolumne Band of 
Me-Wuk Indians, and for other purposes, as amended.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The text of the bill is as follows:

                               H.R. 3079

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,


       (a) Federal Land.--Subject to valid existing rights, all 
     right, title, and interest (including improvements and 
     appurtenances) of the United States in and to the Federal 
     land described in subsection (b) shall be held in trust by 
     the United States for the benefit of the Tuolumne Band of Me-
     Wuk Indians for nongaming purposes.
       (b) Land Description.--The land taken into trust under 
     subsection (a) is the approximately 80 acres of Federal land 
     under the administrative jurisdiction of the United States 
     Forest Service, located in Tuolumne County, California, and 
     described as follows:
       (1) Southwest 1/4 of Southwest 1/4 of Section 2, Township 1 
     North, Range 16 East.
       (2) Northeast 1/4 of Northwest 1/4 of Section 11, Township 
     1 North, Range 16 East of the Mount Diablo Meridian.
       (c) Gaming.--Class II and class III gaming (as those terms 
     are defined in section 4 of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act 
     (25 U.S.C. 2703)) shall not be permitted at any time on the 
     land taken into trust under subsection (a).

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentlewoman from 
Wyoming (Mrs. Lummis) and the gentleman from California (Mr. Costa) 
each will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from Wyoming.

                             General Leave

  Mrs. LUMMIS. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members 
have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and to 
include any extraneous material on the bill under consideration.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentlewoman from Wyoming?
  There was no objection.
  Mrs. LUMMIS. Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he may consume to the 
gentleman from California (Mr. McClintock), the author of this bill, 
the chairman of the Federal Lands Subcommittee of the Natural Resources 
Committee, a committee on which I serve.
  I want to salute the fine work during this Congress and previous 
Congresses of the gentleman from California (Mr. McClintock).
  Mr. McCLINTOCK. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman for yielding, 
although I am still very angry at her for her decision to retire from 
the House at the end of this term. I don't think anyone blames her for 
wanting to deprive herself of the pleasure of our company, but I do 
blame her very much for depriving all of us of the pleasure of her 
company. She will be sorely missed.
  Mr. Speaker, H.R. 3079 would transfer two 40-acre parcels owned by 
the Forest Service to the Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians. These 
parcels are landlocked Forest Service property that are caught between 
a private property owner to the north and east, and tribally owned 
lands to the south and west that are currently in the process of being 
converted from fee to trust.
  These new parcels would be added to the tribe's existing tribal 
conservation area and would be forbidden from being used for gaming.
  This bill has the full support of the Tuolumne County Board of 
Supervisors, the elected land use agency in this jurisdiction. The 
private property owner whose lands abuts this parcel also supports the 
transfer. Similar legislation has been introduced in the Senate by 
Senators Feinstein and Boxer.
  The Federal Lands Subcommittee has held extensive hearings into the 
maintenance backlog of U.S. Forest Service properties and the horrific 
fire danger posed by these overgrown Federal lands. Acreage in the 
Sierra now typically carries four times the timber density that the 
land can support. This region has been devastated by forest fires in 
the past decade because the Federal lands have been so badly neglected. 
The land in question is designated as a High Fire Hazard Severity Zone. 
The tribal chairman testified that the Forest Service has done no 
thinning of these parcels throughout his lifetime.
  Now, in my district that spans the Sierra Nevada, forest fires have 
utterly destroyed more than 1,000 square miles of forest in just the 
last 3 years. The Rim Fire, the largest in the history of the Sierra 
and one of the largest in the history of the State, came within just a 
few miles of this parcel.
  When I visited the command center at the Rough Fire just south of 
Tuolumne in August, the beleaguered firefighters begged me to carry 
back one message to Congress: that forest treatment matters. Where the 
fire ran into treated acreage, it slowed enough to extinguish, but 
there just wasn't enough of it. So that fire burned for more than 10 
weeks and destroyed 151,000 acres of forest land.
  By adding these parcels to the existing tribal conservation area, we 
ensure that this acreage will be properly maintained, which means 
additional fire protection for the region. It will add 80 acres of 
properly managed and maintained forest land where excess timber can be 
carried out before it burns out. And in association with the tribe's 
other conservation work, that just could make the difference in 
stopping or slowing the next catastrophic fire in the region. It is, at 
least, a start.
  I thank the gentlewoman for the time, and I thank the House for 
hearing this bill today and ask for its adoption.
  Mr. COSTA. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, the Tuolumne Band of the Me-Wuk Indians of the Tuolumne 
Rancheria is seeking a transfer of the two parcels that have been 
mentioned from the U.S. Forest Service land to the Department of the 
Interior to be held in trust for the tribe. These two parcels, which 
represent a combined total of about 80 acres, are both undeveloped and 
they are landlocked.
  The parcels are located in an area of great cultural and historical 
significance to the tribe and are contiguous to lands the tribe 
currently owns in fee simple, known simply as the Murphy Ranch.
  When the tribe inquired about the status of these parcels, the local 
U.S. Forest Service staff confirmed that there are no current or future 
uses to the U.S. Forest Service or any other Federal agency.
  The tribe would like to make these existing two parcels a part of 
their Murphy Ranch Conservation Area, which was established to protect 
the environment, wildlife, and the natural beauty of the area, and 
also, as Congressman McClintock noted, to provide additional fire 
protection, which is absolutely essential.
  We, as a result of 4 devastatingly dry years, combined with the bark 
beetle, have a tinderbox of extreme fire conditions that we are dealing 
with in California. Some of you have noted the fires that have taken 
place already in other Western States.
  So fire protection is a part of the concern of this effort, and I 
feel very strongly that we need to do everything we can to improve the 
Forest Service's ability to manage our forest lands. Frankly, we are 
spending all the money that we do give to the Forest Service to put out 
fires and, therefore, it only makes matters worse because we are not 
doing the kind of work we ought to be doing in managing the forests.

[[Page H4258]]

  So I want to commend the tribe for working with the Tuolumne County 
Board of Supervisors and the Edward Ingalls Trust to mitigate any other 
concerns that the land transfer might have had.
  Of course, Congressman McClintock has been tenacious in working with 
all the parties to try to bring this legislation to the floor for swift 
adoption, and I want to commend his efforts.
  We have no further speakers, and I think it would be appropriate that 
I thank the gentlewoman from Wyoming (Mrs. Lummis) for all her good 
work. I, too, will be one of those who will miss her presence, her 
active engagement, and her constructive efforts to try to find 
bipartisan solutions to the challenges we face here in Congress.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mrs. LUMMIS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time.
  I urge all of my colleagues to support H.R. 3079. The tribe intends 
to incorporate the 80 acres into what is commonly referred to as the 
``Murphy Ranch,'' as the gentleman from California (Mr. Costa) just 
indicated, and to designate the land as part of the tribe's 2013 
permanent conservation area.
  Once again, we have Californians coming together in a bipartisan way 
to do the right thing for their State. Nobody knows better than the 
people of their own State how best to manage their State.

  I think this evening's debates are an example of people coming 
together to do the right thing on a bipartisan basis for their State. 
This is how Congress should work. This is how Congress can work.
  Mr. Speaker, I want to salute my colleague, chairman of the Federal 
Lands Subcommittee, Mr. Tom McClintock, for all of his important work 
on this piece of legislation and other pieces of legislation. As I 
leave Congress, I am delighted to entrust the future of this Nation's 
lands and water and air to the gentleman with whom I have been having 
these conversations tonight and debating these very bipartisan bills, 
practical commonsense approaches, just what the American people want to 
see more of in this Congress.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentlewoman from Wyoming (Mrs. Lummis) that the House suspend the rules 
and pass the bill, H.R. 3079, as amended.
  The question was taken; and (two-thirds being in the affirmative) the 
rules were suspended and the bill, as amended, was passed.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.