(House of Representatives - May 25, 2016)

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[Congressional Record Volume 162, Number 83 (Wednesday, May 25, 2016)]
[Pages H3218-H3220]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                                OF 2016

  Mr. BARTON. Mr. Speaker, pursuant to House Resolution 744, I have a 
motion at the desk.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Clerk will report the motion.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       Mr. Barton moves that the House insist on its amendment to 
     S. 2012 and request a conference with the Senate thereon.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Texas (Mr. Barton) is 
recognized for 1 hour.
  Mr. BARTON. Mr. Speaker, I won't take nearly that much time.
  This motion authorizes a conference on S. 2012. This is a bill that 
will update our national energy policy.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time, and I move the 
previous question on the motion.

[[Page H3219]]

  The previous question was ordered.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentleman from Texas (Mr. Barton).
  The motion was agreed to.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.

               Motion to Instruct Offered by Mr. Grijalva

  Mr. GRIJALVA. Mr. Speaker, I have a motion at the desk.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Clerk will report the motion.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       Mr. Grijalva moves that the managers on the part of the 
     House at the conference on the disagreeing votes of the two 
     Houses on the House amendment to the bill S. 2012 (an Act to 
     provide for the modernization of the energy policy of the 
     United States, and for other purposes) be instructed to 
     insist on inclusion of section 5002 of S. 2012.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 7 of rule XXII, the 
gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Grijalva) and the gentleman from Utah (Mr. 
Bishop) each will control 30 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Grijalva).
  Mr. GRIJALVA. Mr. Speaker, the Democratic motion would instruct House 
conferees to insist that section 5002 of S. 2012 be included in the 
final conference report on this energy package. Section 5002 of the 
Senate bill would permanently reauthorize the Land and Water 
Conservation Fund and make other minor changes to the program.
  The Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965 is based on a simple 
idea. If we are going to allow Big Oil to make huge profits from 
drilling off our coasts, then a small percentage of those profits 
should be set aside for parks and recreational opportunities onshore. 
The oil and gas on the Outer Continental Shelf belongs to all our 
constituents, so it is only right that all of our constituents should 
see the same benefit when Big Oil develops these resources.
  Fifty years later, the program has been a huge success. More than $36 
billion has accrued to the fund. Millions of acres have been conserved 
and projects have been funded in every State in the Union.
  Meanwhile, the companies paying into the fund have become some of the 
most profitable multinational conglomerates in human history. Over the 
same five decades, States with large amounts of public land have 
developed robust tourism and recreation economies, with job and 
economic opportunities and a quality of life attractive enough to make 
them among the fastest growing communities in the country.
  By investing and expanding recreational opportunities, Congress gets 
a significant return on its investment as outdoor recreation generates 
$646 billion in spending each year, supports 6.1 million jobs, and 
$39.9 billion in tax revenue.
  The Land and Water Conservation Fund benefits people. It benefits the 
environment. It benefits companies and allows them to drill off our 
shores. It benefits the Federal budget. It benefits those mainly 
western States with lots of public land. It is a win-win-win.
  Our colleagues in the Senate saw fit to include permanent 
reauthorization for LWCF in the Senate-passed energy bill, a bill which 
received overwhelming support, including most Republicans.
  The Land and Water Conservation Fund is pretty popular here in the 
House as well. My legislation to permanently reauthorize the program, 
H.R. 1814, has 207 bipartisan cosponsors.
  There is no doubt that many of the provisions in the House and Senate 
energy bills are controversial. It is, frankly, difficult to see a path 
toward a bipartisan conference report. In such a contentious conference 
situation, a provision reauthorizing a program as widely popular as 
LWCF would play a constructive role in moving toward consensus.
  Section 5002 from the Senate bill should be absolutely included in 
the conference report.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. BISHOP of Utah. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may 
  I rise in opposition to the motion. I appreciate that this is a 
nonbinding resolution, so I have to appreciate the fact that--
hopefully, I think I will be one of the conferees--the instructions 
tell me to do what I already can do.
  At this time, we are looking at a program that does not necessarily 
fit with the goal of the rest of the bill. Look, everything that we are 
doing in this entire bill that we just passed was to support House-
endorsed programs. This now asks us to do something that has never been 
endorsed by the House. In fact, it is quite the opposite.
  So, when the Land and Water Conservation Fund was first established 
back in 1965, the goal was that 60 percent of all the revenue that is 
generated would go to local governments to build what they call the 
state assistance grant program. That program is widely popular. In 
fact, unfortunately, most people think that that 60 percent, as 
originally intended, is the entire Land and Water Conservation Fund.
  The sad part is that, over the years, that 60 percent has dwindled 
away and is no longer a statutory mandate. It dwindled down to like 16 
percent of all that money was going to those stateside widely popular 
programs to help local governments come up with recreation 
opportunities for their citizens. That part that everyone supports had 
dwindled from 60 down to 16 percent. The rest of the money went for the 
Federal Government to acquire more property.
  Now, if you think about this rationally for a second, we are putting 
more money into the Federal Government to acquire more property when 
the Federal Government already has a $20 billion backlog in the 
maintenance of what we already have. Park Service alone has a $12 
billion backlog in the maintenance of the programs we already have.
  So what we are basically trying to do in this motion to instruct is 
to tell us to go in there and fight for money to go to a program to get 
more land when we can't actually manage what we want.
  If the program was to go and say it would be mandatory for local 
governments to be able to pick and choose their recreation opportunity, 
then you have got something that makes sense, but that is not what the 
Senate has tried to do in their appropriations.
  Now, last December, the House did vote on this issue when it 
reauthorized the Land and Water Conservation Fund for 3 more years. But 
what they did in that process is do, at least, the first step of the 
reform by saying, if you are going to do it for 3 more years, at least, 
at least as a minimum 50 percent has to go to the States, and then you 
can spend the other 50 percent for this quixotic effort to control all 
the land in America. But at least do that. Now, unfortunately, that, at 
least, is a reform to make the process better.
  But this motion to instruct would tell us to even go back from that 
and would not even put that modest type of reform into the program. At 
the minimum, that should be the way. It should not be a process where 
we try and walk back from what we have already done. It should not be a 
process where we forget what the original intent of this program is. It 
should not be a process in which we add to the Federal estate when we 
can't manage what we already have. It should not be a process that 
basically has been abused from the intent of 1965.
  So, with that, I appreciate the offer to instruct me to do what I can 
already do. I appreciate that this is still nonbinding. It is a nice 
concept, nice spirit. There is a better way. We did a better way 
before. We can come up with a better way now.
  Mr. Speaker, I have no other speakers. Let's move this stuff along as 
quickly as we can. I already said what we are supposed to do.
  If we are really serious about these instructions, let's do an 
instruction that actually moves us forward. I know that they are still 
just simply nonbinding issues. It is kind of cute, but it doesn't move 
the body forward and it certainly does not support House-backed 
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. GRIJALVA. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Some of the claims that the Land and Water Conservation Fund is some 
kind of a slush fund are completely false. All LWCF expenditures are 
approved by Congress through the appropriations process. The proposed 
land acquisitions are developed over many years after a public land 

[[Page H3220]]

planning process. This is a far more responsible and transparent 
process than many Federal expenditures, and it is opposite of a slush 
  The allegation that the Land and Water Conservation Fund has drifted 
from its original intent is also false. The purpose of the program is 
to provide balance. As we allow oil companies to reap massive profits 
from Federal oil reserves, we should set some of the revenue aside for 
conservation purposes, and that is still what LWCF does today.
  Funding for State matching grants has fluctuated over the years, but 
that is not a drift. That is the result of previous Congress' 
appropriations decisions, many of which were made during Republican 

                              {time}  1745

  The truth is, LWCF is under attack precisely because for 50 years it 
has not drifted from its conservation goals. We do not need to rob LWCF 
in order to pay the maintenance costs. Federal land management agencies 
have maintenance backlogs because Congress refuses to give them the 
funding they deserve and need. Any Member concerned about backlogged 
maintenance should contact the Committee on Appropriations immediately 
and express support for an increase in maintenance budgets. You can do 
this without gutting LWCF.
  Finally, LWCF is not a Federal land grab. At least 40 percent of LWCF 
money goes to States in the form of matching grants. The Federal 
funding is targeted at in-holdings, already surrounded by Federal land. 
Acquiring an in-holding does not increase the size of the Federal 
footprint. Buying in-holdings can provide access to parcels that are 
closed because there is no public access route. These purchases are 
from willing sellers. These are people who want to sell their land.
  Those who oppose this motion to instruct or oppose LWCF are part of a 
larger campaign to hand over all remaining open space to private 
development. Oil and gas companies, mining conglomerates, timber 
companies, real estate developers, and large scale agribusinesses would 
love to get their hands on the open space in the West. Some in Congress 
want to help them, and they see LWCF standing in the way because it 
conserves open space for public and not private use.
  Congress should reauthorize and strengthen this program. We face more 
habitat fragmentation, greater urban sprawl, and more severe climate 
change than ever before. It is time to double down on the promise of 
the Land and Water Conservation Fund, not fold so developers can cash 
  The energy bill is the place to do that, and I urge the adoption of 
the motion to instruct.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Culberson). Without objection, the 
previous question is ordered on the motion to instruct.
  There was no objection.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion to instruct.
  The question was taken; and the Speaker pro tempore announced that 
the noes appeared to have it.
  Mr. GRIJALVA. Mr. Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and nays.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 8 of rule XX, further 
proceedings on this question will be postponed.