February 12, 2019 - Issue: Vol. 165, No. 27 — Daily Edition116th Congress (2019 - 2020) - 1st Session
NATURAL RESOURCES MANAGEMENT ACT--Resumed; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 27
(Senate - February 12, 2019)
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 S1178-S1186] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] NATURAL RESOURCES MANAGEMENT ACT--Resumed The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the Senate will resume consideration of S. 47, which the clerk will report. The bill clerk read as follows: A bill (S. 47) to provide for the management of the natural resources of the United States, and for other purposes. Pending: Murkowski/Manchin Modified Amendment No. 111, in the nature of a substitute. Murkowski Amendment No. 112 (to Amendment No. 111), to modify the authorization period for the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Historic Preservation program. Rubio/Scott (FL) Amendment No. 182 (to Amendment No. 112), to give effect to more accurate maps of units of the John H. Chafee Costal Barrier Resources System that were produced by digital mapping. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority whip is recognized. Green New Deal Mr. THUNE. Madam President, last Thursday, Democrats released their plan for a Green New Deal, although ``plan'' might be a bit of a stretch. It is more like a wish list because while Democrats announced their desired outcomes like getting rid of fossil fuels or upgrading every single building in the United States, they provided no details at all about how to get there. In particular, they failed to provide any details on how to pay for the staggering costs of what they are proposing to do. Take just one provision of the Democrats' green wish list: ``Upgrading all existing buildings in the United States and building new buildings to achieve maximum energy efficiency, water efficiency, safety, affordability, comfort, and durability, including through electrification.'' That is a direct quote from the so-called plan, upgrading all existing buildings--all existing buildings. Well, the cost of that provision alone is practically inconceivable, but that is just a small fraction of what the Democrats want to do. Their wish list also includes ``meeting 100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources, including by dramatically expanding and upgrading renewable power sources and by deploying new capacity; overhauling [[Page S1179]] transportation systems in the United States to remove pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector as much as is technologically feasible'' and much, much more, and they don't limit themselves to energy initiatives either. They also announced that a Green New Deal must include guaranteeing every person in the United States a job, healthcare, paid vacations, and more. It is possible the reason the Democrats didn't provide any details about how to pay for their plan is because they knew that outlining the actual cost would sink their plan from the very beginning. I cannot even imagine the staggering amount of money that would be required to pay for the ideas on their wish list, and that money will come from the pockets of the American people. Like other socialist fantasies, this is not a plan that can be paid for by merely taking money from the rich. Actually implementing this so-called Green New Deal would involve taking money from working families--and not a little bit of money either. Before the introduction of last week's absurd resolution, the Green New Deal was modeled and projected to cost American families up to $3,800 a year in higher energy bills, and $3,800 a year in higher energy costs would be hard enough for most working families I meet, but that would be just the tip of the iceberg under the Democrats' plan because, of course, if your electricity costs are higher, then so are your business's electricity costs, your doctor's electricity costs, the electricity costs at neighborhood restaurants, and the electricity costs at your gym, and all of these places are going to charge more money to cover their cost increases so you are going to be paying more in electric bills and more on everything else as well. Then there is the fact that the government will not be able to pay for one-quarter of what is outlined in the Green New Deal without raising your taxes by a lot. There is no question that socialist fantasies sound nice--they always do--until they end up victimizing the very people they are meant to help. As Ronald Reagan is reported to have said, ``Socialism only works in two places: Heaven where they don't need it, and hell where they already have it.'' Democrats' gauzy, nebulous proposal may sound appealing on the surface, but it would devastate our economy and be paid for on the backs of working families in this country. The Green New Deal would be a very bad deal for the American people. I yield the floor. I suggest the absence of a quorum. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll. The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll. Mr. GARDNER. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. S. 47 Mr. GARDNER. Madam President, today we are making some great progress on a bill that is very important to so many Members in this Chamber and particularly important to the American people--a public lands package that, in some cases, has taken years for these bills to process through the Senate and hopefully are on their way to passage in the House and to the President's desk. For 4 years, since being in the Senate, I have worked to permanently reauthorize the crown jewel of our conservation programs, and we are about to have that crown jewel success, permanent authorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund--the passage of the public lands bill. The Senate will finally take an up-or-down vote and move forward on permanent authorization of LWCF. I have championed this program with so many of my colleagues in a bipartisan way, Republicans and Democrats. It is time for this body to act and make sure that we do what is right for the people of Colorado and beyond with this reauthorization. This program has an incredible direct impact on public lands in Colorado and will be used to protect our State's amazing natural beauty for generations to come. Outdoor recreation opportunities in Colorado abound. The outdoor recreation opportunities in Colorado make it the destination for recreation, for adventure, for opportunity. You can hike in the summer, hunt in the fall, ski in the winter, raft in the spring. We have it all. Those activities and more have led to an incredible outdoor economy that is booming like never before. It generates the outdoor economy. It generates something like $28 billion in consumer spending in the State and $2 billion in State and local tax revenue. That is people coming in to camp, to hunt, to fish, to ski--incredible employment opportunities. Up to 230,000 people in Colorado alone are employed in the outdoor recreation economy. We don't just have this economy by chance. We have it because of our public lands and the extensive efforts that so many in this Chamber have undertaken over the years to conserve them in a condition that the next generation will also get to enjoy. One of our best tools to conserve and protect the public's lands has lapsed, though--it goes back to the very beginning of our conversation today--the Land and Water Conservation Fund. It has been over 100 days since the Land and Water Conservation Fund expired, a fund, a program, a conservation tool that has broad bipartisan support. It is an access program. LWCF is an access program. It is there to sustain access to land that may otherwise be cut off from public enjoyment, to provide access to land that has been closed off to recreationists, to environmentalists. The opportunities we have to enjoy this land, the LWCF restores. In the days leading up to the expiration of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a report was published by the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, and it published some figures on public land acreage that is inaccessible to the American public. It identified over 9.5 million acres in the Western United States alone that is inaccessible to the public because of the surrounding public lands; that is, 9.5 million acres of land that belongs to the American people that the American people have no access to because it is surrounded. The Land and Water and Conservation Fund is used to help give access to land that the American people already own, to enjoy, to benefit from, to create economic opportunities, and, more importantly, to create the opportunity just to be in our amazing, wonderful outdoors. In Colorado alone, there are over 250,000 acres that are closed off to the public. These are 250,000 acres of publicly held lands that are closed off because you don't have access. That translates into just shy of 400 square miles of public land in Colorado--basically, the same amount of land of the entire Rocky Mountain National Park--that can't be used to hike, to hunt, and to fish, even though it belongs to the American people to hike, to hunt, to fish, to think, to hope, to dream, to plan, to resolve. They are those things that we admire and need our public lands for--the opportunity to think, to hope, to admire, to plan, to rest, to resolve. Since its creation, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has provided more than $258 million in support for Colorado public lands projects. Again, the opportunity to have this permanent reauthorization today is incredible. It is supported by this Chamber, and it is supported, certainly, by people across the political spectrum in Colorado. It is a great day for Colorado. It is a great day for public lands. I want to show and share some of the incredible beauty we are talking about. This is a picture of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park in Colorado. You can see the Gunnison River through the canyon, and you can see the rim of the canyon. If you go to the next shot, though, you will see some of the land that was purchased by the Land and Water Conservation Fund. You can see the top of the rim looking down over the river. The top of the canyon was owned by a family. It was privately held land. They could have sold it off. They could have developed the land. You can see Bruce Noble, the park superintendent, pointing at the rim of the canyon, the land that was purchased using Land and Water Conservation Fund dollars. That land belonged to a family that, thanks to LWCF, was purchased and held for the National Park Service so [[Page S1180]] that it doesn't risk development and we don't risk losing access and so that somebody is not going to put barriers to access this incredible majestic place. You see that land right there, and that is just one example of how important the Land and Water Conservation Fund is. The Black Canyon LWCF purchase was about 2,494 acres. Imagine that-- private land, nearly 2,500 acres of land, held within the national park, that could have been sold off to a developer. Imagine what could have happened. But this land allows us to continue to have access to gold medal fly fishing on the Gunnison River. It creates potential opportunities for the National Park Service to provide more family- friendly hiking closer to the visitor center, and it serves as a potential source of water to the South Rim, which will reduce the operational costs of hauling water to meet visitor and staff need. It was a win for everyone--for the family who wanted to sell their land but not have it developed and certainly for the American people, who now have an incredible addition to their national park. If we go to the next picture. This next picture is a picture in the distance of the Great Sand Dunes National Park. You can see the light- colored sand at the foot of the mountain range. There is a 12,000-acre ranch, the Medano Zapata Ranch, which borders the sand dunes on three sides. These are some of the highest sand dunes in North America. It has been bought by the Nature Conservancy, one of the great conservation partners of the LWCF, and it is going through the process to be incorporated into the park by using Land and Water Conservation Fund dollars. This is so important. This access with this purchase is so important because it will help us to have access, once again, to existing public lands, keeping these incredibly beautiful working lands conserved for healthy wildlife habitat. This is an inholding purchase. Inholding purchases are not the only way LWCF benefits the outdoors, however. The National Park Service, through LWCF State and local assistance programs, provides matching grants for State and local park projects that aren't inside the national park borders. LWCF isn't just about our forests, either, or BLM land, or national parks. It is also about local parks, bike trails, playgrounds--these little slices of Heaven among concrete and the chaos that provide us that respite in our daily lives to plan, to hope, to think, and to rest. In addition to the permanent reauthorization of LWCF, this package includes legislation that I supported, authored, and worked very hard the last several years to be included. For Colorado, it includes the Crags, Colorado Land Exchange Act. This will allow us and the U.S. Forest Service to have better access to the Barr Trail, working to allow greater public use of their public lands. The Bolts Ditch Access and Use Act. In Congress, when we have legislation like this, sometimes our colleagues, particularly in the East, don't necessarily have this problem that they are dealing with each and every day. We have a community in the mountains where their water supply goes through a wilderness area. As a result, you can't take mechanized, motorized equipment to fix this water project, this waterway. So Congress has to pass a bill to allow this city to have the ability to fix its water system. That is exactly what we do in the Bolts Ditch Access and Use Act. The 1980 Holy Cross Wilderness Area didn't address this problem. Here we are, nearly 40 years later, addressing this challenge and allowing the community to move forward to fix its water system. We included in this legislation a bill to update the map and modify the maximum acreage available for inclusion in the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. The park is currently restricted--this incredible national monument--to 6,000 acres. However, somebody wanted to give some of their land to the national monument. So we have added 280 acres of land to this incredible national monument. We have reauthorized the Endangered Fish Recovery Program. This was originally created in 1988, over concern for four endangered fish in the Upper Colorado River. The Upper Colorado Endangered Fish Recovery Implementation Program has been extended multiple times over the last 30 years, most recently in 2013. It is a science-based, basin-wide approach to make sure that we recover these species and to make sure that this program has taken to preclude any lawsuits being filed, despite the diverse stakeholder group involved. This legislation will extend the authorization of the program through 2023. It also creates a feasibility study to look into whether or not we should designate Amache, the site of a Japanese-American internment site in southeastern Colorado, as a national park. During World War II, tens of thousands of Japanese-Americans were wrongfully removed from their homes and held in internment centers. One such internment center, located in the eastern plains of Colorado, near the town of Granada, and that became known as Amache, was designated as a national historic landmark in 2005. This internment site is the best preserved among the entire system of internment sites that were used during World War II. To name this a national park--to have that recognition--is an important reminder of a very dark period in our history that we would never repeat the internment of Japanese-Americans. This is a study to do just that. I have also been part as cosponsor and original sponsor of other legislation: the Arapaho National Forest Boundary Adjustment Act and the Fowler and Boskoff Peaks Designation Act. Charlie Fowler and Christine Boskoff, who tragically lost their lives in China in an avalanche in 2006, were world-renowned climbers. We are naming two peaks after them in Colorado. This bill authorizes a feasibility study for the Pike National Historic Trail. It authorizes a bill that we worked on with Senator Cantwell--the Wildfire Management Technology Advancement Act of 2017, a bill designed to protect men and women in firefighting from harm and injury and to give them greater tools on the behavior of fire. Every single one of these bills in the package has undergone extensive public review in the Senate and the House. They have gone through a lot of legislative process. I thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for getting to this moment as we pass this very critically important piece of legislation. I yield the floor. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Washington. Ms. CANTWELL. Madam President, I come to the floor to talk about S. 47, a bill I authored with Senator Murkowski. It is a package of public land issues that has been working its way through the Congress now for several years. I would like to point out to people who may not be as familiar with the Interior side of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee's work, that the Interior side has a long history in our Nation. We decided a long time ago that we needed to have oversight and management of our public lands. S. 47, the legislation that is before us today, is a recognition that our climate is changing and that we need new tools to carry out new responsibilities as it relates to managing those public lands. I thank my colleague from Alaska, Senator Murkowski, for her incredible leadership. I know we are going, hopefully, to go to final passage of this bill sometime today, and I thank her for her good bipartisan work on this legislation. It is safe to say that even though we both come from the Pacific Northwest, we don't see eye to eye on every issue, but we have worked hard to try to give local communities the resources they need and to maintain the national interest where the national interest was at stake. So I can't applaud my colleague enough for her hard work and for her dedication to getting this particular package moving through the Senate. I also want to thank a lot of the staff who have worked on this issue because I know that it is about the hard work of legislating. There are many issues about which maybe not everybody understands all of the details to, but, I guarantee you, all the details were critically important. So I want to in particular thank Mary Louise Wagner, the minority staff director for the Energy and Natural Resources Committee [[Page S1181]] until recently. I certainly also want to thank the dynamic duo of David Brooks and Sam Fowler who, as counsel to the committee, have played an incredible role over the last many years in preserving what is most important about our public lands. I also want to thank, additionally, Bryan Petit, Rebecca Bonner, Amit Ronen, and several of the staff who have worked on many of the aspects of this package; Camille Touton, Melanie Stansbury, and David Reeploeg and Megan Thompson who played key roles in the Yakima provisions. And Angela Becker-Dippmann who previously worked on this legislation. I also thank Senator Murkowski's staff, Brian Hughes, Kellie Donnelly, and particularly, Lucy Murfitt. I don't think we ever could have gotten this package through without her due diligence and hard work. I thank Lane Dickson and Michelle Lane. I also thank my colleagues in the House of Representatives. I certainly want to thank the staff director for Congressman Grijalva, David Watkins, but I also thank Chairman Grijalva for his hard work and Congressman Bishop. It is safe to say that all four of us, working together--Senator Murkowski, myself, Congressman Bishop, and Congressman Grijalva--definitely didn't always see eye to eye on these issues, but we worked hard to resolve these issues. I also thank my colleagues, Congressman Dave Reichert and Congressman Dan Newhouse, for their work on provisions related to Washington State. Before I get started in talking about the major provisions of this legislation and why they are so important, I also have to call out several of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle who have played key roles. Certainly, the historic Utah wilderness provision would not be this lands package without my former colleague, Senator Orrin Hatch. He played such an incredible role over a long period of time in shaping the provisions as they affect Utah, and I thank him for that and for working with our colleague on this side of the aisle, Senator Durbin, on that important aspect of the package. We would not be where we are today on the fire provisions without my colleague Senator Gardner. Both Washington and Colorado have taken it on the chin time and again with devastating forest fires, and we know why it is so important to give firefighters and the land managers the best possible tools available to locate the fires and keep track of frontline firefighters. We need a more hasty response to putting out fires, and having GPS and tracking systems are going to help us do that. So I thank my colleague from Colorado for helping with this legislation. It is safe to say that without the strong determination of Senator Burr, we probably wouldn't be here right now on the permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Making the Land and Water Conservation Fund permanent represents the ethos that we have in the Senate here today that public lands are important to our Nation. They are important for recreating, for hunting, for fishing, for moving forward on access to these lands that are important for our veterans, for our school children, and for those who just may want to go out and access the outdoors and reconnect. We have had a big discussion here about whether we should return public lands to oil and gas drilling, and this bill basically says no, we are going to make a bigger investment in our public lands. We are going to make this program permanent, and we are going to make sure it is a key tool to continue to solve our problems of access to public land, particularly in parts of the country where access to those public lands is being eroded by development. That is exactly what the Land and Water Conservation Fund helps us do--to protect those areas so that either we can continue to have, for example, elk hunting, for which we did a big project in southwest Washington, or whether it is helping to improve access to Mount Rainier, a huge economic asset to the State of Washington, or whether it is as simple as giving a community like Auburn or Gas Works Park in Seattle access to a program that can help us keep open space in some of our most developing areas. The Land and Water Conservation Fund has been a preeminent program for access to public lands, but it had been threatened when Congress allowed it to expire 3 years ago, then only having a temporary reauthorization, and then failing again to reauthorize it last September. What we are doing here now is saying that this is a bipartisan issue, that more than 60 Senators here in the Senate didn't just see that we needed to further adjust this program but we needed to save this program. I emphasize this because I know my colleagues here in the Senate are going to go on to a larger discussion, which is to secure the funding that is set aside for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and how it is spent, and we are going to get into a conversation about how we take care of our maintenance and the backlog at our national parks. I definitely believe that the mandatory spending for LWCF should be in a future budget, and I certainly believe we should do more to take care of our backlog and maintenance at our national parks. So I look forward to working with both sides of the aisle to push that through the U.S. Senate. This legislation is amazing because there are some--particularly in this administration--who want to use public lands to oil and gas drilling, but there is a bipartisan group here in the U.S. Senate who has said: No, we want to put more focus on saving our public lands. This legislation preserves over 1.3 million acres of new wilderness, and 367 miles of wild and scenic rivers. It allows conveyances of land but also protects lands from potential mining and development projects--like removing the threat of mining and development in the Methow Valley in the State of Washington. It also continues to make investments in heritage areas that are important to many parts of the United States of America. I want to talk about how this bill invests in water. The water issues are like fire; they are not going to go away. The only question is going to be this: What kinds of tools do we give communities across the West--and I should say probably throughout the United States--to deal with the changing climate and the impacts of less and less water? What this legislation says for ideas like the Yakima Basin Project is that we are not going to divide people and choose farming over fish. We are not going to divide people and choose one aspect of the environment over the other. It says that we are going to look to smart, holistic, and cost-effective ways to preserve more water and enact smart conservation across our State and country. This is so important because the water issues are not going to go away, but this legislation represents important new tools to fight those challenges and to move forward in a way that I think will prove to be an example of what we should be doing in other parts of the United States. I look forward to working with my colleagues in trying to fund more water infrastructure improvements and conservation. I think this is just as important as any other infrastructure investment we are talking about in the U.S. Senate today. I know we see congestion in our streets. I know we need to do more on aviation infrastructure. But I guarantee you that we need to do more on water, and I look forward to working with my colleagues on these challenges in the future. One aspect that I don't know if my colleagues on the floor have as much interest in as Senator Murkowski and I do, but there is a provision on volcano monitoring that is very important to us. Having experienced the eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington State and having active volcanoes in both Washington and Alaska, it is so important for us to have the right science and monitoring of these volcanoes. I was glad to work with my colleague Senator Murkowski on that provision to give the latest and best tools to our scientists so that they can give us the best information for the future. All in all, this legislation is a major investment in our public lands. It is the kind of hard work that happens behind the scenes that not everybody pays attention to. I guarantee you that when you use the word ``land,'' there are a lot of people to pay attention to. [[Page S1182]] There are local communities. There are landowners. There are environmental interests. There are all sorts of very, very thorny issues that have to be worked out. I thank all of my colleagues for their due diligence on this. Some people have said: Why is it that a lands package comes together only at the end of a Congress or, in this case, held over from last Congress into this session? I hope our colleagues will give more attention to these important public policies. Public lands and access to those lands is an economic juggernaut. Behind finance and healthcare, the outdoor economy is the third most important sector. So for something that important, let's pay more attention. Let's give the tools to local communities and to these resources to manage this, to give more access to the American people, and to do the things that will help us grow jobs and help us recreate for the future and preserve against a very challenging and threatening climate. I thank the Presiding Officer. I yield the floor. The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Scott of Florida). The assistant Democratic leader. Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, today, the Senate will finish its work on the Natural Resources Management Act. This is a bipartisan package addressing over 100 public lands, natural resources, and water. It will provide protection for a number of historical sites and treasured landscapes across the country. One of those sites is in my home State of Illinois. This lands package would include a bill I have cosponsored with my colleague Senator Tammy Duckworth to expand the Lincoln National Heritage Area. It would expand the heritage area to include several areas in Central Illinois that were a critical part of President Abraham Lincoln's life, including the site of Lincoln's legal career within the eighth judicial district, as well as the sites of the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates. By expanding the Lincoln Natural Heritage Area, we can give more Illinois residents and visitors a chance to learn more about President Lincoln's legacy to our State and Nation. In addition, this lands package contains legislation that Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah introduced in the last Congress to protect over 700,000 acres of land in Emery County, UT. I have worked for many, many years to protect the stunning, fragile, and amazing desert landscape in Utah through the Red Rock Wilderness Act, which I have introduced and reintroduced over a period of time. While I would like to have seen the Red Rock Wilderness Act included in this package, Senator Hatch and I worked together to protect some of the land covered by my bill in a bipartisan compromise that is, in fact, included in this bill. This lands package also contains an important tool for conservation and recreation throughout the country, permanently reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund, also known as LWCF. In Illinois, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has invested more than $213 million to protect outdoor spaces, public access to trails, parks, and historic sites. Permanent reauthorization of this critical program should have happened a long time ago, but I am glad we have finally reached a bipartisan moment of achievement in passing it as part of this legislation. I look forward to the enactment of this legislation to protect these important areas in Illinois and across the Nation. Sterigenics and Ethylene Oxide Mr. President, there is often kind of a casual debate about regulation and the power of government. Some basically start with the premise that all regulation is bad, eliminating regulation is always good, and the role of the government needs to be challenged and questioned regularly. I guess there is some truth in those statements, but there comes a moment when we put things in perspective. Let me tell you that the people who live in the community of Willowbrook in Illinois are putting things in perspective when it comes to regulation. Most people are not familiar with Willowbrook. It is a village west of Chicago with a population of 9,000. It is in DuPage County, just west of the downtown Chicago area. It is a middle-income community with a lot of hard-working families, and many of them work hard to make sure their kids have a better life than they do, as so many American families do. In the middle of this village at Willowbrook is a business known as Sterigenics. It is a sterilization plant that uses a chemical, ethylene oxide, to sterilize medical equipment, and they do it in great volume. On any given day, they will be sterilizing thousands of catheters that are being used across the country and certainly in the Midwest for stents and for investigative medicine--absolutely essential to the health of those who are being treated. They will approve over 1,000 surgical kits each day through their sterilization process. They put through the sterilization process such things as knee replacements and defibrillating devices that are implanted in people, so it is an essential part of the medical picture in the Midwest at this moment, but it also turns out that the chemical they are using, ethylene oxide, is problematic, and that is where the issue of government regulation becomes front and center. I didn't know much about ethylene oxide. I was a liberal arts lawyer, so I skipped all of those hard chemistry courses and tried to understand other aspects of education. When it came to ethylene oxide, I needed to be educated. Here is what we found. We have learned that ethylene oxide is a dangerous toxin. It is carcinogenic. To put it in layman's terms, it causes cancer. We learned that ethylene oxide, a chemical in the form of gas, is more carcinogenic to humans than we previously thought, and this facility has been releasing ethylene oxide into the surrounding Willowbrook community for 34 years. Then we found out last August that the Willowbrook community is an area with higher cancer risk due to ethylene oxide emissions from Sterigenics, and we know that cancer-related ethylene oxide exposure includes lymphoid cancer, breast cancer, stomach cancer, and others. After we were told that this company, Sterigenics, was doing everything it could to reduce the emissions of this carcinogenic toxic gas and that it had installed pollution control measures, a local television station--CBS in Chicago--revealed a few days ago through interviews that this wasn't the case at all. Ex-employees of Sterigenics came forward and reported to this television station that ethylene oxide was often released directly into the air surrounding the plant through open doors and vents, and, instead of being directed through pollution control measures, it was simply released. According to these whistleblowers, employees at Sterigenics were instructed to dump a toxic liquid byproduct of ethylene oxide called ethylene glycol directly into the water drains that lead to the public sewer system. Ethylene glycol is a chemical that is used in antifreeze. Then, in the middle of last week, came a stunning revelation. We were told by the Environmental Protection Agency--an Agency that is often derided here in Washington by many--that the level of ethylene oxide measured outside of the Sterigenics facility in Willowbrook, IL, was 350 times higher than what the EPA finds to be an acceptable risk and 50 times higher than what was found in the surrounding area. Saying that the families--some of whom have lived in Willowbrook for decades--are concerned is a dramatic understatement. Imagine for a moment, if you will, that you have been raising a child in Willowbrook, that your family has lived within sight of this Sterigenics plant, and now you are learning that they were releasing this toxic gas into the air at a level of 350 times beyond what is deemed acceptable for human exposure. To say that the residents are concerned is a dramatic understatement. They are demanding action, and they want answers. For the record, this is not about Democrats making noise. This is a bipartisan response. Dan Cronin is a friend of mine. He is the chairman of the county board at DuPage County and a proud Republican. Both he and Jim Durkin, who is the Republican leader of the Illinois House, have come out publicly with the strongest possible statements about this Sterigenics [[Page S1183]] emission and the danger it poses to their community. The same thing is true for the Democratic side of public service in that county. All of us have come out together, Democrats and Republicans, decrying this terrible situation, this dangerous situation. Members of this community should not have to divert time away from their lives and their loved ones to try to research a chemical release and to piece together answers. That is the responsibility of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, an Agency which, sadly under this administration, has been led by people who don't have sympathy for families before business. They tend to lean toward the business side before they look at the public health aspect. That is unfortunate. The Clean Air Act was one of the first and most expansive environmental laws ever created in the United States, but, as with most laws, the Clean Air Act is enforced by a Federal Agency--in this case, the Environmental Protection Agency--with broad power and authority to act or to refuse to act. In this case, the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to use the new information that came off its own monitors--new information about the concentrations and danger of ethylene oxide--to develop new rules around the use of that chemical, including when it is used for commercial sterilization in plants like Sterigenics. The EPA has the authority to do this. The EPA should quickly promulgate rules to establish safe limits for ethylene oxide used in manufacturing and commercial sterilization. This would protect not only the people in Willowbrook but also the people in Gurnee and Waukegan, IL, which also have plants that use ethylene oxide--plants that are located smack dab in the middle of these populated communities. Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA is 4 years overdue to begin the process of promulgating new rules for ethylene oxide commercial sterilization. Yet when I called the Acting Administrator, Mr. Wheeler, at the EPA last Friday, there didn't seem to be any sense of urgency to take action on this issue beyond the further collection of data over the next several weeks. The EPA is under court order to review ethylene oxide emission standards for manufacturing by 2020, but there is no official timeline for commercial sterilization review--exactly what we have asked of Mr. Wheeler and the EPA over and over again. Waiting 1 year is unacceptable for the families who are affected by these emissions. The health and safety of these families and their children are at stake in this decision by the EPA. That is too long to ask someone to wait when they sleep near this plant, work near this plant, or take their kids to school near this plant. That is why today I join my colleague Senator Duckworth, who has been my trusted ally in this effort, and my colleagues in the House of Representatives, Congressmen Schneider, Foster, Casten, and Lipinski. We are introducing legislation requiring the EPA to promulgate these rules within 180 days on the use of ethylene oxide in this manner. There is no excuse and no logical explanation for delaying this kind of establishment of a rule. But the EPA has to do a lot more than simply start a 6-month process toward promulgating a rule for ethylene oxide. The EPA needs to treat this matter like the public health crisis it is. Today Senator Duckworth and I are calling on the EPA to immediately require Sterigenics to work with an independent, third-party environmental engineering firm to identify the source of these emissions and reduce these emissions coming from that facility. We want a third party on the scene. We don't trust Sterigenics to do this by themselves. For their own credibility, they should invite a third-party environmental engineering firm to do this work. If Sterigenics cares about this community as much as they say they do, they shouldn't wait for the EPA to issue an order for them to have this sort of inspection and to make the repairs and changes necessary to protect the people in the surrounding community. They should immediately hire an independent, third-party expert to identify the source of the emissions and reduce them as quickly as humanly possible. The EPA should commit to continuous monitoring around the facility instead of ending the monitoring as planned later this week. The EPA should remain as a presence in this community to make sure we restore the faith to the people living nearby that the situation is no longer dangerous and threatening. The EPA should commit to continuing to analyze and share the data they collect with the public. No one should have to live in fear that simply breathing the air around their home, their school, or their workplace will give them cancer. I am calling on the EPA to treat this with the urgency it deserves. I am ready to work with them, and I am sure Senator Duckworth is as well. Let me close by saying that there are many people who mock the EPA and say that we would be better off if they stopped harassing businesses like Sterigenics. Tell that to the people who live in Willowbrook. Tell that to the people who live in Gurnee and Waukegan. They are counting on us--those in Washington who work with the Environmental Protection Agency--to keep this community safe for their families. They are counting on us to understand the concern they feel for themselves and their children. They are counting on us not to come with bureaucratic delay but to come up with a timely response, to put Sterigenics on the spot when it comes to the emissions that are coming off their plant, and to put us as a government on the spot to respond as quickly and as humanly as possible. It is not a matter of bureaucracy; it is a matter of common sense. If this were your family living next to this facility, would you want business as usual, or would you want to make sure the government responds in a timely fashion? I think the answer is obvious. Mr. President, I yield the floor. I suggest the absence of a quorum. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll. The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll. Ms. WARREN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. Nomination of William Barr Ms. WARREN. Mr. President, I join my colleagues on the Senate floor to discuss William Barr, President Trump's nominee to serve as America's next Attorney General. The Attorney General's job is to defend the U.S. Constitution against all enemies, foreign or domestic, and to stand up for the rights of all Americans, but President Trump has a different view of the Attorney General's role. He has made it quite clear that he is not interested in an Attorney General who is committed to working for the American people. For President Trump, only two criteria matter when it comes to picking an Attorney General. No. 1 is loyalty to President Trump. William Barr easily checks this box. Just look at the Mueller investigation. As Special Counsel Mueller's team investigates whether there are connections between Russia's meddling in the U.S. elections and the Trump campaign and indicts more and more people with close ties to the President, President Trump has viciously attacked the investigation, calling it a ``witch hunt.'' Trump was not pleased that his first pick for Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, recused himself from the Mueller investigation. He doesn't want to make the same mistake twice. In Barr, the President has found someone he believes will put the President's interests above those of the country, and it is not hard to see why. Barr has taken extraordinary steps to undermine the Mueller investigation, even voluntarily submitting an unsolicited memo to the Justice Department arguing that the special counsel doesn't have the power to investigate Trump for obstruction of justice. Man, that is quite the cover letter for a job application when the job is overseeing the very investigation you don't think should exist in the first place. Loyalty to President Trump--check. The second criterion for President Trump when picking an Attorney General or any nominee to serve in the [[Page S1184]] highest levels of the Federal Government is whether the nominee will continue to tilt our government further and further in favor of the powerful few over everyone else. Once again, Barr checks the box. Barr's record on women's rights, criminal justice reform, immigration, and so many more issues shows that he will promote the interests of the powerful few instead of defending the rights of all. Take women's rights. Barr believes Roe v. Wade--the Supreme Court case establishing the right to abortion care--was wrongly decided and should be overturned. He also joined the amicus brief arguing that employers should be allowed to deny women access to contraceptive care based on employers' religious beliefs. On criminal justice reform, Barr has endorsed harmful policies that have perpetuated America's broken criminal justice system. While serving as Attorney General in the early 1990s, the Justice Department issued a report arguing that the United States had an under- incarceration problem--that we put too few people in jail in this country--and Barr has personally made many statements in line with that misguided approach. He has argued that children should be prosecuted as adults. Despite the fact that Black people are arrested, prosecuted, convicted, and more harshly sentenced than their White counterparts for exactly the same crimes, Barr has denied that racial disparities exist in the criminal justice system and has championed discriminatory sentencing policies. On immigration, Barr supported the first and harshest iteration of President Trump's unconstitutional and immoral Muslim ban. In his stint as Attorney General in the 1990s, he advocated for denying political asylum to Haitian asylum seekers who happened to be HIV positive. On healthcare, Barr has argued that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional. On LGBTQ equality, he has opposed efforts to promote LGBTQ equality. The list goes on and on. There is no doubt that if confirmed, Barr would continue the same broken system that protects the wealthy and well-connected while it leaves everyone else behind. The President doesn't hide what he wants from an Attorney General. He wants someone who will put protecting the President ahead of protecting our Constitution and someone who will help maintain America's two very different justice systems--one that protects and coddles the wealthy and the powerful and another harsh, unjust system for everyone else. Barr's record shows that he is not the Attorney General America desperately needs--an Attorney General who will stand up for the rule of law and for the rights of all Americans. That is why I will vote no on Barr's nomination, and I urge my colleagues to do the same. Mr. President, I yield the floor. I suggest the absence of a quorum. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll. The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll. Mr. WYDEN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. S. 47 Mr. WYDEN. Mr. President, as a former chair of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, I have a pretty good sense of how complicated it is to pull together a legislative package of public lands like the one this Senate is about to pass. So I would like to begin my comments with a special shout-out to our chair and committee leadership, Chair Murkowski, Senator Cantwell, Senator Manchin, then-chairman and my friend Congressman Rob Bishop, and now-Chairman Grijalva for helping me negotiate the Oregon provisions in this bill. This morning, I have brought to the floor of this Senate a copy of a wonderful story. It is called ``Fire at Eden's Gate.'' It is an inspiring account of our late Republican Governor, Tom McCall. Nobody understood better than Tom McCall the very basic idea that protecting our public treasures should not be a partisan proposition. In this day and age, too often, it can feel like the sense of common purpose around protecting our public treasures is slipping away, but I hope this bill is a bit of a signal that it is coming back. That is why this morning, I am dedicating the Oregon provisions of this bill to the memory of our late, great Tom McCall. If Governor McCall were here with us this morning, he would say the Oregon provisions in this legislation are all about protecting and enhancing Oregon's unique and extraordinary livability. At the heart of that livability are our natural treasures and the recreation economy that pumps billions of dollars into Oregon, especially in our rural communities. I am heading home this weekend. I have townhall meetings in every one of Oregon's 36 counties. In those rural areas, I am constantly seeing people whose livelihood revolves around that theory Tom McCall talked about--our unique livability. We will see small businesses, we will see guides who are taking folks out into the back country, and people who sell gear. The recreation economy is a big economic multiplier, and it is all tied to what Tom McCall talked about, which is protecting Oregon's livability. Tom McCall would be very pleased with a number of aspects of this bill, and I want to tick them off briefly this morning. I believe Governor McCall would be especially pleased that this legislation does more to protect Oregonians from the growing threats of wildfires that, in our part of the world, are not your grandfather's fires. They are becoming infernos. We are seeing fires leap our majestic Columbia River, something that used to be unheard of but is a reality today. This legislation, in my view, makes a real difference in reducing the threats of wildfires. I want to talk about one provision specifically, and that is what the bill does for Crooked River Ranch in Central Oregon. The Crooked River Ranch provision I worked on with the committee leadership and that we got in this bill is just common sense because it reduces the risk of fire and also prevents the increasing backlog that prevents our land managers from clearing out dead and dying hazardous fuels near the homes of families. Folks from this really small community, the Crooked River Ranch, came to my townhall meetings and told me about their very understandable fear of being engulfed in one of these infernos, which is how I describe some of these fires that just leap through Federal, State, local, and private boundaries. I want everybody at Crooked River Ranch this morning to know the provisions of this bill reduce the risk of those huge fires, promote forest health, and reduce the backlog that is so critical to preventing fires in the future. I think the provisions in this bill show all those folks from Crooked River Ranch who came to our townhall meetings that the Senate has listened to them and responded to this very real threat. In addition, I can picture Tom McCall this morning--this towering figure--striding through the forests that this bill designates as the first new wilderness in Oregon in nearly a decade. I am talking about the Devil's Staircase Wilderness area, which is 30,000 acres of rugged rainforest in our beautiful Oregon Coast Range. This is an untouched, pristine area, and it was named after a series of cascading waterfalls. It is an area that is so remote and so steep that hikers--who come from all over the country and literally from around the globe--when they come to Devil's Staircase, they can only gain access after a daylong trek through miles of devil's club, which is a tall, spiky bush that has irritated many a hiker. Few people have actually seen the waterfalls and the primeval stands of old-growth trees that surround it. In true Tom McCall fashion, this bill ensures that these majestic Douglas firs and tall trees on the hike are there for future generations to come, and that, in particular, is something Tom McCall personally talked to me about. I am going to mention volunteers in the forests and a conversation I had with Tom McCall not long before he passed. He was always coming back, trying to make sure those of us in positions to make policy were thinking about future generations. Nancy and I are older parents. We have twins who are 11 and a little redhead who is 6. Pictures are available on my iPhone after my presentation. [[Page S1185]] Whenever I look at them, I think about what Tom McCall said: You are making policy for future generations. Now, because of the provisions here to protect Devil's Staircase and create this unique, new wilderness area, it is going to be there for those future generations, for Oregonians, Americans, and literally visitors from around the world. While we are on the topic of remote areas in my State, the lands bill we are about to vote on protects yet another very special place, the Chetco River in Southwestern Oregon. The Chetco lives within steep, mountainous terrain in the heart of the Kalmiopsis Wilderness area. This river--one of the wildest in Oregon--drops almost 4,000 feet in elevation from its headwaters in the Rogue-Siskiyou National Forest before it empties into the Pacific Ocean near Brookings. This area would be particularly beloved by Tom McCall because it is a haven for treasured Oregon fish species like salmon and steelhead. There are so many pictures of Tom McCall throwing a rod because he loved to fish. Although it is a hike to get there, it is an irresistible challenge to even the most proficient anglers and whitewater kayakers, but they will find it the trip of a lifetime. In addition to its recreation benefits and wildlife-sustaining habitat, the river also provides a clean and pristine source of drinking water for the city of Brookings and the town of Harbor on the Oregon Coast. For years, this extraordinarily pure river, with crystal clear water, was being threatened by those who simply didn't appreciate what it meant for fishing and protecting the future, and simply just looked at as an opportunity for mining. This legislation ends the future potential for mineral exploitation along the banks to the Chetco once and for all. I and other Members of the delegation have been working for years to try to make sure this was done permanently. We wouldn't have to lurch from one kind of administrative fix to another. Now we are embedding in black letter law that we are ending the future potential for mineral exploitation along the banks of the Chetco River. I have been working on this for my entire time in public service representing Oregon in the U.S. Senate, and it is something that I-- again, apropos of that shout-out to Senator Murkowski, Senator Cantwell, Chair Bishop, Chair Grijalva--am so appreciative of. The Chetco, by the way, is just one of the many rivers the public lands bill will protect and conserve in my home State. The bill protects more than 250 miles of rivers and streams in Oregon by adding them to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. As an Oregonian, I know it doesn't take an act of Congress to remind us that rivers and streams are the backbone of Oregon's recreation economy. I spoke about it earlier, but this is something that, in my view, is missed in much of the debate about public lands. Recreation is an enormous economic multiplier for our communities. I see our new colleague in the Chair, the Presiding Officer, and I know Florida cares deeply about treasures. So, again, this is not a partisan concern. This is all about looking down the road. When I have a chance, as I will this weekend, to be home for townhall meetings, I am always stunned at how far the reach is with respect to the recreation economy. I was home recently, and a young man said he wanted to talk to me about his kayak business, and so we visited. He talked about how he had tourists come, and he would take them out in his kayak. Then he talked to me about how there is a global market for his kayaks. I am the senior Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee with jurisdiction over trade. He asked me about my view on economics. One out of five jobs in Oregon revolves around international trade. We like to make things and grow things and add value to them and ship them all over the world. Well, the recreation economy creates opportunities here at home, as that young man took folks out in his kayaks, but creates even more opportunities as the rest of the world benefits from his kayaks as well. In Oregon, we outdoor enthusiasts understand that from every corner of the United States we have an opportunity to show Oregon's true natural beauty as well as give people the experience of a lifetime seeing unparalleled treasures. It is a big boost to a lot of families for increasing their incomes. Rivers and streams, such as those we are going to protect with the new additions to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, are a place for families to picnic, for anglers to cast a fly rod into some of the best fishing holes in the country, and for whitewater rafters to get an adrenaline rush while enjoying Oregon's treasures. I can tell you about Tom McCall because Tom McCall loved fishing almost more than life itself. I am telling you, he would look at these provisions, and he would say that what this bill does to protect those hundreds of miles of Wild and Scenic Rivers is something that he would call part of laying the future for future generations but making sure there is a lot that benefits the people of my State and our country right now. From Brookings to the Willamette Valley, from the Chetco to the Molalla River, this bill and the provisions we were able to negotiate on rivers protects treasured fishing streams and salmon habitats in every single corner of Oregon. As I indicated, it is going to be a real shot in the arm to rural communities that are going to be able to create world-class recreation destinations and look at that recreation economy as an increasing opportunity to build a more secure economic future. Especially important are some of the protections this bill gives to the Rogue River in Southern Oregon. Fifty-one years after President Johnson named the Rogue to the original Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, this bill adds just over 120 miles of important Rogue River tributaries to the list. In doing so, this bill further protects and safeguards the mighty Rogue that the iconic western author Zane Grey put on the map when he wrote about the wilderness and remoteness of the river from his cabin at Winkle Bar nearly one century ago. With these designations, Oregon will now have more miles of Wild and Scenic Rivers than any other State in the contiguous 48. Stay tuned, folks. Alaska is the only State that has more miles designated, but given that State is about six times the size of my Oregon, I still think we are in a position to catch up. As the Governor who gave the public access to all of Oregon's beaches and passed the Nation's first bottle recycling bill, Tom McCall valued those who volunteered to keep Oregon so special. He was a great champion of promoting volunteers--again, something that historically has been bipartisan. I ran the legal aid program for older people for a number of years-- the Gray Panthers, for about 7 years--and shortly before he passed, Tom McCall came to see me. I had never been elected to anything. I was stunned that such an important person would come to see an obscure fellow like myself. He was talking about the elderly, and it really led to a broader discussion of volunteerism and people participating, getting involved in their communities, and because he was always working to get people involved in cleaning up our beaches, and then he passed the Nation's first bottle recycling bill, he always came back-- as he did that day when he came to see me--to talking about how volunteerism is a big part of what keeps Oregon so special. In that spirit, this bill honors the conservation legacy of two Oregonians who spent their lives working to keep Oregon special--Frank and Jeanne Moore. Frank Moore just embodies the Oregon way. He served in World War II, and he returned to Oregon and settled with Jeanne in North Umpqua, guiding generations of anglers on the river. Frank and Jeanne dedicated their lives to preservation and conservation of the Umpqua River. For somebody who knows a thing or two about casting a fly rod, Frank Moore understood just how important protecting the river is. I and my colleagues have felt it is long past time to honor Frank and Jeanne's legacy along the river and in their community. That is what this bill does. I went and visited them not long after we made a judgment that we wanted to protect these Oregon icons and their conservation legacy, and now Frank and Jeanne Moore will be recognized in this bill for protecting nearly 100,000 acres of Forest Service land near the North Umpqua River through [[Page S1186]] the inclusion of the Frank and Jeanne Moore Salmon Sanctuary. As anybody who works on public lands legislation knows, sometimes it is hard to find a balance in order to get public lands legislation passed. Nobody gets everything they want. Nobody gets everything they believe they ought to have. The question is, can you bring people together. I am going to close by way of saying I have highlighted a number of provisions that I am glad we got in here. It was 10 years earlier when then-President Obama signed seven pieces of public lands legislation that I was the lead author of. So these opportunities don't come along all the time. There are additional protections that I wish were in this bill we will vote on in a few hours. I particularly wanted further protections for the Rogue and the Molalla Rivers. I want to say to the people I am so honored to represent at home that as soon as we get this done, we are going to go back and start building support to get those protections through Congress in the future, and I am optimistic that if we can have the same kind of cooperation I have been talking about this morning, we can get them across the finish line. This public lands bill may not be perfect, but it is a major accomplishment. If you had told me, in a polarized political climate like the one we have today, that we could get a permanent authorization for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, I would have said, ``No way. Can't happen,'' but now we have real protection for, as it is called, LWCF. I am just going to close by mentioning, finally, my friend, our late Republican Governor, Tom McCall. He embodied--and you see it in this book, ``Fire at Eden's Gate: The Oregon Story.'' Tom McCall, a Republican, embodied Oregon's long and proud history of conservation. I want to close by saying the reason I focused on Tom McCall this morning is that he is part of a historical legacy. Sometimes, over the last few years, I have gotten the sense that that historical principle that protecting public lands was not a partisan issue--sometimes I felt it was just slipping away. Today, it seems to me, we are pushing back. We are headed in the right direction, and protecting the special places my home State is known for is something that gives me great pride. It is also something you bring some humility to because Tom McCall was in a league of his own with respect to protecting our treasures, and I am very glad today, with the Oregon provisions in this bill, we can build on Tom McCall's legacy. I am proud to have been able to play a role in making sure those provisions that help Oregon and our country have been included in this bill. I yield the floor. ____________________