Text: S.Hrg. 115-482 — PENDING LEGISLATION

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[Senate Hearing 115-482]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]


                                                   S. Hrg. 115-482

                          PENDING LEGISLATION

=======================================================================

                                HEARING

                               BEFORE THE

                            SUBCOMMITTEE ON 
                   PUBLIC LANDS, FORESTS, AND MINING

                                 OF THE

                              COMMITTEE ON
                      ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES
                          UNITED STATES SENATE

                     ONE HUNDRED FIFTEENTH CONGRESS

                             FIRST SESSION

                                   ON


S. 32                    S. 468                   S. 941
S. 90                    S. 614                   S. 1149
S. 357                   S. 785                   S. 1230
S. 436                   S. 837                   S. 1271
S. 467                   S. 884                   S. 1548
 


                               __________

                             JULY 26, 2017

                               __________


                       Printed for the use of the
               Committee on Energy and Natural Resources

        Available via the World Wide Web: http://www.govinfo.gov
        
                                __________
	                               
	
	           U.S. GOVERNMENT PUBLISHING OFFICE                    
26-870                  WASHINGTON : 2020                     
	          
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
        
        
               COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES

                    LISA MURKOWSKI, Alaska, Chairman
JOHN BARRASSO, Wyoming               MARIA CANTWELL, Washington
JAMES E. RISCH, Idaho                RON WYDEN, Oregon
MIKE LEE, Utah                       BERNARD SANDERS, Vermont
JEFF FLAKE, Arizona                  DEBBIE STABENOW, Michigan
STEVE DAINES, Montana                AL FRANKEN, Minnesota
CORY GARDNER, Colorado               JOE MANCHIN III, West Virginia
LAMAR ALEXANDER, Tennessee           MARTIN HEINRICH, New Mexico
JOHN HOEVEN, North Dakota            MAZIE K. HIRONO, Hawaii
BILL CASSIDY, Louisiana              ANGUS S. KING, JR., Maine
ROB PORTMAN, Ohio                    TAMMY DUCKWORTH, Illinois
LUTHER STRANGE, Alabama              CATHERINE CORTEZ MASTO, Nevada

                                 ------                                

           Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining

                           MIKE LEE, Chairman

JOHN BARRASSO                        RON WYDEN
JAMES E. RISCH                       DEBBIE STABENOW
JEFF FLAKE                           AL FRANKEN
STEVE DAINES                         JOE MANCHIN III
CORY GARDNER                         MARTIN HEINRICH
LAMAR ALEXANDER                      MAZIE K. HIRONO
JOHN HOEVEN                          CATHERINE CORTEZ MASTO
BILL CASSIDY
LUTHER STRANGE

                      Colin Hayes, Staff Director
                Patrick J. McCormick III, Chief Counsel
   Lucy Murfitt, Senior Counsel and Public Lands & Natural Resources 
                            Policy Director
           Angela Becker-Dippmann, Democratic Staff Director
                Sam E. Fowler, Democratic Chief Counsel
                David Brooks, Democratic General Counsel
                
                
                            C O N T E N T S

                              ----------                              

                           OPENING STATEMENTS

                                                                   Page
Lee, Hon. Mike, Subcommittee Chairman and a U.S. Senator from 
  Utah...........................................................     1
Barrasso, Hon. John, a U.S. Senator from Wyoming.................     4
Daines, Hon. Steve, a U.S. Senator from Montana..................     5
Murkowski, Hon. Lisa, Chairman and a U.S. Senator from Alaska....     7

                               WITNESSES

Tester, Hon. Jon, a U.S. Senator from Montana....................   105
Casamassa, Glenn, Associate Deputy Chief, National Forest System, 
  U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture............   111
Hatch, Hon. Orrin G., a U.S. Senator from Utah...................   124
Ruhs, John, Acting Deputy Director for Operations, Bureau of Land 
  Management, U.S. Department of the Interior....................   127

          ALPHABETICAL LISTING AND APPENDIX MATERIAL SUBMITTED

29 Palms Inn:
    Letter for the Record........................................   252
Advocates for Access to Public Lands:
    Letter for the Record........................................   193
Agenda...........................................................     2
Alabama Hills Stewardship Group:
    Letter for the Record........................................   194
Alaska Federation of Natives:
    Statement for the Record.....................................    12
Alaska Miners Association:
    Letter for the Record........................................   196
Alaska State Legislature, 2006:
    Legislative Resolve No. 37 for the Record....................    37
Alaska Wilderness League, et al.:
    Letter for the Record........................................   197
Aloysius, Jr., Mrs. Jake A.:
    Letter for the Record........................................    82
American Exploration & Mining Association:
    Email and Letter for the Record..............................   199
American Fly Fishing Trade Association:
    Letter for the Record........................................   201
American Forest Resource Council:
    Letter for the Record........................................   202
American Rivers:
    Letter for the Record........................................   206
Americans for Responsible Recreational Access (ARRA), et al.:
    Letter for the Record........................................   229
Amik, David:
    Email for the Record.........................................   208
Anderson, Jr., Nels:
    Letter for the Record........................................    34
Andrews Jr., John B.:
    Letter for the Record........................................    57
Ark Land:
    Letter for the Record........................................   209
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers:
    Letter for the Record........................................   211
Barrasso, Hon. John:
    Opening Statement............................................     4
Bran, David A.:
    Letter for the Record........................................    49
Brown, Darrell T.:
    Letter for the Record........................................    80
Business for Montana's Outdoors:
    Letter for the Record........................................   213
California Wilderness Coalition (CalWild):
    Letter for the Record........................................   248
    Statement for the Record.....................................   249
Casamassa, Glenn:
    Opening Statement............................................   111
    Written Testimony............................................   114
    Responses to Questions for the Record........................   188
CEMEX Construction Materials Pacific, LLC:
    Letter for the Record........................................   265
Central Council Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska and 
  Tanana Chiefs Conference:
    Resolutions/Letter for the Record............................    30
City of Highland (CA):
    Letter for the Record........................................   255
    Resolution 2016-006 for the Record...........................   256
City of Redlands (CA):
    Letter for the Record........................................   259
City of St. George (Utah):
    Letter for the Record........................................   215
Conservation Lands Foundation:
    Letter for the Record........................................   233
Daines, Hon. Steve:
    Opening Statement............................................     5
    Photo--Chico Hot Springs.....................................     6
Dewey, Valerie J.:
    Letter for the Record........................................    65
Earthjustice:
    Memorandum for the Record....................................   216
East Valley Water District:
    Letter for the Record........................................   263
Endangered Habitats League:
    Letter for the Record........................................   264
Feinstein, Hon. Dianne:
    Statement for the Record.....................................   218
    California Protection and Recreation Act of 2017--Overview 
      Map........................................................   227
    List of Letters and Statements in support of S. 32...........   228
    List of Letters and Statements in support of S. 357..........   253
    Santa Ana River Wash Plan Subcomponents Map..................   268
Frank, Albert:
    Letter for the Record........................................    54
Friends of Big Morongo Canyon Preserve:
    Letter for the Record........................................   246
Friends of El Mirage:
    Letter for the Record........................................   244
Friends of Jawbone:
    Letter for the Record........................................   238
Friends of the Inyo:
    Letter for the Record addressed to Senators Murkowski and 
      Cantwell dated July 19, 2017...............................   240
    Letter for the Record addressed to Senator Feinstein dated 
      April 10, 2017.............................................   242
Glover, Everett J.:
    Letter for the Record........................................    74
Graves, John W.:
    Letter for the Record........................................    77
Gray, James:
    Letter for the Record........................................    50
Greater Yellowstone Coalition:
    Letter for the Record dated July 24, 2016....................   269
        Copper Sulfide Mining Fact Sheet, Earthworks.............   270
        U.S. Copper Porphyry Mines Report, Earthworks, July 2012.   272
    Letter for the Record dated July 24, 2016....................   306
        Center for Science in Public Participation: Memorandum 
          regarding Emigrant Prospect, MT, and Lucky Minerals, 
          dated September 9, 2015................................   307
        Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology: Baseline Water-
          Quality Investigation, Emigrant Creek Watershed, South-
          Central Montana, 2016..................................   313
    Letter for the Record dated July 24, 2016....................   335
        Comparison of Predicted and Actual Water Quality at 
          Hardrock Mines: The reliability of predictions in 
          Environmental Impact Statements by Kuipers, Maest, 
          MacHardy and Lawson, 2006..............................   336
    Letter for the Record dated August 2, 2017...................   563
        U.S. Gold Mines: Spills & Failures Report, Earthworks, 
          July 2017..............................................   564
    Letter for the Record dated August 2, 2017...................   628
    Selected press clippings regarding proposed gold mines in 
      Park County, MT:
        Article by Alex Philp in the Billings Gazette dated 
          August 5, 2017, titled ``Guest opinion: Daines holds up 
          Yellowstone Gateway Act''..............................   634
        Article in the Billings Gazette dated August 1, 2017, 
          titled ``Gazette opinion: Time to protect Paradise 
          Valley''...............................................   636
        Article in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle dated July 30, 
          2017, titled ``Tester's bill too important for 
          platitudes''...........................................   639
        Article by David McCumber in the Billings Gazette dated 
          July 30, 2017, titled ``Mine near Yellowstone gets DEQ 
          approval for preliminary drilling''....................   640
        Article by the Associated Press in the Billings Gazette 
          dated
          July 26, 2017, titled ``Gold mining proposal near 
          Yellowstone 
          advances''.............................................   643
        Article by Elliott D. Woods in The Guardian dated July 
          16, 2017, titled `` `More valuable than gold': 
          Yellowstone businesses prepare to fight mining''.......   645
        Article by Michael Wright in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle 
          dated June 22, 2017, titled ``Paradise Valley mine 
          opponents pressuring Daines to support Tester's ban''..   649
        Article by Liz Kearney in The Livingston Enterprise dated 
          June 20, 2017, titled ``Locals seek action from Steve 
          Daines on fed mining ban''.............................   651
        Article by Tyson Nunley in the Billings Gazette dated 
          June 9, 2017, titled ``Protect Yellowstone River''.....   653
        Article in the Billings Gazette dated June 3, 2017, 
          titled ``Gazette opinion: Permanent protection for 
          Paradise''.............................................   654
        Article by Sabina Strauss, Richard Parks, and Nathan 
          Varley in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle dated June 3, 
          2017, titled ``Delegation must keep up fight against 
          mine near YNP''........................................   657
        Article by Gillian Cleary in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle 
          dated May 18, 2017, titled ``Thanks to Sen. Tester for 
          his stance on Yellowstone''............................   659
        Article by John Salazar in the Billings Gazette dated May 
          6, 2017, titled ``Yellowstone more valuable than gold''   660
        Article by Justin Post in The Livingston Enterprise dated 
          May 2, 2017, titled ``Enterprise Editorial: Ryan 
          Zinke's chance''.......................................   661
        Article by Rich Hohne in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle 
          dated April 30, 2017, titled ``Time for Montanans to 
          stand up for our Yellowstone''.........................   663
        Article by Sabina V. Strauss in the Bozeman Daily 
          Chronicle dated April 29, 2017, titled ``Thanks to Sen. 
          Tester for protecting Yellowstone''....................   663
        Article in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle dated April 28, 
          2017, titled ``Tester lauded for standing up for YNP''.   664
        Article by Brett French in the Billings Gazette dated 
          April 25, 2017, titled ``Tester announces legislation 
          to ban mining near Paradise Valley, Yellowstone 
          National Park''........................................   666
        Article by Ryan Smith in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle 
          dated April 8, 2017, titled ``Montanans must stand 
          against mines near Yellowstone''.......................   669
        Article by Nate Schweber for Parts Unknown dated April 4, 
          2017, titled ``Montana: Yellowstone's Mining Battle''..   671
        Article by Mike Garcia in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle 
          dated February 19, 2017, titled ``Protection of 
          Yellowstone River should be extended''.................   676
        Article by Ben Bulis in the Billings Gazette dated 
          February 18, 2017, titled ``Guest opinion: Protect 
          Montana's Paradise Valley water''......................   677
        Article by Michael Wright in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle 
          dated January 19, 2017, titled ``Federal officials hold 
          open house on mineral withdrawal in Livingston''.......   679
        Article by Susan Johnson in the Montana Standard dated 
          December 11, 2016, titled ``Congress should protect 
          Paradise''.............................................   681
        Article by Diane Bristol in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle 
          dated December 17, 2016, titled ``Why would we ever put 
          Yellowstone at risk?''.................................   682
        Article by Bob and Kitzy Parker in the Billings Gazette 
          dated December 17, 2016, titled ``Why Paradise deserves 
          protection''...........................................   684
        Article by Tom Bowler in the Billings Gazette dated 
          December 11, 2016, titled ``Mining projects were not a 
          good idea in Paradise Valley''.........................   685
        Article by Justin Post in The Livingston Enterprise dated 
          November 23, 2016, titled ``Locals to thank for mining 
          decision''.............................................   686
        Article by Brett French in the Billings Gazette dated 
          December 12, 2016, titled ``Gazette opinion: Protecting 
          Montana's Paradise''...................................   687
        Article by Michael Wright in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle 
          dated November 21, 2016, titled ``Obama Administration 
          blocks new mining claims on 30,000 acres in Paradise 
          Valley''...............................................   690
        Article by Bill Stoddart in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle 
          dated December 7, 2016, titled ``Preserving special 
          places can't be about politics''.......................   694
        Article by Sabina V. Strauss in the Bozeman Daily 
          Chronicle dated November 30, 2016, titled ``Jewell's 
          mining block should be made permanent''................   695
        Article by Steven Koehler in the Billings Gazette dated 
          November 9, 2016, titled ``Guest opinion: Don't mine on 
          Yellowstone's border''.................................   696
        Article by Kristi Vance in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle 
          dated November 9, 2016, titled ``Mining near Emigrant 
          all risk and no reward''...............................   698
        Article by Brett French in the Billings Gazette dated 
          October 9, 2016, titled ``Mining the Mountains of 
          Paradise: Struggles of the New West coalesce next to 
          Yellowstone''..........................................   699
        Article by Brant Oswald in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle 
          dated August 24, 2016, titled ``Paradise Valley is no 
          place for a gold mine''................................   709
        Article by Dan Vermillion in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle 
          dated August 17, 2016, titled ``Gold mine not worth 
          putting Yellowstone at risk''..........................   711
        Article by Andrew Field in the Billings Gazette dated 
          August 6, 2016, titled ``Guest opinion: Let's protect 
          Paradise Valley's greatest treasures''.................   712
        Article by Dylan Brown for E&E News dated August 3, 2016, 
          titled ``Yellowstone: Local group battles 2 mining 
          projects just outside park''...........................   715
        Article in the Billings Gazette dated July 25, 2016, 
          titled ``Gazette opinion: Protect Park County's outdoor 
          assets''...............................................   720
        Article by Liz Kearney in The Livingston Enterprise dated 
          July 1, 2016, titled ``Rep. Zinke sides with opponents 
          of mining near park''..................................   723
        Article by Dwight Harriman in The Livingston Enterprise 
          dated July 7, 2016, titled ``We can't keep doing this''   725
        Article by Michael Wright in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle 
          dated April 12, 2016, titled ``Company asked to 
          resubmit mining application on Yellowstone border''....   727
        Article by Liz Kearney in The Livingston Enterprise dated 
          March 25, 2016, titled ``Business owners form new group 
          opposing mining near Yellowstone''.....................   731
        Article by Samantha Hill in The Livingston Enterprise 
          dated March 1, 2016, titled ``Park County criticizes 
          Crevice mine project in Jardine, DEQ takes comments''..   732
        Article by Liz Kearney in The Livingston Enterprise dated 
          Novem-
          ber 9, 2015, titled ``Comments on Emigrant drilling 
          plan made 
          public''...............................................   733
        Article by Liz Kearney in The Livingston Enterprise dated 
          August 20, 2015, titled ``Emigrant Peak mine 
          exploration: Thousands comment on company's plan before 
          deadline''.............................................   735
        Letter to the Editor of The Livingston Enterprise by Bill 
          Burris dated August 20, 2015, titled ``Exploratory 
          drilling in geothermal resource area is idiotic''......   737
        Article by Bill Stoddart in The Livingston Enterprise 
          dated August 19, 2015, titled ``The Emigrant Creek Mine 
          is a bad deal''........................................   739
        Letter to the Editor of The Livingston Enterprise by John 
          Usher dated August 18, 2015, titled ``In favor of 
          exploratory drilling''.................................   741
        Letter to the Editor of The Livingston Enterprise by 
          Peter D. Fox dated August 14, 2015, titled ``Community 
          Foundation opposes Emigrant mine exploration proposal''   742
        Article by Liz Kearney in The Livingston Enterprise dated 
          August 11, 2015, titled ``Extensive review sought for 
          mine exploration plan''................................   744
        Article by Justin Post in The Livingston Enterprise dated 
          July 23, 2015, titled ``Right decision to extend 
          mineral exploration comment''..........................   745
        Article by Liz Kearney in The Livingston Enterprise dated 
          July 21, 2015, titled ``Comment period extended on 
          drilling proposal''....................................   747
        Article by Liz Kearney in The Livingston Enterprise dated 
          July 16, 2015, titled ``Thousands comment on Emigrant 
          mine pro-
          posal''................................................   749
        Letter to the Editor of The Livingston Enterprise by 
          Anthony Eaton dated July 15, 2015, titled ``Too many 
          risks from Lucky Minerals' proposed exploratory 
          drilling''.............................................   750
        Letter to the Editor of The Livingston Enterprise by 
          Susan and Jeff Bridges dated July 14, 2015, titled 
          ``Mine exploration would be a disaster for the area''..   752
        Letter to the Editor of The Livingston Enterprise by 
          Michelle Uberuaga dated July 13, 2015, titled ``Stop 
          this project before it even gets started''.............   753
        Letter to the Editor of The Livingston Enterprise by Gary 
          and Lisa Miller dated July 13, 2015, titled ``There is 
          hope for those opposing mining operation in Paradise 
          Valley''...............................................   755
        Letter to the Editor of The Livingston Enterprise by 
          William C. Edwards dated July 13, 2015, titled 
          ``Comments on Lucky Minerals' proposed exploratory 
          drilling''.............................................   757
        Letter to the Editor of The Livingston Enterprise by 
          Shaun Dykes dated July 13, 2015, titled ``Jobs and the 
          environment don't have to be mutually exclusive''......   758
        Article by Liz Kearney in The Livingston Enterprise dated 
          July 10, 2015, titled ``Emigrant Peak Mine Exploration: 
          About 140 people attend meeting on company's proposal''   760
        Article by Justin Post in The Livingston Enterprise dated 
          July 10, 2015, titled ``There's a place for mines, and 
          it's not on Emigrant Peak''............................   762
        Article by Liz Kearney in The Livingston Enterprise dated 
          July 9, 2015, titled ``Emigrant mine plan raising 
          questions, concerns''..................................   764
        Article by Liz Kearney in The Livingston Enterprise dated 
          July 1, 2015, titled ``Groups discuss, express concerns 
          on proposed mine exploration''.........................   766
    A Profile of Socioeconomic Measures, Park County, MT.........   768
    Map of ``Elk Migrations of the Greater Yellowstone 
      Ecosystem'' by the Wyoming Migration Iniative dated 
      September 18, 2015 (DRAFT).................................   813
Guthert, David:
    Statement for the Record.....................................   100
Hatch, Hon. Orrin G.:
    Opening Statement............................................   124
    Written Testimony............................................   126
Henry, Ray:
    Letter for the Record........................................    75
Hispanic Access Foundation:
    Letter for the Record........................................   247
Huff, Patrick:
    Letter for the Record........................................    42
Hunter, Jr., Percy:
    Letter for the Record........................................    47
Huntington, Wayne:
    Letter for the Record........................................    59
Inland Action:
    Letter for the Record........................................   267
Jones, Roger M.:
    Letter for the Record........................................    55
Joshua Green Corporation:
    Letter for the Record........................................   814
Joshua Tree National Park Association:
    Letter for the Record........................................   251
Kake Tribal Corporation:
    Letter for the Record........................................   101
Koehler, Steven:
    Letter for the Record........................................   816
Koonaloak, George H.:
    Letter for the Record........................................    64
KS Wild, et al.:
    Letter for the Record........................................   818
    List of Supporters of Wild Rogue Legislation.................   822
    Report titled ``The Economic Value of Rogue River Salmon'' 
      commissioned by the Save the Wild Rogue Campaign, dated 
      January 2009...............................................   879
    Report titled ``Regional Economic Impacts of Recreation on 
      the Wild and Scenic Rogue River'' commissioned by the Save 
      the Wild Rogue Campaign, dated January 2009................   907
Kukowski, Dave:
    Letter for the Record........................................    97
Kukowski, Michael and David:
    Statement for the Record.....................................    98
Lee, Hon. Mike:
    Opening Statement............................................     1
Lindoff, Jr., James M.:
    Letter for the Record........................................    79
Littlefield, Michael:
    Letter for the Record........................................    46
Lucky Minerals Inc.:
    Letter for the Record........................................   951
Maxey, Clarence:
    Letter for the Record........................................   103
McKinley Sr., Alfred:
    Letter for the Record........................................    68
Mills, Anthony Gilbert:
    Letter for the Record........................................    70
Mills, George N.:
    Letter for the Record........................................    71
Mills, Robert D.:
    Letter for the Record........................................    48
Mojave Desert Land Trust:
    Letter for the Record........................................   237
Monroe, Nick:
    Letter for the Record........................................    43
Montana Wildlife Federation:
    Letter for the Record........................................   954
Morris, Jake E.:
    Letter for the Record........................................    67
Murkowski, Hon. Lisa:
    Opening Statement............................................     7
    List of Letters, Statements, and Resolutions in support of S. 
      785, S. 884, S. 1149.......................................    10
National Parks Conserviation Association:
    Letter for the Record regarding S. 32 dated January 11, 2017.   231
    Letter for the Record regarding S. 32 dated July 25, 2017....   956
    Letter for the Record regarding S. 941.......................   957
National Parks Conservation Association, et al.:
    Letter for the Record........................................   958
Native Village of Barrow, Inupiat Traditional Government:
    Resolution #2009-18 for the Record...........................    21
Neimeyer, A. Michael:
    Statement for the Record.....................................   961
Neketa, Nick:
    Letter for the Record........................................    53
Organized Village of Kake:
    Resolution #2009-06 for the Record...........................    19
Parnell, Frank:
    Letter for the Record........................................    76
Paul, Sr., Ronald L.:
    Letter for the Record........................................    73
(The) Pew Charitable Trusts:
    Letter for the Record regarding S. 32........................   239
    Statement for the Record regarding S. 32 and S. 1548.........   963
Phillips, John:
    Letter for the Record........................................    52
Pilot Point Traditional Council:
    Resolution for the Record....................................    20
Powers, Marlys A.:
    Letter for the Record........................................    41
Prett, Willis P.:
    Letter for the Record........................................    72
QuadState Local Governments Authority:
    Statement for the Record.....................................   966
Robertson's:
    Letter for the Record........................................   266
Ruhs, John:
    Opening Statement............................................   127
    Written Testimony............................................   129
    Responses to Questions for the Record........................   189
San Bernardino County (CA):
    Letter for the Record........................................   254
San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District:
    Letter for the Record........................................   260
    Resolution 1036 for the Record...............................   261
Sealaska Corporatioon:
    Letter for the Record........................................    25
Semaken, Harold J.:
    Letter for the Record........................................    45
Sifsof, Lawrence D.:
    Letter for the Record........................................    81
Silas, Franklin R.:
    Letter for the Record........................................    63
Sitka Tribe of Alaska:
    Resolution #2009-85 for the Record...........................    17
Southeast Alaska Conservation Council:
    Letter for the Record........................................   969
Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance:
    Letter for the Record........................................   971
Strong, James B.:
    Letter for the Record........................................    35
Student Conservation Association:
    Letter for the Record........................................   235
Suckling, Theodore D.:
    Letter for the Record........................................    44
Sullivan, Hon. Dan:
    Statement for the Record.....................................   973
Tanana Chiefs Conference:
    Letter/Resolution for the Record.............................    27
Tester, Hon. Jon:
    Opening Statement............................................   105
    Photo 1--Chico Hot Springs...................................   106
    Photo 2--Outside Yellowstone National Park (near Gardiner, 
      Montana)...................................................   108
    Photo 3--Off Highway 89 (Paradise Valley, Montana)...........   110
Thomas, Sherman A.:
    Letter for the Record........................................    66
Thurneau, Vernon A.:
    Statement for the Record.....................................    99
Tobuk, Homer:
    Letter for the Record........................................    40
Traditional Council of Togiak:
    Resolution #2009-06 for the Record...........................    24
Trautner, John J.:
    Statement for the Record.....................................    83
Trout Unlimited:
    Letters for the Record.......................................   975
Ugashik Traditional Village Council:
    Resolution #2009-11 for the Record...........................    23
U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture:
    Statement for the Record regarding S. 1149...................   981
U.S. Department of the Interior:
    Statement for the Record regarding S. 1230...................   171
Washington County (Utah) Commission:
    Resolution No. R-2017-2219...................................   982
Washington County (Utah) Water Conservancy District:
    Letter for the Record........................................   984
Wells, Bryan, Sally & family:
    Letter for the Record........................................   985
White, Sr., David:
    Letter for the Record........................................    78
White, Sr., Frank C.:
    Letter for the Record........................................    69
Wild Rogue Outfitters Association, et al.:
    Letter for the Record........................................   988
(The) Wilderness Society:
    Letter for the Record........................................   990
Williams, Norma J.:
    Letter for the Record........................................    62
Yellowstone Gateway Business Coalition:
    Letter for the Record........................................   994
    Park County Commission Letter................................   996
    Yellowstone Gateway Business Coalition Membership List as of 
      July 17, 2017..............................................   998
    Report by Dr. Larry Swanson titled ``Key Trends, 
      Dependencies, Strengths and Vulnerabilities in Park County, 
      Montana, and its Area Economy,'' April 2016................  1004
    Report titled ``Park County's Growing Economy: Southwest 
      Montana region uniquely positioned for continued economic 
      success,'' 2016............................................  1061

                                 ----------
                                 
The text for each of the bills which were addressed in this hearing can 
be found on the Committee's website at: https://www.energy.senate.gov/
public/index.cfm/2017/7/subcommittee-hearing-on-various-bills

 
                          PENDING LEGISLATION

                              ----------                              


                        WEDNESDAY, JULY 26, 2017

                               U.S. Senate,
 Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining,
                 Committee on Energy and Natural Resources,
                                                    Washington, DC.
    The Subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 9:45 a.m. in 
Room SD-366, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Hon. Mike Lee, 
Chairman of the Subcommittee, presiding.

              OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. MIKE LEE, 
                     U.S. SENATOR FROM UTAH

    Senator Lee [presiding]. The Subcommittee will come to 
order. This is our first legislative hearing in the Public 
Lands, Forests, and Mining Subcommittee during this Congress.
    The purpose of today's hearing is to receive testimony 
regarding 15 separate legislative proposals pending before this 
Subcommittee. Because of the large number of bills on today's 
agenda, I am not going to go through all of them in their 
entirety, but the complete agenda will, of course, be included 
in the record.
    [The complete agenda referred to follows:]

                          UNITED STATES SENATE

                          COMMITTEE ON ENERGY

                         AND NATURAL RESOURCES

           Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining

      July 26, 2017 Hearing regarding Pending Legislation

                             AGENDA

   S. 32, California Desert Protection and Recreation 
        Act
   S. 90, Red River Gradient Boundary Survey Act
   S. 357, Santa Ana River Wash Plan Land Exchange Act
   S. 436, San Juan County Settlement Implementation 
        Act
   S. 467, Mohave County Federal Land Management Act
   S. 468, Historic Routes Preservation Act
   S. 614, Recreation and Public Purposes Act 
        Commercial Recreation Concessions Pilot Program Act
   S. 785, Alaska Native Veterans Land Allotment Equity 
        Act
   S. 837, Southern Utah Open OHV Areas Act
   S. 884, Small Miners Waiver Act
   S. 941, Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act
   S. 1149, To amend the Alaska Native Claims 
        Settlement Act to repeal a provision limiting the 
        export of timber harvested from land conveyed to the 
        Kake Tribal Corporation
   S. 1230, Water Rights Protection Act
   S. 1271, Fowler and Boskoff Peaks Designation Act
   S. 1548, Oregon Wildlands Act
    Senator Lee. About half of these bills were considered in 
this Committee in the last Congress. We are going to update the 
record on these bills. The remaining bills have not yet been 
considered.
    I would like to comment on three of these bills starting 
with S. 837, the Southern Utah Open OHV Areas Act, sponsored by 
my colleague from Utah, Senator Hatch. This bill preserves 
recreational access to nearly 20,000 acres in the Hurricane 
Sand Dunes in Washington County, Utah. A unique blend of slick 
rock terrain and expansive sand dunes makes this an ideal spot 
for off-highway vehicle riders, but federal land managers have 
significantly, and often unjustifiably, reduced recreational 
access in the area over the past two decades. S. 837 will 
guarantee that local residents and tourists from across the 
country continue to have open access to this land. Apart from 
what this bill does, it is also a good example of how federal 
land management decisions ought to be made. This bill is the 
result of locally-driven collaborative processes that empower 
local stakeholders instead of federal bureaucrats. You will 
hear more about this bill from Senator Hatch in a few minutes.
    The second bill I would like to highlight is S. 1230, 
Senator Barrasso's Water Rights Protection Act, which prohibits 
federal land managers from requiring water rights transfers as 
a condition of granting or renewing permits and leases on 
public lands. This bill is necessary to stop federal intrusions 
into long-established state water authority and to protect 
private water rights from an increasingly aggressive Federal 
Government. In recent years, the Forest Service has attempted 
to strong-arm farmers and ranchers by threatening to withhold 
grazing and other land use permits unless the farmers and 
ranchers agreed to give up on the water rights. Moreover, the 
Forest Service's 2014 Groundwater Resource Management Directive 
sought to usurp state authority over groundwater resources in 
the National Forest System. The Forest Service rescinded that 
directive, but the agency continues to express a desire for 
more control over water resources. The Water Rights Protection 
Act would end this unwarranted encroachment on state and 
private water rights.
    Finally, I would like to highlight S. 468, Senator Flake's 
Historic Routes Preservation Act, which establishes a much-
needed process for resolving disagreements over road claims 
under R.S. 2477. In 1866, Congress granted public rights-of-way 
across federal lands that were not already reserved for other 
uses. Many of these roads, known as R.S. 2477 roads, are still 
in use today and provide recreational access and economic 
opportunities for local communities. However, because the 
original law did not require documentation of these roads, 
disputes have arisen between local governments and the Bureau 
of Land Management (BLM) as to who owns the rights-of-way. This 
has led to costly drawn-out legal battles in court.
    My home State of Utah spent years trying to negotiate with 
the Federal Government to settle its R.S. 2477 claims. Its 
efforts ultimately failed because the Federal Government forced 
the state to prove its claims in court. The state has since 
filed 22 lawsuits to settle nearly 12,000 road claims. The 
Historic Routes Preservation Act would end this inefficient, 
unfair, and wasteful system by giving local governments a well-
defined administrative process to document ownership of their 
R.S. 2477 rights-of-way which Congress granted to them over 150 
years ago.
    I would also like to note that some of the bills before the 
Committee today involve various land designations and large 
mineral withdrawals. The United States has one of the longest 
permitting processes for mining in the world and vast amounts 
of federal land are already off-limits. It should come as no 
surprise that our country is at least 50 percent import 
dependent for 50 minerals and 100 percent import dependent for 
20 minerals. This makes little sense when we have been blessed 
with an abundance of these minerals right here at home. Before 
we withdraw more lands from mining, we should look for 
opportunities to open other lands that can be developed safely 
and responsibly.
    With that, I want to thank our witnesses for being here as 
well as Senator Hatch and Senator Tester, both of whom are here 
to talk today about their bills.
    We would be turning to Senator Wyden right now for his 
opening remarks, but I am not seeing Senator Wyden.
    Okay, with that I am going to turn to Senator Barrasso, who 
needs to make his opening statement before he has to go chair 
another hearing.

               STATEMENT OF HON. JOHN BARRASSO, 
                   U.S. SENATOR FROM WYOMING

    Senator Barrasso. Well, thank you very much, Chairman Lee. 
I appreciate you holding this important hearing.
    I want to thank Mr. Casamassa as well as Mr. Ruhs for being 
here today to testify.
    There are a number of important bills on the agenda and I 
would just like to echo what you had said, Mr. Chairman, by 
highlighting the bill that I have introduced, the Water Rights 
Protection Act.
    S. 1230, the Water Rights Protection Act, seeks to protect 
Western communities, farmers, ranchers, and people who rely on 
privately held water rights for their livelihood from blatant 
federal overreach. In recent years, Mr. Chairman, we have seen 
the Federal Government repeatedly try to circumvent 
longstanding state water law and seize private water rights. 
This is absolute federal overreach. It violates private 
property rights.
    One such example, and you mentioned it Mr. Chairman, that 
many of us here today are very familiar with is the Groundwater 
Resource Management Plan proposed by the Forest Service in 
2014. This plan would have imposed unjust water use 
restrictions and denied agricultural and recreational 
activities that communities depend upon for their economic 
viability. All of this would have been done without receiving 
input from the impacted communities. The proposal has since 
been withdrawn due to the blatant overreach in authority.
    S. 1230 will require any future land use agreements to 
recognize states' longstanding authority related to protecting, 
evaluating and allocating groundwater resources.
    So, Mr. Chairman, I appreciate you including S. 1230 on the 
hearing agenda today and the schedule, and I look forward to 
hearing testimony from the witnesses.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Senator Lee. Thank you, Senator Barrasso.
    I am also told that Senator Daines has another hearing to 
go to. Did you want to make a statement?

                STATEMENT OF HON. STEVE DAINES,
                   U.S. SENATOR FROM MONTANA

    Senator Daines. Yes. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Ranking 
Member Wyden for holding this hearing on a very important piece 
of legislation for Montana. This is Senator Tester's 
Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act.
    In fact, as I look at the chart the Senator has brought I 
am getting homesick. Chico Hot Springs is where I spent my 
senior prom, taking the Griswold station wagon right there back 
in 1979. So it is a very special place in Montana. And in fact, 
the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness is in the distance. That is 
where my wife and I and family spend a lot of time backpacking 
on top of some of those peaks that you see in the horizon.
    This legislation is important as it would protect an area 
in Montana that we call Paradise Valley. It is called Paradise 
Valley for a reason. This area is home to some renowned outdoor 
recreation opportunities: world-class fly fishing--if you come 
by my office you will see me holding a nice, big, brown trout 
caught on the river, the Yellowstone River, that runs right by 
Chico Hot Springs; hiking; rafting; and hunting. My son killed 
his first elk just north of that picture. I can just about see 
the hillside it happened on.
    [The picture referred to follows:]
    [GRAPHIC NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]	
    
    Senator Daines. This is a very special place. It is home to 
many businesses that serve those that are visiting Yellowstone 
National Park and the surrounding area. Simply stated, the 
economy in this area thrives on our outdoor way of life.
    I am committed to working with Senator Tester and local 
stakeholders on this important piece of legislation. My staff 
and I have had at least 30 meetings, discussions with 
residents, local stakeholders' groups, as well as with Senator 
Tester and his team. I thank everyone that has participated in 
these meetings. It is important to me that in any major land 
decision like this one the local community stands firmly behind 
it.
    The county commissioners, the local elected officials, 
local businesses, and outdoor businesses like the fly fishing 
industry support a withdrawal. I can say with confidence that 
after the meetings I have had that most all the community does 
stand with this idea of a withdrawal.
    The opposition to mining in the Paradise Valley contrasts 
to support for mines we have in other parts of our state, like 
the Montanore and Rock Creek in the northwestern part of 
Montana. That is in Lincoln County. Up in that region, on the 
other hand, the county commissioners, the local elected 
officials, the businesses, and the school system support these 
mines. In fact, we have the Stillwater mine. If you look at 
that chart, the Stillwater mine actually is adjacent to that 
same wilderness area, just a little further to the east and a 
little further to the north. It is a major economic driver in 
Montana. The mine, sitting immediately adjacent to a wilderness 
area, produces platinum and palladium. In fact, it is the only 
palladium producer in the U.S. It has wide local and statewide 
support and has operated on the edge of this wilderness area 
for decades, proving that mines can be environmentally friendly 
and enjoy local support. These are high-paying jobs, and it is 
important that our state continues to support them.
    So in Montana, as I have often said, it is a blend of John 
Denver and Merle Haggard. That is the Montana melody. I look 
forward to further exploring this legislation later today.
    Senator Lee. Thank you, Senator Daines.
    Chairman Murkowski.

               STATEMENT OF HON. LISA MURKOWSKI,
                    U.S. SENATOR FROM ALASKA

    The Chairman. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate the 
opportunity to speak to a few bills that are on the docket this 
morning. And thank you for your leadership on the Subcommittee 
for scheduling this hearing.
    The first bill that we have before the Subcommittee this 
morning on the Alaska side is S. 785. This is the Alaska Native 
Veterans Land Allotment Equity Act. This is something that I 
have been working on with Congressman Young. He has been 
leading on the House side for years, and I have picked this up 
over here. Now I am very proud that Senator Sullivan is taking 
the lead on it, and I am co-sponsoring it.
    Our bill amends legislation that Congress passed back in 
1998 to convey land to Alaska Natives who served in our U.S. 
military during the Vietnam War. There were many who served who 
did not receive the lands that they had been promised under the 
1906 Native Allotment Act simply because they were outside of 
the country. They could not complete their applications.
    We passed the 1998 bill to remedy this problem, but of the 
3,000 Alaska Natives who were eligible for lands, there were 
only about 243 allotments that have actually been conveyed. And 
the delay is due to three issues: first, Alaska Native Veterans 
could not select lands unless they had used them for 
subsistence for five years prior to passage; second, the Act 
did not cover the entire span of the Vietnam War; and third, 
lands withdrawn by the Federal Government were not eligible for 
selection. So the result then is that you have many Alaska 
Native Vietnam Vets that had very few lands to select from and 
still decades later have not received their allotments. This is 
a difficult inequity that is really hard to comprehend, much 
less accept. We have been working with Secretary Zinke on this. 
And again, I really applaud Senator Sullivan for the efforts 
that he has made to advance this. S. 785 would solve these 
problems and properly honor our Alaska Native Veterans for 
their service to our country during the Vietnam War.
    The second bill, S. 884, is the Small Miners Waiver bill. 
What happens is when small miners apply for a waiver from fees 
under the Mining Law of 1872, they have no right to appeal if 
they lose their claims or if anyone makes a mistake during the 
application process. Most federal agencies provide permit 
holders notice if they are about to forfeit a valuable right.
    For example, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) 
gives all amateur radio license holders notice when their 
permits are about to expire. But at the BLM, if a miner's fees 
or their paperwork is even a day late in arriving they forfeit 
their claims and, in many cases, this is their livelihoods and 
they have no chance for an appeal. I think that this is unfair. 
I do not think it was the intent of the claim fee waiver 
process that Congress put in place in 1993. That is why my bill 
will finally provide our small miners with due process and 
reinstate a handful of claims that clearly deserve to be 
restored.
    The last bill that I want to address is S. 1149 which would 
repeal the timber export ban for the Village of Kake in 
southeast Alaska. Back in 2000, Congress approved a complex 
land exchange involving the Kake Village Native Corporation. In 
return for giving up timberlands in the village as watershed, 
the corporation was to receive replacement lands plus 
compensation to make up the difference in value of the lands 
exchanged. At the time, Kake was prohibited from exporting its 
timber in order to ensure that there be a timber supply for the 
local sawmills. But it is the only Alaska Native Corporation 
that is unable to export its timber into higher value markets. 
This ban has proven to be unworkable and discriminatory because 
the timber the Corporation gained in the land exchange is only 
valuable for sale in export markets.
    So what we do with this bill is allow Kake citizens to 
effectively be treated like all other Alaska Natives to gain 
financial benefit for the acreage that they gave back to the 
Forest Service. The bill will not harm Alaska jobs in any way. 
It just does the right thing by lifting this lone export ban.
    Mr. Chairman, I do hope that all of these bills can become 
law this Congress. I have letters and statements in support for 
all three that I ask unanimous consent to submit for the 
record. While I recognize the Administration is still reviewing 
the Kake bill, I certainly appreciate its supportive testimony 
on our Vietnam Veterans Allotment bill and the Small Miners 
Waiver Relief Act.
    So again, Mr. Chairman, thank you for the courtesy this 
morning.
    Senator Lee. Thank you, Madam Chair.
    Anything you submit will be admitted into the record, 
without objection.
    [The information referred to follows:]
    Letters and statements in support of the three Alaska bills 
to be submitted for the record:

S. 785: Alaska Native Veterans Land Allotment Equity Act:

   Statement from Nelson Angapak Sr., representing the 
        Alaska Federation of Natives
   Resolution, Sitka Tribe of Alaska, #2009-85
   Resolution, Organized Village of Kake, #2009-06
   Resolution, Pilot Point Traditional Council, Sophie 
        Abyo, Tribal President
   Resolution, Native Village of Barrow, lnupiat 
        Traditional Government, #2009-18
   Resolution, Ugashik Traditional Village Council, 
        #2009-11
   Resolution, Traditional Council of Togiak, #2009-06
   Statement, Anthony Mallott, representing Sealaska 
        Native Regional Corp.
   Resolution/Letter, Victor Joseph, President, Tanana 
        Chiefs Conference
   Resolution/Letter, Richard J. Peterson, President, 
        Tlingit & Haida Central Council
   Letter, Nels Anderson Jr., veteran, Dillingham
   Letter, James Strong, veteran, Haines, Alaska
   Resolution, Alaska State Legislature, 2006
   Letter, Homer Tobuk, veteran, Allakaket
   Letter, Marlys A. Powers, relative of a veteran, 
        Fairbanks
   Letter, Patrick Huff, veteran, Fairbanks
   Letter, Nick Monroe, veteran, Nenana
   Letter, Theodore D. Suckling, veteran, Tanana
   Letter, Harold J. Semaken, veteran, Anchorage
   Letter, Michael Littlefield, veteran, Southeast 
        Alaska
   Letter, Percy Hunter Jr., no town given
   Letter, Robert D. Mills, Kake
   Letter, David A. Bran, former Juneau resident, now 
        of West Jordan, UT
   Letter, James Gray, veteran, Kenai
   Letter, John Phillips, veteran, Perryville
   Letter, Nick Neketa, veteran, Pilot Point
   Letter, Albert Frank, veteran, Venetie
   Letter, Roger M. Jones, Native veteran, Oakridge, OR
   Letter, John B. Andrews Jr., for Benny Andrews, 
        Anchorage
   Letter, Wayne Huntington, veteran, no home town 
        given
   Letter, Norma J. Williams, sister of veteran Andrew 
        Williams, no home town given
   Letter, Franklin R. Silas, veteran, no home town 
        given
   Letter, George H. Koonaloak, veteran, Point Hope
   Letter, Valerie J. Dewey, veteran, Fairbanks
   Letter, Sherman A. Thomas, veteran, no home town 
        given
   Letter, Jake E. Morris, veteran, Juneau
   Letter, Alfred McKinley Sr., veteran, Juneau
   Letter, Frank C. White Sr., veteran, Juneau
   Letter, Anthony Gilbert Mills, veteran, Hoonah
   Letter, George N. Mills, veteran, Hoonah
   Letter, Willis P. Prett, veteran, Hoonah
   Letter, Ronald L. Paul Sr., veteran, Hoonah
   Letter, Everett J. Glover, veteran, Hoonah
   Letter, Ray Henry, veteran, Hoonah
   Letter, Frank Parnell, veteran, Hoonah
   Letter, John W. Graves, veteran, Juneau
   Letter, David White Sr., veteran, Juneau
   Letter, James M. Lindoff Jr., veteran, Juneau
   Letter, Darrell T. Brown, veteran, Juneau
   Letter, Lawrence D. Sifsof, veteran, Dillingham
   Letter, Mrs. Jake A. Aloysius Jr., heir of a 
        veteran, Holy Cross

S. 884: Small Miners Waiver Act:

   Statement and backup from John J. Trautner, 
        Girdwood, Alaska
   Email, statement by Michael Kukowski, miner near 
        Chicken, Alaska
   Email, statement by David Kukowski, miner near 
        Chicken, dated 7-31-17
   Email from Vernon Thurneau, miner, The Fortymile 
        District
   Statement from David Guthert, miner, Juneau, (once 
        translated by Dominic)

S. 1149: Kake Tribal Council Timber Export Ban Repeal:

   Letter, testimony, Kake Tribal Corporation, Robert 
        Mills, CEO, President
   Letter, Clarence Maxey, Frontier Inc., Sandpoint, 
        Idaho
        [GRAPHICS NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]	
        
    Senator Lee. Senator Tester, go ahead and tell us what you 
have to say about this and include with that any pictures of 
Senator Daines' prom that you might have included with your 
presentation.

                 STATEMENT OF HON. JON TESTER, 
                   U.S. SENATOR FROM MONTANA

    Senator Tester. I am afraid they have all been expunged, 
Mr. Chairman.
    I want to thank you for having this hearing and I want to 
thank Senator Murkowski, the Chairman, and when Wyden gets here 
thank him too and distinguished members of the Committee, thank 
you.
    I want to give thanks for the comments that Senator Daines 
said. I think he laid out this bill very accurately, and I 
appreciate his comments.
    It is an honor and a privilege to come before you today. 
This is an important bill for Montana's local businesses, 
especially those involved in the recreation industry, which is 
significant.
    As you can tell by this picture, it is fair to say that 
these kinds of places do not exist just anywhere on Earth. It 
is a pretty special place. It is at the doorstep of Yellowstone 
National Park and at the headwaters of the Yellowstone River.
    A while ago, probably a year ago, the local residents got 
wind of two mining companies that were planning to expand 
operations a short distance away from the doorstep of 
Yellowstone National Park. In fact, you can see where it says 
Emigrant Mining District, that is where it is.
    This is home, as Senator Daines said, to world-class 
fishing, rafting, hiking and hunting, just about anything you 
want to do. It is an amazing, amazing area. And it is an 
ecosystem like none other in the world.
    And so, what does this bill do? And I appreciate your 
comments, Mr. Chairman, about importation of minerals but I 
will tell you there are some places on Earth we simply should 
not mine. This is one of them. There are other places where it 
is entirely appropriate.
    This legislation will help guarantee that large-scale 
mining will never threaten the headwaters of the Yellowstone or 
our premier national park in this country, Yellowstone National 
Park.
    This legislation has broad support from Republicans, 
Independents, Democrats, Libertarians, you name it. Why? 
Because this is the gateway to the park and it is the 
headwaters of the Yellowstone. It creates millions of dollars 
in our economy, if not billions of dollars, and helps create a 
ton of jobs in the region over the long haul.
    There are over four million people who visit Yellowstone 
National Park every year. Every one of them spend their hard-
earned money in and around the communities of Yellowstone 
National Park, and if we screw up that park with a large-scale 
mine, we are not doing justice to the Earth or the people that 
live on it.
    A picture is worth a thousand words and I just want to 
point out to you what we have here. I mean, this is amazing.
    [The picture referred to follows:]
    [GRAPHIC NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]	
    
    Senator Tester. Senator Daines is correct. There is another 
mine that does palladium and platinum. It is a zero-discharge 
mine, and it is a very good mine. There is no, absolutely no 
assurance that that is where we will end up here. We could very 
well end up in a situation like we have in Butte, where it is 
one of the largest superfund sites. Well, that is arguably one 
of the largest superfund sites in the world where it pollutes 
the waters downstream for hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of 
miles. And I would tell you, we do not want that because the 
impact it will have on Montana is--about $6.4 billion that goes 
into our economy every year due to recreation. A good portion 
of that comes right out of this region. This is where the mine 
would be. This is the Yellowstone River, the headwaters to it.
    That said, this is what you do when you are having a bad 
day in Montana. The good day is when you pull a fish out of the 
water.
    No, the truth is anytime you can spend time on a river with 
these kinds of waters and this kind of fishing, it's a pretty 
special time. And I will tell you--where is the Crevice Mine, 
right in here--impact of this is the biggest just outside of 
Yellowstone National Park near Gardiner.
    [The picture referred to follows:]
    [GRAPHIC NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]	
    
    Senator Tester. And finally, just the back view of it. This 
is a different picture of the first one I showed you, but this 
is the view back in where these mines are going to be. And this 
is Yellowstone Park over here.
    [The picture referred to follows:]
    [GRAPHIC NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]	
    
    Senator Tester. It is just a magnificent country, I mean, 
it is a place you dream about when you are sitting in an office 
with no windows, to get out and be able to utilize this area. 
And it is why people come to places like Montana, why they 
covet places like Montana. If you put a mine here, I guarantee 
you it changes this landscape forever whether it is under the 
best intentions or not, it changes it.
    So the bottom line is this. We have business people, we 
have local government-elected officials that say, ``We don't 
want this.''
    And I would just say to this Committee, as you move 
forward, this is not about a mining ban. This is about making 
sure that we mine in appropriate places. This is not an 
appropriate place for a mine, not at the headwaters of the 
Yellowstone River, nor at the doorstep of Yellowstone National 
Park.
    Thank you very much.
    Senator Lee. Thank you very much, Senator Tester.
    Senator Heinrich. Senator Lee?
    Senator Lee. Yes, Senator Heinrich?
    Senator Heinrich. I just want to thank Senator Tester for 
his advocacy on this. I had actually hoped to be visiting that 
region next week. We are going to be a little busy here on 
other business. But it is a place that draws Americans from 
every corner because it is so, so darn special and I appreciate 
you standing up for it.
    Senator Tester. Thank you, Senator.
    If the Senate does their job, you will be able to visit 
there in four or five years and it will be the same.
    Senator Heinrich. Let's hope it does not take that long.
    Senator Tester. Thank you.
    Senator Lee. Thank you, Senator Tester and Senator 
Heinrich.
    Okay. I am not seeing Senator Wyden yet and I am not seeing 
Senator Hatch, so we will turn to our witnesses now.
    Mr. Glenn Casamassa, Associate Deputy Chief of the Forest 
Service, and Mr. John Ruhs, Acting Deputy Director of 
Operations of the Bureau of Land Management. At the end of 
their testimonies, we will begin questions. Your full written 
testimony will, of course, be made part of the official hearing 
record. Please keep your statements, gentlemen, to five minutes 
so that we can have time for questions.
    We look forward to hearing from each of you and we will 
begin with Mr. Casamassa.

STATEMENT OF GLENN CASAMASSA, ASSOCIATE DEPUTY CHIEF, NATIONAL 
    FOREST SYSTEM, U.S. FOREST SERVICE, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF 
                          AGRICULTURE

    Mr. Casamassa. Thank you, Chairman Lee and recognizing 
Chairman, Senator Murkowski, as it relates to the full 
Committee, as well as Senator Wyden, when and if he arrives.
    I appreciate the opportunity to testify on behalf of the 
U.S. Department of Agiculture (USDA) and the Forest Service 
today on a number of bills.
    My written testimony has been provided for the record.
    To begin with Senate bill 941, the Yellowstone Gateway 
Protection Act, I want to emphasize our support for domestic 
energy and mineral production as an important use of National 
Forest System lands. Mining and energy development is an 
important source of jobs and can be a driver of local 
economies, especially in rural America. Deploying modern 
technology, mineral and energy resources can be developed in 
many locations in ways that safeguard environmental 
protections. USDA seeks to manage these resources and 
activities in balance with other natural resources and economic 
drivers found on and around the national forests and 
grasslands. The balance is what we sought with the 
Administration withdrawal which is currently in process.
    S. 32, the California Desert Recreation and Protection Act, 
and S. 1548, the Oregon Wildland Act, primarily affect the 
Bureau of Land Management and we defer to their views on the 
bills as they affect lands under their jurisdiction. For those 
wilderness and wild and scenic river designations in each bill 
affecting the National Forest, we'd like to work with the 
sponsors and the Subcommittee on a few specifics to ensure 
implementation would occur successfully and in balance with our 
overall, multiple-use mission.
    S. 1149 would repeal the provisions in the Kake Tribal 
Corporation and Land Transfer Act which prohibit Kake Tribal 
Corporation from exporting timber from their lands. The Forest 
Service considers our role in this Act to be fully implemented. 
The Forest Service does not have a role in Kake Tribal 
Corporation's timber sale activities; therefore, we have no 
position on the bill. We are providing a statement for this on 
the record.
    We recognize the significant role played by Charlie Fowler 
and Christine Boskoff in American and International 
Mountaineering and appreciate the desire to designate two 
unnamed mountain peaks in Colorado in their memory. While as a 
matter of policy USDA follows the direction of the U.S. Board 
on Geographic Names, it does not provide for naming an unnamed 
peak within Congressional designated wilderness. USDA does not 
oppose S. 1271 based on the contribution of Mr. Fowler and Ms. 
Boskoff in this field and the community support for these 
designations.
    The Historic Routes Protection Act, S. 468, provides for 
Administrative resolution for claims of historic rights-of-way 
made under a provision from the 1866 Statute. The Forest 
Service understands the concerns this legislation is designed 
to address and appreciates the work of the bill's sponsors to 
craft a method to resolve these claims which, given the 
historic nature, can be extremely complicated to verify and 
establish. The Forest Service respects legitimate access rights 
held by public road agencies and is working to make strides to 
improve our service and partnership with state and local 
governments in meeting shared public transportation goals using 
the many existing authorities we already possess. We look 
forward to working with the sponsors and Subcommittee to 
address specific items in the bill that could pose 
implementation challenges if passed in its current version.
    S. 1230, the Water Rights Protection Act, seems to ensure 
the Forest Service does not compel holders of state-granted 
water rights to convey these rights to the United States or 
acquire rights in the name of the United States in order to 
secure or maintain land use authorization. The Forest Service 
respects the primacy of the states in regulating water 
allocations consistent with both federal and state lands and 
seeks to be good neighbors and good partners with states, 
tribes, communities, water rights holders and the general 
public we serve, in helping to sustain water resources on 
National Forest lands. That said, we understand the concerns 
driving the legislation and believe the primary goal of the 
bill is met by prohibiting these two specific actions. Beyond 
that, the Forest Service recommends only very specific 
amendments to the bill to ensure the land use authorizations 
continue to be issued in balance with other resource and social 
considerations to provide for responsible multiple-use 
management now and into the future.
    Again, thank you for the opportunity to be here today. And 
I look forward to any questions you may have.
    [The prepared statement of Mr. Casamassa follows:]
    [GRAPHICS NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]	
    
    Senator Lee. Thank you, sir.
    Before we hear from Mr. Ruhs, we see we have Senator Hatch 
here now and Senator Hatch is going to now present to us 
regarding S. 837.
    Senator Hatch.

               STATEMENT OF HON. ORRIN G. HATCH, 
                     U.S. SENATOR FROM UTAH

    Senator Hatch. Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman Lee, today I would like to speak in support of the 
Southern Utah Open OHV Areas Act which would establish much-
needed guaranteed protections for recreational access on 
roughly 20,000 acres of land in Washington County, Utah.
    Down in Washington County, riding off-highway vehicles, or 
OHVs, is an integral part of the local culture. It is a way for 
the folks to get out and enjoy Utah, enjoy the land, enjoy the 
beautiful area, and experience the region's unique geography. 
It is a beloved pastime for families in southern Utah, and it 
is essential to the region's tourism industry. Just last summer 
I had the wonderful opportunity to see firsthand the region's 
trails, red rocks, and dunes. In fact, I rode in a dune buggy 
all across the famous Hurricane Sand Dunes with Washington 
County Sheriff Cory Pulsipher.
    Unfortunately, for too long members of the OHV community in 
Washington County have had to deal with increased uncertainty 
about long-term OHV access. Over time, long-revered paths and 
trails have become more restricted, or sometimes even closed, 
and locals are left to bear the burden. That is why I 
introduced legislation that would give certainty to the OHV 
community by ensuring that the most treasured area for OHV 
access on the only remaining open OHV area in the entire county 
is preserved for future generations.
    Most importantly, Chairman Lee, I am proud to say that this 
legislation reflects a truly collaborative effort. I am 
grateful to you and for the leadership that you provide in 
Utah, very much.
    My proposal is the combination of extensive discussions 
between diverse stakeholders in Washington County that 
collectively wish to preserve recreational access in the 
Hurricane Sand Dunes by designating it as an open OHV 
recreation area.
    This type of common ground exists because OHV access is 
more than just a priority for the county's recreational 
community. According to the County, events and riding in the 
Hurricane Sand Dunes also brings in at least $3 million to the 
local economy each year and it constitutes a significant 
tourist attraction for the region that draws outdoor 
enthusiasts from across the country.
    I believe the open OHV access is one of the reasons that 
Washington County is one of the fastest growing areas of the 
United States. But as I mentioned, even as the County grows at 
one of the highest rates in the country, access to open OHV 
areas is becoming increasingly limited. To protect recreational 
access in the Hurricane Sand Dunes now and in the future, I 
have worked hard to establish a solution that enjoys the 
support of the County, OHV groups, the regional water 
conservancy district, and others.
    I appreciate the Committee giving fair consideration to 
this legislation and providing me the opportunity to speak with 
you here today. It is very meaningful to me and, of course, I 
hope that we can move this along so that the folks in 
Washington County are treated fairly and in accordance with 
what their reasonable desires are.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    [The written statement of Senator Hatch follows:]
    [GRAPHIC NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]	
    
    Senator Lee. Thank you very much, Senator Hatch, and thanks 
for telling us about the dune buggy. There is nothing more fun 
than exploring Utah's lands through a vehicle like that. Thanks 
for sharing that with us.
    Senator Hatch. If you will excuse me, I am going to head 
back to Judiciary.
    Senator Lee. Certainly, sir.
    Mr. Ruhs.

STATEMENT OF JOHN RUHS, ACTING DEPUTY DIRECTOR FOR OPERATIONS, 
   BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

    Mr. Ruhs. Good morning, Chairman Lee and Chairman 
Murkowski, Ranking Member Wyden, and other members of the 
Subcommittee. Thank you for the opportunity to present 
testimony today.
    I will briefly summarize the written statements concerning 
the 12 bills on today's agenda related to the Department of the 
Interior. In general, we support many of the goals of these 
bills and stand ready to work cooperatively with the Congress 
as they move forward.
    S. 785 would provide to Alaska Native Vietnam-era veterans 
an opportunity to apply for an individual federal land 
allotment in Alaska. The Department supports the goals of the 
bill and looks forward to working with the sponsor on resolving 
technical issues.
    S. 616 establishes a commercial concessions pilot program 
for lands covered by the Recreation and Public Purposes Act. 
The Department supports the bill's goals and would like to work 
with the sponsor on a few modifications, including language 
providing the BLM with broad recreation concessions authority.
    S. 837 directs a land exchange between the BLM and the 
State of Utah and conveys certain BLM-managed lands to 
Washington County, Utah. The Department supports the bill's 
goals of enhancing outdoor recreation and consolidating land 
ownership. Our written testimony outlines the extensive process 
by which the agency would conduct an exchange were it not 
directed by Congress. Congress can determine alternative 
procedures that offer expediency and encompass the needs for 
local communities. The Department supports these efforts.
    S. 357 would authorize a land exchange between the BLM and 
San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District. The 
Department supports the bill and would like to work with the 
sponsor on a few modifications.
    S. 436 allows for the exchange of certain federal coal 
leases, authorizes the substitution of Navajo Nation land 
selections and designates two wilderness areas in Northern New 
Mexico. The Department supports the bill's provisions that 
resolve coal leasing and tribal issues.
    S. 32 establishes numerous conservation, recreation, and 
special management designations, among other provisions. The 
Department does not support the bill as currently written 
because many of the proposed designations and administrative 
provisions could ultimately decrease public access, limit 
outdoor recreation, and impede energy development.
    S. 1548 establishes two national recreation areas, adds 
over 280 miles of Oregon rivers to the National Wild and Scenic 
Rivers System, and establishes new conservation designations on 
federal lands in Oregon. The Department does not support the 
bill as currently written because the proposed designations 
could decrease public access and impede timber management and 
harvest.
    S. 90 requires the Secretary to commission a gradient 
boundary survey along the Red River, directed by the States of 
Texas and Oklahoma and in consultation with the tribes. The 
Department supports the goal of obtaining certainty about the 
location of federal land in relation to adjacent private land. 
We would like to work with the sponsor on modifications.
    S. 467 directs the sale of BLM-managed lands in Mohave 
County, Arizona, that have been identified as potentially 
suitable for disposal. The Department supports the bill's goals 
and looks forward to working with the sponsor on a few 
modifications.
    S. 468 aims to establish a procedure for resolving claims 
to rights-of-way under R.S. 2477. The Department supports the 
sponsor's goal of resolving this issue. We would like to work 
with the sponsors on modifications that we believe will 
streamline the proposed process.
    S. 884 would allow mining claimants a chance to cure their 
failure to meet certain required filing deadlines and would 
give private relief to a small number of mining claimants. The 
Department supports the bill's goal of providing flexibility to 
small miners who have missed their filing deadlines and would 
welcome the opportunity to work with the sponsor on 
modifications.
    Finally, the Department has submitted a statement for the 
record on S. 1230 which reinforces the state's primary 
authority over water allocation. The Department supports the 
goals of this bill and looks forward to working with the 
sponsor to ensure that both private property rights and public 
resources are protected.
    Thank you for the opportunity to testify, and I will be 
happy to answer any questions you may have.
    [The prepared statement of Mr. Ruhs follows:]
    [GRAPHICS NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]	
    
    Senator Lee. Thank you very much. Thanks to both of you for 
your testimony.
    We will now start with five-minute rounds of questioning, 
alternating between Republicans and Democrats, and I will be 
going first. Mr. Casamassa, I will start with you.
    I continue to be concerned about some of the mixed messages 
from the Forest Service when it comes to deference to state 
water authority. At a budget hearing last month, we heard Chief 
Tidwell say that the agency defers to state water law. And yet, 
in the same discussion he indicated that it was appropriate for 
the Forest Service to restrict certain water uses in order to 
align water management with federal land management plans.
    Can you clarify what the Forest Service's position is on 
where the agency's jurisdiction ends and where the state's 
jurisdiction begins?
    Mr. Casamassa. Thank you, Senator, good question.
    We recognize that the states have primacy over water rights 
associated with the specific states and relative to the law 
that's passed and implemented in each specific state.
    There is, in order for the Forest Service to ensure that we 
can maintain our multiple-use mandate, it is in our interest to 
ensure that the water that is used on National Forest System 
land could be maintained and stay on National Forest System 
land, as part of the overall multiple-use mandate.
    Senator Lee. Thank you.
    Now I want to ask a follow-up question that I will open up 
to both of you.
    In addition to the conflict that sometimes arises between 
federal and state water jurisdiction, there is a long history 
of conflicts between federal land managers and private water 
users in the West. So I would ask each of you, in your view, 
what are some specific institutional changes or regulatory 
adjustments that could be made within your respective agencies 
to restore trust with western water users? We will start with 
you, Mr. Ruhs.
    Mr. Ruhs. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    I think, in response to that, I have had a lot of 
opportunities to work in the field throughout my career at the 
Bureau of Land Management and I have found that over time most 
of the problems that we have had with conflicts over water or 
other issues can easily be resolved, not easily, excuse me, but 
when you sit down with people and you collaborate and you work 
together, you can normally find resolution.
    And I think from the federal standpoint, we continually 
have to make sure that we understand the state water laws and 
we have to understand that we're following those laws correctly 
and that they apply to the Federal Government as well.
    Also, at that same time we have to ensure that we are 
protecting the federal resources, that we are protecting those 
federal assets that we need to ensure include water rights and 
water for wildlife, et cetera.
    But together, I think we can easily resolve any conflicts 
that come before us. And, I guess, we look forward to 
continuing to do that.
    Senator Lee. Mr. Casamassa?
    Mr. Casamassa. I certainly would agree with where John is 
coming from with respect to working out some issues associated 
with water disputes at the local level, collaborating with the 
various water users on their collection and conveyance system 
and where their rights are and where the points of diversion 
are with respect to how they want to manage their water, in 
conjunction with the state.
    I do think that in some respects, perhaps, there are things 
that the Forest Service can do. I know that there are some 
issues associated with some of our policy that may need to be 
clarified in order to, again, as you have alluded to, Senator, 
that could build some additional trust to clarify points within 
our policies.
    Senator Lee. Yes, I appreciate the sentiments that both of 
you have expressed. We are talking here about fairly broad 
generalizations. Are there any specific policy changes or 
specific procedures you think could be adopted?
    Mr. Casamassa. Yes, Senator.
    I think that there is reference to potentially some 
direction that was provided in letter form in the State of Utah 
and Southern Idaho and the State of Nevada that continues to, 
perhaps, erode the trust, or not build trust, associated with 
National Forest System lands. And I think that if we would take 
and rescind that letter while we have--it is just something 
that maybe we have to have an overaction to take care of that 
letter in order to build trust.
    Senator Lee. Okay.
    Mr. Casamassa. That would be one example.
    Senator Lee. If that letter were to be formally rescinded--
and is that going to happen?
    Mr. Casamassa. That is something that if you have asked for 
an example of what we could do to establish or continually 
build trust, that certainly could be one of the things that we 
could do.
    Senator Lee. Okay. Alright.
    Thank you.
    Senator Heinrich.
    Senator Heinrich. Thank you.
    Mr. Ruhs, as you know, the issues that would be resolved by 
the San Juan County Settlement Implementation Act have been 
pending for some time. The mineral issues in this bill actually 
date back to 1964. I think that puts them at 53 years and still 
unresolved.
    The Navajo Nation is still waiting for land that they were 
promised in 1974 as part of the Navajo-Hopi Settlement Act. 
That makes them a little more young and spry, only 43 issues, 
or 43 years unresolved.
    The WSA issue has been unresolved now for 26 years. This is 
a bill that is supported by the company that owns the coal 
rights. It is supported by the Navajo Nation. It is supported 
by the County Commission.
    In my view, these issues have been dragged out for a very 
long time and we have an opportunity to resolve them once and 
for all. Would the BLM prefer litigation to legislation as the 
pathway to resolving all of these issues?
    Mr. Ruhs. Senator, the BLM would not prefer litigation. We 
would certainly like to work together to resolve any concerns 
we have with the legislation.
    Senator Heinrich. Go ahead, sir.
    Mr. Ruhs. I was just going to follow up, sir, with the fact 
that we are in strong support of resolving the mineral claim 
issues as well as the native land selections. And we would like 
to work together to review and continue to look at the 
wilderness and WSA issues.
    Senator Heinrich. The challenge, Mr. Ruhs, is that all of 
these issues exist on the exact same land. That is why we have 
a challenge today.
    We have a preference right lease application on Ah-Shi-Sle-
Pah. We have a WSA on those same lands in Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah. And 
we have a Navajo selection. So saying we are going to take 
these things apart and not solve them all at once is, I think, 
a recipe for another few decades of not resolving these issues.
    I think if we do not resolve these issues legislatively, 
the likely outcome of that is that we will see litigation. And 
they will be resolved with litigation, which would be 
unfortunate.
    I think we have a situation here where we can keep the 
Navajo Nation whole, we can keep the coal company whole, and we 
can keep the wilderness whole. But if we do not do those three 
things together, I think the deal falls apart and that is why 
this legislation is so important.
    Senator Lee. Thank you.
    Senator Daines.
    Senator Daines. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Mr. Casamassa, thank you for being here today. Thank you 
for your testimony.
    As I mentioned in my opening remarks, the views of the 
local community are very important in any land use decision.
    Regarding the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act, in your 
view, did this administrative withdrawal process begin with 
local support? And would you agree that the local community 
stands squarely behind a withdrawal?
    Mr. Casamassa. Thank you, Senator.
    I think that, yes, the local community indicated to a large 
degree that they were very much supportive of the mineral 
withdrawal.
    And in addition to that it was--I think that has been 
confirmed through the comments that we have received since it 
has been noticed in the Federal Register, and the scoping has 
continued to come in from the withdrawal proposal. Yes.
    Senator Daines. What is the status of the environmental 
review on the administrative withdrawal?
    Mr. Casamassa. That, at this time, Senator, we have worked 
through, again, the noticing of the withdrawal. We have 
solicited public comment. In the comment period, we have had 
one public meeting. And right now, we are distilling down all 
of the comments that we have received and shaping to the degree 
the environmental effects analysis associated with the 
withdrawal proposal, as well as, potentially, looking at some 
alternatives that could be derived from the public comment that 
we have received.
    Senator Daines. So, you have not yet completed your 
analysis?
    Mr. Casamassa. No, no, not at this time. We have a two-year 
period that we are estimating that we would complete the 
analysis in.
    Senator Daines. Two years. So when do you expect a final 
decision?
    Mr. Casamassa. Fall of 2018.
    Senator Daines. Okay. What will the environmental 
assessment cover?
    Mr. Casamassa. Good question.
    It is going to cover the mineral, the extent of the mineral 
body itself, the economics associated with the mining of that, 
the implications associated with that being withdrawn and what 
would be forgone in the event of the withdrawal, as well as all 
the resource facets associated with air, water, soil, wildlife, 
the vegetation, and the recreational opportunities associated 
with that particular area.
    Senator Daines. So the impact on the outdoor economy would 
also be factored into your calculus?
    Mr. Casamassa. That is part of what we would look at with 
respect to the, I would say, the beneficial impacts to 
withdrawing that area from mineral entry.
    Senator Daines. Will it be based on sound science?
    Mr. Casamassa. Absolutely. And I would add to that both, 
not only the resource science but the science associated with 
mineral development.
    Senator Daines. And when you say that it would analyze the 
economics of the mineral ore and physical anomalies of the ore 
body and other factors, hypothetically, could the analysis 
recommend that the Administration not move forward with the 
withdrawal?
    Mr. Casamassa. That is always a potential that, you know, 
based on the compilation of impacts associated with this 
particular proposal that could inform the decision to not 
advance the withdrawal.
    Senator Daines. How about a partial withdrawal?
    Mr. Casamassa. That is potentially part of what could be 
uncovered as part of the overall analysis.
    Senator Daines. As well as a complete withdrawal of all 
30,000 acres?
    Mr. Casamassa. That is correct.
    Senator Daines. Do you believe that fact and science-based 
environmental analysis should drive this process?
    Mr. Casamassa. I think, certainly, fact and science-based 
analysis, data analysis and information should significantly 
inform the decision-making process.
    Senator Daines. This legislation withdraws mineral rights, 
subject to valid existing rights. If a claimant has valid 
rights within a withdrawal area, can a mine be developed?
    Mr. Casamassa. Yes.
    Senator Daines. What challenges does a withdrawal create to 
developing those valid rights, if any?
    Mr. Casamassa. In the event that the lands that are part of 
the withdrawal are actually withdrawn and they are adjacent to 
valid and existing rights, it limits the potential for the 
expansion of the development of a mine that goes beyond what is 
valid and existing as of this present time.
    Senator Daines. So if there is a private inholding where 
one is pursuing mineral development, surrounded by withdrawn 
federal minerals, how will the development of the mine on 
private land be impacted?
    Mr. Casamassa. Well certainly it would limit the scope and 
scale of the ore body that could be mined.
    Senator Daines. Okay. Thank you.
    Senator Lee. Senator Cortez Masto.
    Senator Cortez Masto. Thank you.
    Welcome, welcome, gentlemen. It is good to see both of you.
    Mr. Ruhs, welcome to Washington, DC. I look forward to 
working with you.
    Let me follow up with my colleague, Senator Lee's, 
conversation on water rights. I really appreciate the questions 
and the conversation.
    And let me ask, Mr.--is it Casamassa?
    Mr. Casamassa. Yes, Senator.
    Senator Cortez Masto. My new favorite name, Casamassa.
    Mr. Casamassa. Mine too.
    [Laughter.]
    Senator Cortez Masto. Senate bill 1230, which is the Water 
Rights Protection Act--I did not hear, is this a bill that you 
support and if not, why?
    Mr. Casamassa. Well certainly we recognize that the 
provisions associated with prohibiting the transfer or 
acquiring water rights in the name of the Federal Government or 
the Forest Service is something that this bill does and you 
know, we recognize that.
    Senator Cortez Masto. Is that a yes or a no? So, you do 
support it or you do not support it or you support it with 
changes or----
    Mr. Casamassa. Well, we recognize that that's part of the 
bill. There are some changes associated with other language in 
the bill that we'd like to work with the bill sponsor and the 
Committee on.
    Senator Cortez Masto. Okay. Because I saw in your written 
testimony that one of the things that you mentioned, 
specifically, are sections that impair the Forest Service's 
ability to balance the many multiple uses of Forest Service 
land. Is that what you are talking about?
    Mr. Casamassa. Yes, that's correct.
    Senator Cortez Masto. Can you be specific?
    Mr. Casamassa. Well, you know, specifically the bill refers 
to title, if you will, of water rights as it relates to 
potential valid rights which are not perfected at this time 
that provides a water rights filer with the ability to be, to a 
degree, unencumbered by any kind of authorization when and if 
they would be on National Forest System lands.
    Senator Cortez Masto. Okay. So you are willing to work with 
everyone to try to address that issue?
    Mr. Casamassa. Yes.
    Senator Cortez Masto. Thank you.
    Let me jump real quick then to Senate bill 884 and let me 
ask this. This is the Small Miners Waiver Act. And just to 
verify, Mr. Ruhs, is this a bill that is supported by the BLM?
    Mr. Ruhs. Senator, the bill as written, excuse me. The 
Department supports the bill, although we would like to work 
with the sponsor to make some modifications in it and just 
ensure the language meets the intent or the need that we have. 
But we do support the bill in general.
    Senator Cortez Masto. Thank you. Thank you because 
obviously, as you well know, Nevada is a mining state. And I do 
believe that miners should receive notice and an opportunity to 
cure defective claims. So we look forward to working with you 
as well.
    And then finally, on Senate bill 468, which is the Historic 
Routes Preservation Act, and I am going to open this question 
up to both of you but let me start with Mr. Ruhs.
    You may or may not know this, but NACo, our National 
Association of Counties, supports this bill and I believe Nye 
County and Lincoln County in Nevada also have an interest in 
this bill.
    Could this bill help the counties of Nevada meet their 
transportation needs? Do you have an opinion on that?
    Mr. Ruhs. Senator, I believe that this bill, if we were 
able to work with the sponsors and to modify a few parts of it, 
would definitely help us resolve some of the issues that we 
have. I think it takes a good first step to getting us where we 
need to be, and I think that's probably the important thing.
    Senator Cortez Masto. Okay.
    And could this legislation potentially result in the 
privatization of rights-of-way to the detriment of public 
lands?
    Mr. Ruhs. We believe that's why having that time working 
together with the Committee and with the sponsors to make sure 
we address some of those concerns, we could avoid having that 
happen.
    Senator Cortez Masto. Okay, I appreciate that.
    And then finally, Mr. Casamassa, I believe in your written 
testimony you mentioned that there is a lack of staff with 
expertise in complex historical and legal reviews needed to 
evaluate these claims. Can you just elaborate a little bit 
more? This is with reference to Senate bill 468.
    Mr. Casamassa. Yes, Senator. You know, the claims that are 
made under R.S. 2477 are related to the lands that were not 
reserved prior to the reservation. And on the National Forest 
System lands, most of those lands were reserved in 1905. 
Records associated with the, with, say a claim, have to be 
prior to 1905. There is no real repository of records. They 
need to be gathered up from various sources. Some even have to 
be authenticated by historians in order to ensure that there is 
a claim that could be valid prior to 1905. So that's an example 
of the largest of the tasks associated with making those claims 
prior to the reservation.
    Senator Cortez Masto. Thank you.
    Thank you for your comments today. I look forward to 
working with both of you.
    Senator Lee. Senator Gardner.
    Senator Gardner. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you to 
both of you for your service and testimony today.
    Mr. Ruhs, I will start with you and a question about one of 
the bills before us, Senate bill 1230, broadly speaking.
    I am proud to be a co-sponsor of the legislation, the Water 
Rights Protection Act, and I thank the Chairman for bringing 
this piece of legislation up for consideration today.
    It is a very important bill for Colorado and I commend the 
leadership of my Colorado colleague, Scott Tipton, for leading 
this effort in the House of Representatives. The House version 
of the bill has now passed the House of Representatives, and so 
I want to commend Scott Tipton for the great work that he has 
done on this to protect Colorado and state water rights.
    With Colorado being a headwater state for major river 
basins including the Platte, the Rio Grande, the South Platte, 
and the Colorado, it is essential that the water rights from 
each of these rivers not be put in question by federal 
regulatory overreach.
    So in the concluding paragraph of your testimony today you 
state that you, Mr. Ruhs, recognize Congress' desire to 
reinforce state water rights in light of potential federal 
overreach.
    While I recognize that you brought up some technical points 
and concerns about the legislation during your testimony, 
broadly speaking though, do you believe that the Water Rights 
Protection Act would further clarify and reinforce the 
principle that water rights should be decided at the state and 
local government level, if the bill were to be enacted?
    Mr. Ruhs. Senator, we support the goals of the bill, and we 
would like to work with the sponsors and the Committee on the 
language that is in it. We feel real comfortable with the House 
bill and the way it is worded and the way it presents itself. 
And so, we would like to work together to get to that point.
    Senator Gardner. Yes, sure.
    But do you believe that it would reinforce the principle of 
the water rights, which would be decided at the state and local 
government level?
    Mr. Ruhs. Could you repeat that, sir?
    Senator Gardner. Do you think that the bill, broadly 
speaking, reinforces the principle that water rights should be 
decided at the state and local government levels?
    Mr. Ruhs. Yes, sir, and we support that.
    Senator Gardner. Thank you.
    Mr. Casamassa, a question for you.
    In my time across Colorado forests one concern I hear from 
sheriffs and county commissioners continues to be the issue of 
law enforcement in our national forests. There have been some 
concerns about illegal operations in various parts of 
Colorado's forests and we have seen an uptake in some 
vandalism, unfortunately, of both National Parks in Colorado 
and within the Forest Service.
    And so, what can we do to help either give more tools to 
local management, local decision-makers, when it comes to law 
enforcement or is there something that we need to do from a 
resource or personnel perspective to focus more on law 
enforcement with the National Forest?
    Mr. Casamassa. Yeah, thank you, Senator. And the idea of 
the increased use or the--there are increased uses that are 
occurring on all of the public lands, primarily in states with 
large-scale growth, like Colorado, particularly along the front 
range. There are concerns associated with illegal grows on the 
Pike and San Isabel National Forests where we find the most 
illegal grows in the state.
    That said, you know, we are working in cooperation with 
local county sheriffs and the states to ensure that we can 
provide the appropriate resources across this large, vast 
landscape. I know one of the things that we seem to be 
effective on is when we do work together and be able to target 
specific kinds of uses or abuses and then work in specific 
locations on those.
    So, you know, right now based on the research that we have 
available, we are working, I think, in a somewhat efficient 
manner. Certainly there is always room for improvement but 
given the resources that are available, the resource demands 
that are being placed on the National Forests and the BLM lands 
and the national parks, there is just increased concerns 
associated with improper use.
    Senator Gardner. Let me ask you this, because when I hear 
these conversations about illegal grow operations and some of 
these activities that are taking place, I hear it from the 
sheriff's perspective and I hear it from the county 
commissioner's perspective. When you hear it from personnel 
within the Forest Service, where does it rank amidst their 
concerns? I mean, is this a--is it being blown out of 
proportion? Is it a legitimate problem? Is it something that we 
are not focusing enough on? How does it--are we getting the 
real story?
    Mr. Casamassa. Well, and I think it is, certainly, a 
problem, not only from the standpoint of an illegal activity 
occurring on National Forests, but in the way that that illegal 
activity is happening. There is clearly a number of illegal 
chemicals that are found in the grows. There is water being 
syphoned off of areas that should not have that water being 
syphoned off to actually enhance the grows. There are booby 
traps. There are all sorts of illegal activities associated 
with grows that not only are illegal, but they do have a, there 
is a concern over people stumbling across the grows while 
people, while the illegal use is occurring that there is a real 
concern there, not only from the standpoint of public health 
and safety, but the long-term impacts of all of the materials 
that are left at these sites.
    Senator Gardner. And if you do not mind, Mr. Chairman, if I 
could just ask one follow-up?
    Are these primarily, you know, Ma and Pa criminal type of 
activities or are they more cartel-driven or organized-crime-
type-driven activities?
    Mr. Casamassa. It is my understanding that, you know, it 
runs, there is a full range of, you know, the complexity and 
the sophistication of the grows that are on all the public 
lands.
    Senator Gardner. Thank you.
    Mr. Casamassa. Sure.
    Senator Lee. Senator Wyden.
    Senator Wyden. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for 
holding this hearing.
    I want to apologize to all our guests because I am involved 
in managing the health care bill on the Floor.
    I would also like to note that, having served on this 
Committee for around 20 years now, this is the hottest it has 
ever been in this Committee room. So I am not going to ask 
colleagues to engage in debate about climate change, but as far 
as this Committee room is concerned, certainly that ought to be 
noted.
    The Oregon Wildlands Act is a piece of legislation that I 
care particularly about because it takes several wilderness and 
wild and scenic provisions from a separate bill that I have 
authored, and we have appreciated the Forest Service's interest 
in this.
    The Committee passed the lands designation out of Committee 
as part of my Oregon-California bill in 2014. They did not 
become law. My view is, it is far past time to actually turn 
them into law and I am going to pull out all the stops until 
these fragile landscapes get the protection that they deserve. 
And it is an especially important time to move ahead with these 
types of protections. The present Interior Department is 
reviewing public lands designations in my state now, and 
Oregonians want to make sure that there is a bright future for 
their treasured public lands.
    Maintaining and improving access to public lands is not 
just for this generation, but for the generations to come. And 
this legislation builds on the success that we have seen in 
protecting public lands. It is going to protect the Devil's 
Staircase on the Oregon Coast. This is home to one of the last 
old growth forests on the Oregon Coast mountain range. It 
protects more than 100,000 acres as national recreation areas. 
It designates hundreds of miles of best-known fishing streams 
as wild and scenic.
    We have a remarkable range of landscapes and the reality is 
that recreation is an engine, an economic engine now, for our 
country, for hikers, climbers, hunters, anglers, and everyone 
in between. And I think my colleague from Utah knows this just 
like we know it in Oregon.
    We have been working on an important piece of legislation. 
We will have some more to say about it here fairly shortly, 
called the RNR bill, the Recreation Not Red-Tape Act, and this 
Oregon Wildlands package is going to help advance this 
objective.
    Last Congress, the Committee received more than 20 letters 
supporting the bill from every corner of Oregon, and we have 
built the coalition involving conservation, fish and wildlife 
experts, and constituents who particularly want to be outdoors. 
They are the men and women who care about outdoor sports. This 
legislation responds to them.
    One last point, Mr. Chairman, if I might.
    There is another bill on the agenda, S. 468, which 
establishes a new process for creating rights-of-way across 
federal lands. This bill has enormous implications throughout 
the West and, I think it would be fair to say, is a change in 
decades of legal precedent.
    I have heard from folks at home who are concerned about the 
effect this would have on bedrock land protections and that it 
could also, depending on how it's interpreted and the exact 
words, threaten the protection of national monuments, National 
Forest lands and much of the National Park System and public 
lands run by the Bureau of Land Management.
    I want to be clear to my colleagues that I am interested in 
working on all legitimate issues relating to rights-of-way 
claims across federal lands. We ought to identify them. We 
ought to resolve them, but I continue to be concerned about 
establishing a sweeping new policy that could raise serious 
questions about the protection for special places.
    Mr. Chairman, again, my thanks for your help on including 
the Oregon Wildlands Act on the hearing agenda. I look forward 
to working with you, Mr. Chairman, on the whole package of 
bills. And it will be interesting to see whether the 
temperature in this room reverts to this big historic tradition 
of being just about colder than most days in Lisa Murkowski's 
home state.
    So I thank you and look forward to working with you.
    Senator Lee. We will try to bring a little bit more of 
Alaska into this room to make sure that it is a little bit less 
tropical.
    Thank you, Senator Wyden, for your comments on that.
    I do want to point out, with respect to R.S. 2477 roads, 
the question here is about ownership. This is not a proposal. 
The legislation that you referenced is not something that would 
change federal policy in the sense that the federal policy at 
issue was adopted in a statute, Revised Statute 2477, or R.S. 
2477, back in 1866. It created ownership rights. This 
legislation to which you are referring is one that would create 
a process whereby ownership claims could be facilitated because 
they have been dragged forward and almost by inaction by the 
Federal Government.
    Often valid ownership claims have been dismissed or have 
been neglected resulting in a cloud of title and resulting, in 
many instances, in access that is needed by the residents of, 
or visitors to, many states throughout the country, especially 
in the western United States, in states like the State of Utah 
where I live.
    This is their land. I mean, an R.S. 2477 right-of-way is an 
ownership interest. It is one that is held by the state. In my 
state it is jointly held by the state and the county, but to 
say that you are creating a sweeping change in federal policy 
simply by establishing a procedure whereby those claims can be 
established, facilitated, and discussed with the Federal 
Government, that is not accurate to describe that as a sweeping 
change to federal policy. That policy was established in 1866 
with the passage of R.S. 2477. Now 110 years later in 1976, 
with the passage of FLPMA, that policy changed but that policy 
change was made non-retroactively such that legitimate land 
claims established pursuant to R.S. 2477 between 1866 and 1976 
are, in fact, valid claims. So I just wanted to set the record 
clear on that.
    These are, moreover, not merely hypothetical interests that 
are at stake. For many residents of the State of Utah, their 
ability to recreate, their ability to access their own land, 
their ability to get from one part of the state to another part 
of the state, to get to where their cattle graze, to get to 
where their farms are, where their businesses happen to be 
located, it may, in many instances, depend on a R.S. 2477 
right-of-way. In many instances, a significant part of a 
county's road system, its transportation network, will be built 
on R.S. 2477 rights-of-way.
    So these are not merely academic issues. These are things 
that are part of the way of life of people throughout the 
western United States, especially in my state. The people who 
depend on these rights-of-way deserve to have their claims 
heard. And the American people need to have these things 
decided, especially given a comment someone made earlier in 
this hearing, given that the longer we go, given the passage of 
time that has occurred between the enactment of FLPMA and 
today, the ability to establish or refute the existence of a 
R.S. 2477 right-of-way can grow more difficult over time. All 
the more reason why we ought to establish procedures whereby we 
can have the government acknowledge valid claims where they 
exist.
    Mr. Ruhs, in your written testimony, you noted that there 
has been a dramatic reduction in land that is accessible to the 
OHV community in Washington County, Utah, that is in the 
southwestern corner of the State of Utah, since 1999. The OHV 
industry is, of course, a key economic driver for local 
communities in that part of the state. The Sand Mountain 
Special Recreation Management Area alone generates $3 million 
in economic activity every year. Not surprisingly, the County 
is eager to preserve what is left in their open OHV areas which 
is why the county commission recently passed a resolution 
supporting S. 837.
    So can you tell me, sir, what is the BLM doing to preserve 
OHV and other recreational access areas on public lands in 
Washington County?
    Mr. Ruhs. Senator, I do not have the specifics on what BLM 
is doing in Washington County, but I can tell you on a whole, 
we are trying to work together with the communities to ensure 
that we provide recreation access and that we ensure the 
ability of the OHV community and others to be able to access 
the public lands and to utilize those resources that are 
available. I think that is one of the most important things to 
this department as well as to the BLM is ensuring public access 
and those recreation opportunities.
    Senator Lee. So can I get a commitment from you that you 
will work with local officials to increase access to 
recreational opportunities in the county?
    Mr. Ruhs. Certainly, Senator, you have my personal 
commitment.
    Senator Lee. Thank you, sir.
    Okay, I have no additional questions. And in light of that, 
I want to encourage any members to submit follow-up, written 
questions for the record. The record for this hearing will 
remain open for two weeks.
    I want to thank both of you and the other witnesses who 
have come today and provided testimony.
    This hearing is adjourned.
    [Whereupon, at 10:57 a.m. the hearing was adjourned.]

                      APPENDIX MATERIAL SUBMITTED

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