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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  February 25, 2015 1:00am-3:01am EST

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screeria -- nigeria. -rtions of the
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arctic national wildlife refuge. this hearing is 2 1/2 hours. >> call the hearing to order this morning. we're here this morning with secretary jewell and mr. connor, thank you both for being here.
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we're here to review the president's budget request for the department of the interior for fiscal year 2016. i just want to make sure i got the chart. and i'm going to spend a little bit of my time here this morning in opening comments to talk about the many ways in which this administration and the actions are having impact, negative impact in hurting my state. secretary jewell, you and i have had many opportunities to visit one-on-one, as well as your trip to alaska which i appreciate you making last week and i don't want to make this personal, but the decisions from interior have lacked balance and instead of recognizing the many opportunities that alaska has with regard to resource
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production you have enabled an unprecedented attack on our act to responsibly bring these resources to market. the president has withdrawn over 22 million more acres of alaska from energy production just in recent weeks and that has occurred on top of many other restrictions and regulations being imposed on us. it's occurred despite the tremendous energy opportunity and potential in those areas, despite our no more clause, despite the pressing need to refill our pipeline and despite strong opposition from most alaskans. the map that i have behind us is one that my colleagues are going to become familiar with because i'm going to be pointing it out quite frequently. the colors on the map represent those areas that are withdrawn from any development opportunity
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whatsoever. some are in fact, proposed critical habitat areas and so they are not fully withdrawn at this point in time. but we have the anwar new wilderness proposal the mpra withdrawal onshore. north allusion basin offshore and critical habitat the wilderness already in place the national parks areas as well as the federal lands. i just remind my colleagues this is one-fifth the size of the united states of america and so when you take off all of these areas for any development at all, how do your states -- how do your states operate? what do you do? what do you do? so i have expressed my
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frustration, privately and in public and i will continue to express my frustration and try try to achieve some positive results for the people of alaska and really for the good of the country because as an energy producing state, this is what we do. we share these resources with the rest of the country. i want to be very clear today that it's not just me that is banging the table. i don't think that i am overreacting. i think i am speak g speaking clearly and articulating the concerns of most alaskans. we had an opportunity last week to be in a northwestern community and the second joined us. the entire alaska delegation, all three of us, the governor, the lieutenant governor, the leadership of the house and of
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the senate numerous native leaders and it was very clear that there is no daylight amongst the elected leaders in terms of how they are viewing these decisions coming out of the administration. so i just want to make again very clearly enunciate very clearly that i oppose this administration's decision on anwr and offshore and i oppose its costly restricts and endless decisions within the mpra and oppose what it's doing to our plaster miners and timber industry and many other resource producers ready to provide good jobs to hard-working alaskans.ster miners and timber industry and many other resource producers ready to provide good jobs to hard-working miners and timber industry and many other resource producers ready to provide good jobs to hard-working alaskans. the state of alaska was actively ignored. the north slope bureau alaska native corporations and many alaskans all of whom asked for
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an oil and gas alternative in interior's anwr plan by claiming that it requires an act of congress even though an act of wilderness requires the very same. the actions from this administration seem destined to shut down our trans-alaska pipeline weakening our economy forcing our state to make steep budget cuts and really violating the promises that were made to us at statehood and then since then. now, madam secretary i hoped interior's budget would not make this situation worse but it fails to clear even that low bar and violates the budget control act, ignoring the statutory caps and proposing new spending as if we'd already lifted sequestration. but i think that amounts to wishful thinking age not responsible governance rans and would impose billions of dollars worth of new fees and higher taxes on oil, gas, coal and
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mineral production and eliminate offshore revenue sharing which many of us believe should be expanded. the department did not identify realistic offsets for its spending requests and proposed no serious reforms. i personally was stunned to see interior's request increase by almost $1 billion on a net basis with to funding dedicated to cleaning up abandoned legacy wells which were drilled by the federal government. they walk add way from it and walk add way from the mess and responsibility and we've been trying now for decades to get that cleaned up. beyond energy, there's king cove, still totally unresolved. yesterday marked 14 -- 14 months since this road was rejected and yet again we see nothing in this request to help those whose
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lives are in danger. i see a request for $40 million for adaptation projects for tribal communities but my calculation, that's about 12 times less funding than was requested for international adaptation projects just this year alone so what i can't figure out why the needs of americans are coming second. their decisions are hurting alaskans you're depriving us of jobs, security revenue and prosperity but alaskans aren't alone in this and i want my colleagues to understand that i think what we're seeing in alaska is a warning for those in the west and the fact is almost every other western state already has multiple legitimate complainses against the interior. in wyoming it's the sage groce. colorado interior's refusal to
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develop shale and arizona, new copper mines. alaska, no production on federal lands, the significant decline in apds and oil wells drilled on our federal lands. this administration is actively impeding many of the best economic opportunities in the west. it's depriving thousands who live in our states the ability to find a good job, earn a good wage and live a good life. as chairman of the committee and the appropriations subcommittee with control over the interior budget i do want to work with you. i do. i want to work with others.interior. i want to work with others. my complaint, you hear from us but you don't actually hear us. and in looking at the request, i don't see a substantive effort to work with congress instead, what i'm see something a
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disregard for enacted law and i think that that has to change and the challenge really is to find common ground working together. but what we have seen is very, very discouraging. with that, i will turn to the ranking member. >> thank you, madam chair and thank you for holding this hear. i'm pleased to see secretary jewell here and to be able to have a conversation with mr. connor, as well, on the president's proposed budget for the department of interior. in my view this represents a balanced and forward leaning proposal. it creates jobs and long-term economic opportunity it bills strong partnerships when it comes to managing our infrastructure and ecosystem and resources. it invests in public lands for the next generation of americans to enjoy. it probably no surprise that the chairwoman and i do have different views on a variety of issues being discussed here this morning.
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and many of those do relate to the administration's energy and conservation proposals and the art tick and, secretary jewell, i know you have a tough job. you did have a background as an executive in the oil industry as an engineer. so it does involve striking an appropriate balance between increasing in energy's production both onshore anticipate offshore in the united states as well as being sensitive to environmental areas. so i have long supported the arctic national wildlife refuge and encephalopathy in the coastal plain and so the fish and wildlife service released a plan that takes an important step of recommending a significant portion of the refuge to be designated as wilderness so this plan required by law and had not been updated for a quarter century, the new plan is more an accurate reflection of the values of which the wildlife refuge was
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designated. there's been criticism in the new five-year leasing plan for the continental shelf for excluding too many area from potential development and others have opposed this decision to open up areas that have been up until now offlimits where the environmental damage would be extreme so the secretary has done her best to balance these competing interests. likewise, the department's recent decision to approve oil and gas development in the national petroleum reserve was criticized on the one hand for approving development near an area that they proposed for pro- protection and requiring conoco phillips to require measurements for those. yes, you have a tough day job. protection of these ecological treasures sump as the anwr is of national importance. i thank you and the administration for making these decisions.
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as a while the president's number represents a 6% increase and proposes significant funding increases for many of the programs including the lane and water conservation fund and national parks sen tem initiative both very important. i know there's many people on this committee that believe that protecting these lands are greatly important. america's public lands generate over $40 billion of recreation and use every year so whether you're visiting a national park or hunting or fishing the opportunity on these lands are important and can enjoy the protection of the national special places while still maintaining a high level of energy production. the president's plan, i'm pleased to see the department is renewing energy resources on public lands. i want to bring up something that is missing. secretary jewell is taking an
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important tip in proposing reviews on how royalties are collected on federal resources but i am concerned the discussion end there. you can typically lease a lot of cool for $1 or less. the taxpayers get $1. then years later we have to deal with almost two tons of carbon dioxide from that one ton of cool coal and that will cost over $70 in damages so our fossil fuel leasing laws are passed long ago before we knew how bad the impacts were so i tend to follow up on this issue. i know my colleagues, senator wyden and murkowski, the gao, the interior specter, aim sorry, interior inte -- interior inspector general and i'm concerned we consider the real impacts of climate change on our public
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lands. in is not just important to places like washington and alaska, to many places in our country, than tacoma news tribune pointed out many of the climate impacts at mt. rainier national park and in the past decades about glaciers melting and snowpack decreased as much as 18% between 2003 and 2009 so these are real issues everything from mud slurries to floods to repairing park infrastructure and we all know that historic drought conditions in california and the west have demonstrated climate-related change are present challenges to businesses, to the government, to families and because of this, i'm pleased that the budget includes a 15% increase for climate-related research. so i hope that this will help us bring bitter understandings about how to prepare for these issues similar wildfire impacts throughout the community, our state experienced one of our worst wildfire carlton complex
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which the destruction represents i think 7% of all wildfire destruction last year. in just this one fire. 156,000 acres burned in 24 hours. so that's like aacres a second. again, the micro climates and changes are things that we're really starting to understand the grave imimpacts so my western colleagues have had in recent hearings brought up various stories i so i hope we can get though those but i strongly support the president's plan to get a mandatory funding stream beginning next year. something as i said many of our colleagues on the committee agree with but every year congress appropriates only a fraction of the authorized funding and right now the inappropriate balance is almost 20$20 billion so i hope that since this fund expires in september that we will -- we had a pretty good vote on the senate floor
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about in that we'll work together together in a bipartisan fashion to address these. when i get a chance to the "q" and "a" i'll ask you about the yakima river basin watershed and the area to protect it. after years of negotiation, users of irrigated water such as farmers and ranchers along with tribes and conservation groups plan to utilize in a better fashion the resources of the yakima river watershed in a time of increased demand and growing scarcity. i believe this effort will be successful and i also believe that as a model for how other watersheds in the west are experiencing these challenges an how if they work together and we work with them, that we can have better resolution of these issues so i look forward to discussing these and many other issues when we get to the questions but, again i appreciate your commitment and the president's to creating jobs and building partnerships and investing in our lands for future generation,k
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>> thank you, senator cantwell. thank you and good morning. >> good morning. chairman murkowski, representative can'ttwell, thank you for letting me testify. joining me mike connor who certainly is no stranger to this chamber or the senate. i've submitted a detailed statement for the record that discusses a number of investments we're proposing so i'll be relatively brief in these opening remarks. this is a forward-looking budget that provides targeted investments to grow our domestic energy portfolio creating jobs at home, to build climate resilience and revitalize our national parks as an approach to their 100th anniversary and investing in science to help us understand natural resources on a resource level and to manage our assets for the long term and helps fulfill ow nation's commitments including a
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much-needed and historic to improve education for indian children. our investments in the lanns and historic places that make our nation proud and serve as economic engines. on the 00th anniversary of the fund act the budget proposes foul funding of $900 million for lwcf programs this. is dollar for dollar one of the most effective government programs that we have. next we are we mark another important milestone in our nation's history the national park service will celebrate its 100th anniversary and this budget makes investments to launch a historic effort to celebrate and revitalize national parks and public lands. the discretionary and mandatory portions include $100 million matching fund to leverage private donation parks and $859 million to provide critical maintenance in high priority acid sas
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assets. 43 million will support visitors during and after the centennial. third milestone we commemorate this year is the 50th anniversary. voting rights act. we want them to highlight key sites that tell the story such as selma to montgomery. one of my top priorities is connecting young people to the great outdoors and our history and culture and engage the next generation to the stewards as 40% of the workforce is soon to be he will vrabeleligible to retire. it provides opportunities for our nation's youth to play, to learn, to serve and to work on public lands. we will accomplish this through cooperative work with youth conservation and schools and organizations like the ymca and
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enlightened private businesses supporting our efforts. next i want to talk point administration's continued commitment to tribal self-doo determination and strengthening tribal communities and recently visited arizona. to give young people in indian country the opportunity to engage tour to give the young the opportunity to engage with cabinet members directly. my recent trip also include youth leadsers. agencyies are kmited to more effectively serve american ine indians and alaska natives. this holds the youth for education, for nate ef american communities through economic growth and social services and for improving the stewardship of trust resources. we're requesting to e $2.6 billion which includes funding
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to deliver direct services to tribal members. when it comes to powering our nation, the budget continues to invest in both renewable and conventional energy so we can diversity, cut carbon pollution and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. the budget includes $94.8 million for conventional energy programs. this budget also invests in science and technology initiatives that will create economic opportunities and help communities build resill yebsience. the budget includes scientific observations of the earth to applied research to better understand problems such as erosion. it includes a total of $147 million.
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finally, two specific areas that are impacted by changing climate. waterer and fire. first, as part of the 1.1 billion dlarsz budget to fund ecosystem restoration, healthy watersheds and sustainable pure water supplies, the water smart program would receive $858 million to prevent drought and a new funding framework for wildlife suppression. similar to how the costs for other natural disasters are met. this is a common sense proposal that would ensure that usda dunt have to rob our budgets to fight the nation's most catastrophic fires. so, in closing, this is a smart
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and balanced budget that enables the department to carry out these missions. i look forward to discussing this with you and answering your questions. thaing. >> thank you, secretary. we will now go to a round of questions here. and i'll direct my first question madame secretary, relating to -- i'm frustrated i'm very frustrated with the delays, the denials the restrictions that we continue to see from the department of interior. when you came before us as a nominee back in march, of 23013 you made a specific kmitment to me. you said, and i'm going to quote you here, that we are supporting the desire that we disz cussed to continue to keep the alaska pipeline full.
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do you know where we are in terms of the max numb capacity of the transalaska pipeline, versus what we're seeing go through the line on a daily basis? are you aware of that? i guess the question is pretty direct. do you believe that the actions that we've seen out of the department of interior, of late, are helping to keep the alaska pipeline full? when npra withdrawals have moved forward? when the direction in the end of january to put amwar in the 10-02 area and 98% 06 amwar into
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wilderness area with indefinite withdrawals in the ocs? do you think that that's consistent with trying the keep the transalaska oil pipeline full? >> senator, i am fully committed to supporting the efforts in alaska to keep the transalaska pipeline full. as you know i worked on that pipeline. we have, as you know, the support of development of the natural petroleum reserve.
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offshore, 92% will be available. we took 25 miles off the table because of oil migration based on a request from native communities. the hanna-schulla area, which has a handful of existing leases which will remain. the balance of it we took off the table because it is very, very sensitive, ecologically. and we took other areas in the barros canyon and off kaktobik because of village concerns about subsistence, largely whaling. >> but secretary u particularly as it related to the hanna-shull, in terms of consultation, most specifically with the whalers who use that area, that they saw no consultation there? that that is part of the fris ration?


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