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Dr. HENSHAW. Yes, sir. The intention of NEPA.
Senator McClure. Do you think NEPA, standing by itself without further guidelines than this, is adequate for the purposes of directing the administrative discretion in rights-of-way questions?
Dr. HENSHAW. I am sorry, I can't comment on the wording of NEPA, but let me tell you my impression of the way people have used NEPA.
They feel their work may be done at the time they have followed the original intent of the description of the area. Once you have done an impact report, then you are finished. You have completed your obligations. Rather than moving actions, rather than considering alternatives more directly and more seriously.
There are a number of alternatives that have been proposed to the Department of Interior in construction design, alternative routes and it is not my understanding that it has been considered with equal weighing that the original proposal had.
Senator McCLURE. I was looking as to whether or not you feel that in rights-of-way legislation we should attempt to add to NEPA.
Dr. HENSHAW. Not to NEPA, but show clearly that the intention of your law would be to have the Secretary of Interior follow the intention of NEPA very specifically.
Senator McCLURE. If the legislation is completely silent on environmental questions, would then not the Secretary be mandated under NEPA?
Dr. HENSHAW. I am sorry, sir.
Senator McCLURE. If we say nothing at all about environment constraints in amending rights-of-way legislation, the Secretary would still be bound to follow the requirements of NEPA, would he not?
Dr. HENSHAW. I believe that would be correct. Senator McCLURE. Would it be a wise thing for us in dealing with pipeline legislation to not attempt to reiterate NEPA, but remain silent on the question!
Dr. Henshaw. Not in my personal opinion.
We had scheduled three additional witnesses. They all live in Washington and I understand they are happy to come back-at least I hope they are happy-on March 27. So you are the last witness.
STATEMENT OF PEGGY M. SPAW, ARIZONA AUDUBON COUNCIL
Ms. Spaw. Thank you.
On behalf of the Arizona Audubon Council we very much appreciate being invited to be here today.
I will make this as to the point as I can because everybody is surely getting tired by now.
I was asked to say by our rather hasty committee meetings when they heard that someone was going to get to come back to Washington, that Senate bill 1081 is really news in Arizona. That is as of yesterday. So are Senate bills 1040 and 1041 with their proposed amendment of title IV.
Foremost, Arizona's general preoccupation especially in the legislature and among environment and academic groups has been with Senator Jackson's national land use bill.
Much of Arizona's pending legislation on State land is being examined and patterned against 268 as the background.
We would like to congratulate the chairman of this committee for his long, hard work in the area of public land use planning:
We understand the fundamental interplay between Senate bill 268, Senate bill 1081, 1040, and 1041 are today being considered only at the level of title IV.
We are acutely amazed that Senate bill 1081 should breach into 268 at this critical time of discussion and development when 268 was being used as a planning unit among our States.
We sincerely consider Senate bill 1081 and its companions something like an untimely intruder. We consider the—we think about rights-of-way and we naturally, out where we come from, think of transmission lines and think of them as an inseparable factor that cannot be fairly considered outside the context of a national land use plan.
No environmentalist worth his salt, especially one who works in the West, he observes transmission lines multiplying like coat hangers all over the countryside, would fail to be flagged down by the appeal of the fact that there will be an organized corridor system under 1081.
But under the conditions that prevail, with the companions that the bill has
Senator HASKELL. To reduce the number of coat hangers though.
Ms. Spaw. We will overlook the fact there is a rose here among the thorns and stand with the fact that we think 1081 is hastily put. We are pleading for time and study. We are asking for fairness of a natural study and the full participation of elected Congressmen in the prosecution of the study.
We sense at today's hearings, we talked about it a lot, us ordinary people in the short time we had back home—we really can't understand the thinking behind 1081 and the thinking behind amending title IV of 1041. We are trying to figure it out.
It occurred to us that with the Alaska pipeline being what it is, though it is not to be talked about to specifically today, we sense we might be showing a flash of Hades so we will settle for purgatory, that is one thought.
The second though we have on it—we have many thoughts—is that today we are part of an allegory. It is the Alaska pipeline all right, and we are here talking about everything that interests us.
So we simply, in Arizona, where problems are so tremendous in our country and the West so gorgeous, are asking for time and field hearings and we are also citing the fact that this amendment of title IV to accommodate some people is a pretty puny offering.
The whole 1873 mining law needs to be gone over with bravery and organization. We are asking for that as long as we are moving out and thinking in areas of repair.
We ask that this be done on behalf of the interest of the entire country. Mainly our kids that are coming up beginning from about 3 years
Senator HASKELL. Thank you very much.
I hope that Mr. Evans, Mr. Driver, and Mr. Alderson will be with us at that time.
Thank you very much.
STATEMENT OF GEORGE ALDERSON, LEGISLATIVE DIRECTOR, FRIENDS OF THE
I am George Alderson, Legislative Director of Friends of the Earth, a national organization of 27,000 members, committed to the preservation, restoration and rational use of the earth. Our Washington office is at 620 C Street, S.E. We appreciate this opportunity to testify on the bills concerning rights-of-way for pipelines and other purposes, across the public lands.
In accordance with the announcement of this hearing, our testimony will be restricted to the rights-of-way bills. However, it is important to recognize that these bills arise directly from the Alaska pipeline proposal.
The legislation before the committee today results from the lawsuit, in which Friends of the Earth is a co-plaintiff, in the matter of the proposed trans-Alaska pipeline. The U.S. Court of Appeals on February 9, 1973, ruled that the Department of the Interior was preparing to allow a wider rights-of-way than that permitted by the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920—a maximum of 25 feet on either side of the pipeline itself. The Court's ruling, which halted the Alaska pipeline, is what has led to these bills.
The Interior Department news release of February 27 stressed the linkage between the Alaska pipeline decision and the Administration bill which is before us as Title IV of S. 1041. The release said :
Secretary Morton pointed out that before he can issue permits authorizing pipeline construction it will be necessary to resolve both the issue of his statutory authority and the question of whether the impact statement meets the requirements of NEPA. He said, “I am recommending that the Solicitor General ask the Supreme Court to review this case as a matter of urgency and decide both issues this term. I beiieve the Supreme Court will decide in favor of the Government on both points.
"But, because an unfavorable decision on the question of my statutory authority would do such great damage to our entire economy, I am also recommending that the Congress promptly enact legislation that will remove any doubt about my authority to issue permits necessary for construction not only of pipelines, but also transmission lines and other facilities that must
cross Federal lands." Mr. Chairman, I request that the complete text of the Interior Department news release be included in the hearing record. A copy is attached to my statement.
On the basis of Secretary Morton's statement, no one should have any illusions that these bills can be considered independently of the Alaska pipeline proposal. The right-of-way issues and the Alaska pipeline issues both deserve the careful consideration of the Congress. Friends of the Earth stands ready to assist this committee in obtaining the facts and the analyses that are thus far lacking both with respect to the Alaska pipeline and with respect to the right-of-way legislation.
We believe that the Congress should make the final decision in both of these matters. Just as the Congress is beginning its consideration of these right-of-way bills here this morning, and will have the final decision before any bill goes to the White House, so should the Congress consider the Alaska pipeline and, we hope, correct the mistakes made by the Interior Department, which has been biased in favor of a trans-Alaska pipeline route from the very beginning. Like the right-of-way question, this is too serious an issue to be left to the Executive Branch alone.
RIGHT-OF-WAY BILLS The Administration bill (Title IV of S. 1041) gives the Secretary of the Interior authority to grant rights-of-way of any width he determines, across lands in the
public domain, in the national forests, and in all other federal lands except national parks and wildlife refuges, wilderness areas, OCS and Indian lands. These rights-of-way can be not only for oil and gas pipelines, but for (1) reservoirs, canals, ditches and other water resources facilities, (2) all other pipelines, (3) conveyor-belt systems, (4) electric power transmission lines and power plants, (5) electronic communications systems, and (6) roads, railroads, canals, etc.
The Jackson bill (S. 1081) generally parallels the above provisions, with the addition of a provision to encourage common right-of-way corridors, instead of allowing a right-of-way separately for each individual purpose.
The Fannin bill (S. 1056) amends the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920 to remove the width limitation applicable to pipeline rights-of-way, and substituting language that gives the Secretary authority to allow the use of lands "reasonably necessary" to construction and operation of pipelines.
IMPLICATIONS OF THE BILLS
At this hearing today, both the committee and the public are without the information that would expose all the implications of these bills. The information is simply not available.
The Interior Department informed Friends of the Earth yesterday afternoon that no Environmental Impact Statement is available on any of these right-ofway bills. There is not even a draft impact statement. This is understandable, in view of the recent origin of these proposals. Yet, these bills will affect the public lands in every state of the Union. It is clearly necessary to have the kind of serious consideration that is built into the procedures of the National Environmental Policy Act—one of this committee's greatest achievements. What impact will these measures have on the land and its present uses? What are the alternatives to these specific measures that might accomplish the desired results with less adverse impact? The answers to such questions will come partly from the Environmental Impact Statement.
Further consideration is needed on several specific issues involved in these bills. For example, is it wise to grant such broad discretion to the Secretary, completely throwing out all width or acreage limitations? Existing laws limit transmission line rights-of-way to 400 feet, and railroads to 100 feet. If these are inadequate now, perhaps we should consider new limits that could be substituted for the old ones.
The public lands have attained greater importance to citizens in all parts of the country than they have ever had before. At the same time, these lands are under constant pressures from all directions from private interests that would like to exploit them. In view of the persistent pressures for private exploitation of the public lands, we question the wisdom of giving any government official a blank check on the public lands. The bills before you could lead to a landgrab of a scale this nation has never seen.
These bills also fail to show how rights-of-way are to be planned, to avoid conflict with other uses of the public lands and adjacent private lands. Section 4 of the Jackson bill, concerning shared right-of-way corridors, is an excellent new approach toward minimizing the impact of rights-of-way. But even this laudable provision fails to compel any government agency to affirmatively carry out land-use planning objectives. The routes of the rights-of-way are still left mainly in the hands of private interests.
CONCLUSIONS Friends of the Earth recognizes that revision of some right-of-way statutes is necessary. However, we cannot support any of the bills presently before the committee. Too little is known about the specific revisions that are actually needed, and too little is known of the practical impact of these bills. We urge that further hearings be scheduled when the large gaps in the record on this subject have been filled, enabling all of us to consider the facts of the matter, and 'to formulate legislation on the basis of those facts.
We respectfully request the opportunity to testify before this committee at a later date, covering the information that is not now available, and covering the subject of the transportation of North Slope oil, which is not directly under consideration at this hearing.
Finally, we urge that the final decision on the Alaska pipeline and alternative transportation routes be reserved to the Congress. To turn this crucial decision over to the Department of the Interior would be to pat on the back the government agency that has bungled the case from the start. The United States has far more technical capability, far more diplomatic skill, and far more ability to recognize and carry out the public interest than has been applied to the question of transporting North Slope oil. It is high time these national skills were brought to bear on the subject.
[Whereupon at 5 p.m., the committee was adjourned.]