Congressman Don Young speaks on CARA to the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce ÷ 4/24/2000


"... called 701. It is a bipartisan bill with 314 cosponsors. The largest bill ever been cosponsored by a group of people. It does have controversy. Now what does this bill do?

This is Conservation and Reinvestment Act (CARA). Itās very simple. The bill takes a non renewable resource and puts it into renewable resources. It has seven parts to the bill. The first one is land and water conservation and the purchasing of land. That raised a red flag with all my private property owners. I have always received a 100% from my private property groups back in Congress. This year I will get 91% because of this bill.

Chuck Cushman very frankly has some real problems because he on the one hand he calls me the devil, on the other hand he has to give me an award this is going to be an interesting day when this happens [laughter].

But the bill itself will take non renewable resources oil off shore which was the original intent and now puts it into seven categories. Land and water conservation purchases of land. It puts it into wildlife rehabilitation. It puts it into urban parks.

What some people say--Well what do urban parks have to do with renewable resources? In reality if we donāt have availability of open spaces for your people÷your young people in the urban areas÷youāre going to lose the society as we know it today because they donāt have the opportunities they should have to have a little time to be out in the open. You may not think this in Alaska but it is reality.

The second one we have is payment in lieu of taxes that is a provision that the money will be used to pay states and communities primarily communities for lands that were taken out of production when there should be taxes paid on it by the federal government We have a lot of that in Alaska now with the Chugiak (sic) National Forest program, the Tongass and then there is these small communities are going to suffer.

We have rehabilitations for lands on native reservations and tribes of natives in America for lands that have been destroyed by actions that they did prior to existing law. We have that in there we have, where am I now, we have monies for the establishment of what we call individual conservation areas where individuals would like to in fact use the land for fish and wildlife.

Why am I so interested? It sounds like I am a greenie and I have always been looked upon as a resource developer. This is a resource development bill! Renewable resources.

Iām for this for one basic reason. Iāve watched÷Iāve been in Congress going on 28 years. Iād like to go much longer but I have watched our society change in the United States. We have gone from 7.5 of our population in the rural areas to 1.5 today. We have become urbanized in the United States of America. We have people today getting all their information, all their thinking form television and the computer. Both are great instruments of communication. But theyāre easily directed, easily manipulated and they can take and disseminate wrong information.

And if I can get some body out into the woods, into the park, into the areas to go hunting and fishing, in the areas even to walk and talk by themselves or with a dear friend. Iām having people think÷if they can think÷ they in fact will keep the society I know free.

My biggest goal is to keep our society available for my kids and my grand kids so they have an opportunity to go forth and do better than I have done. Not to retreat and there are people in Washington DC and there are people running for president of the United States that believe we have reached our zenith and in fact we have not! They believe we ought to retreat and allow the third world to go forward. And I believe the only way you can make our society worldwide and especially our nation stronger and better is to give them the opportunity.

I would suggest one thing to the private property rights people that say this is a bad bill, think of the existing law today. Last bill we had, last appropriations bill we had, we gave the President of the United States six hundred million dollars. To buy land with no safeguards at all. This year heās asked for a billion four hundred million dollars to buy land with no safeguards at all.

And in my bill, my bill has safeguards. If the federal government decides to buy land that is private land, then in reality they have to notify the governor, the legislature, the borough and the borough assembly. Then, once itās identified they have to explain why they want to purchase it and why they think itās necessary for the good of all. Once thatās done itās put on a list and comes back to my Committee on Resources and if we review and see something is wrong with it, or the local representatives elected to Congress opposes it, then we strike it from the bill.

Then, letās say we okay it, then it goes from there to the appropriators, and the appropriators have a right to say Īyesā or Īnoā, but they cannot put other lands into the mix.

So it makes it a much better system than we have today to protect private property rights. Because today there is no private property rights protection. And why someone cannot see that I do not know.

But again, go back to the concept of the bill, of non-renewable resources, offshore oil development, taking the monies and put it in to renewable resources, for the future for this Nation, for this State.

If you want a society thatās free, if you want a society that will continue to prosper, youāve got to give opportunities to those people that are in those walled cities, that are faced tremendous propaganda in the media arena. They donāt have the opportunity to think out loud or to think for themselves. If you want that to occur, youāve got to get people away from the large urbanized areas.

Thatās why I introduced this bill.

[Speaks about other issues: Transportation infrastructure... Not transcribed]

I know this has been a little bit of a long speech in the sense of what CARA does, but Iām very proud of that bill. It will come to the floor on May 20th, I expect that on May 20th it will pass the house by 350 votes, and it will go to the Senate and it may not become law. But in reality it will become law someday, because I started the process, I started the process thatās crucially important in this type of legislation."

[He thanks audience...]

Question #1 What do you think the economic impact to Alaska will be from Community Reinvestment?

Young: Itāll be 162 million dollars a year non-appropriated, that means it comes every year. And, we expect that to grow and it could be less if thereās less offshore development and the goal is thatās where the majority of this money would come from.

We have those within the environmental community that would say this is encouragement for drilling offshore and it is not. Thereās nothing in that bill, I challenge them, to show me where it encourages anything.

And it would give this State about 162 million dollars a year, without appropriating. Now you may ask, what is that for? Every community that has a project would like to have something done...

The museum...whereās my museum lady? The museum could apply for it. It goes through the Pittman-Robertson. If you donāt know what the Pittman-Robertson fund is, itās a fund which we just worked on.

We found out that the law was established in 1937 and up until 1990, by law, we could use 14% for administrating and appropriating. Thatās money paid for by everybody that goes fishing and everybody that goes hunting, itās the 11% excise tax we volunteered to put into this fund. It was collected at the sellers point, went back to the fish and wildlife department. The fish and wildlife department then through requests by the states, could give the money to the states and only took 1% to administrate that program until 1990. Now, November 1990 was under my watch.

It was under George Bush, President George Bush. And my dear Secretary of the Interior, Andy Lujan at that time found that he could reach into that cookie jar and get a few dollars out, so he opened the lid on just 1ø percent in 1990. 1991 1ø percent, 1992 it was 1ø , 1993 went to 8% and 1994 went to 14%, for administration.

We found out that administration was taking the money and spending it on great trips overseas, first class, to places that had nothing to do with fish and wildlife. We found out they were going giving great parties and some of them were fantastic, you know, $40 bottles of champagne. We found out they were using it on programs and projects that the states had turned down and did not want, such as reintroducing certain species to certain states. Now I will not, I canāt put anybody in jail as much as Iād like to, but I can stop this from occurring ever again with any administration, Īcause it breaks down the belief of those who are participating in outdoors that their monies were going for good causes.

In the House, the other day, by, we only had two votes against us.........(mumbling)........ so I was quite confident. The program is terrible under that administration under that program...thatās where the money... the states have to make the application, the communities have to make the application. And again, it relates to urban parks, it relates to fish and wildlife rehabilitation, even the little tax department?, the state will do that, and I go right on down...(mumbles again)...including museums. So itās all up to you. Now, I believe itās a good way to go. And again, it doesnāt go through the appropriations process. Which gives, I believe, the states own control. Otherwise the appropriators start playing little games and stuff.

Question #2: There are a couple of questions that are critical of CARA and to roll them all into one: CARA will increase public ownership of lands. Given the federal restrictions on lands, explain how this is good for Alaska. Youāre increasing taking it out of the private sector and into the public sector by quite a bit.

Young: No...I can thatās where I donāt believe this at all. Thereās approximately, now, $400 million a year spent on purchase of private land by the President of the United States, appropriated by the Congress without any safeguards going to my Committee or the other Committee, or the local legislatures, or the governor, or the borough chairman. And he has a list thatāll explain why.

The present system is he can condemn it right now and heās got the money in his hands he can take it away from you. Under my bill that does not occur. And if you just read the bill, for the person who raised that question, please read the bill.

Donāt listen to what you see on the Internet, or email, read the darned bill. If you show me where Iām wrong, Iāll change the bill. There is more money but it doesnāt mean it has to be automatically spent, and if it is spent, it goes through this whole process before it can be purchased. Just do me a favor, read the bill.

Question #3: Okay, just one last question on CARA: Does it take any revenues away from the state oil royalties, are there any other costs to the state?

Young: No, it does not take any of the state royalties, it comes off, 99% of this money comes right off the Gulf of New Mexico, the Louisiana, Mississippi, it goes to all 50 states. And it wonāt affect any royalties in this state at all. And some of you may have asked of me a question I want to go into.... (goes on to talk about other issues ANWR, removing Clinton, ANWR National Monument, suing, Young doesnāt have standing, Trans Alaska Pipeline renewal - not transcribed)

Question #4 Pretty sure weāve got your answer to this question but Iāll read it anyway: We seem to have an administration and congress who are increasingly willing to appease those who feel guilty about their environmental failures by using executive order to lock up large tracts of land in the western states. Should these grabs be subject to congressional approval, and should states be reimbursed for present and future lost revenues resulting from these withdrawals?

Young: Heās using the Antiquities Act. Heās put over 3 million acres into the Antiquities Act itself now. Willy-nilly, no reason, Sequoias [monument?], heās putting one in Washington State, heās putting one in Montana, these are all expected, and the reality is they do nothing for the environment other than excluding us from the accessibility from future need of those resources - weāre back to gas.

Most of the gas in Wyoming, and Montana now, have been set aside. These are big bodies of gas. We have a tremendous amount of gas in the lower 48. Now, Iāll tell you for Alaska, thatās a good deal. But for a nation itās terrible. We are going to run out of natural gas in the year 2005. Weāll be in the _____(??inaudible), because our consumption demand went up so fast, so Alaska gas is going very good, but we have to have accessibility. Now, can we change that? Thereās two good provisions.

[not transcribed - other issues]


Be informed! Don't allow yourself to be snowed by CARA.

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