Monday, November 26, 2012

PL93-620 M. Sep 1973: A Lobbyist's Work Is … Polishing In The Senate

Back in Tucson, McComb was busy, and two newspaper stories, telling the usual Goldwater v. Sierra Club story in a decently fair fashion, were prepared by the afternoon and university papers, and published on the 20th. Also, John heard from a NWF contact that AzWF's Clemons was "livid" at losing the deletions. That did not appear in the Arizona Republic low-error article reporting Committee approval, maybe because it came from Washington, not Ben Avery. It did say that as reported, even with "a profusion of changes", Goldwater said the bill accomplished his main objective of uniting the entire stretch of the Canyon. Hunter lividity came clear in the following week (I was back in Tucson), with a Committee staffer telling me Emerson had been talking up the beauties of the "original" bill. He now wanted a one-year study of the deletions, but would do it on the floor, not through the Committee. This was also reported in the NWF "Conservation Report", as "speculation".

Verkler confirmed this on the 20th, telling me on the phone that Goldwater had changed his miind, with Fannin's agreement (or pressure?) So, Verkler said, "In the stilly waters of the night", a study will be added to the bill,. The lands will be retained," he insisted, "We are not in the business of deleting land from National Parks." Get some language back to him asap. John & I then drafted language for a study, discussed it with Alderson, and teletyped it to Verkler that day. He said it sounded fine and he would take care of it.

The language differences are interesting. We said: Study to "determine the lands' suitability to be a part" of GCNP. The reported bill read: Study to "determine whether any portion of these lands might be unsuitable for park purposes and whether in (the Secretary's) judgment the public interest might be better served if they were deleted" from GCNP. I read the Verkler version as more protective, with the burden of proof being on the deletion crew. The Secretary had a year after enactment to report to Congress, and of course, had he been so dim as to recommend deletion, the battle would have been fought all over again, since there was no automatic removal provided for.
 Verkler included our language explaining the study in the Committee report, then went on: Goldwater had urged further consideration and the committee has acceded. May be portions could be returned to multiple use, but they have been in the Monument for many years. The committee has been adding lands to the Park System in recent years to meet demand, not deleting them. Then, and we did not craft these two sentences:
"This does not mean that every acre that is within the National Park System which may not be suitable for park purposes could not, after proper evaluation, be deleted for a higher public purpose. However, at the same time, it is equally true that every acre which is now part of the System and is needed to fully implement our park goals should not be deleted."

The report (#93-406) and final bill version were printed on the 21st. 
 Restoring the condemnation power was justified at length.
 State lands could only be donated, in line with the belief, as noted to me by Verkler, that they should not be "bought" through exchange; after all, they were originally a grant by the central government. 
 Acquisition of Navajo & Hualapai lands required approval by their respective governing body, a more positive-sounding requirement than "concurrence".
 The provision for a unified interpretation removed "present restrictions which limit such cooperative activities to the boundaries of the National Park System". This, of course, was key to our idea of presenting to the public a "complete Grand Canyon" even if the Park itself could not be that representation. Had there been more concentration on this aspect, the Goldwater accomplishment could have been more substantial.
 The three-part grazing situation was acknowledged, but remained hard to put clearly into words. [So much so, to jump ahead, that a permit in Kanab Creek that could have been continued, was terminated by GCNP in short order.]
 The explanation of the reclamation provision in section 9 is hilarious; it appears seriously to "preserve the present authority relating to the possible construction" of a dam. Of course, the "present authority" forbade any such construction. No wonder the Hualapai, AzPower Authority, and other dam-mongers were sizzling. Their efforts, a detour from the main stories of this legislation into their peculiar dead-end fantasy, will be treated in a separate entry later on; it is a bit like taking note of the steam puffing uselessly from an old railroad engine long since rusted into place on an abandoned siding.
 The report blandly says that the "committee felt that it would not be proper to make (the Havasupai) land transfers without much more study". [My emphasis. This, after ¾ of a century of "studies". I remark here that not only the Administration, but the Washington state legislators and Verkler all viewed such transfers with much sourness. We will see how this works out, but I confess I do not know the reasons for this antipathy. We fought to keep the park-worthy Havasu Canyon lands in the Park, and this led to some pretty bitter attacks. But I doubt that explains all the hostility to Havasupai repatriation.] The committee was "very sympathetic" to the effort for a greater Havasupai land base, and expected a positive recommendation from the Secretary on alternatives to achieve such an expansion after the year's study. 
The report says that, even though the crucial executive session was in fact on the 13th, the bill was reported favorably on the 14th. It passed the Senate on the 24th (Cong. Rec. Senate; S 17350-1) with no recorded vote. There is a statement by Senator Goldwater, in which he said there had been changes, but the essence of the legislation remained intact. Case inserted a statement of his view that all the federally owned canyon should be in the Park, but Goldwater's bill boundaries had been expanded and that was a step forward. Verkler told me on the 25th that the bill had passed, and Goldwater was "pissed" because he did not know about floor action being scheduled, and missed it. [It is a bit of pathos that crucial actions on this legislation like Senate passage and Presidential signature went by with no ceremony at all. Goldwater deserved better. So did we.] 

Throughout Senate consideration, Goldwater kept saying that 272.5 miles of the Canyon were put into the Park, i.e., starting at Navajo Bridge and going to the Grand Wash Cliffs. However, the maps from the time show that the NPS lower river exclusion remained through Senate passage, so the river distance was in fact 234 miles, with the river from 238.5 to 277 in Lake Mead NRA. 

Goldwater told AzWF's Clemons that he particularly disliked having lost the deletions, but the whole bill would have been killed otherwise. [I do not see how that could have happened; the fight over boundaries would have continued, though it would have involved far more people resources.] Clemons reported to his AzWF group that the main thing salvaged was the study, and took credit for it through his "almost daily contact" with Goldwater and Fannin, suggesting that if the Goldwater bill had died, the Case bill "would have reared its ugly head". In newspaper reports of the passage, Goldwater expected the bill to became law by the end of 1973, the bill passing the House easily since most of the necessary compromises have been worked out. He said, "The central object of this bill and this park is the Grand Canyon and it is the Canyon which remains the forefront of this amended bill." Another Tucson newspaper report (Star, 28 Sep) had Udall & Goldwater hopeful for passage as a Christmas present. Case had supported the revised Goldwater bill, and "conservationist organizations are expected to applaud its progress through the House although they may seek refinements…The Club expressed the view that Goldwater deserved credit for championing park expansion and for his flexibility in accepting changes." 

Sources: My journal and work notes, along with official papers and newspaper reports contained in my files from the time. 
Archives of AzGame & Fish Dept. 

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