Sunday, December 16, 2012

PL93-620 O. Sep-Nov 1973: Prospecting In The House

Picking up the House story, we go back to the week of 10-13 September, when Senate action was coming to a climax:
An afternoon visit with Representative Udall allowed me to tell the story of the week, and I emphasized the distance between an aide and a Senator and the latter's reversal. I showed them the Senate agenda item, and then asked him, "Would you see your way to crafting a good bill with 2-300,000 acres additional?" Udall replied that the problem would be subcommittee chairman Taylor who would not want any controversy. If there were only one amendment with no policy change, probably o.k. If, that is, its on the quiet. I asked about spending some time on this, with hearings in early 1974. Udall  said o.k. Later, his aide, Bracy, wanted me to believe he knew what would happen in the Senate; it would never have gone against conservationists. 

For Peters, minority staffer on the House Parks subcommittee, who was an optimist, I worked up an outline of what a good bill would have. First, fix some problems, like changing the start from Navajo Bridge to Lees Ferry, repealing the reclamation provision, adding park values to the study of Havasupai needs. Second, there should be a study of the entire new park for Wilderness. Third, we wanted additions: 23 kac along the river, 120 kac of side canyons, and 80 kac of rim country. Knowing that there was no way of getting an NPS recommendation for these, I suggested that NPS be quizzed about them during the hearing. Fourth, other protections were needed: no aircraft below the rim; jurisdiction over the entire river to NPS; protection of road corridors to Park; counter pressure by Tusayan developers to get Park water. Finally, there should be encouragement of tribal parks. 

McComb had a visit with Udall that was not encouraging, since he did not want to lead or take a visible part. He expected pressure for hearings this year, but not passage. He wasnt going to be helpful, but maybe could work underground. Steiger was going to fight. 

October dawdled along; contacts related to the Navajo; Clemons and support for S1296; talk of a possible plane trip with Stitt as we pushed our additions. The Los Angeles Times summarized the situation well, even hopefully, saying that Goldwater and the Club had "patched up" differences, and noting both had long-standing interests in the Canyon. The Havasupai was the "only loser", with a one-year study. There was a lot about the Hualapai and their dam. Emerson claimed the deletions were made when "some people on the committee…said it seemed the only bill that the committee would accept would be one that would keep these lands in the park." McComb's summary was that "it was no longer a bill we can oppose although it still falls short of what can be done". So, the article ended, "there is no major organized opposition to the bill".

McComb went to DC, and learned Saylor had gone into the hospital. Indeed, he died on 28 Oct--a loss for the Canyon's side of unknown extent. Time had been reserved for hearings in November, but we hoped to slow that down. McComb found Representative Steiger easy to talk to; he had really been pressed by Goldwater, so though not enthusiastic, he would not cause trouble. When McComb described areas we wanted to add, Steiger asked about grazing and how much was rimland. The Arizona hunter group published a map of the "disastrous" Case bill. We considered a mailer about the issues.

The dawdling stopped when we heard on 5 Nov that the hearings would be in one week (!!! in my journal). So off I went to Washington and into a round of conversations. Bracy said the idea was to keep the hearings quiet; Udall probably would not be there, but the Havasupai would come in force with chairman, attorney, and lobbyist. The first need, which McComb was organizing, was to gather an Arizona group together to come to DC and testify. In Washington, I tried to add other conservation groups, but the witness list was going to be fairly small.

My journal indicates lots of conversations in Washington, but they were mostly feeling out the ground. Visiting the offices of committee members would be a main activity from now through the end in December 1974. 

One major effort was trying to see how we could get NPS to be positive on our additions, which meant talking with DC and field staff, and more than once. Stitt said he would be as well prepared as he coud be; he was o.k. on Kanab. However, NPS in DC did not want to get the Director involved and was disinclined to challenge the Forest Service any further. So, in my conversations with them, I stressed the need for a smooth hearing. However, my time with Parks chair Taylor was frustrating; he kept jumping to conclusions about what I wanted, which was to have questions directed to NPS. Chief staffer McIlvain did take my list and thought they could get mixed in with others. That list was winnowed from a much broader set that we had dreamed up to go after opponents, but we found no interest in that; it was especially hard since Udall would be at another committee meeting. 

Sometimes I talked directly with a Congressman, more usually with an aide. It was now and then satisfying when there was substance, but I was pleased just to find allies. On 9 Nov, I spoke with Udall, who was glad something was happening, and took credit for having pushed for the hearing. However, for him, bills on strip mining and land use were higher on the full committee agenda, so maybe action would come in February. Anyway he was urging Taylor to keep Parks bills moving. 

A different agenda was presented by Congressman Meeds of Washington, who was considered an ally for Indian issues. I presented the idea of a Tribal Park involving Havasupai land, but he needed more information. In other visits, I was asked about the Havasupai case, as well as presenting ours. I continued to consult staffers on the committee and in NPS trying to feel prepared for the hearing. We wanted our testimony heard; we wanted NPS to provide statements and answer questions that would ease the way to push our changes. Since we had gotten our way in the Senate on the proposed deletions, we did feel that we had some momentum and allies, even though at that point, the most important figure, Morris Udall, was not settled on his course. We understood, of course, that with major issues like strip mining and land use, the less trouble Grand Canyon legislation was, the better. So after seven years of preparation, we saw we would have to keep on strongly, or the frictions of congressional demands would stop any gains we hoped for.

For the Monday hearing, people arrived on Sunday. They had been prepped by McComb the week before, including the requirement to have 40 copies of their statement. In his advisory, he noted that the Saylor bill wouldnt be discussed since it was really an anti-dam bill. Senate-passed S1296 would be the focus. He summarized the Sierra Club position:
1. Add lands, starting with Lees Ferry, then the upper potions of Marble's side canyons, more land from the Kaibab, upper Kanab Canyon & rimlands, upper Havasu Canyon (prospects were, he admitted, dim), taking in the Tusayan development, and on the north side: Toroweap Valley, Whitmore and Parashant-Andrus Canyons, Shivwits Plateau; include the entire river to mile 277.
2. Drop the proposed deletion study.
3. Allow exchange for state lands.
4. Delete the reclamation provision in any form.
5. Study park values in land desired for the Havasupai transfer.
6. Order a two-year wilderness study of the enlarged Park. 
There was no drawing back here. Our experience in the Senate had made us more determined.

I spoke with Superintendent Stitt, who seemed pumped up about the occasion. We had worked out four questions that we hoped would be asked of him:
1. Were there any adverse activities planned near the rims?
2. Weren't lands back from the rim needed for proper management?
3. What about other federal lands that might qualify for addition to the Park, like Kanab, Whitmore, Parashant Canyon?
4. Would NPS object to a two-year wilderness study? Would such a wilderness contain the river after 1976?

I also had to prepare a statement, since it seemed this time, I would be there in person. On Monday morning, we Canyon advocates (Kevin Dahl, Bill Breed, Juel Rodack, McComb) got together for breakfast. All indications being that there would not be a lot of time, we stressed the need to condense and be emphatic on a few key points. We would try to say the same things. Afterwards, there would be visits, particularly with Udall, since a Washington trip was not just a matter of offering testimony, but what else these voices from back home could say while they were in town. 

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