Thursday, December 12, 2013

PL93-620 U1. Mar-May 1974; Udall Pivots; We Battle the Changed Wind

In the subcommittee-approved bill, we had achieved a signal goal: the entire river was under the administration of NPS at Grand Canyon. From the Paria to the Grand Wash Cliffs, from shore to shore, there was to be one management. We did not know why the Hualapai did not contest this; perhaps they were too focussed on their dam. We did know that NPS did not like having the "slack-water" from mile 238.5 to the Grand Wash Cliffs in the Park, as a matter of their "professional assessment", a position repeated in a 6 Mar letter to McComb. It might make sense, NPS suggested, if the reservoir's water level were stabilized, a "highly unlikely" condition. So they talked of "creative management". However, the regional director rejected the plan of LMNRA assuming some of the management, since there had been strong public input for single management -- which may have meant that he remembered Goldwater's Dec 1972 statement of desire for unified administration. Eventually, though, the superintendents involved eroded this position in favor of Lake Mead NRA having an important say in the lower Canyon along with the Park. That remains true today, even as the reservoir level has dropped so far that it no longer reaches the Canyon itself. Moreover, NPS has pursued a policy of trying to work with the Hualapai on river matters, giving them a say rather than insisting on the boundary matter as primary. It could be argued that the 1975 Act godfathered what has evolved: joint use and rule-making in fact. Had the Grand Canyon Wilderness been created in the late 1970's, Congress could have settled the management issue more definitively depending whether it included the slack-water in the Wilderness, or left it out, or hedged it about with conditions. 
  What we can take comfort in, regardless of the not-always-easy administrative relations, is that the entire river is inside the Park boundary. 

If you look back at my entry of 19 Jun 2013, it shows the subcommittee-approved map as drawn by NPS. Once we got a copy, we checked it out, and eventually, McComb sent a letter to Udall listing these errors: 
The Navajo Rim addition and accompanying concurrence language did not appear. The 640-acre Coconino addition on the south rim had been left off the map. [This is the addition that mysteriously expanded to 960 acres in the final bill -- see my post on 10 Sep 2010.] There was some mislabeling, but more important was the need to add explanatory text  where natural features were used. So the important phrase "Boundary on Canyon Rim" should be added for the Marble Canyon rims, in the Kanab-Tapeats area, along the headwaters of Parashont-Andrus Canyon, and on the west side of the Shivwits Plateau. Finally, and of utmost significance, the map needed to show the phrase "Boundary on South Bank of Colorado River (Mile 164.8 to Mile 273.1)". An explanatory page noted that NPS was concerned that federal jurisdiction be asserted over the water surface for uniform administration of river traffic. It also noted that if the boundary were ever adjudicated to be what the Hualapai claimed, they were protected by section 5. Here is the corrected map, full-size, of the subcommittee-approved bill:

Meanwhile, we circularized our mailing list of Canyon friends with the "amazing and wonderful news", asking them to stimulate a few letters to committee members to support the bill "without damaging amendments", i.e., the dam and a Havasupai land transfer. Our main message was that the subcommittee had done an excellent job of crafting a park bill, and we should thank them for it. McComb got a blow in at the dam when he was interviewed on the radio, and could say, "We'll fight'em tooth & nail."

Mid-March, we heard that the Committee would meet to mark up the bill on April 3-4. We heard that the dam would be urged by a Californian, and we needed to get mail in. I had a difficult conversation with some Senate Interior Committee staff, who had been impressed by the "60 Minutes" program sympathizing with the Havasupai. The American Public was, they opined, on the side of the 400 Havasupai, and something may have to be done. I was of course questioned about the Arizona Sierra Club position, and found they were knowledgeable about the issue's details. 

John McComb went off to Washington in March, with the following agenda of visits: Udall, Steiger, Forest Service Chief, Senate Interior staff, NPS officials. He wanted to urge support of Udall and the subcommittee bill, and to suggest help for the Havasupai. Our worries included hunters, cattlemen, the Havasupai and the AIAA, the dam proponents, and the Forest Service. More worries than allies and supporters listed, but he got a lift when he talked to Jerry Verkler, chief of Staff for the Senate Interior Committee, an opponent of any land transfer. Verkler irritatedly said to ignore what the other staff had said to me; they didnt know what was happening. 

McComb on 23 Mar saw the Havasupai delegation going around: Marshall, Paya, E. Jack, Hirst. At a hotel, he ran into Sparks , who assured him they would insist on a land transfer. They would stay through the April mark-up, using money donated by other tribes. "They will lobby like hell." Their plea to Udall included saying they could never work with NPS, they would give their ICC claim award back if land were transferred, they will be satisfied with what they now have under permit. Sparks said the Havasupai thought the Club wanted to "kick them out", and McComb tried to convince him we dont oppose their use of the land. He sensed relations between Sparks and Hirst were edgy.

Included in the Havasupai lobbying package were analyses by federal health services of the living conditions and prevalent diseases, relating them to the limited space at Supai and the need to break up the conditions "by acquiring additional arable land". Their problems were exacerbated by the "great difficulty" in coping with emergency cases by private helicopter and by the unreliable electric power supply. There was testimony in citizen letters --"An Appeal for Justice"-- as to the effectiveness of the "60 Minutes" presentation of the Havasupai case, and from tribal employees on the benefits to be gained from becoming self-supporting through the increase in tribal lands. The Ass'n on Am. Indian Affairs devoted three pages in their newsletter (circ. 55,000) to "The Havasupai: Prisoners of  Grand Canyon". We found the history a bit scrambled, but not the message: Grand Canyon legislation must contain  "provisions granting the Tribe trust title to its homeland". The Havasupai also authored attacks as well as background papers: Udall "did not wish to see land returned to us"; "the Sierra Club is fighting us and may destroy us"; NPS opposed return of our land because they "wish to develop a giant tourist complex"; return "spells life and death for our people…and…for parts of the South Rim of the Grand Canyon". Their suggestions included settling the Havasupai land question, holding full public hearings to include the Indian Affairs Subcommittee, expanding any Havasupai study to include the Park expansion. A fuller position paper presented their major points: their long (1300 years) occupancy and use of the area, land in trust can be improved and protected with funds not otherwise available, the end of uncertainty caused by dealing with multiple land agencies, a century's history of not acting on recommendations to repatriate some of their land, the failures of depending on land agencies granting permits for land use, the drawbacks of the current reservation--social tensions, respiratory disease, land competition, inconvenient school facilities, fragile communication & transport--, we will not abuse our homeland, the ICC decision does not apply to the land we ask for. And to Udall, the plea was summed up as: we can never work with NPS, and we would be willing to take the land we now use ini trust, for which we will refund the ICC award. 
McComb's conversation with Pontius seemed alright. The latter was working on modified Havasupai language and had taken suggestions from Sparks. However, Udall was still "ok". Furthermore, Goldwater had sent a letter on 25 Mar to Mo and others asking not to delay "his" bill for the Havasupai. He promised he would help them "later". This might have seemed a bit like back-pedalling, but Steiger had written his own letter citing Goldwater statements in favor of the dam. 
McComb's visit to the Forest Service was not reassuring -- a "room of Indian haters" who were not well-informed. They also sounded unconvinced, even amused, about McComb's case for our northside canyon additions. His talk with NPS was not reassuring, either. However, it is also clear from my notes on McComb's reports that he was dealing with the usual DC gossip flow, which for someone less level-headed than John, could be disorienting.

Later (29 Mar), Pontius told McComb that the amendments Sparks, now the tribal representative, had provided on transfer and use were "bad".  Pontius was still working over the subcommittee version to make it more pro-Havasupai,. On the other hand, Goldwater told the Havasupai in a meeting directly that they should stay out until next year. 
A few days later, Sparks, talking with McComb, seemed to be trying to lull him: "We (the pro-Park lobbyists) sold Udall solid." The Havasupai had now gone home, and he would be back & forth. His new amendment had a permanent permit plus a land use plan plus protection of scenery. [These tidbits can be compared with the material from the Udall archives in my post labelled T4. What they certainly show is that these were tremendously active weeks for Sparks trying to find language Udall would adopt, remembering that Udall had indicated all along that he wanted to help. And this activity was taking place before Mo had heard from Edward Spicer, with what might have been the crystallizing formulation.] About this time, we heard that the big private ranch to the south of the Havasupai had been leased and might have a buyer. 

The week of 8 Apr, we did a little countering. Harriet Hunt, working with the Sierra Club, had already been active, adding her talents over this period to John's & mine. Others, such as George Alderson & Brock Evans (Club DC representative) helped out. Cynthia Bennett, at GCNP, was also knowledgable and helpful in providing information. 

I now went to DC for an extended period with the goal to canvass as many of the Interior Committee members as possible, though that often meant speaking to aides. Of course, we skipped some. These visits would be repeated over the next four months with the aim of producing a head count that showed a majority behind the subcommittee bill. The following narrative, therefore, features the names of the committee members, and in post U1-1, I have listed the Representatives who were committee members with their party and state.

Republican Californians Hosmer and Clausen were no help on the dam, and would go along with whatever Udall decided about the Havasupai. A more frequent response was like that of Dellenback -- no on the dam, uncertain about the Havasupai. 

After being a help in the subcommittee, Meeds was now vowing to push the land transfer and might even support the Hualapai, i.e., their dam. Congressman Foley's aides said he would be an adamant opponent of the land transfer; he had seen the Havasupai delegation and was not swayed. With these two Washington Democrats on opposing sides, it is not surprising that I got two different stories as to how their Senator, chairman of the Interior Committee Jackson, felt. Bingham, pro-Havasupai, even claimed Jackson as an  excuse for backing Udall. Another former help, Steelman of Texas, sneered at the dam lobbyists, but felt the Havasupai had a reasonable case, though he agreed about the quality of the Park lands. His aide thought Sparks made a lot of sense, talking about their wanting to live in "less squalid surroundings out of the valley". His advice: dont fob off the individual Havasupai plight just because of a precedent; help them while protecting the Park. Runnels was "impressed" by the Havasupai, which we could probably decode as being open to Udall leadership. In Melcher's office, we had to deal with explaining the tortuous Sierra Club politics.

We heard through a NPS grapevine that the Havasupai had been to 35 committee offices. 
Most important were their visits with Udall, though they had not been back to confront or shore up Goldwater. It was rumored Pontius was to visit Supai, and we heard other stuff too; much of it hard to evaluate. At the end of that week, my journal reports, "Balance not tipped against National Park, but strong case is being made."

On 16 Apr, conversation with Pontius killed the rumor of a trip. The language for the Havasupai provision was still "fluid". On our concerns for the Park expansion, Udall and Goldwater had not met, and Dale had not heard from Emerson, though the Forest Service regional chief had called to claim Kanab contained the usual trophy deer. We agreed that there was hunting up above, but not several hundred feet down in the canyon area we wanted to add.

A personal note: I was in Washington throughout this period, but spent many of my days on my burgeoning project of research in the National Archives, starting to go through the historical agency records on Grand Canyon politics that provided the material I have used in many of my posts. The question is therefore raised by that date of 16 Apr and what follows through the 25th: Ought I not have checked with Pontius on, say, the 19th or 22nd?

Sparks, meanwhile, was also working on NPS, trying to reach agreement on the 160-acre parcel or other accommodation the Havasupai wanted near Grand Canyon Village, which just led to refusal and more bad feeling, and, one can suppose, a stronger argument for them to "have their own place". Along this line, the Washington Post on 18 Apr editorialized for "Land for an Indian Tribe", with consideration of the arguments, but little ringing affirmation: "the tribe believes some of its suffering may be eased…it ought to be given the chance to work out its destiny". Even more daunting, the NPS rumor line alerted me on the 24th that Interior Department higher-ups were meeting on the Havasupai, and even more alarming that Pontius was now saying Udall was willing to give land in trust. The Indian Affairs staff was involved in the Interior meetings and information was being sought from the Park. 

The next day, 25 Apr, I called Dale Pontius, and he confirmed to me that he "cannot rule out trust at this moment". He cited the "split" in the Sierra Club. Udall was talking to Goldwater about this change. Sparks was on the scene and meeting with Udall. He tossed out that maybe, possibly, perhaps, only the National Forest land would be taken -- at which, I made noises of agreeableness, my notes say. He then did a diversion by talking about the opposition to the Kanab addition on the basis of grazing & wildlife (sic). There might possibly be some Committee action in a couple of weeks. This news was alarming and upsetting and so I went to talk with Udall [one of his great qualities was accessibility]. He started off by saying that Pontius had said that environmentalists were coming around on the land transfer. I assured him that was not so, and we would like the chance to offer alternatives to any trust status. He agreed Dale would hear us before there was anything irrevocable. He was seeing Sparks the next day, and if differences cannot be composed, there may be "confrontation". He himself, "hasnt decided what side he would come down on."
Given what we now know from the Udall office files (see posts T3-4), the evidence would indicate that 15-22 April would be a good span to choose for this shift in Udall's opinion. That would fit with his kind reception of the Spicer recommendation on 15 Apr, and still leave a week or so for Pontius, Sparks, and Udall to have satisfactorily worked out the lines of how to transfer land while protecting it, including Sparks' 22 Apr note that there was an "understanding with Dale".

After the conversation with Udall, I was very busy the rest of the day.
I called the Club's President and Executive Director to alert them to what was clearly a reverse-in-the-making. (My notes say: "brush-off", but the next day the Club DC rep got the E.D. to send a telegram to Udall.)
Next on the 25th, I phoned two BIA officials in Arizona to find out how the BIA was involved; one said the "tribe doesnt want to get out of the canyon", the other that some do, for high school, but there are no BIA funds for off-reservation activities.  So there was no real proposal from that direction.
In DC, an NPS official asserted their position was still pro-study, but they had had discussions with BIA recently at the level of the office of the Secretary. There is pressure from The Hill. And our grapevine NPS source said she was not meeting with NPS, but with aides of the Assistant Interior Secretary for Parks.
Emerson, in spite of Goldwater's recent statements, said if the Senator can get an enlarged reservation, hooray. So if Joe (Sparks) can do it, more power to him. The Senate's study was stronger than what the House subcommittee had written; the study was not a cop-out--it would be honest. His opinion was that we had quashed the land transfer in the Senate and written the Udall language. We had gotten to the administration and the Committee. [Well, some of that was true.] He stressed that he wanted a bill.
I asked George Alderson to call Mo; he said he would if possible. 
And to end the day, our NPS source said that GNCP Sup't Stitt had heard from his Regional Director, Howard Chapman, who was in DC, that NPS was "giving up".

The 26th was worse, being a Friday: I couldnt reach anybody, so there was work on Saturday. I was able to contact NPS' Chapman, and he confirmed that NPS had approved a transfer of 56-58 kac from NPS. It would run straight across Tenderfoot Plateau, and include Cataract Canyon and most of the Great Thumb. A map had been prepared after a higher-up meeting earlier in the week. He also passed on that the Hualapai were mad at Goldwater for not backing their dam. 
The Forest Service supervisor knew nothing.
The Club DC rep, Brock Evans, said he wanted to see Udall and would lobby the Sierra Club board. 

At this point, I need to wing it. A few years ago, I found a newspaper article, written by a former staffer in the Nixon White House, who was an admirer of Joe Sparks. He told the story of how Joe, as one of the first things he did after being hired by the AIAA/Havasupai (in March?), made contact with an important presidential aide(Burch?). He pled the Havasupai case and in part I suppose because of the politics of the situation, convinced the President's office to bring about the change in the administration position that had been worked out in Interior the week of 22 Apr, thus making Senator Goldwater happy [for all the good it did them]. I can no longer find that article, and since Joe Sparks does not want to be interviewed, thats the best I can do. Since the Sparks effort is a classic of come-from-behind-to-win lobbying, I hope the entire story gets told. 
  What I did learn in early May is that Interior, BIA, and Sparks met on 22 Apr, no doubt at White House direction. There was a call about getting a map. On 24 Apr, the NPS people became involved, and 162 kac was decided upon. On the 26th, this was checked with the Office of Management and Budget and cleared for Presidential approval. By 1 May, the Ass't Sec. for Parks, after some discussion about negative impacts, was clear about the change in the administration position. There apparently had been some back-&-forth about acreage and repercussions from environmentalists. On 2 May, it was decided President Nixon would make an announcement in Phoenix, which he did the next day.

To sum up the Great Pivot: The week of 8 Apr, we were lobbying the Committee in support of the Subcommittee's achievement to expand the Grand Canyon National Park. The week of 29 Apr and after, we were trying to keep that achievement from mutating into the Havasupai Enlarged Reservation Act. Indeed we had resolved to bring about the "confrontation" that Udall had suggested might be the result. I started right away, but will put off writing about it while I catch up on what the dam lovers had been doing.

Sources: My journal, and material in my files that I collected at the time

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