Thursday, June 5, 2014

PL93-620 W5. Oct 1974: Preparing the House Floor

McComb went back to DC to watch the debate. sending off a local letter to the editor, once again attacking the Havasupai transfer. This brought the tart response that he was "callous and exploitative". He and I, in Tucson, had theretofore been involved long distance in whatever conservationist anti-Havasupai lobbying effort had been mounted. I continued to rusticate, not called upon to help out in the final effort to beat down the Havasupai provisions.

7 Oct McCloskey, Club Executive Director, sent a two-pager to all Representatives: "Unless (the Havasupai transfer) is deleted from the bill, we believe that the National Park System and the American people would be better off without this legislation at all." There were multiple threats to the integrity of Parks & Forests, even to the transferred lands themselves -- integral part of the Canyon, and of the Park since 1919. Chief were Havasu & Mooney Falls, and the rest is within 1 mile of rim, thus cutting out a viewing platform and protection. Lands are of highest Park caliber.
 The 1919 Act provided for use and occupancy by Havasupai for agricultural purposes. There are use permits for grazing. The ICC paid $1.24 million as "entry of final judgment". No solution to problems unless there is intensive tourist development, since no economic potential except for priceless and unquestioned park qualities.  Goldwater calls its "valueless". There are no timber, no minerals, poorest Arizona grazing, devoid of water -- so Havasupai will be "sorely tempted to mortgage park values". Section 10 is no protection, but "an open invitation for ill-conceived and destructive tourist developments", just as in recent federal-state study.
  Larger question is future of all national parks & forests from this "signal to other tribes … to press Congress for a reopening of their land claims". Urge vote to delete section 10; control of this land should stay with public. Solutions to Havasupai problems can be found with greater effort; "giving away part of a national park and forest is not an answer."

The published answer to this from the Assoc on Am. Indian Affairs -- probably the principal organizational backer for the Havasupai, though my information is scanty here -- was a general letter leading with with the death of the tribal chairman's wife, aggravated by the delays in getting a rescue helicopter. This, even as a woman in labor was unable to ride horseback up the trail, having to turn back. In  the next paragraph, two infants had died in the worse conditions of winter. And now comes this vote to delete the transfer, literally therefore "a question of life and death".

The Club's Executive Director's office in San Francisco reported to DC on 8 Oct that it was making calls to all chapters asking for mass phoning. Needed was the name of a sponsor for anti-Havasupai amendment. McCloskey wanted floor speakers and those ready to act on the floor. McComb could write speeches and amendments and contact a few key members, while Hunt "could flush out needed support"; "door to door work if time permits". McCloskey wondered if there shouldnt be a "fact sheet", signed by many groups. "We will try to generate as much Club grass roots support as possible". A rare example of attempted long-distance lobbying control, this was another indication that the principal environmentalist issue was now the land transfer.

The debate echoed outside lobbying circles:
The League of Women Voters found itself so cross-pressured on the issue that it stopped supporting the transfer, due to the "ramifications, often conflicting, for several League positions" -- a nice summing up of the situation for many. An echo of this came in a local California paper on the transfer: "not an easy dispute for either side", and an uncomfortable new role for the Club disputing with a small poor tribe". But the "big picture" is clear and the  opposition must be supported. Local Grand Canyon activists in Phoenix took over the front page of the alternative paper New Tiimes to discuss both sides, still coming out against the Havasupai transfer. 

Hunt had written to the Republic; about the federal-state economic study. Goldwater replied to her letter which was doing "a grave injustice" to this fine people, saying she cited a "confidential, unfinished draft" of a study, which no one has approved, and which has now been completely revised. How can anyone oppose the welfare of this small tribe?
Sparks also contributed to the attack on Hunt for her errors and lack of knowledge about the Canyon and the Havasupai. He spent even more column-inches attacking her for citing the federal-state economic study, showing just how ill-timed that item was, and how sensitive the Havasupai lobby was to it. He included a text of a 28 July 1974 Havasupai resolution clarifying their position in opposition to dams, trams, or railroads and "support(ing) such environmental restrictions as may be reasonably necessary to protect the environment of its land". He ended by agreeing with Goldwater about persons "maliciously" charging that the Havasupai "would allow its reservation to be exploited by commercial interests".

Back in Congress, on the 9th, Senator Goldwater followed up by sending a telegram across the Capitol to Rep. Foley about the "complete lie" of the "unauthorized" & "unpublished" draft of the federal-state economic study relative to commercial developments on Havasupai land. "The major details of the draft will never be accepted." The Havasupai are against such developments; "any representations to the contrary are false".

Just before the debate day, Udall circulated his "Dear Colleague" letter, urging support for the Act, which provided protection for the Canyon from rim to river, consolidating federal managements. It called for a wilderness study, and other studies to determine the best public use of some of the lands. It left unchanged the status quo on power projects. The bill "also" included a long-advocated 185 kac enlargement of the Havasupai Indian Reservation. This compromise provided "environmental protection" and left a ¼ mile buffe along the rim. There will be a secretarial land use plan, "including some residential and community uses". Some environmental groups oppose this change, but it does not serve as any precedent. It is based on a "need for a larger reservation"; they have "many serious problems which stem in part from their isolation and the crowded conditions". They have lived there and used it. I urge your support for this "equitable solution to a very difficult problem", as well as the entire legislation. 

Rep. Steiger, meanwhile, prepared his amendments. First, he would move to delete the additions and any reference to studying them. So, after all the times he had reassured us about the additions being ok, he had heard from the hunters and was heeding them. Second was his attempt to get Congress to authorize a license for a power dam. Third, he would try to take the Pasture Wash area out of the Havasupai transfer, to satisfy grazing interests. A revealing set of priorities that indicated the shape of the battle to come on the 10th.

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