E&E News on House Committee, NEPA and Antiquities Act

Here’s a link, and below is an excerpt:

Areas of agreement?

Despite their differences, both Bishop and Grijalva said they are optimistic that the 113th Congress could reach bipartisan compromises on public lands issues that have eluded it over the past two years.

Bishop, for one, said he could support conservation bills if Democrats are willing to allow management decisions on federal lands to be made locally rather than in Washington.

“I may surprise some people with what I’m willing to do if people are willing to make trades,” Bishop said. “If there’s anything that Grijalva wants to work with me on that moves it so local people actually control their own destiny, I’m actually very willing to talk to him about it.”

But Bishop acknowledged that there was little, if any, discussion last Congress about a viable package of lands bills that could pass Congress, despite the introduction of a handful of Republican-sponsored conservation bills.

The House’s biggest conservation act last Congress was passage of a bill elevating Pinnacles National Monument in California to full national park status. Some conservation measures reached the Senate floor last Congress, but the chamber, on the whole, didn’t accomplish much more. It, too, failed to introduce a public lands package.

Bishop said much of the subcommittee’s agenda will also depend on his discussions with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the new chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, with whom Bishop said he sees a greater chance at compromise.

Grijalva said he is willing to limit his ambitions for land protections in order to meet Republicans halfway.

“While the rhetoric may not be scaled down, I think there is some room for compromise on some scaled-back public lands issues, particularly around designations and acquisitions,” he said. “We can’t disengage from that bluster, but I hope we take some responsibility for the fact that it was a dismal, dismal performance [last Congress] passing legislation and getting legislation done.”

Reading the quotes from Bishop and Grijalva, it sounds like well, they could disengage from the bluster and actually do something productive. I wonder what it would take for the people in the middle to hold this committee accountable for something more productive than “rhetoric” and “bluster”?

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