New Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation

US President Obama receives a standing ovation as he addresses a Joint Session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington

Previously we had stayed away from Congress, and partisan politics on this blog because of its tendency to promote, and my personal low tolerance for, dishonesty and mean-spiritedness. However, I am beginning to think that we may be called, in some, perhaps minor, way to help with those tendencies in our own little corner of the world. And through the years, I think we have proven that we can talk about contentious topics without demonizing people who disagree. Hopefully we can share our opinions about the ideas and legislation, but leave off the nasty asides about the people and parties. So,to that end, we might watch together here the progress of the Congress dealing with public lands issues. So I’m starting a new blog category called “Congress”.

This story is from E&E News:

“The Natural Resources Committee, along with its five subcommittees, is ready to get to work this Congress with a continued focus on job creation,” Hastings said in a statement. “Through oversight and legislative proposals, we’ll continue to show how the smart, responsible use and protection of our natural resources and public lands can be one of the greatest ways to grow our economy.”

Leadership atop the five subcommittees has not changed, although Hastings last month announced that Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) will be leading a newly named Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation, which will take jurisdiction over federal lands and the National Environmental Policy Act, among other issues.

Bishop chaired the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands in the last Congress and was widely expected to take the full committee gavel before Hastings was passed up for chairman of the Rules Committee and stayed put. Bishop told E&E Daily last week that he expects to shine a spotlight on NEPA and the president’s use of the Antiquities Act as chairman of his new subcommittee (E&E Daily, Jan. 16).

Republicans, who are losing one seat on the panel, are welcoming five freshmen: Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, Doug LaMalfa of California, Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma, Steve Daines of Montana and Chris Stewart of Utah.

Check out who is on what subcommittees here: they may be your Representative.

It sounds like the topic we often discuss here “is there a better way?” will become the topic of this new subcommittee.

10 thoughts on “New Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation”

  1. Travis, that was a content-free swipe. I know people have gotten casual about doing that on the internet, but it’s not for this blog. Just sayin’. I’m going to give people a couple of weeks to break themselves in, and after that I will edit them out. If political “leadership” doesn’t show leadership, then, by Gaia, we’re going to.

  2. I for one don’t believe Travis’ comment deserves a finger waggle and a threat of future censorship….especially considering the track record on these issues from people like Rep Hastings, Rep Bishop and much of the GOP leadership.

    • There are plenty of places to say negative things about the other party and its adherents.. like the comment section of every newspaper or magazine I see, plus other blogs.

      I’m not saying we can do this..but we can certainly try and do the experiment for a while and see how it goes.. say “adaptive management.”

      And yes, what I wasn’t clear about is that I can’t and don’t have time to keep all name-calling and vitriol off the this blog, but I can try to minimize anything that contributes to enemizing people as opposed to discussing policy options, directed at political parties. Here’s an example.

      1)” I don’t agree with the R leadership that there is a problem with NEPA that needs to be solved.”

      (respectful disagreement, and an “I” statement, OK)

      2) “R’s are a bunch of corporate toadies that will pollute us into oblivion if unchecked..”

      (not adding to productive discourse, not OK).

      I think that we will be helped along in this in that folks like Wyden and Tester are D’s. so it may be difficult to partisanize their policy options.

      If we want to see a better world, we’ve got to work with what we’ve got in Congress.

      Once I had an idea that every time someone made a personal nasty comment on a climate blog, they would have to to put $5 in a kitty to install solar panels for poor people, using unemployed veterans to do the work. The climate blog person I suggested that to thought it would squelch conversation.

      I think better of people, especially the people on this blog.

  3. I can sympathize a bit with Travis’ angst as the link Sharon posted lists only the Republican members of each subcommittee. That oversight is understandable, too, as Sharon is the first to acknowledge that this blog has little experience in congressional affairs.

    Anyway, the Democrats have not yet appointed its members to the subcommittees, but at least at the leadership level, they’re unlikely to change much from the last Congress.

  4. Sharon, We’re venturing into a very dangerous land. Good luck at keeping the animals under control. And I do think we might do some good here if only we can remember there is no such thing as “absolute truth”.

  5. I have high, if unrealistic, hopes that this new committee will work in a bipartisan fashion to streamline, not gut, the process of complying with the myriad environmental and procedural laws that federal agencies must follow.

  6. I’m being realistic. Nothing that makes it out of a Republican-controlled committee on “environmental regulation” is likely to go anywhere at all in the comparable Democratic-controlled Senate – much less be signed by President Obama.

    Ergo, what’s likely to happen is that the Republican-controlled committee passes a bunch of grandstanding bills that gut everything in sight so that the representatives can go back to their districts and get Tea Party endorsements for the 2014 primaries. Those bills are DOA in the Senate, but the reps could care less.

    We’ve already seen how committed the House GOP is to finding compromises on things such as health care regulation – they voted approximately 40 times to repeal Obamacare just to prove to each other how conservative they were.

  7. Hey, let’s give these guys a chance. Fact is that our public lands are now, for a number of reasons, being horribly under-managed (harvesting ~8% of the gross annual timber growth on non-reserved lands), local governments, schools, people are suffering, beetles and fire are on the rise. In short – gaia is not in her heaven and all is not right with the world. Things are so bad that almost any changes that the new subcommittee can bring about are going to be an improvement. To condemn their yet-to-be-seen efforts out of hand seems to me to be an extremely negative approach to problem solving. Call me an optimistic visionary but count me in with Steve’s high hopes.


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