HR 4570 -- 10/05/98
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October 5, 1998
(House Rules)

H.R. 4570 - Omnibus National Parks and Public Lands Act of 1998
(Rep. Hansen (R) UT)

For the reasons outlined below, the President's senior advisors will recommend that the President veto H.R. 4570 if the bill, either as introduced or in the form of the proposed substitute amendment, is presented to him.

H.R. 4570, an omnibus bill that would affect Federal lands and reclamation projects, includes many provisions that the Administration strongly opposes because they would cause grave harm to the Nation's natural resources. These include provisions that would:

  • Designate insufficient wilderness areas within the San Rafael Swell in Utah; sanction uses within the proposed wilderness area that would undermine wilderness values and management practices; establish confusing and inappropriate layers of management; and limit the Bureau of Land Management's ability to manage livestock.

  • Undermine the President's authority under the Antiquities Act to act quickly to protect significant natural, historical, and scientific resources on Federal lands; and prohibit, under the Antiquities Act, permanent designations of national monuments in excess of 50,000 acres without further congressional action.

  • Seek to accelerate timber harvesting on Federal lands through inappropriate application of alternative arrangements for the environmental review process under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), while at the same time requiring the issuance of unnecessary, bureaucratic regulations which can hamper flexibility in addressing emergency situations.

  • Deny the public future access to lake-front lands around Canyon Ferry Reservoir, Montana, by conveying these properties to non-federal entities.

  • Permit the sale and lease of valuable structures and lands at Channel Island National Park, California, to private individuals.

  • Exclude certain lands and roadways from the Cumberland Island Wilderness, Georgia, thus undermining the ongoing collaborative effort between the Federal Government, non-federal public entities, and private individuals to prepare a wilderness management plan for both the Cumberland Island National Seashore and the Cumberland Island Wilderness.

  • Convey facilities and lands of eight Federal water resources projects throughout the West (e.g. the Sly Park Unit of the Central Valley Project, California) under terms and conditions that: (1) were not developed in an open and public manner; (2) lack sufficient environmental protections; and (3) fail to consider the financial interests of the American taxpayer.

  • Allow an airport to be constructed near Mojave Preserve, Nevada, without any consideration of the possible harmful environmental impact and effect.

  • Grant an irrevocable and perpetual easement over environmentally sensitive lands in the Chugach National Forest, Alaska, to the Chugach Alaska Corporation, thereby overriding the provisions of the 1982 Settlement Agreement with the Corporation's predecessor organization.

Notwithstanding the Administration's strong opposition to these and other provisions of the bill, as listed in the Attachment, the Administration has expressed support for some provisions that are now included in H.R. 4570. The Administration would fully support enactment of those particular bills, especially the legislation that would ratify an exchange agreement between the Department of the Interior and the State of Utah, if they are presented individually to the President.

Pay-As-You-Go Scoring

H.R. 4570 would affect direct spending; therefore, it is subject to the pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) requirement of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990. OMB's PAYGO estimate for this bill is under development.

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