Your Inside View to the Strategies and Activities of the Conservative Movement in Washington

Issue 132 * June 18, 1996

The National Center for Public Policy Research
Amy Moritz, President
300 Eye Street N.E. Suite 3 * Washington, D.C. 20001
(202) 507-6398 * Fax (301) 498-1301
E-Mail: [email protected]

Activities at the May 23 and May 3 Environmental Policy Task Force Meetings, Part 1, chaired by David Ridenour of The National Center for Public Policy Research ((202) [email protected]).

Controversial Bill to Address Forest Crisis Discussed

Norm Arsenault of Senator Larry Craig (R-ID)'s office described S. 391, Senator Craig's forest health bill. The bill requires national forests, the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge and Bureau of Land Management districts to designate "emergency" and "high risk" forests, defining "emergency" as a forest with 50% or more dead/dying trees and "high risk" as a forest in danger of becoming an emergency area. Once areas are designated as emergency areas the bill provides for expedited procedures to treat the emergency conditions and restore forest health. The environmental establishment opposes the bill because some forest health procedures include cutting trees or removing some dead trees from forests. Arsenault described the environmental movement's fierce opposition to the bill, saying "We're getting tremendous amounts of opposition. All across the country I've seen editorials just full of lies about what this bill does... Democratic Senators are being hammered for even talking with us in a bi-partisan manner." Mary Fattig of Federated Women in Timber concurred with Arsenault's assessment, describing instances she is aware of in which environmentalists falsely claimed that S. 391 would permit big logging companies "to clear-cut in national parks." Meeting participants discussed with some frustration the environmentalist movement's ability to, as one participant put it, "Lie at will and never get caught at it." Several newspapers have written editorials on Craig's bill, such as the Portland Oregonian, June 7: "There's no question here that [many federal forests] face severe threats to their health that warrant far more attention than they have received from federal agencies. Many environmentalists seem totally dismissive of those threats, seeing any forest health strategy as a timber-industry subterfuge to gain access to high-value timber," and the Spokane Spokesman-Review, May 22: "[The bill addresses] the crisis in dry inland forests. It would allow foresters to identify dying stands. Without waiving environmental requirements, it merely would expedite appeal processes so salvage logging could proceed before trees rot. ...Inland forests need to be restored, and Craig's bill would be a good way to get the job done." Arsenault distributed information about the legislation. Contact Norm Arsenault at 202/224-2752 and Mary Fattig at 916/629-2268.

Conservatives Ponder What to Do When the
GOP House Speaker is on the Other Side

David Ridenour of The National Center for Public Policy Research and Myron Ebell of Frontiers for Freedom led extended discussions at both meetings on the topic of what to do about Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich's active opposition to positions taken by conservatives on environmental issues. Among the policy disagreements conservatives have with the Speaker:

  1. Gingrich supported and fought to protect Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt's National Biological Service, a new expansion of the federal government's ability to target private property for government acquisition;
  2. Gingrich has given the handful of environmental establishment Republicans veto power over all environmental legislation by establishing a House Task Force on the Environment to decide what environmental legislation will and will not be voted on in the House and then stacking the task force with members who disagree with conservatives on environmental issues;
  3. Gingrich supports creation of federal Heritage Areas, a proposal that would, if approved, use federal tax dollars to empower local governments to control local property at the expense of local property owners;
  4. in published interviews Gingrich has implied that conservatives and rural Westerners need to "grow" [read: become more liberal] on environmental issues;
  5. Gingrich urged Bob Dole to drop his efforts to pass a property rights bill to compensate Americans if regulations reduce the value of their property by one-third or more, despite public opinion polls showing that some 70% of the American people (66% according to a Times-Mirror poll and 72% according to a Polling Company survey) support such legislation. Property rights advocates believe such legislation will eventually pass the Congress if Members of Congress are forced to go on the record as for or against it;
  6. Gingrich frequently confers with left-wing environmentalists but declines to extend the same courtesy to conservatives on the same issues;
  7. Gingrich co-sponsored a bill to create a National Institute on the Environment, which inevitably would devolve into yet another government-funded body requiring the discovery of new environmental risks to justify its existence;
  8. Gingrich opposes opening Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration, even though this exploration is environmentally-safe and is vital to the economy of Native residents such as Inupiat Eskimos;
  9. Gingrich supports regulation even when scientific evidence of a need for the regulation is weak. For instance, Gingrich has distanced himself publicly from conservative Congressmen, such as House Majority Whip Tim DeLay, who advocate lifting environmental regulations in cases where the evidence that the regulations help the environment is weak.

A variety of ideas for dealing with the Speaker's obstructionism were discussed. It was decided that the best course of action would be to try one more time to meet with the Speaker or his representatives about these concerns before undertaking any projects on this matter. Contact David Ridenour at (202) 507-6398 or [email protected] or Myron Ebell at 703/527-8282.

U.S. Tax Dollars Used to Harass U.S. Businesses Abroad

Kurt Christensen of the House Resources Committee distributed an article from Forbes magazine's May 20 issue headlined "Antibusiness activists follow U.S. firms abroad and harass them on foreign turf. And you, the taxpayer, are paying for the harassment." Comments about the article included: "Global environmentalism is much more dangerous than you would ever dream of" -- Kurt Christensen; "[Liberal environmental] policies are increasingly unpopular with the American people so the environmentalists need to take it to the United Nations, where the policy development will be one step out of reach of the American people -- David Ridenour." Contact Kurt Christensen at 202/225-2761 or David Ridenour at (202) 507-6398 or [email protected]

Progress Cited on Regulatory Reform

Todd Gaziano of the staff of Rep. David McIntosh (R-IN), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs, cheered participants by discussing dramatic but little-noticed successes regulatory reform advocates achieved in the 104th Congress: for instance, a provision attached to a debt ceiling-extension permitting Congress to override federal regulations under expedited procedures for 60 session days. He distributed detailed information. Contact Todd Gaziano at 202/225-3021.

Bill to Make Congress More Responsible for
Federal Regulations Described

Bob Holmes of Rep. J.C. Hayworth (R-AZ)'s office discussed Rep. Hayworth's H.R. 2727, the Congressional Responsibility Act, with participants. H.R. 2727 would require an up or down vote on all proposed federal regulations within 60 calendar days of the regulation's introduction. Holmes said the bill is needed because federal regulators "are making laws" and said the Congress has time to do this, citing as an example the fact that, "on the day we introduced this bill we took four hours to name eight courthouses." Holmes said public support is necessary if the bill is to pass because "as a freshman office we only have six people... so we have to count on grassroots people to support this bill." Holmes said Hayworth is looking for a Senate sponsor for the bill. Holmes distributed a copy of the bill, a summary of the bill's provisions, and a Wall Street Journal op/ed about the bill. Contact Bob Holmes at Rep. Hayworth's office at 202/225-3121.

Scoop is published by The National Center for Public Policy Research to provide information about the activities of the conservative movement. Coverage of a meeting or statement in Scoop does not imply endorsement by The National Center for Public Policy Research. Copyright 1996 The National Center for Public Policy Research. ###

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