Alaska Republican Don Young, the new chairman of the House Resources Committee, (he removed "Natural" from the committee's name) recently talked at length with reporter Angela Bouwsma:





A congressional committee stumbles on the diversity of life:


I'm, by the way, the only member of that (House Resources) committee that ever voted for the Endangered Species Act when it was originated. We never envisioned that it would be implemented as it is now, and I've gone back over the report, the language spoken in the committee, and who was talking about what. We had envisioned trying to protect, you know, pigeons and things like that. We never thought about mussels and ferns and flowers and all these ... subspecies of squirrels and birds ...


How endangered species and wetlands are created:


I have a case out in Missouri where they put a mud turtle on the Endangered Species List because a U.S. Fish and Wildlife person went out to this area, a lake, that was dry. There were no turtles. It was just - oh, he got all excited - there were no turtles. You know why there were no turtles? Because the lake was dry. And when it rained and the lake got wet, the turtles came out of the mud.


Do you know there are documented cases where a guy had a canoe - now think about this a moment - got a canoe, left it right side up, got full of water, had a hole in it, drained under it, moved the canoe. Had a flower there that had sprouted. Didn't know what it was. He asked somebody to identify it, and they said this is a flower that only grows in wetlands. It was declared wetlands.


Another wetlands was created because there happened to be an old truck turned upside down there for about 50 years. And he (the contractor) removed the truck and it left a depression in the ground and that's the wetlands. And because they designate it wetlands, the agency shows no rhyme or reason. This is going to stop, this is not going to happen. Wetlands in the desert? Again, there's no wetland law. This is all regulatory law through agencies: EPA, Corps of Engineers. Fish and Wildlife. So that's going to change where if it's not wetlands it's not going to be designated as wetlands.


Straight talk on reforming the 1872 Mining Law:


Taking the land for $2.50 - let's make this perfectly clear, that has not happened in the last 35 years. That's the big argument - that we're getting robbed. There may be some things we can upgrade, but the chance of that happening right now - I personally am not promoting that. I defended the 1872 Mining Law a great deal ... (Reformers wanted) to put, very frankly, the small miner out of business and then to nationalize the mineral industry.


Thoughtful words on elevating the Environmental Protection Agency to cabinet status:


Absolutely opposed to it. In fact, they ought to eliminate three cabinets and it doesn't matter which. Just get rid of them. Again, I'm dead serious. Show me what they do for the people.


On his friends in the environmental movement:


Well, again, we're going to have hearings (on gutting the Endangered Species Act) in the field. We're not going to have hearings here in Washington, D.C., with the (National Wildlife Federation President) Jay Hairs (sic) and all the high, elite environmental community that supposedly talks for the environmentalists, that drive their limousines and fly in their private jets back to their homes in the Carolinas and get paid $350,000 a year and then beat their chests and say look out for the environment.


That's what the environmentalists - the self-centered bunch, the waffle-stomping, Harvard-graduating intellectual bunch of idiots that don't understand that they're leading this country into environmental disaster. It's a time-bomb waiting to happen. You cannot have the ghettos and the inability for jobs and true employment in this country unless you have utilization of our resource.


Hundreds of years! Millions! What's the difference?


The biggest thing that occurs by the preservationist is he denies man's involvement and he doesn't give the opportunity to plan. And I argue right up front, we can harvest trees and replant trees and continue to produce trees like they've done in Sweden for hundreds of years, millions of years, and never run out of trees. You can't do that if you let them die or burn. n





Excerpted with permission from the BNA's Daily Environment Report, No. 248, pp. B1-B5, (Dec. 30, 1994). Copyright 1994 by the Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800/372-1033).