Opening Statement of Senator Wayne Allard
Hearing on the Confirmation of Jamie Clark
As Director of the Fish & Wildlife Service
July 16, 1997

Thank you Mr. Chairman, yesterday I met with Ms. Clark and appreciated her candor and straightforward answers to my questions. I wouldn't anticipate any problems with her confirmation.

I do want to make several Colorado specific points in my opening remarks.

First, on the recent agreement reached in principle by the states of Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming, and the Department of Interior to protect endangered species on the Central Platte River.

This agreement has taken a long time to reach, and while the principles are agreed to, Fish & Wildlife will review the program under NEPA over the next three years. This review needs to be thorough and efficient. I'm sure that the nominee and many members of this committee can share plenty of examples of how NEPA has run out of control wasting time and money, while doing nothing for the environment. I will be paying very close attention to this process as it moves forward.

Should the NEPA turn out to be overly thorough and decidedly inefficient, I will not support federal dollars continuing to support a process that ceases to be helpful to species and water users.

Second, to date the Colorado River Recovery Program has been successful in garnering the support of disparate groups and numerous states. I want to be assured that if the additional $100 million in state and federal money is spent it will provide certainty to water users under Section 7. The end result of all money we have spent, and all the money we may spend, should be that Colorado is assured that we can develop our apportionment under the Colorado River Compact.

To that end I hope that Ms. Clark is able to tell me today whether the programmatic biological opinion being prepared on the program will answer this question. Also, will Fish & Wildlife accept the program for Section 7 consultations?

Again, I want to be very clear that my support for this program is based upon it providing certainty and uniformity to Colorado water users. If it does not provide that function it merely becomes an unnecessary public works project that we can't afford.

Finally, I want to address a letter that the acting Fish & Wildlife Director, John Rogers, wrote to the Farm Service Agency last November. In that letter he addressed a section of the Farm Bill that I worked very hard on. This section limited the ability of USDA to place an environmental easement on active farmland or cropland that was placed in inventory. It's my view that Mr. Rogers letter was attempting to undercut congressional intent by arguing that certain types of agricultural land, were in fact not agricultural land, and therefore could have easements placed on them thus lowering the productivity and value of the land. I hope that Ms. Clark looks over this letter and the law and avoids Mr. Clark's mistaken interpretation.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.