Fed-state issues at Congressional Western Caucus hearing
Gov. Brewer was the main witness at the hearing held by the Congressional Western Caucus yesterday in Phoenix. The topic was disagreements between Arizona and the Obama Administration, particularly in regard to public lands.
Following the Governor's remarks, six agency heads, myself included, were asked to respond to questions from the 5 Republican congressmen in attendance. Scott Hunt, the Arizona State Forester, [typo corrected 3-18-12] was pressed to name individuals in the US Forest Service who were holding up decisions on forest lands. Caucus chair Rep. Steve Pearce of New Mexico said their new practice is to identify by name 'bureaucrats' who are normally anonymous, to pressure them to move faster or take more responsibility for their actions.
I was asked if we have received honest information about the uranium mining ban in northern Arizona. My response was that I thought that BLM had acted in good faith but the EIS process had been short-circuited when the Secretary of Interior announced his final decision as soon as the draft EIS was released, prior not only to the final EIS but before any reviews or comments had been made on the draft. In addition, senior Interior Dept. officials told a number of us participating agencies on a conference call that they had not read much of the EIS before the decision was made.
In addition to Mr. Pearce, Arizona congressmen Gosar, Schweikert, Franks, and Quayle were on the panel.