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Calendar No. 449
107th Congress Report
2d Session 107-181
REDESIGNATING LANDS WITHIN THE CRATERS OF THE MOON NATIONAL MONUMENT
June 26, 2002.--Ordered to be printed
Mr. Bingaman, from the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources,
submitted the following
R E P O R T
[To accompany H.R. 601]
The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was
referred the Act (H.R. 601) to redesignate certain lands within
the Craters of the Moon National Monument, and for other
purposes, having considered the same, reports favorably thereon
without amendment and recommends that the Act do pass.
The purpose of H.R. 601 is to redesignate certain lands
added to Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho by
Presidential Proclamation 7373 as Craters of the Moon National
BACKGROUND AND NEED
Craters of the Moon National Monument was established by
President Coolidge in 1924 under the authority of the
Antiquities Act. The monument protects the unusual landscape of
a lava field that was thought to resemble that of the moon.
President Coolidge's proclamation described the area as a
``weird and scenic landscape peculiar to itself.'' Craters of
the Moon includes the most diverse and geologically recent part
of the lava terrain that covers the southern Snake River Plain
that last erupted during the past 5 million years.
Since its creation in 1924, the monument has been expanded
several times by presidential proclamation. The monument's
boundary was also modified legislatively by the Omnibus Parks
and Public Lands Management Act of 1996.
On November 9, 2000, President Clinton issued Presidential
Proclamation 7373, which added 661,287 acres to the monument.
The lands added to monument had previously been administered by
the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The proclamation directed
that the National Park Service manage approximately two-thirds
of the lands added, or 410,000 acres. The BLM retained
management authority over the remaining 251,000 acres.
H.R. 601 addresses the issue of hunting on certain Federal
lands within the expanded monument. Prior to their inclusion in
the monument, the BLM allowed hunting on the Federal lands in
question. However, the National Park Service does not allow for
hunting within units of the National Park System--including
National Monuments--unless specifically mandated by Congress.
Generally, those units where hunting is permitted are
designated as National Preserves.
H.R. 601 would redesignate the 410,000 acres added to the
monument under National Park Service management as a National
Preserve where hunting would be authorized. The bill does not
affect other portions of the monument. Hunting will be allowed
on the BLM administered lands and hunting will be prohibited
within the original monument boundaries managed by the National
H.R. 601, sponsored by Representative Simpson, passed the
House of Representatives by a voice vote on May 1, 2001. No
companion bill has been introduced in the Senate. The
Subcommittee on National Parks held a hearing on H.R. 601 on
July 31, 2001. The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
ordered H.R. 601 favorably reported at its business meeting on
June 5, 2002.
The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in
open business session on June 5, 2002, by a voice of a quorum
present, recommends that the Senate pass H.R. 601.
Section 1(a) redesignates approximately 410,000 acres of
land added to Craters of the Moon National Monument by
President Proclamation 7373 as Craters of the Moon National
Subsection (b)(1) provides that the preserve shall be
managed in accordance with the proclamation, the Antiquities
Act, and other laws generally applicable to units of the
National Park System, including the National Park Service
Organic Act of 1916.
Subsection (b)(2) provides for hunting within the Preserve
consistent with State and Federal law.
COST AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS
The following estimate of the costs of this measure has
been provided by the Congressional Budget Office:
H.R. 601--A bill to redesignate certain lands within the Craters of the
Moon National Monument, and for other purposes
CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 601 would not
significantly affect the federal budget. The bill would not
affect direct spending or receipts; therefore, pay-as-you-go
procedures would not apply. H.R. 601 contains no
intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and would impose no costs on
state, local, or tribal governments.
The Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho
comprises more than 700,000 acres of land and is jointly
administered by the National Park Service (NPS) and the Bureau
of Land Management (BLM). The bill would redesignate about
410,000 acres of land within that monument as a national
preserve. Based on information from the NPS and BLM, we
estimate that redesignating those lands would not significantly
affect the agencies' costs. The bill also would direct the
Secretary of the Interior to allow hunting within the proposed
preserve. According to the agencies, that change would not
affect federal spending or receipts.
The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Megan Carroll.
This estimate was approved by Robert A. Sunshine, Assistant
Director for Budget Analysis.
REGULATORY IMPACT EVALUATION
In compliance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee makes the following
evaluation of the regulatory impact which would be incurred in
carrying out H.R. 601. The bill is not a regulatory measure in
the sense of imposing Government-established standards or
significant responsibilities on private individuals and
No personal information would be collected in administering
the program. Therefore, there would be no impact on personal
Little, if any, additional paperwork would result from the
enactment of H.R. 601.
The testimony provided by the National Park Service at the
subcommittee hearing follows:
Statement of Denis P. Galvin, Deputy Director, National Park Service,
Department of the Interior.
Mr. Chairman, members of the subcommittee, I appreciate the
opportunity to appear before you today to present the views of
the Department of the Interior on H.R. 601, a bill to
redesignate certain lands within Craters of the Moon National
The Department supports H.R. 601. The House-passed bill
would redesignate the NPS portion of the monument expansion as
a national preserve and authorize the Secretary to permit
hunting on those lands. The effect, therefore, would be to
restore hunting to lands on which it had been allowed when they
were under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management.
Designation as a national preserve is appropriate in this case
because the category was established for units of the National
Park System that are created primarily for the protection of
certain resources, while activities such as hunting may still
be allowed if they do not jeopardize the natural values.
Craters of the Moon National Monument was established by
Proclamation of President Calvin Coolidge in 1924 for the
purpose of protecting the unusual landscape of the Craters of
the Moon lava field. This unusual landscape was thought to
resemble the surface of the Moon and the Proclamation stated
that the area ``contains many curious and unusual phenomena of
great educational value and has a weird and scenic landscape
peculiar to itself.'' Between 1924 and 1962, the monument was
expanded and boundary adjustments were made through four
presidential proclamations. In 1996, a minor boundary
adjustment was made by section 205 of the Omnibus Parks and
Public Lands Management Act of 1996 (110 Stat. 4093; Public Law
104-333). On November 9, 2000, President Clinton's proclamation
expanded the 53,440-acres monument by adding approximately
661,287 acres of federal lands.
The expanded monument includes almost all the features of
basaltic volcanism, including the craters, cones, lava flows,
caves, and fissures of the 65-mile long Great Rift, a
geological feature that is comparable to the great rift zones
of Iceland and Hawaii. It comprises the most diverse and
geologically recent part of the lava terrain that covers the
southern Snake River Plain, a broad lava plain made up of
innumerable basalt lava flows that erupted during the past 5
Prior to the recent proclamation, Craters of the Moon
National Monument was managed solely by the National Park
Service. The expansion area of the monument, however, consists
of lands that had been administered by the Bureau of Land
Management. The proclamation gives both agencies
responsibilities for administering the monument cooperatively.
The National Park Service has the primary management
responsibility for the old monument, plus the approximately
400,000-acre portion of the expansion area that consists of
exposed lava flows. The Bureau of Land Management is
responsible for administering the remaining portion of the
The proclamation specified that the NPS portion of the
monument expansion is to be managed under the same laws and
regulations that applied to the original monument. Since
hunting has not been authorized in the original Craters of the
Moon National Monument, the effect of the proclamation was to
prohibit hunting in the NPS portion of the monument expansion.
However, the Department supports a clarification of this
language to allow the continued use of the lands in the
expanded monument area for hunting. Hunting in the portion of
the monument administered by the Bureau of Land Management is
Furthermore, although the proclamation specifies that the
National Park Service has jurisdiction over the exposed lava
flows, the on-the-ground reality is that there is not a precise
delineation between areas of vegetation and areas of bare rock,
making it difficult in many cases to determine the exact
location of the boundary. For the average visitor or hunter, it
would be difficult, if not impossible to distinguish whether
they were on BLM lands or NPS lands, at least in the vicinity
of the jurisdictional boundaries.
The Department also recognizes that legislation to provide
the authority for hunting within the NPS-managed portion of the
monument expansion would give the Superintendent the ability to
work cooperatively with the State of Idaho on issues concerning
adjacent landowners. For example, hunting could be used as a
tool in mitigation agricultural depredation caused by elk
grazing on alfalfa crops on privately owned lands outside the
While the Department supports legislation to allow
continued hunting in the NPS portion of the Craters of the Moon
expansion area, this does not include support for opening to
hunting the portion of the monument that existed prior to the
proclamation of November 9, 2000. That portion of the national
monument has always been, and should continue to be closed to
hunting. In addition, I would like to clarify that the
Department's position on this specific issue does not indicate
support for opening other areas of the National Park System to
This concludes my testimony on H.R. 601. I would be glad to
answer any questions you may have.
CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW
In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee notes that no
changes in existing law are made by H.R. 601.