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tv   Politics Public Policy Today  CSPAN  August 6, 2014 11:00am-1:01pm EDT

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except that we can give anecdotes that don't have really much to do with science. let's talk about these -- the migration of the ducks, mr. ashe. it's my understanding that because of the increased demand for corn used in ethanol production, we're seeing a reduction of available breeding grounds in the midwest wetlands and grassland for ducks in mississippi and louisiana flyways. so don't you think that there is an impact caused by the renewable fuel standards on hunting and on hunting species?
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and don't you think this is an unforeseen consequence of congress interjecting itself into the markets? >> senator, thank you. i would say we are seeing what ducks unlimited and others are calling a crisis in the prairies. we certainly, if you think about the states of north dakota and south dakota, which are really the heart of water fowl production for the united states of america, we have energy development in the balken oil fields squeezing from the west and we have agricultural development squeezing from the east, and so there is no doubt that we are seeing widespread and unprecedented conversion of habitat that is -- >> and if i can interject, because that clock is ticking. part of that reduction in habitat is putting more of the land into corn to -- to respond to this public policy decision
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that the federal government has made. that is a fact, is it not? >> certainly a part of the demand is related to use for ethanol. but the market is a global market for corn and soybean, and the global market is what is driving the demand for that commodity. what's important for us to realize is that climate change lies over that. so as we are trying to maintain and now restore and protect habitat for migrating water fowl, we have the increasing complexity associated with changing climate and the disruption of their migratory behavior. and so if you think again about that hen mallard as she's migrating, if the temperatures are warmer -- think about you and me. if we were making a journey of some 2,000 miles and the temperature is now a degree and a half warmer than she was evolved to tolerate.
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and the prospect now is for temperatures to rise throughout the end of the century. so she, from a thermodynamic standpoint, she not only has to make that trip with less habitat, she's going to have to make that trip in a hotter world. it's a strenuous endeavor. migration is a strenuous and risky endeavor for any species. and now we are increasing the stress on that animal to make that trip. she's got to make it every year. she's got a tight time schedule. she has demanding food and energy requirements and we are making that journey harder for her. >> i realize, mr. director, this is not a climate issue, but i'm merely trying to point out that you're concerned about the migration of ducks, as am i, as are people in mississippi, particularly along the river
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counties and delta counties. i would just submit to you there is a lot more to it than increasing of temperatures by one degree or 1.5 degrees. i'm going to want to take a second round with this witness, mr. chairman, so i'll yield back to you for questions, if you would like. but i would like to take a second round. >> thank you. are you going to be able to stay with us for the second panel as well? >> yes. >> terrific. >> why don't you go ahead and take your second five minutes. >> okay. let me ask you this, mr. director. do you dismiss altogether the scientific evidence that senator sessions mentioned this morning that global temperatures have flatlined for the last 15 years? do you dismiss that as being inaccurate? >> i do, sir.
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>> so we just have -- you have a disagreement with the scientists who have flatly stated that we basically have flatlined -- >> there is no scientific disagreement. if what people are doing is they're taking 1998, which was a high year for temperature, and then they're looking from 1998 to 2013 and they are saying there is no rise in temperature. you can't look at a temperature record that does go up and down. so you'll have warm years, relatively warmer and cooler years. you can't pick one year out of a 150-year database and say, well, if i use 1995, which was a particularly warmer year, and compare all the succeeding years to that there has been no increase in temperature. if you look at the complete
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temperature record, there's no doubt that temperatures have risen during the course of the last decade. the last decade is the warmest decade on record. and so when you look objectively and completely at the scientific record, there is no disagreement. the national climate assessment reflects that science, that large consensus body of science. >> do you acknowledge that the earth's climate has been changing up and down for tens of thousands of years? >> millions of years. >> millions of years. okay. and that has been irrespective of carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere, is that correct? >> carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere has changed over time and has been correlated
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with -- by looking at the carbon dating record has been correlated with increasing and decreasing temperatures. what we are seeing now, and which science clearly points to, is that human-based emissions of greenhouse gasses are driving concentrations in the atmosphere that have not been seen for hundreds of thousands of years. >> are you suggesting that every time over the last million years the temperature has gone up, it's been due to carbon dioxide? are you testifying -- >> i can't say every time but what scientists have confirmed, looking back into the paleontologic record, the ice age -- warm periods and cold periods have been associated with elevated and decreased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. >> let me ask you about forest management. you won't be here during panel two.
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dr. david south, in his prepared testimony, says policymakers who halt active forest management and kill green harvesting jobs in favor of a hands-off approach contribute to the buildup of fuels in the forest. this eventually increases the risk of catastrophic wildfires. also james wood on panel two will say because of past management of fire suppression, the worst neighbor a timberland owner can have is a national forest. how would you respond to that? basically in a nutshell, the argument is by refusing to allow the underbrush, there is this buildup of fuels and this intensifies forest fires. how do you respond to that? do they have a point?
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>> i would not say the u.s. forest service is a poor neighbor. i don't think they have a point about that. i would say that the buildup of fuels in our nation's forests, public and private, has been a challenge for us. so whether it's a national forest, bureau of land management lands, national wildlife refuge, national park, state park or state wildlife management area, fire management is a challenge for any land manager. i would say the greatest need in that regard is funding for preventative management. and in this year's budget, the president has proposed a so-called fire fix that allows us to begin to treat fires like other natural disasters and gives us more flexibility to do what you're calling for is to do
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preventive management of our nation's forests. >> part of that would be removing the fallen trees and the underbrush that amounts to fuel for forest fires? >> in some cases. as a wildlife manager, sometimes dead fall and understory is a good thing for wildlife management, but in some cases, managing forests, as senator merkley knows in the pacific northwest, we are working together with our state and federal colleagues on ecological forestry which involves many of the principles you're speaking of, which is get in, do thinning, do understory management. i think good, improved forest management is an important aspect of our adaptation to changing climate. it's an important aspect of wildlife management and providing the habitat that our game species are going to need in the future. i agree with you that that is an important adaptation for us to take. and we need better capacity to
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do that in knowing what we now know about climate change and what the future is going to look like. >> and the chair has agreed to indulge me on one other question. there is a strategic plan for responding to climate change that includes increased data collection, initiatives to increase awareness and habitat conservation programs. how much money and how many employees is this going to take? and will this negatively impact other fish and wildlife service programs? >> i'm not sure what strategy you're talking about, sir. >> okay. well, let me ask you, does fish and wildlife service have a strategic plan for responding to climate change? >> we do have a climate change strategic plan, and as i
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mentioned before, one of the outgrowths of that plan is the national fish, wildlife and plants adaptation strategy. and it identifies a number of common sense steps that we can take. >> my question is about the cost of this and whether employees will be taken away from other programs and placed into this initiative. >> no, because they're basically synonymous with good management, as you have identified with forest management. what we need to do is we need to provide our managers, our federal and state and tribal managers with the tools they need to do better forest management, better range management with the scientific information that they need. it will cost -- it will take additional capacity to do this, but it needs to be done. >> and where is that additional capacity going to come from? >> well, i think as the president has provided in
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specific context of fire management, as i said, the president has provided in this year's budget that 30% of the funds for suppression should come from the disaster funding ceiling. that will free up dollars for us to do more preventive management for fire. and so i think we know, we have common sense approaches to find and build the capacity that you're talking about. i think the president has proposed one such step in his 2016 -- 2015 budget. >> thank you. i'll take my five-minute turn then. i would like to say that that forest service plan makes a lot of sense because what we've had with the large fires has been complete depletion of the forest service and trying to restore the funds for every other function they have other than fighting fires. that's not treating emergencies
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as emergencies and just a huge disruptive factor in the ordinary work force. that's a terrific proposal. i commend the forest service for it. you mention in your testimony some of the migrations that are occurring. specifically, you mention the pacific, i think it's called the brandt, and that it has migrated a long -- its range has changed dramatically. can you explain what's going on there? >> sure. pacific brandt is a small goose. pacific brandt have ranged their breeding grounds in the arctic and they range -- they migrate historically down to mexico, winter in mexico -- or summer in mexico. and what we're seeing increasingly of brandt are that they are staying in alaska throughout the breeding season. so what that creates is a potential that will have a disruption, will have a severe weather event and the birds will
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not have migrated and will take a big population reduction. and so these changes in migratory patterns put more uncertainty into the game for wildlife managers. and so if we are facing more uncertainty, the way we typically deal with that is we reduce opportunity. because -- and so i think that's the restriction we're looking at. >> my impression is we are seeing this in studies of lots of species. some of my colleagues talked about the migrating lobster, so on and so forth. so this is not just one particular -- lots of ocean species are things that are changing? >> across the board we are seeing changes in the blooming of flowers, the green-up in alaska tundra in the springtime. we are seeing changes in migratory patterns, as we talked about. we are seeing changes in habitat
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availability for coldwater fish. while one study in 2012 of coldwater fishes estimates that by 2100 we could see a reduction of 50% in habitat availability for coldwater fishes, trout, salmon, a loss of as much as 6.5 million angler days, and as much as $6.5 billion in economic activity. so these changes are not inconsequential for sportsmen and women. >> thank you. i want to take a look at a chart on the surface temperature issue that was just raised. so this chart shows change in surface temperature from 1970 through 2013. it basically shows that there's about a .6 degrees celsius change in just that 44-year period. one can draw kind of impressions about this.
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i have another chart here that has a line that simply represents kind of the rising direction of temperature, but i wanted to specifically emphasize the second chart, which shows that rising temperature is a series of steps. because a number of folks have commented and said, well look, this last bar is flat and it's flat over a period of approximately 10, 12 years. and therefore, nothing to worry about. but when you see this chart going backwards, we see a series of periods where the average temperature keeps increasing by steps, if you will. is there any reason to think that if we are looking at this chart ten years from now, that we will see a new step that is lower than the step we're at now? is there any reason to think no issue here, that this trend is not going to continue?
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>> i'm not aware of any scientific study that predicts a decline in temperature from this point forward. your observation, as i was saying in response to senator wicker's statement, as you look at the long-term temperature record, it's unequivocal that temperatures are rising and the predictions are for temperatures to rise and the rate of temperature increase to rise in the future. >> thank you very much for your testimony. appreciate it very much. bringing the expertise of your agency to bear on these broad trends that we're experiencing. >> thank you, senator. thank you senator wicker. >> mr. chairman, i wonder if there is any reason to believe that if we raise electricity rates on american farmers and ranchers by double digits that line is going to change one way or the other.
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>> is that something you want to speculate on? >> i think i've already speculated. >> i will note that i'll have entered in the record an analysis looking at future power costs. it actually anticipates a reduction. but that's maybe for another hearing or another debate and discussion. let's turn to our second panel, if they could come forward. welcome. it's great to have you all. i'm happy to have our second panel of witnesses. we have a diverse group
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including three individuals that will talk about how climate change is impacting their area of expertise and two minority witnesses who will present their perceptions as climate change skeptics. i'll go ahead and introduce everyone now. then we'll proceed with the testimony. our first witness is jim walls, which i'm particularly delighted to have you here, from oregon. jim serves as executive director of lake county resources initiative, an organization dedicated to preserving national forest, expanding the use of renewable energy in rural communities. he's worked to foster more collaborative approaches to forest management, as well as working to make and attract more biomass, geothermal, hydro, solar and wind energy products to lake county. our second witness is clay po
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polke. he is fourth generation wheat farmer and cattle rancher in northwest oklahoma and also serves as the state association executive director of the oklahoma association of conservation districts. clay served in the oklahoma house of representatives from 1994 through 2004. welcome. our third witness is daniel cohen. he is a commercial fisherman and owner of atlantic cape fisheries, a scallop marketing company based in new jersey, but it does business on both coasts. david south is a retired professor of forestry at auburn where he also earned his ph.d. in forestry. mr. south served as director for the southern forest nursery management cooperative. and is it legates? david legates, our final witness is a joint associate professor of geography at the university of delaware. he is also the former director of the center for climatic
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research at the university of delaware. welcome, everyone. and mr. walls if you could kick off the testimony, the show is yours. >> thank you, mr. chairman and fellow members. it's a privilege to be here and an honor. as said, my name is jim walls. i run a small nonprofit in lake county, oregon, concentrating on federal forest lands and renewable energies. we are 78% government land-owned in our county. that's over 8,500 square miles so it's big. it's bigger than some eastern states. within that, like many communities with forest over the past three decades, we suffered high unemployment, poverty rates due to policies on our national forests. we look at renewable energy as a
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way to change our economy and bring new green jobs to the forefront. when discussing climate change on forests, i can't separate the actions of past forest management and impacts of climate change. they are both in the same. and treatments will have the both same effects. that is as we underthin, take the understory and remove it and remove that amount so there is -- they are more back to a natural stand condition that was pre-european, that was also the strategy we need to use for climate change. so they are intertwined. in our case, i would like to point out that over the past decade, what has that meant in our forest? well, in ten years, the first fire was the winter rim tool box fire. we lost 100,000 acres. then we had a beetle kill of over 350,000 acres. then in 2012 we had the berry point fire, 93,000 acres. in less than a decade, we have
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now lost 24% of the fremont national forest. if we keep this rate up, because fires are getting more intense, insects are getting more intense because of the warmer climate change. if we keep this up, we will lose in three decades our whole forest. i think that is a real and severe threat to us. it is not only a threat to our industry in timber, it's a threat to our agricultural industry, too. we average 10% to 20% moisture during the winter. our summers are hot and dry normally. without that snow pack, we don't have agriculture. we don't have irrigation water. all you have to do is look to our neighbors the klamath basin this year and what's going to happen there. even in lake county, we are going to see reduced irrigation rates because of the drought. droughts we have never seen of this severe before. i think to debate the climate change, long-term, short-term, all that, i personally say it's here and the risk is way too
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high just to ignore the few that you might be right that it's not happening. i hope we don't go there. by using renewable energy, i feel we can offset that. we developed a plan in lake county, all the ones we have done an economic analysis and feasibility study on, we will offset 93% of the fossil fuel emissions in a decade out of lake county, and we will do it economically so. so as we go forward with this debate, i would hope that we look at the things like that that make economic sense. can renewables compete with hydro? no. can it compete with coal and industry? solar is there. cost of a panel now is very cheap. it's reducing all the time. wind is there. as we invest in these, more and more of them will become competitive at other rates
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throughout the country. and it's a way to turn our jobs around. i ask one thing is to change the definition, which senator merkley co-sponsored with senator wyden on on renewable energy. biomass out of our federal lands is not considered renewable energy sources. we have two companies looking to locate in lake county. we only have supply for one so hopefully one of those will make it. that is the cellulosic jet fuel company and biomass energy production company. with that definition, they do not want to invest because it's not considered renewable. so please do change that, senate bill 536. get that passed so we change that definition. it does not make sense to me. the other thing i would like to say is we need to increase the scale of getting treatments. i mentioned and senator rucker, you said my full testimony about the worst neighbor is the forest service. it's not because we don't know what to do, it's the time and the amount we are getting done.
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we need to increase that rather than treating 3,000 to 4,000 acres of land that is overstocked that we would be treating 20,000 acres a year and get to 100,000 acres and not just doing small acres projects at a time. we don't want to skip any environmental rules. or do anything like that. we want it to be ecologically sound and economically as well. as we move on, i hope you'll also look with the fire spending was mentioned. we cannot get ahead of this or achieve our goals with those acres if we don't deal with fire borrowing that occurs every year. and as these fires get more intense and hotter, we need to look at that. senate bill 1875, i hope you endorse that bill and we get that through because it's far cheaper to treat the forestland than it is to suppress fire. and they're increasing. another thing that climate change has done in the thicker forest is that it keeps the snow from hitting the ground. we get large amounts of
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evaporation rate in those thicker forests. so our snow pack is reduced. so i do see by implementing and doing common sense things today, such as renewable energy, we can make some great impacts. and after that, let's debate the more challenging stuff. thank you. >> thank you very much. mr. pope? >> chairman merkley, ranking member wicker and members of the committee, thank you for allowing me the chance to speak about climate change and the challenges facing climate change. first, let me say we've always had wild weather on the southern plains. i think oklahoma native will rogers said if you don't like the weather in oklahoma, wait a minute, it will change. what's different is the frequency and strength of the weather events that we're seeing. basically our crazy weather has been put on steroids. the drought we've been suffering through the last five years is a perfect example and it's had a drastic impact on agriculture. in oklahoma alone, we've seen a
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reduction in the cattle herd by over 10%. by the first of this year, the cattle inventory in the united states shrunk to its lowest level since 1951. and over 80% of these reductions happened in two states, oklahoma and texas. but the effects of the drought aren't just limited to livestock. we may be looking at the fourth gleer a row where the cotton acres will be abandoned. as bad as the cotton situation is, the real story is wheat. this year's wheat harvest is expected to be the lowest since 1957. it's estimated the amount of wheat harvested in 2014 will be 40% of what was cut in 2013 and that crop was 30% below what was cut in 2012. this drop in production isn't just due to the drought. a late season freeze also took its toll on oklahoma's wheat crop. late season freezes aren't anything new, but what is new, though, is the frequency. this is the third time in five years that a late freeze has impacted oklahoma's wheat crop. clearly, we have a problem. the question is, what do we do about it? well, the secret, senators, in my opinion, is in the soil. improving the health of our soil is the key to helping agriculture both mitigate and adapt to climate change. our farm ground has lost between
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60% to 80% of the organic matter that was present in the soil at initial plow-up. this is important because it's organic matter that feeds the microbial community of bugs, bacteria and fungus beneath the soil that form our first and best line of defense against climate change. every 1% increase in organic matter in the soil can triple that soil's water holding capacity. that equals on average to an additional 25,000 gallons of water available per acre for growing crops. by converting the no till cropping systems that also incorporate cover crops, we can greatly increase the infiltration of water in our farm ground while reducing the amount of moisture lost to evaporation when that land is tilled exposed to the sun. this helps farms better weather the droughts being exacerbated by climate change while providing more moisture to growing crops. this increase in soil moisture also helps restore balance to the overall water cycle, which increases stream flow. making more water available for humans and wildlife. by using no till, but can also greatly reduce soil erosion while at the same time reducing runoff from agricultural land.
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this not only protects the soil, it also reduces pollution in our streams and rivers. in addition, that same 1% increase in organic matter can on average make available up to $700 worth of additional nutrients per acre for growing crops. by improving the health of our soil, we can help plants more effectively absorb the nutrients available in the ground, helping us increase yields and feed an ever-growing planet. we do all this, we're also lowering carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. no till can sequester on average roughly half a metric ton of carbon per acre per year. we all know plants breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen. that carbon dioxide is then stored in the form of organic matter. you help agriculture adapt to climate change while you improve water quality, improve wildlife habitat and increase yields and sequester carbon dioxide in the soil. this is something we need to do. through the farm bill conservation programs, usda has the ability to help producers do it. unfortunately as budget tightened, financial assistance through these programs and funding for technical assistance continues to shrink.
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during the dust bowl, it was determined it was in the public's interest to keep the farm ground of the southern plains in production. through the partnership of the federal and state governments and local conservation districts the tide of dust was turned back. they have the ability to address climate change the same way they addressed the dust bowl. even with these resources researchers need to determine what technologies are best suited to help them adapt to climate change. usda start this had process. they hold great promise but will go unrealized if they aren't provided with the resources to do their job. we can't lose sight of the fact the floods will come again. droughts and floods have a tendency to come together in oklahoma. take the hammond flood. it occurred during the dust bowl. oklahoma alone has over 2100 of these structures. most of which are needed rehabilitation. when this work takes place, many of these could be made into reservoirs for nearby communities to help with water shortages n the flash floods made worse by climate change.
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with the passage of the farm bill, funding was authorized to do this work. nrcs rules state it can only be used to repair existing structures to their current size. this doesn't have to be the case. a change in rules would allow federal funds to be made available to help several of our communities with new water sources. when you look at the opportunities outlined in the original flood control act, water quality and quantity, flood mitigation and wildlife enhancement you see this program as another tool that usda already has that can help our country better adapt to climate change. i would reiterate southern plains agriculture is facing serious changes. the food news is usda has tools to cope with this challenge and there's a path forward. the question is, will we take it? thank you for allowing me to speak today. i'd be happy to answer any questions. >> thank you very much, mr. p k
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polk. >> thank you very much for the opportunity to address the committee -- >> can we have your microphone on? thank you. >> thank you very much for the opportunity to address the committee as you evaluate the impact of climate change on our environment and likelihood for next generations. the fishing agriculture of the united states, especially the shellfish industry is susceptible to increases in ocean temperature and acidification. it has already been significantly impacted and is the harbinger of human use of fossil fuels and co2 increases in our atmosphere. i am daniel cohen, president of the atlantic capes fisheries. we operate vessels on the east coast and west coast with facilities in new jersey, maryland, rhode island, massachusetts and pacific northwest. we are focused on scallops, clams, crabs and squid. i spent a considerable amount of my time raising over $1 million a year with the mid-atlantic fisheries management council and
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primary science in conjunction with rutgers university and cornell university. about 15 years ago, recognizing that the wild harvests of commercial fishermen such as ourselves will be capped to make certain we had sustainable harvests for the future, and with the sustainable capped harvests there would not be enough fish protein for a growing world population with 6 billion, now 7 billion and soon to be 9 billion. the industry is looking more and more towards agriculture to meet those rising needs. i'm going to use examples today that are not anecdotes, but actually what's happened to industry and then backed up with scientific research determining what is actually happening. i will do that with four examples that are really just
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examples. we can talk more about others. these are all -- these examples are having -- are coming from three sources. one, changes slowly over time, bottom temperature change of the ocean. two is rising ocean acidity from carbon dioxide in the atmosphere going into the ocean as co2 sink. raising the level of ocean. changes in ocean currents which scientists describe as changes in bottom temperature. four examples, we serve clam fisheries on the east coast, oyster hatcheries in oregon, the fluke fishery in north carolina and scallop fishery in british columbia. the surf clam fishery was historically centered off the coast of virginia up to the center of new jersey. new jersey landed over 50% of the surf clams for the entire country and surf clams are the number one ingredient in clam chowder, which was, i think, the number one soup served in restaurants in the country. also enjoyed as fried and breaded clam strips.
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as outlined in the written evidence i've given, in addition, bottom temperature rise was first identified after a fisheries survey determined the die off of clams off of virginia. rutgers and vims scientists determined it was due to bottom temperature changes. cooler waters in new england saw greater spawning off new england. clam plants shut in virginia, maryland and new jersey and new plants opened in massachusetts and rhode island, showing a shift in the population of the clams due to bottom temperature rise documented by rutgers. and therefore, a change in jobs. in the pacific northwest, we've seen large ocean acidification. our written testimony is from oregon state university documenting over $110 million worth of losses to the hatchery industry alone. now they are having to buffer all their water. the way you buffer yourself with tums because of ocean acidification.
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in the mid 2000s they discovered the problem of ocean acidity. in 2013 in british columbia there was a major die-off of 90% of all the scallops being raised offshore, three-year classes were killed. my company alone sustained a $10 million loss. scientists are continually researching this right now. they believe that the ocean -- highest levels of ocean acidification recorded last summer weaken the animals and they cause them to become more endemic disease. mostly documented by an article that is being released today by the daily climate, that is documenting work in noaa, documenting temperature changes in the east coast affecting the migration and distribution of the fluke fishery. the fluke fishery is completely rebuilt, but because the distribution of those fluke are slowly moving north where they fished off north carolina are now being fished off new york and further north. therefore, there is a user
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conflict state by state allocation of the fluke fishery and recreational commercial conflict. all the consequence of change in distribution due to documented bottom temperature change. i conclude by saying i believe that it is irrefutable that climate change is happening. leaders of the east coast fishing industry, along with myself, have formed a company called fishermen's energy to try to also adapt, and we proposed the bill to offshore wind farms. these are an examples we as a society must shape to be agents of change rather than victims of change. i would be happy to answer questions. >> thank you, mr. cohen. mr. south -- or dr. south? >> it is a privilege to provide you with my views of forest and wildfires. foresters know there are many examples how human activity affects both the total number and size of wildfires. policymakers who halt active forest management and kill green harvesting jobs really end up contributing to the buildup of fuels in the forest. this eventually increases the
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risk of catastrophic wildfires. to attribute this human-caused increase in fire risk to carbon dioxide emissions is simply unscientific. in today's world of climate alarmism, accuracy doesn't seem to matter. i am, therefore, not surprised to see many journalists spreading the idea carbon emissions cause large wildfires. there is a well-known point called the serenity prayer. it states, god grant me the serenity to change the things i can, the courage to accept the things i cannot, and the wisdom to know the difference. now that i'm 65, i realize that i can't change the behavior of the media. i can't change the weather. early in my career, i gave up trying to change the media and make them correct their mistakes about forest management. now i just concentrate on my colleagues, trying to get them to do a better job of sticking to the facts.
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i'll leave the guesses to the future and to others. untrue claims -- can i have the first -- yeah. untrue claims about the underlying cause of wildfires can spread like wildfire. the false statement that wildfires in 2012 burned a record 9.2 million acres in the u.s. is cited in numerous articles and is found in more than 2,000 websites. you can see by looking at the graph wildfires in the '30s burned four times that rate. wildfire in 2012 was certainly an issue of concern, but those who push an agenda really need to exaggerate the claims in order to fool the public. this graph shows carbon emissions rising since 1926. if we cherry-pick data from 1926 to 1970, we get a negative relationship between carbon
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dioxide and fire size. however, if we cherry pick data from 1985 to the current year, we get a positive relationship. now, neither of these relationships proves anything about the effects of carbon dioxide on wildfires. since during dry season, human activity is the overwhelming factor that determines both the number and size of wildfires. in the 48 states there have been about ten extreme mega fires. eight of these fires occurred during cool decades. these data suggest that extremely large mega fires were four times more common before 1940, back when carbon dioxide concentrations were less than 310 parts per million. looks to me like we cannot reasonably say that man-made
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global warming causes extremely large wildfires. seven years ago, this committee conducted a hearing about climate change and wildfires wasn't even mentioned in that meeting, but hurricanes, droughts were mentioned a number of times. i'm pleased to provide you with my forestry views because unlike hurricanes, droughts and the polar vortex, we can actually promote forestry practices that will reduce the risk of wildfires. unfortunately, some of our national forest management policies have, in my view, contributed to increasing the risk of wildfires. i am certain attempts to legislate a change in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will have no effect on reducing the size of wildfires or on the frequency of
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droughts. in contrast, allowing forest management practices to create economically lasting forestry jobs in the private sector might reduce the fuel loads of dense forests. in years when demand for renewable resources are high, increasing the number of thinnings and harvesting jobs might actually have a real impact on reducing wildfires. thank you for this opportunity to address the subcommittee. >> thank you very much, dr. south. dr. legates? >> thank you, mr. chairman, senators. carbon dioxide is plant food and more of it can be a positive. if global air temperature would rise for any reason, the length of the growing season would be increased, the amount and diversity of the crops would be enhanced and more areas would be farmed. the big problem with is limiting factor for agriculture and much of the water is water availability.
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soil moisture in a warmer world depends on a complicated interaction of changes in precipitation and increases in water demand. globally we've seen drought frequencies have not changed over the past 60 years. the percentage of the united states in moderate or extreme drought has not changed in 112 years, a pattern that has been noted by the climate change science program and ipcc. regionally droughts have not become more intense over longer duration, thus the historical record does not warrant a claim that global warming will negatively impact agriculture. dire forecasts of extreme drought arise from climate model simulations which are only as good as their ability to simulate precipitation. most models underestimate rainfall intensity. models may appear correct in the aggregate, they don't get the process correct. how can models make accurate estimates of precipitation changes when they cannot simulate correctly the mechanisms that drive precipitation? evaporative demand is driven by air temperature but models have overestimated the air temperature rise since 1979 by
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almost one degree fahrenheit. if precipitation air temperature are not modeled properly, how then can modeled soil moisture be relied upon to prepare farmers for an uncertain future? climate changes because climate has always changed. droughts that happened in the past and are likely to occur again with similar frequencies and intensities. thus, i believe preparation for their return is a better strategy than trying in vain to mitigate them through draconian carbon dioxide emission control policies such as those proposed only yesterday. however, i've become increasingly concerned how this scientific debate is being corrupted. in my 2003 senate testimony regarding a hockey stick, lamented that a healthy side of the debate was being compromised. an attack had been made on the scientific process. editors at two journal was harassed. one was threatened with a
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organized boycott by scientists over an article that was published. the senior editor barred two science ties from future publication in the journal solely because of their position on climate change. without a hearing and without an accusation of fraud or plagiarism. i would like to report things have become better. they haven't. in 2009, climategate shed light how the process was being subverted. i learned i had been denied publication of an important paper due to solely a conclusion between another scientist and an editor. over the years, i applied for several federal grants including nasa and u.s. department of agriculture, the latter having nothing to do with climate change. it's not that i received bad reviews. indeed, i received no reviews at all. program officers refused to respond by e-mail or telephone. their behavior appears related to an article in the academy of science used as a black list to target, quote, researchers unconvinced of global warming. several years ago, i and two colleagues at delaware received materials related to climate
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change. my story is documented in my written testimony. university general council said he would review my documents regardless of how or where they were produced. the other factory members participated in the icc. he indicated foya did not apply to them. while the law does not require me from turning over anything, it does not preclude him from doing so. i will be treated differently simply because he can treat me that way. so i sought legal counsel. i could not hire my own lawyer and the college would no longer support me. i was removed as delaware state climate toll gist as co-director of an environmental network i spent nearly a decade to develop. as faculty advisor to student group and from all departmental responsibilities. legal counsel agreed to treat us all equally. this never occurred. he never went through materials for anyone else. i alone was targeted and lied to. even the faculty union that supported dr. mann at the university of virginia told me foya matters did not fall within their bailiwick. according to the ceo of the university none of my research materials or e-mails fall under the foya law. they violate terms of the federal arbitration case. there is nothing in my record which i am embarrassed. i tell you this story not
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because i seek sympathy but there are so many other instances where the victims cannot speak out. the so-called war on science is nothing but a diversion. the real war is being waged in the halls of academia. and within our federal granting agencies. as with the soviet union, a healthy scientific discussion is being subverted for political and personal gain. scientists who deviate from the global warming playbook are harassed, have articles, grants and proposals rejected without review, treated more harshly than their peers and removed from positions of power and influence. young scientists quickly learn to tow the party line or at least remain silent, lest they lose their career before it begins. when scientists come under attack from academia, all require rational thought to be effective. thank you. thank you very much for all your testimony. we'll have five-minute periods. i believe the order after i ask
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my questions will go to senator sessions, senator vitter. senator wicker said he will we'll go back and forth. between ds and rs. okay. thank you. i wanted to start. mr. walls, in lake county, i've been very struck when i visit there. it's obviously a rural economy, rural part of the state of oregon and a lot of emphasis on renewable energy. i believe a stated goal of the county is to try to replace virtually all the fossil fuels burned with renewable sources. is part of the factor driving that conversation lake county a general observation by folks about the impact of carbon dioxide on, as you were putting it on the force? >> in the beginning, which had been ten years ago when we started working on this, it wasn't. but it became clear afterwards
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when we started to analyze it. and we did a paper on it that we could offset 93%. my board approved this past week we will go public with all our finding and try and develop a plan to use renewables to offset all carbon emissions. we grew into that as we learned more of the economic benefits of renewable energy. how it impacts us. we said what is that going to do to climate change and carbon dioxide emissions? like i said in my testimony what we have on the drawing table today would offset 93, to get to 100 is not that difficult from there. we are well on that road. we can be 100% offset within ten years. >> great. thank you. i was looking at the national climate assessment and summary and it notes that climate change is exacerbating major factors that lead to wildfire, heat,
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drought and dead trees. it outweighed other factors determining the burned area in the western u.s. from 1916 to you 3, including exacerbation of bark beatle outbreaks which ordinarily die in cold weather, more wildfires as change continues. then i saw there is a 2011 report that estimates if you increase the temperature 1.8 degrees fahrenheit, that you -- which is approximately 1 degrees celsius you would quadruple the amount of acreage burned. if you look at the forest issues, if i understand your testimony correctly, you are seeing both the many impacts of the human management of the forest as a factor, but also the overlay of these climate factors. >> exactly. as i mentioned, it's impacted our snow pack dramatically. if you look in the klamath forest, and beatle kill -- it gets into the pine naturally.
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it's never been at the size thought is today. that's because we don't have the cold temperatures and they get to live year after year because of the warmer temperatures and they are not being killed. in 350,000 acres is abnormal. nobody's ever seen that. i think throughout the whole west into canada was over 4 million acres beetle kill, somewhere in that neighborhood. >> thank you very much. mr. pope, turning to the farming side, one of the things you mentioned were changes in the wheat farming. are you arguing that the changes in wheat are being impacted by changing temperatures? >> yeah. when you look at the situation on the southern plains, clearly the drought over the last years had a huge impact. i think when you look at the situation as far as
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precipitation, clearly with wheat, wheat is a resilient crop. depends when you get the rain and what time the rains come. the challenge is the rain patterns we've been seeing, the way things are changing. put into that effects of the late season freezes, the droughts. clearly, we are seeing an impact on the wheat crop from the changes in the climate we are experiencing right now. i think there are some things we can do to help adapt to that situation. i hope we can do some things to move forward a little bit as far as improving the soil health to try to do things to make our farms more resilient to droughts, freezes, to some of the flooding events, heavy rain events. that's a challenge in front of us to make sure we've got those tools to do that job. >> thank you. in the 45 seconds i have left, i read a recent report about oysters in the chesapeake declining in part because of acidity, but that also it has a secondary impact because oysters filter the water of the chesapeake, possibly offsetting
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many of the efforts to clean up that chesapeake bay. is that consistent with what you're seeing? >> first, oysters are specifically a great benefit for the environment. they are filter feeders and they do clean. one of the things why in the chesapeake bay they are trying to bring them back because they need to clean the bay up. in the chesapeake, similar to what's happening in the pacific northwest, we have rising levels of pco2, partial pressure of co2 in the ocean and, therefore, rising acidity. in the pacific northwest, we are able to document it because it's mostly hatchery base. if it's hatchery based, you can control what's happening and identify. it's harder in the wild environment to determine what's happening and see whether or not a spawning event is taking place, again with, it's not really spawning but with baby larvae have a hard time setting up their shell. they can't get set the calcium because of the acidity. if you use tums in your stomach,
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it is really a calcium. you are buffering. did i answer your question? >> thank you. i would ask more but my time expired. i'll ask everyone to keep their questions in five minutes. maybe the answer will go over since we have a number of folks who want to jump into this. i believe senator sessions, you're next. >> thank you, mr. chairman. dr. legates, the time we can intimidate people who present scientific papers that disagree with the current idea that's in fashion needs to be over. we need to challenge that. i'm not going to rest easy about it myself. i know the president, and i've challenged this, twice said the temperature around the globe is increasing faster than was predicted even ten years ago. he said that twice. do any of you gentlemen support that statement? do you have any science that
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would back that up? mr. ashe doesn't because i asked him about it. so we have no -- we do not need to tolerate the president of the united states falsely asserting the status of climate in america. and we need to be able to allow scientists to present contrary views without being intimidated by the politically correct crowd. i feel strongly about it and we are going to keep working on that. the u.s. climate change science program said, quote, in may of 2008, a tendency toward severity and duration and drought over the latter half of the 20th century, a decline in -- a decrease in the severity and duration of drought. if i think about that kingston trio song, mr. pope, texas you could substitute oklahoma for texas, they're riding in africa, they're starving in spain, the
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the whole world is full of strife and texas needs rain. so we have a lot of drought in the '30s, did we not in oklahoma? more than you have today? during the dust bowl times? >> actually, if i could answer, it is actually drier now than it was in the 1930s. and actually the drought of the 1950s is the drought of record in oklahoma. the drought of the 1930s is actually the third worst, the one we're in right now is worse than the one we had in the '50s and '30s. >> you think it is more severe than the '30s? >> yes, it is. if it hadn't been with the conservation practices on the land right now, i am confident -- confident -- we would experience the challenges we saw in the 1930s as far as wind erosion. >> that is not the trend across the country, apparently. dr. south, thank you for your
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statement and data you submitted with it. you have a chart that indicates rainfall in forest lands in different regions of the country have increased over 100 years ago. is that the way i read that? northeast? indicates other areas have increases also? as a matter of fact, every one of the regions seems to show -- you indicate other regions had reductions. >> no change in the west. there is a slight decrease in the southwest. >> where the droughts are severe now. you have 4% increase in the northeast? >> minus 4% increase in the northeast? >> minus 0.2 inch in 100 years. >> in the southwest? >> in the southwest. >> yeah.
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so overall, we are not seeing a decline in rainfall, it appears to me, throughout the country as a whole. dr. south, isn't it true that we had a resurgence of game in alabama? >> certain species, that's correct. >> isn't it true that many forests are being managed far better than in the past? >> better is a value term. from a forestry perspective, i would say yes. >> lands that were once row cropped and broken up every year, marginal lands, highly erodible lands are now in timber, are they not? >> yes. >> from an environmental and co2 point of view, is that increase in timberlands in the southeast, that i know about, that's positive, would you not say, for co2 and the environment?
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>> from a mathematics perspective, yes. >> so instead of having land -- is my time up? nope. the way we managed timber, you would plant an open field being harvested every year, trees grow for 15 years, they're thinned, the trees then grow faster because there is a thinning, then they are harvested 15 years, 30 years, 50 years and replanted. i would say that's a renewable resource, would you not? >> definitely. >> would you oppose the idea that we shouldn't treat wood as a renewable resource like we do corn? would you oppose the idea some are raising that we shouldn't use wood for renewable energy or other resources like pellets? >> yes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you very much. senator whitehouse. >> i appreciate that planting trees helps reduce carbon, but it hardly offsets the coal plant next door that's putting out tens of thousands of tons of carbon dioxide. the 50 worst carbon plants in the country put out more carbon than korea.
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korea is a pretty industrialized country. and we are seeing these effects in new england. senator sessions was pleased to bring up that there is actually additional rain falling in the northeast. not only is there additional rain falling in the northeast, just as the climate projections expect, but it is falling in more powerful rain bursts, just as the climate experts predicted. it just keeps coming. like senator merkley, we are an ocean state and we are seeing dramatic changes in our oceans. we had a very nice guy, chris brown, head of the rhode island commercial fisherman's association. mr. cohen, this echoes what you said. chris is a fisherman.
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he grew up on the ocean. his dad and granddad were fishermen. this is his life. here's what he said when he testified for us -- i fish on a much different ocean today than when i first started fishing with my grandfather as a boy in the mid 1960s. not that long ago. when i started out catching haddock in the waters around point judith was common place.
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last year i caught only two. regularly caught now in rhode island are the species of croaker, grouper, cobia, drum, and tarpon. my grandfather never saw a single one of these in his entire life as a fisherman. as another fisherman said to me, sheldon, it's getting weird out there. and it's not just rhode island waters. i traveled through the south atlantic over the break and they told me that off charleston, they're catching snook. snook is a fish used to go down
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to ft. lauderdale to cash. now they're catching snook off of charleston and it is working its way up. redfish are being caught as far north as cape cod. in case the warming oceans and moving around the fisheries and all that upheaval in the natural order is enough, against rhode island's shores, the oceans are ten. >> higher than in the 1930s. sooner or later another hurricane like the hurricane in '38 is going to come and give us a punch. i ask my colleagues if you're genuinely interested in this issue, spent ten minutes, for my sake, looking at the images of what happened to my state in the hurricane of 1938. then imagine what happens when that ten inches that is there now and wasn't then of additional sea level, gets stacked up further by storm
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surge and thrown against our shores. it is a potential catastrophe. and the idea that i'm supposed to overlook this is preposterous. and the idea that my side of the ledger doesn't count and the only side of the ledger that counts is jobs in the coal industry or jobs in the oil and gas industry, is equally preposterous. the science out there has become spectacularly clear. even though there remains a fringe. but it's not a fringe that any rational person would put a bet on in their real lives in any other circumstance. and so i want to just -- i'll conclude by thanking senator merkley for this program. thank witness cohen for his testimony about these fisheries. we're way past the debate on whether this is real. this is happening in people's lives now in ways that are unprecedented and we have got to get responsible about doing something about it. >> senator vitter. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thanks to our witnesses. first of all, i'm sorry i came too late for the first panel featuring director ashe. on february 25th, when he was last before the committee, i asked him some questions, important questions, i think, regarding the consultation under
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the endangered species act with regard to epa's new proposals regarding existing power plants. his job is about endangered and threatened species and understanding impacts on that. clearly these new regulations have the potential for major impacts on that and i asked him if he and epa were consulting under the law because of that. he didn't know. he didn't have answers. i asked him to follow up. he had not followed up. i sent a letter to him and administrator mccarthy regarding this mandated consultation on march 6th. i have gotten no response. so i'll continue following up. but that is his job. this is a major set of regulations and we do expect answers about their responsibility for consultation. now in terms of questions, dr. south, i share your concern that every weather item in the news
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it seems is sort of held up as newest example of the impact of climate change with no real science behind that assertion. and this is also true of wildfires. just recently, for instance, the democratic majority leader, harry reid, claimed global warming was the cause of increased wildfires, pure and simple. you testified about that. if you can go back and underscore what do you think the science, the historical record lays out in terms of any trends over time regarding wildfires, number one. and number two, what do you think are the leading causes of any trends that do exist? >> those who claim that co2 causes additional wildfires are
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not making scientific statements. instead of being easily fooled by journalists. wildfires have typically been associated with droughts and with forest conditions that are -- make wildfires more probable. the chart that i showed showing a lot of wildfires in the '30s and before we started having really active wildfire fighting forces, gives you an idea of how cyclic it can be. the downward trend there that you see is caused by humans. our activity is trying to fight the fires. the you are balance sprawl that has caused people to -- or has
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resulted in people building houses in the forest has, in my view, and others, taken manpower away from fighting fires and into protecting homes. and this can increase the size of the wildfire that they happen to be working on. so spending more time on fighting -- or preventing houses from catching fire and taking the time away from attacking the front causes the size of the fire to be larger. >> and also in this area, what are your thoughts about current management of our forests and that factor regarding wildfires? >> well, we have -- the general
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view of the public, we're starting to let the public manage our forests instead of letting foresters. and when the public causes litigation, delays thinning practices, delays fire fuel wood reductions, activities, we get a build-up of fuels and an increases risk of wildfires. so by enacting policies that lock up wilderness areas, decreases, harvesting rates of -- we used to harvest about 12 billion board feet per year off of a national forest and that has just dropped down to nothing now. so our national forests are getting bigger.
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and this is all causing for more catastrophic wildfires when they do occur. >> okay. thank you. >> thank you very much, senator vitter. senator wicker. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i have to say this. i have not today, or have i ever in a committee hearing, insulted the integrity of witnesses on the other side of an issue. and we have come perilously close to that in the committee today and it's been suggested by my friend from rhode island that dr. south and dr. legates are part of a fringe, and to me, this is the very kind of public intimidation and insulting
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rhetoric that professor legates has talked about having experienced at the university of delaware and i take exception to it. no dr. legates, you were a signatory of the oregon petition, are you not? >> yes, sir. >> and that oregon petition says there's no scientific -- they are -- there is no solid convincing evidence that methane or greenhouse gases create disruption in the earth's climate. >> i believe there's 30,000-some people who signed that petition. >> would you describe these people. >> many of them are scientists, ph.ds and other disciplines. people who are connected with climate change and doing research in various areas associated with it. >> well, i just have to say i
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appreciate someone standing up and challenging the conventional wisdom. you know, martin luther did that. martin luther king did that. so i appreciate some people who are willing to hold up their hand and say, wait a minute, i've got some day a that here that i would like to suggest is a contrary position. >> i wouldn't put myself quite in that category. >> well, but, it is an important issue. and i have to say, i admire you for standing up, and dr. south, also, standing up and saying you have a right to be heard and a right to be listened to and a right not to be insulted by being called a part of a lunatic fringe. now you've concluded that droughts in the united states are more frequent and more
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intense during colder periods. is that correct? >> that's what the data seemed to indicate. when we look at droughts over the last 2,000 years, they tend to become more intense and more frequent when the temperatures have become colder. >> dr. south, you've offered a couple of bets to your fellow scientists over time. is that correct? >> yes, sir. >> and i believe five years ago you offered to bet on an ice-free arctic in the summer 26013 when the bbc journalist wrote a 2007 article entitled "arctic summers ice-free by 2013." several ice experts declined to bet with you. is that correct? >> that's correct. >> if they had bet with you, they would have lost that bet. is that correct? >> that's correct.
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>> and you currently are offering a bet on sea level rise. would you tell the committee about that? >> yes. i'm looking for someone who would be willing to bet $1,000 on the sea level increase for the year 2024 in charleston, south carolina. >> and -- >> the rate currently is around 3.15 millimeters. i don't know how they do that to the nearest hundredths of a millimeter. can you do it mathematically. i don't know how you can do it scientifically. i will bet that the rate in over ten years from now is not over seven millimeters. if 57 millimeter rate starts now and goes to 2100, it would equal about a two-foot increase. many people are talking about a 14 millimeter being equivalent to a four-foot increase.
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so i'm essentially betting that for the next ten years, it will be not increasing at a rate that would equal a two-foot increase by the year 2100. but i'm not going to be living that long so i can't win that bet. >> well, would this bet apply to your heirs and assigns? i don't know. you look pretty healthy. >> well, yes. yes, it would. >> well, thank you very much. we've had a good hearing and there are people watching this and there will be people late at night, mr. chairman, watching this hearing that are suffering from insomnia and perhaps someone will take dr. south up on his bet. >> thank you very much to all of our witnesses. i appreciate you bringing your expertise to bear. we have heard today that climate change is having impacts on the ground right now, that it is not
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an abstract theory, it is not about models decades or multiple decades into the future. that the changes on the ground right now are real and measurable and they are affecting americans' livelihoods. in farming, in hunting, in fishing, and in forestry. these are real jobs and real impact on this generation and the next. we've heard about bark beetle infestations. we've heard about migrations of fish. we've heard about the impact on intensifying wildfires. the impact of magnify droughts. the impact of more acidic oceans in the pacific, their impact on oyster reproduction. i just have to wonder about if baby oysters are having trouble forming a shell, how many other shellfish impacts are there that are going to be problematic for
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the food chain in our oceans and our fisheries. so, these things are real at this moment and they confront us with evidence that must not be ignored. certainly this is in the context of a debate at this moment about specific measures that we might take to limit carbon dioxide, including that from coal-fired power plants. and the cost of ignoring climate change will continue to increase. the costs are real, the costs are tangible, they will affect jobs. they affect our rural resources. with this challenge in mind, i really appreciate the testimony before this committee today. members of the committee will have two weeks from today to submit additional written
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questions to the witnesses and i would certainly ask that if you receive such questions, that you respond and we will make sure the answers are circulated. with that, the meeting is adjourned.
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today's the final day of the u.s.-africa summit that's been taking place this week here in washington, d.c. coming up this afternoon, congressman gregory meeks and the congressional black caucus africa task force host panel discussions with african business and political leaders, u.s. private sector representatives, and members of congress. speakers include house minority w.h.i.t. steny hoyer and others. it's live at 2:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. later we'll have president obama's closing news conference from the summit. that's live at 5:00 eastern also on c-span. and tonight at 8:00, the annual net roots nation conference from earlier this year in detroit, including a discussion on the super pac ready for hillary, which recently announced $2.5 million in donations over a three-month period. here's a preview.
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>> one of the things that's really unique about this organization is that, you know, we're not so -- it would be presumptuous to think that ready for hillary could dictate what hillary clinton's message is going to be. you know, this is not a campaign. it's focused on building grassroots army and building grassroots infrastructure. so for every time that, you know, hillary goes out and gives a speech about, you know, recent things that have happened in voter suppression, we're really echoing that, making sure that our e-mail list knows the key points she's hit on and giving people opportunities to, you know, really join in the efforts that she's promoting. and then also really just using her as a force of personality. so a lot of the imagery you see on the facebook page and on the e-mail list and other social
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network channels are things we've done a lot of testing on and seen people really respond to. she is an inspiring figure. >> that was a preview of tonight's airing of the net roots nation conference. watch the entire thing beginning at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. here on c-span3, we continue our look back at the events of the summer of 1974 and president nixon's last weeks in office. tonight, part of the house judiciary committee's day-long debate over article two, which charged president nixon with abuse of power. also a conversation with a former director of the richard nixon presidential library and museum. he explains why the abuse of power charge was at the heart of the impeachment proceedings and how the committee's vote continues to shape our understanding of presidential power. that's all tonight beginning at 8:00 eastern here on c-span3. american history tv on c-span3 this weekend. friday night at 8:00 eastern,
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watergate 40 years later with a cbs special report and president nixon's address to the nation. saturday at noon eastern, a live call-in program with author and journalist john farrell on nixon's life, legacy, and the watergate scandal that ended his administration. and sunday night at 8:00 on our series "the presidency," gerald ford becomes the 38th president of the united states. this weekend on c-span3's american history tv. a house transportation and infrastructure subcommittee recently held a hearing on the federal protective service and challenges of securing federal facilities and buildings. witnesses included the federal protective service director, the government accountability office physical infrastructure director, along with officials from the american federation of government employees and national association of security companies. this is an hour, 45 minutes.
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committee will come to order. today we are examining the federal protective service and the security of our federal buildings and facilities. fps with 1300 personnel, including law enforcement officers and nearly 14,000 contract guards, is charged with protecting over 9,000 federal buildings and facilities across the nation owned or leased by the general services administration. while fps is not responsible for all federal facilities, its role is central to protecting federal workers and visitors to federal buildings nationwide. since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, our country has taken steps to prevent and be better prepared for terrorism and other threats. and unfortunately, public buildings are proven targets.
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whether because of their symbolism or because of the number of federal employees and visitors that use these facilities, the threat to federal buildings has a long history. in 1995, timothy mcveigh and the coconspirators used a truck filled with homemade explosives to build the alfred p. murray federal building in downtown oklahoma city killing 168 people, including 19 children. in 2010, andrew stack targeted a building in austin, texas, housing 200 irs employees by crashing a small plane into the building. active shooter incidents have been an ongoing threat as well, including shootings at the navy yard here in washington, d.c., ft. hood in texas, the u.s. capitol building, and the united states holocaust museum. because of these clear threats, the steps taken since the
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oklahoma city bombing, we should nearly 20 years later have significantly improved the security of public buildings. unfortunately, problems persist. over the past five years, the government accountability office and others continue to find deficiencies. the oversight of contract guards and their training needs improvement. while the guards are armed, they lack training and clear direction on active shooter situations. partnerships with local law enforcement agencies are patchy, raising questions as to whether state and local law enforcement agencies are clear on their authority to respond to incidents on federal property. the facility risks assessment conducted on the federal -- on federal buildings to help identify their risks and needed
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security measures are behind schedule and sometimes ignored by customer agencies. and on top of all this, competence in fps may be eroding. just this morning, they've taken steps to remove fps from overseeing security at its nebraska avenue complex, but we should also put all of this into context. the reality is building security is difficult. if it were not, these problems would have easy been resolved years ago. we have seen that even with the best security, there is still a risk a terrorist could be successful. and there have been improvemented including fps' revamping of its risk assessments, improved partnerships with local law enforcement, particularly here in the nation's capital, and a strengthened working relationship with gsa. today i hope this can be a productive hearing. we need to understand the
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challenges and problems, but we also want to hear solutions. ultimately, whether it's the members of the public or federal workers, those who come to federal buildings must have confidence we are doing all we can to protect them. i look forward to hearing from our witnesses today, and i thank you all for being here. i'll call on ranking member of the subcommittee, mr. carson, for a brief opening statement. >> thank you, chairman. i want to thank the chairman for holding today's hearing. i also want to welcome today's witnesses to the subcommittee hearing on federal protective service. as a former law enforcement officer with over a decade of experience, i have a strong interest in examining fps and ensuring it is functioning at the highest possible level. that said, i find the issues facing fps deeply troubling. fps, is responsible, as we know is protecting people across the nation.
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yet, the department of homeland security inspector general and the gao have issued at least six reports since 2009 detailing serious challenges that fps has been having in meeting the expectations. the shortcomings detailed in the report are troubling. they effectively highlight the fps relies on private contract gartd guard force of over 15,000 guards to provide security to federal facilities under the control the gsa. the gao has consistently noted that fps lacks effective management control and systems to ensure the contract have met the training and certification requirements, which are necessary to ensure a baseline of secure any the buildings. in addition, it's unclear whether many of the contract guards have been trained on how to respond to active shooter incidents or use x-ray equipment. these contract guards are often the first line of defense for
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our federal buildings and the people inside. we must have assurances that they are prepared to offer the highest level of protection. more broadly gao has reported that fps has limited ability to manage risk across federal facilities and implement security counter measures. fps lacks a comprehensive strategic approach. the problems are worsened by an inability to ensure it has a sufficient amount of law enforcement officers and inspectors necessary to conduct regular security assessments. there's also uncertain whether the current fee structure is sufficient to fund the strong law enforcement presence. we have to be mindful that federal facilities or federal employees particularly the pentagon, navy yard, and oklahoma city federal buildings have been the sites of major attacks. federal facilities are symbols of our government. terrorists want to take down.
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terrorism is not the only threat. we must stay vigilant to protect federal employees and constituents who visit these buildings on a daily basis. congress cannot wait. we're holding the hearing today to help us learn from the stakeholders and leaders on how better protect millions of workers and visitors to the facilities. i thank the witnesses and the chairman. i yield back. >> thank you, ranking member, carson. we'll have two panels today. on our first panel, dr. mark l. goldstein, director of the physical infrastructure, u.s. government accountability office. and mr. erik patterson. director of federal protective service, department of homeland security. i ask unanimous consent that our
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witness' full statements be included in the record. since your testimony has been a made a part of the record the subcommittee request you limit your oral testimony to five minutes. mr. goldstein, you may proceed. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for the opportunity to be here today and discuss the fps. recent incidents demonstrate their continued vulnerability to attacks and other acts of violence. fps is a responsible for protecting federal employees and visitors in approximately 9600 federal facilities. to help accomplish the mission fps conducts security assessments and contracts approximately 13,500 security guards deployed to federal facilities. fps charges fees for security services to federal tenants. my testimony discusses challenges fps faces in number one in ensuring contract security guards deployed to federal facilities are properly trained and certified. and conducting risk assessments at the facilities. it's based on reports issued from 2009 through 2014. as part of our work, we found
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that the federal protective service continues to face challenges in ensuring contract guards have been properly trained and certified. before being deployed to federal facilities around the country. in september of 2013, for example, gao reported that providing training for active shooting scenarios and screening access to federal facilities posing a challenge to fps. according to officials at five guard companies, their contract guards have not received training on u how to respond. without ensuring all guards receive training in active shooting. fps has limited assurance its guard are prepared for this threat. similarly, officials from one of the contract guard companies stated 133 guards, about 38% of its 350 guards on three different contracts had never received screener training. as a result, guards deployed to federal facilities may be using x-ray equipment but not qualified to use. raising questions about their ability to fulfill primary responsibility of screening
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access control points at federal facilities. gao was unable to determine the extent to which the guards have received active shooting response and screener training in part because they lack the comprehensive and reliable system through guard oversight. gao found that fps continues to lack effective management controls to ensure the guards have made it to training certification requirements. for instance, although fps agreed with the 2012 recommendations that it develop a comprehensive and reliable system for managing information and guards training certifications and qualifications. it still does not have such a system. additionally 23% of the 276 contract guard files gao reviewed did not have required training and certification documentation. for example, some files were missing items such as documentation of screener training, cpr certification, and firearms qualifications. we found that assessing risk at federal facilities remains a
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challenge for fps. gao found they pay fps millions of dollars to assess risk but fps is not assessing risk in a manner consistent with federal standards. in march 2014 gao found it's a challenge for fps and other agencies. the risk management process for federal standard requires them to create methodology that assess the threat, vulnerable, and consequence to undesirable events. it helps decision makers identify and evaluate security risks and implement protective measures. they use an interim vulnerability assessment tool as the modified structure survey tool to assist federal facilities until it develops a longer term solution. however, it does not assess consequence. the level, duration, result from an undesirable event. three of the four risk
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assessment, experts gao spoke to agree that a tool that does not estimate consequence does not allow agencies to fully assess risks. the fps has limited knowledge of the risk facing about 9600 federal agencies around the country. fps officials stated that consequence information was not part of the original design of the system, but they are exploring ways to incorporate it now. family, i would note that fiscal year 2010 gao made 31 recommendations to improve the contract guard and risk assessment processes. six have been implemented, ten in process, and 15 have not been implemented. mr. chairman, this concludes my oral statement. i would be happy to respond to questions that the subcommittee have. thank you very much. >> thank you for your testimony, mr. goldstein. mr. patterson, you may proceed. >> thank you, chairman. ranking member, carson, i'm the director of the federal protective service within the national protection and programs director of the department of
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homeland security. i'm honored to testify before the committee today regarding the mission and operations. fps is charged with protecting and delivering integrated law enforcement and security services to more than 9,000 facilities owned or leased by the general services administration and safe guarding more than -- 1.4 million. and conduct facility security assessment of fps protective facilities nationwide. utilizing the modified structure survey our inspectors document the existing posture at the facility, compare how a facility is or is not meeting the baseline of protection for its
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facility security level, and provide recommendations to the security committees regarding appropriate countermeasures to mitigate the risk. fps designed the process to meet the requirements of the interagency security committee's risk management process for federal facilities and fps is in the process of submitting the process including the tool to for validation. utilizing this tool, fps is on track to have completed assessments at all fsl level three through five facilities in the fps portfolio by the end of calendar year 2014. i'm pleased to report that the second generation tool 2.0 is currently in systems accepting testing. this system will feature among other improvements in enhance user interface and ability across the fps portfolio. we expect it to begin in the fall of 2014.
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inspectors oversee guard post staff by approximately 13,000 fps contracted protective security officers. psos are responsible for controlling access to federal facilities, detecting and reporting criminal acts, and responding to emergency situations. psos make sure prohibited items such as firearm, explosives, knives, and drugs do not enter federal facilities. they must undergo background investigation check to determine their fitness to begin work on behalf of the government and are rigorously trained. however, it is important to note that psos are not sworn law enforcement officers. rather, psos are employees of private security companies and fps does not have the authority it deputize them in a law enforcement capability. individuals pso's authority to perform protective services are based on state-specific laws
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where the pso is employed. fps partners with private sector guard companies to ensure that the guards have met the certification, training, and qualification requirements specified in the contracts. additionally fps is working closely with the national association of security companies to develop a national lesson plan for psos that will establish a basic and national training program for all psos to ensure standards are consistent across the nation. these efforts will further standardize training pso receive and provide for great capability to validate training and facilitate rapid changes. to ensure high performance of our contract pso workforce, fps law enforcement personnel connect the post inspections in integrated covert test activities to monitor compliance. additionally vender personnel files are audited periodically to validate that pso certifications and training records reflect compliance and contract requirements. to supplement the current audit
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process, fps partnered with science and technology to develop a prototype post tracking system. this system will be capable of authenticating an individual pso's identity and tracking pso time on position and training and certification records in realtime. we expect the first iteration of this system to begin tests within 12 months. we continuously strive to further enhance our organization to meet the challenges of an evolving threat landscape and are committed to closing outs outstanding accountability office recommendations pertaining to fps operations. to facility the closure of gao they implemented a program management approach. in total, fps hopes to close 10 to 15 of the 31 open gao
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recommendations before the end of the fiscal year. in closing, i would like to acknowledge and thank the distinguished members of this committee for the opportunity to testify today. the federal protective service remains committed to the mission of providing safety, security, and sense of well being to thousand of visitors and federal employees who work and conduct business in our facilities daily. i will be pleased to answer any questions you may have. thank you. >> thank you for your testimony, mr. patterson. i begin the first round of questions limited to five minutes for each member. if there are additional questions following the first round, we'll have additional rounds of questions as needed. the federal protection service is directly responsible for protecting federal buildings and the 1.4 million workers and visitors to those facilities. the public buildings act crafted by this committee gave fps law enforcement authorities for that purpose to protect buildings and
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the people in them. yet after moving from gsa to dhs in 2003, there has been -- and gao report after report detailing serious security deficiencies at federal facilities. given the importance of this mission, one would expect that the department of homeland security to make federal buildings security a top priority. yet these problems continue. just recently, we received a copy of a may 1st memo from the dhs security officer, chief security officer to the dhs undersecurity for management that removed the federal protection service from its leader of providing security at the homeland security headquarters complex on nebraska avenue. my first question, mr. patterson, why was the federal protection service removed as a
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lead security provider of the dhs headquarters? does this mean that dhs has lost confidence in fps? >> to answer your question, sir, to my knowledge, this was not an issue of performance. okay. and i do not believe that the department has lost confidence in the federal protective service. i believe this is an issue of efficiency and unity of command that is putting the secretary's vision. in effect, fps will continue to provide security, which will include law enforcement, canine support. we will continue to do assessments, and we'll have a robust presence at the facility as we always had. so currently this is really about the overall contract management and not about losing confidence in our ability to provide security and law enforcement support. fps has 2100 dhs facilities across the nation it supports to include the fema headquarters,
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cvp, secret service, tsa and the u.s. coast guard. we do a good job there. we have a robust presence there. i'm sure we'll continue to provide the same level of support them. the bottom line we are ensuring we provide a safe and secure environment. >> what are the problems at the department of homeland security headquarters that cause the chief security officer to take this action, and are there similar problems at the other 9600 vender buildings that the fps provides security for? and finally, could you explain why fps security is inadequate for dv but good enough for the other agencies? >> yes, sir, i don't think it's an indictment of fps security. i think t a matter of efficiency and managing a contract. we're going to continue to
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provide security there. it's not the issue. this is, again, as the office of security, i believe, is looking to fulfill the secretary's vision of how they will streamline and better conduct business. >> today, who is in charge of security at the dhs headquarters? if there were an active shooter incident right now, who would be the incident commander on scene, and will the first responders know who is in charge? what would be the role of fps in that situation? >> yes, sir. in that situation, the office of security and the federal protective service share a partnership. so it could be -- it could be either the office of security or the federal protective service. just depends on who is first on scene. that is who is going assume incident command of the situation. and then it will involve from there.
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we will look to at that point, bring in the metropolitan police department and other support to help us in resolving that situation. >> mr. goldstein, what percentage of security guards has active shooter training? what percentage has security screener training? and if security guards do not have proper training, how would you expect them to be able to keep weapons and bombs out of a federal building or respond to an active shooter? >> mr. chairman, our study was not generalizable. so i can't say for sure how many actually do have that kind of screening today. however, what we found in looking at -- in talking to several guard companies around the company was there are pockets of guards that do not. several years ago, when we did this kind of work, we found there were 1500 guards in several regions that did not have screener training for the company we looked at now there were still several hundred that do not. we would expect there would be others, although as i said, it's not generalizable.
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however, because of this problem persisting, and the lack of training that is required being actually provided, we have concerns that remain and have remained for a number of years now, as you know, about the ability and possibility of bombs and other kind of weapons getting into federal facilities because there is no assurance that the person standing guard and responsible for putting things through a x-ray machine has the adequate training to prevent something coming through that shouldn't come through. >> thank you. the chair recognizes ranking member carson for questions. >> thank you. dr. patterson, how often do they penalize guards who don't have the proper training? >> i don't have that statistic readily available for you, sir. i would have to get it to you. it would be resident with our
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contracting office. >> based on status quo, sir, how would you expect contract guards to respond to a navy yard-type shooting. >> we are working aggress live given the current laws, if you will, how we will -- how we can work with security guard companies to respond. currently we have just produced some guidance to provide each one of the security guards two hours of active shooter training. what that really does for us, makes them aware of what an active shooter is. that individual will have the discretion, given the circumstance, at that point to actively pursue, depending upon, again, what the circumstances are, because each one of these
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companies is still under the oversight of their state law. we're kind of caught between a rock and a hard place now. we would like to train them to a standard we can give them active shooter training and move them to a position where there's no question, okay. right now because we don't have that authority, it creates a little bit of a dilemma. >> thank you, director. mr. goldstein, in your testimony, sir, you discussed the fact they are using mist, vulnerability assessment that does not take into account consequences of an attack or event. what is the impact of assessing a consequences of a terrorist attack or serious crime activities out of a federal facility. >> the isc standard requires agencies look at threat, vulnerability and consequence. they look at a list of a number of undesirable events. for each of those undesirable
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events, they are required to determine whether there's a threat, vulnerability and consequence component of all those events. in our work we have found that examination of consequences is important because it helps to determine how best to protect a facility. because we're talking, obviously, about limited resources and talking about trying to protect, in this case, some 9600 facilities. because of the way in which the federal government and fps actually look at each building, it's a cookie cutter approach. there is no -- i've said a number of times here and elsewhere before the committee. there was no way that fps is able to exam threats of vulnerability and consequences across the portfolio to target resources best to cross facilities. it looks at each facility in a stove pipe kind of way. therefore, it becomes quite difficult to better provide resources, which are, as we
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know, quite limited to fps. >> mr. goldstein, what the value in fps individual facility security assessment currently? and are these assessments thorough enough to properly assess the threat to federal employees and visitors to federal buildings? how can current assessments even be improved for that matter? >> it's our understanding that since m.i.s.t. has been in place, which is about 18 months or so. that fps has once again to do assessments. they have done around 1200 based on the information we have. but they had a backlog when they started m.i.s.t. of about 5,000. that's pretty considerable number that hadn't been done just from the past. and at level three and four buildings, they are expected to be done roughly every three years. so there's quite a lot of backlog that remains as well as pent up demand for new ones.
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when we have gone in and looked as well, about 9 or 10% of them, hundreds of them, thousands of them, really, didn't have a date associated with them of when the last assessment was. so it's hard to know just how long it's been since many major federal buildings have had a risk assessment to start with. we also know in the last couple of years, that a number of other federal agencies have done their own assessments. even while they're paying fps to do a separate assessment. so there's a lot of duplication. and the irs and the epa and many other agencies have done their own assessments for a variety of reasons including that some didn't like the standard to which it was being done. some didn't like what was being shared with them. there's been a variety of reasons for that as well. there has been a lot of duplication, also. we do believe that fps has to do a better job and hopefully m.i.s.t., too, which director patterson talked about will help them achieve that.
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in being able to allow them to do a better assessment in the future. >> thank you. mr. chairman? >> chair recognizes mr. crawford for five minutes of questioning. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. patterson, i think the chairman addressed this earlier, this memo from greg marshall chief security officer, regarding the avenue complex. if i understand it correctly, it was command and control issue, nothing related otherwise? >> yes, sir, to my knowledge. >> i'm curious, on a facility with that level of security, can you describe -- i'm concerned proliferation of ied being a target in the building. what is the protocol or response protocol in the event of ied detection or large scale ied attack? >> well, first of all, folks who are visitors who are coming have
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to go through screening. and if, at that point, there is a detection, we believe there's an explosive device, that area is cleared. we will then call, at that point, the metropolitan police department, who will bring in the explosive team, detection team, to assess whether or not it's truly an explosive device or not. if they, in fact, assess it is an explosive device, the emergency evaluation plan for that facility will be put in place. >> i'm concerned about what -- i've had talks with other metro bomb squads and some of the federal agencies that are also equipped or staffed with bomb techs. in the event of a large-scale, do you have anything beyond just relying on metro bomb squad? are there other federal agencies that might respond as a backup? >> yes, sir. because we're in the washington, d.c., the fbi is going respond,
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the metropolitan police department is going to respond. we're probably going to have park services respond. there's going to be a significant response. the challenge is if we're talking about an explosive device, we probably want to at least limit the scope of the response until we decide the magnitude of the threat. >> does fps have any capacity, any kind of technical capacity to deal with an ied? that is to say are the bomb teches within the ranks? >> we don't have bomb techs but we have explosive ordinance dogs we use. that's our first line of defense. if we suspect that there is an issue, we will bring in the canine to give us an alert. if they alert, clearly we begin to evacuate that area. that's when we call in the metro poll contain police department and others who had the capability to further explore the issue.
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>> and then outside of d.c., i would assume there is a similar protocol in place with the local municipalities that have the capacity to respond to an ied threat? >> absolutely, sir, yes. if an fps dog isn't available, we have relationships with local law enforcement where we can leverage their assets as well. if, in fact, we get a positive hit, then we call, you know, if it's the city of chicago, we call on the city of chicago. if it's a smaller city, then whatever arrangements have been made for response, that's who we'll call. >> do you have any relationships with dod assets? what i'm getting at here is that, for example, the united states army has the primary responsibility of providing support to law enforcement at every level within the continental united states. do you have the arrangements in place with the dod? >> we have a relationship where we can call them if we need them. >> okay. >> yes, sir. >> i appreciate that. one other thing, you said you had detection dogs. >> yes, sir. >> so that means you have handlers that have been trained and --
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>> yes, sir. we have about 74 or 75 canines with their handlers across the united states. we have one up at the nebraska avenue complex for about 18 hours during the day. >> okay. mr. goldstein, what percentage of federal buildings has up-to-date and complete security risk assessments? >> it's not possible to say, sir, at this point in time. as i mentioned, there's a considerable backlog at this point of past due assessments, plus the work we have done in the past show that because there a number of them that have no date in the system at all, it's not possible to determine when the last one was done. they are working -- fps is working to reduce the backlog and hopefully move forward with new ones. so they can become up-to-date. they're not at that place today >> well, that's kind of disturbing. why the backlog?
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>> the backlog occurred over a period of time for a couple of reasons. one, that the old system that was being used called r.a.m.p. its functionality was not sufficient, and they pulled the plug on the program. so then a backlog, you know, began to grow. additionally, i think, over time, as the federal protective service changed the nature of its work force from a police officer force to integrated force of inspectors that had a lot of different duties, that this particular responsibility of doing the assessment, which fell on them, and which many were not trained for took up an increasing amount of time. they had other duties as well including managing contract guards and contract guard contracts and other things. and so they fell behind, quite frankly. >> it's not part an annual review? it seems like it ought to be done annually to make sure that as


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