In a full committee meeting today the House Natural Resources Committee is going over its proposed agenda for the 112th Congress, and topping the list is keen oversight of land-management agencies.
In past Congresses, the Committee on Natural Resources has been lax in performing a core Constitutional duty of the Legislative Branch to examine and question the Executive Branch's implementation and administration of laws written by the Congress. This lack of fundamental oversight by the Committee occurred under both Democrat and Republican majorities, and when examining both Democrat and Republican Presidential Administrations.
In the 112th Congress, the Committee on Natural Resources, and its five Subcommittees, will be fully committed to fulfilling their oversight responsibilities. In prioritizing the oversight work of the Committee and the Subcommittees, the emphasis will be placed first and foremost on 1)job creation and economic growth, and 2) reducing spending and eliminating unnecessary, duplicative, and unaffordable government programs.
When it comes to the subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands and its oversight of the National Park Service specifically, this proposed agenda calls for:
* Review of the National Park Service's fiscal year 2012 budget request. These hearings also will look into "stimulus" spending made under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act;
* Oversight into "how implementation of environmental laws on federal lands affects border security";
* Finding ways to see that budget cuts don't impede the Park Service's basic mission and resources, and that any cuts made "affect only nontraditional park activities";
* Examining any proposals for new units of the National Park System "with due regard for the merits of the proposal, spending constraints, the need for access to vital resources, and protection of property rights";
* Examine how best to reduce the estimated $9 billion operations and maintenance backlog confronting the Park Service while, at the same time, "foster and expand wholesome, family enjoyment of the parks."