Gibbons Pledges Help for Elko
In Face-Off with Forest Service

by Steve Sexton
Elko Daily Free Press

U.S. Rep. Jim Gibbons, R-Nev. -- now knowing from firsthand experience the troubles facing Elko County in trying to get federal officials to answer to a legislative body -- has reiterated his commitment to hold a congressional hearing in Elko to force U.S. Forest Service officials to appear before the lawmakers.
Gibbons, who is making a swing through Nevada in a series of town hall meetings, came to Elko seeking local concerns and solutions but talked mostly about the problems he's found in Washington, D.C.
He said the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources was forced to subpoena Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt after the Department of Interior refused to provide documents at a hearing last week on reclamation bonding regulations.
"We decided, right then and there that from now on, we will subpoena these people and those documents and put them under oath," Gibbons said to a hearty round of applause from the 30 people at Elko City Hall Sunday.
Elko County was rebuffed by federal employees when the grand jury empaneled to investigate public lands crimes subpoenaed a forest service supervisor. The issue ended up before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals when the agency invoked an internal regulation prohibiting the employee from testifying.
"We are trying to get back to Congress creating the laws instead of these regulatory agencies," Gibbons said.
Gibbons said one way is



through a bill he has cosponsored, the Congressional Responsibility Act, which says any new regulation emanating from an executive branch agency must be submitted to Congress for approval before it can be enacted by the agency.
Gibbons said there is an even-money chance the bill will pass, but President Clinton likely will fight to keep his agencies from losing out on making laws.
"We're very, very committed to making sure Congress makes the laws, Gibbons said.
Gibbons also talked about losing on the Balanced Budget Amendment and his attempts to have the Estate Tax repealed.
"The weak link in this government right now is its inability to match its revenue with its expenditures," he said. "We've not abandoned the idea of creating a more conservative government.
Gibbons said without cutting back on government and without the amendment, the $5 trillion national debt will mean the children sitting in the audience will have to pay 50 percent more in taxes in five year's time and 87 percent more in 10 years.


"We need government to run smarter, smaller and more efficient," Gibbons said. "There's a dark future awaiting our kids if we don't do something about it.
Gibbons said his efforts to repeal the "death tax" also stem from protecting children, who should not be forced to sell off what is left to them from their hard-working parents to pay a tax.
Gibbons also said Congress is dealing with its own sovereignty issue because of United Nations Biosphere projects.
"The sovereignty of America is no longer under our control," Gibbons said about the international efforts to save certain historical and environmental elements. "I'm worried that when the president visits Lake Tahoe that it will become under the jurisdiction from someone from France instead of Nevada or California.
Among some of the other issues Gibbons heard that were concerns to Elko County residents was the problem of getting through the "red




tape" of certain federal agencies, especially the Social Security Administration.
Gibbons said a suggestion from a Lovelock meeting may bring about a solution: installation of effective performance standards for federal employees.
An Elko County Boy Scout asked Gibbons whether more land would be preserved for future generations.
"Yes, but instead we're going to look at lands east of the Mississippi,
Gibbons said. "I think it will be a real eye-opening experience. How do you think people in Massachusetts or Connecticut will feel about having a wilderness area in their state?
Gibbons said he will return in about a year to provide an update on the issues brought up at the town hall meeting, which was limited to two hours because of a 5 p.m. meeting in Ely.


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