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COMMITTEE ON RESOURCES
JAMES V. HANSEN, Utah, Chairman NICK J. RAHALL II, West Virginia, Ranking Democrat Member
Don YOUNG, Alaska, Vice Chairman GEORGE MILLER, California
EDWARD J. MARKEY, Massachusetts JIM SAXTON, New Jersey
DALE E. KILDEE, Michigan ELTON GALLEGLY, California
PETER A. DeFazio, Oregon
SOLOMON P. Ortiz, Texas
Frank PALLONE, JR., New Jersey RICHARD W. POMBO, California
CALVIN M. DooLEY, California BARBARA CUBIN, Wyoming
ROBERT A. UNDERWOOD, Guam GEORGE RADANOVICH, California ADAM SMITH, Washington Walter B. JONES, JR., North Carolina DONNA M. CHRISTENSEN, Virgin Mac THORNBERRY, Texas
Islands Chris CANNON, Utah
RON KIND, Wisconsin John E. PETERSON, Pennsylvania JAY INSLEE, Washington BOB SCHAFFER, Colorado
GRACE F. NAPOLITANO, California Jim GIBBONS, Nevada
TOM UD ALL, New Mexico Mark E. SOUDER, Indiana
Mark UDALL, Colorado GREG WALDEN, Oregon
RUSH D. Holt, New Jersey Michael K. SIMPSON, Idaho
ANIBAL ACEVEDO-Vila, Puerto Rico THOMAS G. TANCREDO, Colorado
Hilda L. Solis, California J.D. HAYWORTH, Arizona
BRAD CARSON, Oklahoma C.L. “BUTCH" OTTER, Idaho
Betty McCOLLUM, Minnesota
TIM HOLDEN, Pennsylvania
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
DEAR MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE ON RESOURCES: The Historical Information of the Committee on Resources and its predecessor Committees, 1807 – 2002 is a relevant committee document prepared by the Chief Clerk of the Committee on Resources as a catalogue of historical information. As the committee approaches its bicentennial, it is worthwhile to look back at the history of a Committee which has impacted the very growth of the United States.
This report is relevant to the Members of this Committee affords Members and staff an opportunity to examine the past in the context of this committee's jurisdictions and draw lessons from history as we prepare to help shape the future. I hope you will take the opportunity to use this reference. And examine the issues which have moved this country forward through the ages.
As Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in Democracy in America “America is a land of wonders, in which everything is in constant motion and every change seems an improvement. No natural boundary seems to be set to the efforts of man; and in his eyes what is not yet done is only what he has not attempted to do.” This Committee has attempted to achieve what is best for the country and I trust it will continue to do so in the next 200 years.
JAMES V. HANSEN,
As the Committee approaches its Bicentenial, I am pleased to present to the Members of the Committee on Resources this staff report on the background of the Committee on Resources and its predecessor Committees. While not a full discussion of all events and people, this provides a quick reference of major themes, issues, Members and jurisdictions of the Committee.
The Committee on Resources can trace its history back almost 200 years. After the Louisiana Purchase, the United States face a question of how to manage newly acquired lands which doubled the size of the country. On December 17, 1805, the House established the Committee on Public Lands with jurisdiction over the lands of the United States.
Throughout the history of the Committee on Public Lands, the focus has changed from: exploration settlement consumption preservation
and shared use. The changes in focus can be seen through the changes in legislative proposals. First we explored the lands to see what resources were available, then promoted the settlement of the lands (Homestead Acts); the consumption of the resources (mining and timber acts); the preservation of areas of significance (Antiquities Act, Creation of the Park system); and finally shared uses (recreation and multiple use acts).
As the country managed it newly acquired lands, other Committees were created to focus on specific issues. The House created the following Committees: the Committees on Indian Affairs, Territories, Mines and Mining, Pacific Railroads, Irrigation and Reclamation, and Insular Affairs. Although the Committee on Pacific Railroads was abolished in 1911, the rest existed until the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946, when their jurisdictions were transferred to the Public Lands Committee. In 1951 the Public Lands Committee's name was changed to the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, in 1993 the name was changed to Natural Resources, and in 1995 to the Committee on Resources.
Although established for one purpose, Committees often change their methods of handling an issue as the country itself changes its views on the issue.
For instance, the issue of Native Americans as handled by the federal government was included in the Department of War, later it was moved into the Bureau of Indian Affairs and finally under the Department of the Interior. Originally the federal government view the Native Americans as warring nations against the United States - and it was a up to the Department of War to maintain the peace. Later, the country took the view (with the opening of the West) that the relocation of the tribes west of the Mississippi was the best solution. Eventually the federal government began to view the Native Americans as citizens and began to provide for their well being.
These themes and patterns can be seen as you examine the major legislation