JOSEPH R. HENRI
ATTORNEY AT LAW
P.O. BOX 100357
ANCHORAGE, ALASKA 99510-0357
(9921 NEAR POINT DRIVE)
(907) 338-0880 TEL
(907) 279-4785 FAX
[FOR ENTRY IN THE RECORD FOR THE ANCHORAGE, ALASKA, HEARING ON HR 701, 31 MARCH 1999]
2 April 1999
Congressman Don Young, Chairman
House Resources Committee
1324 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D. C. 20515
[ATTENTION: Ms. Christine Kennedy]
Re: Proposed Conservation and Reinvestment Act of 1999
By letter dated 13 January 1999, I wrote to each member of the Alaska Delegation, opposing reintroduction of what has now been designated HR 701; only Senator Murkowski responded, and he, like you, was adverse to my position. Neither you, nor he, nor your staffs, apparently, have any fear of the brute force and injustice practiced more and more by national bureaucrats in the exercise of domination over their lands, or of lording it over the common citizen who somehow runs afoul of their wrath or their displeasure. These bureaucrats have their own large group of legal storm troopers, and have ready access to the phalanxes of the Justice Department.
Because of the senior positions you and Senator Murkowski now enjoy, the Members and their staffs are treated cordially by the bureaucratic chiefs; differences of opinion, conflicting goals, are discussed in affable meetings, over lunch, at cocktail parties and other such occasions. It is far different for one of the hoi polloi, who is harassed, flummoxed, sued, jailed, or otherwise set upon by the might of the federal bureaucracy; federal administrative laws and hearings, and the federal courts are the forums into which the citizen is dragged.
HR 701 will greatly expand national land ownership in the United States; altogether, your bill will provide or generate up to $1.5 billion per year for government acquisition of land. It is clearly the opinion of yourselves and the devotees of such legislation that private ownership is much less desirable than public ownership. You, 223 years after the glorious Declaration of Independence was signed, are now guilty of what Thomas Jefferson wrote of King George III: erecting a multitude of new offices, and sending hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
Many times you have described yourself as a "conservative Republican"; the bill you now promote is fully worthy of a New Deal Democrat. In fact, it is said that Morris Udall and George Miller have been strong proponents of similar bills in the recent past. Please turn away from this misguided effort to expand the reach and purview of the national government. Why are you not concerned to delimit the seemingly limitless and unbounded power of the government, which this legislation promotes? You have been my Congressman for twenty-five years; HR 701 is one of the worst things you have ever undertaken.
JOSEPH R. HENRI
[comment: Joe Henri was Alaska Commissioner
of Administration under Governor Bill Egan 1971-1974.
Since then he has been an attorney in private practice,
a timber company executive, and he serves on the Board
of Regents of the University of Alaska.]