Jim Bilbray served Nevada as member of the Board of Regents of the University of Nevada, chief legal counsel in the Clark County Juvenile Court, Nevada State Senator, member of the United States House of Representatives, the United States Senate, and is currently on the Board of Governors of the US Postal Service through 2015. Jim was born in Las Vegas on May 19, 1938. Among his most memorable accomplishments is his work for the environment. As a young boy growing up in Las Vegas, he loved the climate. His backyard at the family home on 3rd Street was at the edge of the city so his playground was the desert. These early years led to a lifelong appreciation for the Nevada outdoors. The 1980s and 1990s were historical for Nevada and environmental efforts. The Nevada environmental triumvirate and congressional delegation composed of Jim, Harry Reid and Richard Bryan are widely known for passing significant legislation in this field. They worked closely together, in part, because of their friendship formed while growing up together in Las Vegas. This interview helps put into perspective the pivotal role played by Congressman Bilbray. During his terms as Nevada Senator (1981 - 1987) and US Representative (1987-1995), Jim worked on a number of major public lands issues for Nevada. He helped to defuse the Sagebrush Rebellion, designate additional Forest Service wilderness, protect Red Rock as a National Conservation Area, assign the Spring Mountains as a National Recreation Area, and initiate the legislative effort to establish the Southern Nevada Public Lands Act. Jim currently resides in Las Vegas where an elementary school is named in his honor.
[Transcript of interview with Jim Bilbray by Jeff van Ee, March 26, 2009]. Billbray, Jim Interview, 2009 March 26. OH-02762. [Transcript.] Oral History Research Center, Special Collections & Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.
Standardized Rights Statement
An Interview with James H. Bilbray An Oral History Conducted by Jeff van Ee The Boyer Early Las Vegas Oral History Project Oral History Research Center at UNLV University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas ©The Boyer Early Las Vegas Oral History Project University of Nevada Las Vegas, 2007 Produced by: The Oral History Research Center at UNLV - University Libraries Director: Claytee D. White Editors: Barbara Tabach and Gloria Homol Transcribers: Kristin Hicks and Laurie Boetcher Interviewers and Project Assistants: Barbara Tabach and Claytee D. White, Jeff van Ee ii The recorded interview and transcript have been made possible through the generosity of the Boyer Foundation. The Oral History Research Center enables students and staff to work together with community members to generate this selection of first-person narratives. The participants in this project thank the University for the support given that allowed an idea the opportunity to flourish. The transcript received minimal editing that includes the elimination of fragments, false starts, and repetitions in order to enhance the reader's understanding of the material. All measures have been taken to preserve the style and language of the narrator. In several cases photographic sources accompany the individual interviews. The following interview is part of a series of interviews conducted under the auspices of the Boyer Early Las Vegas Oral History Project. Claytee D. White, Project Director Director, Oral History Research Center University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas iii Preface Jim Bilbray served Nevada as member of the Board of Regents of the University of Nevada, chief legal counsel in the Clark County Juvenile Court, Nevada State Senator, member of the United States House of Representatives, the United States Senate, and is currently on the Board of Governors of the US Postal Service through 2015. Jim was born in Las Vegas on May 19, 1938. Among his most memorable accomplishments is his work for the environment. As a young boy growing up in Las Vegas, he loved the climate. His backyard at the family home on 3rd Street was at the edge of the city so his playground was the desert. These early years led to a lifelong appreciation for the Nevada outdoors. The 1980s and 1990s were historical for Nevada and environmental efforts. The Nevada environmental triumvirate and congressional delegation composed of Jim, Harry Reid and Richard Bryan are widely known for passing significant legislation in this field. They worked closely together, in part, because of their friendship formed while growing up together in Las Vegas. This interview helps put into perspective the pivotal role played by Congressman Bilbray. During his terms as Nevada Senator (1981 - 1987) and US Representative (1987-1995), Jim worked on a number of major public lands issues for Nevada. He helped to defuse the Sagebrush Rebellion, designate additional Forest Service wilderness, protect Red Rock as a National Conservation Area, assign the Spring Mountains as a National Recreation Area, and initiate the legislative effort to establish the Southern Nevada Public Lands Act. Jim currently resides in Las Vegas where an elementary school is named in his honor. iv Table of Contents Interview with Jim Bilbray March 26, 2009 Las Vegas, Nevada Conducted by Jeff van Ee Preface jv Jim Bilbray moved with his family to Las Vegas from New Orleans in 1936. His father sought work as many did during the Great Depression. He outlines his life from high school, to enlistment in the Army Reserve, and onto American University under the patronage of Nevada Senator Howard Cannon. After the law degree, he returned as was appointed deputy district attorney. Elected to the Board of Regents in 1968 and started a practice with Mel Close — Close & Bilbray. Elected to the Nevada Senate in 1980 and to the US House of Representatives in 1986 1 - 2 Grew up in the last house in town, 900 South Third Street at a time when Boulder City was larger than Las Vegas. Creek still ran through the town. Served in Boy Scout troop with Senator Richard Bryan. Infrastructure changes over the years. BMI and Rheem plants in Henderson. Recalls potential sites of pollution. Tells of early service in the environmental arena — National Resources Committee, Public Lands Subcommittee, Forest Wilderness Bill. Attitude differences in different p a r t s o f t h e s t a t e - Sagebrush Rebellion 2 - 6 The three who became environmental activists - Harry Reid, Richard Bryan, and Jim; natural environmentalists. Proposed medical school for Nevada. Battle for reapportionment. Strategies for p a s s i n g t h e Wilderness B i l l 7-10 Bilbray speaks of the political different political philosophies in the North versus the South, the thinking in the mining industry, Sagebrush Rebellion, tricks of the trade, federal ownership of 86% of Nevada, the doughnut hole around the valley, Bureau of Land Management, hearings on environmental matters, t a x a t i o n and grazing laws 11-16 Jim shares information on political figures, 40-year friendship with Harry Reid, and Richard Bryan. He returns to environmental issues with a discussion of Lake Tahoe, Great Basin National Park, Table Mountain i n C e n t r a l Nevada, and contribution t o t h e Red Rock a r e a 12-26 He explains the impact of the Ensign campaign during the Gingrich revolution and work on the Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act. He talks public service as a calling telling how he initially got into politics and ends with a look into the future while mentioning the Nevada Test Site 27 - 35 Index 37 v Boyer Early Las Vegas Oral History Project Use Agreement Name of Narrator: C*hjr<.SSb,^ T.W, £/' ILry/ Name of Interviewer: Tiff \j h<e> ^ We, the above named, give to the Oral History Research Center of UNLV, the recorded interview(s) initiated on H> rr K Z <L O a (y as an unrestricted gift, to be used for such scholarly and educational purposes as shall be determined, and transfer to the University of Nevada Las Vegas, legal tide and all literary property rights including copyright. This gift does not preclude the right of the interviewer, as a representative of UNLV, to use the recordings and related materials for scholarly pursuits. There will be no compensation for any interviews. X is - ) Signature of Interviewer yOate / My name is Jeff van Ee. And I'm here in the office of Congressman Jim Bilbray, interviewing him for an oral history project for the UNLV Special Collections department. The date is March 26th, 2009. Tell me how it all began. All right. Well, I was born here in Las Vegas in May of 1938. My parents moved out here from New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1936. My dad came out looking for work like most people did in the 30s because it was in the Great Depression. And I went to Fifth Street School, which I thought actually was the only grade school, but there were actually two grade schools. There was one in West Las Vegas (Westside School) for the black students and one in downtown, which was at Fifth and Bridger, but now is Las Vegas Boulevard and Bridger, which is where the Foley building is. And that was where Fifth Street School sat. And I went there and then when St. Joseph's School started, which was the first Catholic school, I went to Catholic school down at St. Joseph's, and then attended Las Vegas High School. And when I finished up Las Vegas High School at that time I enlisted in the Army Reserve and went to six months' active duty at, California, and then came back here and served seven years. I actually had a seven-year reserve obligation. Then after three years at UNLV where I was student body president we couldn't graduate. UNLV had their first graduating class, then Nevada Southern, in 1964. And I finished up my three years in 1960. I was offered a job by Senator Howard Cannon, Democratic first-year United States senator from the state of Nevada, and went back and worked partially on his staff and got my BA in government public administration from American University in January of 1962 and entered law school the next month and graduated in August of'64 from American University Law School. Came back to Las Vegas; was appointed a deputy district attorney. Was admitted in '65 to the Nevada Bar and became a deputy district attorney where I served for three years. Then I was chief counsel for the juvenile department in '68. And then I went into private practice. I was elected to the Board of Regents of University of Nevada in 1968 [1968-1972], Because I was an elected official, it was kind of awkward being in the DA's office. So I started practice with Mel Close, as Close & Bilbray. And Mel was at that time elected 1 to the state assembly and was speaker of the assembly shortly thereafter and then was elected to the state senate. I served on the Board of Regents from '68 through '72 and ran for United States Congress in 72 and was defeated, although I defeated the incumbent, the United States Congressman Walter Baring in 1972 with the support of the environmental community. Walter Baring was head of the Public Land Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives and was listed on the 'Dirty Dozen" as one of the worst environmental people in the United States House. Was defeated in '72 you remember with the McGovern problem. Richard Nixon won every state except Massachusetts and the District of Columbia. And was defeated. But Mo Udall called me after that race was over because he was kind of my big brother in the campaign. And Mo Udall told me, he said, Jim, you know, you lost the race. But by eliminating Walter Baring — and he would have been chairman of Interior that coming session — he said you have done a lot for the environment of this country because Walter Baring would have been disaster to the environment of this country if he would have been reelected for his 11th term at that time. And so I was defeated. And it was not until 1980 I ran for office again. And I was elected to the Nevada State Senate and served ~ I was elected twice and served on the Public Land Subcommittee of the Nevada Senate where I traveled the state with Congressman Seiberling [John] when we looked at the proposed wilderness areas and traveled around the state, which had me in good standing when I went up to the United States Congress because I had a great background on what areas should be in the wilderness bill and what shouldn't be. And, of course, I was elected in '86 to the U.S. House. And that's when we started working on wilderness issues especially with the Sierra Club; you, Jeff [Jeff van Ee]; and with Lois Sagel and other members on those issues. Well, I had no idea. Thank you very much for that introduction. Now, you had said earlier that when you were growing up Boulder City was larger than Las Vegas. Yes, if you look at the map. Well, actually Las Vegas started catching up in the early 40s. But Boulder City was the town that had been built for the dam. So Boulder City was larger than Las Vegas. In fact, I asked my dad, I said, what was the population in Las Vegas? He said, well, there was about eight to 10,000. But that was the whole county. That wasn't just Las Vegas. I mean it was that small. We lived at 900 South Third Street. We were the last house in town. 2 What was it like growing up in that kind of city or town? Well, it was interesting because, for instance, we still had a creek running through the town, the old Las Vegas Creek. And it ran down to what was called the Old Ranch, which was where Cashman — actually, the Natural History Museum is down there by Cashman Field. There was a huge — we called it a plunge. But the natural water ran down in there and people swam there because no one had their pools like you do today. Unless you were very rich you didn't have a private pool. And so we kids would go down there. And there were also stables down there. My dad kept horses. And I'd ride in the evening. And you could ride all over the area. Where the Sawyer building is down there, Cashman Field was all areas you could ride in. I mean it was just a really small town. In fact, I was a Boy Scout in the Elks troop down there. And it was interesting because Richard Bryan and I were Boy Scouts together. And I always like to tease Richard that I was the patrol leader and he was not patrol leader even though he was about seven months older than me. And I always try to remind him of that. But then he reminds me that I got selected to go to the National Jamboree in Valley Forge. Then they found out I was three months short. By May 1st I had to be 12 and I was only 11. And I didn't turn 12 until May 19th. So Richard got to take my place. And he talks about how he went back and he had lunch with Senator McCarran. And I always hated him for it that he got to go and not me. But we were Boy Scouts together. We were in the same troop. In fact, one of the funny stories was one time Richard and I; we had a camporee down there where right now would be where the Sawyer building is. And it was a hot, hot day. It was in May, but it was like 105 or 106. And we're doing this test where you're going around with your compass and you look around at everything. So Richard and I with our patrol - we had about nine or ten people in the patrol -- we looked out and we went right by the Old Ranch pool. And Richard and I agreed that they would never miss us. So the whole patrol, we went into the pool and went swimming. And lo and behold as we came out of the pool, we ran into one of the Scout masters who penalized our patrol like 100 points for having taken an hour off and going into the pool. And I always try to blame it on Richard. He did it. He was the one that suggested it. He knows better. It was me. 3 But we had a great time because you could be kids. You could leave your door open in Las Vegas. You didn't have to worry about those sorts of things. Las Vegas High was the only high school. Basic High had been built in the 1940s when Henderson was established because when I was born Henderson wasn't there. Really? Yeah. Henderson was built during the war as a factory town for the supply of munitions and titanium and that sort of thing. In fact, my father was the manager of the naval section out there at Rheem that made shell casings for artillery pieces. So the Las Vegas Valley was wide open. And for a kid growing up here the opportunities to get out and explore Southern Nevada were endless. Well, you had Sahara. Now at that time even that street in the 50s was named San Francisco. It was changed to Sahara ~ It was named San Francisco. San Francisco Avenue. And it got changed to Sahara when the Sahara [Hotel Casino] was built. Right on the corner of what's now Maryland Parkway and Sahara there was an artesian well that you could go catch frogs and things like that. It ran all the time. And that was Artesian One. There was another artesian well probably where DI [Desert Inn Road] would come in. And there was another one out further. And we'd go out. I mean you had a lot of places to go. You didn't have to drive to get out of town to go up in the mountains. We camped out at Red Rock as a kid. And, of course, you didn't have to worry about too much pollution up at Red Rock and things like that because there was nobody there. We took a walk and looked at the old petroglyphs underneath there. And we camped out where the creek would come out at Red Rock. It was a different lifestyle. You know, it wasn't a big town. It was a small, little town. I would compare it to be like maybe Beatty. I'm kind of reminded of Beatty or maybe Tonopah. But wasn't there a lot of pollution from the ~ well, it wasn't called Henderson at the time — but from BMI [Basic Magnesium Incorporated] at that time? Well, you know, we didn't have the clouds. Down in L.A. you remember as a kid you could see Mount Baldy, you know, when you were in downtown L.A. And today you can't see it because of the cloud. But, you know, remember with our prevailing winds heading towards the southeast, if 4 there was any pollution coming out of the plants — and what you could see of the pollution was the waste material. I remember going out, you know, hiking and you'd see — it was beautiful — these little creeks coming out of the plant and there were blue crystals all along the creek. And they looked beautiful. And I'm sure that they were very toxic and very bad. And you could see that out there. But, you know, no one realized. Remember my dad was manager of the naval section at Rheem. At the end of the war they took all these trucks and they went out to a gully out there, an arroyo, in the middle of the night and they dumped all those things, thousands and thousands of barrels of materials. Their attitude was, at the time they were doing it, because there was a lot of stuff that they didn't think of as being toxic. I think they thought people would take the copper and the zinc and everything that had been used in the development of these materials and that people would resell them on the market and stuff like that. And he tried to point out to me once where they dumped it. It was more out towards where the Henderson Armory is now, the National Guard Armory at least was in the 70s. And I remember telling the mayor, Gibson [James B. Gibson], one day, I said, you know, we've got a lot of that ammonium perchlorate and everything coming down into the river. You ought to be checking out that stuff because I think there's homes built over that stuff down there. You might have another little Love Canal because my dad said a lot of it was in metal casings, you know, in barrels and stuff that have rusted out over the years because this was 1945. But that was a different time back then. I mean Love Canal really wasn't known until the 70s. But I would venture to say at that time this was the desert. I mean you could dump anything onto the soil and it would disappear no problem. Yeah. And I guarantee you there's still a bunch of really bad stuff out there in that area. Well, they're in the process of cleaning it up right now. Yeah. Mostly cleanup is on the other side of Boulder Highway, ponds. Yes. Yes. Yes. But I bet you -- because there are homes built over that stuff out there by that Henderson Armory. And who knows? But he said there was truck after truck after truck after truck. And they would go at night. From the plant it was kind of a curved ~ because they didn't want the drivers to know where they actually dumped it because they were worried about scavengers going and digging it 5 up and getting to it. Well, so you really have had a long history of interest in the environment, far greater than I even knew. I mean you said something about your position in the state legislature. Well, when I was elected to the Senate in 1986,1 served on the Natural Resources Committee and was appointed as one of the people on the Public Land Subcommittee that met in the interim when we were not in session. And as such I traveled the state with Congressman Seiberling when he came out looking at the wilderness, the Forest Service Wilderness Bill. And I traveled all through the state and looked at it, which served me in good stead. When I got to the Congress I knew all these areas and what was done and recognized that they needed to be protected. I remember the attitude up in the rural counties, though, was they didn't want these areas declared wilderness areas because it would probably bring too many Southern Nevadans up there to visit these areas. And the attitude was that these areas belonged to Central Nevada, didn't belong to Southern Nevada. And they didn't want people from Reno and Las Vegas coming out there and camping and things like that. And it was kind of a shock to me — well, not a shock. Having been at Nevada Southern I knew how the feeling was in the northern part of the state. But it was something that I thought was very important. And that's why when I got to Congress I started working with Senator Reid, who was a big advocate of these things. But with Senator Hecht there and before that Senator Laxalt, there was very little chance of getting much wilderness established in this state. Well, I first met you ~ I remember it quite well. I first met you at the Howard Hughes aviation terminal where there was a big kickoff for Congressman Seiberling and you and others to go into Central Nevada to look it over. And I thought, my gosh, who is this man from the state legislature? I mean I was amazed that you were so enthusiastic and upfront at that time because as I recall that was when the Sagebrush Rebellion was pretty big in this state. I was opposed to the Sagebrush Rebellion in the legislature. In fact, Mike O'Callahan wrote an article about that, quote, unquote, I wasn't very tall and very big, but the fact that I was tall in stature because I stood up against the Sagebrush Rebellion because I was very concerned that if the counties and the locals got control of these areas, you know, that there was no real controls of 6 how they would administer those areas because we'd had constant — these rurals, they wanted to drain the water out more than they should. We talk about the great water coming down south. But at that time a lot of these farmers and ranchers up there wanted to over drain these reserves up there themselves. They wanted to increase the amount of their farmlands and things like that where the water engineer had come in and said, you know, you only have so much water in this basin. So we really had a lot of fights. And I had been involved in that. And it was kind of I guess unusual for a Southern Nevada state senator to be involved. But I was bom here and raised here and I wanted to see all the state protected as much so we could pass it onto our grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the natural areas of the state. And I guess I was kind of a natural — I think just like Richard Bryan — a natural environmentalist. And Harry Reid is, too. You know, we love this state and wanted to protect it. Well, that still amazes me given the history of the state, as I understand it being one of mining and ranching. You know, what attracted me to this state was the fact that there wasn't much here. It was a big mystery to me. At the time that I came out here, which was in 1971, we had no national park. We had no wilderness areas. We had few green spots on the map. That's right. I remember reading back east, well, Nevada had wild horses, free range in many areas. But it's surprising to me to this day that the three of you in particular became such strong advocates for the environment given the timing of when you were here in Nevada. But I guess it's your childhood experiences, perhaps, in Las Vegas or Southern Nevada. Yeah. And I think that Richard Bryan and Harry Reid and I grew up as kids that our parents were staunch supporters of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. We came in the 60s. I was head of the Students for Kennedy in Southern Nevada. Richard and Harry were — you know, we were all strong Kennedy supporters. We loved John F. Kennedy. You can see it on my wall today Ted Kennedy and all of the different Kennedys. I mean we were solid supporters of the New Frontier and the New Deal. Our parents were Democrats. I think we just grew up the liberals. And then you had the generations who came in under Ronald Reagan that were conservative. And now I think the students have come back to the more liberal philosophy that we grew up in. It kind of shocked me 7 in the 80s and 90s to see these young people going out through high school and college that were so conservative. I agree. And I just thought, hey, you know, you're a young student; you're not supposed to be right-wing happy, right-wing philosophies. But you can see the difference between a John Ensign and me, for instance, what we believe in. And John and I have totally different philosophies on government. Well, so when you were in the state legislature -- I should know this, but correct me — Nevada had one congressional representative? Yeah, we had one till 1990. We got our first I think it was — yeah, it was '90 that we had to break into two. Very difficult for us because there were a lot of fights on how you divided this up. And some people wanted an east-west division where parts of Elko — I mean Elko would be with North Las Vegas and Boulder City would be on one side and Reno and parts of Sparks would be in that district and parts of Reno and Carson City and everything would be in the district that would be Summerlin and out here. I opposed that. I supported a north-south split where you created a southern district and a northern district. And it was really funny because ~ Harry Reid is one of my closest friends, my five closest friends in the world. And Harry, to be honest with you, wanted to run for United States House of Representatives. I was able to pull enough votes out of the Senate including my friend Mel Close and others we changed. And we barely won to have a north-south split, which created a district that Harry Reid was able to win easily in the next election. I had no plans to run for the United States House of Representatives. The reason I ran for House probably in '86 was that I just actually felt I had to do something beyond just serving in the legislature. It was too difficult. But the fact was that we created the north-south district. And I did it, a lot of it, to help elect us, make sure a Southern Nevadan got into the house because I was afraid if we split it east-west that Northern Nevada would get both seats because, you know, we had fought this battle with Northern Nevada for years. I mean when I was a regent I tried to build a med [medical] school down here because I thought here's where the patients were going to be. At that time we just had started Medicare. But 8 a lot of people were in the public services. And it was natural the med school would come down to Southern Nevada. But they still controlled. The north had the control of the House and the [Nevada] Assembly and of the Senate. And it was a terrible fight. And they had to get their med school in that year, the last year before reapportionment. And the same battle on reapportionment. It was really a fight. Now you're going to have a fourth seat. That s going to be really a difficult thing to divide up because you'll have three Southern Nevada seats and one Northern Nevada seat. And that's going to be a huge battle. It's hard for me to image a dividing line down the middle of the state, which would divide the state on an east-west basis because for years, since I've been here, it's always been that north-south split that everybody talks about. And it had to be a challenge for you as a representative in congress to represent at that time the whole state, right? Well, you know, it made it easier. The fact is like, for instance, when I pushed my wilderness bill, of course we had to wait until [Chic] Hecht left and Richard Bryan got elected to be able to push something like that through because Hecht just put a hold on it. And in the Senate unless you have 60 votes you're not going to move it and nobody can move it. But it was easier for me to push larger wilderness bills. And Vucanovich and I really got into it. I think that's our first major fight that Barbara and I had was that Barbara really didn't want to see any wilderness bill at all and then tried to pare it down drastically. I pushed my bill out on the wilderness and Barbara Vucanovich was just ballistic, just absolutely ballistic over it. And Congressman [James] Hansen came to me. And Congressman Hansen was the ranking, I think, member from Utah, was the ranking member of the Public Land Subcommittee and the Interior Committee. And he was a Republican? A Republican from Utah. Hansen came to me and he said you've got to help your colleague Barbara Vucanovich. She can't live with this bill. Here's all these things that we want to take out of it. And I looked it over and I met with members ~ I think you and other members of the environmental community and basically said, you know, if we start paring it down now, they'll pare it down even further. So let's go with our bill as much as we can possibly get. And the Senate introduced a bill on the other side. And I talked to Richard and Harry. We had a policy that when we were in together every Wednesday we met at lunch and went over all 9 the bills from the House and the Senate, the three of us. And Richard and Harry said, Jim, you can actually get a stronger bill out of the House than we can get out of the Senate. So it was decided between the three of us that my bill would be the bill that was pushed. Of course, that s the bill that went over. You know, I got every single Democrat except one to vote for my bill. And the only person who would not vote for it« and he was a friend — was Nighthorse Campbell, who was at that time a House member and a Democrat from Colorado who left the party later and later became a Republican and went to the United States Senate as a Republican. But Nighthorse was a strong supporter of Gary Hart, but he was a rancher. That was his background even though he did jewelry and stuff like that. He was part Cheyenne Indian. And Nighthorse was a friend. But I got every single Democrat and about a fourth of the Republicans voted for my wilderness bill. But on the floor we really got into it. Actually, the interchange was between myself and Hansen because Vucanovich let him do kind of her dirty work for her. And Barbara - I didn't realize it — but later on in her book I mean it was obvious that she never forgave gave me for that wilderness bill. In fact, in her book she writes that I was the most partisan of the Democrats; that I was a Democratic activist serving in the United States House. And I don't think I'm any more of an activist - I am an activist, but I think Harry and Dick are, too. But the fact was that she really resented it and that we pushed it through. But we got the 710,000 or whatever it was acres of land through the bill. And then when it got to the Senate we hardly got any changes. The bill was eventually signed. Also, I got a call that she had gone to the White House because I had a friend who said, you know, Barbara was over here with the President earlier and she's trying to get him to veto your bill, your wilderness bill, and that he's looking at it, but I don't think he's going to veto it. And he didn't. But the other thing was that, you know, normally if you can see some of these bills in the back here [pointing to his office wall] that when they sign those - one's Red Rock expansion and I think the other one is the Spring Mountain National Recreation Area. When you sign those bills, they generally have you over for a signing ceremony. I did not get an invitation. They sent me the red line. I've got it packed away somewhere and the pen. But they never invited me over. But she really pushed hard to get the wilderness bill vetoed. She just did not like it at all. 10 Actually, I ve got five ot those. I got two from Bush. It's on the postal [Jim is a member of the US Postal Service Board of Governors] because I was appointed twice, one for full term then the other time with the National Security Policy Board and then the BRAC Commission [Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission] and then the West Point Board I was on. Since I left Congress I ve been on five different things that I've been appointed to in the federal government - boards and commissions. And you re enjoying that because you're keeping busy. You're not ready for retirement. No. No. I am 70 years old, but not yet. Well, I want to back up a little bit and actually talk about a few things before wilderness. Your efforts in establishing wilderness for Nevada's Forest Service Lands, that's a significant accomplishment. But was there anything before that, I mean that we can think of that we can point to, significant environmental accomplishments? I know there was debate in Nevada sometime around then about transferring lands from the BLM to the Forest Service. There was that going on. Well, the Sagebrush Rebellion was the biggest fight that I had when we were up there. If you remember that was a huge proble