The Senate Interior and Insular Affairs Committee had jurisdiction over all legislation dealing with public lands and territories, national parks and battlefields, forest reserves, irrigation and reclamation, water supply and mineral resources. Increasingly, the committee also handled environmental and energy issues. Jerry Verkler joined the committee's staff in 1961, under the chairmanship of
Clinton P. Anderson
and became staff director under
Henry M. Jackson
. Verkler particularly played a leading role in passage of the Wilderness Act of 1964, which created the National Wilderness System, and the act establishing the Land and Water Conservation Fund.