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NFC: Fw: [Updates] River Policy Update -- Week of March 27, 2000
VIEW THIS ON THE AMERICAN RIVERS WEBPAGE WITH DIRECT LINKS TO THE ACTUAL
American Rivers Policy Update
For the week of March 27, 2000
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IMPENDING FEDERAL ACTION
Comment Period on Snake River Dams Closes March 31:
Federal agencies will soon decide whether to remove dams to aid rapidly
declining salmon runs. The public comment period, which opened in
will close on March 31. To voice your opinion, visit
For more information, visit www.amrivers.org.
ON THE FLOOR THIS WEEK
S. 1694 to direct the Secretary of Interior to conduct a study on the
reclamation and reuse of water and wastewater in Hawaii. The legislation
would direct the Bureau of Reclamation to survey irrigation and water
delivery systems in the state, identify the cost of rehabilitating the
systems, and evaluate the demand for their future use.
S. 1167 to amend the Pacific Northwest Electric Power Planning and
Conservation Act to provide for expanding the scope of the Independent
Scientific Review Panel. The panel is currently responsible for reviewing
the proposed fish and wildlife programs funded by the Bonneville Power
Administration. Senators Slade Gorton (R-WA), Gordon Smith (R-OR), and
Craig (R-ID) sponsored the bill.
H.R. 1444 to authorize the Secretary of Interior to establish a program
plan, design, and construct facilities to mitigate the impacts associated
with irrigation system water diversions by local governmental entities in
the Pacific Ocean drainage of Oregon, Washington, Montana, and Idaho. The
bill would authorize $25 million a year through FY’05 for projects
on developing and implementing fish screens and fish passage devices.
H.R. 3090 to amend the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act and restore
50,000 acres to the Elim Corporation.
S. 1629 to authorize a complicated land trade involving 104,000 acres of
intermingled public and private lands in northeastern Oregon.
Confirmation of nominations of Michael McCabe for the position of Deputy
Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and Eric Eberhard to
serve as trustee of the Udall Foundation.
H.R. 910 to address pollution spreading from an aquifer in Southern
California that could potentially affect water used by at least 3 million
H.R. 3908 to make emergency supplemental appropriations for the current
fiscal year ending September 30, 2000. Floor action is scheduled for
Wednesday or Thursday. The House Appropriations Committee approved the $9
billion bill on March 9. Most of the money would go to Kosovo
efforts, flood relief and property damage from hurricanes and storms in
North Carolina and along the East Coast, and counter narcotics operations
Columbia and neighboring countries. The bill is well above President
’s request of $5.6 billion and addresses few energy and environmental
programs. The bill would provide $35 million for continued technical
assistance for the Conservation Reserve Program and Wetland Reserve
$4 million for National Park Service repairs to storm-damaged visitor
facilities, equipment, roads, trials, and cultural sites in a number of
states; $1.8 million for USGS surveys and investigations to replace
storm-damaged stream monitoring equipment; and $16 million to accelerate
environmental cleanup at the Paducah, Kentucky and Portsmouth, Ohio
diffusion plants. Congressional leadership and the Clinton Administration
hope to have the supplemental appropriations bill passed before April 17
Trouble With FY’01 Budget Resolution:
Early last Friday morning, the House passed a $1.82 trillion concurrent
budget resolution for FY’01 that sets aside $150 billion for tax
over five years and cuts government spending levels to well below those
requested by President Clinton. The vote was very close – 211-207. Of the
total, $595.5 billion would be for discretionary programs, an increase of
$10.5 over FY’00 but almost $30 billion below President Clinton’s
The proposal would provide $306 billion for defense, and $60 billion held
reserve. The House defeated amendments to increase or reduce defense
spending, speed up elimination of public debt, and repeal some taxes. A
number of members criticized the measure for failing to include adequate
funding for measures such as President Clinton’s Lands Legacy initiative.
The resolution would also likely lead to cuts in spending for the
Park Service and environmental assistance to states and a localities.
Due to a split in leadership, the Senate Budget Committee put off its
on the resolution from last Thursday to Wednesday of this week. Senator
Gramm (R-TX) and some other conservative members of the committee
to oppose the measure, believing the funding levels to be too high.
fear the spending levels are too low and will result in a repeat of last
fall’s budget battle that ended with Congress breaching budget caps by
almost $35 million.
The budget resolution is an internal Congressional document that is not
to the Administration for President Clinton’s approval.
The Senate Budget Committee will meet on the budget resolution at 3:15
on March 28 in 608 Dirksen. Senate Budget contacts are Bill Hoagland,
majority, 202-224-0642 and Bruce King, minority, 202-224-9712.
Appropriations Subcommittee Hearings This Week:
House, Commerce: Testimony on funding for NOAA at 10 a.m. on March 30 in
House, Energy and Water: Hearing on funding for the US Army Corps of
Engineers at 10 a.m. on March 29 in 2362B Rayburn.
House, Energy and Water: Hearing on funding for the Bureau of Reclamation
March 30 at 10 a.m. in 2362B Rayburn.
House, Interior: Testimony from National Park Service officials on their
agency’s budget proposal at 10 a.m. on March 29 in B-308 Rayburn.
House, VA-HUD: Hearing on funding for the EPA at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
March 29 in 2359 Rayburn.
Senate, Interior: Testimony from Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt on
for the Interior Department at 9:30 a.m. on March 29 in 124 Dirksen.
ESA Bill Up for Discussion:
The House Resources Committee will discuss Representative Don Young’s
(R-AK) bill (H.R. 3160) to amend the Endangered Species Act. The Common
Sense Protection for Endangered Species bill faces a likely veto by the
Clinton Administration and is opposed by the Endangered Species
On March 1, the heads of the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the
Marine Fisheries Service testified against the bill, asserting that it
fundamentally flawed and would undermine public and private efforts to
conserve endangered species. The bill would shift the burden of saving
listed species to private landowners, states, and tribes, which would
severe consequences for species according to Jamie Rappaport Clark of the
The hearing is set for 11:00 a.m. on March 29 in 1324 Longworth. House
Resources contacts are Elizabeth Megginson, majority, 202-225-7800 and
Flemma, minority, 202-226-2311. For more information, visit
PARKS AND LANDS
Hearing on Mine Reclamation:
This week, the House Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral
will discuss a bill (H.R. 2753) intended to authorize the US Army Corps
Engineers to aid in reclamation of abandoned hardrock mining sites in
Western states. The bill would enable the Corps to provide technical,
planning, design, remediation, and construction assistance to address
environmental and water quality problems associated with abandoned or
inactive non-coal mines. The federal government would cover 65% of the
of cleanup on non-federal lands and all costs on federal lands, with
funding set at $45 million.
The hearing is set for 10 a.m. on March 28 in 1324 Longworth. House
Resources contacts are Bill Condit, majority, 202-225-9297 and Deborah
Lanzone, minority, 202-226-2311.
Hearing on Refuge Bills:
On Thursday, a House Resources subcommittee will discuss two refuge
H.R. 3292 and H.R. 3176. H.R. 3292, introduced by Representative Richard
Baker (R-LA) would create the Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge north
Baton Rouge. According to the bill, Cat Island is the southernmost
portion of the Mississippi River and is one of the last remaining tracts
the lower Mississippi Valley still influenced by the river’s natural
dynamics. The island is covered with a virgin cypress forest and has one
tree that is 17 feet wide with a circumference of 53 feet. The bill would
authorize the Fish and Wildlife Service to purchase or solicit the
of approximately 9,477 acres on the island and in adjacent water areas
inclusion in the refuge.
H.R. 3167 would direct the FWS to study how to restore Kealia Pond
Wildlife Refuge in Hawaii. The refuge was created in 1992 on the island
Maui. In the 1970s, the site was used for aquaculture. The dikes created
the work still remain and block the natural flushing of the wetlands and
ponds. The bill would authorize a year-long study of how to restore the
natural wetland conditions with a budget of $250,000.
The hearing will be held at 2 p.m. on March 30 in 1324 Longworth. House
Resources contacts are Harry Burroughs, majority, 202-226-0200 and Dave
Jansen, minority, 202-226-23311.
Hearing on Roadless Initiative:
Acting Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality George Frampton
appear before the Senate Energy Subcommittee on Forests and Public Land
Management to discuss the US Forest Service’s development of a proposal
sharply restrict road construction in national forest areas that are
currently roadless. The Service has temporarily halted all road
in such areas to allow completion of an agency-wide roads policy.
will discuss the Service’s compliance with the National Environmental
Act and other issues.
The hearing will be held at 2:30 p.m. on March 30 in 366 Dirksen. Senate
Energy contacts are Mark Rey, majority, 202-224-4971 and Kira Finkler,
The subcommittee will also hold a hearing this week on a bill to
uniform procedures for permitting guides and outfitters to operate on
federal lands (S. 1969) and two land-trade bills in Idaho (S. 1778) and
Wyoming (S. 1894). The hearing is set for 2:30 p.m. on March 29 in 366
Hydropower Licensing Under Discussion:
The issue of hydropower license renewals will be the focus of a hearing
this week by the House Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power. Members
will hear from representatives from the National Hydropower Association,
American Rivers, federal agencies, state and local governments, and other
interested parties about how the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
relicences non-federal hydropower dams on the nation’s rivers. In the
decade and a half, more than half of the nation’s non-federal hydropower
facilities will come up for license renewals, totaling 250 dams and
megawatts of electricity. The process for each license can take 5-7 years
and licenses last for 30-50 years.
The focus of the hearing will be H.R. 2335, the Hydroelectric Licensing
Process Improvement Act introduced by Representative Edolphus Towns
Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) has introduced similar legislation in the
Senate – S. 740. According to American Rivers, the relicensing process
should be improved through administrative reforms instead of a
fix. The group emphasized that consulting agencies should retain their
authority to impose conditions that protect the environment without being
overruled by FERC, a provision that has been upheld by the courts. For
information, visit http://www.amrivers.org/hydro-press.html
The subcommittee will also discuss six bills dealing with individual
HR 1262: To provide that existing facilities located on the Pentwater
in Michigan are not required to be licensed by FERC under part 1 of the
Federal Power Act.
HR 3852: To extend the deadline for commencement of construction of a
hydroelectric project in Alabama.
S 422: To provide for Alaska state jurisdiction over small hydroelectric
S 334: To amend the Federal Power Act to remove the jurisdiction of FERC
license projects on fresh waters in the state of Hawaii.
S 1236: To extend the deadline under the Federal Power Act for
of construction of the Arrowrock Dam hydroelectric project in Idaho.
S 1937: To amend the Pacific Northwest Electric Power Planning and
Conservation Act to provide for sales of electricity by the Bonneville
Administration to joint operating entities.
The hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday, March 30, in 2322 Rayburn.
House Commerce contacts are Joe Kelliher, majority, 202-225-2927 and Rick
Kessler, minority, 202-226-3400.
CALFED Hearing Set:
The House Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power will discuss two
issues of great importance to California – operation of the massive
Valley Project and the CALFED program. The programs affect the Sacramento
and San Joaquin rivers and San Francisco Bay, a 1,153 square-mile delta
is the largest estuary on the west coast of North America and supplies
to about 2/3 of the state’s population. Two major networks of dams,
reservoirs, canals, tunnels, pumping stations, and other facilities – the
State Water Project and the Central Valley Project (CVP) – move water
the rivers to provide some 5.5 million acre-feet a year to farmers and
in central and southern California and San Francisco. Due to the massive
water projects, increased non-point source runoff, increased
and other impacts the delta’s water flows and water quality have been
seriously altered. As a result, many of the delta’s species are in
and several have been placed on the federal Endangered Species list.
to the existing stresses on water distribution and species survival,
California’s rapidly growing suburban population is expected to jump from
million in 1995 to 47.5 million in 2020. Water demand by that date may
exceed supply by 2.4 million acre-feet during normal years and as much as
6.2 million acre-feet in drought years.
The language of the CVP calls for guarantees that 800,000 acre-feet
previously diverted to farms would remain in rivers for fish or be
to wildlife refuges, ensures annual instream flows for the Trinity River
Central Valley wildlife refuges, creation of programs for anadromous fish
restoration, and establishment of a $50 million a year environmental
restoration fund. But these provisions have not taken hold.
The CALFED program, begun in 1994, involves federal, state, and local
entities working together to address three major areas of concern for
bay-delta management: formulation of water quality standards,
of State Water Project and CVP operations with regulatory requirements,
long term solutions to problems in the bay-delta estuary. Plans are due
summer on a 30-year, $10-billion strategy to solve the delta’s problems.
The hearing is set for 10 a.m. on March 30 in 1334 Longworth. House
Resources contacts are Bob Faber, majority, 202-225-8331 and Steve
457 Organizations Have Signed On To This Year’s River Budget. It’s Not
Late For Your Organization:
American Rivers is still accepting sign-ons for the River Budget:
Priorities for Local River Conservation in FY 2001. (See
http://www.amrivers.org/rbudget2001list.html for the full list of sign on
groups as of March 1).
To see the final River Budget for FY’01 visit
http://www.amrivers.org/rbudget.html. To sign on in support, contact Suzy
McDowell at smcdowell at amrivers_org.
Note – the River Budget for FY’01 went to the printers in late October.
groups that sign on to the River Budget after November 15 will be listed
an addendum sheet to be inserted in the printed documents and added to
online list of sign on groups.
March 28, 10 a.m.: House Resources subcommittee hearing on H.R. 2753 on
reclamation. Location: 1324 Longworth.
March 28, 3:15 p.m.: Senate Budget Committee to meet on the FY’01
congressional budget resolution. Location: 608 Dirksen.
March 29, 11 a.m.: House Resources Committee hearing on legislation to
the Endangered Species Act. Location: 1324 Longworth.
March 29, 2:30 p.m.: Senate Energy subcommittee hearing on outfitters
and land trades in Idaho and Wyoming. Location: 366 Dirksen.
March 30, 10 a.m.: House Commerce Subcommittee on Water and Power hearing
legislation to amend the process for relicensing non-federal dams under
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Location: 2322 Rayburn.
March 30, 10 a.m.: House Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power
on two California water projects. Location: 1334 Longworth.
March 30, 2 p.m.: House Resources subcommittee hearing on wildlife refuge
bills for LA and HI. Location: 1324 Longworth.
March 30, 2:30 p.m.: Senate Energy Subcommittee on Forest and Public Land
Management hearing on the Forest Service’s roadless initiative. Location:
LINKS TO PAST UPDATES:
March 20: http://www.amrivers.org/policy3-20.html
March 13: http://www.amrivers.org/policy3-13.html
March 6: http://www.amrivers.org/policy3-6.html
February 28: http://www.amrivers.org/policy2-28.html
February 21: http://www.amrivers.org/policy2-21.html
February 14: http://www.amrivers.org/policy2-14.html
February 7: http://www.amrivers.org/policy2-7.html
January 31: http://www.amrivers.org/policy1-31.html
January 24: http://www.amrivers.org/policy1-24.html
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Legislative information taken from many sources including Thomas,
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