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NFC: Fw: [Updates] River Policy Update -- Week of April 3, 2000
VIEW THIS ON THE AMERICAN RIVERS WEBPAGE WITH DIRECT LINKS TO THE ACTUAL
American Rivers Policy Update
For the week of April 3, 2000
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IMPENDING FEDERAL ACTION
Comment Period on Snake River Dams Extended to April 30:
Federal agencies will soon decide whether to remove dams to aid rapidly
declining salmon runs. The public comment period, which opened in
will has been extended by a month to April 30. To voice your opinion,
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. 3671 to cap the amount the US Fish and Wildlife Service may spend on
administering two popular programs providing grants to states for fish
wildlife restoration programs.
FY’01 Budget Resolution Moves to Senate Floor:
As early as Tuesday, the full Senate could begin debate $1.82 trillion
concurrent budget resolution for FY’01 that sets aside $150 billion for
reduction over five years and cuts government spending levels to well
those requested by President Clinton. Senate rules allow 50 hours for
consideration of a budget resolution. The Senate Budget Committee
the measure 12-10 along party lines last week. Of the total, $595.5
would be for discretionary programs, an increase of $10.5 over FY’00 but
almost $30 billion below President Clinton’s request. The proposal would
provide $306 billion for defense, and $60 billion held in reserve. The
resolution would provide $24.9 billion for natural resources and the
environment, $1.5 billion below President Clinton’s request. Although the
broad framework matches the House resolution (H. Con. Res. 290) approved
the House 211-207 on March 24, the Senate and House versions differ in
specific spending allocations.
Based on an agreement negotiated with Senator Phil Gramm (R-TX) and some
other conservative Senators to gain their support, the resolution
provisions that would make it more difficult for Congress to increase
spending levels. Provisions include banning shifts in funding from one
to another and requiring that a shift in date of payment and advance
appropriations, emergency designations, delayed obligations, and use of
defense money for non-defense purposes be subject to a point of order
requires 60 votes).
The budget resolution is an internal Congressional document that is not
to the Administration for President Clinton’s approval.
Hearing on FY’00 Emergency Appropriations:
This week, the Senate Appropriations Committee will take up the FY’01
emergency supplemental appropriations bill. By taking up the legislation,
Senate Appropriations Chair Ted Stevens (R-AK) is going against the
of Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS), who would prefer not to have a
supplemental bill but instead have the key components of the measure
into the regular appropriations bills. A markup is expected on Tuesday,
no specific time or location has been set.
Appropriations Subcommittees will hold the following hearings this week
FY’01 funding proposals:
House Subcommittee on Interior will hear from public witnesses on natural
resource, energy conservation, and research programs at 10 a.m. and 1:30
p.m. on April 6 in B-308 Rayburn.
Senate Subcommittee on Interior will hear from Interior Secretary Bruce
Babbitt at 9:30 a.m. on April 5 in 124 Dirksen.
PARKS AND PUBLIC LANDS
More on the Everglades:
On Wednesday, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior will
the next in a series of hearings on the plan to restore the Everglades
surrounding south Florida ecosystem. The focus of the hearing will be
acquisition efforts related to the initiative.
Last summer, President Clinton announced the $7.8 billion state and
plan to restore more and better freshwater to the Everglades while
adequate water supplies for the region’s cities and farms. Called the
Restudy project, the multi-agency initiative seeks to recapture 80% of
1.7 billion gallons of freshwater currently diverted out to sea and would
affect an 18,000-square mile area from south of Orlando to Florida Bay.
5 million people and an abundance of birds and wildlife inhabit the
The Restudy plan calls for 181,000 acres of new reservoirs, 35,600 acres
restored or constructed wetlands, removal of nearly 240 miles of levees
canals, and elevations of portions of a major highway.
Thus far, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior has provided
some $1.4 billion for the restoration effort, largely for land
The hearing will be held in B-308 Rayburn on April 5 at 10 a.m. House
Appropriations contacts are Deborah Weatherly, majority, 202-225-3081 and
Mike Stephens, minority, 202-225-3481.
House Resources Markup of Many Bills:
On Wednesday, the House Resources Committee aims to mark up a number of
H.R. 3182 to give Craig, Alaska, 4,532 acres of land from the Tongass
H.R. 3605 to preserve the resources of San Rafael Swell in eastern Utah;
H.R. 4021 to stall the designation of a 400,000-acre national monument to
protect groves of ancient sequoias in California;
H.R. 3919 to authorize a $60 million, 4-year effort to fund efforts to
protect coral reefs;
H.R. 2958 to grant up to 500,000 acres of federal land to the University
The markup is set for 11 a.m. on April 5 in 1324 Longworth.
Wild and Scenic River Bill:
The House Resources Subcommittee on Parks and Public Lands will discuss
bill to add the Wekiva River in Florida to the Wild and Scenic Rivers
System. If designated, the Wekiva would become the second river in
in the rivers system – the first being the Loxahatchee. H.R. 2773,
introduced by Representative Bill McCollum (R-FL) would protect a total
41.6 miles along the Wekiva River, Rock Springs Run, Seminole Creek, and
Black Water Creek as wild and scenic.
The hearing is set for 10 a.m. on April 4 in 1324 Longworth. House
contacts are Allen Freemyer, majority, 202-226-7736 and David Watkins,
Also this week, the Senate Energy Committee will markup bills to add the
Lamprey River in New Hampshire (S. 972) and White Clay Creek in Delaware
1849) to the Wild and Scenic Rivers System. The markup is set for 9:30
on April 5 in 366 Dirksen. Senate Energy contacts are Jim O’Toole,
202-224-4971 and David Brooks, minority, 202-224-4103.
Hydropower Licensing Discussion:
Last week, the House Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power discussed
the issue of hydropower license renewals. Members will hear from
representatives from the National Hydropower Association, American
federal agencies, state and local governments, and other interested
provided testimony 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 was H.R. 2335, the Hydroelectric Licensing
Improvement Act introduced by Representative Edolphus Towns (D-NY).
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 congressional fix.
group emphasized that consulting agencies should retain their authority
impose conditions that protect the environment without being overruled by
FERC, a provision that has been upheld by the courts. For more
John Leshy, solicitor for the Interior Department, voiced his concerns
the Towns bill, calling it a ‘serious step backwards” for the
BPA Plan up for Discussion:
The House Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power will hold an
hearing on the Bonneville Power Administration’s new market-based “slice
the system” contract and two Pacific Northwest water quality bills. In
response to the move to deregulate the electric industry, the BPA has
proposed a more market-based program. With about 75% of BPA’s power sales
contracts will expire at the end of 2001, the agency hopes to begin
contracts with customers in April. The slice of the system proposal would
allow utility districts in the Pacific Northwest to pay a fixed
of BPA’s power costs in exchange for an equal fixed percentage of BPA’s
electricity generation and transmission capacity.
The subcommittee will also discuss two water quality bills. H.R. 1113
provide for development and implementation of a broad range of projects
the Colusa Basin Watershed north of Sacramento in California. Projects
include drainage, storm and flood control, environmental infrastructure
resource protection, and development projects. The bill would call upon
Secretary of Interior to ensure that funded projects complied with
protection and environmental restoration projects being implemented under
the Central Valley Project Improvement Act of the CALFED bay-delta
H.R. 1878 would reauthorize the Bureau of Reclamation’s participation in
the Deschutes Resources Conservancy and require the Bureau to pay for up
$2 million per year for FY’02 through FY’06 for Deschutes Basin ecosystem
restoration projects. A companion bill (S. 1027) passed the Senate.
The hearing is set for 2 p.m. on April 6 in 1324 Longworth. House
contacts are Robert Faber, majority, 202-225-8331 and Steve Lanich,
April 4, 10 a.m.: House Resources Subcommittee on National Parks and
Lands hearing on H.R. 2773 to add 41.6 miles of the Wekiva River in
to the Wild and Scenic Rivers System. Location: 1324 Longworth.
April 4, 2 p.m.: House Resources Committee hearing on two bills to
water rights settlements that the state and federal governments have
negotiated with Indian tribes in Utah – H.R. 3291 and H.R. 3468.
April 4, 2 p.m.: House Resources Subcommittee on Forests and Forest
hearing on the effect of new Forest Service rules on recreation in
forests. Location 1334 Longworth.
April 5, 9:30 a.m.: Senate Energy Committee markup of legislation to
stabilize the level of revenue sharing payments from natural resource
development receipts to rural counties (S. 1608). Location: 366 Dirksen.
committee will also mark up numerous lands, forests, and river bills
including two wild and scenic rivers bills, S. 1612 to direct the Bureau
Reclamation to convey a portion of the Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin flood
control and irrigation project to several reclamation districts, S. 1474
convey the Palmetto Bend project to the state of Texas, and legislation
regarding oil and gas leasing on the coastal plain of Alaska’s Arctic
National Wildlife Refuge.
April 5, 11 a.m.: House Resources Committee markup of many lands bills.
Location: 1324 Longworth.
April 5, time TBA: Senate Energy Subcommittee on Forests and Public Land
Management hearing on the US Forest Service’s proposal for a 5-year
strategic plan governing the agency’s management by defining its
goals and objectives. Location: 366 Dirksen.
April 6, 10 a.m.: House Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation,
Wildlife, and Oceans hearing on a bill to establish the Cat Island
Wildlife Refuge in Louisiana (H.R. 3292) and a bill to direct the US Fish
and Wildlife Service to study how to restore Kealia Pond National
Refuge in Hawaii (H.R. 3176). Location: 1334 Longworth. Immediately
following the hearing, the subcommittee will discuss implementation of
1972 Marine Mammal Protection Act.
April 6, 2 p.m.: House Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power hearing
water bills. Location: 1324 Longworth.
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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