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NFC: Fw: [Updates] River Policy Update -- Week of April 17, 2000
VIEW THIS ON THE AMERICAN RIVERS WEBPAGE WITH DIRECT LINKS TO THE ACTUAL
American Rivers Policy Update
For the week of April 17, 2000
NOTE: Congress is on spring recess April 15-May 1. Most members will be
in their district/state offices during this time.
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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.
AMERICAN RIVERS ACTION NETWORK
To receive action alerts in addition to this River Policy Update, visit
area on American Rivers’ Action Network at
http://www.actionnetwork.org/home.tcl?domain=AMRIVERS and check off the
river issues you want to take action on.
Congress Clears Budget Conference Report:
Late last week, Congress approved a Republican-drafted $1.87 trillion
budget plan that included the Senate’s higher defense spending level but
dropped a Senate-sponsored provision that could have opened the Arctic
National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas exploration. The House approved
Con. Res. 290 along near party lines 220-208 and the Senate approved the
The conference agreement calls for total discretionary spending of $600.2
billion, of which $310.8 billion would go to defense programs and $289.4
billion for non-defense. The non-defense funding level is about $30
below President Clinton’s request. The defense portion of the funding
includes a Senate addition of $3.5 billion in lieu of acting on a
House-passed FY’00 supplemental bill that included funds for defense.
The budget provides natural resources and the environment with $24.2
billion, well below the $26.4 billion called for by the Clinton
Administration, and $3 billion for energy. House Minority Leader Richard
Gephardt (D-MO) predicted that Congress would face “the same drawn-out
contentiousness” seen in last falls budget struggles, in which
found themselves billions short for popular domestic programs. According
Representative John Spratt (D-SC), senior Democrat on the Budget
energy research funding would drop by 29% by 2002. Many also voiced
that the budget resolution did not include sufficient funding for
Clinton’s Lands Legacy Initiative.
The final conference report included several Senate-sponsored provisions
make it difficult to get around spending caps, allowing points of order
be raised against using defense dollars for non-defense programs,
appropriations to the following fiscal year, and designating spending as
emergency. An effort to set aside the points of order would need the
of 60 Senators.
Republican senators Lincoln Chafee (RI), James Jeffords (VT), John
(AZ), and Arlen Specter (PA) joined Democrats in voting against the
To see the President’s request for key federal programs that affect river
health, visit http://www.amrivers.org/overview2001.pdf and
PARKS AND PUBLIC LANDS
Senate Passes Number of Energy and Natural Resources Bills:
Last Thursday, the Senate passed a number of bills reported by the
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, including:
S. 1705 to authorize the National Park Service to acquire the Castle Rock
Ranch in south central Idaho in exchange for the Hagerman Fossil Beds.
trade is with the state of Idaho.
H.R. 3063 to allow the Interior Department to double the size of leases
sodium from the current 15,360 acres. The bill is a companion to S. 1722.
S. 1778 to allow the exchange of land around the Cascade Reservoir, north
Boise, Idaho. The exchange is currently barred by a 1940’s law that
the Bureau of Land Management from exchanging lands within 300 feet of
high water mark of the reservoir. S. 1778 would drop the exchange ban and
allow farmers and ranchers to trade easements for other lands elsewhere,
moving agricultural activities away from the lake.
S. 503 to set aside 18,000 acres in the San Isabel National Forest in
Colorado as the Spanish Peaks Wilderness.
S. 1694 to direct the Bureau of Reclamation to survey irrigation and
delivery systems in Hawaii, identify the cost of rehabilitation, and
evaluate the demand for future use.
S. 1167 to expand the scope of the Independent Scientific Review Panel,
which reviews the proposed fish and wildlife programs funded by the
Bonneville Power Administration. Some groups fear that by expanding the
scope of the panel to include review of all federal fish and wildlife
projects through the Columbia River Basin, the bill will overburden the
panel and decrease its ability to assess projects.
H.R. 150 to give the Forest Service authority to make land grants to
municipal governments, and local education authorities for building
elementary and secondary schools.
H.R. 1444 to direct the Interior Department to develop and implement
projects for fish screens, fish passage devices, and other similar
to mitigate the impact of irrigation system water diversions by local
governmental entities in Oregon, Washington, Montana, and Idaho.
S. 1629 to authorize a land trade involving 104,000 acres of intermingled
public and private land in northeastern Oregon.
H.R. 3090 to give 50,000 acres near Norton Bay to the Elim Native
S. 1797 to give the city of Craig, Alaska 4,532 acres from the Tongass
National Forest as a land base to generate revenue for local services.
tract, 20 miles outside Craig, is worth an estimated $8 million.
S. 1892 to authorize the purchase of Baca Ranch, which is home to one of
largest wild elk herds in the nation and the world-renowned Valles
the collapsed crater of an ancient volcano.
Lands Bills Moved by House Resources Subcommittee:
Before leaving for the spring break, members of the House Resources
Subcommittee on Parks and Public Lands gave the go ahead to a number of
bills, sending them to the full committee.
Among the bills was H.R. 3676 to establish the 280,000-acre Santa Rosa
San Jacinto Mountains National Monument near Palm Springs. Introduced by
Representative Mary Bono (R-CA), the bill did not get Clinton
support. Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt has stated his opposition to
measure and that he would recommend a veto if it goes before President
Clinton. On March 16, Secretary Babbitt testified that the bill
"unfortunately fails in many critical respects to provide necessary
protections. Should it be sent to the president as currently written, I
would recommend that the president veto the bill." Babbitt expressed
that the bill included insufficient interim protection for the area while
management plan was developed and the bill’s language on buffer zone
restrictions, rights-of-way, and water rights.
The monument would encompass Bureau of Land Management and Forest
land. In general, the legislation would direct the agencies, to the
possible, to continue to allow recreational uses such as hiking, camping,
mountain biking, sightseeing and horseback riding as well as hunting,
trapping and fishing, as under current law. Except for emergencies or
administrative purposes, however, motor vehicles would be restricted to
designated roads and trails and only valid existing mining and mineral
development rights would be allowed.
The subcommittee also approved H.R. 2950 to authorize a complicated
proposal for 104,000 acres of intermingled public and private land in
Wild and Scenic Rivers Move:
The Senate approved two bills to add river segments to the national Wild
and Scenic Rivers System last week. S. 1849 would to designate portions
White Clay Creek in Pennsylvania and Delaware as part of protected river
system, and H.R. 1615 would add another 12 miles to the already
portion of New Hampshire’s Lamprey River.
The House Resources Subcommittee on Parks and Public Lands approved two
Wild and Scenic Rivers bills last week – S. 1569 and H.R. 2773. S. 1569
would to direct the National Park Service to study 40 miles of the
River, south of Boston, and part of its major tributary – the Nemasket
River – for possible addition to the Wild and Scenic Rivers System. The
Subcommittee will also look at companion legislation – H.R. 2778. The
also provides habitat for 7 freshwater mussel species and striped bass
bald eagles. The waterway is also at the center of the revitalized old
town of Taunton. If approved, the bill would give the Park Service three
years to complete the study and report to Congress.
H.R. 2773 would protect a total of 41.6 miles along Wekiva River and its
tributaries of Rock Springs Run and Seminole Creek in Florida as part of
Wild and Scenic Rivers System.
Bipartisan Water Infrastructure Caucus Announced:
On April 12, a number of Members of Congress announced the formation of
Water Infrastructure Caucus aimed at helping alleviate the problems of
and failing drinking water and wastewater treatment systems. According to
study by the Environmental Protection Agency, the nation’s cities and
will face an estimated $20 billion annual funding gap for water
infrastructure improvements over the next two decades. According to
Congressman Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY), “The public health, environmental,
economic implications of failing wastewater and drinking water systems
be understood – and addressed.”
For more information, visit www.house.gov/boehlert/watercaucus.htm
Beach Water Quality Bills Move:
Last week, the Senate Environment Committee approved two bills – S. 522
H.R. 999 – developed to improve water quality and increase monitoring of
coastal recreation waters and ensure consistent health safety standards
the nation’s beaches. S. 522 and H.R. 999 would mandate that states adopt
water quality criteria consistent with the Clean Water Act within 3 years
and call upon the Environmental Protection Agency to study potential
risks posed by coastal waters to swimmers and others. EPA would be
authorized to provide grant money to states to help cover the costs of
implementing the provisions of the legislation.
The Committee also approved reauthorization of the 1984 Water Resources
Research Act (S. 2297) at $76 million for FY’01-FY’05.
House Transportation Committee Moves Bills:
The House Transportation Committee approved a number of water quality
H.R. 1237 to reauthorize the National Estuary Program through fiscal 2004
and amend the Clean Water Act to require that grants made under the
be used for developing estuary conservation and management plans.
H.R. 673, the Florida Keys Water Quality Improvements Act, to authorize
Environmental Protection Agency to make grants to the Florida Keys
Authority and other state and local agencies to improve water quality
throughout the Keys' marine ecosystem.
H.R. 3313, the Long Island Sound Restoration Act, to amend the Clean
Act to permit the establishment of a system for trading nitrogen credits
within the process for granting watershed general permits.
H.R.855, the Long Island Sound Preservation and Protection Act, to revise
regulations for the dumping of dredged material in Long Island Sound.
H.R. 2957, the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Restoration Act, to amend the
Water Act to create a Lake Pontchartrain Basin Restoration Program.
H.R.1106, the Alternative Water Sources Act, to authorize EPA grants to
state, local or other agencies to develop alternative sources of water.
Congress is on spring recess through May 1.
LINKS TO PAST UPDATES:
April 10: http://www.amrivers.org/policy4-10.html
April 3: http://www.amrivers.org/policy4-3.html
March 27: http://www.amrivers.org/policy3-27.html
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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smcdowell at amrivers_org or 202-347-7550x3040.
Legislative information taken from many sources including Thomas,
Congressional Greensheets, Greenwire, and Roll Call.
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Washington, DC 20005
smcdowell at amrivers_org
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