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NFC: Fw: RE: CARA Update (fwd)....the billion $ conservation bill

CARA Update

1. Senate Mark-Up Postponed
2. New editorials
3. New Cosponsors
4. Supporting list grows to over 5000 including Republican Govs Assn. 
5. Save our Summers campaign continues - bluebird houses
6. Reminders for Congressional Recess and CARA FLY-IN

1.      The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has once again
postponed mark-up of CARA/CASA. Scheduled to occur on Wed., June 28th,
it is now expected to be week of July 10th (next week is "recess" and
the Senate will not be in session).  The lead Senators, Chairman
Murkowski and Ranking Democrat Bingaman, simply ran out of time to reach
an agreement and have enough time to actually mark-up the bill in
committee (they believe it may take 2 days of committee action).  The
outstanding issues that remain include the federal side of LWCF, amount
and distribution of coastal funds, and overall budget issues.  The lead
senators are working towards an agreement by the end of this week and
then mark-up the week they return from recess.  We'll keep you updated
as we learn more.

2.      Three new positive editorials were published this week including
the Albuquerque Journal and today's Detroit News, New York Times (see
NYT piece at bottom), and Great Falls Tribune (MT).  Last week the Daily
Astorian (OR), Sioux Falls Argus Leader (SD), Plain Dealer (OH), Idaho
Statesman (ID), Seattle Times (WA), The Forum (ND) all weighed in favor
of CARA and often pointedly urging the Senators by name to support the

3.      Sen. Dodd (D-CT) became a cosponsor of CARA (S. 2123) and CASA
(S. 2181) and Sen Roberts (R-KS) already a cosponsor of CARA, S. 25,
became a cosponsor of CARA, S. 2123. We now have a total of 52 Senators
on one or another of all the OCS related bills.  And we hear several
other Senators are moving towards co-sponsorship - KEEP IT UP. Let's get
that magic 60!!

4.      The list of organizations, businesses, elected officials and
government entities supporting "permanent conservation funding in CARA"
has topped 5000!!!  The latest addition includes the powerful Republican
Governors Assn. The RGA Environmental Issue Team Co-chairs, Govs.
Racicot (MT) and Whitman (NJ) sent a letter to Sen. Murkowski urging
passage of the bill out of committee.

5.      Lastly, we will be distributing to all 100 Senators bluebird
housed donated by Kansas Parks and Wildlife with a simple CARA message
about the birth of our nation as our home and making sure wildlife has a
home (it will sound better than this...but the point will be to make
some connection with July 4th and the bluebird houses and CARA!!). This
is a continuation of the Save our Summers Campaign. Additional items and
ideas are welcome.  

6.      REMEMBER: Take advantage of the Congressional recess to bring
CARA before your Senators in any forums they might be having back home.
Call their scheduler and find out what public events they may be having.
AND make your hotel reservations for the Congressional Education Day by
NEXT MONDAY, JULY 3RD!!! Please also register on the teaming web site so
we know what states will be represented. Thanks.

Reprint of today's NYT editorial:

The New York Times

June 27, 2000

A Historic Chance for Conservation

The most important land conservation bill in many years is now before
the United States Senate, and time is running out. The bill, which
passed the House in May by a resounding margin despite the opposition of
the House Republican leadership, would set aside nearly $3 billion a
year, most of it guaranteed, to buy parks and open space, provide
wildlife protection and restore damaged coastlines. The House bill was
largely the handiwork of two members who rarely agree on anything --
California's George Miller, a Democrat and staunch conservationist, and
Alaska's Don Young, a Republican who has been fighting environmentalists
for most of his career but who, on the verge of retirement, has done a
surprising about-face. 

A similar burst of bipartisan harmony will be necessary to get the bill
through the Senate before the political campaign swings into high gear
and makes meaningful legislation all but impossible. If they can
reconcile their differences, senators as diverse in philosophy as Frank
Murkowski of Alaska, who often tangles with environmentalists, and the
more liberal Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico can both emerge as heroes. 

The bill will not impose new taxes. For its financing it relies on the
same mechanism that has underwritten the government's main land
acquisition program, the Land and Water Conservation Fund, for 35 years
-- royalties from offshore oil production, mainly in the Gulf of Mexico.
These royalties now amount to about $4 billion annually, of which
three-fourths would be applied to this bill. There is an interesting
symmetry here -- dollars raised by depleting one natural resource would
be used to protect others. 

Among other things, the bill would help cities develop parks and
recreation areas, compensate state and local governments for lost tax
revenue when they buy land from private owners, and offer incentives for
improving habitat for endangered wildlife. But it is the two main
sections of the bill that most concern the administration, which
generally supports the measure, and are most at issue in the Senate. One
section would beef up the Land and Water Conservation Fund by dividing
$900 million between the federal government and the states to buy
ecologically valuable land. The other section would provide $1 billion
in aid to states like Louisiana and Alaska, ostensibly to restore
coastal areas damaged by offshore drilling operations. 

Both sections need work. 

As presently written, neither the House nor Senate version guarantees
funding for federal purchases under the Land and Water Conservation
Fund. It is the only part of the bill where funding is not guaranteed,
reflecting the bias of many Western senators and property rights
advocates against further enlargement of public lands. This must be
fixed. Some of the most important public purchases in recent years --
protecting Yellowstone National Park and buying up the Headwaters
redwood forest, for example -- have been federal projects. 

The coastal provision, meanwhile, is flawed by loose language that could
actually allow states to build the kind of infrastructure projects like
roads and port facilities that ruined the coastlines in the first place.
This is exactly what the bill should not allow. In Louisiana, for
example, the roads, pipelines and navigation channels built by the
offshore oil industry have created havoc in the Mississippi Delta, where
fisheries are declining and wetlands are disappearing at a rate of
20,000 acres a year. The language must be tightened to insure that the
money is earmarked exclusively for restoration purposes with strict
federal accountability. These fixes would turn what is now an ambitious
bill into a measure of lasting consequence.

Naomi Edelson
International Assn. of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
444 N. Capitol St., NW
Suite 544
Washington DC 20001
tel: (202) 624-7890
fax: (202) 624-7891
IAFWA Website: http://www.sso.org/iafwa <http://www.sso.org/iafwa>  
Check out the Teaming with Wildlife web site: http://www.teaming.com