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NFC: Fw: River Policy Update, Week of April 30, 2001

To read the River Policy Update online, visit American Rivers' Online 
Newsroom at www.americanrivers.org/policyupdates/default.htm and 
click on "River Policy Update." 

American Rivers' Policy Update
Week of April 30, 2001


* Energy Policy
* Budget
* Water Resources
* Climate Change
* Appropriations
* Congressional Calendar
* Take Action
* Jobs


White House Confirms Refuge Drilling in Energy Plan

This week White House spokesperson Ari Fleisher stated that the White 
House energy task force will recommend opening the Arctic National 
Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.  Fleisher directly contradicted 
statements made Sunday on CBS's "Face The Nation," by EPA 
Administrator Christie Todd Whitman.  Thirty-seven bipartisan House 
members will send Bush a letter on Monday advising him not to include 
ANWR drilling in the energy plan.  The White House task force is 
expected to submit its recommendations to Bush by mid-May.

Electricity Emergency Relief Act

This week the House Energy and Air Quality Subcommittee is holding 
two hearings on Chairman Joe Barton's (R-TX) bill, entitled 
the "Electricity Emergency Relief Act."  The bill, although intended 
to assist California to meet electricity demand over the next two 
years, would do little to serve that goal and would authorize 
unwarranted environmental damage by degrading air quality and the 
rivers we rely on for fisheries, recreation, and public enjoyment.  
Upon the declaration of a power emergency by a state governor, the 
bill would sweep away a host of general and project-specific laws 
designed to ensure that federal and private hydroelectric facilities 
are operated in the public interest.  This would jeopardize aquatic 
species including many species of Pacific salmon which are already 
endangered.  While the bill is aimed at the California energy crunch, 
many of its provisions would apply not just in California, but around 
the nation.  Specifically, the bill would exempt the nation's private 
hydropower dams from the environmental requirements in their 
operating licenses and it would exempt the Bonneville Power 
Administration (BPA) and the Bureau of Reclamation from all federal 
laws governing dam operations and from judicial review.  Waiving all 
laws in favor of maximizing hydroelectric generation by BPA would 
strip away legally-mandated protections for endangered salmon in the 
Columbia and Snake River systems and do little or nothing to increase 
power generation. 


Formal budget negotiations between House and Senate conferees and 
their staff are scheduled to resume this week. Conferees met last 
week to begin working through the process with little optimism that 
they would be able to strike a tentative deal this week.  Progress 
has been difficult given the significant discrepancies between tax-
cut and discretionary spending levels in the House and Senate budget 

The budget resolution does not go to the President for signing.  
However, it sets the overall spending ceiling and recommends funding 
levels for various categories or functions of government.  Actual 
funding of government departments and agencies will be provided in 13 
annual bills to be drafted by the Appropriations committees.

Floor Action: Scheduled for Wednesday or Thursday. 


Wild and Scenic Designation of the Eightmile River

H.R. 182: To include the Eightmile River in Connecticut to the Wild 
and Scenic Rivers system.

Floor Action: Scheduled for Tuesday, May 1, under suspension of the 

On March 28, the House Resources Committee approved the bill to 
direct the National Park Service to study the Eightmile River, which 
runs into the Connecticut River, for possible addition to the wild 
and scenic rivers system.  Rob Simmons (R-CT) and the Connecticut 
delegation introduced H.R. 182 on January 6.  

The Wild and Scenic Act of 1968 generally restricts development of a 
river designated as part of the system or that is under study for 
future designation.

Mississippi Delta

Advocates of Army Corps of Engineers reform are looking to eliminate 
eliminate two projects that the Bush administration has included in 
its proposed budget:  the Yazoo Backwater Project and the Big 
Sunflower River Maintenance Project.  Both of these projects, 
intended for flood control, would increase pollution from fertilizers 
and pesticides, destroy vast amounts of wetlands, and subsidize 
farming on marginal land.  In addition, the projects would waste 
millions of taxpayer dollars and would not provide effective flood 
control.  In its FY'02 budget the administration proposed $2 million 
in for the Big Sunflower project (a cut of $7 million from FY'01), 
and $1 million for the Yazoo Pumps (a cut of $500,000 from FY'01).  


This week Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and 
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold hearings on 
climate science issues and mitigation options for the harmful effects 
of rising global temperatures.  These hearings come one month after 
President Bush rejected the Kyoto treaty intended to cut back 
greenhouse gas emissions responsible for global warming.  Both 
committees will focus on the third report released by the United 
Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  The report 
suggests new and stronger evidence that most of the warming of the 
Earth over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities and 
predicts that the Earth's average temperature will rise 2.5 to 10.4 
degrees Fahrenheit by 2100.

The Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearing was held 
Tuesday, May 1 at 9:30 a.m. in Russell Senate Office Building 253.

The Environment and Public Works Committee hearing was held 
Wednesday, May 2 at 9:30 in Dirksen Senate Office Building 628.  


Department of Energy

House: On Wednesday, May 2, the House Energy and Water Development 
Appropriations Subcommittee will hold its first hearing of the year 
on the Bush administration's FY'02 budget request for Energy 
Department programs under its jurisdiction.  The entire DOE budget 
falls under the subcommittee's oversight except fossil fuels, 
conservation and other information programs.  Those programs come 
under the Interior Subcommittee's purview. 

The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, May 3 at 10 a.m. in Rayburn 
House Office Building. 

Senate: On Tuesday, May 2, the Senate Appropriations Energy and Water 
Development Subcommittee will met to discuss the DOE's $19.2 billion 
budget.  President Bush's proposed budget for FY'02 slashes more than 
$100 million from the Energy Department's budget for renewable 
resources.  Bush's budget requests $174 million for renewable 
resource technologies research and development, a 37 percent 
reduction from the FY'01 budget.  

The hearing was held Tuesday, May 2 at 10 a.m. in Dirksen Senate 
Office Building 124.



Energy and Commerce:
Hearing on Emergency Power Bill
Tuesday, May 1 at 1 p.m. in Rayburn House Office Building 2123

Hearing on Council on Environmental Quality
Wednesday, May 2 at 9 a.m. in Rayburn House Office Building B308

Transportation and Infrastructure:
Hearing on Army Corps of Engineers and EPA Budgets
Wednesday, May 2 at Rayburn House Office Building 2167

Hearing on Energy Supply and Demand
Wednesday, May 2 at 10 a.m. Longworth House Office Building 1300 

Energy and Commerce:
Hearing On Emergency Power Bill
Thursday, May 3 at 10 a.m. in Rayburn House Office Building 2123

Hearing on Department of Energy Appropriations
Thursday, May 3 at 10 a.m. in Rayburn House Office Building B308

Hearing on Geothermal Energy
Thursday, May 3 at 10 a.m. in Longworth House Office Building 1334

Hearing on Energy Consumption
Thursday, May 3 at 10 a.m. in Rayburn House Office Building 2318

Hearing on Acid Rain Science
Thursday, May 3 at 3 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Capitol, 550 C St. SW


Hearing on Climate Change Science
Tuesday, May 1 at 9:30 a.m. in Russell Senate Office Building 253

Hearing on Forest Service Funding
Tuesday, May 1 at 10 a.m. in Dirksen Senate Office Building 138

Hearing on Individual Fishing Quotas
Wednesday, May 2 at 9:30 a.m. in Russell Senate Office Building 253

Environment and Public Works:
Hearing on Climate Change
Wednesday, May 2 at 9:30 a.m. in Dirksen Senate Office Building 628

Energy and Natural Resources, Appropriations:
Hearing on the Future of Nuclear Power
Thursday, May 3 at 10 a.m. in Dirksen Senate Office Building 366


Follow the latest American Rivers' Action Alerts and Press Releases!  
Take action to help save America's Rivers.  Visit 


American Rivers currently has a number of job openings.  See our 
employment page for the following opportunities:

* Conservation Assistant for Dam Removal Program
* Online Community Manager
* Conservation Assistant-Outreach
* Organizer/Outreach Specialist-Missouri River Campaign


Contact Jamie Mierau, Assistant to the Vice President for 
Conservation, at 202-347-7550. 

Legislative information taken from sources including: Environment and 
Energy Daily, Greenwire, Congressional Green Sheets, and members of 
the American Rivers conservation staff. 

Thank you robertrice at juno_com for helping to protect and 
restore America's rivers.

To contact American Rivers, send an email to Rebecca 
Sherman at outreach at amrivers_org or call 202-347-7550.

Join the nation's online river community at 
www.americanrivers.org for free online resources, toolkits, 
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