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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
IN THIS WEEK'S UPDATE:
* Energy Policy
* Water Resources
* Climate Change
* Congressional Calendar
* Take Action
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
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
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,
and ways to unite with other activists on your important
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