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NFC: Fw: River Policy Update, Week of June 11, 2001

American Rivers' Policy Update
Week of June 11, 2001


* Fisheries/endangered species
* Energy policy 
* Appropriations 
* Bush administration environmental nominees
* Congressional calendar
* Take action
* Jobs


Pacific Salmon Bill hits the House floor

The Pacific Salmon Recovery Act, HR 1157, is scheduled to hit the 
House floor this week.  Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) is the sponsor of 
the bill, which is nearly identical to legislation passed in the 
House last September (HR 2798) but did not have time to work its way 
through the Senate.  The Pacific Salmon Recovery Act would give 
authority to provide financial assistance to five states (Alaska, 
Washington, Oregon, California, and Idaho) and qualified tribal 
governments for salmon research and habitat restoration activities.  
$200 million would be equally divided among the states over three 
years, with 15% allocated to tribal governments.  Specific projects 
that would be funded include watershed evaluation, assessment and 
planning for specific watershed improvements; watershed planning and 
project monitoring and evaluation; and watershed organization 
support.  In addition, other potential projects include post-
completion maintenance and monitoring, and training for private 
landowners on sustainable land and water management practices to 
protect and restore salmon habitat.  In order to ensure that the 
funding goes toward salmon protection, the bill would ban states and 
tribes from participating if they cut other spending on salmon 
habitat programs.       

Magnuson Act reauthorization

This Thursday the House Resources fisheries subcommittee will hold 
the third in a series of hearings on the reauthorization of the 
Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, which 
expired in September 1999.  The law, last authorized in 1996, 
regulates commercial and recreational fishing in federally-controlled 
ocean waters, and is also known as the Sustainable Fisheries Act.  
The subcommittee is expected to explore how ecosystem-based fishery 
management can be integrated into the Act.  This concept focuses on 
habitat and biodiversity rather than traditional individual species 

House Resources Committee investigates Klamath water dispute

The House Resources Committee will hold a hearing this Saturday in 
Klamath Falls Oregon to investigate the tension between irrigated 
agriculture and the Endangered Species Act at the Bureau of 
Reclamation's Klamath Project.  The Bureau has been forced to stop 
distributing irrigation water to hundreds of farmers this summer in 
order to protect fish (including endangered coho salmon, Lost River 
sucker and shortnosed sucker) and a wintering population of over 1000 
bald eagles =96 the largest in the contiguous 48 states.  Glen Spain 
the Pacific Coast Federation of Fisherman's Associations has pointed 
out that protecting and restoring endangered Klamath River coho 
salmon would have important economic benefits.  "Downriver economic 
losses have already been staggering," Spain said.  "Roughly 3,780 
family-wage jobs have already been lost in these downriver fishing-
based economies by the failure to protect and restore salmon within 
the Klamath basin, and several thousand remaining jobs are now at 

Hearing:  9:00 am, Saturday, June 16th at the Klamath County Fair 
Grounds, 3531 South 6th Street, Klamath Falls, OR


Barton energy bill dies

Last week House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Billy Tauzin 
(R-LA) effectively killed Rep. Joe Barton's (R-TX) emergency power 
bill (H.R. 1647) by canceling attempts at marking it up.  The markup 
failed when committee members were unable to agree on whether to 
include price caps for wholesale power prices in the legislation.  
Environmentalists welcomed the development, as the bill, though 
already stripped of some of its worst elements, still contained a 
Clean Air Act override and a provision that may have allowed 
subsidized Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) customers such as 
the aluminum industry to resell their contract power allotment at 
higher prices.  Such resale of subsidized power could force BPA to 
seek greater hydroelectric generation, which typically comes at the 
expense of migrating salmon in the Snake and Columbia rivers.


Agriculture Spending Bill

This Wednesday the House Appropriations Committee will mark up the 
agriculture appropriations bill for FY 02.  The bill will allocate 
$74.2 billion among various programs, and would provide more funding 
than was requested in Bush's proposed budget. The increase would be 
directed toward a number of conservation programs headed by the 
Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the Agriculture 
Department's main conservation branch.  Most NRCS funds provide 
technical assistance to over one million landowners annually.  Other 
conservation programs that would receive additional funding include 
watershed and flood prevention, resource conservation and 
development, and watershed surveys and planning.  In addition, the 
Environmental Quality Incentives Program received $26 million more 
than requested to assist farmers.  The Administration did not seek 
funding for the Wetland Reserve Program, the Wildlife Habitat 
Incentives Program and the Farmland Protection Program, and these 
programs were not funded in the Agriculture subcommittee markup.  

Markup:  10:00 am, Wednesday, June 13, in 2359 Rayburn   

Interior spending bill expands

The Interior bill will be the first bill considered this week when 
the full Appropriations Committee meets this Wednesday to act on the 
formal allocation of funding for all 13 subcommittees.  The $18.9 
billion funding package includes $800 million more than requested by 
the Bush administration, including substantial increases in the water 
resources division of the U.S. Geological Survey, which the 
Administration had sought to cut.  The Interior subcommittee rejected 
an Administration proposal to end citizen enforcement of endangered 
species listing deadlines and critical habitat designations through 
the courts.  However, the subcommittee did implement the 
administration's request to cap funding for new listings at $8.1 
million, a $2.1 increase over last year's funding.  Endangered 
species advocates argue that even this raised cap will slow down the 
listing process, thus further endangering imperiled species; they are 
seeking $24 million for listings this year.

Markup:  10:00 am, Wednesday, June 13, in 2359 Rayburn


Floor action is possible this week for a number of nominees awaiting 
confirmation by the Senate for federal environmental and energy 

According to Senate Majority Whip Harry Reid (D-NV), Stephen Johnson 
awaits confirmation by the full Senate to be assistant administrator 
for toxic substances for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  
Jeffrey Holmstead also waits to be confirmed as the EPA's assistant 
administrator for air and radiation.  Committee members are waiting 
for the release of documents Holmstead created while working for 
former President Bush.  James Connaughton's nomination to head the 
White House Council on Environmental Quality is expected to come 
before the full Senate this week for a vote.  Steven Griles' 
nomination awaits a Senate vote on becoming deputy secretary of 
Interior.  Griles, a former coal and oil lobbyist, has received 
strong opposition from the environmental community.  John Graham 
still awaits confirmation by the full Senate to be head of the Office 
of Management and Budget's Office of Information and Regulatory 
Affairs.  Graham's positions on risk analysis have drawn criticism 
from a wide range of environmental and other public interest 
organizations.  If confirmed, the position would give Graham veto 
authority over a wide range of environmental regulations.  Jesse Hill 
Roberson is still awaiting a second confirmation hearing to be the 
Department of Energy's assistant secretary of environmental 



Wednesday, June 13

Hearing on EPA, CEQ appropriations 
Appropriations Committee
10 a.m., 138 Dirksen

Hearing on electricity restructuring 
Government Affairs Committee
9:30 a.m., 342 Dirksen


Tuesday, June 12

Hearing on coal, oil and gas R&D
Science Committee
10 a.m., 2318 Rayburn
Hearing on several park bills
Resources Committee
10 a.m., 1334 Longworth
Hearing on energy tax laws
Ways and Means Committee
2 p.m., 1100 Longworth
Wednesday, June 13

Markup of Interior spending bill 
Appropriations Committee
10 a.m., 2359 Rayburn
USDA appropriations markup
Appropriations Committee
10 a.m., 2359 Rayburn 
Hearing on national energy policy
Energy and Commerce Committee
10 a.m., 2123 Rayburn
Hearing on energy tax laws
Ways and Means Committee
10 a.m., 1100 Longworth
Thursday, June 14

Magnuson-Stevens hearing 
Resources Committee
9:30 a.m., 1324 Longworth
Hearing on nuclear, hydrogen research 
Science Committee
10 a.m., 2318 Rayburn 
Markup of supplemental budget request
Appropriations Committee
TBA, 2359 Rayburn 
Saturday, June 16
Hearing on Klamath Basin water and endangered species issue
Resources Committee
9:00 a.m., Klamath County Fair Grounds, 3531 South 6th Street, 
Klamath Falls, OR


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following opportunities:

* Online Community Manager
* Conservation Assistant-Outreach
* Organizer/Outreach Specialist-Missouri River Campaign


Contact Michael Garrity, Conservation Assistant, 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. 

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restore America's rivers.

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