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NFC: Fw: River Policy Update, Week of June 25, 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 June 25, 2001
IN THIS WEEK'S UPDATE:
* Energy policy
* Water policy
* Bush administration environmental nominees
* Congressional calendar
* Take action
* Special trip deal
Supplemental appropriations bill
Senate Majority leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) said he wants to pass the
fiscal 2001 supplemental appropriations bill before the Independence
Day break, even if it means delaying recess. A potential stumbling
block to a timely recess could be the issue of whether to grant aid
to drought-stricken farmers in the Klamath Basin of Oregon and
Northern California. Some of the region's lawmakers protested after
the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the bill without such
aid. The Bush administration has requested $20 million in aid to the
farmers cut off from irrigation supplied by the Bureau of
Reclamation. More than 200,000 acres of farmland in Oregon and
California are typically irrigated from the Klamath Project. This
year, irrigation has been curtailed during the drought in order to
protect fish (including the Endangered Species Act listed coho
salmon, Lost River sucker and shortnosed sucker) and a wintering
population of over 1,000 bald eagles - the largest in the contiguous
48 states. Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) claimed she would pursue
all available options including a floor amendment in order to ensure
emergency relief to farmers.
Energy and water development appropriations
The House Appropriations Committee was to markup the Energy and Water
Development Act Monday, and the bill will be taken up on the House
floor later this week. On June 19th, the energy and water
development subcommittee approved $23.7 billion for the energy and
water bill, a $1.2 billion increase over President Bush's request.
Both the US Army Corps of Engineers civil works programs and
Department of Energy renewable energy and environmental clean-up
programs received increases over the administration request.
Amendments dealing with California and Western State energy problems
are expected to be introduced by Committee Democrats. A
controversial provision of the bill providing for a new study of the
Auburn Dam on the American River in California will likely be
addressed during House floor consideration.
The subcommittee had also approved an amendment offered by Rep. Tom
Latham (R-IA) that would prevent the US Army Corps of Engineers from
making revising Missouri and Mississippi river operations to benefit
wildlife. Conservationists adamantly oppose this rider. They argue
that allowing a more natural seasonal rise and fall of water levels
would not prevent traditional uses of the rivers or their
floodplains, but that it is critical to the survival of several
endangered species, including the pallid sturgeon, piping plover, and
least tern. To encourage the Army Corps to revise its operation of
Missouri River dams, American Rivers listed the Missouri as its
number one Most Endangered River this year.
Markup: 3:30 PM, Monday, June 25th, in 2359 Rayburn
Hydroelectric relicensing and nuclear energy
This Wednesday the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on energy
and air quality will hold a hearing to examine hydropower relicensing
legislation and reports by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
(FERC) and the General Accounting Office on the relicensing process.
In addition, the hearing will focus on nuclear energy by examining
what legal changes would be necessary to facilitate the construction
of new nuclear plants. Industry advocates who oppose the current
FERC relicensing process are expected to advocate for reducing the
input of resource agencies, such as the Fish and Wildlife Service and
the National Marine Fisheries Service, in the hydro relicensing
process. Conservationists assert the input of such agencies is vital
to protecting healthy river ecosystems and the species that rely on
Hearing: 10:00 AM, Wednesday, June 27, in 2123 Rayburn
California water issues
The House Resources Water and Power Subcommittee will continue to
hold field hearings this weekend and during next week's recess to
investigate water quality and supply issues in California. Rep. Ken
Calvert (R-CA) has recently introduced the Western Water Enhancement
Act, a bill that would reauthorize and redirect the federal-state
effort to better manage the use of water flowing into the Sacramento-
San Joaquin River Delta and San Francisco Bay. Three million dollars
in federal spending would be allocated to water supply, water
quality, and flood control infrastructure improvements.
Conservationists and other opponents maintain the bill would
undermine both water rights and commitments to environmental goals.
In San Jose, the majority of the witnesses will be representing Bay
Area businesses and urban water users, while the Modesto hearing will
focus on the concerns of the agricultural community.
Hearing: Saturday, June 30, in Modesto
Hearing: Monday, July 2, in San Jose
Water science report
This Thursday the House Transportation and Infrastructure
subcommittee on water resources and the environment will examine a
National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report that claims a more science-
based approach is need to improve the EPA's total maximum daily load
(TMDL) program. The EPA's TMDL program was created in an effort to
reduce non-point source water pollution from sources such as
agricultural runoff and urban storm water. Overlooked for years, the
TMDL process is now being used to control pollutants including
nutrients, bacteria and sediments that come from non-point sources.
According to Kenneth Reckhow, professor of water resources at Duke
University and chairman of the NAS committee that prepared the report
on the TMDL process, improving the TMDL process will require that
states "use better data and tools to establish appropriate water
quality standards," and that they develop plans to address violations
of those standards.
Hearing: 9:30 AM, Thursday, June 28, in 2167 Rayburn
House Resources Committee markups
This Wednesday the House Resources Committee is scheduled to mark up
eight bills, including the following:
-A bill to allow private groups to maintain a series of small dams
and weirs in California's Emigrant Wilderness Area. Conservationists
object to such maintenance as unnecessary and inconsistent with the
values underlying the Wilderness Act.
-Legislation to expand the watershed management unit that protects
Portland, Oregon's drinking water supply.
-A bill to authorize the Bureau of Reclamation to conduct water
supply studies for three tribes in Washington state.
Markup: 10:00 AM, Wednesday, June 27, in 1324 Longworth
BUSH ADMINISTRATION ENVIRONMENTAL NOMINEES
This Wednesday the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will
hold a confirmation hearing for three nominees. The nominees include
John Keys III for commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation, Frances
Mainella to be director of the National Park Service and Vicky Baily
for a Department of Energy assistant secretary position. According
to staff, the nominations are considered non-controversial. Still
pending before the Committee are three Interior Department
nominations: Patricia Lynn Scarlett, for assistant secretary for
policy, management and budget; William Gerry Myers for solicitor; and
Bennett William Raley for assistant secretary for water and science.
Hearing: 9:30 AM, Wednesday, June 27th, in 366 Dirksen
Energy and Natural Resources Committee
9:30 am, Wednesday, June 27, in 366 Dirksen
Energy and water bill markup
3:30 pm, Monday, June 25, in 2359 Rayburn
Markup of House Resources bills
10:00 am, Wednesday, June 27, in 1324 Longworth
Hearing on nuclear energy/hydropower
Energy and Commerce Committee
10:00 am, Wednesday, June 27, in 2123 Rayburn
Hearing on water science report
9:30 am, Thursday, June 28, in 2167 Rayburn
Field Hearing on California water issues
Saturday, June 30, in Modesto CA
Field Hearing on California water issues
Monday, July 2, in San Jose CA
Follow the latest American Rivers' Action Alerts and Press Releases!
Take action to help save America's Rivers. Visit
SPECIAL TRIP DEAL
Go rafting in Cataract Canyon!
Rapids, waterfalls, and ancient Pueblo ruins, all in the heart of
Utah's Canyonlands National Park. Discount rate; several dates are
available. A great trip for families! Click here for the itinerary
and more information:
American Rivers currently has a number of job openings. See our
employment page for the following opportunities:
* Online Community Manager
* Conservation Assistant-Outreach
* Organizer/Outreach Specialist-Missouri River Campaign
* Communications Assistant
* River Restoration Financing Associate
Contact Michael Garrity, Conservation Associate, 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.
To update your information, please visit:
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Rivers, visit www.americanrivers.org/joindonate
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