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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


* Appropriations
* Energy policy
* Water policy
* Bush administration environmental nominees
* Congressional calendar
* Take action
* Special trip deal
* Jobs


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


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



Confirmation Hearing 
Energy and Natural Resources Committee
9:30 am, Wednesday, June 27, in 366 Dirksen


Energy and water bill markup
Appropriations Committee
3:30 pm, Monday, June 25, in 2359 Rayburn

Markup of House Resources bills
Resources Committee
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
Transportation Committee
9:30 am, Thursday, June 28, in 2167 Rayburn

Field Hearing on California water issues
Resources Committee
Saturday, June 30, in Modesto CA

Field Hearing on California water issues  
Resources Committee 
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 


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.

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