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NFC: Fw: River Policy Update, Week of July 23

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

American Rivers' Policy Update
Week of July 23, 2001


* Energy policy
* Appropriations
* Water resources
* Air pollution/acid rain
* Bush administration environmental nominations
* Land conservation
* EPA status
* Ecosystems and biodiversity
* Take action
* Jobs


House energy legislation

Four separate committees in the House of Representatives reported 
energy bills last week; the Energy and Commerce Committee, the 
Resources Committee, the Science Committee and the Ways and Means 
Committee.  The House leadership hopes to bring these bills to the 
floor next week, probably merged into a single bill.  The Resources 
Committee and Energy and Commerce Committee bills include hydropower-
related provisions.

House Resources Committee:

Last week the House Resources Committee approved Chairman Jim 
Hansen's (R-UT) Energy Security Act.  Heavily backed by the Bush 
administration, the Energy Security Act includes, among other things, 
provisions that would open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil 
and gas development, promote offshore oil and gas development, 
provide for studies aimed at maximizing hydroelectric generation 
under the jurisdiction of the Interior Department, and implement 
measures to increase efficiency at some hydropower dams under the 
Interior's jurisdiction.  Conservationists oppose many provisions of 
the bill, including raising concerns that the hydropower efficiency 
language fails to provide for adequate environmental review. 

House Energy and Commerce Committee:

Last week, the House Energy and Commerce Committee completed a 
lengthy markup and reported "the Energy Conservation and Advancement 
Act of 2001."  The comprehensive energy legislation addresses several 
areas including conservation, automobile fuel efficiency standards, 
reformulated gasoline, hydropower relicensing, nuclear energy, and so-
called "clean coal" technology.  Hydropower industry advocates have 
criticized the hydropower licensing process, which they claim is made 
more lengthy and complex by the authorities of state and federal 
resource agencies to insist on environmental safeguards during the 
licensing process.  Conservationists have argued that the changes 
promoted by the industry would alter the licensing process in a way 
that would limit the authority of the Interior Department, Fish and 
Wildlife Service, Forest Service, and National Marine Fisheries 
Service to adequately protect aquatic resources and riparian lands.  
The Committee staff has developed compromise language on hydropower 
that both conservationists and industry have agreed to, which would 
require that the resource agencies consider less costly alternatives 
when developing conservation measures. 


Energy and Water funding

A House-Senate Conference committee may be held as early as this week 
to discuss and settle differences in the FY '02 energy and water 
funding bill.  The conservation community is vigorously opposed to a 
rider that Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA) inserted in the House version of 
the bill that would prevent the Army Corps of Engineers from revising 
Missouri River operations to benefit wildlife, and plans to fight the 
rider's inclusion in conference committee.  The Senate bill reported 
by the Appropriations Committee contained a more limited provision 
that would allow continued consideration of necessary flow changes.  
In passing the bill last week, the Senate approved a further 
amendment that would allow the Corps to consider alternatives other 
than those recommended by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  
Conservationists argue that allowing a more natural seasonal rise and 
fall of water levels would not prevent traditional uses of the river 
or its floodplain, but would be critical to the survival of several 
endangered species, including the pallid sturgeon, piping plover, and 
interior 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.

Conference time and place TBD.  

Agriculture funding 

Floor action is likely this week after the Senate Appropriations 
Committee approved the FY '02 Agriculture Appropriations Act 
unanimously last week.  The House bill provides $46 million above the 
Administration's request for four key programs in the Natural 
Resources Conservation Service.  The bill would dedicate $10 million 
for a new watershed rehabilitation program, repairing structures in 
Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, 
South Carolina, and South Dakota.  The House measure did not request 
funding for the NRCS forestry incentives program, which the Senate 
has insisted on funding.  In addition, the House did not fund three 
other popular conservation programs: the Wetland Reserve Program, the 
Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program, and the Farmland Protection 

EPA funding

Floor action is possible this week after the Senate Appropriations 
Committee unanimously approved a $84.15 billion VA-HUD and 
Independent Agencies appropriations bill last week that would restore 
funding to EPA water programs that the Bush Administration proposed 
cutting. The Administration proposed cut backs in the clean water 
state revolving fund and the safe drinking water state revolving 
fund, as well as cuts in EPA's environmental enforcement programs.  
Floor action is also likely in the House, where conservationists are 
opposing several "riders" and pushing for full funding of 
environmental enforcement.

NOAA Funding

Floor action is possible this week after the Senate Appropriations 
Committee unanimously approved a $41.49 billion Commerce, Justice, 
and State funding bill last week, including $3.33 billion for NOAA, 
which includes the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).  The 
funding bill provides $70 million for NMFS's Pacific Coastal Salmon 
Recovery Fund, which funds state, local, and tribal salmon habitat 
and monitoring projects - $20 million less then the Administration 
request and less than half of what salmon advocates had requested.  
$134 million in total would be allocated for Pacific salmon 

Floor action:  TBA


California water bill (CalFed)

This Thursday, the House water and power subcommittee will hold a 
hearing to assess two competing bills that would reauthorize the 
federal-state effort to improve water quality and endangered species 
management in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and San 
Francisco Bay.  Sen. Dianne Feinstein's California Ecosystem, Water 
Supply, and Water Quality Enhancement Act (S 976) and Rep. Ken 
Calvert's (R-CA) Western Water Enhancement Act (HR 1985) would 
initiate several major new water storage projects at a cost of at 
least $3 billion over seven years.  Conservationists oppose both the 
Feinstein and Calvert bills, arguing that they would undermine water 
rights, authorize an expensive group of new water projects with 
unknown environmental impacts, and renege on commitments to 
environmental goals.  Rep. George Miller (D-CA) has introduced 
another bill (HR 2404), supported by California environmental groups, 
that would authorize numerous water reclamation, reuse, recycling, 
desalination and groundwater banking projects.  "Instead of turning 
back to 19th century solutions like big new dams that are subsidized 
by taxpayers," said Miller, "we use 21st century methods -- including 
recycling and desalination - to generate over a million acre feet of 
real water for California's diverse needs."  Both Interior Secretary 
Gale Norton and California Gov. Gray Davis (D) have been invited to 

Hearing:  2:00 p.m., Thursday, July 26, 1324 Longworth

Oregon watershed management

Floor action is scheduled today (Monday) on a bill to expand the 
watershed management unit that protects Portland's drinking water 
supply.  Approved by the Resources Committee without amendments, HR 
427 would provide further protections for the watershed of the Little 
Sandy River as part of the Bull Run Management Unit.

Oregon Indian tribe hydropower agreement

This Tuesday the Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs will hold 
a hearing to examine a hydropower agreement between an Oregon Indian 
tribe and the Interior Department.  The Pelton hydroelectric project 
on the Deschutes River is operated jointly by the Confederated Tribes 
of the Warm Springs Reservation and Portland General Electric Co. 
under a pact signed in April 2000.  A bill was proposed to codify the 
agreement in federal law and authorize the sale of bonds to finance 
the budget.  The entire Oregon delegation supports the legislation 
and representatives of the tribe will testify in favor of the bill. 

Hearing:  10:00 a.m., Tuesday, July 24, 485 Russell


Power plant hearing

This Thursday the Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a 
hearing focusing on air pollution caused by power plants.  Senator 
Jeffords' bill, called the Clean Power Act, would reduce emissions of 
sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, carbon dioxide and mercury from power 
plant smokestacks.  Although the hearing will not focus on the bill, 
Jeffords said he hopes to build on his legislation and address 
climate issues more broadly.  Cosponsoring Jeffords' bill are several 
other New England Senators whose states are suffering from haze and 
acid deposition caused by emissions from power plants in the 

Hearing: 9:30 a.m., Thursday, July 26, 406 Dirksen


This Wednesday, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee 
will hold a confirmation hearing on the nominations of three EPA top-
level officials.  Robert Fabricant is nominated to be general 
counsel, Judith Elizabeth was nominated as assistant administrator 
for the office of international activities, and G. Tracy Mehan was 
nominated to be assistant administrator for the office of water.  
None of the nominations are considered controversial according to a 
spokesperson for the committee.  


Conservation and Reinvestment Act Fund

This Wednesday the House Resources Committee will markup the 
Conservation and Reinvestment Act Fund (CARA).  Introduced by 
Congressmen Young (R-AK), Hansen (R-UT), and Tauzin (R-LA), CARA 
would use federal oil and gas receipts to fund land conservation, 
wildlife and recreation programs, as well as "impact aid" for coastal 
states.  $3.125 billion would be dedicated to impact aid annually.  
Conservationists have expressed concern that the bill inadequately 
constrains the use of royalty receipts to be devoted to conservation 
purposes, and creates an incentive for other states to support 
coastal drilling off Alaska.

Markup: 10 a.m., Wednesday, July 25 in 1324 Longworth.


This Tuesday the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a 
hearing to consider renaming the EPA to the Department of 
Environmental Affairs and give it Cabinet-level status.  Introduced 
by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), the Environmental Protection Affairs 
Act would put the agency on the same level as the environment 
ministries of other nations.  EPA administrator Christie Whitman 
would not have to be confirmed again in the Senate.  

Hearing:  10:00 a.m., Tuesday, July 24, 342 Dirksen


Invasive species

This Thursday the Environment, Technology and Standards Subcommittee 
of the House Science Committee will examine the research of various 
federal agencies on invasive species and coordination efforts by the 
Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force and the National Invasive Species 
Council.  Non-native plants, animals, insects and other species pose 
a serious threat to America's indigenous species.  The panel will 
focus on the research provisions within the National Invasive Species 
Act of 1996 and the Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and 
Control Act of 1990 to determine if possible amendments will be 
needed as they come up for reauthorization.    

Hearing:  11:00 a.m., Thursday, July 26, 2318 Rayburn 



Hearing on climate change
Energy and Natural Resources Committee
9:30 a.m., Tuesday, July 24, 106 Dirksen

Hearing on EPA cabinet status  
Governmental Affairs Committee 
10:00 a.m., Tuesday, July 24, 342 Dirksen

Hearing on electricity restructuring
Energy and Natural Resources Committee 
9:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 25, 366 Dirksen

Hearing on EPA nominations
Environment and Public Works Committee
9:30 a.m., Wednesday, July 25, 406 Dirksen

Hearing on power plant emissions
Environment and Public Works Committee
9:30 a.m., Thursday, July 26, 406 Dirksen.

Hearing on electricity restructuring
Energy and Natural Resources Committee
9:45 a.m., Thursday, July 26, 106 Dirksen 


Hearing on renewable fuel use
Small Business Committee
10:00 a.m., Tuesday, July 24, 2360 Rayburn

CARA markup
Resources Committee
10:00 a.m., Wednesday, July 25, 1324 Longworth

Markup of Farm Bill
Agriculture Committee
10:00 a.m., Thursday, July 26, 1300 Longworth

Hearing on invasive species
Science Committee 
11:00 a.m., Thursday, July 26, 2318 Rayburn

Hearing on CALFED legislation
Resources Committee
2:00 p.m., Thursday, July 26, 1324 Longworth

Hearing on electricity policy
Energy and Commerce Committee
9:30 a.m., Friday, July 27, 1324 Longworth


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