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NFC: Fw: River Policy Update, Week of September 24, 2001
--------- Forwarded message ----------
From: American Rivers <action at action_amrivers.org>
To: robertrice at juno_com
Date: Tue, 25 Sep 2001 11:05:06 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: River Policy Update, Week of September 24, 2001
To read the River Policy Update online, visit American Rivers' Online
Newsroom at http://www.americanrivers.org/policyupdates/update.htm
American Rivers' Policy Update
Week of September 24, 2001
IN THIS WEEK'S UPDATE:
* Open letter from American Rivers' President Rebecca Wodder on Sept.
* Energy policy
* Forest fire policy
* Historic preservation
* National Forest recreation fees
* Water quality
* Bush administration environmental nominees
* Congressional calendar
* Take action
* River Budget
* Most Endangered Rivers nominations
* River photo contest
OPEN LETTER ON SEPT. 11 TRAGEDY
An open letter from American Rivers President Rebecca Wodder to
members, colleagues, and friends of American Rivers
I write this letter with deepest sympathy for those of you who lost
someone dear to you in the recent terrorist attacks.
I heard the news on September 11 while on a weeklong canoe and hiking
trip with a group of passionate river supporters, retracing part of
Lewis & Clark's expedition on the Missouri River in Montana. As the
days went by, the trip reminded us of a river's power to lift heavy
The serene landscapes we floated through helped me deal with the
horror I saw on television and regain a sense of purpose. As I
settled into the rhythm of the paddler, a camp song I learned as a
Girl Scout ran through my head:
From the hills I gather courage, visions of the days to be
Strength to lead and faith to follow, all are given unto me
Peace I ask of thee, O River -- Peace, peace, peace.
In the aftermath of the attacks, American Rivers surely recognizes
that matters of national security must assume the utmost urgency
today. While we will continue to be strong advocates for a better
future for our nation's rivers, we'll do so in an appropriate manner
that allows our leaders to focus their attention on crucial decisions
they must make in the days and weeks ahead.
Our late board member Charles Kuralt wrote, "America is a great
story, and there is a river on every page of it." The attack on the
symbols of our democracy should only strengthen our resolve to
cherish the Hudson, the Potomac, and the civil society nurtured along
their banks. By remaining committed to the legacy of a healthy
environment for our children, by exercising our freedoms of speech
and assembly, and by keeping faith in the rule of law to protect the
common good, you and I will preserve what we hold dear about our
lives and this country.
American Rivers and our fellow conservation advocates stand for
timeless American values -- reverence for life, good stewardship of
our land and waters, and thanksgiving for the bounty they provide to
us. By promoting such lasting principles, we can restore a sense of
purpose to our lives. By reconnecting with each other in the movement
to restore rivers, we can sustain our sense of community. And by
keeping up our work in the public interest, we can help defend our
Thank you for holding these values in your heart, and for everything
you do to protect and restore rivers. This is how we can help honor
the victims and make our country whole again - by never compromising
on the values which define our great nation.
President, American Rivers
Update on energy legislation
In the wake of the September 11 attacks, "energy security" has taken
on a more literal meaning. Rather than focusing immediately on
comprehensive electricity restructuring, Congress now seems more
likely to pass legislation to help reduce the vulnerability of the
nation's energy infrastructure, including nuclear facilities. On
Wednesday, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will
hold a closed hearing on energy security.
A Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee markup on
comprehensive electricity restructuring originally scheduled for
September 13 was postponed after the September 11 attacks and has not
been rescheduled. It has been reported that Energy Committee Chair
Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) still hopes to get a comprehensive bill out of
committee before Congress adjourns for the year.
Closed hearing: 9:30 a.m., Wednesday, Sept. 26, at a location to be
Update on Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
With the prospects for the near-term passage of a comprehensive
energy bill dimming, supporters of oil and gas drilling in the Arctic
National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) may look for other vehicles to
achieve their goal. Wanting to avoid the appearance of taking
political advantage of the terrorist attacks, Sen. Frank Murkowski (D-
AK) made a statement on the Senate floor last week that he would not
seek to add such language to unrelated bills. However, Sen. James
Inhofe (R-OK) has proposed amendments to the FY '02 National Defense
Authorization Act (S 1416) that would open ANWR up to drilling, as
well as offering substantial financial benefits to the oil and gas
industry. Both Republican and Democratic Senate leadership have
opposed such controversial add-ons, but Sen. Inhofe has indicated
that he will only withdraw his amendments if he receives a commitment
that energy legislation will be considered on the Senate floor before
the end of the year.
The threats posed by the development of ANWR prompted American Rivers
to list the wildlife refuge's Canning River as the nation's second
most endangered river in its America's Most Endangered Rivers of 2001
FOREST FIRE POLICY
This Tuesday the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee's
Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests will hold another in a
series of hearings on the National Fire Plan. The plan is intended
to reduce the risk of fire in National Forests, but it has been
criticized by some in the conservation community for encouraging
logging in the name of forest fuels reduction. The subcommittee will
also discuss a "Comprehensive Strategy for Reducing Wildland Fire
Risks to Communities and the Environment," which was recently agreed
to by the Western Governors' Association and the Departments of
Interior and Agriculture.
Hearing: 2:30 p.m., Tuesday, September 25 in 366 Dirksen.
On Tuesday the House Resources Committee's Subcommittee on National
Parks, Recreation, and Public Land is expected to markup a bill (HR
890) that would create Moccasin Bend Historic Site in Chattanooga,
TN. The proposed site is a 920 acre peninsula surrounded on three
sides by the Tennessee River. The subcommittee is also expected to
discuss HR 1776, which would direct the National Park Service to
study designating Buffalo Bayou, on Texas' San Jacinto River, as a
National Heritage Area.
Hearing: 10:00 a.m., Thursday, Sept. 20, in 2167 Rayburn
NATIONAL FOREST RECREATION FEES
This Tuesday the House Resources Committee's Subcommittee on Forests
and Forest Health will examine whether the recreation demonstration
fee program started in 1996 should become a permanent policy in
National Forests. The program allows various federal land management
agencies to test fee increases and new fees at various sites around
the country. Revenue fees go directly to the park, forest, or refuge
that collects them. The program is controversial, but arguments do
not break along party lines. Some environmental groups have
criticized the fee program, arguing that they make recreation too
expensive for low income families and that maintenance of these
federal lands should be spread among all federal taxpayers.
Hearing: 3:00 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 25 in 1334 Longworth.
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is expected to mark
up a bill on Tuesday that would ban the use of methyl tertiary butyl
ether (MTBE), an oxygen additive that is used to make gasoline burn
cleaner. MTBE was added to gasoline to help meet the requirements of
the Clean Air Act, but its air quality benefits have been outweighed
by the threat it poses to public health when it leaks from
underground storage tanks into groundwater. The bill, S 950, is
expected to be controversial because it would not require that MTBE
be replaced by ethanol, another oxygen additive. Instead, it would
permit state governors to waive the Clean Air Act's oxygenate
requirement for gasoline sold in their states, while leaving the
other requirements intact, including pollution standards.
Markup: 9:30 a.m., Tuesday, Sept. 25 in 406 Dirksen
BUSH ADMINISTRATION ENVIRONMENTAL NOMINEES
When it meets to mark up the MTBE bill Tuesday, the Senate
Environment and Public Works Committee is also expected to vote on
Bush administration nominees for high posts in the Environmental
Protection Agency and the Interior Department. Nominees include
Harold Manson for assistant Interior secretary for fish, wildlife,
and parks; Marianne Lamond Horinko for assistant EPA administrator of
solid waste; and Nils Diaz for a further five-year term on the
Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Congress has a short legislative calendar this week because of the
Yom Kippur holiday. No legislative business is scheduled to take
place after Wednesday.
Markup on MTBE legislation
Environment and Public Works Committee
9:30 a.m., Tuesday, Sept. 25 in 406 Dirksen
Hearing on forest fire policy
Energy and Natural Resources Committee
2:30 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 25 in 366 Dirksen
Hearing on energy security
Energy and Natural Resources Committee
9:30 a.m., Wednesday, Sept. 26 in location TBA
Markup of public lands bills
10:00 a.m., Tuesday, Sept. 25 in 1334 Longworth
Hearing on plant use for fuels, etc.
2:00 p.m., Tuesday, Sept 25 in 2318 Rayburn
Follow the latest American Rivers' Action Alerts and Press Releases!
Take action to help save America's Rivers. Visit
Each year American Rivers and hundreds of local, regional, and
national conservation groups and community leaders from all 50 states
present the River Budget. This annual report recommends to Congress
how best to invest federal dollars to benefit rivers, wildlife, and
To learn more about the River Budget (and sign-on your local,
regional, or national group!), click here:
MOST ENDANGERED RIVERS NOMINATIONS
American Rivers is accepting nominations through the end of September
for its Most Endangered Rivers Report, to be released in April,
2002. There's only one week left to submit nominations!
Please send nominations to:
Most Endangered Rivers Nominations
1025 Vermont Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20005
Any questions or requests for deadline extensions can be sent to
Rebecca Sherman at outreach at amrivers_org, or just phone her up at
(202) 347-7550, ext. 3052.
Why should you nominate your river?
It's the best way to turn a national spotlight onto why your river
counts. Our grassroots partners tell us that the Most Endangered
Rivers Report strengthened their message and cultivated new networks
of media and support. And it makes a difference.
Nominate your river for the Most Endangered Rivers Report! Find the
nomination form online at www.americanrivers.org, or email us at
outreach at amrivers_org to have a copy mailed to you.
National River Photo Contest! Enter your river photos and win prizes.
American Rivers and GORP.com, the leading outdoor recreation and
adventure travel website, are sponsoring a national photo contest to
celebrate America's rivers. From July 25 until October 1,
photographers are invited to submit photos of their favorite rivers.
In a unique twist, visitors to GORP.com will be able to "vote off"
submitted photos until a winning photo is determined. The grand prize
is a complete kayak package, including an inflatable Tahiti Classic
Kayak by Sevylor, complete with paddle and helmet. The twenty
finalists will win a case of Poland Springs water and a pair of Slot
Canyon White Water shoes from Mountain Athletics by Timberland.
Voting will take place during the first two weeks in September, when
members of the GORP.com and American Rivers communities will cast
their vote for their favorite photo. The grand prize winner will be
chosen from a pool of twenty finalists.
Full details of the contest are available at
American Rivers currently has a number of job openings. See our
employment webpage at http://www.amrivers.org/jobs/default.htm for
the following opportunities:
* Director of Outreach
* Director of Development, Northwest Regional Office
* Development Assistant
Contact Michael Garrity, Conservation Associate, at 202-347-7550.
Legislative information is obtained 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:
Encourge friends to become an online river activist, by visiting
www.americanrivers.org/takeaction. To become a member of American
Rivers, visit www.americanrivers.org/joindonate
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 issues. AOL Keyword: American Rivers
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