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NFC: Fw: River Policy Update, Week of December 10, 2001

American Rivers' Policy Update
Week of December 10, 2001


* Farm bill
* Energy policy
* Water policy
* Congressional calendar
* Take action
* Jobs


A floor vote on the Senate farm bill is possible as early as Tuesday 
of this week.  Republicans have criticized the Democratic version of 
the bill for over-subsidizing crop production, and conservationists 
have voiced concern that the bill will lack sufficient funding for 
agricultural conservation programs.  In response to those criticisms, 
a spokesperson for Agriculture Committee Chair Tom Harkin (D-IA) said 
last Friday that Harkin would offer an amendment this week to restore 
$1 billion in conservation funding that was removed from the bill in 
committee.  The conservation funding would be made available by 
cutting a controversial price support program for dairy products.  
Conservationists applauded the promise to increase conservation 
funding, and a spokesman for Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) said that 
Harkin's proposed amendment would eliminate the need for Sens. Leahy 
and Harry Reid (D-NV) to offer an amendment that would have provided 
for a similar increase.  Support for Harkin's conservation amendment 
among Republicans and the Administration appears to be less certain, 
and a competing version of the bill will likely be offered by Sens. 
Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Pat Roberts (D-KS).


Energy bill update

It looks as if Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge will survive 
this session of Congress without being opened up for oil and gas 
drilling.  Sen. Frank Murkowski (R-AK) failed last week to attach the 
House energy bill (HR 4), which includes an ANWR-opening provision, 
to railroad retirement legislation.

The environmental 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 report.     

Meanwhile, Senate Democrats released draft comprehensive energy 
legislation last week that would protect ANWR from drilling and 
promote renewable energy and increased energy efficiency.  
Conservationists said that the draft bill represents an improvement 
over other energy legislation proposed this year, but recommended the 
inclusion of a provision raising fuel economy in cars and light 
trucks.  The draft bill also includes language that would alter the 
hydropower dam relicensing process.  While this language is 
characterized by Senate staff as a "placeholder," to be replaced by 
consensus language, state agencies and conservationists have 
expressed concern that any effort to streamline hydropower licensing 
must contain increased environmental protections as well.

Electricity transmission and supply hearing

This Wednesday the Energy and Air Quality Subcommittee of the House 
Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on electricity 
transmission and supply issues.  The committee chair, Rep. Joe Barton 
(R-TX) will use the hearing to discuss his electricity restructuring 
bill, HR 3406.  The bill appears unlikely to go to markup before the 
end of this session.  The primary aim of the draft bill is to 
increase the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's authority over 
electricity transmission.

Hearing: 1:00 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 12 in 2123 Rayburn


Colorado River hearing

The House Resources Committee's Water and Power Subcommittee held a 
field hearing in Las Vegas on Dec. 10 to discuss a plan by the state 
of California to reduce its use of Colorado River water.  California 
has long been able to use 800,000 acre-feet more than it is entitled 
to under the 1922 Colorado River Compact, but growing demand for 
water from other states in the Colorado basin is forcing the state to 
use only its allotted share of 4.4 million acre-feet per year.

Field hearing: 11:00 a.m., Monday, Dec. 10 in Las Vegas 

Cross-border wastewater hearing

This Wednesday the House Transportation and Infrastructure 
Committee's Subcommittee on Water Resources and the Environment will 
hold a hearing to discuss the progress of negotiations to resolve a 
dispute over the treatment of wastewater that flows from Mexico into 
San Diego County via the Tijuana River.

Hearing: 10:00 a.m., Wednesday, Dec. 12 in 2167 Rayburn



No action


Field hearing on Colorado River plan
Resources Committee
11:00 a.m., Monday, Dec. 10 in Las Vegas, Nevada

Field hearing on fisheries research
Resources Committee
10:00 a.m., Tuesday, Dec. 11 in Ocean City, Maryland

Hearing on border wastewater
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
10:00 a.m., Wednesday, Dec. 12 in 2167 Rayburn

Hearing on electricity issues
Energy and Commerce Committee
1:00 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 12 in 2123 Rayburn

Hearing on Parks bills
Resources Committee
10:00 a.m., Thursday, Dec. 13 in 1334 Longworth


Follow the latest American Rivers' Action Alerts and Press Releases!  
Take action to help save America's Rivers.  Visit 


American Rivers currently has a two job openings.  See our employment 
webpage at http://www.amrivers.org/jobs/default.htm for the following 

* Director of Outreach
* Director of Development, Northwest Regional Office
* Director of Strategic Technology


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: 

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Rivers, visit www.americanrivers.org/joindonate 

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