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NFC: Fw: River Policy Update, Week of February 11, 2002

American Rivers' Policy Update
Week of February 11, 2002


* Energy policy
* Farm bill
* Federal budget
* Water Resources
* Wildlife
* Congressional calendar
* Take action


Energy bill update

Senate Democrats are expected to bring their energy bill (S. 1766) to 
the floor late this week, but debate over the bill is not likely to 
begin in earnest until after next week's Presidents' Day recess.  
Several key provisions of the energy bill have yet to be finished, 
including sections on vehicle fuel efficiency standards and energy 
taxes.  S. 1766 also includes language that would alter the 
hydropower dam relicensing process.  This language was originally 
characterized by Senate staff as a "placeholder," and new language is 
expected to be included in the final bill brought to the floor.  
State agencies, Indian tribes and conservationists will seek to 
ensure that any effort to streamline hydropower licensing also 
strengthens environmental protections.  

The Democratic energy bill would not open up the Arctic National 
Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling, and Democrats believe they 
have the votes to keep such a provision off of the bill.  If they do 
not end up having sufficient votes, several Democrats have promised 
to filibuster against any attempt to open up ANWR.  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 


The Senate's five-year farm bill (S. 1731) may clear the Senate this 
week.  The primary issue still under debate regards an amendment by 
Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) to strike a water conservation provision that 
was added to the bill in December by Majority Whip Harry Reid (D-
NV).  The provision would provide $375 million that could be used to 
improve the efficiency of irrigation systems, to promote less water-
intensive crops, or it could be used by states to lease or buy water 
rights from willing farmers.  It would also nationalize an Oregon 
program allowing farmers to voluntarily sell their water rights to 
the state for a limited time.  Conservation groups have been 
supportive of the Reid water conservation provision.


EPA budget hearing

This Wednesday, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee 
will hold a hearing on the administration's proposed FY 2003 budget 
for the Environmental Protection Agency.  Overall, the administration 
proposed cutting the EPA budget by approximately $300 million from FY 
2002 levels, to $7.7 billion.  The administration proposed spending 
the same amount as it recommended last year for the clean water ($1.2 
billion) and safe drinking water ($850 million) state revolving 
funds.  However, because Congress ended up funding the clean water 
state revolving funds at $150 million above the level recommended by 
the administration for FY02, the administration proposal would result 
in a cut.  EPW Committee Chair Jim Jeffords (I-VT) is expected to 
express concern over both the administration budget proposal for EPA 
and an administration policy that may result in relaxed enforcement 
of air quality standards.

Hearing: 9:30 a.m., Wednesday, Feb. 13 in 406 Dirksen

House budget hearing in Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's Subcommittee 
on Water Resources and the Environment will hold a hearing on the 
impact of the administration's budget proposal on federal agencies 
under its jurisdiction.  The subcommittee will discuss the proposed 
budgets for the EPA, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Natural 
Resources Conservation Service, and the National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration.

Hearing: 10:00 a.m., Thursday, Feb. 14 in 2167 Rayburn


CALFED hearing

This Thursday the House Resources Committee's Subcommittee on Water 
and Power will meet to discuss water allocation in California's 
Central Valley.  The hearing, led by Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA), is 
expected to voice criticism of the federal-state water management 
effort known as CALFED for allegedly placing environmental concerns 
above irrigation interests.  A bill to reauthorize CALFED (H.R. 
3208), passed the House Resources Committee last November, but has 
yet to go the House floor.  The bill was criticized by environmental 
groups and much of the Central Valley farming community for urging 
that CALFED deliver the Westlands Water District 70 percent of its 
contractual water in normal water years.  The bill originally would 
have guaranteed Westlands that water, which critics point out would 
have benefited Westlands at the expense of other water districts, 
municipalities, and fish and wildlife.  A less controversial bill, S. 
1768, has been introduced in the Senate by Senators Feinstein (D-CA) 
and Boxer (D-CA).  Hanging over the hearing will be a court ruling 
issued last Thursday, that, if it stands up on appeal, will reduce 
the ability of federal water managers to allocate water toward 
environmental purposes.

Hearing: 10:00 a.m., Thursday, Feb. 14 in 1334 Longworth 


Platte River/Endangered Species Act hearing

This Saturday in College Park, Nebraska, the House Resources 
Committee will hold a full committee hearing on efforts to protect 
the Platte River basin's Endangered Species Act-listed species, 
including the piping plover, interior least tern, and pallid 

Field hearing: 1:00 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 16 in the Hornday-Marshall 
Auditorium in College Park, Nebraska



Hearing on "ecoterrorism"
Resources Committee
3:00 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 12 in 1324 Longworth

Hearing on agriculture budget
Appropriations Committee
9:30 a.m., Wednesday, Feb. 13 in 2362A Rayburn

Hearing on FY03 Research and Development funds
Science Committee
10:00 a.m., Wednesday, Feb. 13 in 2318 Rayburn

Hearing on Office of Pipeline Safety
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
10:00 a.m., Wednesday, Feb. 13 in 2167 Rayburn

Hearing on individual fishing quotas
Resources Committee
1:00 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 13 in 2322 Rayburn

Hearing on CALFED
Resources Committee
10:00 a.m., Thursday, Feb. 14 in 1334 Longworth

Hearing on EPA, water budgets
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
10:00 a.m., Thursday, Feb. 14 in 2167 Longworth

Hearing on BLM, Forest Service accounts
Resources Committee
10:00 a.m., Thursday, Feb. 14 in 1310 Longworth

Hearing on transportation funding
Appropriations Committee
10:00 a.m., Thursday, Feb. 14 in 2358 Rayburn

Hearing on parks bills
Resources Committee
2:00 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 14 in 1334 Longworth

Field hearing on Endangered Species Act
Resources Committee
1:00 p.m., Feb. 16 in the Hornday-Marshall Auditorium in College 
Park, Nebraska 


Hearing on DOE, DOI, Forest Service budgets
Energy and Natural Resources Committee
9:30 a.m., Tuesday, Feb. 12 in 406 Dirksen

Hearing on EPA funding
Environment and Public Works Committee
9:30 a.m., Wednesday, Feb. 13 in 406 Dirksen

Hearing on parks bills
Energy and Natural Resources Committee
2:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 14 in 366 Dirksen


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