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NFC: Fw: River Policy Update, Week of May 13, 2002

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 May 13, 2002


* Water resources
* Energy policy
* Farm bill
* Environmental budget
* Environmental law compliance
* Congressional calendar
* Take action
* Jobs
* Internships


Markup of water infrastructure bill

This Thursday the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will 
mark up S. 1961, a $35 billion water infrastructure bill.  The bill 
would reauthorize and expand the state revolving loan funds under the 
Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water acts.  The Clean Water Network, 
led by American Rivers and the Natural Resources Defense Council, has 
been working to ensure that the final bill increases funding for 
nonpoint and nonstructural surface water protection projects; ensures 
that funding goes to approaches that provide the greatest 
environmental benefit; eliminates funding for projects that 
contribute to sprawl; and avoids funding those who will remain in 
significant noncompliance with the Clean Water Act.  Sen. Ron Wyden 
(D-OR) is expected to introduce an amendment addressing some of the 
conservationists' concerns at the markup.

Markup: 9:30 a.m., Thursday, May 16 in 406 Dirksen

Markup of CALFED bill and other resources bills

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will markup 31 
bills this Wednesday, including a bill that would reauthorize CALFED, 
a state-federal program that manages water use in California's 
Central Valley.  The CALFED bill, S. 1768, is a six-year, $2.4 
billion package.  It is considered to be a compromise measure and is 
expected to pass the Senate.  Unlike its House counterpart, H.R. 
3208, this bill does not include controversial provisions assuring 
water deliveries for holders of junior water rights, or 
preauthorizing new construction projects.

Other river-related bills to be marked up at the hearing include four 
bills, S. 639, S. 1010, S. 1843 and S. 1852, extending the time for 
construction under new licenses for several private hydropower dams; 
S. 1227, introduced by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) to authorize a 
study on creating a Niagara River National Heritage Area; and S. 
1028, introduced by Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD), which would transfer 
19,000 acres of Interior Department land to the State of South Dakota 
to mitigate for habitat lost to the past construction of dams and 
reservoirs on the Missouri River.

Markup: 9:30 a.m., Wednesday, May 15 in 366 Dirksen

Markup of Folsom Dam bridge bill

On Wednesday, the House Resources Water and Power Subcommittee plans 
to markup a bill that would authorize replacing a road currently 
running over California's Folsom Dam with a separate bridge.  
Supporters of the bill, including Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA), say 
that the current road over the dam inconveniences drivers and 
constitutes a security threat.  They hope that constructing this 
bridge separately from Folsom Dam improvements will reduce the 
incentive for Folsom Dam construction, and thus retain the 
construction of Auburn Dam as an option for Sacramento flood control.

Markup: 3:00 p.m., Wednesday, May 15 in 1334 Longworth

Invasive species bill

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will hold a 
hearing this Wednesday on the National Invasive Species Act.  Passed 
six years ago, the law helps control "aquatic nuisance species" in 
both freshwater and saltwater.  The law authorized spending $90 
million over the past six years, and the committee members are 
expected to use this hearing to consider whether changes are 
necessary when the law is reauthorized.

Hearing: 10:00 a.m., Wednesday, May 15 in 2167 Rayburn


Energy bill

No new news to report on the energy bill this week.  The bill is 
headed to conference committee, but it is not yet clear when the 
conference, which aims to reconcile the House and Senate versions of 
the energy bill (H.R. 4 and S. 517, respectively) will begin.  While 
the Senate bill, unlike the House bill, does not allow drilling for 
oil and gas in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the recently 
released list of Senate conferees gives Sen. Frank Murkowski (R-AK) 
one more shot at getting Arctic drilling into the energy bill.  All 
eight Republican Senate conferees are expected to vote to allow 
drilling.  Eight other conferees, including seven Democrats and 
Independent Jim Jeffords of Vermont, are expected to oppose it.  The 
potential tie-breaker is Sen. John Breaux (D-LA), a supporter of 
drilling.  However, Breaux's participation in the conference may be 
limited to tax matters, in which case there would be no pro-drilling 
majority.  To view a complete list of the Senate conferees, visit 
http://energy.senate.gov/ and click on "What's New."  House conferees 
have yet to be announced.

The environmental threats posed by the development of the Arctic 
Refuge prompted American Rivers to list the wildlife refuge's Canning 
River as one of the nation's most endangered rivers in its America's 
Most Endangered Rivers reports of 2001 and 2002.

In addition to opposing drilling in the Arctic Refuge, river 
advocates and their allies will work during the energy bill 
conference to prevent a Senate hydropower provision from being 
included in the conference report.  The  provision would weaken 
public participation in the hydropower relicensing process and 
effectively lower environmental standards for dams that are subject 
to relicensing.  H.R. 4 includes different, more neutral hydropower 
language.  State agencies, Indian tribes and conservationists will 
work to ensure that any effort to streamline hydropower licensing in 
the final energy bill also strengthens environmental protections and 
ensures adequate public participation.  Conservationists are also 
expected to seek to ensure in conference that any increased borrowing 
authority for the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) is 
conditioned on BPA's committing to meet its public purposes, which 
include salmon restoration, energy conservation, and investing in 
renewable energy.


Last week the Senate passed the 2002 Farm Bill, H.R. 2646, and Monday 
the President signed it into law.  At $2 billion over the next ten 
years, funding for conservation programs under this farm bill will be 
approximately double what it has been in the past.  However, it is 
important to note that funding for conservation programs would peak 
toward the end of the ten year period, and the bill must be 
reauthorized after only six years.  The levels of conservation 
funding over the six years actually authorized in the final farm bill 
are lower than were included in either the House or Senate versions.  
In addition, the conference report cuts back on an innovative Senate 
program to support on-farm water conservation measures and state 
acquisition of agricultural water rights to maintain instream flows 
for species at risk.  The water conservation program now provides no 
guarantees that conserved water will actually stay in streams, and 
the water rights acquisition program now allows only leasing of water 
in tributaries of "desert terminal lakes."

For a summary of the farm bill, visit 


U.S. Forest Service funding

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior will hold a 
hearing this Wednesday on the U.S. Forest Service budget.  The 
Administration proposed cutting the Forest Service's budget to $4.98 
billion in Fiscal Year 2003 from $5.09 billion in FY02.  Cuts were 
generally uniform across the agency, although the National Forest 
system received a modest increase.  Forest Service Chief Dale 
Bosworth and Agriculture Department Undersecretary for Natural 
Resources Mark Rey are expected to testify. 

Hearing: 2:00 p.m., Wednesday, May 15 in 124 Dirksen

Salmon funding

On Tuesday, the Oceans, Atmosphere and Fisheries Subcommittee of the 
Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee held a hearing 
on S. 1825, the Pacific Salmon Recovery Act.  The bill, introduced by 
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and several other Western senators, would 
authorize a substantial increase in funding for salmon recovery 
programs up and down the West Coast.  Under the existing program 
Alaska and Washington are the biggest beneficiaries.  Boxer's bill 
would authorized funding levels at $350 million per year for five 
years, add Idaho to the list of eligible states, and provide 
equitable funding for each state.  At the hearing, representatives 
from Oregon, Washington, California, and Idaho expressed at least 
qualified support for the bill, but an Alaska fishermen's 
representative said that he could not support the bill in its current 
form because he was concerned that it could siphon funds from Pacific 
Salmon Treaty implementation and Alaska's hatchery programs.  
Conservationists generally support the bill, as it emphasizes the 
need to protect wild, naturally reproducing salmon and steelhead 
stocks.  Also, because the bill would make Idaho eligible for 
funding, it would aid in efforts to recover imperiled wild Snake 
River salmon.


House approves DOD environmental exemptions

Last week the House passed the Defense Authorization Act, H.R. 4546, 
including language allowing broad exemptions for the Department of 
Defense (DOD) from the Endangered Species Act and the Migratory Bird 
Treaty Act.  The bill, which also weakens wilderness protections in 
Utah, passed on close to a party line vote.  The DOD exemption 
provision never received a hearing, and drew vigorous opposition from 
conservation groups.  In arguing against the exemptions, 
conservationists have noted that existing federal environmental laws 
already allow for the Defense Department to obtain exemptions when 
national security is at stake.  Conservationists said that despite 
the House approval of the DOD exemptions, a close vote on a Defense 
bill is notable in the current political climate.  They expressed 
hope that the close vote would help keep similar amendments out of 
the Senate version of the bill.

Senate committee rejects DOD exemptions

Meanwhile, at a hearing last week, the Senate Armed Services 
Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support did not include 
similar DOD exemption language in its version of the Defense 
Authorization bill, S. 2225.  The full Senate was originally 
scheduled to take up the bill next week, but now it appears it may be 
deferred until after the Memorial Day recess. 

ESA rider on supplemental appropriations bill

Since House floor consideration of the Defense Authorization Act was 
limited, Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) was not allowed to bring up an 
amendment that would exempt the DOD from a legal mandate to protect 
endangered species from the impacts of water withdrawals associated 
with military installations.  He succeeded, however, in attaching the 
language as a rider to the House emergency supplemental 
appropriations bill, H.R. 3393, during the Appropriations Committee 
markup.  While the amendment would apply nationwide, it is evidently 
intended to allow the military to pump more groundwater at Fort 
Huachuca in southeast Arizona, which conservationists note would 
further imperil the San Pedro River ecosystem and its endangered 
species.  The San Pedro is the last free-flowing, undammed river in 
the desert Southwest, and is especially important as a passageway for 
migratory birds. The bill was marked up Tuesday night, but it is 
unclear when it will go to the House floor.



Markup of FY02 supplemental budget 
Appropriations Committee
5:00 p.m., Tuesday, May 14 in 2359 Rayburn

Hearing on invasive aquatic species
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
10:00 a.m., Wednesday, May 15 in 2167 Rayburn

Markup of Folsom Dam bridge bill
Resources Committee
3:00 p.m., Wednesday, May 15 in 1334 Longworth

Hearing on New River (West Virginia) bill, other parks/lands bills
Resources Committee
10:00 a.m., Thursday, May 16 in 1334 Longworth

Hearing on NOAA organizational bills
Resources Committee
2:00 p.m., Thursday, May 16 in 1334 Longworth


Hearing on Pacific salmon funding
Environment and Public Works Committee
9:30 a.m., Tuesday, May 14 in 253 Russell

Markup of CALFED, lands bills
Energy and Natural Resources Committee
9:30 a.m., Wednesday, May 15 in 366 Dirksen

Hearing on Forest Service budget
Appropriations Committee
2:00 p.m., Wednesday, May 15 in 124 Dirksen

Markup Water Infrastructure bill
Environment and Public Works Committee
9:30 a.m., Thursday, May 16 in 406 Dirksen


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Coordinator, Hydropower Reform Coalition

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