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NFC: Fw: [Updates] Policy Update for Week of March 29, 1999 (fwd)





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---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 30 Mar 1999 10:40:12 -0600
From: robert a rice <robertrice at juno_com>
To: nfc at actwin_com,
    flier at uswest_net
Subject: Fw: [Updates] Policy Update for Week of March 29, 1999

--------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Suzy McDowell" <smcdowell at amrivers_org>

VIEW THIS ON THE AMERICAN RIVERS WEBPAGE WITH DIRECT LINKS TO THE ACTUAL
BILLS!! http://www.amrivers.org/policynew.html
***********************************
American Rivers Policy Update
For the week of March 29, 1999

**************************************
APPROPRIATIONS

Supplemental Funding Bills Still Unresolved:
With Congress now in recess, there is still no consensus on supplemental
funding bills for FY'99. The White House has threatened to veto both
bills -
the $1.3 billion House version (H.R. 1141) and the $1.9 billion Senate
version (S. 544). Among the Clinton Administration's objections is
language
in the Senate version to delay release of the Bureau of Land Management's
new hardrock mining rules by 120 days and interrupt fishing restrictions
in
Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska. Added to the bill by Senate Energy
and
Natural Resources Committee Chair Frank Murkowski (R-AK), the language on
fishing would stall funding for National Park Service regulation of
fishing
in Glacier Bay National Park until after the settlement of a potential
lawsuit by Alaska over ownership of submerged lands in the bay.
Murkowski's
amendment would block an agreement included in last year's omnibus
appropriations bill to restrict certain areas from commercial and
subsistence fishing and phase out fishing in other areas. The National
Park
Service fears the lawsuit could take years. The Senate passed S. 544 on
March 23.

FY'00 Budget Deadline Looms:
Late in the day on March 25, the House and Senate gave their okay to
plans
calling for cuts in environmental spending totaling nearly $1 billion.
Quickly criticized by the conservation community, the cuts threaten to
drain
much-needed resources for initiatives aimed at protecting public health,
curbing sprawl, and preserving open space. The account of most concern to
environmental organizations - Function 300/Natural Resources and
Environment - benefited from a late addition in the Senate of $200
million
in FY'00 for state-side initiatives under the Land and Water Conservation
Fund. The amendment was introduced by Senator John Chafee (R-RI) and was
adopted unanimously. The stateside portion of LWCF has not been funded by
Congress since 1995, meaning matching funds have not been available
through
the program for state acquisition of land, rivers, and lakes. The House
did
not approve a similar amendment, leaving the issue to be resolved in
conference.
The Senate bill would provide Function 300 with $21.7 billion, compared
to
the House $21.9 billion and down from $22.7 billion in FY'99. Congress
will
address the differences after returning from recess. The deadline is
April
15. Congress has met this deadline just three times in the 25 years that
budget resolutions have been required, most recently in 1993.


**************************************
FORESTS

Representative Chenoweth to Introduce Forest Bill:
When Congress returns after recess, Representative Helen Chenoweth (R-ID)
intends to introduce legislation to facilitate remediation actions in
certain damaged areas in national forests. Opposed by the Clinton
Administration, the bill would allow agencies to implement emergency
environmental review of those areas listed in the legislation. The bill
would direct the Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior to request
expedited procedures under the National Environmental Policy Act to
remove
dead and dying timber on more than 343,000 acres of national forest land.
Representatives from the US Forest Service testified against the bill,
claiming it was unnecessary. The agency stated that although the damaged
areas require immediate attention, they should not be defined as
emergencies. Only situations that pose immediate threats to life or
property
or have the potential to violate a law such as the Endangered Species Act
should be defined as emergencies.

**************************************
PUBLIC LANDS

Babbitt Faces Questions on Land Withdrawals:
In a hearing last week before two House subcommittees - the Parks
Subcommittee and the Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee
-Secretaryof
Interior Bruce Babbitt faced a serious grilling on his use of land
withdrawal authority under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of
1976. In the past four months, Babbitt has removed more than one million
acres of federal lands from certain uses including new mining claims. Of
particular interest to the subcommittees was his decision to withdraw
605,000 acres in Arizona near the Grand Canyon National Park for possible
national monument status and 429,000 acres in the Rocky Mountain front of
Montana from new hardrock mining claims.
	Under the FLPMA, Congress has 90 days to pass legislation blocking the
proposed land withdrawal. As such a bill would surely face a Clinton
Administration veto, Congress would need a two-thirds majority to get the
legislation through over the White House objection.
	Representative Jim Hansen (R-UT), Chair of the Parks Subcommittee, and
Representative Barbara Cubin (R-WY), Chair of the Energy and Mineral
Resources Subcommittee urged Babbitt to pursue other ways of protecting
federal lands, such as new legislation or limited application of FLPMA to
certain activities. In defense of his actions, Babbitt stated that the
FLPMA
withdrawal authority provides a good opportunity for public and
congressional review and allows the federal government to protect land
from
specific uses for two years. During that time, the withdrawal undergoes a
public review process stipulated by the National Environmental Policy
Act.
	The purpose of the Arizona land withdrawal is to allow the Bureau of
Land
Management to consider national monument status for the 605,000-acre
Shivwits Plateau to help fully preserve the rim of the Grand Canyon. If
classified as a national monument, the land could be used for grazing and
hunting but would be withdrawn from new mining claims.
	The 429,000 acres in Montana were set aside for two years to allow for
public comment on a proposal for a longer moratorium on hardrock mining
in
the area - possibly for 20 years. The land is in the Lewis and Clark and
Helena national forests.

Senators Seek to Limit Presidential Ability to Designate National
Monuments:
On March 25, Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) and Senator Frank Murkowski
(R-AK)
introduced legislation aimed at forcing the president to secure
congressional consent before designating national monuments. Right now,
congressional consent is not required. The National Monument Public
Participation Act of 1999 (S. 729) would amend the Antiquities Act of
1906,
legislation that allows the president to bypass Congress when designating
national monuments by applying the terms of other laws governing public
lands that have been enacted since 1906. The bill would add new
conditions
to the creation of a national monument by requiring federal agencies to
collect resource information, conduct an environmental impact statement
under the National Environmental Policy Act, and obtain the approval of
Congress.
In his floor time, Senator Murkowski recalled President Clinton's 1996
designation of the 1.7-million-acre Grand Staircase-Escalante National
Monument in Utah. The designation stirred up controversy within the Utah
delegation because they resented not being contacted prior to the
designation.
Last year, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Representative Jim Hansen
(R-UT)
introduced bills to curb the president's authority under the Antiquities
Act. Neither H.R. 1127 nor S. 477 became law.

**************************************
WILD AND SCENIC

Bill Introduced to Protect Hanford Reach:
On March 25, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representative Norm Dicks
(D-WA) introduced legislation to protect the last free-flowing stretch of
the Columbia River by designating the Hanford Reach as Wild and Scenic.
The
designation would permanently protect the 51-mile section of the nation's
third largest river that flows through the northern portion of the U.S.
Department of Energy's Hanford Reservation.
With the change in mission of the Hanford Reservation from one of weapons
material production to environmental cleanup, widespread local and
regional
support for protecting the Hanford Reach prompted Senator Murray to
support
the Wild and Scenic River designation. Designation would protect the
Reach
in its free-flowing state, preserved in large part because of the
security
and safety restrictions associated with the Hanford Site. It would charge
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in consultation with an advisory
board,
with management responsibilities for the Hanford Reach corridor and its
critical salmon spawning grounds.


Senate Passes SUASCO Wild and Scenic Bill:
	On March 25, the Senate passed H.R. 193, Representative Martin Meehan's
(D-MA) bill to designate a portion of the Sudbury, Assabet, and Concord
Rivers as a component of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, by
unanimous consent without amendment. The House approved the measure on
February 23 by a vote of 395 - 22.

**************************************
WATER RESOURCES

Senate Approves Water-Related Bills:
On March 25, the Senate approved by unanimous consent eleven House and
Senate public lands and water resources bills, including:
 S. 278 and a number of other bills introduced by Senator Pete Domenici
(R-NM). S. 278 would require the Secretary of Interior to transfer
ownership
of lands to Rio Arriba County, New Mexico; S. 293 to direct the
Secretaries
of Agriculture and Interior to convey lands in San Juan County, New
Mexico,
to San Juan College; and S. 291 to convey certain lands within the
Carlsbad
Project in New Mexico to the Carlsbad Irrigation District;
 S. 422, introduced by Senator Frank Murkowski (R-AK), to amend the
Federal
Power Act to shift jurisdiction over Alaskan hydroelectric projects of
five
megawatts or smaller from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to the
state of Alaska;
 S. 334, introduced by Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI), to end FERC
jurisdiction over licensing projects on fresh waters in Hawaii;
 S. 243, introduced by Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD), to allow the
construction of the Perkins County Rural Water System and the creation
ofa
nonprofit corporation to plan and build it;
 S. 356, introduced by Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ), to authorize the
Secretary
of Interior to transfer title for works and facilities of the Gila
Project
and some surrounding land to the Wellton-Mohawk Irrigation and Drainage
District;
 H.R. 171, introduced by Representative Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) to
authorize
funding for the Coastal Heritage Trail Route in New Jersey; and
 H.R. 193, introduced by Representative Martin Meehan (D-MA), to
designate
part of the Sudbury, Assabet and Concord rivers under the National Wild
and
Scenic Rivers System.

**************************************
RECENTLY INTRODUCED RIVER-RELATED BILLS

For more information or to see the text of any of the below bills, go to
the
Thomas website at http://thomas.loc.gov/home/thomas2.html and enter the
bill
number.

H. R. 1260: Introduced by Representatives Robert Borski (D-PA) and James
Oberstar (D-MN), the Support for Harbor Investment Program Act would
amend
the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to repeal the harbor maintenance tax
and
to amend the Water Resources Development Act of 1986 to authorize
appropriations for activities formerly funded with revenues from the
Harbor
Maintenance Trust Fund. H.R. 1260 was referred to the House Committee on
Ways and Means, and in addition to the Committee on Transportation and
Infrastructure, for a period to be subsequently determined by the
Speaker,
in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the
jurisdiction of the committee concerned.

H. R. 1186: Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Representative
Wayne
Gilchrest (R-MD) introduced legislation to direct the Secretary of the
Army
to include primary flood damages avoided as benefits for cost-benefit
analyses for Federal nonstructural flood damage reduction projects, and
for
other purposes. The bill identifies issues to be included or excluded
from
benefit-cost analyses, stipulates that the federal government pay up to
but
not more than 65 percent of the costs of an Army Corps of Engineers
project,
and, if requested by non-federal entities, calls for a reevaluation of
previously authorized project to consider nonstructural alternatives.
H.R.
1186 was referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

H. R. 1199: Representative Richard Pombo's (R-CA) New Wildlife Refuge
Authorization Act would prohibit the expenditure of funds from the Land
and
Water Conservation Fund for the creation of new National Wildlife Refuges
without specific authorization from Congress pursuant to a recommendation
from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to create the refuge.
The
bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife
and Oceans.

H. R. 1220: Introduced by Representative Robert Andrews (D-NJ), To direct
the Secretary of Defense to provide financial assistance to the Tri-State
Maritime Safety Association of Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania for
use for maritime emergency response on the Delaware River. From amounts
otherwise available for the Department of Defense for fiscal year 2000,
the
Secretary of Defense shall provide $250,000 in financial assistance to
the
Tri-State Maritime Safety Association of Delaware, New Jersey, and
Pennsylvania for use for maritime emergency response on the Delaware
River.
The bill is co-sponsored by Representatives Curt Weldon (R-PA), Jim
Saxton
(R-NJ), Robert Borski (D-PA), Chaka Fattah (D-PA), Robert Brady (D-PA),
and
Jim Greenwood (R-PA) and was referred to the Committee on Armed Services
and
the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

H. R. 1235: Introduced by Representative George Miller (D-CA), H.R. 1235
would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to enter into contracts
with
the Solano County Water Agency, California, to use Solano Project
facilities
for impounding, storage, and carriage of non-project water for domestic,
municipal, industrial, and other beneficial purposes. The bill was
referred
to the House Committee on Resources.

H. R. 1262: Representative Peter Hoekstra (R-MI) would provide that
existing
facilities located on the Pentwater River in Michigan, are not required
to
be licensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission under part 1 of
the
Federal Power Act. If passed, the bill would allow the city of Hart in
Michigan to operate, maintain, repair, reconstruct, replace, or modify
any
dam which, as of the date of the enactment of this Act, is owned and
operated by the City, and located on the Pentwater River in Oceana
County,
Michigan, or any water conduit, reservoir, power house, and other works
incidental to such dam. H.R. 1262 was referred to the House Committee on
Commerce.

S. 590: Senator Russell Feingold's (D-WI) bill, the Elimination of Double
Subsidies for the Hardrock Mining Industry Act of 1999, would amend the
Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to repeal the percentage depletion
allowance
for certain hardrock mines. S.590 would create an Abandoned Mine
Reclamation
Trust Fund to help reclaim and restore lands and water resources
adversely
affected by mineral (other than coal and fluid minerals) and mineral
material mining. The funds could be used for sealing, filling, and
grading
abandoned deep mine entries; planting on lands adversely affected by
mining
to prevent erosion and sedimentation; prevention, abatement, treatment,
and
control of water pollution created by abandoned mine drainage; and
control
of surface subsidence due to abandoned deep mines. The bill, which is
co-sponsored by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), was referred to the Senate
Committee on Finance.


**************************************
HEARINGS

There are no hearings this week. Congress is in recess.

**************************************
LINKS TO PAST UPDATES:
March 22: http://www.amrivers.org/policy3-22.html
March 15: http://www.amrivers.org/policy3-15.html
March 8: http://www.amrivers.org/policy3-8.html
March 1: http://www.amrivers.org/policy3-1.html
February 22: http://www.amrivers.org/policy2-22.html
February 15: http://www.amrivers.org/policy2-15.html
February 8: http://www.amrivers.org/policy2-8.html
February 1: http://www.amrivers.org/policy2-1.html
January 25: http://www.amrivers.org/policy1-25.html
January 19: http://www.amrivers.org/policy1-19.html
January 11: http://www.amrivers.org/policy1-11.html
January 4: http://www.amrivers.org/policy1-4.html

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CHECK OUT OUR HOMEPAGE!! http://www.amrivers.org
QUESTIONS? Contact Suzy McDowell, Conservation Outreach Coordinator, at
smcdowell at amrivers_org or 202-347-7550x3040.

Legislative information taken from many sources including Thomas,
Congressional Greensheets, Greenwire, and Roll Call.

********************
Suzy McDowell
Outreach Coordinator
American Rivers
1025 Vermont Ave, NW, #720
Washington, DC 20005
202-347-7550 x3040
smcdowell at amrivers_org