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NFC: Fw: [Updates] Policy Update for Week of April 19, 1999

Robert Rice
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--------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Suzy McDowell" <smcdowell at amrivers_org>
To: "Updates List Member" <robertrice at juno_com>
Date: Mon, 19 Apr 1999 17:30:53 -0400
Subject: [Updates] Policy Update for Week of April 19, 1999
Message-ID: <MDAEMON-F199904191731.AA311808MD65484 at amrivers_org>

BILLS!! http://www.amrivers.org/policynew.html
American Rivers Policy Update
For the week of April 19, 1999


Everglades Restoration Under Scrutiny:
	On Thursday, the House Appropriations Interior Subcommittee will hold an
oversight hearing on efforts to restore the Everglades and surrounding
Florida ecosystem, the first of three such hearings this spring. In 1992,
Congress appropriated a federal-state project to try and restore the
Everglades and Florida Bay ecosystems, which had been severely damaged by
years of river channelization and draining for irrigation, subdivisions,
flood control and navigation projects, and polluted runoff from farms and
other activities. Thus far, the project has cost about $1 billion in
money. The hearing will focus on the preliminary findings of a General
Accounting Office study of the Everglades project, requested by
Representative Ralph Regula (R-OH), Senator Slade Gorton (R-WA), Senator
Frank Murkowski (R-AK), and Representative Tillie Fowler (R-FL).
	The second hearing on the Everglades is scheduled for April 27, when the
House Resources Subcommittee on Parks will discuss various laws that
land acquisition in and around the Everglades National Park and the
those laws have had on water delivery systems in South Florida and the
Miccosukee Indian tribe. On April 29, the Senate Energy Subcommittee on
Parks and the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior will
hold a
hearing on the GAO report.
	The Everglades project, expected to cost $8 billion over 20 years, is
at totally reconfiguring the how water is used and allocated in the
The agencies involved include the Corps of Engineers, the South Florida
Water Management District, the National Park Service, the US Fish and
Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Environmental
Protection Agency.
	The April 22 hearing will be held at 10:00 a.m. in B-308 Rayburn House
Office Building. House Appropriations contacts are Deborah Weatherly,
majority, 202-225-3081 and Del Davis, minority, 202-225-3481. The April
oversight hearing will be held by the House Resources Subcommittee on
National Parks and Public Lands at 10:00 a.m. in 1324 Longworth House
Building. The April 29 joint hearing on the GAO Everglades report will be
held at 9:30 a.m. in 366 Dirksen Senate Office Building.
	For more information on the Everglades, see


Legislation Introduced to Finance Fish Screen Construction:
Last week, Representatives Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Greg Walden (R-OR)
introduced legislation (H.R. 1444) to authorize the Secretary of the Army
develop and implement projects for fish screens, fish passage devices,
other similar measures to mitigate adverse impacts associated with
irrigation system water diversions by local governmental entities in the
States of Oregon, Washington, Montana, and Idaho. Such screens would
decrease fish mortality by keeping fish out of water diversions. Senators
Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Gordon Smith (R-OR) have introduced similar
(S. 294) in the Senate.
If passed, the legislation would direct the Corps to provide technical
financial assistance to farmers, who are required by law to construct
screens to protect threatened and endangered fish. The legislation
cost sharing by a local entity and authorizes up to $25 million annually
the program.
When water is diverted from a river-usually through canals and pipes-fish
are often swept out of the river channel and die when they wind up in
irrigation ditches and on farm fields. Screens allow water to continue to
flow for irrigation use, but keep the fish in the river.
	The DeFazio-Walden legislation is supported by the Oregon Department of
Fish and Wildlife and the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition, a coalition of
sport and commercial fishing groups, fishing businesses, and conservation


Rally for on of 1999's Most Endangered Rivers:
	On April 24th, a number of West Virginia environmental groups are
holding a
rally to oppose mountaintop removal mining, an
practice that has already buried almost 500 miles of streams in the state
alone. Mountaintop removal mining made headlines last week when the Coal
River in West Virginia was listed in American Rivers' Most Endangered
of 1999. To see the report and information about the plight of the Coal
River, see http://www.amrivers.org/99endangered.html
The rally will be held on Saturday, April 24 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. on the
State Capitol Grounds in Charleston, WV. The event is co-sponsored by the
Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition and WV Citizens Action Group. For
information, call 304-522-0246.


Senate Plans Several Land Conservation Hearings:
	Beginning with a hearing on Tuesday, April 20, the Senate Energy
will hold a series of three hearings focused on proposals to
increase funding for land conservation. This week's hearing will feature
testimony on state and local needs for federal land acquisition,
and conservation. On April 27, Governors Christine Whitman (R-NJ) and
Kizhaber (D-OR) will discuss coastal issues. On May 4, the Senate will
discuss the Clinton Administration's Lands Legacy proposal.
	Many members of Congress have recently introduced plans focused on
controlling sprawl, protecting open space, and use of money from outer
continental receipts. Some of the leading bills are S 25, introduced by
Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Senator Frank Murkowski (R-AK); Senator
Barbara Boxer's (D-CA) S. 446; the Clinton Administration's $1 billion
Legacy initiative; Senator Diane Feinstein's (D-CA) S. 532; and Senator
Graham's (D-FL) S. 819.
	Senator Landrieu and Murkowski's bill would use half of the federal
revenues from outer continental receipts - currently $3.5 billion a year
to provide assistance to coastal states, as well as to strengthen federal
and state land acquisition and state fish and game programs across the
nation. Senator Boxer's proposal would guarantee about $2.3 billion per
to federal and state land acquisition, national and urban park
open space and farmland protection, historic building preservation, and
wildlife and fishery restoration. The main difference between the two
is that Boxer's bill would not provide direct OCS impact payments to
Many environmental groups fear such a provision would encourage more
leasing, exploration, or development of offshore areas for gas and oil.
Senator Feinstein's bill would automatically appropriate $900 million a
for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and require that 40 percent of
money be directed to stateside grants. Senator Graham's proposal calls
the creation of a permanent account using OCS money to provide $500
each year to the Department of Interior for national park resource
protection and preservation. President Clinton's Lands Legacy calls for a
fully funding the LWCF, the first time any administration has done so.
	Coinciding with the first of the three hearings, a number of members of
Congress, including Senators Murkowski, Landrieu, and Boxer and
Representatives Don Young (R-AK), John Dingell (D-MI), and George Miller
(D-CA), will participate in the "Local Parks and Recreation Day" rally to
highlight the importance of local parks and recreational opportunities in
urban and suburban areas. The rally will be held at 2:00 p.m. on the
of the Capitol on Tuesday, April 20. The US Conference of Mayors and the
National Association of Counties are sponsoring the event.
	The hearing on April 20 will be held at 9:30 a.m. in 366 Dirksen Senate
Office Building. Senate Energy Contacts are Kelly Johnson, majority,
202-224-4971 and David Brooks, minority, 202-224-4103,


Dispute Over WRDA 1999:
	Once again, tempers have flared over the traditionally biennial Water
Resources Development Act, which authorizes new water projects by the
Corps of Engineers and adjustments in flood control policy. WRDA 1999, S.
507, is headed for a mark up in the House this week, where it is likely
up controversy over flood control measures for Sacramento.
	Reportedly, five members of Congress from California have arrived at a
to smooth the way for the bill in mark up sessions scheduled in
and the full House Transportation Committee this week. The members
reportedly involved in the agreement are Representatives John Doolittle
(R-CA), Wally Herger (R-CA), Doug Ose (R-CA), Richard Pombo (R-CA), and
Robert Matsui (D-CA). According to the Sacramento Bee, the agreement
involves raising Folsom Dam and adding more outlets at a cost of $150
million, raising levees along the American River, and allowing a number
significant water diversions from the Sacramento and American Rivers.
Environmental groups have expressed strong opposition to the provisions
the agreement. Non of the projects have undergone National Environmental
Policy Act Reviews or feasibility studies. The agreement would alter the
requirement that local beneficiaries of flood control projects to
the federal government, allowing the federal government to cover up to 65
percent of the project's costs.
	Conservation groups still hope to change a number of provisions in the
bill, including: (1) expanding funds for relocation and river
(2) blocking authorization of projects which have not been thoroughly
reviewed by the Corps, (3) limiting federal subsidies for deep harbor
dredging, and (4) blocking construction of Auburn Dam and other water
projects in California.
To view the Senate version of WRDA, visit http://thomas.loc.gov and type
S. 507. The view the report, type in 106-34.
To take action on WRDA 1999 by contacting one or more members of the
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, visit the "Action Items"
on the Corps Reform webpage at
To learn more about Auburn Dam, visit

River-Related Bills in Congress

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

H.R. 1290: Introduced by Representative Walter Jones (R-NC), the American
Wetlands Restoration Act would amend the Federal Water Pollution Control
relating to wetlands mitigation banking, and for other purposes. The
proposal would make it the national policy to foster wetlands mitigation
banking as a means to mitigate the unavoidable loss of wetlands and to do
by providing a regulatory framework for the establishment, operation, and
use of mitigation banks, making appropriate use of existing, successful
programs for mitigation banking, and taking into account regional
in wetlands conditions, functions, and values. The bill was referred to
House Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment.

H.R. 1415: Introduced by Representative Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), H.R. 1415
would authorize appropriations for the Blackstone River Valley National
Heritage Corridor in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The legislation
amend the 1986 act that established the Blackstone River Valley National
Heritage Corridor to authorize to be appropriated from FY98-FY07 not more
than $15,000,000 to carry out the provisions of the act. The bill was
referred to the House Committee on Resources.

S. 769: Introduced by Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND), the Dickinson Dam
Gates Settlement Act of 1999 would provide a final settlement on certain
debt owed by the city of Dickinson, ND, for construction of bascule gates
(structures on the dam to provide additional water storage capacity) on
Dickinson Dam on the Heart River. Built by the Bureau of Reclamation in
1980-81 to provide additional water supply and flood control benefits for
Dickinson, the bascule gates no longer provide the city any benefits as
now receives its water supply from the Southwest Water Authority. Having
already repaid more than $1,200,000 to the United States for the
construction of the bascule gates, Dickinson has been working for several
years to reach an agreement with the Bureau of Reclamation to alter its
repayment contract. If passed, the bill would require the Interior
to accept a one-time payment of $300,000 in lieu of the existing
obligations of the city. Title to the Dam and bascule gates shall remain
with the United States. The proposed legislation was read twice and
to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.


Tuesday, April 20
9:30 a.m.: Senate Energy Committee hearing on land conservation bills.
Location: 366 Dirksen Senate Office Building.

9:30 a.m.: Senate Environment Committee hearing on the nomination of
Frampton for the position of Chair of the White House Council on
Environmental Quality.

Thursday, April 22
10:00 a.m.: House Appropriations Interior Subcommittee hearing on the
Everglades restoration project. Location: B-308 Rayburn House Office

10:00 a.m.: House Resources Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health
hearing on Representative Helen Chenoweth's (R-ID) bill to require the US
Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to follow specific public
notification procedures before closing roads on federal lands and
Representative Scott McInnis' (R-CO) proposal to set aside 18,000 acres
the San Isabel National Forest in Colorado as the Spanish Peaks
Location: 1324 Longworth House Office Building.

10:00 a.m.: House Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation,
Wildlife, and Oceans mark up of legislation reauthorizing the 1972
Zone Management Act and an oversight hearing on limits to federally
subsidized development within the coastal barrier resources system.
Location: 1334 Longworth House Office Building. For more information on
CZMA bill, see http://www.amrivers.org/policy4-12.html

April 12: http://www.amrivers.org/policy4-12.html
April 5: http://www.amrivers.org/policy4-5.html
March 29: http://www.amrivers.org/policy3-29.html
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