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NFC: Fw: [Updates] River Policy Update Week of April 26, 1999
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--------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Suzy McDowell" <smcdowell at amrivers_org>
To: "Updates List Member" <robertrice at juno_com>
Cc: "All AR Offices (E-mail)" <everyone at amrivers_org>
Date: Tue, 27 Apr 1999 09:35:16 -0400
Subject: [Updates] River Policy Update Week of April 26, 1999
Message-ID: <MDAEMON-F199904270934.AA341912MD66941 at amrivers_org>
VIEW THIS ON THE AMERICAN RIVERS WEBPAGE WITH DIRECT LINKS TO THE ACTUAL
American Rivers Policy Update
For the week of April 26, 1999
Coastal Water Protection:
Last week, the House passed legislation to update coastal water quality
standards and establish grants to states for coastal water monitoring and
public notification programs. Representative Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY)
introduced H.R. 999, the Beaches Environmental Assessment, Cleanup, and
Everglades in Spotlight Again:
This week, congressional panels will hold two more hearings on efforts
restore the Florida Everglades, following on a House Appropriations
Subcommittee hearing held on April 22.
In last week's hearing, members focused on the findings of a newly
General Accounting Office study. The GAO report concluded that the
restoration project, expected to take twenty years and cost up to $11
billion, is in need of an overall strategic plan and a system for
disputes among the numerous stakeholders involved in the cleanup effort,
including thirteen federal agencies in five departments, seven Florida
agencies and commissions, two Indian tribes, sixteen counties, scores of
municipal governments, the state's major industries, environmental
and other special interests. Although the South Florida Ecosystem
Restoration Task Force was created in 1993 to coordinate consistent
policies, strategies, plans, programs, and priorities, the task force is
only a coordinating body and is not vested with decision-making powers.
According to the report, the lack of strategic plan and decision making
has resulted in two projects aimed at restoring natural hydrologic
conditions in and around the park - the Modified Water Deliveries System
the reconstruction of a major canal - are two years behind schedule and
could go over budget by as much as $80 million.
On April 27, the House Resources Subcommittee on Parks will discuss how
various congressionally-authorized land acquisitions are affecting the
Everglades restoration project. The subcommittee will focus on two areas
the eastern expansion authorized in 1989 and the purchase of 6,000 acres
(known as the 8.5 square mile area) authorized in 1994. Because the
homeowners in the 8.5 square mile area are unwilling to sell and only 57
percent of the eastern expansion has been purchased, the National Park
Service will not allow the US Army Corps of Engineers to turn on the
modified water delivery system, which will require flooding part of the
square mile area. As a result, water is building up behind the Tamiami
Trail, causing damage to the glades there and leaving the area to the
dry because the Corps cannot get natural flow water into the Shark River
Slough. The water backup is also flooding home sites belonging to members
the Miccosukee tribe who live on the northern edge of the park.
The third hearing, to be held by the Senate Appropriations Interior
Subcommittee and the Senate Energy Subcommittee on Parks will hold a
on the findings of the GAO report.
The April 27 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 Office Building. House Resources contacts are Tod Hull,
majority, 202-226-7736 and Rick Healy, minority, 202-226-2311. The April
joint hearing on the GAO Everglades report will be held at 9:30 a.m. in
Dirksen Senate Office Building. Senate Energy contacts are Jim O'Toole,
majority, 202-224-4971 and David Brooks, minority, 202-224-4103. Senate
Appropriations contacts are Bruce Evans, majority, 202-224-7233 and Curt
Dodd, minority, 202-224-5271.
For more information on the Everglades, see
PARKS AND PUBLIC LANDS
Senate Holds More Land Conservation Hearings:
The Senate Energy Committee will continue its three-part series of
on proposals to substantially increase funding for land conservation.
week, the committee will hear from Governors Christine Whitman (R-NJ) and
John Kizhaber (D-OR) and will focus on the impacts of outer continental
shelf oil drilling on coastal states and ideas to address loss of open
space, farmland, and forested areas. On May 4, the committee will
the Clinton Administration's Lands Legacy proposal and wildlife issues.
On April 20, the committee hearing focused on state and local needs for
conservation and recreation, federal land acquisition issues, and
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. For more information on these bills, see
During last week's hearing, Senator Craig Thomas (R-WY), Chair of the
Subcommittee on National Parks, discussed his new bill S. 826, aimed at
instituting a "no net gain of federal lands." Senator Thomas' bill would
mandate that, in order to purchase 100 or more acres, it would have to
land of equal value within the same state to a private entity. The
legislation would apply only to those states in which the federal
owns more than twenty-five percent of the land, such as is true in
(50 percent) and Nevada (87 percent).
The hearing on Tuesday, April 27 will be held at 9:30 a.m. in 366
Senate Office Building. Senate Energy Contacts are Kelly Johnson,
202-224-4971 and David Brooks, minority, 202-224-4103. Scheduled to
are: Governors Whitman and Kitzhaber, Robin Taylor of the Alaska State
Legislature, Mark Davis of the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, J.
Allison Defoor of Governor Jeb Bush (R-FL)'s office, Lisa Speer of the
Natural Resources Defense Council, and Paul Kelly of Rowan Companies in
WRDA Passes Senate, on Floor of House:
Having been approved by the House Transportation Committee, the Water
Resources Development Act of 1999 is clear for floor action this week.
House committee approved H.R. 1480 by a vote of 49-24 on Thursday after
Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment approved the measure on
Wednesday. The Senate passed its version of the bill (S. 507) on Monday.
The bill includes a controversial deal developed to get around the issue
the Auburn Dam, which stalled the legislation in the 105th Congress.
to appease Representative John Doolittle (R-CA) who has long pushed for
Auburn Dam, the agreement authorizes modifications to the Folsom Dam to
improve flood protection for Sacramento and about $300 million in water
supply projects for the area at generous cost-sharing terms. Opponents of
the agreement argue the deal will benefit Sacramento and cities to the
at the expense of counties and farmers to the south. Assistant Interior
Secretary Patricia Beneke stated in an April 21 letter that the Interior
Department would seek a veto of the bill if the projects are not dropped.
WRDA 1999 would also reduce the local cost share for shore protection
projects from 65 percent, as recommended by the Clinton Administration,
The legislation also includes a number of projects supported by many in
environmental community, including directing the Army Corps of Engineers
emphasize non-structural approaches to flood control and river ecosystem
restoration. This is a move away from the Corps' traditional reliance on
dams and levees to control flooding. The new initiative instructs the
to look more towards wetlands and estuary restoration, flood warning
improvement, and relocation of buildings and communities out of
Funded at $25 million a year for four, the new initiative includes
authorization for 15 small aquatic ecosystem restoration projects,
funding authorizations for sediment decontamination technology and
plant control and increased or extended authorizations for restoration of
the Florida Everglades and South Florida ecosystems, the Upper
and Missouri River systems, and the Great Lakes.
For more information on WRDA 1999, see
River-Related Bills in Congress
For more information or to see the text of any of the bills listed below,
to the Thomas website at http://thomas.loc.gov/home/thomas2.html and
the bill number.
H.R. 947/S. 501: Introduced by Representative Don Young (R-AK) in the
and Senator Frank Murkowski (R-AK), Glacier Bay Fisheries Act seeks to
address resource management issues in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska.
legislation calls upon the Secretary of the Interior to accommodate the
conduct of subsistence fishing and gathering under title VIII of the
National Interest Lands Conservation Act (16 U.S.C. 3111 et. seq.) and
conduct by the State of Alaska, in accordance with the principles of
sustained yield, of marine commercial fisheries, except fishing for
Dungeness crab in the waters of the Beardslee Islands and upper Dundas
The bill was referred to the House Resources Committee and the Senate
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, which held a hearing on the
on April 15.
H.R. 1199: Representative Richard Pombo's (R-CA) New Wildlife Refuge
would prohibit the expenditure of funds from the Land and Water
Fund for the creation of new National Wildlife Refuges without specific
authorization from Congress. Such an authorization by Congress to create
new refuge would be based on a recommendation from the United States Fish
and Wildlife Service. The bill was referred to the House Resources
Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife and Oceans.
Pombo sits on the Agriculture and Resources Committees.
H.R. 1205: Introduced by Representative Bart Stupak (D-MI), H.R. 1205
prohibit oil and gas drilling in the Great Lakes. The bill, which has
sixteen co-sponsors, was referred to the House Resources Subcommittee on
Energy and Mineral Resources.
H.R. 1239: Introduced by Representative Bruce Vento (D-MN), the Morris K.
Udall Wilderness Act of 1997 would designate an area of 1,559,538 acres,
depicted on a map entitled `Arctic National Wildlife Refuge--1002 Area
Alternative E--Wilderness Designation', dated October 28, 1991, as
wilderness and a component of the National Wilderness Preservation
With 126 co-sponsors, the bill was referred to the House Committee on
H.R. 1284: Introduced by Representative Don Young (R-AK), the Minnesota
Valley National Wildlife Refuge Protection Act of 1999 would provide for
protection of the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge and
species and other protected species of fish and wildlife that inhabit or
that refuge. The bill seeks to ensure that scarce wildlife refuge land in
and around the Minneapolis, Minnesota, metropolitan area is not subjected
physical or auditory impairment, and to ensure that the National
Environmental Policy Act of 1969 is adequately implemented. The bill,
has three co-sponsors, was referred to the House Resources Committee.
H. Con. Res. 86: Introduced by Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR),
H.Con.Res. 86 focuses on Federal decisions, actions, and regulations
affecting water. The resolution asserts that, despite spending billions
dollars to meet the challenges of water issues, federal decisions and
actions have failed to guarantee clean drinking water, reliable flood
protection, sufficient water supplies, or lakes and rivers capable of
supporting recreation or wildlife. As a result, H. Con. Res. 86 calls
the federal government ensure that federal decisions and actions
water are better coordinated; promote sustainable use of water and
comprehensive watershed plans; consider the impact of decisions on entire
watersheds; promote the involvement of citizens, environmental groups,
businesses in watershed planning; establish clear standards for
with federal regulations; and allow for flexibility for such compliance,
using market forces whenever possible. The resolution, which has no
co-sponsors, was referred to the House Committee on Transportation and
S. 835: Introduced by Senator John Chafee (R-RI), S. 835 would encourage
restoration of estuary habitat through more efficient project financing
enhanced coordination of Federal and non-Federal restoration programs,
for other purposes. The bill would establish a voluntary program to
1,000,000 acres of estuary habitat by 2010; ensure coordination of
State, and community estuary habitat restoration programs, plans, and
studies; establish effective estuary habitat restoration partnerships
public agencies at all levels of government and between the public and
private sectors; promote efficient financing of estuary habitat
activities; and develop and enhance monitoring and research capabilities
ensure that restoration efforts are based on sound scientific
The bill has nineteen co-sponsors and was referred to the Committee on
Environment and Public Works.
Tuesday, April 27
9:30 a.m.: Senate Energy Committee hearing on proposals to substantially
increase spending on land conservation. Location: 366 Dirksen Senate
10:00 a.m.: House Resources Subcommittee on Parks hearing on the various
laws promoting land acquisition in the Everglades National Park and how
have affected water delivery systems in South Florida and on the
Indian Tribe. Location: 1324 Longworth House Office Building.
2:00 p.m.: House Resources mark up of several forest measures, including
bills to reduce the risk of forest fire near homes and communities,
encourage the Council on Environmental Quality to expedite environmental
reviews of ten sites vulnerable to forest fires, require the US Forest
Service and Bureau of Land Management to follow specific public
procedure before closing roads on federal lands, provide for maintenance
several small dams and weirs in a California wilderness, and designate
18,000 acres of forest wilderness in Colorado. Location: 1334 Longworth
House Office Building.
Wednesday, April 28
11:00 a.m.: House Resources Committee mark up of Tongass land grants.
Location: 1324 Longworth House Office Building.
2:00 p.m.: Senate Energy Committee hearing on Oregon land conveyance.
Location: 366 Dirksen Senate Office Building.
2:30 p.m.: Senate Environment Committee hearing on nomination of Peter
Frampton to chair the Council on Environmental Quality. Location: 406
Dirksen Senate Office Building.
Thursday, April 29
9:30 a.m.: Senate Appropriations Interior Subcommittee and the Senate
Committee joint hearing on the General Accounting Office report on the
Everglades restoration project. Location: 366 Dirksen Senate Office
10:00 a.m.: House Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation,
Wildlife, and Oceans hearing on the effect of regulations issued by the
National Marine Fisheries Service to preserve stocks of fish off the East
Coast and in the Gulf of Mexico. Location: 1334 Longworth House Office
LINKS TO PAST UPDATES:
April 19: http://www.amrivrs.org/policy4-19.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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Legislative information taken from many sources including Thomas,
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smcdowell at amrivers_org