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NFC: Fw: [Updates] River Policy Update -- Week of May 24, 1999
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--------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Suzy McDowell" <smcdowell at amrivers_org>
To: "Updates List Member" <robertrice at juno_com>
Date: Wed, 26 May 1999 10:08:55 -0400
Subject: [Updates] River Policy Update -- Week of May 24, 1999
Message-ID: <MDAEMON-F199905261009.AA093180MD86473 at amrivers_org>
VIEW THIS ON THE AMERICAN RIVERS WEBPAGE WITH DIRECT LINKS TO THE ACTUAL
American Rivers Policy Update
For the week of May 24, 1999
Many See Stalemate Ahead on FY'00 Budget:
With the Senate Appropriations Committee moving this week to formally
approve of spending caps that would apply to the thirteen subcommittees
provide funding for the government, many predict there will be major
problems in finalizing the FY'00 budget language this fall. The draft
figures for non-defense funds - called 302(b) allocations - from the
are very different from those adopted by the House Appropriations
Spending caps required by the 1997 balanced budget agreement will create
even more difficulty in resolving budget disputes, as appropriators are
faced with making nearly $30 billion in cuts to the Clinton
FY'00 budget request for non-defense programs.
The Senate Appropriations Committee will begin to wrestle with its FY'00
funding bills this week, and may adopt the 302(b) allocations as early as
Tuesday. The committee plans to move the funding bill for energy and
on Thursday. The Appropriations Committee will look at the $21.2 billion
energy and water funding bill approved by the Energy and Water
Subcommittee. The legislation would slash non-defense discretionary
by $490 million below FY'99 levels and $608 million below the Clinton
Administration's request of $9.2 billion. The Senate bill undercuts
President Clinton's request for the US Army Corps of Engineers by $182
million and the Bureau of Reclamation by $100 million, providing the
agencies with $3.723 billion and $756 million respectively.
The House Appropriations Committee, which began work on relatively
well-funded programs last week, plans to put off work on the biggest
and those facing the biggest funding cuts, to later in the year.
The Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on the energy and water
development appropriations bill will be at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, May
106 Dirksen Senate Office Building.
FY'00 Funding for Agriculture Goes To House Floor:
On Wednesday, the House will continue its debate about funding for the
Agriculture Department for FY'00. The House Appropriations Committee
the $60.8 billion bill last Wednesday, the first of thirteen annual
appropriations bills that must be cleared for action on the floor. Of the
total, only $13.9 billion is discretionary spending, with the rest
to mandatory programs.
The bill would provide the department's Natural Resources Conservation
Service (NRCS) $654 million, a figure that undercuts President Clinton's
request by $26 million but exceeds current year appropriations by $13
million. The NRCS assists planning for conservation initiatives such as
controlling polluted runoff from factory farms, water quality
wetland protection, and habitat enhancement, and provides assistance to
Commodity Credit Corporation-funded projects such as wetlands and
conservation reserve programs. Although the Clinton Administration called
for almost 200,000 additional acres to be enrolled in the wetlands
(to bring the total to nearly one million acres), the House bill would
additional acreage to 120,000.
Another program the House refused to fund at the level requested by the
Clinton Administration is the Environmental Quality Incentives Program
(EQIP), for which the White House called for $300 million. Part of this
increase was aimed at combating polluted runoff from the nation's factory
farms. The House bill would limit EQIP funding to $174 million.
The House funding bill would maintain spending levels at $10 million for
watershed surveys and planning - the Administration requested a $1
increase - and $99 million for watershed and flood prevention operations
the Administration requested a $16 million cut. The bill met President
Clinton's $35 million request for resource conservation and development
would provide no money for the forest incentives program that encourages
management and protection of non-industrial private forest lands or a
matching-funds program aimed at reducing conversion of farmlands to
House and Senate Approve Emergency Spending Legislation:
Last week, both the House and Senate passed the conference report to the
emergency supplemental appropriations bill, clearing the bill for
by President Clinton. The Senate vote was 64-36, and the House voted
269-158. Approximately $12 billion of the nearly $15 billion measure
to military operations in the Balkans and other defense items, including
humanitarian aid. The legislation also carried a number of riders
the environmental community, including provisions to prevent the Park
Service from protecting fisheries in Glacier Bay National Park; further
delay pending regulations on environmental and reclamation standards at
mines on federal lands; delay an Administration initiative to recalculate
the valuation of royalties paid on oil and gas production on federal
allow states to keep all of the $246 billion promised by tobacco
in settlement of state lawsuits; weaken the Endangered Species Act; and
transfer $100 million from Forest Service wildfire management operations
an Agriculture Department fund for reforestation on national forest
FISH AND WILDLIFE
Anti-Salmon Resolution Hearing Set in House:
On May 27, the House Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation,
Wildlife, and Ocean will hold a hearing on H. Con. Res. 63, a resolution
that argues against dam removal in federal efforts to restore threatened
endangered salmon and steelhead runs on the Columbia and Snake Rivers.
doing, the resolution, introduced by Representative Doc Hastings (R-WA)
March, weighs in on the ongoing public debate about the merits of
dams on the Lower Snake River.
Although H. Con. Res. 63 is a non-binding resolution, how it is received
carries great weight. If Congress brings the resolution to the floor, it
will be the first vote on how the nation should deal with the demise of
Snake River salmon and steelhead, and it will set the tone for all future
decisions regarding fish recovery and the four Lower Snake River dams.
Largely because of four federal dams on the Lower Snake River, every
species of Snake River salmon is now listed under the Endangered Species
Act. This December, the National Marine Fisheries Service will release
long-term recovery plan for Snake River salmon, and partial removal of
four dams is one of the options being studied. Science has shown that
removing the four dams is the only option under consideration by the
Administration that can save these legendary fish from extinction.
The hearing is scheduled for after the fisheries subcommittee markup of
coastal barrier resource and national marine sanctuary legislation at
a.m. on Thursday, May 27, in 1324 Longworth House Office Building. House
Resources contacts are: Bonnie Bruce, 202-226-0200, majority, and Cynthia
Suchman, 202-226-2311, minority.
The Senate Energy Subcommittee on Water and Power also plans to address
Snake River dam issue, with a hearing scheduled for June 9.
For more information on the Snake River and saving wild salmon through
removal, see http://www.amrivers.org/snake.html or contact Justin Hayes
jhayes at amrivers_org or 202-347-7550.
To see the text of H. Con. Res. 63, see http://thomas.loc.gov and type
Con. Res. 63.
To see a map of the Lower Snake River, see
Critical Habitat Issue Gets Time in Senate:
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chair John Chafee's (R-RI)
bill to reform how the federal government designates "critical habitat"
be the focus of a hearing by the committee's Fisheries, Wildlife, and
Drinking Water Subcommittee. Critical habitat designation, assigned to
vital to the survival of federally protected species, restricts how
can use those lands. Senator Chafee's legislation would change the
Endangered Species Act to make designation of critical habitat a part of
federal agency planning process for recovering listed species. Currently,
federal agencies designate critical habitat when the species is listed.
critics claim that designation at the time of listing does not work
agencies do not always know what must be done to recover the species in
According to Senator Chafee, a mere 9 percent of the approximately 1,200
species listed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service has designated
habitats. This situation has resulted in litigation by environmental
organizations against the FWS and the National Marine Fisheries Service -
fifteen currently pending with six already decided in favor of the
Senator Chafee's bill (S. 1100) would shift designation of critical
to the recovery planning process and require that recovery plans be
completed within three years after a species is listed. Also, any lawsuit
challenging the designation of critical habitat would have to challenge
recovery plan upon which the designation was based.
The House Resources Committee will also look into the Endangered Species
Act, focusing on the use of land and money mitigation requirements in ESA
The Senate Environment subcommittee hearing will be held at 10:30 a.m.
Thursday, May 27 in 406 Dirksen Senate Office Building. Senate
contacts are: Jason Patlis, majority, 202-224-6176; David Hoskins,
202-224-8832. The House Resources hearing will be held at 11:00 a.m. on
Wednesday, May 26 in 1324 Longworth House Office Building. House
contacts are: Elizabeth Megginson, majority, 202-225-7800; Jean Flemma,
For more information on the Endangered Species Act and these bills,
visit the Endangered Species Coalition webpage at www.stopextinction.org.
PARKS AND PUBLIC LANDS
Education Land Grant Bill Before House Committee:
On Wednesday, the House Resources Committee will discuss the Education
Grant Act (H.R. 150), introduced by Representative J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ)
January. As introduced, the bill would have allowed municipal
states, or local education authorities to apply for national forest
build elementary or secondary schools under the Recreation and Public
Purposes Act (RPPA). Areas designated by Congress as wilderness, national
trails, or national recreation areas and wild and scenic rivers would
included in the lands available for conveyance, which are limited to 640
acres under the RPPA. The Clinton Administration voiced opposition to the
bill as introduced.
In committee, members adopted a substitute drafted by Representative Jim
Hansen (R-UT) that dropped any reference to the RPPA and gave the US
Service authority to make land grants for educational purposes. Also, any
lands conveyed under the act would revert to the United States if ever
for undesignated purposes.
Senate Hearing Scheduled on Two Plains States Water Project Proposals:
This week, the Senate Energy Subcommittee on Water and Power will
two water resources bills focused on projects in the Dakotas, Iowa, and
Minnesota. One of the proposals, S. 623, reintroduced by Senators Kent
Conrad (D-ND) and Byron Dorgan (D-ND), would expand the controversial
Garrison Diversion Project in North Dakota to include a $770 million
drinking water system for the Red River Valley, eastern North Dakota, and
the state's four Indian reservations.
The Garrison project has been the source of controversy among farmers
other residents of North Dakota for decades. It was first introduced as
of massive Bureau of Reclamation Pick-Sloan project, built in the 1940s
control flooding in the lower portion of the Missouri River basin. Under
that plan, North Dakota citizens ceded 550,000 acres of land for the
construction of the Garrison dam, in return for which they were promised
huge water supply and irrigation project authorized in 1965 as the
Diversion Project. The project was strongly opposed from the start by
affected landowners, environmental and taxpayer groups, and the Canadian
After just fifteen percent of the construction was completed, progress
stopped on the project until Congress acted in 1986 to pass a Garrison
"reformulation" law that scaled back the original billion-dollar project
authorized some further irrigation work. The 1986 law also required
to foot a higher bill for the water they received from the project;
attempted to address fish, wildlife, and wetlands concerns; and postponed
several parts of the project.
Although Congress has funded the Garrison project at $20 to $30 million
year since 1986, with much of the money going toward construction of
domestic water systems, the North Dakota delegation contends that
made to the state have not been met and many rural communities in the
do not have clean and reliable water systems.
S. 623, and companion legislation introduced in the House by
Earl Pomeroy (D-ND) (H.R. 1137), would authorize construction $300
for municipal and industrial water supply projects across the state and
million for similar projects on the four Indian reservations within the
state, $25 million for a natural resources trust fund, and $6.5 million
recreation projects. In addition, the bill would provide $200 million for
water quality and quantity projects to meet the needs of the Red River
Valley, possibly including an interbasin water transfer from the Missouri
River. North Dakota would repay $345 million of the project cost, and
million worth of already-authorized projects would be deauthorized.
In addition to the Garrison bill, the subcommittee will take up a bill
244) to authorize the Lewis and Clark rural water system, aimed at
safe drinking water for 180,000 people in 22 rural water systems and
communities in parts of South Dakota, Iowa, and Minnesota. Under the
the federal government would be responsible for 80 percent of the costs
most of the project, estimated at $282 million. The bill also includes
provisions addressing environmental enhancement, water conservation, and
mitigation of damage to fish and wildlife habitat resulting from
construction and operation of the water supply projects.
The hearing is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 27 in 366
Senate Office Building. Senate Energy contacts are: Colleen Deegan,
majority, 202-224-4971; David Brooks, minority, 202-224-4103.
RECENTLY PASSED RIVER-RELATED BILLS
In the Senate:
S. 766 to require the National Park Service to study how to protect the
large expanse of undisturbed mixed prairie and unique geological
of the Loess Hills along the Missouri River in Iowa.
S. 744 to grant up to 500,000 acres of federal lands to the University of
S. 416 to transfer a small tract of US Forest Service Land to the city of
S. 323 to elevate the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Monument to
national park status and create several other conservation areas near
S. 109 to expand the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area.
RIVER-RELATED BILLS IN CONGRESS
For more information or to see the text of any of the bills listed
to the Thomas website at http://thomas.loc.gov/ and enter the bill
H.R. 468: Introduced by Representative Dale Kildee (D-MI), the Saint
Island National Scenic Area Act seeks to preserve and protect for present
and future generations the outstanding resources and values of Saint
Island in Lake Michigan, Michigan, and to provide for the conservation,
protection, and enhancement of primitive recreation opportunities, fish
wildlife habitat, vegetation, and historical and cultural resources of
island. The designation would apply to the whole of Saint Helena Island,
except that portion to be conveyed to the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers
Association. Referred to the House Committee on Resources. The bill was
referred to the House Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral
and Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health.
H.R. 1749: Introduced by Representative Cass Ballenger (R-NC), H.R. 1749
would designate Wilson Creek in Avery and Caldwell Counties, North
as a component of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. The bill
designate 23.3 miles of the river, from the headwaters of Wilson Creek to
its confluence with Johns River. The 2.9 mile segment from its headwaters
below Calloway Peak downstream to the confluence of Little Wilson Creek
would be designated as scenic, the 4.6 segment from Little Wilson Creek
downstream to the confluence of Crusher Branch would be designated as
and the 15.8 segment from Crusher Branch downstream to the confluence of
Johns River would be designated as recreational. H.R. 1749 was referred
the House Resources Committee.
H.R. 1759: Representative Doc Hastings' (R-WA) Hanford Reach National
Preserve and Recreational Area Act states as its goal the enhancement of
wildlife, recreation, and "other uses" of the Hanford Reach. The bill
not define or place any restrictions on the term "other uses," leaving it
open to wide interpretation. The bill directs direct the Secretary of
to convey, at no cost, the Hanford Reach river corridor to the State of
Washington and calls for the creation of a Hanford Reach Protection and
Management Commission. The bill does not provide any funding for the
commission - which would be founded jointly by the Department of Energy,
counties, and the State of Washington - or the long-term management of
Reach. The commission's membership would be made by governmental
appointment, with no requirement that members be professional natural
resource managers, fisheries or wildlife professionals, or citizens other
than political appointees. In order be approved, any management proposal
must be agreed to by a majority from each of three panels. Until a
plan is in place, the Reach would be managed by the counties' Interim
Plan, which has no legal jurisdiction to manage federal lands, no funding
mechanism for management of the Reach, relies on a voluntary Memorandum
Understanding, and does not address impacts to the Hanford Reach from
sources outside the ¼ mile river corridor. The bill was referred to the
House Resources Committee. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representative
Norm Dicks (D-WA) have already introduced S. 715 and H.R. 1314, the
Reach Wild and Scenic River bills that would provide federal resources
protection for the reach.
S. 972: Introduced by Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH), S. 972 would amend the
and Scenic Rivers Act to improve the administration of the Lamprey River
the State of New Hampshire. The bill would extend the designated segment
the river from 11.5 miles to 23.5 miles, stretching from the Bunker Pond
in Epping to the confluence with the Piscassic River in the vicinity of
Durham-Newmarket town line. The bill was referred to the Senate Energy
Natural Resources Subcommittee on Parks, Preservation and Recreation.
Online Forum on Hog Waste Issues Hosted by UNC-Chapel Hill:
The question of who should foot the bill to clean up pollution from the
nation's hog farms is the focus of an online discussion of activists,
industry representatives, and others interested in the issue of animal
waste. The online discussion, sponsored by the University of North
at Chapel Hill's Environmental Resource Center, begins May 24. Program
officials invited seven people who are very involved in the issue of hog
farming and waste control to participate in the forum as
The seven panelists will participate in the discussion through May 28,
the site will be available for public input on an ongoing basis.
will be archived on the program's webpage.
The panelists slated to participate include: Alan Briggs, executive
director, Save Our State; Beth Anne Mumford, director of public affairs,
North Carolina Pork Council; Michelle Nowlin, attorney, Southern
Environmental Law Center; Karen Priest, Alliance for Responsible Swine
Industry; Michael Shore, senior policy analyst, N.C. Department of
Environment and Natural Resources; Mike Williams, director, Animal and
Poultry Waste Management Center,
N.C. State University; and Clark Wright, attorney.
To access the forum, visit the Carolina Health and Environment Community
Center Web site at http://checc.sph.unc.edu and look for the icon marked
Tuesday, May 25
10:00 a.m.: Senate Energy Committee hearing on electricity industry
deregulation efforts by the states. Location: 366 Dirksen Senate Office
10:30 a.m.: Senate Appropriations Energy and Water Development
hearing on the FY'00 energy and water funding bill. Location: 116 Dirksen
Senate Office Building
2:15 p.m.: Senate Energy Subcommittee on National Parks hearing on
parks and trails bills, including legislation to create a new category of
trail and authorize the 6,000-mile American Discovery Trail; direct the
National Park Service to consider the feasibility of adding a
site in Miami to Biscayne National Park; and allow the NPS to buy or
exchange land to add to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Location: 366
Dirksen Senate Office Building.
Wednesday, May 26
10:00 a.m.: House Resources Committee hearing on the use of land and
mitigation requirements in Endangered Species Act enforcement. Location:
1324 Longworth House Office Building.
Thursday, May 27
9:30 a.m.: Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on the FY'00 energy
water funding bill. Location: 106 Dirksen Senate Office Building.
10:00 a.m.: House Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation,
Wildlife, and Oceans Subcommittee markup of legislation to reauthorize
1972 National Marine Fisheries Sanctuaries Act and the 1982 Coastal
Resources Act. Location: 1324 Longworth House Office Building. The
subcommittee's hearing on Representative Doc Hasting's H. Con. Res. 63
immediately follow the markup.
10:30 a.m.: Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on
Wildlife, and Drinking Water hearing on critical habitat designation.
Location: 406 Dirksen Senate Office Building.
2:00 p.m.: Senate Energy Subcommittee on Water and Power hearing on the
Garrison project and the Lewis and Clark rural water system. Location:
Dirksen Senate Office Building.
LINKS TO PAST UPDATES:
May 10: http://www.amrivers.org/policy5-10.html
May 3: http://www.amrivers.org/policy5-3.html
April 26: http://www.amrivers.org/policy4-26.html
April 19: http://www.amrivers.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
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Legislative information taken from many sources including Thomas,
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