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NFC: Fw: [Updates] River Policy Update -- Week of June 28, 1999
VIEW THIS ON THE AMERICAN RIVERS WEBPAGE WITH DIRECT LINKS TO THE ACTUAL
American Rivers Policy Update
For the week of June 28, 1999
Full Senate Hopes to Take Up Appropriations Bills:
Having run out of time last week, the full Senate will try again this
to bring several FY'00 appropriations bills to the floor. Among the bills
are S. 1217, Commerce, Justice and State, the Judiciary, and related
agencies and S. 1233, Agriculture, Rural Development, the Food and Drug
Administration, and related agencies.
The Senate Appropriations Committee passed S. 1217 on June 10, including
amendment offered by Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) that set conditions for
disbursement of a $100 million request by the Clinton Administration for
river restoration and salmon recovery in the Pacific Northwest. Overall,
$35 billion funding measure would provide the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration with $2.55 billion for its ocean, coastal,
fisheries, and atmospheric programs. The National Marine Fisheries
(NMFS) would receive $442 million, an increase of $22 million over the
Administration's request and $59 million more than current funding
The Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously approved the $60.7
agriculture funding bill (S. 1233) on June 17. Only $14 billion of the
is available for discretionary appropriations such as funding for the
Natural Resources Conservation Service. Conservation services under the
would receive $656 million, $24 million below the amount requested by the
Clinton Administration. The Environmental Quality Incentives Program
be limited to $174 million, far below the Clinton Administration's
of $300 million
For more information on S. 1217 and S.1233, see
Senate Appropriations Committee Approves Interior Funding Bill:
Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed its $13.942
FY'00 Interior funding bill, which provides resources for most of the
agencies that manage the nation's natural resources, including the
Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Minerals Management
Service, the Forest Service, and the Office of Surface Mining. The
interior funding figure for the Senate falls short of the Clinton
Administration's request of $15.048 billion.
The Senate Appropriations Committee voted on a number of amendments,
including one offered by Senator Slade Gorton (R-WA) to reverse an
by the solicitor of the Interior Department affecting modern, heap-leach
mines for gold and other hardrock minerals. The Committee voted 16-9 to
reverse the solicitor's decision, thereby overriding the Clinton
Administration's May 26 denial of an operating plan for Battle Mountain
Gold's proposal for the Crown Jewel Mine in Okanogan County, Washington.
more information on the amendment, see
As approved by the Committee, the funding bill would provide $1.355
for operation of the national park service, $828 million for the US Fish
Wildlife Service, $1.22 billion for the Bureau of Land Management, $2.68
billion for the US Forest Service, and $236 million for land acquisition.
In its FY'00 funding proposal, the Administration requested $2.06 billion
for the National Park Service, $950 million for the Fish and Wildlife
Service, $1.27 billion for the Bureau of Land Management, $305.8 million
the Office of Surface Mining, $2.82 billion for the US Forest Service,
$124.9 million for biological research programs under the US Geological
House Appropriations Subcommittee to Mark up Interior Funding Bill:
On Tuesday, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior will take
the FY'00 Interior funding bill, despite widespread belief that the bill
would be delayed for some time. The currently approved allocation for the
Interior bill is $11.341 billion, $2.5 billion below the bill recently
approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee and current funding
Although no markup is scheduled, the full House Appropriations Committee
could take up the bill as early as Friday, July 2.
The lower funding level due to spending caps imposed by the balanced
agreement could prompt some acrimony as deliberations proceed, but senior
appropriators have expressed their hopes of keeping the bill free of
controversial riders to keep it moving quickly.
The markup is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, June 29 in B-308
House Office Building.
Edwards Dam To Be Removed July 1:
The Edwards Dam will be removed on July 1, triggering an unprecedented
restoration effort on Maine's Kennebec River. Interior Secretary Bruce
Babbitt, Governor Angus King, and members of Maine's congressional
delegation will be on the bank of the river in Augusta, Maine to witness
historic event and speak of its significance. Removal of the 160-year-old
dam will allow the Kennebec to flow freely from Waterville, Maine and
help restore nine migratory fish species to the river.
The removal is the result of a decade-long effort by the Kennebec
(made up of American Rivers, Atlantic Salmon Federation, Natural
Council of Maine, and Trout Unlimited) and an innovative agreement forged
the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, federal and state natural
agencies, the city of Augusta, the state of Maine, and the dam owner.
The unprecedented agreement was signed in the wake of the ruling by the
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that the enormous value of a
free-flowing Kennebec River to people and the environment outweighs the
value of the tiny amount of hydropower once produced at the site.
The presentation by Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, Governor Angus
and members of Maine's congressional delegation will begin at 8:30 a.m.
July 1. The dam removal will begin at 9:06 am. Note: The date of the
is subject to change in the event of extremely high precipitation between
now and July 1. For more information on the Edwards Dam, visit
Senate to Consider ESA Reform Bill:
On Tuesday, June 29, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee
scheduled to mark up Senator Pete Domenici's (R-NM) bill aimed at
amending the Endangered Species Act. The bill, S. 1100, which is
co-sponsored by Senators John Chafee (R-RI) and Mike Crapo (R-ID), would
reform the ESA requirements for developing recovery plans and designating
critical habitat for species.
The legislation would require the federal agencies to shift the
of critical habitat from the time of listing to the recovery planning
process and mandate that recovery plans be completed within three years
after a species is listed. S. 1100 would reintroduce the "not
provision, which would exempt the US Fish and Wildlife Service from
to designate critical habitat if the agency is unable to determine what
habitat should be. Congress eliminated the loophole in 1983 because it
being used too widely and frequently. The bill would eliminate all
for providing critical habitat to species that already have approved
recovery plans. Currently, nine percent of all threatened and endangered
species have critical habitat, while seventy-five percent already have
recovery plans. In addition, any lawsuit challenging the designation of
critical habitat would have to challenge the recovery plan upon which the
designation was based.
A number of environmental groups contend that S. 1100 could do more harm
than good by causing further delay and adding to the costs of critical
habitat designation. Among the criticisms are that S. 1100 would not
the loopholes that have contributed to the backlog of more than 1,000
species without designated habitats, would not require recovery goals or
improve implementation, and would not require the Secretary of the
to protect survival habitat during the 3-year recovery planning process.
Only 10 percent of the 1,200 species listed under the Endangered Species
currently have critical habitat designation.
The markup is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, June 29 in 406
Senate Office Building.
House Resources Plans Field Hearing on ESA Enforcement in California:
At the request of Representative Ken Calvert (R-CA), the House Resources
Committee will hold a field hearing on July 9 on enforcement of the
Endangered Species Act (ESA) in California. Representative Richard Pombo
(R-CA) will chair the hearing, with Representatives Mary Bono (R-CA),
Hunter (R-CA), and Gary Miller (R-CA) also in attendance.
The focus of the field hearing will be the concerns of the attending
of Congress and their constituents regarding the operation of the US Fish
and Wildlife Service's Carlsbad field office in San Diego County,
California. Believing that the problems are due to enforcement of the ESA
the Carlsbad field office and not the ESA itself, Representative Calvert
introduced four amendments to the act. H.R. 1763 would limit the costs of
endangered species mitigation efforts for public construction projects to
more than ten percent of total project costs. H.R. 2131 would prohibit
FWS from requiring mitigation activities for the impacts of past actions.
H.R. 2253 would forbid the FWS from using data or evidence collected by
trespassing on private property to justify designation of critical
for listed species. H.R. 2343 would require the National Academy of
to review and make recommendations on which threatened and endangered
species should be removed from protected lists.
The hearing is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. on July 9 in Simpson Center, 305
Devonshire, Hemet, California. For more information, contact Elizabeth
Megginson or Jean Flemma of the House Resources Committee at 202-225-2761
New Online Watershed Atlas:
The Pennsylvania Environmental Council and the Allegheny Watershed
have put together a new online watershed atlas at
http://www.watershedatlas.com/fs_resource.html. The site provides
information and maps for each of the smaller watersheds within the
Watershed, papers on natural systems and human impacts to those systems,
GIS case studies.
New Bill To Revitalize, Restore Missouri River:
On June 25, Senator Bob Kerrey (D-NE) introduced his Missouri River
Improvement Act of 1999. The $320 million bill, which is co-sponsored by
Senator Tom Daschle (D-SD), would authorize new riverfront revitalization
projects, interpretive centers, and recreational facilities; establish a
river monitoring program; and expand existing habitat restoration efforts
Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri.
The bill would require the Corps of Engineers and the Department of
to consider creating a habitat restoration program for the Dakotas and
Eastern Montana, acquire land from willing sellers to expand the
refuge system, and study dam operations designed to aid cottonwood along
149-mile Wild and Scenic segment in Montana. The bill would also amend
Flood Control Act of 1944 to put fish and wildlife on an equal footing
navigation, flood control, hydropower and irrigation. The bill does not
authorize any new land acquisition.
The Missouri River Valley Improvement Act would authorize $42 million to
construct Lewis and Clark interpretive centers in six communities,
Kansas City, Nebraska City, Sioux City, Pierre, and Bismarck, and $15
million to help implement riverfront revitalization projects.
Commission for Environmental Cooperation to Discuss Upper San Pedro
One of the items on the agenda of the Commission for Environmental
Cooperation's (CEC) June 27-29 meeting in Alberta, Canada, will be the
of the Upper San Pedro River in Arizona and Sonora, Mexico. The Upper San
Pedro River, highly valued for its biological diversity and importance
neotropical migrating birds, is threatened by the rapid depletion of the
regional aquifer that maintains the river's year-round flows. For more
information on the Upper San Pedro River, visit
The Secretariat will present the final report on the San Pedro Initiative
and make recommendations regarding potential actions to help preserve the
river and its habitat. The report was developed by the San Pedro Expert
Team, a body convened by the CEC to conduct an independent, science-based
inquiry into the operative ecological, biohydrologic, socio-economic, and
legal/institutional circumstances that characterize the availability of
water flows needed to sustain and enhance the riparian area along the
San Pedro River. The full report is available at
http://www.cec.org/english/new/experte.cfm?format=1. To see the agenda of
the conference or for more information about the CEC, visit www.cec.org.
Field Hearing Set to Discuss Sprawl and Livability in Las Vegas Valley:
During the upcoming Congressional recess, the Senate Environment and
Works Committee will hold a field hearing on the impacts of sprawl in the
Las Vegas Valley, home to some of the hottest real estate in the country.
Property values in the area range between $10,000 and $50,000 per acre.
A number of local governments have expressed concern regarding ad hoc
disposal of scattered tracts of lands, a situation that has spurred rapid
and frequently poorly planned growth. They believe this phenomenon has
countered the positive impacts of their investments in water supply,
lines, and roads on property values in the valley.
The situation is in part fostered by legislation passed by Congress
449) that directed the Bureau of Land Management to sell or trade 17,000
acres of scattered tracts throughout the valley. The goal of the
was to promote responsible and orderly development in the valley.
Momentum has been growing rapidly behind efforts to control of unplanned
urban sprawl, as witnessed in the large number of ballot issues
and passed in the 1998 elections, the Clinton Administration's $1 billion
Lands Legacy proposal to promote smart growth, and the formation of the
Senate task force on smart growth.
The hearing will be held on July 7 at 9:00 a.m. in the Las Vegas City
Chambers at 400 Stewart Street, Las Vegas, Nevada. For more information,
contact the Jason Patlis or Chris Miller of the Senate Environment
at 202-224-6176 or 202-224-8832.
For more information on the impacts of sprawl, see
Senate and House Panels to Discuss Montana Water Deal:
This week, the Senate Indian Affairs Committee and the House Resources
Subcommittee on Water and Power will hold hearings on legislation to
a water rights settlement for the Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy's
Reservation in Montana. The Montana Legislature adopted the measure and
Montana Governor Marc Racicot (R) signed it in 1997.
The legislation, S. 438, introduced by Senators Conrad Burns (R-MT) and
Baucus (D-MT), and H.R. 795, introduced by Representative Rick Hill
aims to alleviate the water supply problems faced by the members of the
Chippewa Cree Tribe living on Rocky Boy's Reservation, a 108,000 acre
reservation in north central Montana where annual rainfall averages less
than twelve inches. The agreement would allow for enlarged or entirely
reservoirs on the reservation to capture a portion of the annual spring
runoff from Bear Mountains. The bill would provide $15 million in seed
to fund a future project to import drinking water to the reservation, $1
million to identify water sources to meet future needs on the
and $3 million for a regional study to evaluate water resources in the
region. The legislation is not viewed as controversial and has the
of the Clinton Administration.
The Senate hearing is at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, June 30 in 485 Russell
Senate Office Building. The House hearing is set for 11:00 a.m. on
July 1 in 1334 Longworth House Office Building.
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/ and enter the bill
H.R. 2317: Introduced by Representative Jim Greenwood (R-PA), the Lower
Delaware Wild and Scenic Rivers Act Section would amend the Wild and
Rivers Act to include 65.6 miles of the Delaware River and associated
tributaries in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The bill would designate 38.9
miles of the Lower Delaware River and 3.0 miles of Paunacussing Creek as
recreational and all of Tinicum Creek (14.7 miles) and 10.7 miles of
Tohickon Creek as scenic. The designated segments will be managed in
accordance with the Lower Delaware River Management Plan. The bill was
referred to the House Resources Committee.
Tuesday, June 29
9:30 a.m.: Senate Energy Committee hearing on electricity restructuring.
Location: 216 Hart Senate Office Building.
10:00 a.m.: Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on a
to change the procedures designating critical habitat for endangered
species. Location: 406 Dirksen Senate Office Building.
2:00 p.m.: House Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation,
and Oceans hearing on reauthorization of the Marine Mammal Protection
enacted in 1972 to ensure that marine mammal populations remain or are
restored to healthy levels. Location: 1334 Longworth House Office
2:00 p.m.: House Resources Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health
on a General Accounting Office report criticizing the US Forest Service's
efforts to deal with serious fire risks in Western forests. Location:
Longworth House Office Building.
2:30 p.m.: Senate Energy Subcommittee on Forest and Public Land
hearing on fire preparedness. Location: 366 Dirksen Senate Office
Wednesday, June 30
9:30 a.m.: Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing on legislation to
a water rights settlement for the Chippewa Cree Tribe in Montana.
485 Russell Senate Office Building.
10:00 a.m.: House Government Reform Subcommittee on Legislation hearing
the Federalism Act (H.R. 2245). Under the bill, no new federal statute or
rule would pre-empt any state or local law unless the federal statue or
stated that such a pre-emption was intended or a federal statute directly
conflicted with a state or local law. Location: 2247 Rayburn House Office
11:00 a.m.: House Resources Committee hearing on a number of lands bills,
including H.R. 1487 to lay out public participation requirements for
national monument designation and H.R. 1444 to authorize the US Army
of Engineers to develop and implement projects for fish screens, fish
passage devices, and other similar measures. Location: 1324 Longworth
2:30 p.m.: Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Oceans and Fisheries hearing
two bills to increase protection of coral reefs and reauthorization of
National Marine Sanctuaries Act. The two bills are S. 725, the Coral Reef
Conservation Act, and S. 1253, the Coral Reef Protection Act. Location:
Russell Senate Office Building.
Thursday, July 1
10:00 a.m.: House Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power hearing on
and local issues related to electric industry restructuring. Location:
Rayburn House Office Building.
11:00 a.m.: House Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power hearing on
legislation to ratify a water rights settlement for the Chippewa Cree
in Montana. Location 1334 Longworth House Office Building.
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