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NFC: Fw: [Updates] River Policy Update -- Week of July 19, 1999
VIEW THIS ON THE AMERICAN RIVERS WEBPAGE WITH DIRECT LINKS TO THE ACTUAL
American Rivers Policy Update
For the week of July 19, 1999
Funding for Interior and Related Agencies Moves Forward:
Last Thursday, the House passed its $14.1 billion FY’00 funding bill for
Interior and Related Agencies (H.R. 2466) by a vote of 377-47. Even
the dollar figure for the bill was higher than the original allocation of
$11.341 billion, it still came up $200 million short of current funding
levels and about $1 billion below the Clinton Administration’s request.
During floor debate, Representatives approved by a large margin to uphold
the Interior Solicitor’s decision to change how the 1872 General
is interpreted. The decision focuses on the ration of mill sites to lode
claims and resulted in the Department of Interior's rejection of an
operating plan for Battle Mountain Gold's proposal for the Crown Jewel
on mostly federal lands in Washington near the Canadian border (for more
information on this issue, see http://www.amrivers.org/policy6-14.html).
Members rejected an effort to shift funding from timber sales to the
Service’s fish and wildlife habitat programs.
H.R. 2466 includes $236 million for land acquisition, $132 million
’99 funding levels and $177 million below the Administration’s request.
bill would provide $84.5 million to the National Park Service for land
purchases (less than half the Administration’s request), $55.2 million to
the US Fish and Wildlife Service ($18.4 million less than the
’s request), $17.4 million for the Bureau of Land Management ($31.5
less than the Administration’s request), and $37.2 million for the Forest
Service (one-third of the Administration’s request). The bill does not
include any money for grants to state, local, and tribal governments and
non-profit land trusts for land acquisition for urban parks, greenways,
outdoor recreation, wildlife habitat, and coastal wetlands. Within the
and Wildlife Service budget, the House would provide 12 percent less than
the Administration’s request for endangered species programs, funding the
program at $101.7 million.
During floor action, the House passed a number of amendments, including:
Representative George Miller’s (D-CA) amendment to prohibit the direct
of funds for constructing timber access roads in the national forest
and to increase funding for urban parks and recreation grant programs by
million and reduce funding for the Commonwealth of the Northern Marina
Islands accordingly and Representative James McGovern’s (D-MA) amendment
increase funding for the Land and Water Conservation fund. The House also
rejected a number of amendments, including: Representative David Wu’s
motion to cut timber sales management by $196.8 million and shift the
to wildlife fisheries habitat management and watershed improvement and
Representative Tom Coburn’s (R-OK) amendment to reduce funding for the US
Fish and Wildlife Service by $2 million.
The Senate hopes to pass its version of the Interior funding bill (S.
this week. The Senate version would provide $13.942 billion in FY'00 for
natural resource agencies funded by the bill, including the National Park
Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Minerals Management Service,
Forest Service, and the Office of Surface Mining. The Senate measure also
came in well below the Clinton Administration's request of $15.048
The Senate will consider an amendment offered by Senator Larry Craig
to reverse the Interior Solicitor’s decision regarding the mining law.
Senate Appropriations Committee voted 16-9 to reverse the solicitor's
decision, setting the stage for a dispute between the House and Senate
conferees. Senator’s Patty Murray (D-WA) and Richard Durbin (D-IL) are
expected to offer a motion to strike the Craig amendment during Senate
action on the bill.
Because of the mining law amendment and a number of other controversial
measures attached to the Senate bill, Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt
to Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Ted Stevens (R-AK) saying he
recommend a veto of the bill as approved by the committee.
For a comparison of the Senate and House bills, see
House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees May Take Up NOAA Funding
Both the House and Senate may consider their respective FY’00 funding
for the departments of Commerce, Justice, and State and the Judiciary. A
House Appropriations subcommittee has tentatively scheduled a hearing on
bill for Thursday or Friday, and the full Senate will consider S. 1217
sometime this week.
The $35 billion Senate bill would provide $2.55 billion for the Commerce
Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
for the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). The bill also includes
amendment offered by Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) setting out disbursement
conditions for $100 million requested by the Clinton Administration for
recovery programs for endangered salmon in the Pacific Northwest and
restoration efforts. For more information on the Senate bill, see
House Appropriations Committee to Mark Up Energy and Water Bill:
The House Appropriations Committee is set to mark up its $20.2 billion
Energy and Water Appropriations bill for FY’00, approved last week by the
Energy and Water Subcommittee. Among other things, the bill provides
funding for the Army Corps of Engineers. On June 16, the Senate approved
$21.7 billion version of the energy and water funding bill. Both House
Senate versions of the FY’00 funding bill cut funding for Corps habitat
The House bill would provide the Corp with $4.19 billion for civil works
programs such as flood control, shoreline protection, and navigation --
$282.6 million more than the Clinton Administration request and $91.2
million above current spending levels. The Senate bill includes $3.76
billion for the Corps.
House Energy and Water Subcommittee ranking minority member Peter
(D-IN) plans to offer two wetlands-related amendments.
The markup will be at 9:30 a.m. in 2359 Rayburn House Office Building.
VA-HUD-Independent Agencies Funding Bill on Move in Senate:
The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on VA-HUD-Independent Agencies
to mark up its FY’00 funding bill this week. The $62.3 billion bill
funding for the Environmental Protection Agency. The allocation for the
falls short of last year’s level of $71.1 billion, leaving Senators
struggling to decide where to make cuts. In its FY’00 request, the
Administration asked for $2.6 billion for the EPA’s Office of Water, down
from the FY’99 appropriation level of $3.4 billion. EPA is also
money for the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund -- $800 million for
00 as compared to $1.4 billion appropriated inFY’99. The revolving fundis
used for low-interest loans for communities seeking to improve wastewater
A specific time has not yet been set for the markup.
House Subcommittee Holds Markup of Dam Repair Bill:
The House Agriculture Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities, Resource
Conservation, and Credit Subcommittee held a hearing on Tuesday to mark
bill to authorize $600 million over ten years for financial and technical
assistance to repair and rehabilitate small watershed dams across the
country. Introduced in February by Representative Frank Lucas (R-OK),
728 would allow the Secretary of Agriculture to give financial aid to
organizations to pay part of the cost of repairing dams in poor condition
that may pose threats to the environment, human health, and safety. The
calls for the Department of Agriculture to meet 65 percent of the total
rehabilitation costs and not more than 100 percent of actual construction
costs involved. The measure would provide $60 million a year for
for technical assistance from the Natural Resources Conservation Service
$5 million to pay for an assessment of the magnitude of the problem of
dams over the next two years. There are some 11,000 small dams across the
country that the Agriculture Department helped build in the past half
Currently, H.R. 728 does not include an option for decommissioning dams
that are no longer wanted by the local community or local sponsor. As the
bill stands, a community would have to repair the dam and continue
and maintenance costs even if it would rather remove the dam instead.
House Agriculture Subcommittee Looks at Farmland Conservation:
On Thursday, the House Agriculture Subcommittee on General Farm
Commodities, Resource Conservation, and Credit will discuss a program
pays farmers to remove environmentally sensitive land from production
bill that would allow 10 million acres to be added to the program.
Introduced by Representative Collin Peterson (D-MN) in January, H.R. 408
would amend the 1985 Food Security Act to increase the number of acres
authorized for the Conservation Reserve Program to 45 million acres.
Approximately 30 million acres were enrolled in the CRP at the end of
Officials from the Department of Agriculture have not stated their
on the bill.
The hearing will be held in 1300 Longworth House Office Building at
a.m. on Thursday, July 22.
FISH AND WILDLIFE
House Resources Committee Looks at Salmon Resolution:
On Wednesday, July 21, the House Resources Committee will vote on H. Con.
Res. 63, a resolution that argues against dam removal in federal efforts
restore threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead runs on the
and Snake Rivers. In so doing, the resolution, introduced by
Doc Hastings (R-WA) in March, weighs in on the ongoing public debate
the merits of removing 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.
For more information on the Snake River and saving wild salmon through
removal, see the American Rivers Snake River Campaign or contact Justin
Hayes at 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.
During the hearing, Representatives will also discuss a number of other
bills, including H.R. 795 to ratify a water rights settlement for the
Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy’s Reservation; H.R. 1444 to
the Army Corps of Engineers to develop and implement projects for fish
screens, fish passage devices, and other similar measures; H.R. 970 to
authorize the Bureau of Reclamation to build a rural water system to
approximately 2,500 people in South Dakota; and H.R. 1165 to elevate the
20,766-acre Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Monument to national
The hearing will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, June 21 in 1324
Longworth House Office Building.
Estuaries to Get Attention of Senate Committee
On Thursday, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will
five bills aimed at protecting or improving the nation’s estuaries and
coastal waterways. The bills are:
S. 835, introduced by Senator John Chafee (R-RI) to restore one million
acres of estuary habitat by creating a voluntary program to coordinate
federal, state, and local restoration efforts; S. 522, introduced by
Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) to establish uniform national standards to
the quality of beaches and coastal recreation waters; S. 878, sponsored
Senator Robert Torricelli (D-NJ) to allow Clean Water Act funds to be
for developing and implementing a comprehensive estuary restoration
1119, sponsored by Senator John Breaux (D-LA) to amend federal law to
continue funding for the Coastal Wetlands, Planning, Protection, and
Restoration Act; S. 492, sponsored by Senator Paul Sarbanes (D-MD) to
the Clean Water Act to provide assistance in the cleanup and restoration
the Chesapeake Bay; and H.R. 999, introduced by Representative Brian
(R-CA) to amend the Clean Water Act to require that states with coastal
recreational waters adopt water quality criteria and standards for
potentially harmful pathogens.
The hearing will be held on Thursday, July 22 at 9:30 a.m. in 406
Senate Office Building.
WILD AND SCENIC RIVERS
New Hampshire Proposal Focus of House Hearing:
On Tuesday, the House Resources Subcommittee on National Parks and
Lands held a hearing on a proposal (H.R. 1615) introduced by
John Sununu (R-NH) to add another twelve miles to the section of the
River protected under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. The already
section of the river flows through the towns of Lee, Durham, and
The new portion flows through Epping.
The subcommittee will also consider a bill (H.R. 2140) introduced by
Representatives Nathan Deal (R-GA), Mac Collins (R-GA), and John Lewis
(D-GA) to allow the National Park Service to buy land within a 2,000-foot
corridor on either side of the Chattahoochee River. The bill would
up to $25 million in federal funding to be matched by private dollars.
Senator Paul Coverdell (R-GA) introduced companion legislation in the
The hearing was held on Tuesday, July 20 in 1334 Longworth House Office
Building at 10:00 a.m.
Wednesday, July 21
11:00 a.m.: House Resources markup of H.Con.Res.63 and other bills.
Location: 1324 Longworth House Office Building.
2:00 p.m.: Senate Energy Subcommittee on Forests and Public Land
hearing on bills to make it easier for the US Forest Service and Bureau
Land Management to dispose of federal lands. Location: 366 Dirksen Senate
Thursday, July 22
9:30 a.m.: Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on
protection and restoration bills. Location: 406 Dirksen Senate Office
10:00 a.m.: House Resources Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health
hearing on wildlife conservation issues in national forests. Location:
Longworth House Office Building.
10:30 a.m.: House Agriculture Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities,
Resource Conservation, and Credit hearing on farmland conservation.
Location: 1300 Longworth House Office Building.
11:00 a.m.: House Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation,
Wildlife, and Oceans hearing on the 1996 amendments to the Magnuson
Conservation and Management Act, which is due for reauthorization in
September. Location: 1334 Longworth House Office Building.
11:00 a.m.: House Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power hearing on
electricity restructuring bills. Location: 2123 Rayburn House Office
LINKS TO PAST UPDATES:
July 12: http://www.amrivers.org/policy7-12.html
July 5: http://www.amrivers.org/policy7-5.html
June 28: http://www.amrivers.org/policy6-28.html
June 21: http://www.amrivers.org/policy6-21.html
June 14: http://www.amrivers.org/policy6-14.html
May 31: http://www.amrivers.org/policy5-31.html
May 24: http://www.amrivers.org/policy5-24.html
May 10: http://www.amrivers.org/policy5-10.html
May 3: http://www.amrivers.org/policy5-3.html
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Legislative information taken from many sources including Thomas,
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