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NFC: Fw: [Updates] River Policy Update -- Week of July 26, 1999
VIEW THIS ON THE AMERICAN RIVERS WEBPAGE WITH DIRECT LINKS TO THE ACTUAL
American Rivers Policy Update
For the week of July 26, 1999
Funding for Interior and Related Agencies Moves Forward:
As early as Monday night or Tuesday morning, the full Senate may begin
action on S. 1292, the FY’01 funding bill for the Department of Interior
Related Agencies. The bill would provide $13.98 billion in FY'00 for
resource agencies funded by the bill, including the National Park
the Bureau of Land Management, the Minerals Management Service, the
Service, and the Office of Surface Mining. The Senate measure would
the agencies included in the bill with far less than the $15.048 billion
requested the Clinton Administration, but $19 million more than FY’99
funding levels. 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, the Senate will consider an amendment offered by
Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) to reverse the Interior Solicitor’s decision
regarding the general mining law. The decision focuses on the ration of
sites to lode claims and resulted in the Department of Interior's
of an operating plan for Battle Mountain Gold's proposal for the Crown
Mine on mostly federal lands in Washington near the Canadian border (for
more information on this issue, see
http://www.amrivers.org/policy6-14.html). The Senate Appropriations
Committee voted 16-9 to reverse the solicitor's decision. Senator’s Patty
Murray (D-WA) and Richard Durbin (D-IL) are expected to offer a motion to
strike the Craig amendment during Senate floor action on the bill. During
floor action, the House approved by a large margin to uphold the Interior
Solicitor’s decision, setting the stage for a struggle between the House
Senate if the Senate retains the Craig amendment.
Members of the Senate will also debate a number of other amendments
floor action on the Interior funding bill. Senator Richard Bryan (D-NV)
offered an amendment to cut the Forest Service’s logging and timber
by $33 million, reducing those programs to the level requested by the
Administration, and shifting that money into road maintenance and removal
($11.3 million), inland fish habitat management ($3 million), threatened
endangered species habitat management ($3 million), wildlife habitat
management ($1.6 million), anadromous fish habitat management ($1.6
million), and deficit reduction ($13 million). The House defeated a
amendment offered by Representative David Wu (D-OR) by a 250-174 vote.
Senators Chuck Robb (R-VA) and Max Cleland (R-GA) may propose an
to strike language that would give the Bureau of Land Management and the
Forest Service total discretion over whether or not to conduct wildlife
population surveys when making decisions about land management. The
amendment would overturn a decision by a circuit court judge in February
requiring the Forest Service to conduct wildlife population studies for
proposed, endangered, threatened, and management indicator species for
forest plan or revision.
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 Appropriations Subcommittees May Take Up NOAA Funding for FY’00:
Members of the House Appropriations Committee will try to take up the
funding bill for the departments of Commerce, Justice, and State and the
Judiciary late this week. The bill would provide NOAA with $1.96 billion,
$208 million below FY’99 funding levels and $547 million below the
The House bill would not provide any funding for the Clinton
s new Pacific coast salmon recovery initiative and support a new salmon
agreement with Canada. The White House had requested $100 million for a
salmon recovery effort in the Pacific Northwest, announced last January.
National Marine Fisheries Service has listed 15 salmon populations as
threatened or endangered since 1991. The Administration had also
$60 million for implementation of programs related to the June 3 Pacific
salmon agreement signed with Canada. In its version of the appropriations
bill, the Senate would provide $100 million for the salmon recovery
but require that the money be paid as direct grants to the states of
California, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska. $20 million of the total
go towards treaty-related programs.
The House markup is tentatively scheduled for Friday.
Energy and Water Funding Bill Moves to House Floor:
The House has scheduled floor action on the FY’00 funding bill for
and Water Development (H.R. 2605) for Tuesday or later this week. The
Appropriations Committee approved the $20.2 billion Energy and Water
Appropriations bill for FY’00 on July 20. On June 16, the Senate approved
its $21.7 billion version of the energy and water funding bill. Both
and Senate versions of the FY’00 funding bill cut funding for Corps
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.
H.R. 2605 includes only $5 million for the Missouri River Fish and
Mitigation Project, well below the funding level sought by conservation
groups, the lower Missouri River states, and members of the U.S. House of
Representatives from those states. Congressman Doug Bereuter (R-NE) and
eight other House members requested $15 million for the mitigation
in FY’00. The Missouri River Fish and Wildlife Mitigation Project is the
Missouri River's primary habitat restoration program between Sioux City
St. Louis. Using mitigation funds, the Army Corps acquires land from
sellers along the lower Missouri River and restores natural habitat such
side channels, wetlands, and backwaters. For more information on the
project, see http://www.amrivers.org/missouri-press7.html.
H.R. 2605 also funds a number of Department of Interior and Independent
Agency projects. Among these, the bill would provide $37 million for the
Central Utah Project (down from $43 million in FY’99 and $2 million below
the Administration’s FY’00 request), $75 million for the California
Bay-Delta Ecosystem Restoration project (level with FY’99 funding and $20
million below the Administration’s FY’00 request), $47 million for the
Central Valley project restoration fund (up from $33 million in FY’99 and
level with the Administration’s FY’00 request), and $60 million for the
Appalachian Regional Commission ($6 million below FY’99 funding and the
Administration’s FY’00 request).
VA-HUD-Independent Agencies Funding Bill on Move in House:
The House Appropriations Subcommittee on VA-HUD-Independent Agencies
to mark up its FY’00 funding bill sometime this week. Funding for the
massive bill, which includes money for the Environmental Protection
is in question. The Subcommittee was allocated $65.3 billion in
discretionary funds for the bill, but it has been directed to mark up a
spending plan with $72 billion, the minimum level budget officials
is needed to sustain programs at the FY’99 funding level without any
allowance for inflation or future emergencies. The Clinton Administration
requested $73.8 billion for in its FY’00 bill, including $2.6 billion for
the EPA’s Office of Water, down from the FY’99 appropriation level of$3.4
billion. EPA is also seeking less money for the Clean Water State
Loan Fund -- $800 million for FY’00 as compared to $1.4 billion
in FY’99. The revolving fund is used for low-interest loans for
seeking to improve wastewater treatment plants.
The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on VA-HUD-Independent Agencies
to mark up its version of the FY’00 funding bill before the August
The hearing is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. on Monday, July 26 in H-140 of
FISH AND WILDLIFE
House Resources Committee Looks at Salmon Resolution:
On Wednesday, July 21, the House Resources Committee approved by voice
Senator Doc Hasting’s (R-WA) resolution that argues against dam removalin
federal efforts to restore threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead
runs on the Columbia and Snake Rivers (H. Con. Res. 63). The non-binding
resolution, introduced in March, weighs in on the ongoing public debate
about the merits of removing dams on the Lower Snake River. The
could come before the full House at any time.
The vote was Congress’ first on how the nation should deal with the
of Snake River salmon and steelhead. Largely because of four federal
the Lower Snake River, every single species of Snake River salmon is now
listed under the Endangered Species Act. This December, the National
Fisheries Service will release its long-term recovery plan for Snake
salmon, and partial removal of these four dams is one of the options
studied. Science has shown that removing the four dams is the only option
under consideration by the Clinton Administration that can save these
legendary fish from extinction.
For more information on the Snake River and saving wild salmon through
removal, see the http://www.amrivers.org/snake.html or contact Justin
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.
PARKS AND PUBLIC LANDS
Senate to Mark Up Lands Fund Bill:
On Wednesday, the Senate Energy Committee will mark up the Conservation
Reinvestment Act of 1999 (S. 25), introduced by Senators Frank Murkowski
(R-AK) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA). The bill calls for the federal
to use half of its annual receipts from oil and gas development on the
continental shelf (OCS) – currently $3.5 billion a year – to aid impacted
coastal states and to increase funds for federal land acquisition and
fish and game programs in all fifty states. Specifically, S. 25 calls for
the fifty percent of federal OCS to be divided between coastal states for
air and water quality, wetlands, coastal restoration, shoreline
infrastructure, and public service needs (27%); a revamped Land and Water
Conservation Fund for federal land acquisition, grants to states, and
park and recreation programs (16%); and state fish and game departments
increase fish and wildlife populations and improve habitat (7%).
Representative Don Young (R-AK) introduced a companion bill (H.R. 701) in
the House. For more information on open space initiatives, see
The hearing will be held at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, July 28 in 366
Senate Office Building.
On Thursday, July 22, the House and Senate appointed their respective
conferees on the 1999 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). The
the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Senate
Environment and Public Works Committee hope complete the House-Senate
conference before the August recess – which begins August 7th.
The purpose of the conference is to reconcile the differences between
Senate's $3.0 billion WRDA (S. 507) and the House's $4.3 billion version
the legislation (H.R. 1480). To view the bills, visit
and type in the bill numbers.
The conferees are as follows:
Senate: Environment Committee Chair John Chafee (R-RI), Ranking Minority
Member Max Baucus (D-MT), and Senators John Warner (R-VA), Bob Smith
George Voinovich (R-OH), Daniel Moynihan (D-NY), and Barbara Boxer
House: Transportation Committee Chair Bud Schuster (R-PA), Ranking
Member James Oberstar (D-MN), and Representatives Don Young (R-AK),
Boehlert (R-NY), Richard Baker (R-LA), John Doolittle (R-CA), Don
(R-PA), Robert Borski (D-PA), Ellen Tauscher (D-CA), and Brian Baird
Senate to Discuss Water Projects:
The Senate Energy Subcommittee on Water and Power will discuss a number
water projects at a hearing on Wednesday, July 28. The bills in question
focus on water project construction, extension, or transfer. S. 642,
introduced in March by Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT) would provide drinking
water to the Assiniboine and Sioux tribe members living on the Fort Peck
Indian Reservation, which lacks a source of drinkable water. The Montana
reservation is one of the largest in the nation and is home to more than
10,000 people. If approved, the bill would also provide drinking water
Roosevelt, Sheridan, Daniels, and Valley counties. The federal government
would cover all of the costs of the $163 million project, which would
water from the Missouri River near Poplar, Montana.
S. 1211, introduced by Senator Robert Bennett (R-UT) to increase the
authorized funding ceiling for the Colorado River basin salinity control
program to $175 million annually. In 1995, Congress passed a
grant program aimed at encouraging salinity projects in the Colorado
Basin. Twenty-three million people rely on the Colorado River for water
supplies, and the river also provides irrigation water for four million
The other bills under consideration are Senators Harry Reid (D-NV) and
Richard Bryan’s (D-NV) proposal (S. 986) to direct the Bureau of
to turn over to the Southern Nevada Water Authority the Griffith water
project and S. 1337 by Senator Robert Bennett (R-UT) to amend the Central
Utah Project Completion Act to permit the use of savings in certain
be spent on other projects and programs as needed.
The hearing will be held at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 28 in 366
Senate Office Building.
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. 2383: Introduced by Representative Bob Stump (R-AZ), the Hoover Dam
Miscellaneous Sales Act would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to
produce and sell products and to sell publications relating to the Hoover
Dam and to deposit revenues generated from the sales into the Colorado
Dam fund. In 1997, more than 1,000,000 visitors, including 300,000 from
foreign countries, toured the Hoover Dam and hundreds of thousands of
additional visitors stopped to view the dam. The bill was referred to the
House Committee on Resources.
H.R. 2536: Introduced by Representative George Miller (D-CA), the San
Francisco Bay Shipping and Fisheries Enhancement Act of 1999 seeks to
hazards to navigation to allow greater separation of vessels carrying
other hazardous substances to reduce substantially the risk of oil
pollution, improve the safety of navigation, and reduce threats to the
wildlife, and environment of San Francisco Bay. The proposal would direct
the Secretary of the Army to develop and carry out a navigation project
San Francisco Bay, California, to remove underwater hazards to
the vicinity of Alcatraz Island, minimize the risk of an oil or hazardous
substance spill resulting from collisions between vessels or with an
underwater hazard, and minimize, to the maximum extent practicable,
on the environment and on commercial and recreational fisheries. The bill
was referred to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee
Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation
The following bills could come up on the Senate floor at any time:
H.R. 154 to allow the Interior Department and US Department of
to establish a fee system for commercial filming activities on areas
S. 109 to improve protection and management of the Chattahoochee River
National Recreation Area.
H.R. 15 to designate a portion of the Otay Mountains in California as
S. 762 to direct the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a feasibility
study on the inclusion of the Miami Circle in Biscayne National Park.
H.R. 149 to make technical corrections to the Omnibus Parks and Public
Management Act of 1966.
S. 953 to direct the Secretary of Agriculture to convey certain lands in
South Dakota to the Terry Peak Ski Area.
S. 1088 to authorize the Secretary of Agriculture to convey certain
administrative sites in national forests in Arizona to the city of
S. 938 to eliminate restrictions on the acquisition of certain land
contiguous to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
S. 501 to require the National Park Service to continue to allow
fishing and gathering, as well as commercial marine fishing regulated by
state, in Glacier Bay National Park in southeast Alaska.
Tuesday, July 27
9:30 a.m.: Senate Environment Committee markup of S. 1090, a superfund
reform bill. Location: 406 Dirksen Senate Office Building.
2:30 p.m.: Senate Energy Subcommittee on Forests and Public Land
hearing on bills affecting public lands in Nevada, Wyoming, and New
(S. 719, S. 930, and S. 1288). Location: 366 Dirksen Senate Office
Wednesday, July 28
9:30 a.m.: Senate Energy Committee markup of the Conservation and
Reinvestment Act of 1999. Location: 366 Dirksen Senate Office Building.
11:00 a.m.: House Resources Committee hearing on Representative Don
(R-AK) bill (H.R. 2547) to grant the Native Alaskan corporation of
an easement across part of the nation’s second largest national park,
over to the corporation several tracts purchased by the Exxon Valdez oil
spill settlement trustees from a local village corporation, and grant
corporations throughout Alaska additional opportunities to participate in
the forest planning process. Environmental groups and the Clinton
Administration oppose the bill because it would damage salmon streams in
Copper River delta and harm important waterfowl feeding areas. Location:
1324 Longworth House Office Building.
2:30 p.m.: Senate Energy Water and Power Subcommittee hearing on various
water projects. Location: 366 Dirksen Senate Office Building.
Thursday, July 29
9:30 a.m.: Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Oceans and Fisheries oversight
hearing on the 1976 Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act,
is due for reauthorization in September. Location: 253 Russell Senate
2:00 p.m.: Senate Energy Subcommittee hearing on S. 1349 to allow the
National Park Service to study nine areas for possible inclusion in the
national park service. Location: 366 Dirksen Senate Office Building.
LINKS TO PAST UPDATES:
July 19: http://www.amrivers.org/policy7-19.html.
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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