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NFC: Fw: [Updates] River Policy Update -- Week of November 1, 1999
VIEW THIS ON THE AMERICAN RIVERS WEBPAGE WITH DIRECT LINKS TO THE ACTUAL
American Rivers Policy Update
For the week of November 1, 1999
Funding Debate Continues:
Last week, talks continued on two appropriations bills vetoed by
Clinton – Foreign Operations and Commerce, State, and Justice. President
Clinton vetoed the $12.7 billion Foreign Operations bill because it
$1.9 billion less than the Administration’s request and did not include
funding for the Wye River peace accord between Israel and Palestine.
President Clinton cited a number of reasons for his veto of the $39
Commerce, State, and Justice bill, including inadequate funding for
new police officers, requirement that payment of United Nations arrears
subject to authorization, insufficient funding (just $10 million of a
requested $60 million) for implementation of a new US-Canada salmon
treaty, and a rider barring application of the Endangered Species Act to
salmon caught in Alaska.
This week, Congress will send to President Clinton the $314 billion
Health, Human Services, and Education funding bill, which seems fated to
vetoed as well. As of Friday, Congress still had not sent the funding
for the Department of Interior and Related Agencies to President Clinton.
The House and Senate both approved a joint resolution (H. J. Res. 73) to
make further continuing appropriations for the federal government while
Congress and the Administration try to resolve the remaining
for FY’00 funding measures. The current resolution provides funding
Chafee’s Successor May Be Named:
Republican members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee
select a new chair to succeed the late Senator John Chafee (R-RI), who
October 24 of a heart attack. Senator Chafee led the committee for five
years and was a strong ally of environmental causes.
The two front-runners for the seat are Senators Robert Smith (I-NH) and
James Inhofe (R-OK). Senator John Warner (R-VA), who is the senior
Republican on the panel, prefers to remain Chair of the Armed Services
Committee. Senator Smith left the Republican Party in July to be come an
independent, but has recently abandoned his independent campaign for the
presidency and hopes to rejoin the Republican Party. Either Smith or
would be expected to lead the committee in a different direction than
Senator Chafee, who was more moderate.
House Hearing on Dams Bill:
Last week, the House Agriculture Committee approved Representative Frank
Lucas' (R-OK) bill to authorize $600 million over ten years for financial
and technical assistance to repair and rehabilitate small watershed dams
across the country. Aid provided by H.R. 728 would cover 65 percent of
total rehabilitation costs and 100 percent of the actual construction
involved. H.R. 728 also includes $5 million to finance a two-year study
the magnitude of the problem of aging dams.
The bill was approved by voice vote, with a substitute amendment making
technical changes and two other amendments. Representative Bob
(R-VA) amendment, accepted by voice vote, adds a new subsection to the
to prohibit federal agencies from interfering with state and local
of flood debris along a waterway, which would be done with the goal of
preventing future flooding. Representative Charles Stenholm’s (D-TX)
amendment adds a new provision to the USDA’s conservation program aimed
protecting the privacy of data collected from producers under the
American Rivers has stated that the bill needs to be strengthened by
local dam owners the choice to either to fix the obsolete or failing dams
Snake River Dam Removal Irrigation Proposal Released:
American Rivers has released a new proposal to provide an alternative
irrigation system near Ice Harbor Dam if the four federal dams on the
Snake River are removed to recover endangered runs of Snake River salmon
steelhead. The dam currently provides irrigation for 37,000 acres of
farmland in Franklin and Walla Walla counties.
Unless an alternative irrigation system is provided, dam removal would
eliminate 2,256 full-time and part-time jobs and $72.2 million in annual
economic benefits, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Rivers proposed that an alternative irrigation system be provided
at federal expense and urged the Clinton Administration to expand their
study of salmon recovery options to address to social and economic
of dam removal.
Last month, American Rivers released a report by a former high-ranking
official in the Corps of Engineers that concluded that highway and rail
infrastructure investments would keep grain transportation rates
if the four lower Snake River dams are removed.
To view American Rivers' proposal, visit www.amrivers.org/snake.html on
World Wide Web.
Habitat Conservation Plan Hearings Continue:
On Wednesday, the Senate Environment Subcommittee on Fisheries
Conservation, Wildlife, and Drinking Water will hold the next in a series
hearings on Habitat Conservation Plans (HCP). This week’s hearing will
highlight proposals for solutions to the various problems encountered
HCPs so far.
Since 1992, the Department of Interior has significantly increased the
of HCPs in an effort to balance the needs of species protected under the
and the rights of landowners to use their lands as they see fit. There
currently 240 HCPs in operation across the nation, covering more than 11
million acres. Another 200 plans are in the works. For more background on
HCPs, see http://www.amrivers.org/policy10-18.html.
The hearing is set for 10 a.m. in 406 Dirksen Senate Office Building on
Wednesday, November 3.
Young Introduces ESA Bill:
Representative Don Young (R-AK) has introduced a bill to make
changes to the Endangered Species Act (ESA). H.R. 3160 would increase
and public participation in the process of listing species, require peer
review of the science used to back up listing decisions, set deadlines
agency decisions, and rework the process by which conflicts between
agencies are resolved. The Representatives co-sponsoring the bill include
Richard Pombo (R-CA), W.J. Tauzin (R-LA), Ken Calvert (R-CA), Bill Thomas
(R-CA) and Jim Hansen (R-UT).
Environmental groups are concerned about the bill because they believe it
would allow state plans to be used in lieu of federal protection, delay
listing decisions with more bureaucracy and red tape, reduce citizens'
access to the courts when enforcing the law but increase citizen access
preventing protection, and make recovery planning a much more political,
rather than scientific, process.
The hearing by the House Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife,
Drinking Water is set for 10 a.m. on November 3 in 406 Dirksen Senate
Building. The subcommittee will also discuss Habitat Conservation Plans
during the hearing.
PARKS AND PUBLIC LANDS
Loess Hills Hearing:
The House Resources Subcommittee on National Parks and Public Lands will
discuss a bill to require the National Park Service to study how to
the 600,000-acre Loess Hills area along the Missouri River. Located on
western edge of Iowa, the Loess Hills is a large expanse of undisturbed
mixed prairie and unique geological formations. Urban sprawl and other
activities are threatening the vegetation covering the hills, exposing
area to wind erosion.
The bill would direct the NPS to review options for protecting the area
make recommendations as to whether it should be protected as a national
park, national heritage site, or some other designation. The bill would
authorize $275,000 for the one-year study. The Senate passed companion
legislation (S. 776) in July.
The hearing is set for 10 a.m. on Thursday, November 4 in 1324 Longworth
House Office Building.
Review of Roadless Plan:
Tuesday, Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman, Assistant Secretary for
Natural Resources Jim Lyons, and Forest Service Chief Mike Dombeck will
appear before the Senate Energy Subcommittee on Forests and Public Lands
Management to defend President Clinton’s proposal to prohibit road
construction in at least 40 million acres of currently roadless
Mike Dombeck and Council on Environmental Quality Chair George Frampton
face questions on the same issue on Wednesday before the House Resources
The White House hopes to have the new rule ready for publication and
comment by next spring, with a final rule in place by late 2000.
to the Forest Service, “Roadless areas serve as reference areas for
research, bulwarks against invasive species, and as aquatic strongholds
fishes as well as vital habitat and migration routes for wildlife
especially those requiring large home ranges.”
The Senate Energy subcommittee hearing will be held at 9:30 a.m. in 366
Dirksen Senate Office Building on November 2. The house Resources hearing
set for 11 a.m. in 1324 Longworth House Office Building on November 3.
Land Fund Bills Get a Push:
Legislators pushing bills to increase funding for impact aid to coastal
states and national recreation and conservation programs are racing
the clock, trying to get their bills approved by House and Senate panels
before the end of the session. The Senate Energy Committee is expected to
take up S. 25, the Conservation and Reinvestment Act introduced by
Frank Murkowski (R-AK) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA). S. 25 would increase
federal funding for land conservation and wildlife programs by devoting
of the federal receipts from oil and gas development on the outer
continental shelf – currently $3.5 billion annually – to provide impact
to coastal states and strengthen land acquisition and recreation
and fish and game programs across the nation.
Representative Don Young (R-AK) introduced companion legislation (H.R.
in the House. Representative George Miller (D-CA) also introduced similar
legislation (H.R. 798). The two legislators have reached an agreement in
principle on many issues, but still have some areas of dispute to
The House Resources Committee will hold a markup if the Miller and Young
able to reconcile their bills by that time.
Other land funding bills include S. 819, S. 446, S. 532, S. 1573, and S.
The Senate Energy markup is set for 9:30 a.m. in 366 Dirksen Senate
Building on November 3.
To view the bills, visit http://thomas.loc.gov/home/thomas2.html.
House Resources Approves Estuary Bill:
Last week, the House Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation,
Wildlife, and Oceans approved Representative Wayne Gilchrest’s (D-MD)
(H.R. 1775) aimed at protecting and restoring the Chesapeake Bay and
coastal estuaries. The goal of the bill is to restore one million acres
estuary habitat over the next decade and improve coordination between
federal and non-federal restoration programs. H.R. 1775 would authorize
million over the next five years in matching grant funds for restoration
EPA Grants Get Hearing:
On Thursday, the House Transportation Subcommittee on Oversight,
Investigation, and Emergency Management will hold a hearing to scrutinize
the Environmental Protection Agency’s grant program. EPA makes grants
exceeding $3.5 billion annually – half of the agency’s budget. The grants
are used for virtually all of the programs under EPA’s jurisdiction, with
most of the money going to state and local governments for water
EPA also provides grants to non-profit organizations, corporations, and
individuals. The focus of the hearing will be whether EPA has managed the
grant programs well or wasted some of the funds.
The hearing will be held in 2167 Rayburn House Office Building at 2 p.m.
Thursday, November 4.
Dredged Material Dumping Focus of Hearing:
The House Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife,
Oceans will discuss concerns over dumping of thousands of tons of mud
New York harbor into the Atlantic Ocean at a site known as New York
New York heating oil company has requested a permit from the Army Corps
Engineers to dispose of approximately 90,000 cubic yards of silt at a sit
off Sandy Hook, NJ. Environmental groups and others are concerned about
proposal because the silt, which Castle Astoria Terminals, hopes to
from its tanker berths in Queens, NY, is contaminated and could degrade
The hearing will be held in 1324 Longworth House Office Building at 10
on November 5.
Markup of Lands Bills Scheduled:
The Senate Energy Committee hopes to mark up a number of major land
conservation and coastal impact aid bills in what could be its last
of the session. Among the bills slated for the markup are two Alaska
proposals. One, which is highly controversial, would grant an easement
other concessions to the Chugach Alaska Corporation (S. 1686). The other
Alaska bill, S. 1702, would amend the 1971 Alaska Native Claims
Act, which would provide the Elim Native Corporation another 50,000
Other measures that could be marked up include bills to:
· Designate 18,000 acres of wilderness in the San Isabel National Forest
· Give the Forest Service authority to make land grants for educational
· Sell approximately 40 acres of national forest land in North Dakota to
· Convey two acres of Forest Service land to Elko County, Nevada, for a
· Expand the scope of a scientific panel studying fish and wildlife
in the Columbia Basin;
· Direct the Bureau of Reclamation to report on the status of irrigation
systems in Hawaii and identify new opportunities for reclamation and
· Allow the Bureau of Reclamation to undertake projects to help salmon
other fish harmed by irrigation activities in OR, WA, MT, and ID;
· Convey certain parcels of land acquired for the Blunt Reservoir and
Canal features of the Oahe Irrigation Project in South Dakota to the
· Convey the assets of the Middle Loup Division of the Missouri River
Project in Nebraska to three local irrigation districts; and
· Turn over the Palmetto Bend Project to Texas.
The markup is set for 9:30 a.m. on November 3 in 366 Dirksen Senate
WILD AND SCENIC
House Resources Panel to Bring Up Wild and Scenic Bill:
The House Resources Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health will mark
a bill to protect the 23.3-mile segment of Wilson Creek in North Carolina
part of the Wild and Scenic Rivers System during a hearing on Tuesday.
1749, introduced by Representative Cass Ballenger (R-NC), would protect
miles of the river from its headwaters on Grandfather Mountain through
County to Johns Creek in Caldwell County. The US Forest Service supports
The markup is set for 2 p.m. on November 2 in 1334 Longworth House
To view the bills, visit http://thomas.loc.gov/home/thomas2.html.
ON THE FLOOR
The following bills could come to the House floor at any time:
H.R. 2389 to stabilize the level of revenue-sharing payments from natural
resource development receipts to rural counties (County Schools Funding
H.R. 2889 to amend the Central Utah Project Completion Act to provide for
acquisition of water and water rights for Central Utah Project purposes,
completion of Central Utah Project facilities, and implementation of
H.R. 862 to transfer a water distribution system to the clear Creek
Community Services District in Shasta County, California.
H.R. 1235 to allow the city of Vallejo, California, to “wheel” some of
drinking water through part of the canal serving the state’s Solano
a water project built by the Bureau of Reclamation in the 1950’s.
H.R. 2632 to designate the 9,200-acre Dugger Mountain Wilderness in the
Talladega National Forest in central Alabama.
H.R. 2737 to authorize the Secretary of Interior to convey to Illinois
certain federal land associated with the Lewis and Clark National
Trail to be uses as an historic and interpretive site along the trail.
H.R. 992 to turn over the Sly Park Project in California to the El Dorado
Irrigation District, allowing the district to repay its construction debt
and receive ownership of the project, which it has operated for decades.
H.R. 3077 to amend the act that authorized construction of the San Luis
of the Central Valley Project in California to facilitate water transfers
For a list of bills could come to the Senate floor at any time, see
To view the bills, visit http://thomas.loc.gov/home/thomas2.html.
Nov. 2, 9:30 a.m.: Senate Energy Subcommittee on Forests and Public Lands
Management hearing on President Clinton’s proposal to ban road building
40 million acres of roadless forestlands. Location: 366 Dirksen Senate
Nov. 2, 2:30 p.m.: House Resources Subcommittee on Forests and Forest
markup of a bill to protect Wilson Creek in North Carolina under the Wild
and Scenic Rivers System, along with several other lands bills. Location:
1334 Longworth House Office Building.
Nov. 3, 9:30 a.m.: Senate Energy Committee markup of a number of lands
bills. Location: 366 Dirksen Senate Office Building.
Nov. 3, 10 a.m.: Senate Environment Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife,
Drinking Water hearing on Habitat Conservation Plans and an ESA reform
Location: 406 Dirksen Senate Office Building.
Nov. 4, 9:30 a.m.: Senate Indian Affairs and House Resources Committee
hearing on a bill to make it easier for Navajo Indians to enter into land
leasing agreements. Location: 106 Dirksen Senate Office Building.
Nov. 4, 10 a.m.: House Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and
hearing on the EPA’s brownsfields cleanup revolving loan fund program.
Location: 2123 Rayburn House Office Building.
Nov. 4, 10 a.m.: House Resources Subcommittee on National Parks and
Lands hearing on a bill to require the NPS to study how to protect the
600,000-acre Loess Hills area on the Missouri River. Location: 1324
Longworth House Office Building.
Nov. 4, 2 p.m.: House Transportation Subcommittee on Oversight,
Investigation, and Emergency Management hearing on EPA’s grant system.
Location: 2167 Rayburn House Office Building.
Nov. 5, 10 a.m.: House Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation,
Wildlife, and Oceans hearing on a proposal to dump thousands of tons of
from New York harbor into the Atlantic Ocean. Location: 1324 Longworth
LINKS TO PAST UPDATES:
October 25: http://www.amrivers.org/policy10-25.html
October 18: http://www.amrivers.org/policy10-18.html
October 11: http://www.amrivers.org/policy10-11.html
October 4: http://www.amrivers.org/policy10-4.html
September 27: http://www.amrivers.org/policy9-27.html
September 20: http://www.amrivers.org/policy9-20.html
September 13: http://www.amrivers.org/policy9-13.html
September 6: http://www.amrivers.org/policy9-6.html
August 9: http://www.amrivers.org/policy8-9.html
August 2: http://www.amrivers.org/policy8-2.html
July 26: http://www.amrivers.org/policy7-26.html
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
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Legislative information taken from many sources including Thomas,
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