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NFC: Fw: [Updates] River Policy Update -- Week of November 8, 1999
VIEW THIS ON THE AMERICAN RIVERS WEBPAGE WITH DIRECT LINKS TO THE ACTUAL
American Rivers Policy Update
For the week of November 8, 1999
Funding Debate Continues:
Legislators hope to wrap up negotiations on the FY’00 appropriations
this week, but some sticky issues remain unresolved after the weekend.
Congress and the Clinton Administration continue to grapple with
disagreements over two bills vetoed by President Clinton – Commerce,
Justice, and State bill as well as Labor, Health, Human Services, and
Education. Legislators and the Administration also must resolve some
of contention in the funding measure for the Department of Interior and
Related Agencies, which has not yet been sent to the White House.
After much difficult bargaining, the House passed the $15.3 billion
Foreign Operations bill (H.R. 3196) on Friday afternoon after adding $1.8
billion requested by the Administration for support of the Wye River
East peace agreement. President Clinton vetoed the original $12.7 billion
bill on October 18.
The Foreign Operations bill was sent to the Senate, where approval has
held up by a rider attached by Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV), senior
on the committee. The rider would overturn a federal court decision
Clean Water Act standards to mountaintop removal mining in West Virginia.
The bill could be cleared as early as Monday evening. More than 80
environmental groups, including American Rivers, signed onto a letter to
President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore urging them to oppose the
rider. Nearly twenty House Republicans made a similar appeal to the
According to House Appropriations Committee Chair C.W. Bill Young
there had been some give and take over riders attached to the Department
Interior funding bill and the two sides were close to an agreement. The
supposedly now includes $226 million of the $550 requested by the
Administration for land acquisition under President Clinton’s Lands
initiative. A deal may have been struck regarding a 180-day delay in
regulations to determine royalties to be paid by companies for oil
from federal lands and a two-year exemption from waste disposal
for wording and planned hardrock mines.
Representative Harold Rogers (R-KY), Chair of the House Appropriations
Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and State, reported that negotiations
continue on funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
and for Pacific salmon recovery programs.
Congress passed the fourth stop-gap spending measure on Thursday to keep
the government running with negotiations continue on the remaining
appropriations bills. H.J.Res. 75 extends funding through November 10.
For more information on the funding measures, see updates from November
(http://www.amrivers.org/policy11-1.html), October 25
(http://www.amrivers.org/policy10-25.html), and October 18
Smith to Take Chafee’s Seat:
Senator Bob Smith (R-NH) was elected as Chair of the Senate Environment
Public Works Committee, replacing late Senator John Chafee (R-RI).
Smith will bring a more conservative view of environmental issues to the
committee compared to the more moderate Chafee who was seen as a champion
On Thursday, the Senate passed legislation designating the new John H.
Chafee Barrier Resources System. Chafee, who died on October 24, was the
author of legislation that created the system in 1982. The bill was
introduced by Senators Bob Smith (R-NH) and Max Baucus (D-MT).
California Wilderness Dams:
This week, the House hopes to hold floor debate on a bill aimed at
clarifying the intent of Congress in Public Law 93-632 to require the
Secretary of Agriculture to continue to provide for the maintenance and
operation of 18 concrete dams and weirs located in the Emigrant
in California’s Stanislaus National Forest. H.R. 359, introduced by
Representative John Doolittle (R-CA), would allow the US Forest Service
delegate the work and cost of maintaining the dams to local private
The California Department of Fish and Game has been responsible for
maintaining some of the dams, but can no longer afford to do so.
The House may consider an amended version of the bill that includes
recommendations from the state Department of Fish and Game to reduce the
list of dams to 12 and provide the Forest Service will authority to
with public input, how to prioritize and order the activities through the
agency’s environmental review and management planning process. Trout
Unlimited, CalTrout, and Representative George Miller (D-CA) have
their support for the compromise version.
PARKS AND PUBLIC LANDS
Clinton Announces Expansion of Wildlife Refuge on Columbia River:
On November 5, President Clinton announced a major expansion of the
Mountain National Wildlife Refuge to include critical lands surrounding
Columbia River's Hanford Reach, the last free flowing stretch of the
Columbia River in the United States. The 51-mile stretch of river runs
through the Department of Energy's Hanford Nuclear Reservation and
a migration corridor and critical spawning habitat for fall chinook
The announcement transfers management of 57,000 acres of the Wahluke
to the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Protection of the fragile lands of
Wahluke Slope is essential to safeguarding the spawning grounds in the
Hanford Reach for chinook salmon. The Wahluke Slope provides habitat for
numerous native plants and animals, including almost 200 species of
More than 150 Native American archaeological sites have been discovered
along the shoreline.
The DOE has owned and administered the Hanford Nuclear Reservation since
1943. Ironically, the use of the Wahluke Slope and other lands as buffers
has protected their natural function and the health of the Hanford Reach,
which provides habitat to the only harvestable runs of chinook salmon
in the region.
Landmark Conservation & Recreation Legislation Scheduled For Markup:
The House Resources Committee plans to mark up landmark legislation to
increase funding for national conservation and recreation programs and
resolve several inequities regarding the disposition of funds generated
Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) activities. Representative Don Young
Chair of the House Resources Committee, said the markup will be on
compromise legislation drafted by the sponsors of the Conservation and
Reinvestment Act of 1999 (H.R. 701) and the Permanent Protection for
America's Resources 2000 (H.R. 798).
The markup is scheduled Wednesday, November 10th, depending on the House
schedule. As drafted, the new legislation would provide annual dedicated
funding for the following:
· Impact Assistance & Coastal Conservation, $1 billion
· Land & Water Conservation Fund Revitalization, $900 million
· Wildlife Conservation & Restoration Fund, $350 million
· Urban Park & Recreation Recovery, $125 million
· Historic Preservation Fund, $100 million
· Federal & Indian Lands Restoration, $200 million
· Conservation Easements & Species Recovery, $150 million
· Payment In-Lieu of Taxes & Refuge Revenue Sharing, $200 million.
The House Resources Committee has established an email address for those
wishing to express comments on the legislation. People who would like to
submit comments or recommendations can send them to: CARA at mail_house.gov.
For more information, please check the House Committee on Resources Home
Page at http://www.house.gov/resources/ or visit
The markup is scheduled for November 10 at 1 p.m. in 1324 Longworth House
North Dakota Project Comes to Floor:
This week, the Senate will likely bring to the floor a bill aimed at
expanding the controversial Garrison Diversion project in North Dakota
a $630 million drinking water system. As approved by the Senate Energy
Natural Resources Committee on September 22, S. 623 encompasses an
with the Clinton Administration reducing the price tag of the project
$770 million as well as language making the state responsible for all
operations and maintenance costs resulting from new construction. In
of reversing Canada’s opposition to the bill and project, the committee
removed language linking authorization of a natural resources trust fund
construction of unrelated features of the project. Canada is concerned
the proposal because it involves diverting water from the Missouri and
Mississippi River Basins into the Hudson Bay Basin by way of the Sheyenne
and Red Rivers.
S. 623 would provide $200 million for statewide municipal, rural, and
industrial programs (MR&I), a $100 million reduction from earlier
legislation. If an MR&I revolving loan fund is created, the funds will
to be treated as federal funds, requiring compliance with federal laws
as the National Environmental Policy Act. The bill drops, and House
companion legislation H.R. 2918, drop a $40 million bridge project.
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
For more information about the history of the Garrison Diversion
Bills Passed by the House:
Last week, the House passed seven measures pertaining water resources
H.R. 2889 to provide for the acquisition of water and water rights for
Central Utah Project purposes, completion of project facilities, and
implementation of water conservation measures.
H.R. 862 to transfer a water distribution system to the Clear Creek
Community Services District in Shasta County, CA.
H.R. 1235 to allow the city of Vallejo, CA, to “wheel” some of its
water through part of the canal system serving the state’s Solano
water project built by the Bureau of Reclamation in the 1950s.
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 used as a historic and interpretive site along the trail.
H.R. 992 to turn over the Sly Park Dam and reservoir in California to the
Dorado Irrigation District.
The House Resources Committee approved a rewritten version of the
Senate-approved bill to allow the Kake Tribal Corp. to trade tracts
containing the watershed that provides water for its village for land
could be logged, mined, or otherwise developed. S. 430 would direct the
Forest Service to trade other land in the Tongass National Forest for the
2,400-acre Gunnuk Creek watershed, giving the corporation lands that
be developed without harming the village’s water supply. The village of
is located on an island near Juneau in southeast Alaska.
WILD AND SCENIC
Movement on Taunton River Designation:
The Senate will likely bring to the floor this week a bill to designate
segments of the Taunton River in Massachusetts for study for potential
addition to the national Wild and Scenic Rivers System. S. 1569, was
introduced by Senators John Kerrey (D-MA) and Edward Kennedy (D-MA),
for the study to encompass about 40 miles along the Taunton and part of
major tributary, the Nemasket River, at their confluence. The National
Service would have three years to complete the study, and then report to
Congress on their conclusions.
Delaware River Slated for Better Protection:
This week, the Senate will also likely bring to the floor a bill to
designate portions of the lower Delaware River and associated tributaries
a component of the national Wild and Scenic Rivers System. S. 1296 would
protect 65.6 miles along the river between New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
river corridor includes 29 national historic designations and 8 national
historic landmarks. Senators Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Robert
(D-NJ) and Rick Santorum (R-PA) introduced the bill in June.
House Resources to Move on Wilson Creek Bill:
On Wednesday, following discussion of legislation to redistribute outer
continental shelf receipts for land acquisition and impact aid, the House
Resources Committee hopes to markup a number of bills, including a bill
protect part of Wilson Creek in North Carolina under the Wild and Scenic
Rivers Act. H.R. 1749, introduced in May by Representative Cass Ballenger
(R-NC), would designate as wild and scenic a 23.3-mile segment of the
from its headwaters on Grandfather Mountain.
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:
S. 416 to direct the Secretary of Agriculture to convey land to the city
Sisters, Oregon, for a sewage treatment facility and for the disposal of
H.R. 1444 to authorize the Secretary of Army to develop and implement
projects for fish screens, fish passage devices, and other similar
to mitigate the adverse impacts associated with irrigation system water
diversions by local governments in Oregon, Washington, Montana, and
H.R. 1725 to convey 28.5 acres of public land to Douglas County, Oregon,
be added to the county’s Miwelata Park.
H.R. 2389 to stabilize the level of revenue-sharing payments from natural
resource development receipts to rural counties (County Schools Funding
H.R. 2541 to adjust the boundaries of the Gulf Islands National Seashore
include Cat Island, Mississippi.
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
H.R. 3090 to amend the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act to restore
certain lands to the Elim Native Corporation. The bill would allow the
corporation to select up to 50,000 acres near Norton Bay, Alaska.
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. 10, 1 p.m.: House Resources Committee markup of legislation to
funding for impact aid to coastal states and national conservation and
recreation programs. The committee may also mark up a bill (H.R. 1749) to
protect Wilson Creek in North Carolina as wild and scenic and a bill
3051) to authorize $250,000 for a study of the most feasible way to
an adequate municipal, rural, and industrial water supply for the
of Jicarilla Apache Indian Reservation in New Mexico. Location: 1324
Longworth House Office Building.
Nov. 13, 1 p.m.: House Resources Subcommittee on Forests and Forest
field hearing on whether to repair a washed-out dirt road in Nevada.
Location: Convention Center, Elko, Nevada. House Resources contacts are
Crandall, majority, 202-225-0691 and Erica Rosenberg, minority,
LINKS TO PAST UPDATES:
November 1: http://www.amrivers.org/policy11-1.html
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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