Washington Resource Report
October 1, 2001
Eco-Terrorism: To read an article about eco-terrorism, make a web-visit by clicking
"Green Watch Research Associate Chris Morris' remarks at the Frontiers of Freedom conference on Ecoterrorism" - you'll need Acrobat Reader.
Appropriations: While both the House and Senate passed their versions of the FY'02 Interior appropriations bill before the end of July, little action had been taken to move the bill, or many of the remaining 13 appropriation bills, forward. The House now has announced its members of several appropriations conference committees, including Interior. Reconciliation of the differences between the House and the Senate funding levels will not be easy. In light of the recent terrorist attacks, funding is tighter than ever on Capitol Hill. The funding required to respond to the attacks is raising fiscal concerns and may result in further belt tightening. Members are considering whether the appropriation subcommittees should have their allocations reduced or whether to impose an across the board reduction to some or all of the appropriation bills. Meanwhile, Congress is expected to pass a continuing resolution to provide funding for the government during October.
Salmon: The Fish and Wildlife Service has awarded a $2 million grant to the state of Maine for the restoration and conservation of Atlantic salmon in the Machias River and its tributaries. The grant is part of a nationwide package announced by DOI Secretary Gale Norton of more than $16 million to 25 states to promote the conservation of threatened and endangered species. According to Mamie Parker, acting regional director for the Service's Northeast Region, the grant will be used to acquire approximately 6,500 acres along the Machias River and its tributaries in Maine's Washington and Hancock counties to protect habitat for the federally endangered Atlantic salmon. The conservation easement component consists of 22,000 acres of Machias River land, including major tributaries and headwater lakes with protection provisions for all streams within International Paper's holdings in this area. The project is said to be a unique private-public partnership that is the culmination of many years of pro-active work to protect Atlantic salmon.
Property Rights: In a precedent-setting decision, a federal court has ruled that when the EPA issued a cease and desist order preventing a New Mexico landowner from using his property for economic activity, it took his property for "public use," and therefore owes him "just compensation." The decision culminates nine years of litigation, which began after a 1992 order by the EPA and which ended with a two-day trial in Albuquerque last February. The court will now consider the amount of "just compensation" owed by the EPA. "At long last Larry Squires of Hobbs, New Mexico, has the vindication that he has long sought: the EPA violated the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution when it ordered that he could not use his land," said William Perry Pendley of Mountain States Legal Foundation, which represents Squires.
CARA: The Conservation and Reinvestment Act appeared to be heading to the House floor where it has the votes to pass but now lingers as other funding needs related to the turmoil caused by the Sept. 11 attacks take the priority. The debate over CARA, H.R. 701, will be cast in a new light of tightening funds as Congress directs massive amounts of money starting with the $40 billion earmark to immediate, emergency responses and longer-term recovery, defense and other related needs.
Greenies: The green group American Lands Alliance recently alerted "all activists" to a provision in the Farm Security Act of 2001, recently reported out by the House Committee on Agriculture, which would provide $50 million per year in grants subsidizing the purchase of biomass fuel "to prevent wildfire disasters and transform hazardous fuels to electric energy, useful heat, or transportation fuels," with funds assigned according to priorities established by the Secretary of Agriculture. American Lands poses its position in the following terms: "Biomass plants could lead to the same kind of overcutting in the West that chip mills have caused in the East," proposing, first, that biomass harvest is only justifiable as a prelude to a sustained wildfire program, and second, that "this new subsidy will encourage excessive logging to feed the mills." To review the complete American Lands Campaign memo, click: www.forestresources.org/members/alcmemo.htm. From FRA.
Bush Transition: The Senate has confirmed Mark Rey in the position of Undersecretary of Agriculture for Natural Resources and the Environment by unanimous consent. Most recently a staff member on the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Rey spent 18 years working on federal policy and racking-up a reputation as an astute advocate for resource access while employed with non-government organizations.
Certification: The Certified Forest Products International Conference and Showcase originally scheduled for Sept. 26-28 in Atlanta, GA, has been postponed because of the events of September 11. The hosts, the Certified Forest Products Council and the World Wildlife Federation are looking into rescheduling the event, but no dates have been announced at this time. For more information, contact CFPC at www.certifiedwood.org.
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