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E-M:/ Federal Conservation/Aquisition Funding Bill ClearsCommittee

Enviro-Mich message from "TIM EDER" <EDER@nwf.org>

A major milestone in the effort to secure passage of federal legislation to provide funding for conservation was passed yesterday. The House Resource Committee reported out of committee by a large majority the Young-Miller bi-partisan compromise bill.  

This is the bill which, if passed, would result in $45 million PER YEAR in funding for conservation in Michigan, by one estimate. And, it's the same bill that the Engler Administration is weak on, despite broad bi-partisan support from virtually every other governor in the country.

THANKs are due to everyone who has been working on this bill for all you did to help line up support. It still has a long way to go, but this is an important hurdle.

Below is the text of a memo from NWF staff in DC with a blow-by-blow account of the committee meeting. The only thing missing below is the vote chart. Congressman Dale Kildee, Michigan's only rep on the committee, voted right on every single vote. Thank you Congressman Kildee.

Finally, thanks are also due Congressman Dingell and his staff for their early leadership and steadfast support on this crucial legislation.

- Tim Eder



To: NWF Staff, Affiliates, and Interested Parties

From: Sara Barth, Jodi Applegate, Malia Hale

Re: Mark-Up of H.R. 701, the Conservation and Reinvestment Act

November 10, 1999

In an incredible display of bipartisan cooperation, Chairman Don Young and Representative George Miller (the leading Democrat on the Committee) successfully steered H.R. 701 through the House Resources Committee.  Together, they offered a compromise package that passed by an impressive margin (37-12).  The 4 hour mark-up was filled with heated debate, spearheaded by conservatives like Representatives Cubin, Chenoweth, and Pombo, who were concerned that the bill would undermine private property rights.  Chairman Young, Representatives Miller, Tauzin, and Vento are to be congratulated for aggressively defending their proposal.  Committee Democrats voted in a consistent block to oppose hostile amendments and were joined by several key Republicans, most notably Representatives Saxton, Gilchrest, and Souder.  

Passage of this bill is a testament to the broad-based support that exists for permanent conservation funding.  The diverse set of interests watching the mark-up broke into applause when the bill was finally approved.

While there are significant hurdles to overcome before this bill becomes law, the Committee's vote was a critical first step.  We now have positive momentum for the bill to be considered on the House floor next year.  The National Wildlife Federation will continue working to both promote and improve H.R. 701.

The amendments and recorded votes are described below. 

Proposed Amendments to H.R. 701

*Requirement that 2/3 of federal LWCF be spent in the East, offered by Rep. Hansen, rejected by voice vote.
*Prohibition on net gain of federal lands under LWCF, offered by Rep. Cubin, rejected 24-14, see vote chart #1.
*Funding for urban and community forestry programs and Forest Legacy, offered by Rep. M. Udall, supported by Reps. Napolitano, Gilchrest, and Crowley, withdrawn.
*Requirement that LWCF acquisitions (state and federal) be limited to willing sellers with no exceptions, offered by Reps. Calvert and Hill, rejected 30-17, see vote chart #2.
*Requirement that the federal government prepare a list of surplus lands available for exchange, offered by Rep. Doolittle, accepted as a marker with plans to further negotiate the language.
*Requirement that no regulations apply to federal land acquisitions unless specifically required by an Act of Congress, offered by Rep. Pombo, rejected 28-14, see vote chart #3.
*Provision to sunset all of the funding in 2005, offered by Rep. Cubin, rejected by voice vote.
*Requirement that PILT and refuge revenue sharing be fully funded before funding the rest of the programs in the bill, offered by Rep. Chenoweth, rejected by voice vote, but Young assured that there would be provisions to ensure sufficient PILT funding.
*Requirement that nothing in the Act would lead to a net loss of hunting lands, offered by Rep. Chenoweth, rejected by voice vote. 
*Requirement that state legislatures approve land acquisitions, offered by Rep. Chenoweth, rejected by voice vote.
*Prohibition on future federal land acquisition in Idaho, offered by Rep. Chenoweth, rejected 28-13, see vote chart #4.
*Requirement that counties with over 33% federal land be allowed to influence future federal land acquisitions, offered by Rep. Walden, rejected by voice vote.
*Provision to provide for the orderly disposal of public lands, offered by Rep. Gibbons, withdrawn.
*Prohibition against use of funds to implement American Heritage Rivers Executive Order, offered by Rep. Schaffer, rejected 24-20, see vote chart #5.
*Transfer of $200 million from LWCF to UPARR, offered by Rep. Tancredo, rejected by voice vote.
*Prohibition against use of funds for reintroduction of grizzly bears into Selway-Bitterroot range, offered by Rep. Hill, rejected by voice vote.
*Requirement that plans be developed for disposal of public lands, no land acquisition until plans complete, offered by Rep. Hill, rejected 25-16, see vote chart #6.
*Final passage, passed 37-12, see vote chart #7.

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