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E-M:/ Call Sen. Abraham to stop a nasty anti-environmental rider!

Enviro-Mich message from "Liz Godfrey" <lizgodfrey@prodigy.net>


Congress is in full gear again and riders are again raising their nasty
heads.  Please help stop a nasty anti-environmental rider that will
seriously undermine the Endangered Species Act.  Senator Bond of Missouri
attached a rider to the Energy and Water Appropriations bill that would bar
the Army Corps of Engineers from implementing measures that would help the
interior least tern, piping plover, and pallid sturgeon on the Missouri
River.  Thankfully, Senators Daschle(SD) and Baucus(MT) have agreed to
sponsor a "motion to strike" on the Senate floor.  We are seeking to get
Senators to support this motion and Senator Abraham is seen as a "swing"
vote.  Please give his Environmental Legislative Aide (Kevin Kolevar) a call
on this issue.  I've inculded a little more background at the bottom of the

If you have any questions, please feel free to call.  Thanks for your help!

Liz Godfrey
GREEN Northland Organizer
the GrassRoots Environmental Effectiveness Network
*powering the Endangered Species Coalition*
(608) 294-1338

*****Senator Abraham's phone number: 202-224-4822*****


  September 5, 2000




  In what could perhaps be the most important endangered species vote
  this session, Congress is now expected to vote on the Missouri River
  rider tomorrow, Wednesday September 6. Our friends up on Capitol Hill
  are telling us that a number of key swing vote Senators are not feeling
  the heat and need to hear from you grassroots folks. This is a vote
  that is going to be very close but one that we can win if we can get
  some more calls in encouraging them to do the right thing. You all know
  the score, the recovery and possible survival of three listed species
  is at stake and its you folks outside of the Beltway that can make the
  difference. As always, thanks for taking the time to make some calls!

  Brock Evans
  Chris Champine

  From the Endangered Species Coalition powered by GREEN,
  The GrassRoots Environmental Effectiveness Network.

  WHAT YOU CAN DO ( Much of the following information was kindly provide
  by American Rivers):

  1. Calls are desperately needed to a number of key swing votes. Please
  call as many of the following Senators as you can. Their votes are
  crucial to defeating this rider. The Senators along with their staff
  contact person are below. Call the Capitol Switchboard 202-224-3121 to
  reach any of the following.

  Lincoln (Chuck Burnett);
  Roth (Dave Redlin);
  Fitzgerald (Joe Watson/Elizabeth Collier);
  Harkin (Rich Bender);
  Chafee (Christy Plummer);
  Snowe (Ginny Werth);
  Collins (Dan Demeritt);
  Jeffords (Ken Connelly or Andrew);
  Voinovich (Rich Worthington/Ellen Stein)
  Smith (N.H. Stephanie/David/Tom Gibson)
  McCain (Jill Peters)
  Lugar (Jeff Burnham)
  Domenici (Dave Gwaltney)
  Warner (Meredith Mosely)
  Gregg (Michelle Pico)

  Other Senators who are sitting on the fence and also need encouragement
  from the grassroots to do the right thing include Senators: Breaux
  (Johnny Brussard);Landrieu (Jason Schendler); Specter (Tom
   Dauer);Santorum; Thomas (Jody Worhaye); McConnell (Scott O'Malia);
  Frist; Thompson; DeWine (Joy); Helms; Hagel (Mike Brairton); Burns
  (Ryan); Cochran (Rebecca Ben/Hunt Shipman); Lott (Beth Spivey); Grams
  (Tom Yedinak or John Revere); Abraham (Kevin Colliver); Roberts
  (Ashley); Brownback (Sara); Grassley (Sherry Kuntz); Crapo (Arlen
  Flanz); Campbell (Kevin Studer).

  2. Call your Senators. You can reach your Senators by calling the
  Congressional Switchboard at 202-224-3121.
  You can also get direct phone numbers, fax numbers, and district office
  information by visiting:

  SITUATION: A rider on a Senate appropriations bill would prevent the
  Corps of Engineers from reforming dam operations to meet the needs of
  listed species. Missouri Senator Kit Bond (R-MO)attached the rider to
  the Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill for FY'01.
  But Senators Tom Daschle (D-SD) and Max Baucus (D-MT) will introduce an
  amendment to strike Section 103, the anti-Missouri River rider. The
  Senate is expected to resume consideration of the funding bill today
  and vote on the anti-Missouri River rider tomorrow September 6, 2000.

  PRIMARY MESSAGE: 1) This rider would prevent the Corps from reforming
  Missouri River dam operations to meet the needs of endangered species.
  We  must restore rising flows in the spring and declining flows in the
  summer to avoid jeopardy for two birds and a fish, according to
  scientists and the USFWS.

  ALSO: 2) The Corps is about to release a DEIS and open a six month
  comment period on Missouri River dam operations. This rider would
  effectively take one of five alternatives off the table before the
  public gets a chance to have its say.

  CONTACT AS MANY SENATORS AS YOU CAN NOW and urge them to support the
  Daschle/Baucus amendment to strike the anti-Missouri River rider
  (Section 103).


  Below is a sample letter if you would like to fax or email a letter.
  You can also use the letter for talking points if you call.

  Dear Senator:

  I urge you to support Senator Daschle's amendment to strike Section 103
  from the Energy and Water Appropriations Bill for FY 2001, which would
  prevent the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from meeting the needs of
  Missouri River endangered species and  recreation.

  Section 103 would prevent the Corps of Engineers from reforming dam
  operations to meet the needs of the federally endangered and
  threatened interior least tern, piping plover and pallid sturgeon. This
  anti-environmental rider would also prevent the public from considering
  dam reforms that would meet the needs of recreation and river wildlife
  by blocking one of five alternatives included in a Corps DEIS. The
  Corps DEIS is set to be released in October.

  Reforming dam operations to include a modest spring rise and low summer
  flow would meet the needs of recreation and river wildlife  without
  impacting the river's traditional uses. River scientists have uniformly
  concluded that increased spring flows are needed to provide a
  reproductive cue for sturgeon, and to build the sandbars used by
  nesting shorebirds. Fortunately, a modest spring rise could be
  implemented without interfering with draining floodplain farms or
  increasing flood losses, according to Corps studies.

  Suspending barge traffic during the summer - which would aid young fish
  and nesting birds -- would preserve Missouri River barge navigation in
  the spring and fall, when farmers use the Missouri to ship goods, and
  would not impact Lower Mississippi River navigation, according to Corps

  By blocking the Corps from reforming Missouri River dam operations,
  Congress would be contributing to the extinction of three
  federally-protected species. I urge you to support Senator Daschle's
  amendment to strike Section 103 from the Energy and Water
  Appropriations Bill for FY 2001

  [Your name and full mailing address]



  The FY 2001 Energy and Water Development appropriations bill, which
  will be debated on the Senate floor beginning September 5, includes an
  anti-endangered species rider (Section 103) that prohibits the Army
  Corps of Engineers from changing water management on the Missouri River
  in ways needed to prevent the  extinction of three endangered and
  threatened species.

  Specifically, the rider would prevent the Corps from implementing a
  "spring rise", or increased water flows in May and June, from Gavins
  Point Dam, the last dam on the river.

  Please support an amendment expected from Senators Daschle (D-SD) and
  Baucus (D-MT) to strike this provision.

  * Without the proposed spring rise, Missouri River species will go
  extinct. The Fish and Wildlife Service and all river scientists agree
  unanimously that extinction of the endangered pallid sturgeon and least
  tern and the threatened piping plover can only be avoided by a change
  in river management to include at least a modest rise in flows during
  the spring and low flows during the mid-summer.
  * Section 103 would prevent the Corps from protecting endangered
  species. This rider was not supported by hearings or  Congressional
  fact-finding and would prevent the Corps from meet the needs of
  endangered species.
  * Section 103 would eliminate the public from the decision-making
  process on the Missouri. Section 103 would remove from  consideration
  one option for changing Missouri River management to prevent species
  extinction. After waiting nine years for a  legally-acceptable Draft
  Environmental Impact Statement, the public would not have the
  opportunity to comment on the full range of available options and would
  not be able to provide adequate public comment as required by law.
  Congress should let affected interests have their say.
  * A spring rise will be subjected to extensive public comment before
  implementation. The Corps will not implement a new Master Manual
  alternative without a period of at least six months of public comment.
  The Corps will present a range of alternatives  for public review and
  will use that public comment to make a final decision about a new dam
  management plan for the Missouri River. Section 103 would prevent this
  process from happening.
  * A spring rise is necessary for Missouri River fish and wildlife.
  Higher late spring/early summer dam releases create sandbars that serve
  as important nesting habitat for two birds, the endangered interior
  least tern and the threatened piping plover. Higher late spring/early
  summer dam releases also act as a reproductive trigger for native fish,
  including the endangered pallid sturgeon, catfish, and walleye,
  according to river scientists.
  * A spring rise would not increase the risk of flooding. The  Corps
  would not release additional water from Gavins Point Dam if  the
  Missouri River was already flooding, or was threatened by  flooding.
  Corps analysis shows that a dam management alternative  including a
  spring rise would preserve 99% of the flood control benefits provided
  by the current system.
  * A spring rise would allow floodplain farmers to drain their fields.
  According to Corps analysis, floodplain farmers would be able to drain
  their fields if late spring/early summer dam releases were boosted up
  to 50,000 cubic feet per second (cfs).
  * A spring rise would not occur every year. The Corps would implement a
  spring rise according to adaptive management criteria. As proposed by
  the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Missouri River flow changes
  including a spring rise would not be implemented during the 25 percent
  lowest flow years to maintain downstream flows, or the 10 percent
  highest flow years to avoid flooding impacts downstream.
  * Proposed flow changes would help Mississippi River barges. Corps
  analysis shows that a dam management alternative incorporating a spring
  rise and lower flows in the summer would lower Mississippi River
  navigation costs by $6 million annually during droughts over the
  current water control plan.
  * A spring rise and low summer flows are the best options for people. A
  spring rise, coupled with low flows during the summer,  would aid
  recreation in the upper Missouri River basin by keeping reservoirs
  higher during the summer (which helps marinas and other recreation
  dependent businesses in the Dakotas and Montana). In the lower basin,
  lower summer flows from Gavins Point Dam would attract anglers,
  canoeists, campers, and others to the lower Missouri River by providing
  slower, shallower water and exposing sandbars built by the spring rise.
  * Flow changes would help riverside communities. As recreation and
  tourism increase, new jobs will be created in riverside  communities.
  This is critically important for the upcoming celebration of the
  bicentennial of Lewis and Clark's Voyage of Discovery.

  The LCV may include the vote on LCV's scorecard. The League of
  Conservation Voters, recognizing the importance of Missouri River
  wildlife, issued a statement that it was considering including the vote
  on the anti-Missouri River rider in its National Environmental
  Scorecard of 2000. The Scorecard grades each Member of the Congress on
  the most important environmental votes cast throughout the year.

  The Clinton Administration issues a veto threat On July 21, the Clinton
  Administration issued a veto threat for the Senate Energy and Water
  Appropriations bill if the anti-Missouri River rider and other
  anti-environmental provisions remain attached to the legislation.


  For more information, contact Chad Smith of American Rivers at
  402-477-7910 or csmith@amrivers.org
  Or visit American Rivers website http://www.americanrivers.org
  and see "Breaking News" for their action alert.

  FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact your GREEN/ESC organizer.  Contact
  information ("staff") and a copy of this action alert is available on
  the GREEN website under "Actions to Take"

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