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E-M:/ OMNIBUS SPENDING BILL PASSES HOUSE AND SENATE



Title: OMNIBUS SPENDING BILL PASSES HOUSE AND SENATE
I want to express a grateful thanks to all who acted on the previous Rider Alerts! due to controversy raised the Biscuit and ESA threats are not included. More information below:
(thank you, thank you, thank you...)
Lois Norrgard
American Lands Alliance - Upper Midwest
 
 
To:      All Activists
From:  Randi Spivak
Date:   November 22, 2004    
 
Omnibus Spending Bill Passed
 
The House and Senate voted on the omnibus spending bill on Saturday. The Interior Appropriations bill that funds the Forest Service was one of nine other appropriations bills that were packaged together in the 3,016-page omnibus appropriations bill.
 
Following the House vote, the Senate voted 65-30 on the spending package.  But that did not bring the 108th Congress to a close. Democrats were outraged to discover a provision that would allow the chairmen of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, or their staff, to view taxpayers' individual tax returns.
 
Republicans agreed to remove that provision, but Democrats kept up the fight until Republican leaders agreed to pass a resolution to strip the provision. The House must clear that provision before the omnibus can proceed to the president's desk. The House is expected to make the correction on Nov 24th by unanimous consent.  In the interim, the House and Senate passed a new continuing resolution that was signed by the President on November 21st, to keep the government operating through December 3rd.
 
A big thanks to everyone for calling and faxing your Senator and Representative to oppose attempts to attach damaging provisions ? that are often never debated or voted on beforehand ? to these ?must pass? spending bills that fund the federal government.
 
Rider threats not in the final bill
 
Your calls and faxes have successfully stopped:
 
  • Senator Smith (R-OR) from attaching a rider to the omnibus bill that would exempt the massive Biscuit post-fire timber sale, the largest logging project in modern history, from judicial review.  The rider would have prevented citizens from challenging the Biscuit post-fire sale in court and    holding the Forest Service accountable for their actions. The rider would also have lifted an injunction on timber sales that are now blocked in court and declared the entire logging plan, including logging roadless areas and old growth, legally sufficient. This mega-sale is located squarely over the Siskiyou Wild Rivers, a landscape graced by pristine rivers, steep, rugged mountains, huge roadless forests, old growth and world-class biodiversity.

  • California developers from attaching two riders that would have seriously weakened the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and protections for threatened and endangered species on both public and private lands.  

  • A rider that would have eliminated the required approval by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to consider the effects of pesticides on endangered species.

Unfortunately, some bad riders are still in the final bill that will:
 
  • Interfere with judicial review of certain logging projects in the Tongass National Forest by telling judges they only have 180 days from the filing date to decide lawsuits challenging logging projects in the Tongass. The rider also attempts to completely cut off the public's ability to challenge projects if they cannot file lawsuits on Tongass logging projects within 30 days of the Forest Service's decision to go ahead with them.

  • Eliminate environmental and public review of livestock grazing on millions of acres of Forest Service land. Livestock grazing is extremely damaging to public lands, polluting rivers and streams and putting at risk numerous plant and animal species. This rider gives the Forest Service a ?free pass? on being accountable to citizens for their actions. This rider would categorically exclude review of grazing permits under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

  • Strip from the bill a House-passed Interior Appropriations amendment that would stop the construction of new logging roads in the Tongass National Forest. This special interest give-away to the timber industry has cost American taxpayers over $750 million over the past 20 years. The GOP leadership rejected the bipartisan amendment from the final bill despite the fact that the House had adopted the amendment by a vote of 222 to 205 on June 16th. Representatives Steve Chabot (R-OH) and Robert Andrews (D-NJ) sponsored the measure that was a major step toward saving our last great rainforest and saving taxpayer money as well.


Thank you everyone for your hard work helping to block these damaging proposals.  Your calls, letters, emails and faxes do work. Please keep up the pressure this year on other proposals that would eliminate citizen input, environmental review, access to the courts and destroy national forests, wildlife and waters.
 
**********************
Randi Spivak
American Lands Alliance
Executive Director
726th 7th Street SE
Washington, DC 20003
Phone: 202.547.9029
Fax: 202.547.9213
randispivak@americanlands.org

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