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Northeast-Midwest Weekly Update -- 2 June 1997

                   Northeast-Midwest Institute

                          WEEKLY UPDATE

                           2 June 1997

                         TOP OF THE NEWS

     Eight Northeast-Midwest Senate Coalition members last week asked
their colleagues to sign a letter to the Interior Appropriations
Subcommittee requesting funding for several important energy programs.
The letter encourages the panel to appropriate the president's fiscal
1998 request for the Low Income Weatherization Program and the State
Energy Conservation Program.

     In their letter, Senators James Jeffords (R-VT), Carl Levin (D-
MI), Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Patrick
Leahy (D-VT), Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), Alfonse D'Amato (R-NY), and
Jack Reed (D-RI) also request funding for the Department of Energy's
Office of Industrial Technologies at no less than the House Science
Committee's fiscal 1998 authorization level, and for the Energy
Information Administration at no less than its fiscal 1997

     The letter will remain open for signatures until Friday, June 6.

     CONTACT: Geoff Brown at the Northeast-Midwest Senate Coalition

     Lawmakers from the Upper Mississippi River (UMR) have asked the
Appropriations Committees to provide full funding, or $19.5 million,
for the Environmental Management Program (EMP), which monitors the
river and constructs habitat projects to mitigate the environmental
damage from dams and other navigation infrastructure.

     The bipartisan House letter, spearheaded by Representatives Gil
Gutnecht (R-MN) and Ron Kind (D-WI), was signed by 13 members.

     Senator Paul Wellstone (D-MN) currently is seeking signatures
from UMR senators on a similar letter to the Senate Appropriations
Committee. Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI) is advocating full funding through
his position on the Energy and Water Development Appropriations
Subcommittee. Senator Kit Bond (R-MO), another member of the
Appropriations Committee, also supports full-funding for the EMP in
fiscal 1998.

     The congressional letters respond to the president's request for
EMP of only $14.0 million, down from last year's $16.7 million
appropriation, and well below the program's authorized cap of $19.5

     CONTACT: Ted Illston at the Northeast-Midwest Institute (544-

     The House Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee on
Thursday, June 5, will conduct an oversight hearing of the Tennessee
Valley Authority (TVA), the giant government-owned utility that
provides subsidized electricity to the region's consumers. On behalf
of the Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition, Rep. Bob Franks (R-
NJ), a member of the subcommittee, and Rep. Marty Meehan (D-MA) will
discuss several controversies associated with TVA.

     TVA chairman Craven Crowell earlier this year stated that TVA
should forego its $106 million annual appropriation for economic
development and navigation activities. Having been surprised by
Crowell's offer, some lawmakers from the TVA service territory will
use the Thursday hearing to try to defend that appropriation.

     Other controversies associated with the Tennessee Valley
Authority include the utility's massive $27 billion debt and the
specter of a taxpayer bailout, its strong-arm tactics to prevent
competition within the Tennessee Valley, and its illegal efforts to
sell power outside of its service territory.

     In addition to the $106 million direct appropriation, TVA
receives more than $1.2 billion each year in indirect taxpayer
subsidies, according to a recent study. Reps. Franks and Meehan will
make the case that although all American taxpayers support TVA, only a
handful enjoy the cheap power those subsidies buy.

     The subcommittee's hearing is scheduled to begin on Thursday,
June 5, at 9:30 am in room 2165 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

     CONTACT: Dick Munson at the Northeast-Midwest Institute (544-