[Date Prev][Date Next][Date Index]

Appropriations Update Continued



GLIN-folks!

More news on the Appropriations front, direct to you from the Great Lakes 
Congressional Task Force.

In an interesting twist on the usual progression of events, the Senate has 
passed its version of the Energy and Water Appropriations bill while the 
House just completed its full committee markup.  

Environmentally responsible dredging appears to have finally been embraced 
by Congress.  Both the House and Senate bills provide the Great Lakes Task 
Force request of $2 million for the Beneficial Use of Dredged Materials 
Provision of WRDA.  Both bodies also provided substantial increases for the 
Restoration of Environmental Quality (House increase of $4 million to $21 
million, Senate increase of $8 million to $25 million) and Aquatic 
Ecosystem Restoration (New program: House $9.9 million, Senate $2.75 
million).  Significant portions of this funding are earmarked in the House 
bill and we are uncertain what proportion ofthis funding will directly 
benefit the Great Lakes.  The Senate also provided the President's request 
of $6 million for dredging operations research and development (an increase 
of $4 million.  The House provided level funding ($2 million) for this 
account.  Neither body included the Great Lakes Task Force requested 
language directing that a portion of these funds be used for sediment 
remediation demonstration projects.

Planning Assistance to States was funded by both the House ($5 million) and 
Senate ($6 million) at levels significantly above the Great Lakes Task 
Force requested increase.  

The House Energy and Water report contains language directing funds to a 
number of specific new programs of interest to the Great Lakes which were 
neglected in the Senate bill.  These include $500,000 for the Duluth 
Alternative Technology Project and $500,000 for Sediment Transport 
Modelling and Sediment Management Planning.  The House also provided 
$500,000 for RAP Assistance and $200,000 for improvement of the Soo Lock 
system (both neglected in the Senate bill).

Aquatic nuisance species research by the Corps also was recommended for 
increased funding by both bodies.  The House Provided $2.6 million for 
aquatic nuisance plant conrol research, equal to the base President's 
request (but not including the add-ons for Hydrilla and Elodea).  The 
Senate provided $6.6 million for this account in its bill, also with no 
regional or species specific earmarks.  The Senate provided $2.5 million 
for 'zebra mussel research', an increase of $500,000 over FY1997 funding 
and above the Great Lakes Task Force request.  Senate committee staff have 
indicated that this level is intended to include funding for the dispersal 
barrier demonstration project at the Chicago Shipping and Sanitary Canal.  
Combining the two projects places the Senate funding level at the Great 
Lakes Task Force request level.  The House report also specifies funding 
for the Dispersal Barrier Demonstration at $500,000 with zebra mussel 
research presumed to be at the President's request level of $2 million.

The Interior bill passed the House earlier this month and had its full 
committee markup on the Senate yesterday.  The House provided funding at 
the President's requested levels for the Fish and Wildlife Service portions 
of the Great Lakes Initiative. $1.578 million (an increase of $578,000 
above FY 1997 study levels) was provided for Fish and Wildlife Restoration 
efforts.  $2.192 million, an increase of $1 million, was provided for the  
Aquatic Nuisance Species Program.  With expansion of this program to a 
National effort, the Task Force expects that this funding level will be 
sufficient to maintain the Great Lakes program at its current level (with 
the possible exception of a small cut to the regional coordination effort  
to offset national coordination).  

Programs of the National Biological Service have now been transferred to 
the Biological Resources Division of the US Geological Survey.  This 
transfer makes comparisons between FY 1997 and FY 1998 funding levels 
difficult.   The House provided an increase of $500,000 for the Great Lakes 
Science Center, half of increase requested by the Great Lakes Task Force.  
The House significantly raised the base funding for the Cooperative 
research units (from $9.5 million in FY 1997 to $13.7 million).  We are not 
certain how this increase will be reflected in the cooperative research 
units efforts on nonindigenous species in the Great Lakes basin.  The House 
also provided the Great Lakes Task Force requested funding level of 
$750,000 for BRD exotic species research in the Eastern Division.  We 
anticipate that approximately $300,000 of this amount will be used for 
Great Lakes research. 

Both the House and Senate have held full committee markups of the 
Transportation Appropriations bill.  Both bodies committed to continued 
operation of the icebreaking vessel Mackinaw.  The Senate bill reiterated 
that assessment of fees for icebreaking would be unacceptable.  Both bodies 
also provided the president's requested funding level for ballast water 
programs established under the National Invasive Species Act.  This funding 
level is expected to provide sufficient funds for the expansion of the 
ballast water guidelines and prevention program to national standing 
without compromising the existing Great Lakes program.  However, the 
Administration estimates that only $6,000 would be provided for the Ballast 
Discharge Study, far less than the $1 million estimated by the Great Lakes 
Task Force to be necessary for implementation of the study.  Senator Kohl 
was also successful in adding language requested by the Great Lakes Task 
Force to the Senate report which provides a $1 million increase above the 
President's request to the Coast Guard research and development account and 
which directs that this increase be used in addition to the $1.529 million 
requested by the Administration for the ANS program for the explicit 
purpose of furthering research into a nonchemical interim ballast 
management practice applicable to vessels reporting no ballast on board.  
If enacted, this funding would be a great triumph for the Great Lakes since 
approximately 90% of vessels entering the Great Lakes system currently 
enter reporting no ballast on board.

The VA,HUD and Independent Agencies Appropriations bill was passed by the 
House and is currently under consideration by the Senate.  Both bills 
include funding for the Sec. 106 Water Quality Grants ($95.5 million), 
Pollution Prevention Grants ($6 million), the Great Waters Program (at 
least $3 million), and the Great Lakes Fish Consumption Study ($2.5 
million) at the Great Lakes Task Force requested funding level.  The House 
bill provides $110 million for Section 319 Nonpoint Source Grants with 
additional report language indicating that funds can also be used in 
support of the Clean Lakes Program.  The Senate bill provides the Great 
Lakes Task Force request of $100 million for the Section 319 Grants, but 
provides no additional funding for the Clean Lakes Program.

The House provided funding for the Great Lakes National Program Office 
(GLNPO) at the Great Lakes Task Force request of restored FY 1996 level 
funding ($14.7 million).  The Senate provided only for the increase 
requested by the President (up $200,000 to $13.3 million).  The House also 
provided $250,000 for the Dispersal Containment Analysis (half of the Great 
Lakes Task Force request) required under the National Invasive Species Act. 
This project was envisioned under NISA as a joint EPA-Corps venture, with 
EPA to perform the analysis and the Corps to provide engineering expertise 
and construction.  Discrepancy in funding between the two groups (both 
bodies providing for the Corps portion) may cause difficulties in project 
coordination. 

That's all for now, GLIN-folks!  I'll try to keep you updated as we get 
more information.  The information will also be made available in chart 
format on the NE-MW home page (http://www.nemw.org) as fast as we can get 
it there.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us:

Rochelle Sturtevant, Coordinator, Senate Great Lakes Task Force 
202-224-4229.

Sara Gottlieb, House Great Lakes Task Force, Office of Rep. LaTourette, 
202-225-5731.

Whitman Miller, Senate Great Lakes Task Force, Office of Senator Glenn, 
202-224-0388.