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Posted on behalf of Glenn Starnes <gstarnes@nemw.org>

     The House Labor-HHS panel eliminated all fiscal 1999 funding for
the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.  Few changes are
expected when the full House Appropriations Committee considers the
bill on Tuesday, July 14.  However, a letter -- coordinated by Reps.
Jack Quinn (R-NY), Joe Moakley (D-MA), Phil English (R-PA), and Bernie
Sanders (I-VT) and requesting $1.3 billion for fiscal 1999 -- is being
circulated and already has been signed by a bipartisan group of 185
lawmakers.  LIHEAP supporters, moreover, are considering a floor
amendment, perhaps to recommit the entire bill back to the

     The Northeast-Midwest Senate Coalition, meanwhile, is
spearheading an effort to obtain signatures from senators endorsing
$1.2 billion in regular LIHEAP funds for fiscal 1999 and $1.3 billion
in advance funds for fiscal 2000; 41 senators already have signed that
letter.  Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), chairman of the Labor-HHS
Appropriations Subcommittee, has been a key supporter of the LIHEAP

     CONTACTS:  Cameron Taylor at the Northeast-Midwest Senate
Coalition (224-0606) and Tim Daniels with the Northeast-Midwest
Congressional Coalition (225-5361).

     The Senate appropriated $90 million for the Environmental
Protection Agency's brownfield initiative and $25 million for efforts
at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  The House panel
approved only $75 million for EPA, $20 million for HUD, and placed
numerous restrictions on the program's activities.  Rep. Diana DeGette
(D-CO) and members of the Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition
are planning a floor amendment on Wednesday, July 15, to strip the
subcommittee's funding restrictions. 

     CONTACT:  Tim Daniels at the Northeast-Midwest Congressional
Coalition (225-5361).

     The House Interior Subcommittee also reduced funding for several
energy efficiency programs.  Reps. Jon Fox (R-PA), Sherwood Boehlert
(R-NY), and Tim Roemer (D-IN) are planning a floor amendment to
restore some $60-75 million.

     CONTACT:  Diane DeVaul at the Northeast-Midwest Institute (544-

     Despite threats to eliminate funding for Amtrak, the Senate
Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee last week approved $555
million for the program, of which $200 million is appropriated for the
Northeast Corridor Improvement Program.  A bipartisan group of
Northeast senators -- including Senators Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ),
William Roth (R-DE), and John Chafee (R-RI) -- defended Amtrak and the
Northeast Corridor.  Senate floor action and House subcommittee
actions are expected this week.

     CONTACT:  Cameron Taylor at the Northeast-Midwest Senate
Coalition (224-0606).

     The Northeast-Midwest Institute on July 14-16 is organizing a
meeting in Chicago to explore ways to better define the benefits side
of the cost-benefits ledger associated with environmental
policymaking.  With the chief economist for the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration, Institute staff are convening Great Lakes
stakeholders to array the benefits of Great Lakes resources, learn how
these benefits can be quantified, and discuss the appropriate use of
these techniques in decision making.  

     CONTACTS:  Patricia Cicero and Allegra Cangelosi at the
Northeast-Midwest Institute (544-5200).

     Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) this week is planning to offer an
amendment to the VA-HUD bill to restore $25 million for HUD's Office
of Lead Hazard Control.  Lead-based paints were used extensively in
homes built prior to 1950, a large portion of which are in the
Northeast and Midwest.

     CONTACT:  Kevin Davis with Senator Reed (224-4642).

     The Northeast-Midwest Institute this week will release a report
showing that just three states -- Texas, California, and Alabama --
accounted for 84.8 percent of space station contracts.  In fact,
taxpayers in 45 states paid more for the space station in taxes in
fiscal 1998 than they received in contracts from it.  Northeastern and
midwestern states in fiscal 1998 obtained just 7.1 percent of total
space station contracts.  The South and West received 92.9 percent.

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

     The Northeast-Midwest Institute this week will release two short
papers on the Tennessee Valley Authority.  The first critiques TVA's
efforts to obtain an additional $2-4 billion in taxpayer benefits in
order to complete an abandoned and over-budget nuclear reactor.  The
House last month approved an amendment to the defense authorization
bill that would restrict commercial reactors (such as TVA's incomplete
Bellefonte plant) from supplying tritium for nuclear weapons.  The
second paper argues that TVA, which receives some $1.2 billion in
annual taxpayer subsidies, does not need additional appropriations for
its non-power programs.  Congress last year voted to eliminate such
funding.  While the Senate provided another $70 million in its fiscal
1999 Energy and Water bill, the House zeroed out the funds.  

     Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) is leading an effort to encouraging
Senate conferees to receed to the House and eliminate TVA
appropriations.  Conference negotiations are expected soon.

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

     Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) before the recess spearheaded floor
amendments to the Energy and Water bill that provide the first-ever
appropriation ($250,000) for the National Contaminated Sediments Task
Force established under Section 502 of the Water Resources Development
Act of 1992, as well as $500,000 within the Restoration of
Environmental Quality program (Section 1135) for Sediment Remediation
Technology Demonstrations, and $200,000 within the Aquatic Ecosystem
Restoration program (Section 206) for construction of sea lamprey
barriers in cooperation with the Great Lakes Fishery Commission.

     Senator Spencer Abraham (R-MI) helped add $1 million for the
Great Lakes Fishery Commission, bringing the program total to $9.353
million.  The increase is directed to cleaning up the St. Mary's

     Rep. Steven C. LaTourette's (R-OH) is considering an amendment to
the Interior bill to increase the $2.19 million allocated for the
Aquatic Nuisance Species Program of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife

     A detailed table on Great Lakes appropriations is available from
the Senate Great Lakes Task Force and on the Northeast-Midwest
Institute's web site at:  http://www.nemw.org/tracking.htm

     CONTACT:  Rochelle Sturtevant (224-4229).

     The Upper Mississippi River Task Force on Tuesday, July 14, is
hosted a briefing on the Challenge 21 Program: Riverine Ecosystem and
Flood Hazard Mitigation, which provides the Army Corps of Engineer
with another tool to work with communities and other federal and state
agencies to reduce damages and restore floodplain ecosystems. 
Challenge 21 expands the use of non-structural flood damage reduction
measures and allows for more effective coordination of federal
programs on a watershed basis. 

     The July 14 briefing will begin at 1:00 pm in room HC-4 of the
U.S. Capitol.  The key speaker will be Michael Davis, Deputy Assistant
Secretary of the Army (Civil Works).

     Challenge 21 and the Environmental Management Program are two
initiatives to be considered during reauthorization of the Water
Resources Development Act.  House and Senate panels have scheduled
their separate WRDA markups on July 22.

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