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Northeast-Midwest Weekly Update -- 22 March 1999

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

     The Senate Smart Growth Task Force on Tuesday, March 23, will
host a briefing on regional approaches to the many problems facing
America's communities.  A re-gional council, typically, is created by
joint agreement of the local governments they serve, usually in
accordance with state "enabling" legislation.

     Representatives of the National Association of Regional Councils
(NARC) will describe innovative smart growth efforts, beginning on
March 23 at 9:30 am in room 430 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

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

     Fifteen Northeast-Midwest senators are circulating a letter that
encourages appropriators to support several energy efficiency and
assistance programs.  The letter specifically seeks funding at the
president's fiscal 2000 request for the Weatherization Assistance
Program (WAP), the State Energy Program (SEP), the Office of
Industrial Technologies (OIT), and the Energy Information
Administration (EIA).

     Reps. Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY), Ron Kind (D-WI), Jack Quinn (R-
NY), and Marty Meehan (D-MA) are leading a similar Northeast-Midwest
Coalition charge in the House.

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

     Fifteen Northeast-Midwest senators are circulating a separate
letter seeking appropriations for the Low Income Home Energy
Assistance Program (LIHEAP).  The letter asks for $1.2 million in
regular funding for fiscal 2000 and $1.3 million in advance funding
for fiscal 2001.  Congress last year appropriated $1.1 million in
regular fiscal 1999 funding and $1.1 million in advance fiscal 2000
funding.  The letter will be sent March 26.

     A similar letter is being orchestrated in the House by Reps.
Joseph Moakley (D-MA), Jack Quinn (R-NY), Philip English (R-PA), and
Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

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

     Fifteen members of the Upper Mississippi River Task Force last
week encouraged their colleagues to support fiscal 2000 appropriations
for the Environmental Management Program (EMP), Challenge 21, and
operation and maintenance for the Upper Mississippi River.  A separate
letter, signed by 14 Task Force members, supports a $6-million
increase for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Region 3, which
historically has been allocated few resources yet has a vital role in
protecting the region's unique natural resources.

     CONTACTS:  Ted Illston with the Northeast-Midwest Institute (544-
5200) and Ed Buckner with Rep. Ron Kind  (225-5506).

     Seven northeastern senators last week encouraged the president to
restructure federal utilities in the administration's soon-to-be-
released plan to restructure the electric power industry. 
Specifically, the letter, spearheaded by Senator Daniel Patrick
Moynihan (D-NY), asks that the Power Marketing Administrations (PMAs)
and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) be subject to regulation by
the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and to antitrust laws and
penalties, and that federal utilities be required to charge market-
based rates for their power.

     CONTACTS:  Melissa Carey with Senator Moynihan (224-4451) and
Dick Munson at the Northeast-Midwest Institute (544-5200).

     Reps. James Barcia (D-MI) and Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) are
spearheading an effort to obtain appropriations for the Manufacturing
Extension Partnership (MEP), which helps small and mid-sized U.S.
manufacturers modernize to compete in the demanding global

     Started as a bipartisan congressional initiative under President
Reagan, the MEP program is within the National Institute of Standards
and Technology.  More than 70 non-profit MEP centers now serve firms
in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.  Over 70,000 manufacturers have
benefitted from the MEP program.

     The letter urges the Commerce, Justice, State Subcommittee to
fund the MEP program at $109.3 million -- the fiscal 1999 level,
adjusted for inflation.  The increase will allow MEP centers to expand
the number of manufacturers served and provide more specialized
services such as Y2K computer reprogramming.

     CONTACTS:  David Goldston with Rep. Boehlert (225-3665) or Rob
Ryan with Rep. Barcia (225-8171).

     Senators James Jeffords (R-VT) and Carl Levin (D-MI) last week
asked the Government Accounting Office (GAO) to report on how large
and small communities are affected by the recent surge in suburban
growth.  The co-chairs of the Senate Smart Growth Task Force noted: 
"States have been passing growth management laws since the 1970s, and
their experiences reveal the complex dynamic that exists between
federal policies and local communities regarding this issue.  Large
urban areas, such as Atlanta and Denver, are struggling with widely-
publicized outward growth issues and are engaged in ongoing public
dialogues on the impact of this growth.  Smaller communities like
Burlington, Vermont, and Traverse City, Michigan, face similar but
slightly different challenges as they struggle to maintain their
smaller-city character while providing bigger-city services."

     The GAO study will present case studies on how both large and
small communities across the nation are wrestling to implement smart
growth policies.  This is the second GAO report on smart growth
requested by Sens. Jeffords and Levin, co-chairs of the Smart Growth
Task Force.  The first document, expected to be released in April,
focuses on how federal policy affects urban growth.

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

     The Senate and House Task Forces on Manufacturing will be honored
on Thursday, March 25, at the tenth anniversary conference sponsored
by the National Coalition for Advanced Manufacturing.  NACFAM advances
policies to improve the productivity and competitiveness of U.S.-based

     The reception on March 25 will begin at 5:30 pm at the Hyatt
Regency on Capitol Hill.  A dinner will follow from 7:00 pm until 9:00
pm.  All Task Force members and staff are invited to attend.

     CONTACT:  Please RSVP to Rebecca Guay at NACFAM (216-2743).