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Northeast-Midwest Weekly Update -- 26 April 1999

     Senator Mike DeWine (R-OH) has become co-chairman of the Senate
Great Lakes Task Force.  The bipartisan group, part of the Northeast-
Midwest Senate Coalition, seeks to protect the environmental and
economic health of the Great Lakes region.

     "As co-chairman of the Great Lakes Task Force," said DeWine, "I
will work closely with all interested parties at the state and local
level to lead the Great Lakes delegation in protecting and enhancing
the lakes."  DeWine noted he would lead the Great Lakes delegation in
promoting a positive economic and environmental balance, while also
fighting for increased investment in the region.

     The Democratic co-chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force is
Senator Carl Levin (D-MI).  Leaders of the House Great Lakes Task
Force are Reps. John Dingell (D-MI), Vernon Ehlers (R-MI), Steven
LaTourette (R-OH), and James Oberstar (D-MN).

     CONTACT:  Rochelle Sturtevant with the Northeast-Midwest Senate
Coalition (224-1211) and Allegra Cangelosi at the Northeast-Midwest
Institute (544-5200).

     Both chambers last week made progress on the Water Resources
Development Act of 1999 (WRDA; H.R. 1480 and S. 507).  While the two
bills contain similar Upper Mississippi River (UMR) provisions, some
differences will need to be reconciled in conference.

     The Senate bill, approved on April 19, reauthorizes the Upper
Mississippi River System Environmental Management Program (EMP) in
Section 314 Upper Mississippi River Management.  Important EMP
provisions include: ten-year reauthorization (until 2009), $33.5-
million annual authorization, and 65:35 percent federal to non-federal
cost share.  Section 338, Upper Mississippi River Comprehensive Plan,
directs the secretary to determine the feasibility of flood damage
reduction through structural and non-structural flood control,
continued maintenance of the navigation project, and management of
bank caving and erosion.  Section 313, Upper Mississippi River and
Illinois Waterway System Navigation Modernization, directs the Army
Corps of Engineers to proceed immediately with preconstruction
engineering and design of seven locks on the Upper Mississippi River
and Illinois Waterway.  Section 201, Flood Hazard Mitigation and
Riverine Ecosystem Restoration Program (commonly known as Challenge
21), authorizes Challenge 21 for two years (2000-2001), provides up to
$75 million per year, specifies that no more than $25 million may be
spent on any single project, and encourages, where practicable, non-
structural approaches to flood control.

     The House bill, marked up last week by the Transportation and
Infrastructure Committee, also addresses EMP, but it provides a
permanent reauthorization and a 75:25 percent federal to non-federal
cost share.  The House bill advances similar provisions as the Senate
on the comprehensive plan, but it does not include the navigation
modernization or Challenge 21 provisions of S. 507.

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

     Numerous elements important to the Great Lakes region have been
included in both House and Senate WRDA versions, with some items
needing to be worked out either on the House floor or in conference. 
Both bills allow non-traditional partners, such as non-profit
organizations, to qualify for cost-sharing requirements of the
Beneficial Uses of Dredged Materials program and Aquatic Ecosystem
Restoration program; the House bill also extends such partnerships to
include the Remedial Action Planning assistance.  Both bills contain
provisions allowing the use of Section 1135 (Project Modifications for
the Improvement of the Environment) funds for sea lamprey control in
partnership with the Great Lakes Fishery Commission.  Both bills also
contain language concerning an integrated study of Corps activities in
the western basin of Lake Erie.  Both address the need for an
increased authorization ceiling for Lake Michigan diversion
accounting.  The two bills include a provision for a Great Lakes
Region Comprehensive Study (or strategic plan); the Senate version of
this provision is much more detailed than the House's and includes
specific elements for information transfer relating to Great Lakes
biohydrology and recreational boating.  The House version contains a
provision (lacking in the Senate bill) to forgive the interest payment
associated with construction of a new lock at Sault Ste. Marie.

     CONTACT:  Rochelle Sturtevant with the Northeast-Midwest Senate
Coalition (224-1211).

     Senators Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), co-
chairs of the Senate Task Force on Manufacturing, last week encouraged
their colleagues to become original co-sponsors of the Private Sector
Research and Development Investment Act of 1999. The bill, crafted by
Senators Pete Domenici (R-NM) and Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), would make the
R&D tax credit permanent as well as enhance its effectiveness.  The
bill would increase the credit's benefits for all firms --
particularly those in research-intensive industries.  It also would
expand small business and startup company access to the credit and
encourage research partnerships among business, universities, and
federal labs.

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

     Reps. Bob Franks (R-NJ) and Marty Meehan (D-MA), co-chairs of the
Northest-Midwest Congressional Coalition, last week introduced
legislation to have the Power Marketing Administrations (PMAs) and
Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) charge market-based, rather than
subsidized, rates for their electricity.  The Power Marketing
Administration Reform Act also directs PMA and TVA transmission
facilities to be subject to open-access regulation by the Federal
Energy Regulatory Commission.  This common-sense bill forces federal
utilities to charge the going rate for power and makes the PMAs and
TVA operate under the same rules that govern the rest of the power

     Despite claims by PMA beneficiaries, the General Accounting
Office (GAO) in November 1998 reported that market-based rates would
lead to only minimal rate increases.  According to GAO:  "Slightly
more than two-thirds of the preference customers that purchase power
directly from the Southeastern, Southwestern, and Western Area power
administrations may see relatively small or no rate increases if these
PMAs begin to charge market rates for the power they produce."

     A companion bill, S.161, was introduced in the Senate by Senator
Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY).

     CONTACTS:  Tim Daniels with the Northeast-Midwest Congressional
Coalition (225-5361) or Dick Munson at the Northeast-Midwest Institute

     Senator Spencer Abraham (R-MI) on Tuesday, April 27, will host a
symposium on the critical policy issues that will impact manufacturing
growth into the 21st Century.  Presenters will include top experts on
manufacturing competitiveness from the private sector, manufacturing
associations, and national labs.

     The symposium, co-sponsored by the National Coalition for
Advanced Manufacturing, will be held on Tuesday, April 27, from 9:30
am to 11:45 am in room 608 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

     CONTACT:  Gregg Willhauck with Senator Abraham (224-1745).