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Northeast-Midwest Weekly Update -- 3 May 1999



BRIEFING:  OUTER CONTINENTAL SHELF
REVENUE AND NATURAL RESOURCE PROTECTION
---------------------------------------
     The Northeast-Midwest Senate Coalition and its Great Lakes Task
Force on Monday, May 3, are hosting a briefing on the current
legislation that would redistribute revenue collected from Outer
Continental Shelf oil and gas extraction to natural resource
protection.

     Congressional staffers will describe the Conservation and
Reinvestment Act of 1999 (Sens. Landrieu/Murkowski and Reps.
Young/Dingell), Resources 2000 (Sen. Boxer and Rep. Miller), and
Public Land and Recreation Investment Act (Sen. Feinstein). 
Additional perspectives will be provided by the White House
Legislative Affairs Office and the Coastal States Organization.

     The briefing on Monday, May 3, will begin at 4:00 pm in room SC-5
of the U.S. Capitol.

     CONTACT:  Jennifer Merrill at the Great Lakes Task Force (224-
6847).


GAO REPORT:  TVA BUSINESS PLAN IS UNREALISTIC
---------------------------------------------
     The General Accounting Office (GAO) last week released a study
showing that the Tennessee Valley Authority's ten-year business plan
is based on unreasonable assumptions and that the giant utility will
not meet its 2007 target of cutting its massive debt in half.  The
report was prepared at the request of leaders of the Northeast-Midwest
Congressional Coalition.

     The GAO and the Northeast-Midwest Coalitions commended TVA for
proposing its business plan in July 1997 and for recognizing the need
to reduce its $28 billion debt.  Yet the government auditors found
that TVA's debt reduction targets and capital expenditure limitations
were "unreasonable."  They concluded that TVA will require two
additional years to meet its ten-year debt reduction goal and that the
giant utility faces increased risk that it will still not be able to
offer competitively-priced power by 2007.

     CONTACT:  Dick Munson at the Northeast-Midwest Institute (544-
5200).


GAO REPORT:  MORE SMART GROWTH RESEARCH IS NEEDED
-------------------------------------------------
     Smart Growth Task Force Senators Jim Jeffords (R-VT), Carl Levin
(D-MI), and Max Baucus (D-MT), along with Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO),
last week released the product of an eleven-month research effort by
the General Accounting Office (GAO).  The lawmakers asked GAO to
examine which federal programs and policies affect the ability of
local communities to sustain themselves and to make their own choices
concerning patterns of growth.

     The issues behind this report have been the subject of much
discussion during the last year.  While there is no consensus among
researchers, most have found that federal policies contribute, to some
degree, to urban and suburban sprawl.  GAO draws this conclusion
throughout the report.  While it is evident that the data does not
exist to understand the extent and magnitude of the federal influence
on community growth, the federal government can do more to address
this issue.

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


REPORT:  BROWNFIELD FINANCING
-----------------------------
     The Northeast-Midwest Institute this week will release Financing
Brownfield Reuse, a 65-page anthology of articles by bankers, real
estate appraisers, local officials, and policy experts.  The
publication, edited by Charles Bartsch, explores the key issues and
opportunities associated with financing the cleanup and reuse of
contaminated industrial sites.  The 11 articles provide a detailed
survey of state and federal initiatives, as well as profiles of local
financing initiatives.

     CONTACT:  Charles Bartsch at the Northeast-Midwest Institute
(544-5200).


LEGISLATION:  BROWNFIELD FINANCING
----------------------------------
     The Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition this week will
introduce federal legislation that will invite private investment in
brownfield projects.  Sponsored by Reps. Bob Franks (R-NJ) and Marty
Meehan (D-MA), the Brownfield Redevelopment and Environmental
Revitalization Act addresses the problem that many lenders and
investors either avoid brownfield sites or charge too high a price for
necessary capital outlays.

     The bill creates two specific grant programs to provide funds for
site assessment and remediation, costs not usually covered by bankers
and investors.  It supports private-sector investment through tax
incentives and Small Business Administration programs.  Moreover, it
helps prevent the creation of brownfields by making cleanup financing
available to business owners who have a difficult time finding capital
to modernize their processes.

     CONTACT:  Charles Bartsch at the Northeast-Midwest Institute
(544-5200).


LEGISLATION:  COMBINED SEWER OVERFLOW
-------------------------------------
     Senators Robert Smith (R-NH) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) last week
introduced legislation to address the serious water pollution problems
associated with combined sewer overflow (CSO) systems.  CSOs, which
are prevalent in northeastern and midwestern communities, receive both
storm water and untreated human and industrial waste, toxic materials,
and debris.
     The Smith-Snowe legislation (S. 914) would clarify wet weather
water quality goals and provide federal grants to help communities
construct appropriate systems.

     CONTACTS:  Chris Russell with Sen. Smith (224-2841) or Ginny
Worrest with Sen. Snowe (224-5344).


LETTER:  ENERGY EFFICIENCY PARTNERSHIP PROGRAMS
-----------------------------------------------
     Senators Richard Lugar (R-IN) and Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) last week
circulated a Dear Colleague letter seeking appropriations for the
voluntary energy-efficiency partnership programs at the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA), including Energy Star and Green Lights. 
These completely voluntary, market-based programs have a demonstrated
track record of saving energy; improving air quality; stimulating
investment, jobs, and economic growth; and reducing greenhouse gas
emissions.  Participating businesses and local enterprises are saving
billions of dollars in energy expenditures and have the potential to
save much more.  According to EPA, each federal dollar invested
returns 70 dollars in energy savings.

     A similar House letter, delivered to appropriators last week, was
led by Rep. Sam Gejdenson (D-CT) and coordinated by the Northeast-
Midwest Congressional Coalition.

     CONTACTS:  Jeff Burnam with Sen. Lugar (224-7443), Dan Alpert
with Sen. Bingaman (224-1808), or Cameron Taylor with the Northeast-
Midwest Senate Coalition (224-0606).


LETTER:  TRADE ADJUSTMENT ASSISTANCE
------------------------------------
     Sixteen Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition members are
circulating a Dear Colleague letter asking the Ways and Means
Committee to provide a five-year reauthorization of the Trade
Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Program.  TAA is the only federal trade
program that helps strengthen manufacturers damaged by opening
markets.  TAA's authorization is scheduled to expire on June 30, 1999.

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


LETTER:  ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS
-----------------------------
     Thirty-two Northeast-Midwest House members -- led by Reps. Sherrod
Brown (D-OH), Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY), Thomas Barrett (D-WI), and Bart
Stupak (D-MI)  asked appropriators to provide increased funding for
research on chemicals that disrupt the human endocrine system.  Studies
have found connections between endocrine-disrupting chemicals and serious
health problems, such as breast cancer and lowered fertility rates.

     A similar letter circulating in the Senate is being spearheaded
by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Joseph Lieberman (D-CT).

     CONTACTS:  Lara Levison with Rep. Sherrod Brown (225-3401), Tim
Daniels with the Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition (225-5361),
and Cameron Taylor with the Northeast-Midwest Senate Coalition (224-
0606).