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GLIN==> NEMW/Great Lakes Hill Update - Appropriations Finale


At long last, the 106th Congress appears to be at its close.  The House and
Senate are voting tonight on the final FY 2001 Appropriations Omnibus bill.  

The bill includes (by reference) the Commerce, Justice, State, and Judiciary
Conference Report (CJS) approved earlier by the House and Senate.  That bill had
been under veto threat.  It is not certain at this time whether all of the
provisions in that bill which had drawn the veto threat (immigration and
tobacco) have been corrected in the Omnibus bill.  Great Lakes provisions in the
CJS are apparently unchanged, including:

- $30 million in new Great Lakes Restoration grants (NOAA)

- The full Administration request (~$12 million) for the Great Lakes Fishery

- A $125,000 increase to base funding for the Great Lakes Environmental Research

- A $300,000 increase in base funding for the International Joint Commission
(this comes on top of the $2.1 million for the Lake Ontario Levels Reference
Study included in the FY 2000 Supplemental Appropriations bill)

- A $3 million increase for the National Sea Grant College Program

- More than doubled funding for the National Estuarine Research Reserve System
and over a 30% increase for Marine Sanctuaries.  2000 saw the designation of the
first Great Lakes Marine Sanctuary (Thunder Bay, MI) and the second Great Lakes
National Estuarine Research Reserve (Old Woman Creek, OH and a site along the
St. Lawrence Seaway).

- $3 million increase for the NOAA/NOS National Water Level Gauging Network
(which includes the Great Lakes Water Level Gauging Stations).

The Omnibus bill also includes time-sensitive segments of the Coast Guard
Authorization bill including: 

- Coast Guard interim authority over Great Lakes dry bulk cargo residue is
extended through 2004.  The extension requires a study of the effectiveness of
the current practice and authorizes the Coast Guard to alter or issue further
regulations based on the outcome of such study.  Dry bulk cargo residues consist
of non-toxic materials such as grain which are swept from the ships decks while
in transit.  The current practice designates areas where ships may and may not
sweep decks due to environmental considerations.

- Alteration of the makeup of the Great Lakes Pilots Advisory Committee.  Intent
is to make the appointments relevant to the responsibilities of the Committee
rather than political appointments.  Notes that official committee
recommendations to the Secretary may have no more than one dissenting vote.

The Omnibus Bill includes the Dakota Water Resources Act as passed by the
Senate.  This bill was opposed by many in the Great Lakes region due to its
implications for setting precedent on inter-basin  transfers of water.  

The Omnibus bill also includes the Wet Weather Water Quality Act (Combined Sewer
Overflows) and increases the authorization for the Army Corps of Engineers
Environmental Infrastructure (Section 219 of WRDA 1992) from $80 to $185

     Rochelle Sturtevant
     Coordinator, Senate Great Lakes Task Force
     459 Russell Senate Building
     Washington, DC 20510
     Do not use autoreply functions to respond to this message.  The Senate 
     system won't recognize its own routing information.

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