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GLIN==> Northeast-Midwest Weekly Update -- 21 May 2001



*  Briefing:  Wetlands at Risk?
*  Letter:  Brownfield Appropriations
*  Letter:  Conservation Agriculture Funding
*  Letter:  Renewable Energy
*  Legislation:  Community Character Act
*  Legislation:  Post Office and Smart Growth


BRIEFING:  WETLANDS AT RISK?
----------------------------
     The Northeast-Midwest Coalitions on Monday, May 21, will host a
briefing on wetlands and the status of federal wetlands programs and
regulations.

     Several recent legal and policy decisions have prompted a new
round of debates about the adequacy of federal wetlands initiatives.
The Supreme Court, for instance, ruled that the Corps of Engineers
exceeded its authority in regulating "isolated waters" (including
isolated wetlands).  With the program cap for the popular Wetlands
Reserve Program (WRP) to be met this year, the administration's budget
proposes no funding for WRP for fiscal 2002.  The USDA's Swampbuster
program, which discourages conversion of wetlands, is likely to be
reviewed in the reauthorization of the Farm Bill.

     The May 21 briefing will begin at 2:30 pm in room 121 of the
Cannon House Office Building.  Speakers will include representatives
of the Wetlands Initiative, Sierra Club, National Wildlife Federation,
and O'Connor and Hannan.

     CONTACTS:  Laura Cimo with the Upper Mississippi River Task Force
(225-5506) or Allen Hance with the Northeast-Midwest Institute (464-
4015).


LETTER:  BROWNFIELD APPROPRIATIONS
----------------------------------
     Senators Jim Jeffords (R-VT) and Carl Levin (D-MI), co-chairs of
the Senate Smart Growth Task Force, are circulating an appropriation
letter supporting brownfield programs at the Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development
(HUD).  The members argue that the recent passage of S. 350 reinforces
the necessity for significant brownfield funding.

     The Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition is circulating a
similar letter in the House.  That effort -- in addition to supporting
the president's $5 million increase for EPA and seeking $25 million
for HUD -- also requests restoration of the proposed 50 percent cut in
HUD's Section 108 loan guarantees.

     CONTACTS:  Heather Smith with the Senate Smart Growth Task Force
(224-5141) and Olwen Huxley with the Northeast-Midwest Congressional
Coalition (226-9497).


LETTER:  CONSERVATION AGRICULTURE FUNDING
-----------------------------------------
     Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Michael Crapo (R-ID), Tom Harkin
(D-IA), Gordon Smith (R-OR), Richard Durbin (D-IL), and Olympia Snowe
(R-ME) are circulating a letter seeking appropriations for voluntary,
incentive-based conservation agriculture programs -- such as EQIP,
FPP, WRP, and WHIP.  The deadline for signatures is May 22.

     CONTACTS:  Melody Burkins with Sen. Leahy (224-2409) or Arlen
Lancaster with Sen. Crapo (224-3048).


LETTER:  RENEWABLE ENERGY
-------------------------
     Senators Jim Jeffords (R-VT) and Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) are
circulating a letter seeking increased appropriations for renewable
energy programs.  The deadline for signatures is May 21.

     CONTACT:  Kathryn Parker with Sen. Jeffords (224-5141).


LEGISLATION:  COMMUNITY CHARACTER ACT
-------------------------------------
     Senator Lincoln Chafee (R-RI) this week will introduce the
Community Character Act to help develop statewide or tribal land use
planning legislation.  The bill would provide limited resources to
help states and tribes update and implement land use plans.

     CONTACT:  Ted Michaels with the Senate Environment and Public
Works Committee (224-1049).


LEGISLATION:  POST OFFICES AND SMART GROWTH
-------------------------------------------
     Senators Jim Jeffords (R-VT), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Carl
Levin (D-MI) last week introduced the Post Office Community
Partnership Act to help alert communities in advance to Postal Service
relocation, consolidation, construction, or closing plans.  By working
with community leaders, the Post Office can integrate into local
planning efforts.

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