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GLIN==> Northeast-Midwest Weekly Update -- 10 September 2001



H I G H L I G H T S

*  Conservation and the Farm Bill
*  Emergency LIHEAP Funding
*  Brownfield Legislation
*  Energy Appropriations
*  Water Infrastructure Appropriations
*  Working Lands Stewardship Act
*  Urban Agriculture
*  U.S.-Canada Trade


CONSERVATION AND THE FARM BILL:
PROSPECTS FOR THE NORTHEAST-MIDWEST REGION
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        The Northeast-Midwest Coalition on Monday, September 10, will host a briefing on the impacts of USDA conservation programs (including forestry) on the Northeast-Midwest region.  The briefing will provide an overview of major programs, recent USDA estimates of backlog demand for programs in the 18 Northeast-Midwest states, and current Farm Bill proposals for authorizing and reauthorizing conservation programs.

        The September 10 briefing will begin at 10:00 am in 2105 Rayburn House Office Building.

        CONTACTS:  Allen Hance or Dan Wrinn with the Northeast-Midwest Institute (544-5200).


EMERGENCY LIHEAP FUNDING
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        The Northeast-Midwest Senate Coalition is circulating a letter that asks the Office of Management and Budget to release immediately the $300 million in already-approved emergency funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).  This letter is a follow-up to one sent on August 13 and a meeting with OMB and the White House on August 31st.  Deadline for signature is Monday, September 10.

        CONTACT:  Kris Sarri at the Northeast-Midwest Senate Coalition (224-0606).


BROWNFIELD LEGISLATION
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        House leaders last week announced plans to merge the Senate-passed brownfields bill (S.350) with a House small business Superfund liability relief bill (H.R. 1831).  The combined legislation addresses funding and liability issues that have blocked the redevelopment of many brownfield sites, impeding economic, environmental and social benefits to many communities.

        A new Northeast-Midwest table examines the leading proposals in the 107th Congress to spur brownfield redevelopment. The table compares measures within the Senate-passed bill (S. 350) and provisions advanced by Republicans and Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The table is available at http://www.nemw.org/BF107bills.pdf.

        CONTACTS:  Charles Bartsch and Rachel Deane at the Northeast-Midwest Institute (544-5200).


ENERGY APPROPRIATIONS
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        Senators Jack Reed (D-RI), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), and Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) are circulating a letter that asks Interior Appropriation conferees to support the higher funding levels approved by the House for the State Energy Program, Low-Income Weatherization Assistance Program, Federal Energy Management Program, and Energy Information Administration. Deadline for signature is Monday, September 10.

        Members of the Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition are circulating a similar letter in the House.  Signature deadline is Friday, September 14.

        CONTACTS:  Kris Sarri with the Northeast-Midwest Senate Coalition (224-0606) and Olwen Huxley with the Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition (226-9497).


WATER INFRASTRUCTURE APPROPRIATIONS
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        The Northeast Midwest Congressional Coalition is circulating a letter to the House VA-HUD conferees in support of high levels of funding for various water infrastructure programs within the Environmental Protection Agency, including revolving loan funds and the sewer overflow control grants programs authorized last year.

        CONTACT:  Olwen Huxley with the Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition (226-9497).


WORKING LANDS STEWARDSHIP ACT
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        Reps. John Dingell (D-MI), Vernon Ehlers (R-MI), and Steven LaTourette (R-OH), leaders of the House Great Lakes Task Force have sent a letter urging House leaders to support the Working Lands Stewardship Act of 2001 (H.R. 2375).  This act, introduced by Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI), is designed to help Great Lakes farmers make continued improvements in water quality and wildlife and fisheries habitat of the Great Lakes.

        CONTACT:  Joy Mulinex with the Great Lakes Task Force (224-1211).


URBAN AGRICULTURE
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        Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) on Friday, September 14, is sponsoring a briefing on new initiatives in urban agriculture.  Increasing urbanization pressures have meant that neighborhood dwellers are finding creative ways to squeeze vegetable and fruit gardens in backyards and vacant lots.  A speaker from Cornell University’s Cooperative Extension Service will talk about programs that link peri-urban producers with urban markets, as well as how the new Farm Bill will respond to this new agriculture.

        The September 14 briefing will begin at 2:00 pm in room SC-4 of the U.S. Capitol.


U.S.-CANADA TRADE
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        The Canadian/American Border Trade Alliance on September 25 will hold its fall conference in Washington, D.C.  The agenda will feature presentations from congressional leaders, administration officials, and the private sector on trade, transportation, immigration, customs, and energy issues related to the U.S.-Canada trade relationship.  Northeast-Midwest Coalition members are interested in measures that streamline the movement of trade across the U.S.-Canada border.

        CONTACT:  Jim Phillips of the Alliance (716-754-8824 or mailto:canambta@aol.com.