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



H E A D L I N E S
 
*  Legislation on Reducing Mercury
*  Briefing on Unemployment
*  Briefing on Smart Growth and Transportation Charter
*  Letter on Emergency LIHEAP Funding
*  Report Details Federal Formula Grant Spending
*  Report Highlights State Brownfield Activities
 

LEGISLATION ON REDUCING MERCURY
-------------------------------
     Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), co-chair of the Northeast-Midwest
Senate Coalition, is looking for co-sponsors on the Mercury Reduction
and Disposal Act (S. 351), which bans the sale of mercury
thermometers, funds thermometer exchange programs, and establishes an
Interagency Task Force on Mercury in order to make recommendations on
mercury disposal.  Mercury is a potent neurotoxin, and the Centers for
Disease Control recently warned that one in ten women of childbearing
age may be at risk of having newborns with neurological disorders due
to mercury exposure in the womb.
 
     S. 351 acknowledges that there are no longer any U.S. producers
of mercury thermometers, most major pharmacy chains have agreed to
phase-out mercury thermometers, and digital and other mercury-free
thermometers are readily available on the market.  Current co-sponsors
include Senators John Kerry (D-MA), Tim Hutchison (R-AR), Jim Jeffords
(I-VT), Lincoln Chafee (R-RI), George Voinovich (R-OH), Byron Dorgan
(D-ND), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Joseph Lieberman
(D-CT), and Patrick Leahy (D-VT).
 
     CONTACT:  David Hunter with Senator Collins (224-2523) or Matt
Little
with the Northeast-Midwest Institute (544-5200).
 

BRIEFING ON UNEMPLOYMENT
------------------------
     The Bureau of Labor Statistics on Tuesday, December 11, will give
a Capitol Hill presentation on Northeast-Midwest regional and state
unemployment, the condition of the economy, and the nature of U.S.
economic recessions.  The briefing will take place from 10:30 am until
12:00 noon in room HC-6 of the U.S. Capitol.
 
     CONTACT:  Olwen Huxley with the Northeast-Midwest Congressional
Coalition (226-9497).
 

BRIEFING ON SMART GROWTH
AND TRANSPORTATION CHARTER
--------------------------
     On Thursday, December 13, the Senate Smart Growth Task Force,
House Livable Communities Task Force, and House Sustainable
Development Caucus will host a briefing on the Alliance for a New
Transportation Charter.  The charter was crafted with the input of
hundreds of groups from around the country, with a focus of bringing
the decision-making process back to the community level.
 
     The December 13 briefing will begin at 2:00 pm in room HC-5 of
the U.S. Capitol.
 
     CONTACT:  Kris Sarri at the Northeast-Midwest Senate Coalition
(962-6865).
 

LETTER ON EMERGENCY LIHEAP FUNDING
----------------------------------
     The Northeast Midwest House Coalition is circulating a letter
that asks the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to reconsider its
refusal to release $300 million in emergency Low Income Home Energy
Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds to the states.  The Coalition letter
explains that the funds have been approved by Congress and needed by
the states in light of increasing energy service shut-offs, the
growing crisis in state budgets, and the rising number of LIHEAP
applicants.
 
     Deadline for signature on the letter is December 12.
 
     CONTACT:  Olwen Huxley at the Northeast-Midwest Congressional
Coalition (226-9497).
 

REPORT DETAILS FEDERAL FORMULA GRANT SPENDING
---------------------------------------------
     The Northeast-Midwest Institute has released Northeast-Midwest
Guide to Federal Formula Grant Programs.  The 297-page report,
available on http://www.nemw.org/FedGrant2001.pdf, describes each of
the 50 largest federal formula grant programs to state and local
governments and includes tables that show fiscal 2001 estimates of
state and regional program funding.  The report also includes text
summaries and data tables for the 18 states in the Northeast-Midwest
region, with each state-specific data table listing amounts for 158
different programs and sub-programs.
 
     The Northeast-Midwest region's share of funding from federal
formula grants in fiscal 2001 exceeded its share of the nation's
population.  The 18 states in the Northeast-Midwest accounted for 42.8
percent of the total funding to all the states, while constituting
40.1 percent of the population of the 50 states, according to the 297-
page report,.  Within the region, the Northeast fared better than the
Midwest, receiving 25.5 percent of the fiscal 2001 federal grant
dollars while accounting for 21.2 percent the country's population;
the Midwest received 17.2 percent of federal grant dollars while
constituting 18.9 percent of the country's population.
 
     CONTACT:  Matt Kane at the Northeast-Midwest Institute (313/582-
6244).
 

REPORT HIGHLIGHTS STATE BROWNFIELD ACTIVITIES
---------------------------------------------
     The Northeast-Midwest Institute also has released an updated
review of brownfield initiatives and program impacts in the 50 states.
The Brownfield "State of the State" 2001 Report presents information
on the number of brownfield sites in state programs, innovative
financing, regulatory incentives, liability provisions, and
institutional controls.  Economic benefits resulting from
redevelopment such as new businesses, new jobs, and tax revenues
are also included. This report provides a common ground for analysis
and comparison, while demonstrating the remarkable success many states
have already achieved.
 
     The report is available at http://www.nemw.org/brown_stateof.pdf.
 
     CONTACTS:  Charles Bartsch and Rachel Deane at the Northeast-
Midwest Institute (544-5200).