H E A D L I N E S
* Briefing: Drought on the East Coast
* Great Lakes
* Water Quality and Infrastructure
* Energy Programs
* Manufacturing Extension Partnership
BRIEFING: DROUGHT ON THE EAST COAST
The Northeast-Midwest Coalition on Monday, March 18, will sponsor a briefing on the drought situation in the Eastern United States. From the mid-Atlantic region up to Maine, the East Coast is seeing some of the driest conditions in many years, with drought watches, warnings, and emergencies having been issued in more than 100 counties.
The briefing will provide an overview of current hydrologic conditions, both surface and groundwater, a historical comparison with past dry-weather conditions, and the outlook for the near future. Additional information will be offered on soil moisture conditions in the Northeast and possible impacts on agriculture and other sectors.
Speakers will include representatives of the National Weather Service, U.S. Geological Survey, and Maine Department of Conservation. The March 18 briefing will begin at 10:30 am in room HC-6 of the U.S. Capitol.
Contact: Allen Hance at the Northeast-Midwest Institute (464-4015).
Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Susan Collins (R-ME), co-chairs of the Northeast-Midwest Senate Coalition, are circulating a letter requesting $3 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) for fiscal 2003 and advanced funding for fiscal 2004. LIHEAP received $2 billion in fiscal 2002. Senate offices interested in signing the letter should contact Kris Sarri with the Northeast-Midwest Senate Coalition (224-0606) by March 28.
Reps. Jack Quinn (R_NY)and Marty Meehan (D_MA), co-chairs of the Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition, are circulating a similar letter in the House. The signature deadline is March 31. Please contact Olwen Huxley at the House Coalition (226-9497) for information or to sign on.
The House and Senate Great Lakes Task Forces are circulating six appropriations letters in support of a wide range of Great Lakes programs. The deadline for congressional members to sign onto these letters is March 18th. Information about appropriations for Great Lakes programs can be found at http://www.nemw.org/greatlakes.htm or by contacting Joy Mulinex at the Great Lakes Task Force (224-1211).
The House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Economic Opportunity last week approved a bill (HR 2941) that would remove the connection between the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) Brownfields Economic Development Initiative (BEDI) program and the need for Section 108 loan guarantees. The legislation would make BEDI grants more accessible to larger number of communities. It is supported by the Northeast-Midwest Coalition as it carries out the HUD provisions of HR 2064, which was introduced in the House last year by the Coalition co-chairs. Contact Olwen Huxley (226-9497) or Charles Bartsch (544-5200) for additional information.
Senators Carl Levin (D-MI), Jim Jeffords (I-VT), and Arlen Specter (R-PA) are circulating a letter requesting $200 million for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) brownfield program and $25 million for HUD’s brownfield economic development initiative. Senate offices wanting to sign the letter should contact Kris Sarri by March 20.
WATER QUALITY AND INFRASTRUCTURE
Senators Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Levin are circulating a letter requesting adequate funding for EPA's water quality and water infrastructure programs. For offices interested in signing onto the letter, please contact Kris Sarri by March 22.
Reps. Jack Quinn and Dale Kildee (D_MI) are circulating a letter in support of the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), the State Energy Program (SEP), and the Energy Information Administration (EIA). The letter’s deadline has been extended to March 31. Please contact Olwen Huxley (226-9497) for information or to sign on.
MANUFACTURING EXTENSION PARTNERSHIP
Senators Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), co-chairs of the Senate Task Force on Manufacturing, are circulating a letter requesting $110 million for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership. Senate offices interested in signing onto the letter should contact Kris Sarri by March 20.
Reps. Jack Quinn, Marty Meehan, Tom Sawyer (D_OH), and Jim Barcia (D_MI) are circulating a House letter in support of the MEP program at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The deadline for this letter is March 31 but may be extended. Contact Olwen Huxley at the Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition (226-9497).