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GLIN==> Northeast-Midwest Weekly Update -- 23 February 2003



Headlines

·        Brownfields

·        MtBE and Renewable Fuels

·        LIHEAP

·        Chicago Dispersal Barrier

·        Conservation Security Program

 

INVESTING IN BROWNFIELD PROJECTS
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The Northeast-Midwest Coalitions on Tuesday, February 24, will host a briefing on financing options for the cleanup and redevelopment of brownfield sites.  An estimated 450,000 brownfields – including abandoned dry cleaning facilities, gas stations, mills and former industrial properties – are pushing growth to the urban fringes, farmland, and forests.  Private-public partnerships can help spur revitalization of brownfield sites and create new opportunities for jobs, housing, and open space.  This briefing will provide information on how private investors analyze brownfield projects, and it will discuss an emerging strategy to facilitate private-sector investment.

 

The February 24 briefing will run from 9:30 am until 10:30 am in 2318 Rayburn House Office Building.  Speaking will be representatives of the Northeast-Midwest Institute and AIG Global Real Estate.

 

 

MTBE AND RENEWABLE FUELS PROVISIONS IN ENERGY BILL
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The Northeast-Midwest Senate Coalition on Tuesday, February 24, will host a Senate-staff briefing on how MtBE and renewable fuels provisions within the energy bill affect the region.  The Senate-approved Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) reflected a hard-wrought compromise among oil, ethanol, and states' interests, yet the H.R. 6 conference report does not incorporate several of these key provisions.  Speakers at the briefing will review the compromise’s major elements, including those necessary to protect public health, environmental quality, and states' attainment status.   

The February 24 briefing will run from
11:00 am until noon in 428 Dirksen Senate Office Building.  Speaking will be Ken Colburn of the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM).

 

 

LIHEAP LETTER AND BRIEFING
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Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jack Reed (D-RI), co-chairs of the Northeast-Midwest Senate Coalition, are seeking signatures on a letter that asks the Budget Committee to allocate $3 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) in the fiscal 2005 Budget Resolution.  The signature deadline is Wednesday, February 25, and Senate offices are encouraged to contact Kris Sarri at the Coalition (202/224-0606).

 

Senate and House staffers are invited to a Tuesday, February 24, briefing by state LIHEAP directors about the status of state energy assistance programs.  A growing number of households are applying for assistance – between fiscal 2002 and fiscal 2004 the number of households receiving assistance increased from 4.2 million to 4.6 million. States are projecting that the number could increase in fiscal 2004 to 4.9 million. LIHEAP serves only 16 percent of the eligible population.

 

The February 24 briefing will run from 2:30 pm until 3:30 pm in 428 Dirksen Senate Office Building.  LIHEAP directors from the following states will be attending:  Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

 

 

CHICAGO DISPERSAL BARRIER TO BLOCK INVASIVE SPECIES
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The Great Lakes Task Force is seeking signatures on a letter that asks the Corps of Engineers to begin constructing the second dispersal barrier in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal.  The Corps will complete the project’s design phase early in 2004, but it currently has no plans to begin the barrier’s construction, despite the great need to block the advance of Asian carp and other invasive species into the Great Lakes.  The signature deadline is Friday, February 27, and Hill offices are encouraged to contact Joy Mulinex at 202/224-1211.

 

 

CONSERVATION SECURITY PROGRAM
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The Northeast-Midwest Institute on Friday, February 27, will host a briefing on the Conservation Security Program (CSP), a new voluntary conservation initiative authorized by the 2002 farm bill and administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).  At the briefing, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) will provide an overview of the legislation and the proposed rule, which has a comment period that closes on March 2.  Additional comments will be provided by representatives from NRCS and from producer, commodity, and conservation groups.  

 

The February 27 briefing will run from 9:30 am until 10:30 am in 1300 Longworth House Office Building.