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GLIN==> Northeast-Midwest Weekly Update -- 6 September 2005



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Weekly Update 6 September 2005

 

HIGHLIGHTS

 

·        Job Opening:  Senate Legislative Director

·        LIHEAP

·        Base Closings

·        Clean Water Financing

·        Oil Heat Research Program

·        Brownfield Assistance for Disadvantaged Communities


Job Opening:  Senate Legislative Director

The Northeast-Midwest Senate Coalition is seeking a legislative director.  The bipartisan caucus is co-chaired by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jack Reed (D-RI) and addresses a variety of economic and environmental issues important to the region.  The legislative director would work for all Members of the Senate Coalition, regardless of party.  Resumes should be sent by September 9th to dickmunson@nemw.org.


 

LIHEAP

 

Noting the effects of Hurricane Katrina on the prices of gasoline, heating oil, and natural gas, the Northeast-Midwest Senate Coalition last week asked the president to include $900 million within a supplemental appropriation in emergency Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds.  The 24 senators noted “an imminent emergency confronting millions of Americans in cold weather states” as the current rise in energy prices coupled with energy debt remaining from last winter are leading to increased disconnections and arrears among consumers as the winter heating season begins.  The Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition – led by Reps. Charles Bass (R-NH), Steven LaTourette (R-OH), Marty Meehan (D-MA), and Louise Slaughter (D-NY) – are sending a similar letter this week.  The signature deadline is Thursday, September 8; contact is Lisa Mark (202/226-5181).


 

Base Closings Commission Spares Some Regional Facilities But Votes to Close Others

 

The Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC) voted the last week in August to keep open a number of major bases in the Northeast-Midwest region that had been on the Defense Department’s list of recommended closings, including the Naval Submarine Base in New London, CT; the Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, ME; the Air Reserve Station at the Pittsburgh (PA) international Airport; and the Air Guard Station in Battle Creek, MI. 

 

Prior to the BRAC Commission decisions, Connecticut and Maine had been slated for the deepest personnel cuts among all the states under the Defense Department’s BRAC list, and the Northeast-Midwest region was expected to once again bear a disproportionate share of the cutbacks even though the region accounts for the nation’s smallest share of Defense Department personnel.  The BRAC Commission’s decisions significantly reduce the cuts planned for the Northeast-Midwest region.  The BRAC Commission will send its final report to President Bush by Sept. 8, and the president is expected to forward the report to Congress.  The recommendations become law unless Congress rejects the report in its entirety.

 

Unfortunately, many important military facilities throughout the Northeast-Midwest region were approved for closings and reductions by the BRAC Commission, including the Rock Island Arsenal, the Great Lakes Naval Station, and the Springfield-based Air National Guard unit, all in Illinois; the Newport Chemical Depot in Indiana; the Naval Air Station in Brunswick, Maine; the Otis Air National Guard Base in Massachusetts; the Army Garrison on the Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Michigan; Fort Monmouth in New Jersey; the Naval Air Station in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania; and the General Mitchell Air Reserve Station in Wisconsin.  A number of states in the region have raised legal challenges to Defense Department plans to close or reduce National Guard facilities without approval from governors.

 

As part of an effort to promote regional equity in the BRAC process, the Northeast-Midwest Institute released reports in 2004 and 2005 highlighting the disproportionate and adverse impact on the region of both past base closings and realignments and the Defense Department’s proposals for BRAC 2005.  Web-versions of the reports are available at http://www.nemw.org/reports.htm#fedspending.


 

Clean Water Financing

 

Senator Jack Reed (R-RI), co-chair of the Northeast-Midwest Senate Coalition, is seeking signatures on a letter asking the Treasury Secretary to provide arbitrage relief for water infrastructure investments.  States lack funding for needed wastewater and stormwater treatment facilities, and Congress last year cut funding for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) from $1.35 billion to $1.1 billion.  Several states are leveraging their SRFs in order to increase funding, yet federal arbitrage rules hinder these efforts.  Contact:  Kris Sarri with the Northeast-Midwest Senate Coalition (202/224-0606).


 

Oil Heat Research Program

 

Reps. Marty Meehan (D-MA) and Steven LaTourette (R-OH), co-chairs of the Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition, are circulating a letter that supports a $1-million appropriation in the upcoming Energy and Water conference for the Oil Heat Research Program at Brookhaven National Laboratory.  The research program is designed to improve the efficiency and technology of heating oil combustion.  More than 10 million American households use oil to heat their homes.  This program has already saved over $7 billion for the 11 percent of U.S. homes using oil heat.  The signature deadline is Thursday, September 8.  Contact: Lisa Mark with the Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition (202/226-5181).


 

Brownfield Assistance for Disadvantaged Communities

The Northeast-Midwest Institute seeks a qualified sub-contractor to support a new project to identify strategies, methods, and tools for achieving brownfield reuse success in disadvantaged communities. Funding of up to $50,000 will be awarded for one year, beginning October 1, 2005. The deadline for submission is September 14.  For further information, see our request for proposals.


 

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