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GLIN==> Northeast-Midwest Weekly Update -- 20 March 2006






Weekly Update 20 March 2006



·         LIHEAP – Legislative Victories

·         Brownfield Funding -- Letter

·         Great Lakes Programs – Letters
Manufacturing Extension Partnership -- Letter

·         Farmers’ Markets – Web Site and Grants

·         Toxic Substances in the Great Lakes – Briefing  

·         House Appropriation Letters Delivered  

LIHEAP – Legislative Victories


The Senate on Thursday, March 16, approved a Budget Resolution amendment – introduced by Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) – to increase spending for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) by $3.318 billion, bringing the fiscal 2007 total to the fully-authorized level of $5.1 billion.  The amendment was approved 51 to 49.


The House several hours later approved the transfer to LIHEAP of $1 billion in fiscal 2006.  The funds will be divided between regular block grants and contingency funds.  The administration has indicated it will release the contingency funds quickly.  The bill was approved 287 to 128; it matches legislation advanced by Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and accepted last week by the Senate.


Brownfield Funding -- Letter

Senators Carl Levin (D-MI), Lincoln Chafee (R-RI), and Jim Jeffords (I-VT) are seeking signatures on a letter supporting $250 million in appropriations for the Environmental Protection Agency’s brownfields program.  The initiative provides states and communities with resources to assess, clean up, and redevelop brownfields. Since 1995, the program has leveraged more than $7.3 billion - creating approximately 34,000 new jobs - from both the private and public sectors to facilitate cleanup and redevelopment projects. The demand for brownfields funding continues to grow and EPA was only able to provide grants to 200 of the 700 communities that applied for funds last year.  The letter’s signature deadline if April 4.  Contacts:  Alice Yates with Sen. Levin (202/224-2683), Nathan Miller with Sen. Chafee (202/224-4235), and Malcolm Woolf with Sen. Jeffords (202/224-7931).


Great Lakes Programs – Letters


The House and Senate Great Lakes Task Forces are seeking signatures on letters asking appropriators to provide funds to priority programs in the Great Lakes, such as the Great Lakes Legacy Program, the Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab, the Great Lakes National Program Office, and the dispersal barrier.  The signature deadlines are March 27 in the House and March 31 in the Senate.  Contact: Joy Mulinex with the Great Lakes Task Force (202/224-1211). 

Manufacturing Extension Partnership -- Letter


Leaders of the Senate Task Force on Manufacturing – Senators Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Herbert Kohl (D-WI), Mike DeWine (R-OH), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and Joseph Liberman (D-CT) – are seeking signatures on a letter that ask appropriators to support level funding – $106 million – for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Program.  MEP is a nationwide network of resources that leverages public and private resources to make a comprehensive range of services and assistance available to smaller manufacturers.  Through this support system, MEP helps manufacturers compete globally, supporting greater supply-chain integration, and providing access to technology for improved productivity. The signature deadline is March 24. Contacts:  Ari Strauss with the Senate Manufacturing Task Force (202/224-0606).



Farmers' Markets – Web Site and Grants


The Northeast-Midwest Institute, a major partner in the Farmers’ Market Project, announces the launch of a new website, Resources for Farmers’ Markets at www.farmersmarketsusa.org.  The website will allow consumers to search for markets, provide information about funding opportunities and policy developments, and enable market managers and farmers to showcase their markets and products.  Contact:  Alan Hunt at the Northeast-Midwest Institute (202-464-4016). 


USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has announced that approximately $1 million will be made available through a new competitive grants program, the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP).  The FFPP, authorized in the 2002 Farm Bill but only funded for the first time in fiscal 2006, will help to improve and expand domestic farmers markets, roadside stands, community-supported agriculture programs and other direct producer-to-consumer market opportunities.  For more information, see Farmers' Market Promotion Program.

 Toxic Substances in the Great Lakes – Briefing

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) on Tuesday, March 21st, will brief congressional staff on their Great Lakes Human Health Effects research program.  Initiated in 1992, ATSDR’s Great Lakes Human Health Effects Research Program is designed to characterize exposure to contaminants via consumption of Great Lakes fish, and investigate the potential for short- and long-term adverse health effects.  The March 21 briefing will be begin at 2:00 pm in 2325 Rayburn House Office Building.  Contact:  Joy Mulinex with the Great Lakes Task Force (202/224-1211).

 House Appropriation Letters Delivered

Click below to see Dear Colleague letters delivered to House appropriators on Community Development Block Grants, energy efficiency, Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Susquehanna River Basin, and Chesapeake Bay


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