Friday, March 30, 2007

American River Update Week of March 26, 2007

Congress will be on recess for a district work period the first two weeks of April. During that period we will not be producing a River Policy Update. The next update will be when Congress returns the week of April 16th, 2007.

1) Week in Review

On Friday the Senate approved an almost $3 trillion budget resolution for fiscal year 2008 (FY 08). The Senate bill contains $31.322 billion for the function 300 account, the primary funding source for most of the environmental and natural resource programs at EPA, the Interior Department, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Agriculture Department. A similar version was passed by the House Budget Committee last week and is expected to be taken up by the full House on Wednesday. The House resolution includes $32.8 billion for function 300. Both House and Senate function 300 requests are higher than last years funding level and President Bush's request for FY 2008. The FY 08 River Budget contains information on priority river protection and restoration programs and the river community's recommended funding level for FY 08.

Another funding issue facing Congress this week is the Emergency Supplemental spending bill for the war in Iraq. This $121.6 billion spending bill passed the House last week and was favorably voted out of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday. The full Senate is expected to take up the bill sometime this week. The bill includes $60.4 million for salmon fishers and tribes in Northern California and Oregon to address the salmon fishery failure on the Klamath River and $94 million for the Army Corps of Engineers to repair 213 sites in the levee system on the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers damaged by storms last year.

Momentum for H.R. 1495, the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) has slowed in spite of the efforts by House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman James Oberstar (D-MN) and it is now unlikely that the House will consider the bill until after they return from the two-week April recess. A mark-up of the Senate version of WRDA is also unlikely to occur until after the recess.

2) Congressional Calendar

Monday, Mar. 26, 2007
Roundtable discussion on the progress of the European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources 2:00 PM, G50 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Hearing on the Fiscal Year 2008 budget appropriations for the National Parks Service House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on the Interior 9:30 AM, B-308 Rayburn House Office Building

Hearing on the growing conflict between fishing, hunting, and energy development on federal lands House Committee on Natural Resources 10:30 AM, Room 1324 Longworth House Office Building

Wednesday, Mar. 28, 2007
Hearing on reducing costs of government buildings through innovation and efficiency Committee on Environment and Public Works 10:00 AM 406 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Hearing on the Fiscal Year 2008 budget request for the U.S. Forest Service Senate Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Interior and Environment 2:30 PM, 124 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Thursday, March 29, 2007
Hearing on climate change lessons learned from existing cap and trade programs House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality 10:00 AM, 2322 Rayburn House Office Building

Hearing on several bills including H.R. 189, the Paterson Great Falls National Park Act of 2007 House Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands 10:00 AM, 1334 Longworth House Office Building

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