Date: 01/24/1996 05:36 pm (Wednesday)
From: PATRICIA SCOTT
JOHN,HOWELL-STALLINGS,ANDERSON-MEREDITH, . . .
Subject: Legislative Update - Jan. 22
Legislative Update -- Week of Jan. 22
The House and Senate are back in session this week. There are
tentative reports that the House may be in recess for most of
State of the Union
The President will be delivering his State of the Union Address
at 9 PM tonight.
Senator Bond (R-MO) has scheduled an oversight hearing for Friday
on EPA's FY' 96 Budget. Administrator Browner is scheduled to
testify, followed by a panel of Superfund contractors and States.
Bond wants to examine the differences between the existing
Continuing Resolution and H.R. 2099, the VA, HUD, Independent
Agencies Conference Report, which was vetoed by the President.
Bond reportedly wants to demonstrate that EPA will be better off
under H.R. 2099. (Note: H.R. 2099 includes several legislative
riders, including the elimination of EPA's $ 404 (c) authority
to override COE wetlands permits. )
The temporary spending measure funding EPA (and other government
departments and agencies without a signed appropriations bill)
expires midnight on Friday, Jan. 26. Six of the thirteen
appropriations bills still have not yet been signed by the
President. It appears Congress may pass a temporary measure to
fund the government through March 15. House Appropriations
Chairman Bob Livingston (R-LA) hinted that the new Continuing
Resolution (CR) may eliminate a provision in the previous CR's
which protected federal employees from being laid off without
The House is tentatively scheduled to recess on Thursday at 4 PM
for a retreat. Therefore, if action is to occur on the CR, the
House is likely to act by Thursday afternoon, with the Senate
Safe Drinking Water
Bob Perciasepe is scheduled to testify on Friday, Jan. 26,
before the House Commerce Committee on Health and Environment on
SDWA Reauthorization ( Chairman Michael Bilirakis, R-FL).
Another hearing on SDWA is scheduled for next Friday, Jan. 31,
before the House Infrastructure Subcommittee on Resources and
Environment ( Chairman Sherwood Boelhert (R-NY).
Although the Senate has passed a comprehensive SDWA bill, House
Republicans have not yet introduced a comprehensive SDWA
proposal. One bill H.R. 2747, which simply creates a SDWA loan
fund, will be the subject of the hearing on Jan. 31.
Water Conveyance Bill
H.R. 2657, Congressman Condit's (D-CA) bill on water conveyances
is scheduled for today's Corrections Day Calendar. The bill
would exempt states from setting standards for recreational,
aquatic life, or fish consumption's uses for man-made water
conveyances (ie. ditches, irrigation canals. etc.) An early
draft of the Statement of Administration Policy expressed
concerns with the bill as currently drafted.
North East MidWest Institute Seminar/ CWA Update
Steve Odell, a staffer for the Senate Environment and Public
Works Committee reported that Senator Chafee intends to hold two
to three more hearings on CWA (non- wetlands) issues - possibly
on NPS, stormwater fixes, and SRF. (Note: Bob Perciaisepe
testified at the first CWA hearing held on December 13 on
With regard to wetlands, Odell reported that Chafee's staff is
working with Faircloth and Bond's staffs to see if compromise
language could be reached in lieu of S. 851. Odell noted
that Chafee strongly supports EPA's continued role in the $ 404
program. He said, however, that Senate staff were considering
limiting EPA's oversight role to actions involving certain acres
of wetlands or waters of special national significance. He said
that staff had not yet met to discuss issues relating to
delineation criteria, which he noted was a particularly difficult
issue. Steve said Chafee hopes ultimately to wrap a wetlands
proposal into a broader CWA bill.
Odell made it very clear that Chafee does not see the need for a
comprehensive CWA rewrite. He also said that Superfund
reauthorization is the Senator's top priority. Because of
language in the Interior Appropriations bill that limits new
Endangered Species Act listings, Odell also said there is
pressure on the Committee to act on ESA reauthorization.
Ocean Research Hearing
On Thursday, three House Subcommittees will be holding a hearing
on "Leveraging National Oceanographic Capabilities." The two
panels of witnesses will include the National Academy of
Scientists, NOAA, National Science Foundation, prominent
Scientists and the Navy. The focus of the hearing is on defining
partnerships and making collective assessments of oceanic data.