Enviro-Newsbrief September 19, 1995
The following is a daily update providing news of interest
to EPA staff. It includes information from current news sources,
including newspapers, newsletters, and other publications. For
more information, contact the EPA Headquarters Library at (202)
260-5921, or e-mail LIBRARY-HQ.
** BUDGET **
A Voluntary Disservice: The Federal Diary. The Washington Post,
September 19, 1995, p. B2.
Reporter Mike Causey summarizes the restrictions on
volunteering for federal agencies during a furlough, stating,
"Though volunteers definitely have their place, this isn't one of
them. In fact, they are outlawed during furlough situations."
Causey says that some agency supervisors are seeking to maintain
"non-essential" services subject to disruption with volunteers.
Causey refers to a publication by the Federal Employees News
Digest, "Your Furlough Guide," "which is becoming the furlough
bible for many offices..."
Causey points out that some federal workers volunteer during
emergency situations, and describes volunteer work during Desert
Storm and at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. "It is one thing to
hustle during a real emergency. It is another to run afoul of the
law to protect politicians - who caused the shutdown - from the
wrath of their constituents."
GOP Drafts Bill For Funding Of Government. The Wall Street
Journal, September 19, 1995, p. A5. Pols Face Off At The Brink Of
Furloughs: Clinton, Congress Edge Toward Deal. The Federal
Times, September 25, 1995, p. 4.
In an attempt to forestall a veto fight with President
Clinton, Republicans are drafting legislation to continue agency
funding at current levels for the first few weeks of fiscal year
1996. Government operations would continue unchanged or at
slightly reduced levels until Congress and the President can
reach an agreement on new appropriations legislation, which would
likely still contain substantial cuts in domestic spending.
The Post article says that the Administration has not yet
lent its support to this 'continuing resolution' effort. "It
prefers a simple across-the-board cut that would better preserve
the president's priorities."
The Congressional Research Service has released a study
stating that there are no official figures of the numbers of
federal employees subject to furlough after October 1st, but that
"the people who would not be furloughed probably would outnumber
those who would be sent home or told not to report to work,"
according to the Federal Times.
In the Federal Times, a chart summarizing the status of
appropriation bills show that the VA, HUD & Independent Agencies
(which includes EPA) bill has been passed by the House, is
pending in the Senate, and is threatened by a veto from the
Cutting A Wide Swath On Public Land: Republicans Using Budget To
Achieve Broad Philosophical Goals. The Washington Post,
September 19, 1995, p. A4.
Republicans, "just as Democrats in past years," are using
the appropriations process to "achieve broad philosophical goals
they might be unable to reach through the regular legislative
process." Specific policy-based decisions that may be made as a
result of budget legislation include: preventing the
Administration from enforcing the Endangered Species Act until it
is rewritten; and stopping the Interior Columbia River Basin
Ecoregion Assessment Project, an environmental impact statement
being prepared by the US Forest Service and the Bureau of Land
Other resource-related budget decisions that may affect
policy include opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil
and gas drilling, increasing lumber production from Alaska's
Tongass forests, and privatizing hydroelectric facilities of the
Southeast Power Administration, and then "insulating the
licensing of the resulting privatized operations from nearly
every major environmental law enacted in the last quarter
** ARCTIC NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE **
Groups Ask Clinton to Make Arctic Refuge National Monument to
Prevent Drilling. Daily Environment Report, September 19, 1995,
Environmental groups are urging President Clinton to
preserve the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge coastal plain as a
national monument under the 1906 Antiquities Act. The Act would
protect the area from being converted into an oil drilling site.
Jon Roush, President of the Wilderness Society, said, "The Arctic
Refuge is one of our greatest natural treasures, but Congress is
now about to turn it over to the oil industry without allowing an
open debate." Two Alaskan Republicans, Rep. Don Young, Chair of
the House Resources Committee and Sen. Frank Murkowski, Chair of
the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, both support
the oil drilling proposal as a measure for budget reconciliation.
Although "the amount of recoverable oil in the Arctic Refuge is
in doubt," according to Rep. Bruce Vento (D-MN), the
reconciliation legislation has proposed that $1.3 billion could
be recovered from the site.