Activities at the October 20 Environmental Policy Task Force meeting chaired by David Ridenour of The National Center for Public Policy Research (202/543-4110).
Myron Ebell of Frontiers for Freedom Institute and Brian Seascholes of the Competitive Enterprise Institute reviewed Senator Dirk Kempthorne (R-ID) and John Chafee (R-RI)'s S. 1180, "The Endangered Species Recovery Act of 1997." The bill, they said, is the product of a compromise with the Clinton Administration apparently made under the assumption that the White House was negotiating in good faith. Explains a CEI fact sheet: "It is now clear that Senator Kempthorne was double-crossed. The Republicans gave ground on virtually every major provision, deleting or watering-down almost all of the improvements... They caved, compromised and capitulated their way through the negotiations, all in an effort to win the Clinton Administration's seal of approval. Less than 36 hours before the legislation was unveiled, however, Secretary Babbitt balked." Among the problems with the bill, said participants, is that it does nothing to alter the government's regulatory definition of "harm" under the ESA. Currently, federal agents are able to seize effective use of private land under the ESA even if no endangered animal is physically harmed on that land, or even lives on the land. Another problem is that the bill provides no compensation to landowners if the government takes over use of their land under the ESA. Information was distributed. Contact Brian Seascholes at 202/331-1010 and Myron Ebell at 703/527-8282.
Tommy Smith of the Nuclear Energy Institute discussed the Administration's opposition to complying with a 1982 law saying that the federal government will accept for storage used nuclear fuel from nuclear power plants beginning in 1998. (The program was to be paid for through a tax on consumers' electric bills, which by 1997 has raised $13 billion.) If the Administration continues to ignore the law, nuclear plants around the U.S. (which supply 20% of the nation's electricity) will either have to shut down or will have to extend temporary storage of spent fuel in 81 locations around the country. Furthermore, by ignoring the laws the federal government could incur liabilities up to $56 billion. In order to force compliance with the law the Senate has passed, and Congress is expected soon to pass, H.R. 1270, "The Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1997." President Clinton is expected to veto the legislation.
Smith showed a six-minute video highlighting safety issues in transporting spent nuclear fuel, including scenes of trucks and railroad locomotives crashing into concrete walls at high speeds.
Smith also discussed allegations that Nevada has misused $1.7 million of the funds collected from the electricity tax. He distributed a letter to the Secretary of Energy by oversight subcommittee chairman Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) explaining the allegation. Nevada's state government opposes the legislation, and may have spent tax dollars collected from electricity consumers for the storage facility to fight it.
For fact sheets, the video or the Barton letter, contact Tommy Smith at 202/739-8017 or [email protected] (www.nei.org).
Rich Zipperer of Consumer Alert distributed a report by Accu-Weather, Inc., "Changing Weather? Facts and Fallacies About Climate Change and Weather Extremes." The 28-page report, with lots of graphs and charts, asks the question: "Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have increased. As a result, has significant global warming been detected?" Its answer: "NO. The amounts of carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases have increased in the atmosphere in the last century. A rapid increase began in the 1950s. But the observed global temperature rise from 1916 to the 1940s is not in phase with this increase... It is important to note that a significant fraction of the observed air temperature increase in the last hundred years occurred between 1916 and the mid-1940s, before the rapid increase in carbon dioxide emissions. Since much of the observed global warming occurred before the steep rise in greenhouse gas concentrations, the warming must have been caused by other factors." Zipperer also commented on Clinton and Gore's presentation to local TV meteorologists on global warming, announced a "Globaloney Roast" global warming educational event on the Capitol steps on October 30 and recommended his web site at www.globalwarming.org. Contact Rich Zipperer at 202/467-5809. Contact Accu-Weather at 814/237-0309.
Dr. Bonner Cohen of EPA Watch reported on his October 20 cover story in Forbes magazine on the politicization of the Environmental Protection agency since Carol Browner took over in 1993. The article describes how the Browner EPA has lobbied Congress against bills they don't like (which is against the law), has used taxpayer dollars to fund projects designed to lobby Congress; has "lent" EPA employees to Democratic Congressional offices but not Republicans'; has imposed costly new regulations unwarranted by the available scientific evidence; has stopped new job development in a poor minority area with 60% unemployment; has ignored Congressional requests for documents; may have made the U.S. vulnerable to industrial espionage; and more. For a copy of the article only contact Chad Cowan at 202/543-4110 or visit http://www.forbes.com/forbes/97/1020/6009170a.htm. Contact Bonner Cohen at 202/739-0179.
Chad Cowan of The National Center for Public Policy Research distributed new National Center papers: National Policy Analysis #169, "Farmers to Bear Brunt of New Clean Air Standards," NPA #173 "President's Interpretations of 'Environmental Justice' Jeopardizes Minority Health and Well-Being," Relief Report newsletter #57, and Dossier publications on the Environmental Grantmakers Association and top UN official Maurice Strong. Contact Chad Cowan at 202/543-4110 or [email protected] (www.nationalcenter.org).
Alex Annett of The Heritage Foundation discussed the EPA's recent ban on asthma inhalers and legislation introduced in Congress to overturn it. He also distributed copies of Heritage Backgrounder #1142, "Shining a Bright Light on Regulators: Tracking the Costs and Benefits of Federal Regulation," Backgrounder #1143, "The Road to Kyoto: How the Global Climate Treaty Fosters Economic Impoverishment and Endangers U.S. Sovereignty," Backgrounder #1141 "Warning: Expect Bad Results from the Results Act Without Congressional Oversight," Executive Memorandum 492 "How Congress Can Enhance Property Owners' Access to Justice," FYI 154 "How Congress Can End the 'Regulatory Limbo' Blocking Property Owners' Access to Justice." Contact Alex Annett at 202/546-4400 or [email protected] (www.heritage.org).
John Shanahan of the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution distributed
his paper (written with C. Boyden Gray and Roger Marzulla) "'Attempted'
Environmental Crimes: A Flawed Concept." The paper discusses
problems with President Clinton's August 28, 1996 announcement
of a new $1.9 billion initiative to combat crimes against the
environment. Among other problems, the authors say, the proposal
would "target those individuals who innocently... violate
complex regulations." Contact John Shanahan at 703/351-4969.