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* Senate Committee Reports Out Conservation and Reinvestment Act; Prospects for Senate Passage Uncertain
* Biotechnology Defended in Demonstration
* Key Senators Considering Proposals to Implement Kyoto Global Warming Treaty by the Back Door
* Task Force Reviews Environmental Education Legislation
* CEI Analyst Says Clinton Administration's
Declarations of National Monuments Violate Law
Environmental Policy Task Force Meeting: Activities at the July Environmental Policy Task Force Meeting chaired by David Ridenour of The National Center for Public Policy Research ((202) 507-6398 or [email protected]).
Senate Committee Reports Out Conservation and Reinvestment Act; Prospects for Senate Passage Uncertain
Following the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee reporting out of the Conservation and Reinvestment Act (CARA) on July 25, Michael Hardiman of the American Land Rights Association reported that CARA's prospects before the full Senate is uncertain, given the large number of pro-CARA senators and the determined anti-CARA opposition. CARA is highly unpopular with property rights groups, as it would significantly increase funding for federal and state government purchases of private land. Currently, funding for the federal Land, Water and Conservation Fund (LWCF), the main federal fund for land acquisition, is $450 million. CARA would increase LWCF funding to nearly $1 billion. In addition, CARA weould make more money available for state land purchases. In total, CARA would cost up to $3 billion per year for 15 years, creating a de facto $45 billion entitlement program that would greatly increase government ownership of private land. Hardiman noted that while most Republican members of the committee strongly opposed the legislation, citing property rights and fiscal concerns, four Republicans - committee chairman Frank Murkowski (R-AK), Peter Fitzgerald (R-IL), Gordon Smith (R-OR) and Jim Bunning (R-KY) - sided with the committee's nine Democrats. It is hard to assess CARA's future. On one hand, Hardiman says Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) is very much in favor of the legislation. Mississippi is one of the bigger beneficiaries of CARA funding. However, says Hardiman, Lott is wary of legislation that is divisive and time-consuming. Time is perhaps the biggest ally of the anti-CARA senators as Lott's top priority is to finish all of the appropriations bills and other legislation by early October so senators can return home to campaign. Another factor that could bode well for anti-CARA forces is that two of the eight anti-CARA Republicans on the Energy and Natural Resources committee, Senator Don Nickles (R-OK) and Senator Larry Craig (R-ID), are members of the Senate GOP leadership, which might cause Lott to reconsider floor action. Likewise, Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM), another committee member and Chairman of the Budget Committee, is strongly opposed to CARA. Hardiman and Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) say that CARA's fate will come down to whether the anti-CARA senators can cause enough acrimonious debate and delay to force Lott to postpone a vote this year. Anti-CARA groups agree that CARA would pass the Senate if anti-CARA senators can not prevent it from coming to a vote. Contact Michael Hardiman at/202-251-3473 or Myron Ebell at CEI at 202/331-1010 or [email protected].
Biotechnology Defended in Demonstration
James Plummer of Consumer Alert discussed a successful counter demonstration conducted by Consumer Alert and CEI at a Washington D.C. Safeway supermarket store picketed by anti-biotechnology protesters. The anti-biotechnology protesters demanded that the Safeway supermarket chain stop selling products genetically-modified through agricultural biotechnology, citing unfounded claims that such products are unsafe. To dramatize their point, the protesters entered the store, purchased biotechnology-modified products and then demanded a refund. As part of their counter demonstration, the CEI and Consumer Alert protesters promptly purchased the same biotechnology products - and did not ask for a refund. Fortunately, Safeway says that it has no intention of removing biotechnology products from its stores. Contact James Plummer or Fran Smith at 202-467-5809 or [email protected].
Key Senators Considering Proposals to Implement Kyoto Global Warming Treaty by the Back Door
Marlo Lewis of the House Subcommittee on National Economic Growth, Natural Resources and Regulatory Affairs announced that subcommittee chairman David McIntosh (R-IN) has requested that the Energy Information Administration do an analysis of the negative economic impact of legislative proposals to regulate carbon dioxide. Lewis says the request was motivated by a worrisome legislative proposal, loosely termed "Multi-Pollutant Strategies," that is supported by Senator Robert Smith (R-NH), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. As part of an attempt to ease business compliance with EPA regulations, the Smith-backed measure would include carbon dioxide as a substance that EPA can regulate. Regulating carbon dioxide would achieve a major goal of the unratified Kyoto Protocol, the treaty that seeks to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to address the unproven global warming threat. Contact Marlo Lewis at 202-225-4407 or [email protected].
Task Force Reviews Environmental Education Legislation
John Carlisle, director of the Environmental Policy Task Force, announced that Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) is again pushing for passage of an environmental education bill. In an attempt to stop EPA's misuse of a $10 million environmental education fund to indoctrinate school children with controversial views, Senator Inhofe wants to reauthorize the currently-unauthorized program and include requirements for hearings to ostensibly ensure that EPA follows sound science, not politics, in spending the money. But since hearings will not force EPA to change its behavior, Carlisle said Inhofe's bill would only legally enhance the environmental education program without reforming it. Contact John Carlisle at (202) 507-6398 or [email protected].
CEI Analyst Says Clinton Administration's Declarations of National Monuments Violate Law
R.J. Smith of CEI reported that the Clinton Administration's heavy-handed use of the 1906 Antiquities Act to declare vast areas of Western land National Monuments is illegal. Smith said that the Antiquities Act was designed to protect specific sites that have significant historical or archaeological value such as ancient Indian caves. He said property rights lawyers are looking into the possibility of filing a lawsuit challenging the Administration's misuse of the law. Contact R.J. Smith at 202/331-1010 or [email protected]. *
-by John Carlisle