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GLIN==> Northeast-Midwest Weekly Update -- 17 January 2000

     The Northeast-Midwest Institute on Thursday, January 20, will
host the first of two roundtable discussions on fisheries in the Great
Lakes.  While balancing state, federal, and public interests, the
invitees will try to determine how federal legislation could better
protect and advance the Great Lakes fishery.

     Great Lakes congressional staff each year are encouraged to amend
federal legislation authorizing Great Lakes fisheries programs.  Often
these suggestions are cued by an interest in tapping new or existing
coastal and marine fisheries programs.  Should the Great Lakes be
included in such national programs?  Some analysts believe such
inclusion could be beneficial, while others worry it could undermine
specific Great Lakes regional programs.

     Another topic at the roundtable will be the apparent lack of
formal statutory recognition for the current configuration of critical
federal Great Lakes fishery programs.  For example, the Great Lakes
Science Center, responsible for Great Lakes fishery research, has been
moved by executive order from the Fish and Wildlife Service, to the
National Biological Service, and finally to the U.S. Geological Survey
 each time without congressional authorization.

     CONTACT:  Rochelle Sturtevant, Northeast-Midwest Senate Coalition

     The administration on January 7 unveiled a proposal to help
farmers through increased funding for U.S. Department of Agriculture
conservation programs.  While most of the proposed initiative will
require congressional action, the vice president indicated that the
administration unilaterally will implement a bonus program for farmers
who enroll land in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) through the
initiative's continuous sign-up process.

     The administration plans to offer bonuses totaling up to $100
million in fiscal 2000, and up to $125 million in fiscal years 2001-
2002.  The CRP continuous sign-up allows producers to enroll certain
high-priority land  such as grassed waterways, filter strips, and
riparian buffers  at any time during the year; general CRP land, in
contrast, can be enrolled only during certain periods and must meet
specified conservation criteria.  As part of the CRP continuous sign-
up process, landowners often must install best management practices,
including the planting of filter strips or forested buffers in order
to reduce polluted runoff from farm and ranch land.  The new bonuses
will provide additional funding to compensate farmers for much of the
expense of installing these practices, and they should encourage
enrollment of high environmental-value acreage.  Of equal importance,
the bonus payments will provide much-needed income to farmers
struggling with low commodity prices.

     CONTACT:  George Dusenbury at the Northeast-Midwest Institute

     Suzanne Watson recently joined the Northeast-Midwest Institute
staff as a senior policy analyst focused on energy policy, paying
particular attention to initiatives that advance industrial efficiency
and productivity.  Before joining the Institute, Ms. Watson was
executive director of the Maine Chamber & Business Alliance's
Environment & Energy Center, which serves the environmental and energy
needs of that state's businesses.  She also was program director at
the Maine Science & Technology Foundation, a lobbyist with Capitol
Consultants of New Hampshire, and a researcher with the Center for
International Environmental Law.

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