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GLIN==> Northeast-Midwest Weekly Update -- 18 September 2000

H E A D L I N E S:

* Briefing:  Harmful Algal Blooms in the Chesapeake Bay
* Briefing:  Law Enforcement in the National Forests
* Letters:  High Energy Prices
* Energy Information Administration
* Home Heating Oil Reserve
* Appropriations Update
* Ballast Water Treatment Awards

      The Chesapeake Bay Watershed Task Force on Tuesday, September 19,
will host a briefing on the current status and trends of harmful algal
blooms (HABs) in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.  Recent proliferations
of algal species have caused massive fish kills, contaminated seafood
with toxins, and altered ecosystems in other ways that humans consider

      Experts discussing this threat will be:  Dr. Robert Magnien,
director of the Tidewater Ecosystem Assessment Division for the
Maryland Department of Natural Resources; Dr. Patricia Gilbert,
professor at the University of Maryland's Center for Environmental
Sciences, Horn Point Laboratory; and Dr. Steven Jordan, director of
the NOAA/Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Oxford Laboratory.

      The September 19 briefing will begin at 9:00 am in room 121 of
the Cannon House Office Building.  Refreshments will be served.

      CONTACTS:  Olwen Huxley at the Northeast-Midwest Institute (544-
5200), Sally McGee with Rep. Wayne Gilchrest (225-5311), or Theresa
Tilling-Thompson with Rep. Bobby Scott (225-8351).

      The Northeast-Midwest Coalition on Tuesday, September 19, will
host a briefing on law enforcement activities and challenges in
northeastern and midwestern forests.  The Forest Service has specific
authority to enforce controlled-substance (i.e. drugs, such as
marijuana and methamphetamine production) violations that occur within
national forest boundaries, as well as provide emergency medical aid,
conduct search and rescue operations, and investigate theft, arson,
and motor vehicle violations.  Yet despite the rising numbers of
visitors to the National Forests and the growing demand for drug
controls, law enforcement staffing in the Eastern Region has continued
to decline.

      The discussion will be with Kim Thorsen, deputy director,
Division of Law Enforcement and Investigation, U.S. Forest Service.
The hour-long session, entitled "Chasing Bandits and Moonshiners,"
will begin on September 19 at 2:00 pm in room 2168 of the Rayburn
House Office Building.  Refreshments will be served.

      CONTACT:  Olwen Huxley at the Northeast-Midwest Institute (544-

      The Northeast-Midwest Senate Coalition last week began
circulating a letter to the president and key appropriators seeking
additional funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
(LIHEAP) and several energy efficiency measures.  Going into winter,
natural gas prices have doubled over the last year, oil prices have
tripled over the last two, and heating oil stocks in the Northeast are
dangerously low.  In anticipation of the impending energy emergency,
the senators, led by co-chairs James Jeffords (R-VT) and Daniel
Patrick Moynihan (D-NY), are urging increased funding for several
targeted measures that have the potential of immediately lessening the
impact on taxpayers, small businesses, the poor, elderly, and

      A group of over 100 House Members this week will transmit a pair
of letters that proscribe a number of responses designed to lessen the
impact of the current energy crisis.  The suggestions contained in the
letters cover both short-term relief for high fuel prices and
long-term strategies for reducing our country's dependence on foreign
oil.  Those letters are spearheaded by Reps. Bernie Sanders (I-VT),
Jack Quinn (R-NY), Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY), Joseph Moakley (D-MA),
Ron Kind (D-WI), John McHugh (R-NY), and Dennis Kucinich (D-OH).

      Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Susan Collins (R-ME) also
wrote to the president asking the administration to implement a swap
plan associated with the Strategic Petroleum Reserve that would place
more crude oil on the market today in order to build up distillate
stocks in time for the coming heating season.

      CONTACTS:  Cameron Taylor at the Northeast-Midwest Senate
Coalition (224-0606) and Tim Daniels with the Northeast-Midwest
Congressional Coalition (226-8636).

      Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), John Tierney (D-MA), Marty Meehan
(D-MA), and Jim Greenwood (R-PA) last week began circulating a letter
supporting increased appropriations for the Energy Information
Administration (EIA).   The Northeast-Midwest Coalitions have pushed
for increased funding for EIA for many years because of the importance
of its data on the region's complex fuel markets.  A fact sheet on EIA
is posted at http://www.nemw.org/energy.htm#info.  The letter's deadline is
Monday, September 18.

      CONTACTS:  Diane DeVaul at the Northeast-Midwest Institute (544-
5200) and Tim Daniels at the Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition

      Five New England senators last week asked President Clinton to
increase  the amount of home heating oil set aside in the recently-
created Northeast regional heating oil reserve.  Senators Joseph
Lieberman (D-CT), Christopher Dodd (D-CT), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), James
Jeffords (R-VT), and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) expressed concern that the
planned two-million barrel reserve may not be adequate to meet demand
during the upcoming winter.  "We would like you to consider putting a
stronger -- and we feel necessary -- safety net in place by increasing
the amount of distillate held in the reserve," the senators wrote.
The senators did not specify how much more oil they would like to see
in the reserve.

      CONTACT:  Ginny Worrest with Sen. Snowe (224-5344).

      An updated chart on selected appropriations important to the
Northeast-Midwest is posted at http://www.nemw.org/approp2001.htm.
Regarding Great Lakes programs, the Senate Appropriations Committee
last week marked up the VA, HUD, and Independent Agencies bill, providing 
level funding for the Great Lakes National Program Office and a significant 
increase for ATSDR's Great Lakes Fish Consumption Study.  The Clean Water 
and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (SRFs) were funded at the fiscal
2000 level.  The panel provided extensive report language on Total Maximum 
Daily Loads (TMDLs).  Details relevant to the Great Lakes Task Force's 
requests are posted at http://www.nemw.org/tracking2001.pdf.

      CONTACT:  Rochelle Sturtevant at the Great Lakes Task Force (224-

      Four marine engineering and naval architecture firms have been
awarded $100,000 to develop full-scale design studies of on-board
ballast water treatment systems to prevent the spread of invasive
species in U.S. waters.  The Northeast-Midwest Institute, a non-profit
policy and research organization, and the Lake Carriers Association,
the trade association representing U.S. flag vessel operators on the
Great Lakes, awarded the money to combat invasions of non-indigenous
aquatic nuisance species under the auspices of a joint research
program.  Ballast water long has been recognized as a leading factor
assisting the introduction and spread of invasive species.

      CONTACT:  Nicole Mays at the Northeast-Midwest Institute (544-

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