APPROPRIATIONS  FY ’09

Tribal efforts were successful in the restoration of the Pacific Salmon Treaty funding for FY09 in its entirety ($1.772m)–a significant accomplishment with a coordinated effort from the NWIFC delegation, Columbia River Inter-tribal Fish Commission and Chairman Ron Allen.  A lot of credit for this success goes to Mary Jane Miller of the BIA Central Office who was able to secure these funds and OMB support, a challenging task. With the restoration of these funds, the FY ’09 BIA Fish and Wildlife Fund is at the FY ’08 level, with the exception of a $500,000 increase for hatchery maintenance.

NOAA’s approved spending plan included an increase to $80 million for the PCSRF in FY09, (the previous amount was $67 million), which will likely result in an increased tribal allocation. The State of Nevada is now being added to the mix to get salmon into the Owyhee watershed.  Bringing Nevada into the picture, which should have little impact on funding in other states, was essentially a result of a deal between Sen. Patty Murray, D-WA and Sen. Harry Reid, D-NV. The original authorizing language has also changed. Previously the language provided funds to support salmon habitat restoration, salmon stock enhancement, salmon research and supplementation activities.  New language is more directed toward providing funds to support ESA, tribal treaty fishing rights and habitat restoration.  This will probably affect Alaska more than other states.

FISH AND WILDLIFE AND THE STIMULUS BILLS The following additions, among others, are currently included: Department of Agriculture: $50 million for watershed rehabilitation programs; NOAA: $400 million for habitat restoration and mitigation activities; Fish and Wildlife Service: Additional $300 million for projects on National Wildlife Refuges, National Fish Hatcheries, etc.; BIA: $500 million for critical deferred maintenance projects: EPA: An additional $8.4 billion for State and Tribal Assistance Grants for Clean Water State Revolving Funds under title VI of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, etc.; Forest Service: Additional $650 million  for reconstruction, capital improvement, decommissioning, and maintenance of forest roads, bridges and trails; alternative energy technologies, removal of fish passage barriers, watershed projects, etc.

OBAMA’S FY ’10 PRIORITIES One of President Obama’s priorities in his FY ’10 budget is, as he says, to “lay the foundation for a secure and lasting prosperity.” To help achieve that, he is proposing major investments in clean energy (as well as education and health care). “We invest in the renewable sources of energy that will lead to new jobs, new businesses, and less dependence on foreign oil,” he said recently. “And that’s what clean energy jobs and businesses will do all across America.” For more information, click on this link to his March 24 news conference:         http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51253&id=15806-5461912-f7ucBJx&t=4

With Congress pushing back against his proposals for energy and other matters, President Obama is taking a bend-but-don’t-break posture. He will compromise on certain details if he must, but not on the heart of his key initiatives. His strategic retreats are a nod to political reality. He is angling to avoid confrontations he probably can’t win, but to sacrifice no more than is absolutely necessary. On energy, for instance, influential Democratic lawmakers have joined Republicans in opposing Obama’s bid to reduce greenhouse gases through a program that would let companies buy and sell a limited number of permits to pollute. “When it comes to cap and trade,” the president said, using the proposal’s nickname, “the broader principle is that we’ve got to move to a new energy era. And that means moving away from polluting energy sources towards cleaner energy sources. I think cap and trade is the best way,” Obama said, but he stopped well short of insisting on it.

OCEANS 21, (H.R.21) Five years after the Pew Environmental Group and the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy issued reports saying the oceans are sick-enough time for significant hypoxia and toxic problems, massive fish kills and runaway acidification to compound, it appears to some that Congress may finally be poised to take some definitive action.–a statement made by Chris Mann, Director of the Campaign for Healthy Oceans for Pew’s Ocean 21 program a year ago. It was then that the U.S. House Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, and Oceans marked up the Ocean Conservation, Education, and National Strategy for the 21st Century Act (OCEANS 21). “To date, this bill represents the most comprehensive package of ocean conservation reforms recommended by two blue-ribbon panels. OCEANS 21 establishes a national policy to protect, maintain and restore the health of our marine ecosystems. It creates a process by which federal, state and local government (did not mention tribal) agencies can better coordinate their activities to achieve goals and milestones for improving ocean health.” He said the bill also gives NOAA, for the first time, a clear, statutory mission to carry out ocean observation, research and conservation.

“For too long, decisions affecting our oceans have been made with little regard for the health and productivity of the broader marine ecosystem. OCEANS 21 will change that,” Mann said that in April, 2008. More recently he said, “Oceans provide us the beaches and waves that Americans flock to all year round. But they also feed the world, regulate our climate, provide jobs and transportation, produce oxygen and shelter half of the world’s species. Most of us never even see below their surface, but our oceans are in a silent state of collapse. We drill them for oil and pollute them with waste. We change their temperature and chemistry through global warming and ocean acidification. We’ve pushed 75 percent of the world’s fisheries to or beyond the limits of sustainability, and 90 percent of large ocean predators have simply disappeared. Marine scientists have called the changes we are seeing in our oceans “the rise of slime”-where jellyfish, algae and bacteria take over ocean areas that no longer contain and can no longer support other forms of life. But although our oceans are in trouble, right now we have no comprehensive, national law to protect and restore them. Instead, they are managed by 140 different laws and 20 different agencies, each with diverging goals and conflicting mandates.  To save our seas, we need a Healthy Oceans Act similar to the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act.” Not long ago, Pew commenced a national campaign to encourage people to get their congressional representatives to sign on as co-sponsors of the bill, and as a result, Oceans 21 currently has 40 co-sponsors. (Although 15 of them are from California and three are from Oregon, none are from Washington.)

Now a word of some caution–Oceans-21-the Oceans Conservation, Education and National Strategy for the 21st Century Act, may be legislation in many ways long past due, but it does have some particular focus on fishing and it does propose a national network of marine protected areas. Tribal participation in the legislation may be advisable and/or needed, to assure protection of tribal fisheries management interests as well as assure tribal participation in research, monitoring and other aspects of both contemporary and traditional science related to the protection and restoration of ocean health.

ENERGY DEVELOPMENT ON THE OUTER CONTINENTAL SHELF The fight to protect marine habitat goes on. The Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources and the Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife has held a joint oversight hearing on “Energy Development on the Outer Continental Shelf and the Future of our Oceans.”  The purpose of the hearing was to examine how offshore energy development can co-exist with healthy, productive oceans.  Witnesses discussed efforts to plan and site future offshore oil and gas and renewable energy installations within the larger context of ocean planning (often referred to as Marine Spatial Planning).  Ironically, the hearing coincided with the 20th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill of March 24, 1989.  Witnesses did discuss the lingering effects of that disaster, as well as other environmental concerns associated with offshore oil and gas production. Visit the Committee’s Web site to access witness testimony.

CHARGES AGAINST TED STEVENS DROPPED

The government has dropped corruption charges against former Sen. Ted Stevens, R-AK, because prosecutors withheld potentially exculpatory evidence from his lawyers. Stevens, who was convicted in late October on charges of failing to report more than $250,000 in gifts and favors on Senate financial disclosure forms, had not yet been sentenced. “I always knew that there would be a day when the cloud that surrounded me would be removed,” Stevens said. “That day has finally come.” Defense lawyer Brendan Sullivan said the case provided “a warning to everyone. Any citizen can be convicted if prosecutors are hell bent on ignoring the Constitution and willing to present false evidence.”

PUBLIC LANDS SERVICE CORPS ACT

Chairman Rep. Nick Rahall, D-WV and National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-AZ, have introduced the “Public Lands Service Corps Act of 2009” (H.R. 1612), legislation intended to help repair and restore public lands, while employing and training thousands of young Americans and promoting a culture of public service.  The legislation would expand and reinvigorate an existing program, the Public Lands Corps, by modernizing the scope of corps projects to reflect new challenges – such as climate change – adding incentives to attract new participants, and paving the way for increased funding.  Visit Congressman Grijalva’s Web site to view the press release with additional information.

REP. DICKS: JUST PAYING HIS DUES?

Congressman Norm Dicks, D-WA, was in the news recently for getting questionable campaign checks from two supporters in Florida, a golf-club marketer and a wine steward. Details weren’t clear but the Floridians may have posed as lobbyists. Or they may have been conduits for too much campaign cash. The FBI’s on the case. Although it’s doubtful he did anything illegal, accepting funds from contributors so far away might raise a few eyebrows. But, as many know, that’s the way Congress works. It’s a fundraising machine. The heads of influential committees are expected, almost required, to raise as much money as possible from people they scarcely know. He’s literally got to pay his dues. As the chairman of a congressional subcommittee, Dicks is supposed to pay at least $250,000 in biennial dues to the group charged with electing Democrats to the U.S. House, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Last election Dicks paid $300,000-as much as on his own re-election. Higher-ranking leaders, such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, owe dues up to $800,000. The fee for backbenchers starts at $125,000. (It ain’t cheap being a Congressman, especially when you start climbing the leadership ladder.)

LUBECHENCO CONFIRMED TO HEAD NOAA Oregon State University professor Jane Lubchenco, one of the nation’s most prominent marine biologists, has been confirmed as the head of NOAA. Lubchenco, a conservationist who has devoted much of her career to encouraging scientists to become more engaged in public policy debates, is also a vocal proponent of curbing greenhouse gases linked to global warming. The appointment marks a shift for NOAA, which oversees marine issues as well as much of government’s climate work. She has criticized the agency in the past for not doing enough to curb overfishing.

DORGAN SEES NO QUICK FIX FOR LAND-TO-TRUST RULING Don’t expect Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-ND to rush through a fix to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Carcieri v. Salazar.  Dorgan, the chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, plans to hold a hearing on the decision, which restricts the land-into-trust process to tribes that were “under federal jurisdiction” in 1934. But a spokesperson said a solution won’t be coming soon. Tribes want Congress to amend the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 so that all tribes can benefit. But opponents could use a fix to try and limit tribal rights.

NATIVE WOMAN UP FOR TOP POST AT INTERIOR President Obama plans to name a Native woman to serve as the top legal official for the Interior Department, says Secretary Ken Salazar. Speaking to tribal leaders in Washington, D.C., Salazar said the expected nominee is a member of the Navajo Nation. He didn’t mention her name but sources identified her as Hilary Tompkins, a prominent attorney from New Mexico. “We are just now in the process of getting her vetted,” Salazar said at a summit held by the Council of Energy Resource Tribes. Salazar described Tompkins, who was adopted at birth, as someone Indian Country “can be very proud of.” If nominated and confirmed as Solicitor General of the Interior, Tompkins would be making history as the first woman and the first Native American to serve in the post. Tompkins currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of New Mexico School of Law, where she is sharing her experience in tribal-state relations. It’s an area she knows well, having served as chief counsel to Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico from 2005 to 2008 and as his deputy counsel from 2003 to 2005.

EPA: TRIBAL GOVERNMENTS WILL HELP SHAPE POLICIES The new EPA head is reassuring tribes that their voices will help shape environmental policies in the Obama Administration as she announced plans for a fall summit that will bring tribal leaders to Washington. Lisa Jackson, new EPA Administrator, has told NCAI that “the EPA is back on the job” and fully aware of the challenges that affect tribal communities. “Right now, hazardous waste sites and open dumps are rampant in tribal lands exposing their residents to dangerous toxins and possible contamination of land and water,” she said. “Many tribal lands, economies and cultures are being threatened by climate change, from the loss of fish habitats in our rivers and streams.” In the face of these needs, less than 5% of tribes actually implement federal environmental programs.” In urging tribal representatives to join federal efforts, Jackson said she is determined to reach out to the Native community as part of an “EPA-Tribal partnership” that will include a Tribal Leaders Summit in the fall to go with additional funding for drinking water and wastewater facilities and more “green jobs” in Indian Country. To start, she may  move the American Indian Environmental Office from the EPA’s Office of Water, where it has historically resided, to a more prominent place in the head office or as an independent program.

THE SUPREMES RULES AGAINST NATIVE HAWAIIANS The U.S. Supreme Court ruled March 31 in State of Hawaii v Office of Hawaiian Affairs that Congress’ apology for overthrowing the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893 bears no moral, political or legal weight in stopping the state from selling 1.2 million acres of land seized during the illegal regime change before resolving land claims by Native Hawaiians. The state petitioned the case last year after the Hawaii Supreme Court issued an injunction prohibiting the state from selling “ceded lands” held in trust until Native Hawaiians’ claims to the land have been resolved. The Hawaiian court based its decision on the Apology Resolution, passed by Congress in 1993 on the 100th anniversary of the destruction of the Hawaiian Nation. The apology acknowledged the illegality of U.S. actions in overthrowing Hawaii’s sovereign government, creating a “provisional government” and 5 years later passing the Newlands Resolution, annexing Hawaii as a territory. The apology recognized that the Hawaiian people never directly relinquished their claims to their inherent sovereignty as a people or over their national lands to the US.

OCEAN ACIDIFICATION-IT’S A HUGE PROBLEM Ask a scientist what Ocean Acidification is and he might tell you it’s the name given to the ongoing decrease in pH of the Earth’s oceans, caused by their uptake of anthropogenic carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Ask a fisherman and he’ll tell you it means dead shellfish and fish. Lots of them, everywhere. It’s a problem that’s been compounding for a long time, and now it’s compounding far more quickly and vastly than anyone ever thought possible-everywhere-from every ocean in the world all the way up to alpine lakes. There are bills in Congress intended to deal with this huge issue (namely HR 14 and S 173-please see the bills list), or at least to form a research and monitoring plan, to develop strategies to deal with it. However, neither of these bills, intended to plan a  plan to deal with a problem already so prevalent, have moved since January.

PRIORITY BILLS

111th CONGRESS, APRIL, 2009

(Bills are “linked”…however, if links fail, you can also find them and related information at http://thomas.loc.gov/.  High priority bills are in red. Bills marked with an * are old or Public Lawand will not be included in future editions of Federal Update unless there is further action. All input on recommended positions, etc. is welcome.  Bills in italics were in transition plan. For more information, contact Steve Robinson at 360 528-4347,  Srobinson@nwifc.org. )

Bill-Lnk/Brief             Sponsor/Status              Description

*H.R.1– Supplemental Appropriations

(FY ending ’09)

Rep Obey, David R.

Public Law

Making supplemental appropriations for job preservation and creation, infrastructure investment, energy efficiency and science, assistance to the unemployed, and State and local fiscal stabilization, for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2009.
H.R.14 : Ocean Acification

( S 173)

Sponsor: Rep Baird, Brian, WA-Cosponsors (5) Committees: House Science and Technology Latest Major Action: 1/6/2009 Referred to Committee on Science & Technology Support IF involve tribes, including funding of research, etc. The Federal Ocean Acidification Research And Monitoring Act of 2009 or FOARAM Act is a bill to establish an interagency committee to develop an ocean acidification research and monitoring plan and to establish an ocean acidification program within NOAA. Defines “ocean acidification,” as the decrease in pH of the Earth’s oceans and changes in ocean chemistry caused by chemical inputs from the atmosphere, including carbon dioxide. It requires that the Joint Subcommittee on Ocean Science and Technology of the National Science and Technology Council coordinate federal activities on ocean acidification and establish an interagency working group, that the subcommittee develop a strategic plan for federal ocean acidification research and monitoring that provides, among other things, for the development of adaptation and mitigation strategies, directs the Secretary of Commerce/NOAA to enter into an agreement with the National Academy of Sciences to review the plan and directs the  Secretary (Locke) to establish and maintain an ocean acidification program in NOAA to conduct research, monitoring, and other activities, including: providing grants for critical research projects exploring the ecosystem and socioeconomic impacts of ocean acidification and incorporating a competitive merit-based process for awarding grants that may be conducted jointly with other participating agencies or under the National Oceanographic Partnership Program. Requires the NSF director to continue to carry out ocean acidification research supporting competitive, merit-based, peer-reviewed proposals for research and monitoring of ocean acidification and its impacts. Also requires NASA to ensure that space-based monitoring assets are used in as productive a manner as possible for the monitoring of ocean acidification and its impacts.
H.J.RES.18

Re: to Interagency Coopration under ESA

Rep Rahall, Nick J., II WV-3, Latest Action: 1/15/09 C on Natural Resources Cosponsors (69, including Reps. Dicks, Inslee & Smith of WA and Wu of OR) Support. Disapproves of the rule submitted by the Department of the Interior and the Department of Commerce under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, relating to interagency cooperation under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Short and sweet, but clearly goes after an ESA implementation effort that was ineffective and incomplete.
H.R.21 : National policy for our oceans Rep Farr, Sam [CA- Latest Major Action: 2/4/2009 Referred to the Subcomm on Insular Affairs, Oc & Wildlife, (Natural Resources) Cosponsors (40) Support. To establish a national policy for our oceans, to strengthen the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to establish a national and regional ocean governance structure, and for other purposes. This is long overdue, known by some as Oceans 21. Caution: Assure that indigenous fisheries are protected.
*S. 22

Omnibus Public Land Mgmnt Act

Sen Bingaman, Jeff [NM] Numerous related bills. FAILED to pass. For further action, see H.R.146, which became Public Law 111-11 on 3/30/2009. (See Below) Support. Designates certain lands as components of the National Wilderness Preservation System, to authorize certain programs and activities in the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture. Bound into HR 146.
H.R.39 Arctic coastal plain

(Updated)

Sponsor: Rep Markey, Edward J., MA, Latest Major Action: 2/7/2009 Referred to House Subcommittee on Nat Prks, Forests, Pub Ld Support. To preserve the Arctic coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska, as wilderness in recognition of its extraordinary natural ecosystems and for the permanent good of present and future generations of Americans.
H.R.41 : Self-powered farms Sponsor: Rep Bartlett, Roscoe G. MD, Cosponsors (None)
Latest Action: 1/6/09 C on Science and Technology + C on Ag
Support. To provide for Federal research, development, demonstration, and commercial application activities to enable the development of farms that are net producers of both food and energy, and for other purposes.
H.R.49 Oil and gas leasing Sponsor: Rep Young, Don, AK, Latest Action: 2/4/09 C on Natural Resources + C on Energy and Min Res. Co sponsors (46-Includes Cathy McMorris from WA) Oppose. Directs Secretary of the Interior to establish and implement a competitive oil and gas leasing program that will result in an environmentally sound program for the exploration, development, and production of the oil and gas resources of the Coastal Plain of Alaska, and for other purposes. Oil drilling in Alaska means more oil in our waters.
H.R.135 The Twenty-First Century Water Commission Sponsor: Rep Linder, John, GA-Cosponsors (8- 0 from WA) Latest Action: 2/4/09 C on Natural Resources+ Transport and Infrastructure. Ref to SC on Water and Power. Support, as long as tribes are engaged and fish and wildlife needs are prioritized. To establish the Twenty-First Century Water Commission to study and develop recommendations for a comprehensive water strategy to address: (1) project future water supply and demand; (2) study current water management programs of federal, interstate, state, and local agencies and private sector entities directed at increasing water supplies and improving the availability, reliability, and quality of freshwater resources; and (3) consult with representatives of such agencies and entities to develop recommendations for a comprehensive water strategy. Requires that such strategy: (1) identify incentives intended to ensure an adequate and dependable water supply to meet U.S. needs for the next 50 years; (2) suggest strategies that avoid increased mandates on state and local governments, considering all available technologies; and (3) suggest financing options.
S.140 minerals on public domain lands Sen Feinstein, Dianne Latest Action: 1/6/09 C on Energy and Natural Resources A bill to modify the requirements applicable to locatable minerals on public domain lands, consistent with the principles of self-initiation of mining claims, and for other purposes
S.171 : Ocean Observations Syst Sponsor: Sen Snowe, Olympia J., ME, Latest Action 1/8/09 C on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.  Cosponsors (9- includes Sen. Cantwell and Inouye) Support, with tribal involvement and support. A bill to develop and maintain an integrated system of coastal and ocean observations for the nation’s coasts and oceans, to improve warnings of tsunami, hurricanes, El Nino events, and other natural hazards, to enhance homeland security, to support maritime operations, to improve management of coastal and marine resources, etc..
S.173 : Ocean Acidification Sponsor: Sen Lautenberg, Frank R., NJ, Cosponsors (7-includes Cantwell and Inouye)
Latest Major Action: 1/8/2009 referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
Support IF involve tribes, including funding of research, etc. The Federal Ocean Acidification Research And Monitoring Act of 2009 or FOARAM Act is a bill to establish an interagency committee to develop an ocean acidification research and monitoring plan and to establish an ocean acidification program within NOAA. Defines “ocean acidification,” as the decrease in pH of the Earth’s oceans and changes in ocean chemistry caused by chemical inputs from the atmosphere, including carbon dioxide. It requires that the Joint Subcommittee on Ocean Science and Technology of the National Science and Technology Council coordinate federal activities on ocean acidification and establish an interagency working group, that the subcommittee develop a strategic plan for federal ocean acidification research and monitoring that provides, among other things, for the development of adaptation and mitigation strategies, directs the Secretary of Commerce/NOAA to enter into an agreement with the National Academy of Sciences to review the plan and directs the  Secretary (Locke) to establish and maintain an ocean acidification program in NOAA to conduct research, monitoring, and other activities, including: providing grants for critical research projects exploring the ecosystem and socioeconomic impacts of ocean acidification and incorporating a competitive merit-based process for awarding grants that may be conducted jointly with other participating agencies or under the National Oceanographic Partnership Program. Requires the NSF director to continue to carry out ocean acidification research supporting competitive, merit-based, peer-reviewed proposals for research and monitoring of ocean acidification and its impacts. Also requires NASA to ensure that space-based monitoring assets are used in as productive a manner as possible for the monitoring of ocean acidification and its impacts.
S.224 Economic recovery through green jobs Sponsor: Sen Stabenow, Debbie Latest Action: 1/13/09 C on Energy and Natural Resources. Co-sponsors (1- Not from WA)

Support. Be sure funding for programs is available to tribes. Promotes economic recovery through green jobs and infrastructure, provides a clean technology incentive program and energy efficient conservation block grants.

S.268 Green Jobs Sponsor: Sen Murray, Patty WA Cosponsors (1) Latest Major Action: 1/15/09 C on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. Support. A bill to provide funding for a Green Job Corps program, Youth Build Green Grants, and Green-Collar Youth Opportunity Grants, and for other purposes.

H.R.300 -NOAA Sponsor: Rep Ehlers, Vernon J., MI/ Latest Action: 2/4/09 SC on Insular Affairs, Oceans & Wildlife. Co-sponsors (0) Support. This bill maintains NOAA’s National Weather Service and other programs to support efforts, on a continuing basis, to collect data and provide information, e.g., satellites, observations, and coastal, ocean, information; and programs to conduct and support research and education and related development of technologies. Also establishes a Science Advisory Board within NOAA.
H.R.365 Federal ocean and coastal mapping plan

(S.174)

Sponsor: Rep Bordallo, Madeleine Z., GU, Cosponsors Latest Major Action: 1/9/09  SC on Insular Affairs, Oceans & Wildlife) Co-sponsors (3-0 from WA) Support, with tribal involvement and support. To direct the President to establish a program to develop a coordinated and comprehensive federal ocean and coastal mapping plan for coastal waters and the continental shelf, etc.
H.R.366 National ocean exploration program (S.172) Sponsor: Rep Farr, Sam, CA/ Cosponsors (5, 0 from WA) Latest Action: 2/4/09 SC on Insular Affrs, Oceans & Wildlife.

(Sen. Olympia Snowe, ME, 1/8/09- Sen Commerce)

Support, with tribal involvement and coordination. The Ocean Research and Exploration Enhancement Act of 2009 – Requires NOAA to establish a coordinated national ocean exploration program that promotes collaboration with other federal ocean and undersea research and exploration programs; convene an ocean exploration and undersea research technology and infrastructure task force; and appoint an Ocean Exploration Advisory Board. This bill requires NOAA to establish an undersea research program to increase scientific knowledge essential for the informed management, use, and preservation of oceanic, marine, and coastal areas through a national headquarters, a network of extramural regional undersea research centers that represent all relevant NOAA regions, and the National Institute for Undersea Science and Technology. Requires that funding for projects conducted through the regional centers be awarded through a competitive, merit-reviewed process.
H.R.367 National integrated system of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes observing systems Rep Capps, Lois CA Cosponsors (11, includes Inslee from WA) Latest Major Action: 2/4/09 SC on Insular Affairs, Oceans & Wildlife, and on Sci and Technology Support, with tribal involvement and coordination. The Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observation System Act of 2009 directs the President to (1) establish a system to promote navigation safety, weather, climate, and marine forecasting, energy siting and production, economic development, ecosystem-based marine, coastal, public safety and public outreach training and education, promote basic and applied scientific research; and improve the ability to measure, track, explain, and predict weather and climate change and natural climate variability. It requires the National Ocean Research Leadership Council to serve as the system’s policy and coordination oversight body, requires the Council to establish or designate an Interagency Ocean Observation Committee to prepare annual and long-term plans, m NOAA the system’s lead federal agency, establishes advisory committees, a regional  certified information coordination entity, etc.
H.R.368 : coastal and estuarine areas

Action Taken

(S.170)

Sponsor: Rep Capps, Lois [CA Cosponsors (3, 0 from WA)
Latest Action: 2/4/09, SC on Insular Affairs Oceans & Wildlife
Concerns: Potential impacts on existing programs? Must have tribal coordination and funding should be available direct to tribes. The Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program Act authorizes the acquisition of land and interests in land from willing sellers to improve the conservation of and to enhance the ecological values and functions of coastal and estuarine areas to benefit both the environment and the economies of coastal communities in cooperation with appropriate State, regional, and other units of government, for the purposes of protecting important coastal and estuarine areas that have significant conservation, recreation, ecological, historical, or aesthetic values, or that are threatened by conversion from their natural, undeveloped, or recreational state to other uses or could be managed or restored to effectively conserve, enhance, or restore ecological function. The program shall be administered by the National Ocean Service of NOAA and manage a Coastal Zone Management Plan or Program, a National Estuarine Research Reserve management plan, a regional or State watershed protection or management plan involving coastal states with approved coastal zone management programs; or a State coastal land acquisition plan that is consistent with an approved coastal zone management program.
H.R.391 Excluding “Greenhouse gases” from Clean Air Act Sponsor: Rep Blackburn, Marsha TN  Cosponsors (43, 0 from WA)
Latest Action: 1/9/09 C on Energy and ommerce.
Oppose. Amends the Clean Air Act to: (1) exclude from the definition of the term “air pollutant” carbon dioxide, water vapor, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, or sulfur hexafluoride; and (2) declare that nothing in the Act shall be treated as authorizing or requiring the regulation of climate change or global warming. While this bill is unlikely to move, it does show that  many members of the House of Representatives still lack the vision to understand the destructive power of greenhouse gases, and the other poisons specified in this legislation, and how many fail to understand the impacts of climate change (43 co-sponsors).
H.R.404 National Landscape Conservation System Sponsor: Rep Grijalva, Raul M. AZ- Cosponsors (23, includes Reichert and Inslee from WA and Blumenauer from OR)
Latest Action: 2/4/09 Referred to the House SC on Nat Prks,Frsts&Pb Ld
Support. The National Landscape Conservation System Act establishes the National Landscape Conservation System in BLM, thus, enacting into law the National Landscape Conservation System, created by BLM in 2000, in order to conserve, protect and restore nationally significant landscapes that have outstanding cultural, ecological, and scientific values for the benefit of current and future generations.
S.439 , Tribal Economic Development Sponsor: Sen Inouye, Daniel HI, Latest Major Action: 2/13/09 C on Indian Affairs. Support. A bill to provide for and promote the economic development of Indian tribes by furnishing the necessary capital, financial services, and technical assistance to Indian-owned business enterprises, to stimulate the development of the private sector of Indian tribal economies, and for other purposes.
S.443 – Hoh Land Bill Sponsor: Sen Murray, Patty WA Cosponsors (1) Latest Major Action: 4/2/09 C on Indian Affairs. Hearings held. Support the Hoh Tribe. A bill to transfer certain land to the United States to be held in trust for the Hoh Indian Tribe.
H.R.493 Surface Mining Control Sponsor: Rep Rahall, Nick J., II [WVLatest Major Action: 2/12/2009 Hearing held by the House Committee on Natural Resources SC on Energy Resources. Co-Spnsr (1,O from WA) Support. Amends the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act, directing DOI to reg storage/disposal of matter referred to as “other wastes” via an inventory of all impoundments of covered wastes, assessment of risks to surface and groundwater posed by each such impoundment + determine risk each such impoundment poses to human and environmental health.
S.503 : Oil, gas Exploration Sponsor: Sen Murkowski, Lisa, AK Cosponsors (5, 0 from WA) Latest Action: 2/27/09 C on Energy and Natural Resources. Oppose. Authorizes exploration, leasing, development, and production of oil and gas in and from the western portion of the Coastal Plain of the State of Alaska without surface occupancy, establish and implement a competitive oil and gas leasing program that will result in an environmentally sound program for the exploration, development, and production of the oil and gas resources of the Western Coastal Plain; and administer lease terms, conditions, restrictions, prohibitions, stipulations, and other provisions that exploration, development, and production activities w/ no significant adverse effect on fish and wildlife, fish and wildlife habitat, subsistence resources, and the environment.
H.R.509 Marine Turtle Conservation Sponsor: Rep Brown, Henry E., Jr. Latest Major Action: 2/4/2009 Referred to the SC on Insular Affairs, Oceans & Wildlife.  Cosponsors (6, 0 from WA) To reauthorize the Marine Turtle Conservation Act of 2004.
H.R.585 – National Academy of Sciences Sponsor: Rep Lee, Barbara, CA-Cosponsors (5, 0 from WA) Latest Action: 1/16/09 SC Water Resources and the Env), Agriculture, and Energy and Commerce Support, if coordinate with tribes. The Environment and Public Health Restoration Act of 2009 directs the President to enter into an arrangement with the National Academy of Sciences to evaluate certain Federal rules and regulations for potentially harmful impacts on public health, air quality, water quality, plant and animal wildlife, global climate, or the environment; and to direct Federal departments and agencies to create plans to reverse those impacts that are determined to be harmful by the National Academy of Sciences. States it is U.S. government policy to work with states, territories, tribal governments, international organizations, and foreign governments to act as a steward of the environment for the benefit of public health, to maintain air quality and water quality, to sustain the diversity of plant and animal species, to combat global climate change, and to protect the environment for future generations. Requires the head of each federal agency that issued or implemented such laws or regulations to submit to Congress a plan describing steps to restore or improve such protections.
H.R.631 : Water Use Planning Sponsor: Rep Matheson, Jim, UT,  Cosponsors (1, 0 from WA)
Latest Action: 2/12/09 C on Env 7 Public Works.
Support. Involve tribes, provide direct funding to tribes—important. To increase research, development, education, and technology transfer activities related to water use efficiency and conservation technologies and practices at the Environmental Protection Agency. Water Use Efficiency and Conservation Research Act – Requires the EPA to establish R/D program to promote water use efficiency and conservation, including: technologies and processes that enable the collection, storage, treatment, and reuse of rainwater, stormwater, and greywater;  water storage and distribution systems; and behavioral, social, and economic barriers to achieving greater water use efficiency; coordinate development of a strategic research plan for the water use efficiency and conservation research and development program established by this Act with all other EPA research and development strategic plans. Directs the EPA Administrator to enter into an arrangement with the National Academy of Sciences for completion of a study of “low impact” (mimicking predevelopment hydrology) and “soft path” (using natural capacities of ecosystems) strategies for management of water supply, wastewater, and stormwater. Authorizes appropriations.
S.684 -Oil Pollution Control Act Sponsor: Sen Cantwell, Maria, WA, Cosponsors (1-Sen Kerry) Latest Action: 3/24/09 C on Comm, Sc & Tr. A bill to provide the Coast Guard and NOAA with additional authorities under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, to strengthen the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, and for other purposes.
S.635 : Skagit- Wild Scenic River Sponsor: Sen Murray, Patty [WA] Cosponsors (1)
Latest Major Action: 3/18/09 C on Energy and Natural Res
Support the Skagit Tribes. A bill to amend the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to designate a segment of Illabot Creek in Skagit County, Washington, as a component of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.
S.668 – NW Straits Commission Sponsor: Sen Murray, Patty WA Cosponsors (1) Latest Major Action: 3/23/09, C on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. A bill to reauthorize the Northwest Straits Marine Conservation Initiative Act to promote the protection of the resources of the Northwest Straits, and for other purposes.
S.684 -Strengthening the Oil Pollution Act Sen Cantwell, Maria WA Cosponsors (1)
Latest Major Action: 3/24/09 Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
Support. A bill to provide the Coast Guard and NOAA with additional authorities under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, to strengthen the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, and for other purposes.

S.721 : Alpine Lakes, Middle Fork Snoqualmie, Pratt Rivers Sponsor: Sen Murray, Patty WA, Cosponsors (1) Latest Major Action: 3/26/09 C on Energy and Natural Resources. Support affected tribes. A bill to expand the Alpine Lakes Wilderness in the State of Washington, to designate the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River and Pratt River as wild and scenic rivers, and for other purposes.
S.817 Salmon Stronghold Bill Sen Cantwell, Maria WA Cosponsors (7, incl Sen. Murray,WA,& Merkley+Wyden from OR)Latest Action: 4/2/09 C Com Sc & Tr Waiting for text of this legislation.  A call to Sen. Cantwell’s office has not been returned, although the text of this new bill will hopefully be online soon. A bill to establish a Salmon Stronghold Partnership program to conserve wild Pacific salmon and for other purposes.
*H.R. 1907 The Coastal and Estuarine Land Protection Act

Jim Saxton, NJ Latest  Action: 10/2/Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders. Calendar No. 1111. Support. Directs the Secretary of Commerce to establish a program to protect the environmental integrity of undeveloped coastal and estuarine areas and make grants to coastal states with approved coastal zone management plans or National Estuarine Research Reserve units to acquire property that will further the goals of an approved Coastal Zone Management Plan or Program, a National Estuarine Research Reserve management plan, or a regional or state watershed protection plan. It would prohibit any more than 75% of the funding for any project under this Act from being derived from federal sources. Reserves 15% of program funds for acquisitions benefiting the National Estuarine Research Reserve and authorize the acquisition of land and interests in land from willing sellers to improve the conservation of, and to enhance the ecological values and functions of, coastal and estuarine areas to benefit both the environment and the economies of coastal communities.
[S.2301.IS ] The Native American Fish and Wildlife Management Act

Sen. Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii

Hrd by SCIA

Support. Improve the management of Indian fish and wildlife and gathering resources, e.g., requires Interior to establish the Tribal Fish and Wildlife Resource Management Program  to conduct specified support of tribal administration of resources; and the development of Fish and Wildlife Resource Management Plans by tribal governments and for plans to cooperatively govern the management of tribal or Indian fish and wildlife resources by the Bureau, etc.
*H.R. 2421 The Clean Water Restoration Rep. James Oberstar, MN, Latest Action: 4/16/2008, House  hearings held. Support. Protects all waters of the United States under the Clean Water Act.

*S.3036 The Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act Sen. Barbara Boxer, CA, 7/8/08 Senate floor actions. Status: Returned to the Calendar. Support Directs EPA establish a program to decrease emissions of greenhouse gases by, among other things, establishing a federal greenhouse gas registry, for which certain facilities must report information regarding fossil fuels and GHGs produced and consumed; and specified quantities of GHG emission allowances, which must decline for each year 2012 to 2050.
*S.3552 The National Fish Habitat Conservation Act.

Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticu,. Latest Major Action: 9/24/08 Referred to Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Support. Treats the causes of fish habitat decline by restoring healthy waterways, leveraging the efforts and funds of Federal Government agencies, state and local governments, conservation groups, ,fishing industry groups, and businesses and building partnerships aimed at addressing the nation’s biggest fisheries problems and  fostering fish habitat conservation efforts , using a bottom-up multi-state approach of habitat improvement. The Act authorizes $75 million annually to be directed toward fish habitat projects supported by regional Fish Habitat Partnerships, based on the North American Wetlands Conservation Act model, and estabs multi-stakeholder National Fish Habitat Advisory Board.
*S.3608, The Salmon Stronghold bill

Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington, Latest Major Action: 9/26/08. Referred to Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. Support. Would establish a volunteer Salmon Stronghold Partnership program intended to complement the PCSR Fund in  protecting wild Pacific salmon by proactively maintaining rivers (or salmon strongholds) by enhancing federal, tribal, state and local governments, public and land managers, fisheries managers, power authorities and NGO organizations.
*H.R. 5263 The Collaborative Restoration of Federal Forests Act Rep. Raul Grijalva,AR,

Latest Action: 7/10/08 House Subcommittee on Operations, Oversight, Nutrition and Forestry Hearings Held.

Support. Would encourage collaborative, science-based ecosystem restoration of priority forest landscapes on federal lands under the jurisdiction of BLM and the Forest Service through a joint Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program.
*H.R.5451 The Reauthorizing Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972

Rep. Madeleine Bordallo of Guam. Latest Action: 6/4/08 House Committee/subcommittee actions. Support. Would amend the CZMA to authorize appropriations for grants under provisions relating to administration of a state’s coastal zone management program, resource management improvement, coastal zone enhancement, and national estuarine reserves. Would authorize the use of amounts in the CZMA Fund for expenses incidental to the administration of the Act and, beginning in FY2009, the portion of amounts appropriated to carry out provisions relating to administration of a state’s coastal zone management program and resource management improvement to be retained for use in implementing coastal zone enhancement grant provisions.
*H.R.5741/(S.3231) , The High Seas Driftnet Fishing Moratorium Protection Act Rep. Madeleine Bordallo of Guam, Latest Action: 7/9/08C on Commerce, Scienc,&Transportation. Support. Would amend the High Seas Driftnet Fishing Moratorium Protection Act and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act to improve the conservation of sharks. House Natural Resources; Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
*[H.R.6186.IH] , The Investing in Climate Action and Protection Act

Rep Edward Markey, MS,

Latest Action: 6/12/08,House SC on Energy and Environment.

Support. Directs EPA to establish a program to decrease emissions of greenhouse gases by amending the Clean Air Act and establishing a federal greenhouse gas registry, for which affected entities must report information regarding fossil fuels and the gases produced, consumed, or sequestered (including specific quantities of emission allowances, which must decline for each year 2012 to 2050 and an emission allowance transfer system for specific covered facilities that emit more than 10,000 carbon dioxide equivalents in a year).
H.R.6537, The Sanctuary Enhancement Act of 2008

by Rep. Madeleine Bordallo of Guam, Latest Action: 7/24/2008 Hearings Held by the Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, and Oceans. Support Tribes. Amends National Marine Sanctuaries Act/requires sanctuary system be authorized by Act of Congress and marine national monuments.Requires prepare, maintain, and update an ecological classification of the nation’s marine environment and an identification of maritime heritage resources as a national inventory of marine eco-regions and maritime heritage resources under U.S. jurisdiction. It also requires the Secretary to strive to include in the system by 2030 sites that will incorporate a full range of the nation’s marine eco-regions and rare and unique marine habitats, and a full range of maritime heritage resource areas. It modifies various requirements regarding the designation and implementation of marine sanctuaries and it expands the list of prohibited activities.