APPROPRIATIONS

As Federal Update reported last month, the FY-2009 just passed Tuesday, but now that the main stimulus has been passed and signed, an outline of the Obama FY ’10 budget has been released with details yet to come.

PRESIDENT OBAMA’S FIRST BUDGET (FY ’10)

A spate of testimony from Administration officials has hit the hill regarding President Obama’s FY 2010 budget, with OMB Director Peter Orszag leading the charge on the House and Senate Budget Committees.  The $410 billion Omnibus consists of 9 bills, and Republicans are predictably grumbling that the spending’s too high, the taxes are too high, etc. Enactment will complete the regular appropriations process. Orszag appeared alone before four panels – including each chamber’s budget committee, House Ways and Means, and Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs, where he revealed how the Administration will monitor the money being dispersed through the economic recovery law. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, meanwhile, testified before House Ways and Means and Senate Finance, as well as House Budget. Sen. John McCain, R-AR, and even Obama himself said there were too many earmarks, but called it this year’s business and pledged to get more control of those in years to come. He will sign the Omnibus, despite the earmarks, calling it “last year’s business.”  He said “We want to make sure that earmarks are reduced and they’re also transparent,” he said. Meanwhile, back home, we appear to be getting a whopping $1.8 million cut in Pacific Salmon Treaty dollars and we find ourselves hustling about trying to make ourselves whole through other avenues.

THE OBAMA BUDGET AND THE TRIBES

President Obama’s first proposed budget promises FY ’10 increases for Indian education, law enforcement and health care. Although it may again seem to fall well short on natural resources and environmental management, with the exception of energy re-development it does propose $12 billion for the Interior Department as well as other agencies supposed to coordinate natural resource programs. Also, as indicated below, the Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee commended its contribution to natural resource management. In Obama’s own words, his budget seeks to reverse what he called the “misplaced priorities” of the prior administration. He cited “loosened oversight and weak enforcement” of the financial markets amid tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.  “This is the legacy we inherit–of mismanagement and misplaced priorities, missed opportunities and deep, structural problems ignored for too long. It’s a legacy of irresponsibility, and it is our duty to change it,” said the new President. Rahall said this budget helps get us there.

BUDGET RENEWS PROMISE FOR NATURAL RESOURCES, SAYS RAHALL

House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick J. Rahall, D-WV, commended President Obama’s FY 2010 budget proposal for natural resources programs, as the White House embarks on a “New Era of Responsibility” for all Americans. The President’s submitted budget for the Interior Department incorporates principles that have long been advocated by Chairman Rahall. Read more…

Following are some select links from the Presidents Budget message:

President’s Message, Inheriting a Legacy of Misplaced Priorities

Jumpstarting the Economy and Investing for the Future, Conclusion

Department of Commerce, Department of the Interior, Environmental Protection Agency

For more information, please see: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/

THAT SINKING FEELING

Still, though, the hits just keep on coming. The Commerce Department reports the economy sank even deeper into recession at the end of 2008 as consumers sharply cut spending. The economy contracted at an annual rate of 6.2%–the biggest drop in a quarter-century. Consumer spending accounts for about two-thirds of the nation’s economic activity, and it nose-dived in the last three months of 2008. Spending was down nearly across the board, with Americans cutting back on buying cars, clothes and appliances. Businesses pulled back, too, especially on construction, equipment and computer software. (There weren’t many fish in the rivers either!)

SENATE INDIAN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE LEADERSHIP

Even as the Dow keeps dropping, the jobless lines get longer and the new President fills the new Administration and Cabinet as it hits the road running, the new Congress is shifting some name plates around, too. The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs elected its leadership for the 111th Congress February 5. Although Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-ND was chosen to return for another term as chairman,  Sen. John Barrasso, R-WY, was chosen to replace Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-AK, as vice chair. Murkowski recently stepped down from her vice chair post, but she remains a member of the committee. New members of the committee include Sens. Tom Udall, D-NM, and Mike Johanns, R-NB, Sen. Mike Crapo, R-ID, returned to the committee after a brief hiatus.

After the election of chair and vice chair, Dorgan outlined the committee’s priorities for this session: Indian health care, law enforcement, tribal recognition reform, housing, education and prevention of Indian youth suicides. “Too often, the First Americans find themselves getting second class health care, housing, education and other services,” Dorgan said in a statement. “We intend to change that.” Following the business meeting, the committee conducted a hearing called “Advancing Indian Health Care.” Testimony was presented from tribal leaders, Indian health experts and advocates who presented ideas on how to develop a plan to improve access to, and the quality of, Indian health care. Many participants called for passage of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, which expired in 2000. Reauthorization cleared the Senate in 2008, but the House failed to take action. The Committee’s calendar, information on members and other information can be found on the committee’s website at www.indian.senate.gov/public . Chief of staff is Allison Binney, 202-224-2251.

BIA ANNOUNCES NEW NATURAL RESOURCES LEADERSHIP TRAINING Apparently not wanting DC, or rather tribes, to be devoid of natural resource/environmental knowledge, the BIA’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Economic Development George T. Skibine has announced a new effort to recruit and train American Indian and Alaska Native post-secondary students to become Indian Country’s next generation of tribal energy and natural resource management professionals. The Energy Resource Development Tribal Internship Program has been developed through a partnership between the Indian Affairs Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development (IEED), the Council of Energy Resource Tribes (CERT) and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) to help increase the number of American Indians and Alaska Natives who can effectively manage a tribe’s energy and natural resources. “This internship program will offer an exciting opportunity for American Indians and Alaska Natives interested in the science and engineering professions, two fields where they are traditionally under-represented,” Skibine said. “It will also help tribes by developing a cadre of professionals who have the training and expertise to aid them in managing the development of their energy and natural resources.”

“Tribes are being severely impacted by the inadequate number of available American Indian and Alaska Native energy resource professionals,” said CERT Executive Director A. David Lester. “We anticipate that the Native youth of today will play a critical role in Indian Country’s, and the nation’s energy future as they inherit the responsibility for prudently managing tribal resources. Unless deliberate measures such as this internship program are undertaken to prepare them for such a role, however, we fear that many will be lost to other fields of work unrelated to their major fields of study.”  The program, which will be held annually, is slated to begin this summer and run for 10 weeks. For more information about the internship program, contact  ANL at  630-252-4114 or visit ANL’s website at http://www.dep.anl.gov and click on “Tribal Internships.” Information also can be found on CERT’s website at http://www.certredearth.com.  Deadline for applications is April 3, 2009.

SUPREME COURT UPENDS TRIBAL UNDERSTANDING OF LAND INTO TRUST The Supreme Court has ruled in Carcieri v. Salazar that tribes not under federal jurisdiction as of 1934 cannot follow a longstanding land into trust process administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior. The ruling, which results from a suit involving the Narragansett Indian Tribe of Rhode Island, is at odds with many tribal, federal and legal understandings of the Indian Reorganization Act. Tribal and federal lawyers said the decision will likely lead to legal questions over the validity of tribal lands taken into trust since the IRA was passed in 1934. Tribes not acknowledged until after 1934 with pending or future fee-to-trust applications will now have to prove they were under federal jurisdiction in 1934. The decision could result in several states filing lawsuits trying to gain lands that have been taken into trust for dozens of tribes recognized after 1934. Attempts would likely prove unsuccessful, as lawyers have noted that the federal Quiet Title Act does not allow challenges to federal land acquisitions after the fact, except in limited circumstances that do not appear applicable in this case.

PROPOSED GATHERING POLICY WOULD REQUIRE PERMITS IN U.S. FORESTS When tribal ancestors signed treaties with the US, gathering rights were clearly protected under the law. A policy that could affect that gathering in federal forests is now under consideration by the U.S. Forest Service-which has received 140 comments on its most recent version of the national policy on Special Forest Products. Comments requiring permits for all but tribal gatherers should be encouraged, even though the deadline for comments has passed. Comments from individuals, as well as tribes and tribal organizations, should remind agency officials of the importance of gathering rights to tribal traditions. The new Chief of the Forest Service will be the ultimate decision maker on whether to change the policy to address tribal members’ concerns. Comments should be sent to: Chief Abigail Kimbell,  USDA Forest Service, 1400 Independence Ave. SW,  Washington, D.C. 20250. Comments can also be submitted by e-mail to akimbell@fs.fed.us.  For more information on the proposed policy, visit www.ciba.org or contact Jennifer Kalt at jkalt@ciba.org.  For tips on writing effective comment letters, visit the National Network of Forest Practitioners website.

OBAMA NAMES LOCKE COMMERCE SECRETARY President Barack Obama has named former Washington Governor Gary Locke as Commerce Secretary, a third try to fill the critical Cabinet position as he battles to put the brakes on one of the country’s worst economic recessions. Obama tapped Locke, praising him as a public servant who shares the president’s economic vision and who had grown to political prominence from humble, immigrant beginnings. “I’m sure it’s not lost on anyone that we’ve tried this a couple of times. But I’m a big believer in keeping at something until you get it right,” Obama said. His two earlier choices for the post dropped out – New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson in the face of questions about a donor and Republican Sen. Judd Gregg after a change of heart about working for a president from the opposition party – well before the Senate had a chance to confirm them. Among other assets named in Locke’s appointment to head the 40,000 employee agency are his great trade familiarity with China as well as other countries of the Pacific Rim, as well as his familiarity with the fishing industry.

HOUSE NATURAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE AND OFFSHORE DRILLING Rep. Nick J. Rahall, Chairman, Committee on Natural Resources, opened a series of oversight hearings on offshore drilling in February by saying, “Two weeks ago, Ted Danson, Philippe Cousteau and others provided testimony to the Committee predominantly in opposition to expanded drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf. Yesterday, representatives of coastal States reminded us that there are more than simply pro and con sides to this issue.  Today, rounding out the debate, we will hear from some of the titans of America’s oil and gas industry. As I have stated repeatedly, I am not opposed to new drilling.  There were no invitations to Northwest tribes to provide testimony to the February hearings. Washington Delegation Member Rep. Jay Inslee is on the committee. For more information, click on:  www.resourcescommittee.house.gov .

CANTWELL CALLS FOR NEAH BAY RESCUE TUG A catastrophic oil spill in Puget Sound would deal a crippling blow to both the environment and the economy of Washington state, according to Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-WA. Joining State Rep. Keven Van De Wege in a recent press conference in Olympia, the senator took the time to participate in a press conference emphasizing the need for a rescue tug at Neah Bay year-round. Van De Wege (D- Sequim) is sponsoring HB 1409, counterpart to Senate Bill 5344 (sponsored by Senator Kevin Ranker, D-San Juan)-both have passed their houses. The bills would require certain vessels, such as oil tankers, cargo vessels, and cruise ships, to fund a rescue tug that would be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to respond to incidents. Senator Cantwell, who is pursuing rescue tug legislation in the U.S. Congress, praised legislators for taking action this session to protect Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Hood Canal and the Coast from a devastating oil spill. Others who attended the press conference agreed that Washington’s maritime economy makes a permanent rescue tug a necessity. Each year, more than 15 billion gallons of oil pass through the Strait of Juan de Fuca- on tankers, barges, freighters, Navy vessels and cruise ships.

BILLY FRANK TESTIFIES ON CLIMATE CHANGE NWIFC Chairman testified to the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, chaired by Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-AR on climate change on March 3 regarding “How Climate Change is Affecting Tribes and What Can Be Done About It.” Frank told members of the committee tribes are hit first and hardest by the impacts of climate change because their cultural resources, foods, water, medicines-“everything that makes us who we are-is hit first and hardest. We live on the oceans and on the rivers. We work hard to protect our people and our resources: But tribes still too often find themselves ignored by their federal trustee, and the states and counties allow people to move in on our lands and overharvest our cultural resources.” Now we fear the impacts of the poisons that fill our  rivers and seas. He said effects of climate change vary from storms to low summer river flows, and called for Congress to uphold the Secretarial Order on the Endangered Species Act, implement salmon recovery plans and support treaty-protected rights, work with tribes on a national energy policy to address climate change, involve tribes in climate change solutions such as carbon offsets and habitat protection and reach out to tribes as governmental partners in addressing the climate change challenge.

PRIORITY BILLS

111th CONGRESS, MARCH, 2009

(Bills are “linked”…however, you can also find them and related information at http://thomas.loc.gov/. Old bills in 8 pt Italics were identified in transition plan. High priority bills are in red.)

Bill-Lnk/Brief             Sponsor/Status              Description

H.R.1– Supplemental Appropriations

(FY ending ’09)

Rep Obey, David R. [WI-7

Latest Major Action: 2/9/09, Referred to Subcommittee on Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (Nat Res Comm)

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.CON.RES.2

ESA-Congressional Disapproval of DOI Rule

Sponsor: Rep Rahall, Nick J., II [WV-3] (introduced 1/15/2009) Cosponsors (41)
Latest Major Action: 2/9/2009 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources, ref to subcomm on Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.
Providing for congressional disapproval 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.
H.R.14 : Ocean Acification

(Also see 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

Oceans Policy + Strengthen NOAA

Rep Rahall, Nick J., II [WV-3

Latest Major Action: 1/15/2009 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources

Cosponsors (12)

Providing for congressional disapproval 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.
H.R.21 : National policy for our oceans Rep Farr, Sam [CA- Latest Major Action: 1/6/2009 Referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, the Committee on Science and Technology Cosponsors (26) 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.
S. 22

Omnibus Public Land Mgmnt Act

Sen Bingaman, Jeff [NM]

Latest Major Action: 1/16/2009 Passed/agreed to in Senate. Held at desk.

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.
H.R. 1907 The Coastal and Estuarine Land Protection Act Jim Saxton of New Jersey

Latest Major Action: 10/2/Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders. Calendar No. 1111.

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.
H.R. 2421 The Clean Water Restoration Act, Rep. James Oberstar of Minn.

Latest Major Action: 4/16/2008, House committee/subcommittee actions. Hearings Held.

Protects all waters of the United States under the Clean Water Act.

S.3036 The Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act Sen. Barbara Boxer of California

7/8/2008 Senate floor actions. Status: Returned to the Calendar.

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 Connecticut, . Latest Major Action: 9/24/2008 Referred to Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. 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 establishing a multi-stakeholder National Fish Habitat Advisory Board.
S.3608, The Salmon Stronghold bill Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington, Latest Major Action: 9/26/2008. Referred to Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. 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 of Arizona

Latest Major Action: 7/10/2008 House Subcommittee on Operations, Oversight, Nutrition and Forestry Hearings Held.

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 Major Action: 6/4/2008 House committee/subcommittee actions. Status: Forwarded by Subcommittee to Full Committee (Amended) by Voice Vote. 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 Major Action: 7/9/2008  (7/8/08) Received in the Senate and Read twice and referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. 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 of Mass.,

Latest Major Action: 6/12/2008 Referred to House subcommittee on Energy and Environment.

would among other things direct 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. Would amend the National Marine Sanctuaries Act to require that the sanctuary system consist of national marine sanctuaries authorized or established by an Act of Congress (in addition to sanctuaries currently designated by the Secretary of Commerce) and marine national monuments. It sets forth the system’s mission and requires the Secretary to 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.
H.R.6689, The Chinook Nation Restoration Act Rep. Brian Baird of Washington/

Latest Major Action: 7/31/2008 Referred to House Committee on Natural Resources.

Would restore Federal recognition to the Chinook Nation and makes the Chinook Tribe
[S.2301.IS ] The Native American Fish and Wildlife Management Act Sen. Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii

Hrd by SCIA

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 and the Alaska Native Fish and Wildlife Resource Management Program to conduct specified support of tribal administration of resources; conduct survey of the reservation or traditional use area to assess actual needs regarding management of fish and wildlife 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.
S.32 : Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Sen Specter, Arlen, PA, Latest Major Action: 1/6/2009 Referred to Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources A bill to require the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to hold at least 1 public hearing before issuance of a permit affecting public or private land use in a locality.
H.R.39 Arctic coastal plain Sponsor: Rep Markey, Edward J., MA, Latest Major Action: 1/6/2009 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources. 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-6] (introduced 1/6/2009)      Cosponsors (None)
Committees: House Science and Technology; House Agriculture
Latest Major Action: 1/6/2009 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the Committee on Science and Technology, and in addition to the Committee on Agriculture, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned.
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 Major Action: 3/5/2009 Referred to House Committee on Judiciary, considerated action. Had been referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, and to the Committees on Energy and Commerce, Science and Technology To direct the 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.
H.R.135 : To establish the Twenty-First Century Water Commission Sponsor: Rep Linder, John, GA-Cosponsors (7) Latest Major Action: 2/4/2009 Referred to the Committee 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 [CA Latest Major Action: 1/6/2009 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee 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 Major Action: 1/8/2009 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. 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)
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 Major Action: 1/13/2009 Referred to Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

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.

H.R.300 -NOAA Sponsor: Rep Ehlers, Vernon J., MI/ Latest Major Action: 2/4/2009 Referred to the Committee on Science and Technology, and in addition to the Committee on Natural Resources, SC on Insular Affairs, Oceans & Wildlife 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 Sponsor: Rep Bordallo, Madeleine Z., GU, Cosponsors Latest Major Action: 1/9/2009 Referred to House committees on Natural Resources, and  Science and Technology (2/4/09 Hs Nat Res ref to SC on Insular Affairs, Oceans & Wildlife) 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) Latest Major Action: 2/4/2009 Referred to the Committees on Science and Technology and Natural Resources, 2/4/09 Hs Nat Res ref to 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) Latest Major Action: 2/4/2009 Referred to the Committees on Natural Resources, SC on Insular Affairs, Oceans & Wildlife, and on Science 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 Sponsor: Rep Capps, Lois [CA Cosponsors (2)
Latest Major Action: 1/9/2009 Referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources.
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 Greenhouse gases Sponsor: Rep Blackburn, Marsha [TN  Cosponsors (9)
Latest Major Action: 1/9/2009 Referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
Concerns. 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.
H.R.404 National Landscape Conservation System Sponsor: Rep Grijalva, Raul M. [AZ- Cosponsors (23)
Latest Major Action: 2/4/2009 Referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources SC on National Parks, Forests & Public Lands
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.
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. 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] (introduced 2/27/2009)      Cosponsors (1)
Committees: Senate Energy and Natural Resources
Latest Major Action: 2/27/2009 Referred to Senate committee. Referred to the Committee 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. (BS)
H.R.509 Marine Turtle Conservation Sponsor: Rep Brown, Henry E., Jr. Latest Major Action: 2/4/2009 Referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources, SC on Insular Affairs, Oceans & Wildlife. To reauthorize the Marine Turtle Conservation Act of 2004.
H.R.585 – National Academy of Sciences Sponsor: Rep Lee, Barbara [CA-Cosponsors (5) Latest Major Action: 1/16/2009 Referred to the Committees on Science and Technology, Transportation and Infrastructure, Natural Resources (SC Water Resources and the Env), Agriculture, and Energy and Commerce Support, if work w/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)
Latest Major Action: 2/12/2009 Referred to the Committee on Environ and 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.