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The Weekly Preview: House Committee on Natural Resources (June 23 – 27, 2008)

The Weekly Preview: House Committee on Natural Resources (June 23 – 27, 2008)

Highlights:

-- Video and audio from Committee hearings dated June 1 and onward are being archived on the Committee’s Web site.  Visit the “Hearing and Markups” section of the Committee’s Web site to watch archived video and listen to archived audio.

On the House Floor:

This week, the House of Representatives is expected to consider under a rule the following 2 bills under the jurisdiction of the House Natural Resources Committee:

-- H.R. 4115 (Dingell): To provide for and approve the settlement of certain land claims of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians.
-- H.R. 2176 (Stupak): To provide for and approve the settlement of certain land claims of the Bay Mills Indian Community.

This Week’s Hearings:

Can’t make it to our hearings or markups in person? Stay connected with our live and archived video and audio webcasts, available at http://resourcescommittee.house.gov.

On Tuesday, the Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife and Oceans will hold an oversight and legislative hearing on the following:
“Planning for a Changing Climate and its Impacts on Wildlife and Oceans: State and Federal Efforts and Needs.”  Last year, the Subcommittee heard from a variety of experts regarding the known and predicted impacts that climate change is having on oceans, coasts, and wildlife from ocean acidification and sea level rise to habitat loss and changes in the life history, behavior, and population dynamics of many wildlife species.  Tuesday’s hearing will explore actions that State and Federal agencies have taken, and will take, to implement adaptive management strategies to mitigate these impacts and what additional resources are needed to further those efforts.

-- H.R. 4455 (Don Young): To authorize the Secretary of the Interior to provide international wildlife management and conservation programs through the Wildlife Without Borders Program in the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and for other purposes. Wildlife Without Borders Authorization Act

The following witnesses are expected to testify: Margaret Davidson, Director, Coastal Services Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, United States Department of Commerce; Tony Brunello, Deputy Secretary, Climate Change and Energy, California Resources Agency; Sarah Chasis, Director, Oceans Initiative, National Resources Defense Council; Dan Ashe, Science Advisor to the Director, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, United States Department of the Interior; David K. Whitehurst, Director, Wildlife Diversity Division, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries; Jamie Rappaport Clark, Executive Vice President, Defenders of Wildlife; William Moritz, Ph.D., Director of Conservation, Safari Club International Foundation, Acting Director of Governmental Affairs, Safari Club International; Kaush Arha, Ph.D., Deputy Assistant Secretary, Fish and Wildlife and Parks, U.S. Department of the Interior; John Robinson, Ph.D., Executive Vice President, Global Conservation Programs, Wildlife Conservation Society; Tom Dillon, Senior Vice President, Field Programs, World Wildlife Fund; Patrick M. Burchfield, Ed.D, MSc, Director, Gladys Porter Zoo; and Juan Pablo Arce, Director, Latin America and the Caribbean, NatureServe.
Visit the Committee’s Web site to access witness testimony following the conclusion of the hearing.  (June 24, 2008, at 10:00 a.m., Room 1324 Longworth House Office Building)

Also on Tuesday, the Subcommittee on Water and Power will hold an oversight hearing on “The Silent Invasion: Finding Solutions to Minimize the Impacts of Invasive Quagga Mussels on Water Rates, Water Infrastructure, and the Environment.”  Quagga mussels pose a great threat to the environment, water infrastructure, and water quality.  The hearing will focus on the Federal, State, and local role in the eradication or control of the species on Bureau of Reclamation infrastructure and how the mussels affect the environment and power rates.

The following witnesses are expected to testify: Karl Wirkus, Deputy Commissioner for Operations, Bureau of Reclamation, Washington, DC; Dr. Charles R. O’Neill, Jr., Senior Extension Specialist, Director, National Aquatic Nuisance Species Clearinghouse, Cornell University/NY Sea Grant, Brockport, NY; Ric De Leon, Ph.D, Water System Operations Manager, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA; Ronald E. Zegers, Director, Southern Nevada Water Authority, Boulder City, NV; Jim Klark, Southern California Marine Association, Orange, CA; and Denise Mayer, Research Scientist, New York State Museum, Cambridge, NY.

Visit the Committee’s Web site to access witness testimony following the conclusion of the hearing.  (June 24, 2008, at 10:00 a.m., Room 1334 Longworth House Office Building)

On Wednesday, the Committee on Natural Resources will meet in open mark up session to consider the following Committee Resolution and 6 bills:
Committee Resolution dealing with an emergency withdrawal of certain federal lands near Grand Canyon National Park.
-- H.R. 415 (Frank): To amend the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to designate segments of the Taunton River in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as a component of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.
-- H.R. 1286 (Hinchey): To amend the National Trails System Act to designate the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail. "Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail Designation Act
-- H.R. 1210 (Matheson): To authorize the exchange of certain land in Grand, San Juan, and Uintah Counties, Utah, and for other purposes. "Utah Recreational Land Exchange Act of 2007"
-- H.R. 6041 (Reyes): To redesignate the Rio Grande American Canal in El Paso, Texas, as the “Travis C. Johnson Canal.”
-- H.R. 1907 (Saxton): To 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, and for other purposes. "Coastal and Estuarine Land Protection Act"
-- H.R. 3227 (Doc Hastings): To direct the Secretary of the Interior to continue stocking fish in certain lakes in the North Cascades National Park, Ross Lake National Recreation Area, and Lake Chelan National Recreation Area.

Visit the Committee’s Web site to view the markup report following the markup.  (June 25, 2008, at 11:00 a.m., Room 1324 Longworth House Office Building)

On Thursday, the Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife and Oceans will hold a legislative hearing on the following bill:
-- H.R. 6311 (Bordallo): To prevent the introduction and establishment of nonnative wildlife species that negatively impact the economy, environment, or human or animal species' health, and for other purposes. The Non-Native Wildlife Invasion Prevention Act

This bill establishes a risk assessment process for screening intentionally introduced, nonnative wildlife species that may negatively affect the economy, the environment, human health, or other animal species’ health.  The Subcommittee will hear from Federal, State, and stakeholder witnesses on the impacts of invasive species and the need for a proactive approach to invasive species control.

Visit the Committee’s Web site to access witness testimony following the conclusion of the hearing.  (June 26, 2008, at 10:00 a.m., Room 1334 Longworth House Office Building)

In Case You Missed It:

Last week, the House of Representatives approved the following bills under the jurisdiction of the House Natural Resources Committee:
-- H.R. 2964 (E.B. Johnson): To amend the Lacey Act Amendments of 1981 to treat nonhuman primates as prohibited wildlife species under that Act, to make corrections in the provisions relating to captive wildlife offenses under that Act, and for other purposes.  “Captive Primate Safety Act”

-- H.R. 3702 (Rehberg): To direct the Secretary of Agriculture to convey certain land in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, Montana, to Jefferson County, Montana, for use as a cemetery.  “Montana Cemetery Act of 2007”

-- H.Res. 1247 (David Davis): Supporting the goals and ideals of "American Eagle Day" and celebrating the recovery and restoration of the American bald eagle, the national symbol of the United States.

-- H.Res. 1199 (Loretta Sanchez): Commending the Orange County Water District and its employees for their sound financial management and innovative groundwater management, water quality, water efficiency, and environmental programs on its 75th anniversary.

-- H.R. 5710 (T. Udall): To authorize the Secretary of the Interior to provide financial assistance to the Eastern New Mexico Rural Water Authority for the planning, design, and construction of the Eastern New Mexico Rural Water System, and for other purposes.  “Eastern New Mexico Rural Water System Authorization Act”

-- H.R. 5511 (Lamborn): To direct the Secretary of the Interior, acting through the Bureau of Reclamation, to remedy problems caused by a collapsed drainage tunnel in Leadville, Colorado, and for other purposes.  “Leadville Mine Drainage Tunnel Remediation Act of 2008”

Chairman Rahall, in his continued push to compel oil and gas companies to produce on the 68 million acres of Federal land, both onshore and offshore, that are leased but are sitting idle, slammed President Bush’s June 18 announcement that additional offshore areas must be opened to oil and gas drilling.  Visit the Committee’s Web site to view the press release with the Chairman’s statement.  Rahall has introduced the Responsible Federal Oil and Gas Lease Act of 2008 (H.R. 6251), legislation that gives Big Oil one option – either “use it or lose it.”  The bill is a direct response to the facts outlined in the recent House Natural Resources Committee Majority Staff report, "The Truth About America's Energy: Big Oil Stockpiles Supplies and Pockets Profits", and the follow-up report, "Drilling Facts", that illustrate how energy companies are not utilizing the federal lands and waters that are already open to drilling.

On June 19, Chairman Rahall and Ranking Member Don Young (R-AK) applauded an agreement reached between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) of Montana on future operations of the National Bison Range.  Visit the Committee’s Web site to view the press release with additional information.

On June 21, Chairman Rahall delivered the Democratic Radio Address.  In his address, Rahall discussed the Republicans' outdated energy policies that coddle Big Oil and Democratic proposals to reduce the cost of energy for American consumers and businesses.  Visit the Committee’s Web site to listen to the radio address.

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