|Date: ||Mon, 2 Oct 2000 12:29:05 -0500|
|Reply-To: ||Jim Ozier <Jim_Ozier@MAIL.DNR.STATE.GA.US>|
|Sender: ||Georgia Birders Online <GABO-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>|
|From: ||Jim Ozier <Jim_Ozier@MAIL.DNR.STATE.GA.US>|
|Subject: ||latest on CARA|
|Content-Type: ||text/plain; charset=US-ASCII|
This message is forwarded by Jim Ozier, Georgia DNR, Forsyth:
Thanks much to those of you who have actively supported CARA already. Things are coming down to the wire...
CARA UPDATE AND ACTION
ACTION NEEDED TODAY!!!!
- Appropriators Act Against CARA
- URGENT ACTION NEEDED TODAY
There is much going on - both good and bad. BECAUSE WE ARE THE POWERFUL COALITION THAT WE ARE, we have the ability to affect the outcome tremendously. USE YOUR VOICE. Everyone is amazed at this coalition and how active we all are together. This truly is democracy in action - you have worked very long and very hard and made a difference of enormous magnitude. KEEP UP THE PRESSURE. The Hill is reeling from the activity of the CARA coalition. Our Senate and House CARA champions are standing firm for CARA. And they are asking us to keep it up - Your continued calls and faxes are needed.
Your passion, persistence, dedication, and raw determination will drive the outcome. The significance of this bill to America's wildlife, lands and water and the millions of us that enjoy the outdoors is well worth it. That's why you got involved in the first place. The momentum of our coalition will carry us through the rough and fast waters of this next week or two.
There are many, many details. Some of you want them and others just want to know what to do to help. We will continue to provide you with as much information as you want BUT the details will now go after the action alerts.
Here is the status and what you can do to help.
APPROPRIATIONS AGREEMENT IS NOT A CARA SUBSTITUTE--
The Interior Appropriations Committee filed their conference report and it's not even close to CARA (see below for full details and link to conference report). The House CARA champions are fighting back and opposing this report by opposing the rule. Opposition to the rule is critical to enacting CARA this year. A vote against the rule will force House/Senate Leadership, the Administration and Congressional backers of CARA to complete negotiations on a year-end agreement that will uphold the will of the House and Senate and provide dedicated and permanent funding. The rule on the committee report should come up for a vote tonite as early as 6 PM.
ACTION NEEDED: Please CALL or FAX TODAY your House Members of Congress that voted for CARA and ask them to "oppose the rule for the Interior Appropriations Conference Report" (see details below for what opposing the rule actually means). Sample fax is attached and also up on www.teaming.com shortly. This is critical you do TODAY, as in right NOW. Capitol Switchboard is 202/224-3121 to get connected to your House members or look them up on: http://clerkweb.house.gov/106/mbrcmtee/members/teledir/members/mcapdir.htm
The Senate Leadership and CARA champions are still hard at work to find a way to deliver the spirit of the real CARA in the Senate. We do not have details but we might see a strategy unfold later this week. The important thing to understand, despite all the newspaper stories, is that CARA REMAINS ALIVE. With our Senate champions fighting back we can win this (we'll provide your their statements and quotes shortly).
ACTION NEEDED: Continue to CALL/FAX your Senators - you must dispel the myth that Interior Appropriations takes care of CARA. Contact information available at: Capitol Switchboard Tel. No:202-224-3121 or you can get the phone numbers of Senate offices from the following site:
<http://www.senate.gov/contacting/index.cfm>. You can look up your Senators fax number at:
The White House continues to say it supports CARA but in all the news stories they suggest this is the best we'll get this year.
ACTION NEEDED: Call the White House comment line (202) 456-1414 and tell them "STAND FIRM ON CARA - ACCEPT NO SUBSTITUTES "
The details below include information on: the House Rule, the Interior Appropriations Conference Report including report language, and TALKING POINTS.
HOUSE RULE DETAILS - VOTE LIKELY TONITE OR IN NEXT TWO DAYS
The rule is the mechanism that outlines the time and terms under which the Interior Appropriations bill can be debated on the floor. It must be adopted before the conference report can be considered. By opposing the rule, effectively, the bill cannot reach the floor. Since we need to adopt an Interior Appropriations bill, this sends a message that the conference report needs to be fixed before the bill can move forward.
SUMMARY OF INTERIOR APPROPRIATIONS CONFERENCE REPORT
(The full conference report will be available on the web site at www.teaming.com)
The Interior Appropriations Committee filed their report to Congress that include a new "Lands Trust" provision. Although appropriators tout this as a response to conservation funding needs, it is not a substitute for CARA. The deal includes an authorization of 6 years starting at $1.6 billion and increases to $2.4 billion in the 6th year. The primary concern with this alternative is that the funding is not guaranteed. Quoting from the conference report, "The program is not mandatory and does not guarantee annual appropriations. The House and Senate Committees on Appropriations have discretion in the amounts to be appropriated each year, subject to certain maximum amounts..."
An additional concern is that the Lands Trust package places state wildlife grants in a category with six other funding programs and caps the funding at $300 million to be divided between the six programs - in FY 2001, state wildlife programs would be allocated $50 million (far less than the $350 million CARA would provide). In addition, the funds for the wildlife program would be distributed to states using a competitive grant program and not using a formula thus there is NO assurance all states will get funded.
Why the Interior Appropriations Falls FAR short of CARA:
1. Funding for State Fish and Wildlife Agencies in Land Legacy is only a paltry $50 million one year appropriation compared to $350 million for 15 years in the Conservation and Reinvestment Act. This means more and more species will decline and become threatened or endangered with the high economic and social disruption that causes. It abandons the prevention approach of CARA.
2. There is no assurance of even $50 million in future years. In spite of hype that there is some guarantee of funding for 5 additional years the report language says: "The program is not mandatory and does not guarantee annual appropriations." There is discussion of fences and caps but the caps are just that: maximums, and there is no floor or minimum for any program. We were told that wildlife and other programs would be ramped up over 5 years but the final version merely contains $160 million each year in authorizations that the Appropriations Committees can spend or not spend for any program they desire.
3. The mechanism for States to use even the $50 million in 2001 is so complicated that it is doubtful that any state would get funds for anything, except possibly for planning, in the foreseeable future. The states are required to develop wildlife conservation plans to "meet requirements that are established by the Service". The Service "may" use a portion of the $50 million for grants to states to prepare the plans and if the State has developed the required plan or commits to develop the plan by a mutually agreed date certain then the Service can grant money to the States under a cost-shared, competitively-awarded, project-based program. The service's proposal must be presented to the "House and Senate Committees on Appropriations for review and approval prior to the use of any funds for these grants. The funds should not be distributed on a formula basis and every effort should be made to leverage Federal funding to the maximum extent possible."
4. CARA is patterned after the highly successful Wildlife and Fish restoration which provide stable, guaranteed funding. The Appropriations approach is more of the same no assurance of any future level of funding. How can States provide matching funds and sustain a broad based wildlife program so essential to success?
5. With 315 House members voting for CARA and support from at least 63 Senators, plus support from President Clinton and 80% of the public ask Congress do the RIGHT THING and pass CARA this year!
Opposition to the rule is critical to enacting CARA this year. A vote against the rule will force House/Senate Leadership, the Administration and Congressional backers of CARA to complete negotiations on a year-end agreement that will uphold the will of the House and provide dedicated and permanent funding.
Following are bullets as to why this "agreement" is unacceptable:
* CARA will provide more than $3 billion each year for important conservation and recreation projects.
The "Interior agreement" contemplates less than half of CARA's funding and at levels similar to recent years.
* CARA dedicates funds for specific programs each year. The "Interior agreement" provides no guarantees. The Interior Appropriations conference report states, "The program is not mandatory and does not guarantee annual appropriations."
* For more than 30 years, the Appropriations Committee has failed provide funds and live up to the promise of existing conservation and recreation programs. The Interior conference report provides more of the same.
* CARA provides funds for locally selected conservation and recreation projects. The "Interior agreement" provides federal funds with federal strings.