Clean Water Act, LWCF Funding in Lame Duck?


Hopes were that members of congress would first look at things with expiration dates during this lame duck session.  This would include expiring tax provisions and, of course, the estate tax.  However, three days in, it looks like their plan of action may not be that simple.  All signs point towards a food safety bill being up for a vote in the Senate Thursday and, it sounds like another “Omnibus Lands Bill” could be in the works. 

We spoke with Chuck Cushman, Founder and President of the American Land Rights Association yesterday.  He told us that members of the Congress are going to lump together all of the land use bills that they couldn’t pass into an omnibus lands bill.

This, he added, is especially dangerous during a lame duck session.

Chuck says two of the bills that are likely to be lumped into this are funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and the Clean Water Restoration Act. 

First, the LWCF program provides matching grants to states and local governments for the acquisition and development of public outdoor recreation areas and facilities.  With the LWCF, they are trying to pass a bill to create it as a trust fund.   This would guarantee the fund $900 million a year. 

Chuck told us the last thing you want to do is guarantee the government money to buy land.

The Clean and Water Restoration Act, if passed alone or in an omnibus bill would remove the word “navigable” from the clean water act.  This would give the federal government authority over “all waters of the United States.”

It is still uncertain how long Congress will be in session.  They will have a holiday break for Thanksgiving.  Senator-elect and current house member Jerry Moran expected it would be a few weeks when he spoke to us on Friday.  Chuck’s expectation is that it could run through mid-December


.© Northern Ag Network 2010

Haylie Shipp



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