|CONGRESSIONAL ISSUE DESCRIPTIONS
Used to Rate the 106th Congress - 1999 and 2000
as "Friends" or as "Enemies" of Fish
|Improve the Magnuson Act.The Fisheries Recovery Act of 2000 (H.R. 4046), authored by Rep. Wayne Gilchrest, R-MD, re-authorizes the nation's basic legislation controlling fishing activity - the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act - with pro-fish and pro-fishing communities improvements. It would speed up rebuilding plans, hold fisheries managers accountable for reducing bycatch, and begin moving fisheries management toward a more ecosystem-based approach.
Gut the Magnuson Act. The Magnuson-Stevens Reauthorization Act of 2000 (S. 2832), on the other hand, would gut some of the most critical conservation provisions of the SFA. In July, Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-ME, the bill's author (it has no co-sponsors), attempted to fast track the bill through her fisheries subcommittee with little debate. But a public outcry against overturning in a matter of weeks the bipartisan legislation that took four years persuaded Snowe to slow its pace.
Industry's Longline Area Closure/Buyout Proposal.The Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Conservation Act of 1999 was introduced last November by Sen.John Breaux, D-LA, in the Senate (S. 1911) and by Reps. Porter Goss, R-FL, and Billy Tauzin, R-LA, in the House (H.R. 3390). The bills would close waters off the southeastern U.S. and in the Gulf of Mexico to longlining for tuna and swordfish, offer a buyout to about 70 vessels and call a four-year time-out on additional regulations. It's backed by the longline industry and three national sportfishing groups.
Alternative Approach. A similarly titled but much stronger bill, the Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Conservation Act of 2000 (H.R. 4773), was introduced in July by Rep. Jim Saxton, R-NJ. His bill adds a large longline closure in the Mid-Atlantic (off New York, New Jersey and Virginia), extends the buyout offer to all 451 vessels in the fleet and transfers swordfish quota shares from bought-out boats to more sustainable harpoon and rod-and-reel fisheries. Under Saxton's bill, NMFS maintains authority to take further action if and when it's needed.
Eliminate Longlining in US Waters. Rep. Mark Sanford, R-SC, introduced the only bill that would outlaw all pelagic or drift longlining in U.S. waters. H.R. 3516 would have become the rallying point for all billfish and swordfish conservationists; however, it became pre-empted by other bills (above) dividing the loyalties of recreational fishermen and the unexpectedly strong NMFS-proposed regulation.
Shark Finning. U.S law already prohibits shark finning in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. The Shark Finning Prohibition Act (H.R. 3535), co-authored by Reps Randy Cunningham, R-CA, and Jim Saxton R-NJ, would outlaw the wasteful practice of slicing off sharks' fins and throwing the rest of the fish (often still alive) overboard in all U.S. waters - including the Pacific. In the 1990s, shark deaths in the Hawaii longline fishery rose rom 2,000 a year to nearly 60,000; virtually all were killed for their fins alone. Sens.John Kerry, D-MA and Ernest Hollings, D-SC co-authored the Senate version, the Shark Protection Act of 2000 (S. 2831).
Trawling in Critical Areas. The Seabed Protection Act (H.R. 3059), introduced by Rep.Joel Hefley, R-CO, takes on a habitat-destroying fishing method which fishery management councils have failed to tackle. It declares a moratorium on the use of bottom trawls (large weighted nets towed by ships) or other mobile fishing gear (e.g., bottom dredges) on the seabed of 16 prescribed marine areas off the West Coast, Gulf of Mexico and New England until the government studies the impact on fish habitat and fish productivity and determines it to be negligible.
Fishable Waters.The Fishable Waters Act, sponsored in the Senate (S. 2441) by Sen. Christopher Bond, R-MO, and inthe House (H.R. 4278) by Rep. John Tanner, D-TN, is a laudable and innovative program to achieve the "fishable waters" goal of the Clean Water Act. It uses grants to states to protect fish habitat through watershed plans. Its only shortcoming: efforts to put more emphasis on coastal waters, along with funding for these programs, have so far been unsuccessful.
Oil Drilling Royalties for Fish and Wildlife. The Conservation and Reinvestment Act (CARA), passed by the House on May 11 with two bills pending in the Senates (S. 2123 and 2181), allots up to $3 billion of monies collected from offshore oil drilling leases to federal and state conservation programs. About a third of the monies will be permanently dedicated to ocean fish and wildlife protection. Reps. George Miller, D-CA, and Don Young, R-AK, helped get the House bill through, while Sens. Mary Landrieu, D-LA, Frank Murkowski, R-AK, and Jeff Bingaman, D-NM are primary movers in theft upper chamber.
Everglades. On June 26, Sen. Bob Smith, R-NH, introduced a bill to establish a Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (S. 3797). According to the National Wildlife Federation, it's "a bipartisan starting point from which the Congress and the Administration can work to conserve a critical natural system on which both people and wildlife depend."
Coral Reefs. The Coral Reef Resource Conservation and Management Act of 1999 (S. 1888) is a bipartisan initiative to protect "the rainforests of the ocean," sensitive reef areas that support some of the ocean's most varied fish life.
Non-Point Source Pollution. The Coastal Community Conservation Act (H.R. 2669), introduced by Rep. Saxton, renews the Coastal Zone Management Act, with emphasis on controlling non-point pollution and providing funding to do the job.
Oceans Commission. Tired of waiting for Congress to act, this year the Pew Foundations set up an independent commission to re-examine and recommend improvements to U.S. ocean and coastal policy as had the Stratton Commission in the mid 1970s. Hurrying to catch up, the Senate passed the Oceans Act of 2000, but the House (H.R. 4410) has yet to followed suit. It would set up a second commission with the same charge: to establish a nationally coordinated policy for integrating the many competing uses of the ocean.
Wetlands - Vote on amendment to strip a rider that established an appeals process for developers whose wetlands destruction permit applications were denied. The appeals process is unfair to the public, and would have allowed more wetlands to be destroyed.
Anti-Environmental Riders - Vote on the Interior Department 2000 budget bill. The bill contained more than two dozen anti-environmental riders, including provisions on mining waste and wildlife protection.
Defense of the Environment - The Defense of the Environment Act would have guaranteed a debate and vote on anti-environmental riders that are included in large, often unrelated bills.
Pro-Environment Amendments - Vote on amendment that would strike a point of order in the Mandates Information Act (H.R. 350). The effect of this point of order would be to allow any member of Congress to bog down any environmental legislation.
Clear-Cuts vs. Schools - Vote on a bill that would continue linking rural school funding to timber sales. There shouldn't be a choice between our children's education and the health of our National Forests.
Takings - Vote on a "takings" bill that would create special rights for special interests, and lead to proliferating red tape and endless bureaucracy. H.R. 2372, The Private Property Rights Implementation Act, would preempt local land-use decision-making, multiply litigation costs, and strap local officials with new red tape.
Cuts in Environmental Programs - Vote on an amendment to the FY 2000 Budget Resolution to restore cuts toenvironmental programs, and fund the Lands Legacy and Livable Communities Initiatives.
Regulatory Red Tape - Vote on a bill that would have required the federal government to conduct lengthy, expensive "cost-benefit" studies of each of itsprograms, regulations and rules. These studies would slow important environmental regulations from being enacted, and typically provide an incomplete picture of the regulatory impacts.
Logging Subsidies - Vote on an amendment to shift $23 million that would otherwise be spent to subsidize logging and instead dedicate the money to improving watersheds and protecting fish and wildlife habitat.
Land and Water Conservation Fund - Vote on an amendment to the Interior Department spending bill. The amendment secured $30 million for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
Toxic Mine Waste - Vote on an amendment to block an anti-environmental rider included in the Senate version of the Interior Department spending bill. This rider would allow mining companies to dump their toxic tailings and other waste across much wider areas of public lands.
Funding for Environmental Programs - Vote on an amendment to the fiscal year 2001 budget bill that would have increased funding for important environmental protection efforts. The substitute budget resolution offered by Rep. John Spratt (D-SC) would have eliminated the cuts and funded programs to protect wildlands and give local communities tools to fight sprawl.
Fish and Wildlife - Vote on amendment that would remove a rider in the Department of Interior spending bill for 2000. The rider would allow the Departments of Interior and Agriculture to not collect or even ignore data about wildlife living in a National Forest when creating a forest management plan, which would obviously devastate fish and wildlife living in sensitive areas of the forest.
Clean Car Resolution - A "sense of the Senate" resolution urging the Senate to reject an anti-environmental rider that would freeze fuel economy standards for cars and trucks. Higher fuel economy standards are the single biggest step that can be taken to curb global warming and reduce non-point source pollution.
Protecting the Arctic Coast - Vote to remove a provision in the Senate FY 2001 budget resolution that assumed $1.2 billion in anticipated revenue from oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. This provision is a backdoor attempt at opening the Coastal Plain of the Arctic Refuge by Big Oil's Senate allies.
Corporate Subsidies - Vote on amendment to bring more fairness to cost-benefit analysis, which typically understate the benefits of environmental programs. The amendment would have required the disclosure of benefits industry receives from government subsidies.
Campaign Finance Reform - Vote on a bill that would ban soft money contributions to political parties. This loophole allows large companies and unions to gain influence by donating huge unregulated sums of money to political parties. Many soft money donors include mining, timber and other interests responsible for anti-environmental riders.
Rating Congress as Friends or Enemies of Fish - Introduction
Ratings of All 535 Members of Congress
Page 1 - AL thru KY
Page 2 - LA thru OR
Page 3 - PA thru WY
Issues used to Rate Congress - 2001-2002
"Best" and "Worst" - Senate
"Best" and "Worst" - House
List of All Pages on this Website
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