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VOLUME 19 NUMBER 4  --- FEBRUARY 23, 2001 
FEDERAL PARKS & RECREATION is published by Resources Publishing Co., 1010 Vermont Ave., N.W., Suite 708, Washington, D.C. 20005. EIN 52-6172989. Phone (202) 638-7529. FAX (202) 393-2075. E-mail    Website 

In this issue. . .
CARA LEGISLATION BEGINS TO STIR. Bush position closely watched. Young reintroduces HR 701, but Senate may be in 'neutral.'  Opponents say Senate gains have isolated Sen. Murkowski.   Page 1


As he promised, Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) reintroduced his $3 billion per year Conservation and Reinvestment Act (CARA) February 14. But, significantly, he did so with no fanfare, not even a barebones press release.

And in the Senate the development of a companion bill is described as being in "neutral" by an aide to last year's chief sponsor, Sen. Frank Murkowski (R-Alaska).

Thus, the combination of a changed political landscape and the enactment of a truncated version of CARA last year as an amendment to a money bill may have taken the momentum out of the drive to pass CARA.

Private property rights advocates who oppose the legislation are particularly optimistic about their chances of defeating a bill in the Senate Energy Committee Murkowski chairs. A bill (S 25) was passed by the committee last year 13-to-7 with the help of several committee Republicans. Then the bill died before reaching the Senate floor.

But, said Mike Hardiman, Washington representative of the American Land Rights Association, two of those Republicans have left the committee and his side may be able to neutralize a third, Rep. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) "It's likely that Murkowski will have zero other Republicans supporting him in committee this year," said Hardiman. "And with the CARA-lite money now available Gordon Smith has no reason to support it."

Although Murkowski is tied up with energy policy right now, and probably will be for several months, he and some of his cohorts are reportedly working on a letter to President Bush, seeking his support for CARA.

Hardiman is also optimistic about the House although less so than in the Senate, given House passage of the Young bill by a whopping 315-to-103 margin in 2000. The Young bill is numbered HR 701, the same as last year.

For one thing Young is no longer chairman of the House Resources Committee that will draft a bill. He has moved on to become chairman of the House Transportation Committee, although he remains an active member of the resources committee. Rep. Jim Hansen (R-Utah) now has the helm in the resources panel. While Hansen is a cosponsor of HR 701 he represents a conservative western district that Hardiman and company believe they can reach. "We'll be doing a large education campaign with his constituency," said Hardiman. "He'll have some explaining to do."

The Bush administration is an unknown factor. The administration strongly endorses full funding for two key programs that would be financed by HR 701 - the Land and Water Conservation Fund and federal land maintenance. But given the large amounts of money the administration will ask for those two programs and the tight domestic budget the administration will propose, it may not support money for all the programs in CARA.

In addition the Bush administration has its collective eye on another possible source of conservation money - opening the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil and gas leasing and using royalty money to create a "Royalties Conservation Fund." The campaign did not say what conservation programs would be funded, other than federal land maintenance.

In the last Congress Young's and Murkowski's pursuit of CARA was derailed by the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. Those panels persuaded Congress to approve a smaller version of CARA, called the Land Conservation, Preservation and Infrastructure Improvement (LCPII) trust fund, in a fiscal year 2001 appropriations bill (PL 106-291 of Oct. 11, 2000).

LCPII directs appropriators to spend each year for the next six years $1.6 billion per year for a half-dozen conservation programs, increased by $160 million per year. CARA would supply $3 billion per year for 15 years for even more programs.

Here's a comparison of LCPII and CARA that was prepared by the House Resources Committee last month:    

Federal Land Acquisition   $450 million  $450 million
State Recreation  $91 million  $450 million
North American Wetlands Conservation Fund  $40 million $52.6 million
Wildlife $50 million  $350 million
Urban Park and Recreation Fund  $30 million $125 million
Historic Preservation $94 million  $100 million
Farmland and Forestry Programs  $60 million $100 million
Payment In Lieu of Taxes  $150 million $336 million
Coastal Conservation and Impact Assistance $420 million  $1 billion
Wildlife  $50 million $350 million
 *Note: The topics listed above do not necessarily function as those included within H.R. 701. Also, the table does not list all programs within H.R. 701.


Be informed! Don't allow yourself to be snowed by CARA.

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