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Urgent Omnibus Bill Update

Representatives Obey and Dicks will be offering an amendment in the
Appropriation Conference Committee to strike all environmental riders that
were not in the House Appropriations bill as well as increase critical
conservation funding. Members of the House and Senate Appropriations
Conference Committee are meeting tonight to finalize the Omnibus spending
bill for all federal agencies for the 2003 fiscal year. Please call your representatives and Senators ASAP
To: All Activists
From: Randi Spivak, American Lands Alliance
Date: February 10, 2003

URGENT UPDATE ON FY 2003 OMNIBUS BILL - CALLS NEEDED

Representatives Obey and Dicks will be offering an amendment in the
Appropriation Conference Committee to strike all environmental riders that
were not in the House Appropriations bill as well as increase critical
conservation funding. Members of the House and Senate Appropriations
Conference Committee are meeting tonight to finalize the Omnibus spending
bill for all federal agencies for the 2003 fiscal year. The full
Congress is expected to vote on the bill on Wednesday.

Please call your Senators and Representative at 202-224-3121 and urge
them to call Members of the Appropriations Conference Committee to ask
that the stewardship contracting, Tongass and other anti-environmental
riders be struck from the bill. When speaking to your House
Representative, please them to ask House Conference Committee Members to support
the Obey/Dicks Amendment.

If passed, the Omnibus bill would:

1) Permanently authorize stewardship contracting and goods for services
authorities. This rider would authorize an unlimited amount of
stewardship contracts over the next ten years and be expanded to include all
BLM lands.

Goods for services authority allows the agencies to trade an unlimited
amount of commercially valuable trees to pay for contracted restoration
activities  including "thinning" for hazardous fuels. This authority
lets commodity extraction drive restoration activities and focuses on
logging the larger, fire resistant trees which tend to be miles away from
communities.

Stewardship contracting is an extremely controversial program that is
being tested in pilots and should not be permanently authorized until
these projects are completed and the effects have been analyzed.

If made permanent, not only would this be a complete give away to the
timber industry, these authorities would let the Forest Service and BLM
treat public lands as their own private piggy bank and encourage more
logging to feed agency coffers. Forest activists successfully blocked
permanent authorization in last years Farm Bill. We need your help to
do it again.

2) Exempt all forests in Alaska from the landmark "roadless rule"
intended to preserve millions of acres of unspoiled wildlands in America's
national forests. Attempts to reverse it, yet the Bush Administration
is planning more than 40 large industrial timber sales for Tongass
National Forest roadless areas. If this rider passes, the sales will go
through and timber companies will begin to log through pristine Tongass
rainforest almost immediately, leaving the fate of the Tongass of the
timber up to the industry.

3) Allow the timber industry to log more trees in the Tongass National
Forest, including the largest and most ancient trees and in critical
wildlife habitat areas. Not only would this devastate the Tongass
ecosystem, it would greatly increase taxpayer subsidies to timber companies.

3) Prevent environmentalists from challenging in court Forest Service
decisions limiting wilderness protection status for parts of the Tongass
National Forest.

Here are the Conferees on the Omnibus Appropriations Committee:

HOUSE (22)

GOP
Bill Young (R-10-FL) Chairman of Appropriations Committee
Ralph Regula (R-16-OH) Chair, Labor, HHS Subcommittee
Harold Rogers (R-5-KY) Chair, Homeland Security Subcommittee
Frank Wolf (R-10-VA) Chair, Commerce, Justice State Subcommittee
Jim Kolbe (R-8-AZ) Chair, Foreign Operations Subcommittee
James Walsh (R-25-NY) Chair, VA, HUD Subcommittee
Charles Taylor (R-11-NC) Chair, Interior Subcommittee
David Hobson (R-7-OH) Chair, Energy and Water Subcommittee
Ernest Istook (R-5-OK) Chair, Treasury Postal Subcommittee
Henry Bonilla (R-23-TX) Chair, Agriculture Subcommittee
Joe Knollenberg (R-9-MI) Chair, Military Construction Subcommittee
Jack Kingston (R-1-GA) Chair, Legislative Branch Subcommittee

DEM
David Obey (D-7-WI) Ranking Member Appropriations Committee
John Murtha (D-12-PA) Ranking Member, Defense Subcommittee
Norm Dicks (D-6-WA) Ranking Member, Interior Subcommittee
Martin Sabo (D-5-MN) Ranking Member, Transportation Subcommittee
Alan Mollohan (D-1-WV) Ranking Member, VA HUD Subcommittee
Marcy Kaptur (D-9-OH) Ranking Member, Agriculture Subcommittee
Peter Visclosky (D-1-IN) Ranking Member, Energy and Water
Nita Lowey (D-18-NY) (Ranking Member, Foreign Operations Subcommittee
Jose Serrano (D-16-NY) Ranking Member, Commerce, Justice, State
Jim Moran (D-8-VA) Ranking Member, Legislative Branch Subcommittee.

SENATE (28)

GOP
Ted Stevens (R-AK) Chairman of Appropriations Committee
Thad Cochran (R-MS) Chair, Agriculture Subcommittee
Arlen Specter (R-PA) Chair, Labor, HHS Subcommittee
Pete Domenici (R-NM) Energy Water Development Subcommittee
Christopher Bond (R-MO) Chair, VA, HUD Subcommittee
Mitch McConnell (R-KY) Chair, Foreign Operations Subcommittee
Conrad Burns (R-MT) Chair, Interior Subcommittee
Richard Shelby (R-AL) Chair, Transportation Subcommittee
Judd Gregg (R-NH) Chair, Commerce, Justice State Subcommittee
Robert Bennett (R-UT) Chair, Legislative Branch Subcommittee
Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-CO) Chair, Treasury Postal Subcommittee
Larry Craig (R-ID) Energy Water Development and VA HUD Subcommittee
Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) Chair, Military Construction
Mike DeWine (R-OH) Chair, DC Subcommittee
Sam Brownback (R-KS) Appropriations Committee

DEM
Robert C. Byrd (D-WV) Ranking Member, Appropriations Committee
Daniel Inouye (D-HI) Ranking Member, Defense Subcommittee
Ernest Hollings (D-SC) Ranking Member, Commerce, Justice, State
Patrick Leahy (D-VT) Ranking Member, Foreign Operations
Tom Harkin (D-IA) Ranking Member, Labor, HHS Subcommittee
Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) Ranking Member, VA HUD Subcommittee
Harry Reid (D-NV) Ranking Member, Energy Water Development
Herb Kohl (D-WI) Ranking Member, Agriculture Subcommittee
Patty Murray (D-WA) Ranking Member, Transportation Subcommittee
Byron Dorgan (D-ND) Ranking Member, Treasury Postal Subcommittee
Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) Ranking Member, Military Construction
Subcommittee
Richard Durbin (D-IL) Ranking Member, Legislative Branch
Tim Johnson (D-SD) Appropriations Committee
Mary Landrieu (D-LA) Appropriations Committee