House Rules Committee Fillets Fish and Rivers
Rejects Consideration of Dingell/Boehlert Amendment to Fix Harmful Hydropower Provision of House Energy Bill
VP of Conservation Programs
4/10/2003 — Washington, DC — (WASHINGTON, D.C.) Late last night (April 9) the U.S. House Rules Committee rejected a bipartisan amendment authored by Reps. John Dingell (D-MI) and Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) designed to fix the harmful Hydro Title (Title III) of the House Energy Bill, which is scheduled for floor consideration today. Rejection by the Rules Committee will prevent the amendment from being considered by the full House and will, in all likelihood, ensure passage of the Title later today as part of the larger energy bill.
Last night, the Rules Committee turned its back on the interests of sportsmen and women, rivers, and the trout and salmon fisheries of the nation,, said Steve Moyer, Vice President of Volunteer Operation and Government Affairs for Trout Unlimited. When all 435 Members of Congress are not even afforded a chance to debate such an important natural resource issue, a real travesty has occurred.
Title III of HR 6 would make licensing of hydropower projects slower and more complex, cut the public out of the process, and undermine the “the key fish protection provisions of current law. In short, the bill shifts the balance of power in hydropower relicensings heavily in favor of dam owners and against the health of Americas rivers. . The Dingell/Boehlert amendment would have established a fair, balanced alternative process for determining fish and wildlife conservation provisions at hydro dams. Last year, it was supported by conservationists, the hydropower industry, the Energy and Commerce Committee, and the House of Representatives. It should have at least been allowed to be considered by the House this year, Moyer said.
A broad and diverse group of fisheries and river conservation groups supported the Dingell/Boehlert amendment this year, including American Rivers, International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, American Fly Fishing Trade Association, American Sportfishing Association, Izaak Walton League of America, and the National Wildlife Federation
Those who are making the critical decisions about how the Energy Bill is being considered dont seem to understand the basic fact that hydropower interests are not the only ones who use and benefit economically from rivers, said Moyer. Fish and wildlife need healthy rivers as do anglers, boaters, the sport fishing and commercial fishing industries. The rivers and waterways of the nation provide more than 557 million days of fishing for 34 million anglers who, in turn, spend $41 billion in pursuit of fish. These interests deserve the opportunity to be heard in the relicensing process, and they deserve a chance to have this issue debated on the floor of the House of Representatives.
For more information: Steve Moyer, Trout Unlimited: 703.284.9406