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California Capitol Hill Bulletin



Volume 6, Bulletin 28 -- September 9, 1999

CONTENTS OF THIS ISSUE:
Feinstein and Boxer Succeed in Forcing Removal of Transit Cap From Senate Transportation Appropriations
Letter Circulating on California Reformulated Gasoline Mark Up
Rep. Cox Seeking Cosponsors to Clean Air Bill
Reps. Herger and Condit Gathering Signatures To Canned Peach Letter
Bipartisan Letter for Citrus Freeze Disaster Funding
Scientific Community Rallies Behind Collider Work at Stanford
California's Balance of Payments with the Federal Treasury, 1981-1998



To expand communications between Washington and California, the California Institute provides periodic faxed bulletins regarding current activity on Capitol Hill which directly impacts our state. Bulletins are published weekly during sessions of Congress, and occasionally during other periods. The e-mail edition is made possible in part by in kind donations from Sun Microsystems and QUALCOMM, Inc.

Feinstein and Boxer Succeed in Forcing Removal of Transit Cap From Senate Transportation Appropriations

After, the Senate today failed to invoke cloture to proceed to consideration of the FY2000 Transportation Appropriations bill, because of California and New York opposition to caps placed on mass transit funding under the bill, Sen. Richard Shelby (AL) agreed to delete the onerous provision from the bill. Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer led the effort to block cloture, with the support of Sens. Charles Schumer (NY) and Daniel Patrick Moynihan (NY). The failed vote was 49-49, 11 less than the 60 needed to halt debate on the $49 billion transportation bill.

The provision would have limited the amount of mass transit funds any state could receive to 12.5 percent. In effect, however, only California's and New York's funding would have been capped: 50 percent of U.S. mass transit riders customers reside in those two states. Sen. Shelby, Chair of the Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, had included the provision in the bill to assist more rural states, such as his own.

Girding for a conference fight which has now been avoided, the entire California House delegation had joined a letter opposing the caps in June, joining forces with the two Senators, Governor Gray Davis and various other California advocates.

Sen. Feinstein stated that in FY99 California received about $696 million in mass transit funds, representing about 13.6 percent of the total. Under the Shelby proposal California would have lost $117 million. With the defeat of the Shelby proposal, Senator Boxer estimated that, under the TEA-21 formulas, California is now slated to receive 14.7 percent of federal transit funds in fiscal year 2000.
 

Letter Circulating on California Reformulated Gasoline Mark Up

Reps. Brian Bilbray (Imperial Beach) and Ellen Tauscher (Pleasanton) are circulating a letter to Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley (VA) and Subcommittee on Health and the Environment Chairman Michael Bilirakis (FL) that supports the Chairmen's commitment for a mark up this month of H.R. 11 on California reformulated gasoline, and calls on the Committee to maintain the California-specific and content-neutral focus of the bill, as it is presently written.

H.R. 11 would allow California to build on its existing flexibility under the Clean Air Act to allow its superior standards for cleaner-burning gasoline to serve in lieu of less stringent current federal standards for reformulated gasoline, so long as the California gasoline continues to meet or exceed the federal emissions requirements. The letter urges the Chairmen not to broaden the scope of the bill at the mark up to include other national air quality issues. It states that while other nationwide issues may need further study and analysis, the situation in California has been well-documented and is ripe to be addressed by H.R. 11. It also reiterates that California alone has a strong and reliable history of fuels regulation at the state level (with specific and singular Clean Air Act authority to do so), a robust and stringent regulatory infrastructure already in place to ensure it, and strong consensus in support of H.R. 11 among business, environmental, and governmental communities.

The bill's sponsor is Rep. Bilbray, and 50 other members of the California delegation have co-sponsored the bill. Members wishing to sign the letter should contact Dave Schroeder in Rep. Bilbray's office at x5-2040, or Ken Kero in Rep. Tauscher's office at x5-1880.
 

Rep. Cox Seeking Cosponsors to Clean Air Bill

Rep. Chris Cox (Newport Beach) recently sent out a Dear Colleague letter to California members urging their cosponsorship of H.R. 2427, to amend a provision in the Clean Air Act. The bill would remove the ten percent limit in the Clean Air Act on the amount of funding any state can receive in federal air pollution planning and control grants. Instead the grant amounts would be determined based on other criteria in the law, such as population, local agency needs, and the extent of air pollution in the area.

According to 1998 EPA figures, Californians account for 27 percent of the nation's population living in ozone non-attainment areas, 38 percent of the nation's population living in carbon monoxide non-attainment areas, and 58 percent of the population living in particulate matter non-attainment areas. Nevertheless, its planning and control grants are limited to 10 percent of the total grants awarded.

Members interested in cosponsoring the legislation should contain Peter Uhlmann in Rep. Cox's office at x5-5611.
 

Reps. Herger and Condit Gathering Signatures To Canned Peach Letter

Reps. Wally Herger (Marysville) and Gary Condit (Ceres) are circulating a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Trade Representative calling for relief for the canned peach industry. The letter cites the progressive harm that the canned fruit industry has suffered because of unfair European Union (EU) subsidies that have recently culminated with market losses and the removal of canned peaches from the final beef hormone retaliation list issued by the United States against the EU.

Although the California industry has formed a Coalition with industry representatives from Chile, Australia, Argentina and South Africa to develop and pursue short-term EU reforms that will address abuse within the EU system and reduce Europe's production of canned fruit to align with market demand, the letter states that these reforms will not come soon enough to ease the commercial pressures brought on this year by EU canned peach exports. Thus, it urges the U.S. government to develop an immediate action plan to ensure relief for the U.S. industry.

For more information or to sign the letter should contact Lisa Richards in Congressman Condit's office, x56131, or Paul Poteet in Rep. Herger's office, x5-3076.
 

Bipartisan Letter for Citrus Freeze Disaster Funding

Rep. George Radanovich (Mariposa) is circulating a bipartisan letter seeking signatures from the California delegation on a letter to the Agriculture Appropriations Committee urging $90 million in funding for disaster relief for citrus products in the Agriculture Appropriations Conference Report. The letter to Chairman Joe Skeen (NM) and Ranking Member Marcy Kaptur (OH) points out that disaster relief for the December 1998 freeze was granted to growers, including navel orange growers, who harvested their crops in 1998. However, growers of Valencia oranges, tangerines and grapefruit, among others, were not eligible for the earlier disaster assistance appropriated because their commodities were not harvested until 1999, even though the damage was caused by the same December freeze.

The letter states that the California Department of Food and Agriculture estimates that the 1999 harvest losses are about $178 million and that California farmers have lost 80-100 percent of their 1999 citrus crop due to the freeze.

Members wishing to sign the letter should contact Tricia Geringer in Rep. Radanovich's office at x5-4540.
 

Scientific Community Rallies Behind Collider Work at Stanford

In three separate communications, representatives of the scientific community in California, the U.S. and internationally are registering their opposition to a restriction on research work at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) that was included in the Senate version of the Energy and Water appropriations bill. The Senate bill would impose a $6 million cap on SLAC's use of funds for research and development for the Next Linear Collider (NLC), also known as the TeV linear collider. With current year NLC funding at $17 million, the Senate's $6 million limit would cut the Stanford-centered program, which has been underway for 10 years, by two-thirds. The House bill, spearheaded by subcommittee chair Rep. Ron Packard (Oceanside), does not include the NLC limitation, and would provide $715 million for High Energy Physics (HEP), or $24 million above the Senate-passed level.

The California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) recently endorsed the NLC, which would also involve the Lawrence Livermore and Lawrence Berkeley labs in California and Illinois' Fermilab. In a letter to the California delegation, CCST noted that California would be a logical host for the NLC, which would include a 100-acre campus, a 20-mile, largely underground facility, and 2000 employees, half of whom would require advanced scientific, technical and engineering training. The CCST also points out that the U.S. lead in high energy physics may shift to Europe in 2005, when they turn on the Large Hadron proton collider, unless the U.S. keeps pace with continued work on the NLC.

In August, the NLC won additional support from the planning arm of DOE's High Energy Physics Advisory Panel (HEPAP), the nation's leading physics consulting body, as well as from a multi-national counterpart, the International Committee on Future Accelerators.

Differences between the House and Senate bills are expected to be worked out during September.
 

California's Balance of Payments with the Federal Treasury, 1981-1998

As an appendix to this Bulletin, the California Institute is pleased to provide the next in an annual series of examinations of the balance of payments between California and Washington. The report finds that, in 1998, California taxpayers sent 19.4 billion more to Washington in federal taxes than the state received back in federal expenditures and payments. The document will also be made available on the Institute's website, at http://www.calinst.org/pubs/bop99.htm .

For an Adobe Acrobat format document, see http://www.calinst.org/pubs/bop99.pdf for the report and see http://www.calinst.org/pubs/bop99table.pdf for the supporting figures.

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