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First Gov  

May 10, 2000

H.R. 701 - Conservation and Reinvestment Act of 1999
(Rep. Young (R) AK and 317 others)

The Administration strongly believes that now is the time to provide a permanent stream of significant new resources to support State and community efforts to protect wildlife and local green spaces, reinforce Federal efforts to save natural and historic treasures, and expand efforts at all levels to protect ocean and coastal resources. Such investment would be both a gift to our children of today and a promise to our children of tomorrow. This priority is reflected in the President's Lands Legacy Initiative, which has been put before the Congress in each of the past two years.

The Administration is pleased that H.R. 701 seeks to achieve many of the same goals as the President's Lands Legacy Initiative, and therefore urges prompt House passage of the bill. We do remain concerned about several aspects of H.R. 701, and strongly support amendments to improve and strengthen the legislation and thus increase the likelihood of final enactment of an historic conservation legacy. We look forward to final legislation that meets the above goals, and that

  • contains no burdensome or unnecessary restrictions on current Federal authorities, while providing fully protected and permanent funding for all Land and Water Conservation Fund monies;


  • ensures that all monies available under its provisions be used for purposes consistent with the environmental and conservation goals of the bill;


  • ensures that funding for wildlife-related entities and programs is primarily targeted to benefit at-risk and non-game species;


  • establishes no new incentives for offshore exploration or development, while ensuring coastal activities are consistent with State Coastal Zone Management Plans;


  • provides appropriate oversight authority to the Commerce Department for coastal or marine plans without modifying the existing responsibilities of other agencies; and


  • provides appropriate protection for existing programs delineated in the Administration's Lands Legacy Initiative, including appropriate marine, coastal, forest, urban, and agriculture programs, that already are working well to advance the goals of this legislation.

The Administration supports protected and permanent funding for conservation purposes that is achieved through sound mechanisms within a balanced budget framework. We commend the sponsors for dropping the off-budget treatment in the original bill in the Managers' Amendment. While we regret that an amendment addressing concerns about offshore incentives was not made part of the Managers' Amendment by the Rules Committee, we understand that the amendment will be offered on the floor by Representatives Boehlert (R-NY), Markey (D-MA), and Pallone (D-NJ), and we strongly support its adoption.

The Administration looks forward to working with the House and the Senate to ensure enactment of an historic conservation legacy this year.

Pay-As-You-Go Scoring

OMB's preliminary scoring estimate of this bill is that it would result in an increase in direct spending of about $7.8 billion in Fiscal Years 2001-2005. The bill does not contain provisions to offset the net budget costs. As a result, if the bill were enacted without any further action to provide offsets, it could contribute to a sequester of mandatory spending. The Administration supports this bill and will work with the Congress to ensure that such an unintended sequester does not occur.