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Energy tax identified as EENR topic for study.

Under the leadership of Myrtle Beach Council member Roberr Hirsch, the Energy, Environment and Natural Resources (EENR) policy committee met during the Congressional City Conference to establish policy development goals for 1993.

The 200 member Energy, Environment and Natural Resources policy committee identified numerous issues for policy development and including:

* Review of President Clinton's proposed energy tax and its impact on the environment and municipal governments;

* Transmission access-- which, under the recently enacted energy legislation will allow wholesale electricity generators to transmit their power over existing utility lines;

* Prioritization of environmental mandates;

* Superfund;

* Comprehensive Watershed Management; and

* Water supply issues.

The broad based energy tax set forth by President Clinton would levy a tax upon the BTU content of energy sources. According to a statement released by Secretary of Energy Hazel O'Leary, the energy tax would result in a cleaner environment, increase our energy efficiency, and reduce our reliance on foreign sources of oil while strengthening the economy through deficit reduction. The proposed BTU tax could both reduce state and local sales 'and severance tax revenues, and because the tax as proposed, provides no exemption for cities and towns, increase municipal gas and energy bills.

Prioritization of environmental mandates and re-establishing partnerships with federal and state government to promote environmental protection were also identified as issues for policy development. For many cities, the testing requirements set forth in certain federal environmental mandates are costly and produce no increase in environmental protection or public health. Policy committee members expressed frustration over federally mandated testing requirements that require municipalities to repeatedly test for hazardous constituents in drinking water that do not exist in their region of the country.

The policy committee also identified a number of issues dealing with clean water, watershed management, and water supply. Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOS), wetlands, stormwater management, and agricultural runoff were identified as issues to be reviewed by the steering committee.

Once again, the issue of limiting municipal liability under Superfund was identified by the policy committee for further policy development. Minor changes to the National Municipal Policy regarding Superfund and a resolution opposing rederally imposed household hazardous waste programs were adopted at last year's Congress of Cities. The hazardous household waste resolution also calls for a four percent cap on Superfund liability for both transporters and generators and owners and operators. With its issues now clearly defined, the EENR steering committee will meet in May and again in September to review existing policy and draft new policy language in anticipation of the next meeting of the EENR policy committee at the 70th Annual Congress of Cities in Orlando, Fla.
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Title Annotation:National League of Cities Steering Committee on Energy, Environment and Natural Resources
Author:Yamane, Sandra
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Mar 22, 1993
Words:434
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