(Senate - January 09, 2009)

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[Pages S256-S262]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


      By Mrs. FEINSTEIN (for herself, Mr. Brownback, Mr. Inouye,

[[Page S257]]

        Mr. Roberts, Mr. Akaka, Mr. Voinovich, Mrs. Boxer, Mr. Johanns, 
        Mr. Nelson of Nebraska, and Mr. Brown):
  S. 193. A bill to create and extend certain temporary district court 
judgeships; to the Committee on the Judiciary.
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Mr. President, I rise today to introduce a bill to 
provide urgently needed relief to federal district courts in 
California, Hawaii, Kansas, Nebraska, and Ohio.
  This bill is supported by both Senators from all five of the States 
affected Senators Boxer and myself, Senators Brownback and Roberts, 
Senators Akaka and Inouye, Senators Nelson and Johanns, and Senators 
Brown and Voinovich.
  The bill is identical to a bill passed by the Senate by unanimous 
consent last year. I hope that my colleagues will move expeditiously to 
consent to this bill once again.
  The bill creates one new temporary judgeship in the Eastern District 
of California and one in the District of Nebraska, and it extends 
temporary judgeships in the District of Hawaii, the District of Kansas, 
and the Northern District of Ohio.
  The bill has broad, bipartisan support because the relief it provides 
is sorely needed. All of these courts face overwhelming caseloads that 
are leading to judicial burnout and long delays in the administration 
of justice. The bill, put simply, provides assistance to districts that 
do not have enough judges to handle the work assigned to them.
  I have been concerned about this problem in the Eastern District of 
California for many years now.
  According to statistics provided by the Administrative Office of the 
United States Courts, the Eastern District's caseload burden is higher, 
on a sustained basis, than any other district in the country.
  In 2008, the judges in the Eastern District handled 968 cases each. 
That is twice the number of cases that the Judicial Conference 
recommends. In fact, the Judicial Conference has recommended that 
Congress create a new judgeship in a district whenever a threshold of 
430 cases per judge is reached.
  A caseload burden of this magnitude is not only a problem for judges. 
The people who live in the district and other litigants who appear 
before the court are also affected.
  Victims of crime are forced to endure long waiting periods to see 
justice done. Citizens find that they are unable to resolve their civil 
disputes promptly. And plaintiffs face extensive delays in getting 
damages or restitution for harms that they have suffered.
  Currently, people who have cases in the Eastern District court are 
facing delays of approximately 42 months from filing to verdict. That 
is three and a half years--twice the national average for federal court 
delays. This kind of delay is simply unacceptable.
  The delays are by no means the fault of the district judges either. 
By every measure, the judges in the Eastern District are among the most 
productive in the nation.
  In 2008, each of the district's active judges completed 903 cases. In 
addition to this extraordinary effort, two of the five senior judges 
carry a full load.
  One senior judge has explained that he has not reduced his workload 
for two reasons: ``[F]irst the district is so short of needed judges 
that it appears to me unjust to leave those who require a court either 
to resolve criminal cases or resolve their civil cases; second, I have 
felt great compassion for my colleagues who would be left with a still 
more unmanageable case load if I left or even cut down on my load.''
  In California, the overwhelming burden on the Eastern District court 
is no secret. This past summer, the Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit 
called on all judges in the Circuit--district and circuit judges 
alike--to volunteer to hear 15 cases in the Eastern District each. 
Although 84 federal judges generously stepped forward to relieve the 
District of more than 1,000 cases, thousands of cases remain pending.
  The Eastern District of California should not be forced to rely on 
temporary assistance from judges from other districts. Each court needs 
enough judges to handle its caseload in a reasonably timely manner.
  Although not sufficient, one temporary district judgeship would 
provide much needed relief to the hardworking judges of the Eastern 
District and the litigants who come before them. Based on last year's 
filings, one new judgeship would reduce the filings per judge from 968 
to 572.
  Congress has not authorized a new permanent judgeship for the 
district since 1978. In 1992, a temporary judgeship was authorized, but 
that judgeship expired in 2004. Last year, a bill that I co-sponsored--
the Federal Judgeship Act of 2008--would have provided four new 
permanent judgeships, but that bill stalled before the full Senate 
after being favorably reported out of the Judiciary Committee.
  This bill was introduced by Senator Leahy last year, and I want to 
thank him for all of his work on its behalf. The bill passed the Senate 
by unanimous consent. This year, the need is only greater, as caseloads 
have only increased.
  I urge my colleagues to consent to this bill once again, and to do so 
in an expeditious manner.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the text of the bill be 
printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the text of the bill was ordered to be 
printed in the Record, as follows:

                                 S. 193

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,


       (a) Additional Temporary Judgeships.--
       (1) In general.--The President shall appoint, by and with 
     the advice and consent of the Senate--
       (A) 1 additional district judge for the eastern district of 
     California; and
       (B) 1 additional district judge for the district of 
       (2) Vacancies not filled.--The first vacancy in the office 
     of district judge in each of the offices of district judge 
     authorized by this subsection, occurring 10 years or more 
     after the confirmation date of the judge named to fill the 
     temporary district judgeship created in the applicable 
     district by this subsection, shall not be filled.
       (b) Extension of Certain Temporary Judgeships.--Section 
     203(c) of the Judicial Improvements Act of 1990 (Public Law 
     101-650; 28 U.S.C. 133 note) is amended--
       (1) in the second sentence, by inserting ``the district of 
     Hawaii,'' after ``Pennsylvania,'';
       (2) in the third sentence (relating to the district of 
     Kansas), by striking ``17 years'' and inserting ``26 years'';
       (3) in the fifth sentence (relating to the northern 
     district of Ohio), by striking ``17 years'' and inserting 
     ``25 years''; and
       (4) by inserting ``The first vacancy in the office of 
     district judge in the district of Hawaii occurring 20 years 
     or more after the confirmation date of the judge named to 
     fill the temporary judgeship created under this subsection 
     shall not be filled.'' after the sixth sentence.
      By Mr. CASEY (for himself, Ms. Snowe,, and Mr. Voinovich):
  S. 194. A bill to amend the Emergency Food Assistance Act of 1983 to 
require the Secretary of Agriculture to help offset the costs of 
intrastate transportation, storage, and distribution of bonus 
commodities provided to States and food assistance agencies under the 
emergency food assistance program; to the Committee on Agriculture, 
Nutrition, and Forestry.

  Mr. CASEY. Mr. President, I rise today to introduce the Bonus TEFAP 
Assistance Act of 2009 with my colleagues Senator Snowe and Senator 
Voinovich. Our bill provides immediate and valuable assistance to our 
national food banks and the families who rely on food banks to put 
meals on the table by ensuring that food banks can accept and 
distribute food donations they might otherwise have had to decline. Our 
bill has the support of Feeding America, formerly known as America's 
Second Harvest, the national hunger relief charity that operates a 
network of over 200 food banks across America.
  We are in the middle of a crisis. The on-going economic crisis is the 
worst in a generation, but this crisis is more than stock prices and 
market certainty. The economic crisis has a face. The faces of 
hardworking Pennsylvanians who suddenly find themselves unable to 
afford food for the family meals. The economic crisis is also a hunger 
crisis--a crisis that is pushing more people to apply for Federal 
nutrition programs and stand in line at the local food bank. It is a 
crisis that threatens to undo all of the progress we have made over the 
past few decades to end hunger in America.
  The United States Department of Agriculture, USDA, reported that, for

[[Page S258]]

2006, 35.5 million Americans did not have enough money or resources to 
get food for at least some period during the year. This figure was an 
increase of 400,000 over 2005 and an increase of 2.3 million since 
2000. With the fragile State of our economy, it is extremely likely 
that these figures for 2007 and 2008 will be even more devastating. The 
only recourse for these millions of families is to turn to federal food 
assistance programs and emergency food banks for their basic food 
  Unfortunately, as articles in national publications like the USA 
Today and the New York Times have highlighted, there is a critical lack 
of food inventories available in local food pantries across the 
country. Rising demand, sharp drops in federal supplies of excess 
commodities, and declining donations have forced food banks to cut back 
on rations, and in some cases, close their doors. In short, America's 
food banks are facing critical shortages now.
  As a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and 
Forestry, I was proud to help create last year's farm bill. The bill 
helps food banks by providing additional annual funding to shore up 
food bank supplies. But there are additional measures that we can take 
to help ensure that food banks can continue to fulfill their mission.
  That's why today I'm pleased introduce the Bonus TEFAP Assistance Act 
of 2009. This legislation provides the critical support needed to 
ensure food assistance agencies, already in desperate need of supplies, 
can take full advantage of the distributions of bonus food commodities 
supplied by USDA through the Emergency Food Assistance Program, TEFAP. 
By helping to offset the intrastate storage, transportation, and 
distribution costs the food assistance agencies incur to distribute 
these bonus food surpluses, the bill ensures that commodities reach the 
greatest number of needy individuals.
  The Emergency Food Assistance Program began in 1981 as a temporary 
program with dual purposes; it was intended to help reduce the Federal 
food inventories and storage costs while also assisting the needy. 
Because of the program's success in helping distribute food to those in 
need, in 1988, after much of the federal inventory was depleted, the 
Hunger Prevention Act authorized funds to be appropriated to purchase 
food for TEFAP.
  Under current-day TEFAP, the USDA provides states and food assistance 
agencies with commodities bought specifically for the program and with 
funding to help cover distributing agencies' intrastate storage, 
handling, and distribution costs. In addition, when available, USDA 
provides any excess food not needed to fulfill other program 
requirements to States for allocation to local food assistance 
agencies. This excess food is known as ``bonus TEFAP.'' Unfortunately, 
while the USDA generously distributes these bonus TEFAP commodities to 
the States, many of the State and food assistance agencies are unable 
to accept the bonus TEFAP commodities because they do not have the 
resources to store, transport, or distribute them.
  The Bonus TEFAP Assistance Act of 2009 that I am introducing today 
alleviates this problem by providing offsetting funds to recipient 
agencies to assist with the costs of storing, transporting, and 
distributing bonus TEFAP commodities. The funds provided through this 
legislation will help to provide more food to those in need through 
food banks, food pantries, emergency shelters, soup kitchens, and other 
organizations that directly provide these resources to the public.
  To solve the problem the inadequacy of local resources causes, the 
bill authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to use existing funds 
granted under Section 32 of the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1935. 
Currently, Section 32 funds are used to fund child nutrition programs 
and other programs to support the farm sector at the discretion of the 
Secretary. Through this legislation, a small portion of Section 32 
funds would be allocated to each eligible recipient agency in the 
lesser amount of $0.05 per pound or $0.05 per dollar value of bonus 
TEFAP commodities. With this modest increase in funding, the States and 
their food assistance agencies will be able to accept more food 
distributions from the USDA through TEFAP, benefitting the many low-
income recipients who rely on the program for emergency food and 
nutrition assistance.
  I urge all of my colleagues to join Senator Snowe, Senator Voinovich 
and me in ensuring that the States and food assistance agencies can 
accept the available excess commodity foods the USDA provides under the 
Emergency Assistance Food Program. Food assistance agencies are in dire 
need of funds, food, and supplies and we owe it to them to ensure that 
they can take full advantage of every opportunity to serve those in our 
nation who are in desperate need.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the text of the bill be 
printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the text of the bill was ordered to be 
printed in the Record, as follows:

                                 S. 194

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,


       This Act may be cited as the ``Bonus TEFAP Assistance Act 
     of 2009''.


       (a) Purposes.--The purposes of this section are--
       (1) to encourage States and food assistance agencies to 
     accept commodities acquired by the Secretary of Agriculture 
     for farm support and surplus removal activities; and
       (2) to offset the costs of the States and food assistance 
     agencies for the intrastate transportation, storage, and 
     distribution of the commodities.
       (b) Costs of Distributing Bonus Commodities.--Section 202 
     of the Emergency Food Assistance Act of 1983 (7 U.S.C. 7502) 
     is amended by inserting after subsection (a) the following:
       ``(b) Costs of Distributing Bonus Commodities.--
       ``(1) In general.--The Secretary shall use funds made 
     available under section 32 of the Act of August 24, 1935 (7 
     U.S.C. 612c), to provide funding described in paragraph (2) 
     to eligible recipient agencies to offset the costs of the 
     agencies for intrastate transportation, storage, and 
     distribution of commodities described in subsection (a).
       ``(2) Funding.--The Secretary shall provide funding 
     described in paragraph (1) to an eligible recipient agency at 
     a rate equal to the lower of $0.05 per pound or $0.05 per 
     dollar value of commodities described in subsection (a) that 
     are made available under this Act to, and accepted by, the 
     eligible recipient agency.''.
      By Mr. FEINGOLD (for himself, Mr. Crapo, Mrs. Boxer, Mr. Cardin, 
        Mr. Brownback, Mr. Kerry, Mr. Kohl, and Ms. Landrieu):
  S. 197. A bill to assist in the conservation of cranes by supporting 
and providing, through projects of persons and organizations with 
expertise in crane conservation, financial resources for the 
conservation programs of countries the activities of which directly or 
indirectly affect cranes and the ecosystem of cranes; to the Committee 
on Environment and Public Works.
  Mr. FEINGOLD. Mr. President, I am introducing the Crane Conservation 
Act of 2009. I am very pleased that Senator Crapo has once again agreed 
to lead on this legislation with me. I am always glad to work with my 
colleagues from across the aisle. We are pleased to be joined by 
Senators Boxer, Brownback, Cardin, Kerry, Kohl, Landrieu, and Martinez, 
who are cosponsors of this legislation.
  The Crane Conservation Act will ensure we do our part to protect the 
existence of these birds, whose cultural significance and popular 
appeal can be seen worldwide. This legislation is particularly 
important to the people of Wisconsin, as our state provides habitat and 
refuge to several crane species. But this legislation, which authorizes 
the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to distribute funds and 
grants to crane conservation efforts both domestically and in 
developing countries, promises to have a larger environmental and 
cultural impact that will go far beyond the boundaries of my home 
  Congress' efforts to help protect and recover species throughout the 
world began in earnest in 1994 when Congress passed and the President 
signed the Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Act. The passage of this 
act provided support for multinational rhino and tiger conservation by 
authorizing the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to distribute 
up to $10 million in grants every year to support projects in 
developing countries. Since 1994, Congress has established the 
``multinational species conservation fund'' to cover other

[[Page S259]]

species, such as elephants and great apes.
  Today, with the legislation I am introducing, I am asking Congress to 
add cranes to this list. Cranes are the most endangered family of birds 
in the world, with 11 of the world's 15 species at risk of extinction. 
Specifically, this legislation would authorize up to $5 million of 
funds per year for fiscal years 2008 through 2012 to be distributed as 
conservation project grants to protect cranes and their habitat in 
Asia, Africa, and North America. In keeping with my belief that we 
should balance the budget, this bill proposes that the $25 million in 
authorized spending over 5 years for the Crane Conservation Act should 
be offset through the Secretary of Interior's administrative budget. 
This bill is similar to legislation I have introduced since the 107th 
Congress and I was very pleased that last Congress the bill passed the 
House of Representatives and the Senate Environment and Public Works 
Committee and was positioned to pass the Senate before stalling late in 
the last Congress.
  I am offering this legislation due to the serious and significant 
decline that can be expected in crane populations worldwide without 
further conservation efforts. Those efforts have achieved some success 
in the case of the North American whooping crane, the rarest crane on 
earth. By 1890, the whooping crane disappeared from its main migratory 
route from Idaho through Wyoming and Colorado to New Mexico. In 1944, 
only 21 birds remained along the migratory route between Montana and 
Texas' Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, via the Dakotas, Nebraska, 
Kansas, and Oklahoma. Unfortunately, the breeding grounds for this 
remaining flock were unknown, but since they were discovered in Canada 
in 1955, cooperative efforts between the United States and Canada have 
been under way to recover the species. Today, this flock remains the 
only wild flock of North American whooping cranes that breeds in 
northwest Canada, and spends its winters in coastal Texas.
  In 1980, a new course was chartered for recovering the species, and 
captive breeding efforts began at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in 
Maryland in hopes of rearing chicks for release in the wild--today, 
captive breeding centers are also located at New Orleans' Audubon 
Species Survival Center and Canada's Calgary Zoo.
  These breeding efforts blossomed into efforts to reintroduce a 
migratory flock of whooping cranes into their historic range in the 
Eastern United States. In 2001 this became a reality when the first 
class of whooping cranes followed their ``mother'' (actually an ultra 
light aircraft) over 1,300 miles to their wintering grounds.
  The movement of this flock of birds shows how any effort by Congress 
to regulate crane conservation needs to cross both national and 
international lines. As this flock of birds makes its journey from 
Wisconsin's Necedah National Wildlife Refuge to Florida's 
Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge and back, the birds rely on the 
ecosystems of a multitude of states in this country. Along the journey 
which traverses through Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, and 
Georgia the birds face threats from pollution of traditional watering 
grounds, collision with utility lines, human disturbance, disease, 
predation, loss of genetic diversity within the population, and 
vulnerability to catastrophes, both natural and man-made.
  However, the birds can also rely on private landowners, the vast 
majority of whom have enthusiastically welcomed the birds to their rest 
on their land. Through its extensive outreach and education program, 
the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership has obtained the consistent 
support of farmers and other private landowners to make this important 
recovery program a success. On every front, this partnership is unique. 
This ongoing recovery effort would not be possible without the 
cooperative efforts of federal and state governments, landowners, 
volunteers, and non-governmental organizations. Seven years later, 
these partnerships support an ever-growing eastern crane population, 
now numbering over sixty.
  While over the course of the last half-century, North American 
whooping cranes have begun to make a slow recovery, many species of 
crane in Africa and Asia have declined, including the sarus crane of 
Asia and the wattled crane of Africa.
  The sarus crane stands four feet tall and can be found in the 
wetlands of northern India and south Asia. These birds require large, 
open, well watered plains or marshes to breed and survive. Due to 
agricultural expansion, industrial development, river basin 
development, pollution, warfare, and heavy use of pesticides prevalent 
in India and southeast Asia, the sarus crane population has been in 
decline. Furthermore, in many areas, a high human population 
concentration compounds these factors. On the Mekong River, which runs 
through Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and China, human population 
growth and planned development projects threaten the sarus crane. 
Reports from India, Cambodia, and Thailand have also cited incidences 
of the trading of adult birds and chicks, as well as hunting and egg 
stealing in the drop in population of the sarus crane.
  Only three subspecies of the sarus crane exist today. One resides in 
northern India and Nepal, one resides in southeast Asia, and one 
resides in northern Australia. Their population is about 8,000 in the 
main Indian population, with recent numbers showing a rapid decline. In 
Southeast Asia, only 1,000 birds remain.
  The situation of the sarus crane in Asia is mirrored by the situation 
of the wattled crane in Africa. In Africa, the wattled crane is found 
in the southern and eastern regions, with an isolated population in the 
mountains of Ethiopia. Current population estimates range between 6,000 
to 8,000 and are declining rapidly, due to loss and degradation of 
wetland habitats, as well as intensified agriculture, dam construction, 
and industrialization. In other parts of the range, the creation of 
dams has changed the dynamics of the flood plains, thus further 
endangering these cranes and their habitats. Human disturbance at or 
near breeding sites also continues to be a major threat. Lack of 
oversight and education over the actions of people, industry, and 
agriculture is leading to reduced preservation for the lands on which 
cranes live, thereby threatening the ability of cranes to survive in 
these regions.
  If we do not act now, not only will cranes face extinction, but the 
ecosystems that depend on their contributions will suffer. With the 
decline of the crane population, the wetlands and marshes they inhabit 
can potentially be thrown off balance. I urge my colleagues to join me 
in supporting legislation that can provide funding to the local 
farming, education, and enforcement projects that can have the greatest 
positive effect on the preservation of both cranes and fragile 
habitats. This modest investment can secure the future of these 
exemplary birds and the beautiful areas in which they live. Therefore, 
I ask my colleagues to support the Crane Conservation Act of 2009.
  This legislation is endorsed by African Wildlife Foundation, American 
Bird Conservancy, American Veterinary Medical Association, Association 
of Zoos and Aquariums, Audubon Nature Institute, Born Free USA, 
Conservation International, Defenders of Wildlife, Dian Fossey Gorilla 
Fund International, Fauna & Flora International, Humane Society of the 
United States, Humane Society International, International Crane 
Foundation, International Fund for Animal Welfare, International Rhino 
Foundation, National Wildlife Federation, National Wildlife Refuge 
Association, The Nature Conservancy, Sierra Club, Wildlife Alliance, 
Wildlife Conservation Society, and the World Wildlife Fund.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the text of the bill be 
printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the text of the bill was ordered to be 
printed in the Record, as follows:

                                 S. 197

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,


       This Act may be cited as the ``Crane Conservation Act of 

     SEC. 2. PURPOSES.

       The purposes of this Act are--
       (1) to perpetuate healthy populations of cranes;
       (2) to assist in the conservation and protection of cranes 
     by supporting--

[[Page S260]]

       (A) conservation programs in countries in which endangered 
     and threatened cranes occur; and
       (B) the efforts of private organizations committed to 
     helping cranes; and
       (3) to provide financial resources for those programs and 


       In this Act:
       (1) Conservation.--
       (A) In general.--The term ``conservation'' means the use of 
     any method or procedure to improve the viability of crane 
     populations and the quality of the ecosystems and habitats on 
     which the crane populations depend to help the species 
     achieve sufficient populations in the wild to ensure the 
     long-term viability of the species.
       (B) Inclusions.--The term ``conservation'' includes the 
     carrying out of any activity associated with scientific 
     resource management, such as--
       (i) protection, restoration, and management of habitat;
       (ii) research and monitoring of known populations;
       (iii) the provision of assistance in the development of 
     management plans for managed crane ranges;
       (iv) enforcement of the Convention;
       (v) law enforcement and habitat protection through 
     community participation;
       (vi) reintroduction of cranes to the wild;
       (vii) conflict resolution initiatives; and
       (viii) community outreach and education.
       (2) Convention.--The term ``Convention'' has the meaning 
     given the term in section 3 of the Endangered Species Act of 
     1973 (16 U.S.C. 1532).
       (3) Fund.--The term ``Fund'' means the Crane Conservation 
     Fund established by section 5(a).
       (4) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary 
     of the Interior.


       (a) In General.--Subject to the availability of 
     appropriations and in consultation with other appropriate 
     Federal officials, the Secretary shall use amounts in the 
     Fund to provide financial assistance for projects relating to 
     the conservation of cranes for which project proposals are 
     approved by the Secretary in accordance with this section.
       (b) Project Proposals.--
       (1) Applicants.--
       (A) In general.--An applicant described in subparagraph (B) 
     that seeks to receive assistance under this section to carry 
     out a project relating to the conservation of cranes shall 
     submit to the Secretary a project proposal that meets the 
     requirements of this section.
       (B) Eligible applicants.--An applicant described in this 
     subparagraph is--
       (i) any relevant wildlife management authority of a country 

       (I) is located within the African, Asian, European, or 
     North American range of a species of crane; and
       (II) carries out 1 or more activities that directly or 
     indirectly affect crane populations;

       (ii) the Secretariat of the Convention; and
       (iii) any person or organization with demonstrated 
     expertise in the conservation of cranes.
       (2) Required elements.--A project proposal submitted under 
     paragraph (1)(A) shall include--
       (A) a concise statement of the purpose of the project;
       (B)(i) the name of each individual responsible for 
     conducting the project; and
       (ii) a description of the qualifications of each of those 
       (C) a concise description of--
       (i) methods to be used to implement and assess the outcome 
     of the project;
       (ii) staff and community management for the project; and
       (iii) the logistics of the project;
       (D) an estimate of the funds and the period of time 
     required to complete the project;
       (E) evidence of support for the project by appropriate 
     government entities of countries in which the project will be 
     conducted, if the Secretary determines that such support is 
     required to ensure the success of the project;
       (F) information regarding the source and amount of matching 
     funding available for the project; and
       (G) any other information that the Secretary considers to 
     be necessary for evaluating the eligibility of the project to 
     receive assistance under this Act.
       (c) Project Review and Approval.--
       (1) In general.--The Secretary shall--
       (A) not later than 30 days after receiving a final project 
     proposal, provide a copy of the proposal to other appropriate 
     Federal officials; and
       (B) review each project proposal in a timely manner to 
     determine whether the proposal meets the criteria described 
     in subsection (d).
       (2) Consultation; approval or disapproval.--Not later than 
     180 days after receiving a project proposal, and subject to 
     the availability of appropriations, the Secretary, after 
     consulting with other appropriate Federal officials, shall--
       (A) consult on the proposal with the government of each 
     country in which the project is to be carried out;
       (B) after taking into consideration any comments resulting 
     from the consultation, approve or disapprove the proposal; 
       (C) provide written notification of the approval or 
     disapproval to--
       (i) the applicant that submitted the proposal;
       (ii) other appropriate Federal officials; and
       (iii) each country described in subparagraph (A).
       (d) Criteria for Approval.--The Secretary may approve a 
     project proposal under this section if the Secretary 
     determines that the proposed project will enhance programs 
     for conservation of cranes by assisting efforts to--
       (1) implement conservation programs;
       (2) address the conflicts between humans and cranes that 
     arise from competition for the same habitat or resources;
       (3) enhance compliance with the Convention and other 
     applicable laws that--
       (A) prohibit or regulate the taking or trade of cranes; or
       (B) regulate the use and management of crane habitat;
       (4) develop sound scientific information on, or methods for 
       (A) the condition of crane habitat;
       (B) crane population numbers and trends; or
       (C) the current and projected threats to crane habitat and 
     population numbers and trends;
       (5) promote cooperative projects on the issues described in 
     paragraph (4) among--
       (A) governmental entities;
       (B) affected local communities;
       (C) nongovernmental organizations; or
       (D) other persons in the private sector;
       (6) carry out necessary scientific research on cranes;
       (7) provide relevant training to, or support technical 
     exchanges involving, staff responsible for managing cranes or 
     habitats of cranes, to enhance capacity for effective 
     conservation; or
       (8) reintroduce cranes successfully back into the wild, 
     including propagation of a sufficient number of cranes 
     required for this purpose.
       (e) Project Sustainability; Matching Funds.--To the maximum 
     extent practicable, in determining whether to approve a 
     project proposal under this section, the Secretary shall give 
     preference to a proposed project--
       (1) that is designed to ensure effective, long-term 
     conservation of cranes and habitats of cranes; or
       (2) for which matching funds are available.
       (f) Project Reporting.--
       (1) In general.--Each person that receives assistance under 
     this section for a project shall submit to the Secretary, at 
     such periodic intervals as are determined by the Secretary, 
     reports that include all information that the Secretary, 
     after consulting with other appropriate government officials, 
     determines to be necessary to evaluate the progress and 
     success of the project for the purposes of--
       (A) ensuring positive results;
       (B) assessing problems; and
       (C) fostering improvements.
       (2) Availability to the public.--Each report submitted 
     under paragraph (1), and any other documents relating to a 
     project for which financial assistance is provided under this 
     Act, shall be made available to the public.


       (a) Establishment.--There is established in the 
     Multinational Species Conservation Fund established by the 
     matter under the heading ``MULTINATIONAL SPECIES CONSERVATION 
     FUND'' in title I of the Department of the Interior and 
     Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1999 (112 Stat. 2681-
     237; 16 U.S.C. 4246) a separate account to be known as the 
     ``Crane Conservation Fund'', consisting of--
       (1) amounts transferred to the Secretary of the Treasury 
     for deposit into the Fund under subsection (c); and
       (2) amounts appropriated to the Fund under section 7.
       (b) Expenditures From Fund.--
       (1) In general.--Subject to paragraphs (2) and (3), upon 
     request by the Secretary, the Secretary of the Treasury shall 
     transfer from the Fund to the Secretary, without further 
     appropriation, such amounts as the Secretary determines are 
     necessary to provide assistance under section 4.
       (2) Administrative expenses.--Of the amounts in the Fund 
     available for each fiscal year, the Secretary may expend not 
     more than 3 percent, or $150,000, whichever is greater, to 
     pay the administrative expenses necessary to carry out this 
       (3) Limitation.--Not more than 20 percent of the amounts 
     made available from the Fund for any fiscal year may be used 
     for projects relating to the conservation of North American 
     crane species.
       (c) Acceptance and Use of Donations.--
       (1) In general.--The Secretary may accept and use donations 
     to provide assistance under section 4.
       (2) Transfer of donations.--Amounts received by the 
     Secretary in the form of donations shall be transferred to 
     the Secretary of the Treasury for deposit in the Fund.


       (a) In General.--To assist in carrying out this Act, the 
     Secretary may convene an advisory group consisting of 
     individuals representing public and private organizations 
     actively involved in the conservation of cranes.
       (b) Public Participation.--
       (1) Meetings.--The advisory group shall--
       (A) ensure that each meeting of the advisory group is open 
     to the public; and
       (B) provide, at each meeting, an opportunity for interested 
     persons to present oral or written statements concerning 
     items on the agenda.

[[Page S261]]

       (2) Notice.--The Secretary shall provide to the public 
     timely notice of each meeting of the advisory group.
       (3) Minutes.--Minutes of each meeting of the advisory group 
     shall be kept by the Secretary and shall be made available to 
     the public.
       (c) Exemption From Federal Advisory Committee Act.--The 
     Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.) shall not 
     apply to the advisory group.

     SEC. 7. FUNDING.

       (a) Authorization of Appropriations.--There is authorized 
     to be appropriated to the Fund $5,000,000 for each of fiscal 
     years 2009 through 2013, to remain available until expended.
       (b) Offset.--Of amounts appropriated to, and available at 
     the discretion of, the Secretary for programmatic and 
     administrative expenditures, a total of $25,000,000 shall be 
     used to establish the Fund.
      By Mr. SANDERS (for himself and Mr. Leahy):
  S. 198. A bill to direct the Secretary of Transportation to waive 
non-Federal share requirements for certain transportation programs and 
activities through September 30, 2009; to the Committee on Environment 
and Public Works.
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I rise today with my colleague from 
Vermont, Senator Sanders, to introduce a bill that will help states 
struggling with meeting non-federal match requirements for federal 
transportation funding under the Safe, Accountable, Flexible and 
Efficient Transportation Equity Act, SAFETEA. Representative Peter 
Welch from Vermont introduced identical legislation in the House today 
as well.
  Our States are struggling with enormous budget deficits due to the 
current economic crisis. As a result, nearly every one of our states 
has been forced to make drastic cuts to their transportation budgets. 
On top of that, state and local governments around the country report 
they do not have the necessary funding in their budgets to match any 
new Federal transportation money possibly forthcoming in an economic 
stimulus package. The inability of our states to improve roads and 
bridges, support public transit agencies facing record demand, and 
upgrade rail lines puts a strain on our already sagging economy.
  Waiving the non-federal match requirements for all highway, transit, 
and rail projects contained in SAFETEA would allow cash-strapped states 
to implement high priority transportation projects immediately--at no 
additional cost to the Federal Government. Since State and local 
transportation officials have ready-to-go projects that simply cannot 
move forward without untying the strings of the required match, our 
legislation would waive the non-federal matching requirements of 
SAFETEA through September 30, 2009.
  I hope my colleagues will take a good look at our bill and support 
this important legislation that will stimulate needed transportation 
infrastructure investments all across the country.
      By Mr. SPECTER (for himself and Mr. Casey):
  S. 199. A -bill to establish the Steel Industry National Historic 
Site in the State of Pennsylvania; to the Committee on Energy and 
Natural Resources.
  Mr. SPECTER. Mr President, I have sought recognition to introduce 
legislation that will honor the importance of the steel industry in the 
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Nation by creating the ``Steel 
Industry National Historic Site'' in southwestern Pennsylvania.
  The importance of the steel industry to the development of the United 
States cannot be overstated. A national historic site devoted to the 
history of the steel industry will afford all Americans the opportunity 
to celebrate this rich heritage, which is symbolic of the work ethic 
endemic to this great Nation. The legislation offered today would 
create a national historic site that would be affiliated with the 
National Park Service. There is no better place to honor our Nation's 
steel industry heritage than in southwestern Pennsylvania, which played 
a significant role in early industrial America and continues today.
  I have long supported efforts to preserve and enhance the historical 
steel-related heritage through the Rivers of Steel National Heritage 
Area, which includes the city of Pittsburgh, and seven southwestern 
Pennsylvania counties: Allegheny, Armstrong, Fayette, Greene, 
Washington, and Westmoreland. I have sought and been very pleased with 
congressional support for the important work within the Rivers of Steel 
Heritage Area. I have consistently advocated for increased funding to 
support our National Heritage Areas and I am hopeful that this support 
will continue. However, more than just resources are necessary to 
ensure the historical recognition of this site and our steel heritage. 
That is why I am introducing this legislation today.
  It is important to note why Pennsylvania should be the home of the 
national site that my legislation authorizes. The combination of a 
strong workforce, valuable natural resources, and Pennsylvania's 
strategic location in the heavily populated northeastern United States 
allowed the steel industry to thrive in the 19th and 20th centuries. 
Today, the remaining buildings and sites that were devoted to steel 
production are threatened with deterioration. Many of these sites are 
nationally significant and perfectly suited for the study and 
interpretation of this crucial period in our Nation's development. Some 
of these sites include the Carrie Furnace Complex, the Hot Metal 
Bridge, and the United States Steel Homestead Works, which would all 
become a part of the Steel Industry National Historic Site under my 
legislation. As testimony of the area's historic significance, on 
September 20, 2006, the Carrie Furnaces were designated as a National 
Historic Landmark by the Secretary of the Interior.
  Highlights of this proposed national historic site would commemorate 
a wide range of accomplishments and topics for historical preservation 
and interpretation, including industrial technology advancements and 
milestones in labor-management relations. One of the sites that would 
be included in the historic site would be the location of the Battle of 
the Homestead, waged in 1892 between steelworkers and Pinkerton guards. 
The Battle of the Homestead marked a pivotal moment in our Nation's 
workers' rights movement. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 
individuals, and public and private entities have attempted to protect 
and preserve resources such as the Homestead battleground and the Hot 
Metal Bridge. For the benefit and inspiration of present and future 
generations, it is time for the Federal Government to join this effort 
to recognize their importance with the additional protection I provide 
in this bill.
  I commend my colleague, Representative Doyle, who has been a 
longstanding leader in this preservation effort and who has sponsored 
this legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives. I look forward 
to working with officials in southwestern Pennsylvania and Mr. August 
Carlino, president and chief executive officer of the Steel Industry 
Heritage Corporation, to bring this national historic site designation 
to fruition. I urge my colleagues to support this legislation.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the text of the bill be 
printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the text of the bill was ordered to be 
printed in the Record, as follows:

                                 S. 199

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,


       This Act may be cited as the ``Steel Industry National 
     Historic Site Act''.


       (a) Findings.--The Congress finds the following:
       (1) Certain sites and structures in the Commonwealth of 
     Pennsylvania symbolize in physical form the heritage of the 
     steel industry of the United States.
       (2) Certain buildings and other structures in the 
     Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are nationally significant 
     historical resources, including the United States Steel 
     Homestead Works, the Carrie Furnace complex, and the Hot 
     Metal Bridge.
       (3) Despite substantial efforts for cultural preservation 
     and historical interpretation by the Commonwealth of 
     Pennsylvania and by individuals and public and private 
     entities in the Commonwealth, these buildings and other 
     structures may be lost without the assistance of the Federal 
       (b) Purposes.--The purposes of this Act are to ensure the 
     preservation, interpretation, visitor enjoyment, and 
     maintenance of the nationally significant historical and 
     cultural sites and structures described in subsection (a) for 
     the benefit and inspiration of present and future 


       (a) Establishment.--The Steel Industry National Historic 
     Site is hereby established

[[Page S262]]

     as a unit of the National Park System in the Commonwealth of 
       (b) Description.--
       (1) Inclusion of certain property.--Subject to paragraph 
     (2), the historic site shall consist of the following 
     properties, each of which relate to the former United States 
     Steel Homestead Works, as depicted on the map entitled 
     ``Steel Industry National Historic Site'', dated November 
     2003, and numbered 80,000:
       (A) The historic location of the Battle of Homestead site 
     in the borough of Munhall, Pennsylvania, consisting of 
     approximately 3 acres of land, including the pumphouse and 
     water tower and related structures, within the property 
     bounded by the Monongahela River, the CSX railroad, 
     Waterfront Drive, and the Damascus-Marcegaglia Steel Mill.
       (B) The historic location of the Carrie Furnace complex in 
     the boroughs of Swissvale and Rankin, Pennsylvania, 
     consisting of approximately 35 acres of land, including blast 
     furnaces 6 and 7, the ore yard, the cast house, the blowing 
     engine house, the AC power house, and related structures, 
     within the property bounded by the proposed southwesterly 
     right-of-way line needed to accommodate the Mon/Fayette 
     Expressway and the relocated CSX railroad right-of-way, the 
     Monongahela River, and a property line drawn northeast to 
     southwest approximately 100 yards east of the AC power house.
       (C) The historic location of the Hot Metal Bridge, 
     consisting of the Union railroad bridge and its approaches, 
     spanning the Monongahela River and connecting the mill sites 
     in the boroughs of Rankin and Munhall, Pennsylvania.
       (2) Availability of map.--The map referred to in paragraph 
     (1) shall be available for public inspection in an 
     appropriate office of the National Park Service.
       (c) Acquisition of Property.--To further the purposes of 
     this section, the Secretary of the Interior may acquire, only 
     by donation, property for inclusion in the historic site as 
       (1) Any land or interest in land with respect to the 
     property identified in subsection (b)(1).
       (2) Up to 10 acres of land adjacent to or in the general 
     proximity of the property identified in such subsection, for 
     the development of visitor, administrative, museum, 
     curatorial, and maintenance facilities.
       (3) Personal property associated with, and appropriate for, 
     the interpretation of the historic site.
       (d) Private Property Protections.--Nothing in this Act 
     shall be construed--
       (1) to require any private property owner to permit public 
     access (including Federal, State, or local government access) 
     to the private property; or
       (2) to modify any provision of Federal, State, or local law 
     with regard to public access to or use of private property.
       (e) Administration.--The Secretary of the Interior shall 
     administer the historic site in accordance with this Act and 
     the provisions of law generally applicable to units of the 
     National Park System, including the Act of August 25, 1916 
     (16 U.S.C. 1 et seq.), and the Act of August 21, 1935 (16 
     U.S.C. 461 et seq.).
       (f) Cooperative Agreements.--
       (1) In general.--Until such time as the Secretary of the 
     Interior has acquired the property identified in subsection 
     (b)(1), as depicted on the map referred to in such 
     subsection, the Secretary may enter into a cooperative 
     agreement with any interested individual, public or private 
     agency, organization, or institution to further the purposes 
     of the historic site.
       (2) Contrary purposes.--Any payment made by the Secretary 
     pursuant to a cooperative agreement under this subsection 
     shall be subject to an agreement that conversion, use, or 
     disposal of the project so assisted for purposes contrary to 
     the purpose of the historic site, as determined by the 
     Secretary, shall result in a right of the United States to 
     reimbursement of all funds made available to such a project 
     or the proportion of the increased value of the project 
     attributable to such funds as determined at the time of such 
     conversion, use, or disposal, whichever is greater.
       (g) Technical Assistance.--The Secretary of the Interior 
     may provide technical assistance to any person for--
       (1) the preservation of historic structures within the 
     historic site; and
       (2) the maintenance of the natural and cultural landscape 
     of the historic site.
       (h) General Management Plan.--
       (1) Preparation.--Not later than three years after the date 
     on which funds are first made available to carry out this 
     Act, the Secretary of the Interior shall prepare a general 
     management plan for the historic site that will incorporate 
     or otherwise address substantive comments made during the 
     consultation required by paragraph (2).
       (2) Consultation.--The Secretary shall prepare the general 
     management plan in consultation with--
       (A) an appropriate official of each appropriate political 
     subdivision of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that has 
     jurisdiction over all or a portion of the lands included in 
     the historic site;
       (B) an appropriate official of the Steel Industry Heritage 
     Corporation; and
       (C) private property owners in the vicinity of the historic 
       (3) Submission of plan to congress.--Upon the completion of 
     the general management plan, the Secretary shall submit a 
     copy of the plan to the Committee on Energy and Natural 
     Resources of the Senate and the Committee on Resources of the 
     House of Representatives.