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Great Lakes Article:

President signs spending measure on energy, water, Great Lakes drilling

Article courtesy of Detroit Free Press
November 13, 2001

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush signed a bill to cut spending aimed at keeping Russian nuclear weapons and expertise from unfriendly nations or terrorists and banning for two years new oil and gas drilling under the Great Lakes.

The measure also increases money for many water projects and renewable energy programs.

The provisions were part of a $25 billion measure to finance federal energy and water programs in 2002 that Bush signed on Monday along with two other spending bills. The White House announced the signings on Tuesday after Bush met with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Great Lakes provision would prevent federal agencies from issuing permits for new drilling through September 2003 to give time for the government to complete a study on environmental effects that drilling might have.

Until now, states bordering the Great Lakes have overseen drilling within the five.

None of those states -- New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin and Minnesota -- allow drilling from rigs in the water. Michigan is the only state that allows drilling from the shoreline angled to reach deposits under the lake.

The overall energy and water bill would provide $573 million more than last year and $2 billion above Bush's request. It is packed with billions of dollars worth of water projects and energy research spending for every state, items that perennially make the measure a favorite for lawmakers.

The president also signed a measure providing $32.5 billion to the Treasury Department and other agencies, including $4.8 billion for the Customs Service and the Treasury's other law enforcement bureaus.

The measure increases spending for the Internal Revenue Service and opens the door for lawmakers to give themselves a $4,900 pay raise next year to $150,000.

Bush signed a bill providing just under $3 billion for operations of lawmakers' offices and for those of the vice president, who is technically an employee of the Senate.

Bush has signed five of the 13 spending bills for the new fiscal year. All are overdue, since fiscal 2002 began Oct. 1. Lawmakers are wrangling over many of the others.

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