The Senate has gone on recess until September 13, but a few Senate committee chairmen and members are scheduling field hearings during the month away from Washington. They look like interesting sessions, with some manufacturing implications.

The Senate Commerce Committee has a field hearing set for Tuesday in the far, far north of Barrow, Ak., “The Changing Arctic: Implications for Federal Resources and Local Communities [1].” Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) is a member of the committee.*

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), who chairs the Senate Small Business Committee, is holding a field hearing [2]Tuesday in Lafayette, La., “The Deepwater Drilling Moratorium: An Economic Disaster for Louisiana’s Small Businesses [3]?”

Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND), chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, is tending to home-state issues with three field hearings in eastern North Dakota [4]. (During the last recess in June, he held field hearings in western North Dakota.)

  • Monday, West Fargo, “Devils Lake Flooding Disaster: A Red River Valley Perspective”
  • Tuesday, Lisbon, “Devils Lake Flooding Disaster: How Should Downstream Impacts be Addressed?” (A great, great location for the hearing: The Stake Out Supper Club and Lounge [5])
  • Wednesday, Wahpeton, “Transportation Infrastructure’s Role in Economic Growth,” with testimony from representatives from Bobcat and Cargill.

Flooding in the enclosed Devils Lake Basin is an amazing natural phenomenon, the result of 17 wet years during which Devils Lake has risen 30 feet and quadrupled in size [6]. The associated costs are in the hundreds of millions of dollars. (Nearly $200 million for roads alone [7].)

* The hearing in Barrow was planned before the death of Sen. Ted Stevens, the former chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee. The current chairman, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), paid tribute to Stevens in a statement [8].