Text: S.3122 — 102nd Congress (1991-1992)All Information (Except Text)

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S 3122 IS
102d CONGRESS
2d Session
 S. 3122
To establish a commission, with Federal, State, and private representation,
for the purpose of promoting the environmental and economic interests of
the Gulf of Mexico.
IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
August 3 (legislative day, JULY 23), 1992
Mr. BENTSEN (for himself, Mr. JOHNSTON,  and Mr. BREAUX) introduced the
following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on
Environment and Public Works
A BILL
To establish a commission, with Federal, State, and private representation,
for the purpose of promoting the environmental and economic interests of
the Gulf of Mexico.
  Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
  States of America in Congress assembled,
SHORT TITLE
  SECTION 1. This Act may be cited as the `Gulf of Mexico Commission Act
  of 1992'.
FINDINGS
  SEC. 2.  (a) ECONOMIC IMPACT- The Congress makes the following findings
  concerning economic activities in the Gulf of Mexico region:
  (1) The Gulf of Mexico supplies over 50 percent of the domestic fish and
  seafood market, making it one of the world's most significant fisheries.
  (2) 45 percent of the domestic import/export tonnage passes through ports
  located in the Gulf of Mexico.
  (3) Over 90 percent of United States and Mexican oil production is derived
  from offshore oil wells located in the Gulf of Mexico. Payments to the
  United States Treasury under Outer Continental Shelf production leases
  have totaled more than $80,000,000,000 over the past 30 years, which is
  only exceeded by Federal income tax revenue.
  (4) Offshore oil and gas  exploration in the Gulf of Mexico utilizes a
  fleet of approximately 200 mobile rigs that is supported by a multibillion
  dollar marine service and supply industry.
  (5) The rapidly growing beach resort and recreation industry along the Gulf
  of Mexico coastlines generates about $10,000,000,000 per year in revenues.
  (6) Wetlands in the Gulf of Mexico region provide habitat for more than
  75 percent of North America's migratory waterfowl and a breeding ground
  for a wide variety of sport and commercial fish and shellfish.
  (b) ENVIRONMENTAL THREATS- The Congress makes the following findings
  concerning environmental threats to the Gulf of Mexico's ecological system:
  (1) Excessively low levels of oxygen have caused up to 3,000 square miles
  of bottom waters known as the dead zone to be documented off the Louisiana
  and Texas coasts. This phenomenon is caused by nutrient runoff and water
  pollution that drains into the Gulf.
  (2) Three-fourths of the North American landmass drains into the Gulf. Urban
  and agricultural runoff, including pesticides, animal waste, motor oil,
  industrial and chemical waste, fertilizers, and solid waste from this
  enormous area drain directly into the Gulf of Mexico.
  (3) Concerns about human health have resulted in the permanent or conditional
  closure of 3.4 million acres of shellfish-growing areas along the Gulf of
  Mexico coast.
  (4) The entire Gulf of Mexico region is experiencing a gradual and
  significant loss of inland and coastal wetlands. Furthermore, coastal
  erosion problems are rampant, which diminish hurricane protection and
  jeopardize intercoastal waterways. Some rapidly eroding barrier islands
  are expected to completely disappear within the next 30 years.
  (5) Since approximately 92-to-98 percent of the Gulf of Mexico's commercial
  fish and shellfish rely on estuaries for at least part of their life cycle,
  the continued rapid loss of wetland and seagrass habitats threatens the
  continued productivity of commercial fishery stocks.
  (6) The Gulf of Mexico shoreline encounters tons of trash per mile.
  (7) Marine oil spills are not uncommon and the risk of a majority calamity
  persists.
DEFINITIONS
  SEC. 3. In this Act, the term--
  (1) `Commission' means the Gulf Coast Commission established under section
  4; and
  (2) `Gulf State' means Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, or Texas.
ESTABLISHMENT OF COMMISSION
  SEC. 4. Upon receiving the written agreement of the Governor of each
  Gulf State, the President shall establish a Gulf Coast Commission for the
  purpose of promoting, through the comprehensive plan described in section
  6, the environmental and economic  interests of the Gulf of Mexico by
  coordinating the variety of public authorities and private organizations
  that are engaged in evaluating and responding to problems relating to the
  Gulf of Mexico. The Commission shall hold its first meeting within 3 months
  after the President receives that written agreement.
MEMBERSHIP OF COMMISSION
  SEC. 5. (a) COMPOSITION- The Commission shall have the following members:
  (1) The Governor of each Gulf State, or the Governor's designee.
  (2) The president of the senate of each Gulf State legislature, or the
  designee of the president of the senate.
  (3) The speaker of the house of representatives of each Gulf State
  legislature, or the speaker's designee.
  (4) Two individuals from each Gulf State who shall not be members, officers,
  or employees of either the executive or legislative branch of that State
  and who shall be appointed by the Governor of that State.
  (5) Two officials of the United States Government, who shall be appointed
  by the President.
  (b) TERMS OF OFFICE- Each Commission member shall serve for a term of 4
  years, except that--
  (1) a Commission member described in subsection (a) (1), (2), or (3) shall
  not serve beyond the expiration of the member's executive or legislative
  term of office;
  (2) a Commission member described in subsection (a)(4) shall not serve
  beyond the term of office of the Governor who made the appointment; and
  (3) a Commission member described in subsection (a)(5) shall not serve
  beyond the term of office of the President who made the appointment.
  (c) REAPPOINTMENT- Any member of the Commission may be reappointed, if
  eligible under subsection (a).
  (d) CHAIRMAN AND VICE CHAIRMAN- The Commission shall annually elect a
  Chairman and Vice Chairman from among its members.
FUNCTIONS OF COMMISSION
  SEC. 6. (a) COMPREHENSIVE PLAN- (1) The principal function of the
  Commission shall be the preparation of a comprehensive plan to guide the
  development, use, management, and conservation of the resources of the Gulf
  of Mexico. The plan shall be submitted, within 12 months after the first
  meeting of the Commission, to each of the Gulf States, to the President,
  and to the Congress. Revisions to the plan shall be prepared and submitted
  each year thereafter in the same manner.
  (2) The President shall distribute to appropriate Federal agencies
  copies of any plan or revision thereof prepared and submitted under
  paragraph (1). Those agencies shall include the Department of Commerce, the
  Environmental Protection Agency, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Department
  of Energy, the Department of the Interior, and the Department of Agriculture.
  (b) RECOMMENDATIONS- The Commission, as part of the comprehensive plan
  described in subsection (a), shall make recommendations regarding--
  (1) the orderly, integrated, and comprehensive development, use, and
  conservation of the resources of the Gulf of Mexico;
  (2) balance among industrial, commercial, agricultural, water supply,
  residential, recreational, and other legitimate uses of the Gulf of
  Mexico's resources;
  (3) necessary improvements in the Gulf of Mexico's existing management
  system so as to maximize the public benefits of the gulf's resources
  inuring to the gulf region and the entire Nation;
  (4) cooperation among various governmental entities in the gulf region on
  matters affecting the Gulf of Mexico;
  (5) cooperation between the Gulf States, the Federal Government, and the
  Government of Mexico, in connection with the management and protection of
  the Gulf of Mexico's resources;
  (6) the appropriate role for the United States Government in the management
  and protection of the significant national resources found in the Gulf
  of Mexico;
  (7) uniform or other laws, ordinances, or regulations relating to the
  development, use, and conservation of the Gulf of Mexico's resources
  to the respective Gulf States and the United States Government, as well
  as other governments, political subdivisions, agencies and agencies in
  intergovernmental bodies having interests in, or jurisdiction sufficient
  to affect, conditions in the Gulf of Mexico and its environs, or any
  portion thereof;
  (8) agreements between the United States and Mexico that would positively
  affect the development, use, and conservation of the Gulf of Mexico's
  resources;
  (9) mutual arrangements to be embodied in concurrent or reciprocal
  legislation promulgated by United States Congress and the Mexico Congress;
  (10) improvements to the overall transportation infrastructure in the Gulf
  of Mexico and its environs, or any portion thereof; and
  (11) means of improving and maintaining the productivity of the various
  industries doing business in the Gulf of Mexico.
  (c) OTHER FUNCTIONS- In addition to the preparation and submission under
  this section of the comprehensive plan and accompanying recommendations,
  the Commission may, at the request of the United States Government,
  assist in the negotiation and formulation of any treaty or other mutual
  arrangement or agreement between the United States and Mexico that relates
  to the Gulf of Mexico, its environs, or any portion thereof.
  (d) PUBLIC PARTICIPATION- In preparing the comprehensive plan or any
  revision thereof, the Commission is encouraged to publish periodic notices
  in the Federal Register and general circulation newspapers in the Gulf
  States requesting  written public comment on the plan. The Commission
  shall ensure that copies of the plan and each plan revision are available
  for inspection by the public at reasonable times and locations.
POWERS OF COMMISSION
  SEC. 7. The Commission shall have the power to--
  (1) collect, compile, correlate, tabulate, interpret, summarize, analyze,
  distribute, and report on technical and other data relating to the resources
  of the Gulf of Mexico and its environs, or any portion thereof;
  (2) conduct studies (directly or through contracts, grants, or other
  indirect means) regarding existing or potential problems within the Gulf
  of Mexico and its environs, or any portion thereof;
  (3) pursue grants and other financial assistance as may be provided by public
  and private sources to facilitate any purposes of this Act, pursuant to such
  terms and conditions as may be established by the laws of the respective
  Gulf States, the Government of Mexico, and the United States Government;
  (4) prepare, publish, and disseminate information relating to the activities
  and recommendations of the Commission; and
  (5) make recommendations and take all actions necessary and proper to execute
  the powers conferred upon the Commission by this Act: Provided, That no such
  recommendation or action shall have the force of law in, or be binding upon,
  any Gulf State, the United States Government, or the Government of Mexico.
ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISIONS
  SEC. 8. (a) IN GENERAL- For the purpose of carrying out this Act, the
  Commission may--
  (1) adopt bylaws governing the conduct of the Commission's activities
  and meetings;
  (2) hold such hearings, sit and act at such times and places, take such
  testimony, receive such evidence, and print or otherwise reproduce and
  distribute so much of its proceedings and reports thereon as the Commission
  determines appropriate;
  (3) acquire, furnish, and equip such office space as is necessary;
  (4) employ and compensate an executive director and such other personnel
  as the Commission determines appropriate, including consultants, at rates
  not in excess of the daily equivalent of the rate prescribed for grade
  GS-18 under section 5332 of title 5, United States Code, and retain and
  compensate by contract such professional or technical service firms as
  the Commission determines appropriate;
  (5) arrange for the services of personnel from any Gulf State or the United
  States, or any subdivision or agency thereof, or any intergovernmental
  agency; and
  (6) incur such necessary expenses and exercise such powers as are consistent
  with and reasonably required to perform the Commission's functions under
  this Act.
  (b) ASSISTANCE BY FEDERAL DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES- At the request of
  the Commission, Federal departments and agencies may furnish information,
  personnel, and other assistance in support of the Commission's functions.
  (c) COMPENSATION- Members of the Commission shall serve without compensation,
  but shall be reimbursed for travel or transportation expenses under
  subchapter I of chapter 57 of title 5, United States Code, while away
  from their homes or regular places of business and engaged in the actual
  performance of their Commission duties.
  (d) ACCEPTANCE OF APPROPRIATIONS, DONATIONS, AND GRANTS- In addition to
  appropriations under this Act, the Commission may accept and use for its
  purposes and functions appropriations, donations, and grants of money,
  equipment, supplies, materials, and services from any State or any
  subdivision or agency thereof, or any intergovernmental agency.
  (e) ACCOUNTS AND AUDIT- The Commission shall keep accurate accounts of all
  receipts and disbursements. The accounts shall be audited at least annually
  in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards by independent
  certified or licensed public accountants. A report of the audit shall
  be included in and become a part of the annual report of the Commission,
  which shall be submitted to each Gulf State, the President, and the Congress.
  (f) INSPECTION OF ACCOUNTS- The accounts of the Commission shall be
  open at all reasonable times for inspection by representatives of the
  jurisdictions and agencies which make appropriations, donations, or grants
  to the Commission.
  (g) CONTINUATION- The Commission shall continue in existence until terminated
  by the President after receipt of a written request signed by the Governor
  of each Gulf State, or expressly terminated by law.
AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS
  SEC. 9. There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this Act
  $8,000,000 for fiscal year 1993, $8,000,000 for fiscal year 1994, $8,000,000
  for fiscal year 1995, and $8,000,000 for fiscal year 1996.