S.3122 - Gulf of Mexico Commission Act of 1992102nd Congress (1991-1992)
|Sponsor:||Sen. Bentsen, Lloyd M. [D-TX] (Introduced 08/03/1992)|
|Committees:||Senate - Environment and Public Works|
|Latest Action:||Senate - 08/03/1992 Read twice and referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works. (All Actions)|
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Text: S.3122 — 102nd Congress (1991-1992)All Information (Except Text)
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Introduced in Senate
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.