Summary: H.R.1815 — 104th Congress (1995-1996)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Reported to House amended, Part II (09/29/1995)


Title I: National Ocean Service

Title II: NOAA Marine Fishery Programs

Title III: Miscellaneous Provisions

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Authorization Act of 1995 - Title I: National Ocean Service - Authorizes appropriations for the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for: (1) mapping, charting, and geodesy; (2) observation and assessment; and (3) ocean and Great Lakes research. Authorizes contracts for hydrographic, geodetic, and photogrammetric surveying and mapping services in accordance with specified provisions of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949.

(Sec. 103) Mandates establishment and maintenance of the National Undersea Research Program and regional National Undersea Research Centers. Authorizes appropriations.

Title II: NOAA Marine Fishery Programs - Amends the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Marine Fisheries Program Authorization Act to authorize appropriations for the National Marine Fisheries Service for: (1) fisheries information collection and analysis; (2) fisheries conservation and management operations; and (3) fisheries State and industry assistance.

Authorizes appropriations for NOAA for operation of the Chesapeake Bay Estuarine Resources Office.

Title III: Miscellaneous Provisions - Authorizes appropriations for NOAA for: (1) executive direction and administrative activities; (2) acquisition, construction, maintenance, and operation of facilities; and (3) marine services.

(Sec. 302) Mandates conveyance to Massachusetts of the National Marine Fisheries Service laboratory in Gloucester.

(Sec. 303) Directs the Secretary of Commerce to clean up landfills, wastes, dumps, debris, storage tanks, property, hazardous or unsafe conditions, and contaminants on lands NOAA and its predecessor agencies transferred or is obligated to transfer to local entities or landowners on the Pribilof Islands, Alaska, under the Fur Seal Act of 1966.

(Sec. 304) Mandates (unless certain conditions exist) contracts for the use of vessels to: (1) conduct oceanographic and fisheries research, monitoring, enforcement, and management; and (2) acquire mapping and charting data necessary to carry out the NOAA mission. Allows multiyear contracts. Requires: (1) use of excess capacity of University National Oceanographic Laboratory System vessels; and (2) transfer of any vessels excess to NOAA needs to the National Defense Reserve Fleet (NDRF), allowing scrapping in accordance with specified provisions.

Establishes the National Marine Resources Administration Vessel Retirement Fund. Requires deposit into the Fund of funds received from the scrapping of NOAA NDRF vessels or resulting from the collision of the vessel Zachary into the NOAA research vessel Discoverer. Requires Fund moneys to be used to cover the Maritime Administration's costs of laying up and selling the vessels, with any additional moneys used to make separation payments to commissioned NOAA officers.

(Sec. 305) Limits the number of NOAA commissioned officers to 358 in FY 1996 and 50 in FY 1997, prohibiting any after FY 1997. Allows: (1) separation without separation pay; and (2) with the approval of the Secretaries of Defense and Transportation and the NOAA Administrator, transfer to the armed services, the Coast Guard, and the NOAA civil service, respectively. Repeals the Coast and Geodetic Survey Commissioned Officers' Act of 1948 and inconsistent provisions of Federal law. Makes unexpended balances of appropriations, allocations, and other funds connected to the NOAA corps of commissioned officers available for payments under specified provisions relating to retirement or separation of officers. Abolishes the Office of the NOAA Corps of Operations and the Commissioned Personnel Center.

(Sec. 306) Terminates the NOAA Fleet Modernization Program, the Global Leaning and Observations to Benefit the Environment Program, the Sea Grant oyster disease account, the Sea Grant zebra mussel account, VENTS, the Charleston, South Carolina Special Management Plan, the Lake Champlain study, the South Carolina cooperative Geodetic survey, the Chesapeake Bay data buoys, Great Lakes nearshore research, and mussel watch. Returns unobligated balances to the Treasury general fund.

(Sec. 307) Repeals: (1) the National Advisory Committee on Oceans and Atmosphere Act; (2) the Ocean Thermal Conversion Act of 1980; (3) titles IV (Regional Marine Research Programs) and V (National Coastal Monitoring) of the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act of 1972; (4) the Great Lakes Shoreline Mapping Act of 1987; (5) the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Tissue Bank Act; (6) the Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act of 1990; (7) provisions of the Sea Grant Program Improvement Act of 1976 relating to the sea grant international program; (8) provisions of the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 relating to management program development grants; (9) the NOAA Fleet Modernization Act; and (10) provisions of Federal law relating to fish research and experimentation, grants for commercial fishing education and training, the continuing study of migratory marine game fish, and the taking of sponges in the Gulf of Mexico and the Straits of Florida.

(Sec. 308) Mandates a revised budget structure that displays the amounts requested under a true program office and activity structure.

(Sec. 309) Authorizes a study of the role of ocean circulation in coastal ocean processes affecting the health of South Florida's coastal ecosystems and fisheries. Authorizes appropriations.

(Sec. 310) Mandates establishment of the Ocean Application Branch to make meteorological and other weather information developed by the Department of Defense Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center available for private, educational, and government use. Makes it the goal to support the Branch's activities through user fees. Authorizes appropriations for expenses not covered by the fees. Prohibits termination of the Branch before it fully funds its operations through user fees or FY 2000, whichever comes first.