H.R.2547 - Oceans Act of 1997105th Congress (1997-1998)
|Sponsor:||Rep. Farr, Sam [D-CA-17] (Introduced 09/25/1997)|
|Committees:||House - Resources|
|Latest Action:||House - 03/19/1998 Subcommittee Hearings Held. (All Actions)|
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Text: H.R.2547 — 105th Congress (1997-1998)All Information (Except Text)
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Introduced in House (09/25/1997)
[Congressional Bills 105th Congress] [From the U.S. Government Printing Office] [H.R. 2547 Introduced in House (IH)] 105th CONGRESS 1st Session H. R. 2547 To develop and maintain a coordinated, comprehensive, and long-range national policy with respect to ocean and coastal activities that will assist the Nation in meeting specified objectives, and for other purposes. _______________________________________________________________________ IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES September 25, 1997 Mr. Farr of California (for himself, Mr. Saxton, Mr. Abercrombie, Mr. Miller of California, Mr. Gilchrest, Mr. Pallone, Mr. Brown of California, Mr. Goss, Mr. Kennedy of Rhode Island, and Mr. Ortiz) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Resources _______________________________________________________________________ A BILL To develop and maintain a coordinated, comprehensive, and long-range national policy with respect to ocean and coastal activities that will assist the Nation in meeting specified objectives, and for other purposes. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. This Act may be cited as the ``Oceans Act of 1997''. SEC. 2. CONGRESSIONAL FINDINGS; PURPOSE AND OBJECTIVES. (a) Findings.--The Congress makes the following findings: (1) Covering more than two-thirds of the Earth's surface, the oceans and Great Lakes play a critical role in the global water cycle and in regulating climate, sustain a large part of Earth's biodiversity, provide an important source of food and a wealth of other natural products, act as a frontier to scientific exploration, are critical to national security, and provide a vital means of transportation. The coastal zone, transition between land and open ocean, is a region of remarkably high biological productivity, and is of considerable importance for commercial and recreational activities. (2) Ocean and coastal resources are susceptible to change as a direct and indirect result of human activities, and such changes can significantly impact the ability of the oceans and Great Lakes to provide the benefits upon which the Nation depends. Changes in ocean and coastal processes could affect global climate patterns, marine productivity and biodiversity, environmental quality, national security, economic competitiveness, availability of energy, vulnerability to natural hazards, and transportation safety and efficiency. (3) Ocean and coastal resources are not infinite, and human pressure on them is increasing. One half of the Nation's population lives within 50 miles of the coast, many ocean and coastal resources once considered inexhaustible are now depleted, and if population trends continue as expected, pressure on, and conflicting demands for, ocean and coastal resources will increase further as will vulnerability to coastal hazards. (4) Research has uncovered the link between oceanic and atmospheric processes and improved understanding of world climate patterns and forecasts. Important new advances, including availability of military technology, have made feasible the exploration of large areas of the ocean which were once inaccessible. In designating 1998 as ``The Year of the Ocean'', the United Nations highlights the value of increasing our knowledge of the oceans. (5) It has been 30 years since the Commission on Marine Science, Engineering, and Resources (known as the Stratton Commission) conducted a comprehensive examination of ocean and coastal activities that led to enactment of major legislation and the establishment of key oceanic and atmospheric institutions. (6) A review of existing activities and an assessment of future needs is essential to respond to the changes that have occurred over the past 3 decades, and to develop an effective new policy for the 21st century to conserve and sustainably use ocean and coastal resources, protect the marine environment, explore ocean frontiers, ensure human safety, and enhance marine technologies and economic opportunities. (7) While a significant Federal ocean and coastal program is underway, that program would benefit from a coherent national ocean and coastal policy, improved interagency coordination, and strengthened partnerships with State, private, and international entities engaged in ocean and coastal activities. (b) Purpose and Objectives.--The purpose of this Act is to develop and implement a coordinated, comprehensive, and long-range national policy with respect to ocean and coastal activities that will assist the Nation in meeting the following objectives: (1) The protection of life and property against natural and manmade hazards. (2) Responsible stewardship of fisheries and other living and non-living ocean and coastal resources. (3) The protection of the marine environment. (4) The enhancement of ocean and coastal activities, and the resolution of conflicts among users of the marine environment. (5) The expansion of human knowledge of the marine environment, including the role of the oceans in climate and global environmental change, and the advancement of education and training in fields related to ocean and coastal activities. (6) The continued investment in, and development and improvement of, the capabilities, performance, use, and efficiency of technologies for use in ocean and coastal activities. (7) Close cooperation among all government agencies and departments involved in the regulation of ocean and coastal activities, and in ensuring the availability and appropriate allocation of Federal funding, personnel, facilities, and equipment for such activities. (8) The preservation of the role of the United States as a leader in ocean and coastal activities, and, when it is in the national interest, the cooperation by the United States with other nations and international organizations in ocean and coastal activities. SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS. As used in this Act-- (1) The term ``Commission'' means the Commission on Ocean Policy. (2) The term ``marine environment'' includes-- (A) the oceans, including coastal and offshore waters; (B) lands within the coastal zone and submerged lands of the continental shelf; (C) the Great Lakes; and (D) the ocean and coastal resources thereof. (3) The term ``ocean and coastal activities'' includes oceanography, coastal zone management, fisheries, marine wildlife conservation, and other ocean and coastal resource stewardship and use, marine aquaculture, energy and mineral resource extraction, and recreation and tourism. (4) The term ``ocean and coastal resource'' includes any living or non-living natural resource (including all forms of wildlife found in the marine environment or Great Lakes, habitat, biodiversity, minerals, oil, and gas) and any significant historic, cultural or aesthetic resource. SEC. 4. NATIONAL OCEAN AND COASTAL POLICY. (a) Executive Responsibilities.--The President shall-- (1) develop and maintain a coordinated, comprehensive, and long-range national policy with respect to ocean and coastal activities; and (2) with regard to Federal agencies and departments-- (A) review significant ocean and coastal activities, including plans, priorities, accomplishments, and infrastructure requirements; (B) plan and implement an integrated program of ocean and coastal activities including, but not limited to, oceanography, stewardship of ocean and coastal resources, protection of the marine environment, and marine recreation and tourism; (C) designate responsibility for funding and conducting ocean and coastal activities; and (D) ensure cooperation and resolve differences arising from laws and regulations applicable to ocean and coastal activities which result in conflicts among participants in such activities. (b) Assistance and Advice.--The President shall carry out subsection (a) with the assistance of the heads of appropriate executive departments, agencies, and other entities, and with the advice of the Commission. (c) Cooperation and Consultation.--In carrying out responsibilities under this Act, the President may use such staff, interagency, and advisory arrangements as the President finds necessary and appropriate and shall consult with non-Federal organizations and individuals involved in ocean and coastal activities. SEC. 5. COMMISSION ON OCEAN POLICY. (a) Establishment.-- (1) Membership.--The President shall, within 90 days of the enactment of this Act, establish a Commission on Ocean Policy. The Commission shall be composed of 15 members appointed by the President in consultation with the Congress, and shall include individuals drawn from Federal and State governments, industry, academic and technical institutions, and public interest organizations involved with ocean and coastal activities, but not more than 3 members shall be from the Federal Government. (2) Advisory members.--In addition, the Commission shall have 4 Members of Congress, who shall serve as advisory members. One of the advisory members shall be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives. One of the advisory members shall be appointed by the minority leader of the House of Representatives. One of the advisory members shall be appointed by the majority leader of the Senate. One of the advisory members shall be appointed by the minority leader of the Senate. The advisory members shall not participate, except in an advisory capacity, in the formulation of the findings and recommendations of the Commission. (b) Findings and Recommendations.--The Commission shall report to the President and the Congress on a comprehensive national ocean and coastal policy to carry out the purpose and objectives of this Act. In developing the findings and recommendations of the report, the Commission shall-- (1) review and suggest any modifications to United States laws, regulations, and department or agency structure, organization, and practices that may be necessary to define and implement such policy; (2) assess the condition and adequacy of investment in existing and planned facilities and equipment associated with ocean and coastal activities including human resources, vessels, computers, satellites, and other appropriate technologies and platforms; (3) review existing ocean and coastal activities of Federal agencies and departments and the contribution of such activities to oceanography, ocean and coastal resource management, and protection of the marine environment; (4) examine and suggest mechanisms to address the interrelationships among ocean and coastal activities, the legal and regulatory framework in which they occur, and their interconnected and cumulative effects on the marine environment, ocean and coastal resources, and marine productivity and biodiversity; (5) review the known and anticipated demands for ocean and coastal resources, including an examination of opportunities and limitations with respect to the use of ocean and coastal resources within the exclusive economic zone, projected impacts in coastal areas, and the adequacy of existing efforts to manage such use and minimize user conflicts; (6) evaluate relationships among Federal, State, and local governments and the private sector for planning and carrying out ocean and coastal activities and address the most appropriate division of responsibility for such activities; (7) identify opportunities for the development of or investment in new products, technologies, or markets that could contribute to the objectives of this Act; (8) consider the relationship of the ocean and coastal policy of the United States to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (and related international agreements) and actions available to the United States to collaborate with other nations, including the development of cooperative international programs for oceanography, protection of the marine environment, and ocean and coastal resource management; and (9) engage in any other preparatory work deemed necessary to carry out the duties of the Commission pursuant to this Act. (c) Chairman.--The Commission shall elect 1 of its members as Chairman. The Chairman of the Commission shall be responsible for-- (1) the assignment of duties and responsibilities among staff personnel and their continuing supervision; and (2) the use and expenditures of funds available to the Commission. (d) Compensation.--Members of the Commission appointed from outside the Government shall, when engaged in the actual performance of duties of the Commission, receive reimbursement of travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence as authorized for persons employed intermittently in the Government service under section 3109 of title 5, United States Code. Members of the Commission appointed from within the Government shall serve without additional compensation to that received for their services to the Government but shall be reimbursed for travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence. (e) Staff.-- (1) The Commission shall have a Director who shall be appointed by the Chairman of the Commission and shall be knowledgeable in administrative management and ocean and coastal policy. (2) Upon consultation at the request of the Commission, the head of any Federal Agency shall detail personnel of the agency to the Commission to assist the Commission in carrying out its functions under this Act. To the extent feasible, such detail shall be on a reimbursable basis. (3) The Commission may accept and use the services of volunteers serving without compensation, and reimburse volunteers for travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, as authorized by section 5703 of title 5, United States Code. Except for the purposes of chapter 81 of title 5, United States Code, relating to compensation for work injuries, and chapter 171 of title 28, United States Code, relating to tort claims, a volunteer under this subsection may not be considered to be an employee of the United States for any purpose. (4) To the extent that funds are available, and subject to the rules that may be prescribed by the Commission, the Director may procure the temporary and intermittent services of experts and consultants under section 3109(b) of title 5, United States Code, but at rates not to exceed the rate of pay for GS-15, step 7 of the General Schedule. (f) Administration.-- (1) All meetings of the Commission shall be open to the public, except when a majority of the members of the Commission (in the presence of a quorum) determine that the meeting or any portion of it may be closed to the public. Interested persons shall be permitted to appear at open meetings and present oral or written statements on the subject matter of the meeting. The Commission may administer oaths or affirmations to any person appearing before it. (2) All open meetings of the Commission shall be preceded by timely public notice in the Federal Register of the time, place, and subject of the meeting. (3) Minutes of each meeting shall be kept and shall contain a record of the people present, a description of the discussion that occurred, and copies of all statements filed. Subject to section 552 of title 5, United States Code, the minutes and records of all meetings and other documents that were made available to or prepared for the Commission shall be available for public inspection and copying at a single location in the offices of the Commission. (4) The Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.) does not apply to the Commission. (g) Cooperation With Other Agencies.-- (1) The Commission is authorized to secure directly from any Federal agency or department any information it deems necessary to carry out its functions under this Act. Each such agency or department is authorized to cooperate with the Commission and, to the extent permitted by law, to furnish such information to the Commission, upon the request of the Chairman of the Commission. (2) The Commission may use the United States mails in the same manner and under the same conditions as other departments and agencies of the United States. (3) The General Services Administration shall provide to the Commission on a reimbursable basis the administrative support services that the Commission may request. (4) The Commission may enter into contracts with Federal and State agencies, private firms, institutions, and individuals to assist the Commission in carrying out its duties. The Commission may purchase and contract without regard to sections 303 of the Federal Property and Administration Services Act of 1949 (41 U.S.C. 253), section 18 of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy Act (41 U.S.C. 416), and section 8 of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 637), pertaining to competition and publication requirements, and may arrange for printing without regard to the provisions of title 44, United States Code. The contracting authority of the Commission under this Act is effective only to the extent that appropriations are available for contracting purposes. (h) Reports.--The Commission shall submit to the President and the Congress not later than 18 months after the establishment of the Commission, a report of its findings and recommendations. After submission of the report, the Commission shall report at the request of the President or the Congress and in any case not less than once every 5 years, on the Nation's progress in meeting the purposes and objectives set forth in section 2(b). (i) Authorization of Appropriations.--There are hereby authorized to be appropriated to support the activities of the Commission-- (1) a total of $6,000,000 for the 2-fiscal year period beginning October 1, 1997; and (2) such sums as are necessary for the 10-fiscal year period beginning October 1, 1999. SEC. 6. REPORT AND BUDGET COORDINATION. (a) Biennial Report.--The President shall transmit to the Congress biennially in January a report, which shall include-- (1) a description of the ocean and coastal activities and related accomplishments of all independent agencies and departments of the United States during the preceding 2 fiscal years; and (2) an evaluation of such activities and accomplishments in terms of the purpose and objectives of this Act. Reports made under this section shall contain such recommendations for legislation as the President may consider necessary or desirable. (b) Budget Coordination.-- (1) Each department or independent agency involved in ocean and coastal activities shall include with its annual request for appropriations a report which-- (A) identifies significant elements of the proposed agency or department budget relating to ocean and coastal activities; and (B) specifies how each such element contributes to the implementation of the national ocean and coastal policy developed under section 4(a)(1). (2) The President shall, in a timely fashion, provide the head of each such department and independent agency with an opportunity to review and comment on the budget estimate of each such agency or department. (3) The President shall identify in each annual budget submitted to the Congress under section 1105 of title 31, United States Code, those elements of each agency or department budget that contribute to the implementation of the national ocean and coastal policy developed under section 4(a)(1). SEC. 7. REPEAL OF 1966 STATUTE. The Marine Resources and Engineering Development Act of 1966 (33 U.S.C. 1101 et seq.) is repealed. <all>