Summary: S.2488 — 108th Congress (2003-2004)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed Senate amended (11/21/2004)

Marine Debris Research Prevention and Reduction Act - (Sec. 3) Establishes within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) a Marine Debris Prevention and Removal Program to reduce and prevent the occurrence and adverse impacts of marine debris on the marine environment and navigation safety.

Requires the Under Secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere of the Department of Commerce (Under Secretary) to: (1) undertake marine debris mapping, impact assessment, prevention, and removal efforts, with a focus on marine debris posing a threat to living marine resources (particularly endangered or protected species) and navigation safety; (2) improve efforts and actively seek to prevent and reduce commercial fishing gear losses, as well as to reduce adverse impacts of such gear on living marine resources and navigation safety; and (3) undertake outreach and education of stakeholders in the fishing, gear manufacturers, and other marine-dependent industries on threats associated with marine debris and approaches to identify, prevent, and remove such debris.

Prescribes guidelines for the Under Secretary to provide financial assistance to related projects, in the form of grants, through the Program for the projects.

(Sec. 4) Directs the Commandant of the Coast Guard to undertake specified measures to reduce violations of MARPOL Annex V (Annex V of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973) and the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships with respect to the discard of plastics and other garbage from vessels.

(Sec. 5) Establishes an Interagency Committee on Marine Debris (Committee) to: (1) coordinate a comprehensive program of marine debris research and activities among Federal agencies, in cooperation with nongovernmental organizations, industry, universities, State governments, Indian tribes, and other nations; and (2) foster cost-effective mechanisms to identify, reduce, and prevent marine debris.

Includes within such Committee membership the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Department of State.

Directs the Committee to report to Congress on the ecological and economic impact of marine debris, alternatives for reducing, mitigating, preventing, and controlling the harmful affects of marine debris, and the social and economic costs and benefits of such alternatives. Requires a biennial status update to Congress.

Directs the Secretary of Commerce, acting through the Administrator of NOAA and in cooperation with the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, to utilize the marine debris data to assist: (1) the Committee in ensuring coordination of research, monitoring, education, and regulatory actions; and (2) the Coast Guard in assessing the effectiveness of this Act and the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships in ensuring compliance, under the Marine Plastic Pollution Research and Control Act of 1987, with MARPOL Annex V.

Amends the Marine Plastic Pollution Research and Control Act of 1987 to conform with this Act by repealing the mandate for the existing Department of Commerce Marine Debris Coordinating Committee.

(Sec. 6) Directs the Committee to develop a strategy and pursue, in the International Maritime Organization and other appropriate international and regional forums, international action to reduce the incidence of marine debris.

(Sec. 7) Instructs the Under-Secretary, in coordination with the Committee, to maintain a Federal information clearinghouse on marine debris that will be available to researchers and other interested parties to improve source identification, data sharing, and monitoring efforts through collaborative research and open sharing of data.

(Sec. 9) Authorizes appropriations for FY 2005 through 2009.