Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Reported to Senate amended (07/15/2008)

Marine Mammal Rescue Assistance Amendments of 2008 - Amends the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 to require the collection and updating of existing practices and procedures for rescuing and rehabilitating stranded or entangled (currently, only stranded) marine mammals. Authorizes entanglement response agreements. Deems authorized responders to be government employees for purposes of specified tort claims procedures provisions.

Renames the John H. Prescott Marine Mammal Rescue Assistance Grant Program as the John H. Prescott Marine Mammal Rescue and Response Funding Program and revises provisions, including adding providing for stranding events requiring emergency assistance to the program's duties. Authorizes the program to be carried out through grants, cooperative agreements, contracts, or other agreements or arrangements.

Authorizes appropriations through FY2010 to carry out the Program. Revises provisions concerning administrative costs and expenses.

Establishes in the Treasury the John H. Prescott Marine Mammal Rescue and Response Emergency Fund to provide for the recovery or treatment of marine mammals, the collection of data from living or dead stranded marine mammals for scientific research regarding marine mammal health, directly related facility operation costs, and stranding events requiring emergency assistance. Authorizes the Secretary of Commerce to: (1) enter into grants, cooperative agreements, contracts, or other appropriate agreements; and (2) solicit, accept, receive, hold, administer, and use gifts, devises, and bequests.

Limits support for a project under the provisions amended by this paragraph to $200,000 per year. (Current law limits support to 100,000 and makes no reference to the limit being per year.) Defines the term "emergency assistance" as: (1) assistance for a stranding event that is not an unusual mortality event, leads to an immediate increase in required costs in excess of regularly scheduled costs, may be cyclical or endemic, and may involve out-of-habitat animals; or (2) is determined by the Secretary to qualify for such assistance.

Authorizes appropriations through FY2010 to the Marine Mammal Unusual Mortality Event Fund.