Text: S.3558 — 110th Congress (2007-2008)All Information (Except Text)

There is one version of the bill.

Text available as:

Shown Here:
Introduced in Senate (09/24/2008)


110th CONGRESS
2d Session
S. 3558


To amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to expand and strengthen cooperative efforts to monitor, restore, and protect the resource productivity, water quality, and marine ecosystems of the Gulf of Mexico.


IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

September 24 (legislative day, September 17), 2008

Mr. Wicker (for himself and Mr. Cochran) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works


A BILL

To amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to expand and strengthen cooperative efforts to monitor, restore, and protect the resource productivity, water quality, and marine ecosystems of the Gulf of Mexico.

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 “Gulf of Mexico Restoration and Protection Act”.

SEC. 2. Findings and purposes.

(a) Findings.—Congress finds that—

(1) the Gulf of Mexico is a valuable resource of national and international importance, continuously serving the people of the United States and other countries as an important source of food, economic productivity, recreation, beauty, and enjoyment;

(2) over many years, the resource productivity and water quality of the Gulf of Mexico and its watershed have been diminished by point and nonpoint source pollution;

(3) the United States should seek to attain the protection and restoration of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem as a collaborative regional goal of the Gulf of Mexico Program; and

(4) the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, in consultation with other Federal agencies and State and local authorities, should coordinate the effort to meet those goals.

(b) Purposes.—The purposes of this Act are—

(1) to expand and strengthen cooperative efforts to restore and protect the Gulf of Mexico;

(2) to expand Federal support for monitoring, management, and restoration activities in the Gulf of Mexico and its watershed;

(3) to commit the United States to a comprehensive cooperative program to achieve improved water quality in, and improvements in the productivity of living resources of, the Gulf of Mexico; and

(4) to establish a Gulf of Mexico Program to serve as a national and international model for the collaborative management of large marine ecosystems.

SEC. 3. Gulf of Mexico restoration and protection.

Title I of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.) is amended—

(1) by redesignating the second section 121 (33 U.S.C. 1274) (relating to wet weather watershed pilot projects) as section 122; and

(2) by inserting after section 122 (as designated by paragraph (1)) the following:

“SEC. 123. Gulf of mexico restoration and protection.

“(a) Definitions.—In this section;

“(1) GULF OF MEXICO ECOSYSTEM.—The term ‘Gulf of Mexico ecosystem’ means the ecosystem of the Gulf of Mexico and its watershed.

“(2) GULF OF MEXICO EXECUTIVE COUNCIL.—The term ‘Gulf of Mexico Executive Council’ means the formal collaborative Federal, State, local, and private participants in the Program.

“(3) PROGRAM.—The term ‘Program’ means the Gulf of Mexico Program established by the Administrator in 1988 as a nonregulatory, inclusive partnership to provide a broad geographic focus on the primary environmental issues affecting the Gulf of Mexico.

“(4) PROGRAM OFFICE.—The term ‘Program Office’ means the office established by the Administrator to administer the Program that is reestablished by subsection (b)(1)(A).

“(b) Continuation of gulf of mexico program.—

“(1) GULF OF MEXICO PROGRAM OFFICE.—

“(A) REESTABLISHMENT.—The Program Office established before the date of enactment of this section by the Administrator is reestablished as an office of the Environmental Protection Agency.

“(B) REQUIREMENTS.—The Program Office shall be—

“(i) headed by a Director who, by reason of management experience and technical expertise relating to the Gulf of Mexico, is highly qualified to direct the development of plans and programs on a variety of Gulf of Mexico issues, as determined by the Administrator; and

“(ii) located in a State all or a portion of the coastline of which is on the Gulf of Mexico.

“(C) FUNCTIONS.—The Program Office shall—

“(i) coordinate the actions of the Environmental Protection Agency with the actions of the appropriate officials of other Federal agencies and State and local authorities in developing strategies—

“(I) to improve the water quality and living resources in the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem; and

“(II) to obtain the support of appropriate officials;

“(ii) in cooperation with appropriate Federal, State, and local authorities, assist in developing and implementing specific action plans to carry out the Program;

“(iii) coordinate and implement priority State-led and community-led restoration plans and projects and facilitate science, research, modeling, monitoring, data collection, and other activities that support the Program;

“(iv) implement outreach programs for public information, education, and participation to foster stewardship of the resources of the Gulf of Mexico;

“(v) develop and make available, through publications, technical assistance, and other appropriate means, information pertaining to the environmental quality and living resources of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem;

“(vi) serve as the liaison with, and provide information to, the Mexican members of the Gulf of Mexico States Accord and Mexican counterparts of the Environmental Protection Agency; and

“(vii) focus the efforts and resources of the Program Office on activities that will result in measurable improvements to water quality and living resources of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem.

“(c) Interagency agreements.—The Administrator may enter into 1 or more interagency agreements with other Federal agencies to carry out this section.

“(d) Grants.—

“(1) IN GENERAL.—In accordance with the Program, the Administrator may provide grants to nonprofit organizations, State and local governments, colleges, universities, interstate agencies, and individuals to carry out this section for use in—

“(A) monitoring the water quality and living resources of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem;

“(B) researching the effects of natural and human-induced environmental changes on the water quality and living resources of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem;

“(C) developing and executing cooperative strategies that address the water quality and living resource needs in the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem;

“(D) developing and implementing locally-based protection and restoration programs or projects within a watershed that complement those strategies, including the creation, restoration, protection, or enhancement of habitat associated with the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem; and

“(E) eliminating or reducing point sources that discharge pollutants that contaminate the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem, including activities to eliminate leaking septic systems and construct connections to local sewage systems.

“(2) FEDERAL SHARE.—The Federal share of the cost of any project or activity carried out using a grant provided under this section shall not exceed 75 percent, as determined by the Administrator.

“(3) ADMINISTRATIVE COSTS.—Administrative costs in the form of salaries, overhead, or indirect costs for services provided and charged against programs or projects carried out using funds made available through a grant under this subsection shall not exceed 15 percent of the amount of the grant.

“(e) Reports.—

“(1) ANNUAL REPORT.—Not later than December 30, 2009, and annually thereafter, the Director of the Program Office shall submit to the Administrator and make available to the public a report that describes—

“(A) each project and activity funded under this section during the previous fiscal year;

“(B) the goals and objectives of those projects and activities; and

“(C) the net benefits of projects and activities funded under this section during previous fiscal years.

“(2) ASSESSMENT.—

“(A) IN GENERAL.—Not later than April 30, 2010, and every 5 years thereafter, the Administrator, in coordination with the Gulf of Mexico Executive Council, shall complete an assessment, and submit to Congress a comprehensive report on the performance, of the Program.

“(B) REQUIREMENTS.—The assessment and report described in subparagraph (A) shall—

“(i) assess the overall state of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem;

“(ii) compare the current state of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem with a baseline assessment;

“(iii) include specific measures to assess any improvements in water quality and living resources of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem;

“(iv) assess the effectiveness of the Program management strategies being implemented, and the extent to which the priority needs of the region are being met through that implementation; and

“(v) make recommendations for the improved management of the Program, including strengthening strategies being implemented or adopting improved strategies.

“(f) Budget item.—The Administrator, in the annual submission to Congress of the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency, shall include a funding line item request for the Program Office as a separate budget line item.

“(g) Authorization of appropriations.—There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section, to remain available until expended—

“(1) $10,000,000 for fiscal year 2009;

“(2) $15,000,000 for fiscal year 2010; and

“(3) $25,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2011 through 2013.”.


Share This