Text: S.1566 — 111th Congress (2009-2010)All Information (Except Text)

There is one version of the bill.

Text available as:

Shown Here:
Introduced in Senate (08/03/2009)

[Congressional Bills 111th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[S. 1566 Introduced in Senate (IS)]

  1st Session
                                S. 1566

 To create the American Arctic Adaptation Grant Program to prevent or 
   mitigate effects of Arctic climate change, and for other purposes.



                             August 3, 2009

  Mr. Begich introduced the following bill; which was read twice and 
       referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works


                                 A BILL

 To create the American Arctic Adaptation Grant Program to prevent or 
   mitigate effects of Arctic climate change, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,


    This Act may be cited as the ``Arctic Climate Adaptation Act''.


    Congress finds the following:
            (1) The United States is an Arctic Nation with--
                    (A) an approximately 700-mile border with the 
                Arctic Ocean;
                    (B) more than 100,000,000 acres of land above the 
                Arctic Circle; and
                    (C) a broader area within the Arctic isotherm that 
                encompasses most of the Bering Sea.
            (2) The Arctic region of the United States--
                    (A) is home to an indigenous population which has 
                subsisted for millennia on the abundance in marine 
                mammals, fish, and wildlife, many of which are unique 
                to the region;
                    (B) is known to the indigenous population as 
                Inuvikput or the ``place where we live''; and
                    (C) has produced more than 16,000,000,000 barrels 
                of oil and, according to the United States Geological 
                Survey, may hold an additional 30,000,000,000 barrels 
                of oil and 220,000,000,000,000 cubic feet of natural 
                gas, making the region of fundamental importance to the 
                national interest of the United States.
            (3) Temperatures in the United States Arctic region have 
        warmed by 3 to 4 degrees Celsius over the past half-century, a 
        rate of increase that is twice the global average.
            (4) The Arctic ice pack is rapidly diminishing and 
        thinning, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
        Administration estimates the Arctic Ocean may be ice free 
        during summer months in as few as 30 years.
            (5) Such changes to the Arctic region are having a 
        significant impact on the indigenous people of the Arctic, 
        their communities and ecosystems, as well as the marine 
        mammals, fish, and wildlife upon which they depend.
            (6) Such changes are opening new portions of the United 
        States Arctic continental shelf to possible development for 
        offshore oil and gas, commercial fishing, marine shipping, and 
            (7) Unprecedented storms over an area of Arctic waters that 
        are now ice-free are eroding sections of Alaska shoreline at 
        rates of 45 feet or more annually. Thawing permafrost is 
        causing roads and the foundations of public buildings and homes 
        to buckle. Entire Alaskan Arctic villages are at risk of 
        serious erosion or of being washed into the sea.
            (8) As many as 4 of Alaska's coastal villages are at 
        immediate risk and will face overwhelming relocation costs in 
        the during the period from 2009 through 2014 as the lack of 
        winter ice pack allows increased wave energy to erode 
        beachfronts that are no longer held together by frozen soil. 
        The Government Accountability Office estimates that relocation 
        costs for those 4 villages will be $450,000,000 and that as 
        many as 30 additional Alaskan coastal villages will face 
        similar threats during the period from 2009 through 2019.
            (9) A study conducted by the Government Accountability 
        Office published in June 2009, states that ``most of Alaska's 
        more than 200 Native villages were affected to some degree by 
        flooding and erosion,'' and recommends that ``Congress may wish 
        to consider designating or creating a lead Federal entity that 
        could work in conjunction with the lead state agency to 
        coordinate and oversee village relocation efforts''.
            (10) A 2009 study by the University of Alaska's Institute 
        for Social and Economic Research concluded that the added 
        adaptation costs for Alaska's public infrastructure resulting 
        from climate change impacts will range up to $6,000,000,000 by 
            (11) Coastal erosion and thawing permafrost threaten the 
        public infrastructure, including airports which are often the 
        only link to the outside world, roadways, and other basic 
        utilities, of many of Alaska's 267 incorporated communities, 
        with an estimated adaptation cost in the tens of billions of 
        dollars during the several decades following the date of the 
        enactment of this Act.
            (12) Additionally, rising ocean temperatures and increased 
        ocean acidification result in changes in fish habitats and 
        invasive fish species jeopardizing both Alaska's commercial 
        fisheries, which produce 60 percent of the United States 
        commercial catch, and the subsistence hunting, fishing, and 
        gathering that supplies as much as 90 percent of the protein 
        supply for as many as 214 economically disadvantaged Alaskan 
        Native villages from Metlakatla in the south to Point Barrow in 
        the north.


    In this Act:
            (1) Denali commission.--The term ``Denali Commission'' 
        means the Denali Commission established pursuant to section 
        303(a) of the Denali Commission Act of 1998 (42 U.S.C. 3121 
            (2) Program.--The term ``Program'' means the American 
        Arctic Adaptation Grant Program established under section 4(a).


    (a) Establishment.--There is a established in the Department of 
Commerce a program to be known as the ``American Arctic Adaptation 
Grant Program'' to award grants to eligible entities to carry out 
eligible projects, as described in this section.
    (b) Coordination.--
            (1) In general.--The Denali Commission shall--
                    (A) be the Alaska Project Coordinator for the 
                Program; and
                    (B) select, administer, and coordinate projects 
                awarded grants under the Program.
            (2) Consultation.--In carrying out its responsibilities as 
        the Alaska Project Coordinator, the Denali Commission shall 
        consult with affected communities, the State of Alaska, the 
        United States Army Corps of Engineers, the University of 
        Alaska, the Arctic Research Commission established pursuant to 
        section 103 of the Arctic Research and Policy Act of 1984 (15 
        U.S.C. 4102), and the Inuit Circumpolar Council and the 
        Northern Forum or successor organizations.
            (3) Adaptation advisory committee.--
                    (A) Establishment.--The Denali Commission shall 
                establish an Adaptation Advisory Committee composed of 
                public and private members to advise the Denali 
                Commission on climate adaptation needs and investments 
                and on the award of grants under the Program.
                    (B) Membership.--The Adaptation Advisory Committee 
                shall include one representative of each of the 
                            (i) The Alaska Federation of Natives.
                            (ii) The Inter-Tribal Council.
                            (iii) The Alaska Native Science and 
                        Engineering Program of the University of 
                            (iv) The Alaska Associated General 
                        Contractors Association.
                            (v) The Alaska Department of 
                            (vi) The Alaska Department of Commerce, 
                        Community, and Economic Development.
                            (vii) The United States Army Corps of 
                            (viii) Organized labor.
                    (C) Meetings.--The Denali Commission shall meet 
                with the Adaptation Advisory Commission not less often 
                than once every 6 months.
    (c) Other Funds for Grant Awards.--To the extent practicable and 
appropriate, the Denali Commission may combine funds from the Program 
with awards from other appropriate Federal or State infrastructure 
development, construction, or maintenance programs to provide funds to 
carry out an eligible project.
    (d) Eligible Entity Defined.--In this section, the term ``eligible 
entity'' means--
            (1) the State of Alaska; or
            (2) a borough and community organized under the 
        Constitution of the State of Alaska.
    (e) Eligible Project Defined.--In this section, the term ``eligible 
project'' means a project to repair, replace, or maintain an element of 
public infrastructure in a coastal or remote Alaskan village damaged or 
threatened by the effects of climate change, including flooding, storm 
surge, coastal or riparian erosion, melting permafrost, and land 
subsidence not associated with normal seasonal effects. An eligible 
            (1) may be designed to address--
                    (A) damage to a public transportation system and 
                infrastructure or to a public or privately owned 
                    (B) negative impacts to human health;
                    (C) interruption of natural migration cycles or 
                disruption of habitats; or
                    (D) disruption of economic activities, including 
                projects to develop new northern sea routes; and
            (2) shall be of a permanent nature, and designed, built, 
        and maintained to maximize sustainability and resiliency.
    (f) Application.--An eligible entity seeking a grant under the 
Program shall submit an application to the Denali Commission at such 
time and in such manner as the Commission shall require. Each such 
application shall, at a minimum, include a complete description of--
            (1) the eligible project proposed to be carried out with 
        such grant; and
            (2) the extent to which one or more effects of climate 
        change have necessitated, or given ongoing and cumulative 
        effects could necessitate, such eligible project.
    (g) Selection Criteria.--In selecting an eligible project to be 
carried out with a grant under the Program, the Denali Commission--
            (1) may select the eligible project only if the eligible 
        entity agrees--
                    (A) to submit to a directed process in which the 
                staff of the Denali Commission provides technical 
                assistance and guidance through the planning phase, 
                design phase, and construction phase of the eligible 
                project; and
                    (B) that not more than 25 percent of the grant 
                funds may be used for administrative expenses; and
            (2) shall give a preference to an eligible project that 
        will be carried out with non-Federal funds to match the amount 
        of the grant funds.
    (h) Work Plan.--The Denali Commission shall publish an annual work 
plan for the Program. Each such plan shall include--
            (1) a description of each eligible project approved to 
        receive a grant under the Program during the previous year;
            (2) updates on the planning, design, and construction of 
        each eligible project approved to receive such a grant in a 
        prior year; and
            (3) guidance to eligible entities seeking to obtain such a 
        grant for the following year.


    (a) Requirement To Conduct Research.--During fiscal year 2010, and 
in collaboration with the State of Alaska, the University of Alaska, 
and relevant agencies of the United States, the Denali Commission shall 
conduct research on the best practices for climate related adaption 
that are being used or researched by other polar nations or foreign or 
domestic research institutions or institutions of higher learning, and 
which could be used by Arctic communities in Alaska. Such research 
shall focus on--
            (1) environmentally sensitive design;
            (2) clean energy alternatives; and
            (3) innovative transportation, telecommunications, and 
        other infrastructure solutions.
    (b) Report.--Not later than December 31, 2010, the Denali 
Commission shall submit to Congress, the Secretary of Commerce, the 
Secretary of the Treasury, the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil 
Works), and the Governor of Alaska a report on the research carried out 
under subsection (a).


    (a) American Arctic Adaptation Grant Program.--There is authorized 
to be appropriated to the Secretary of Commerce such sums as may be 
necessary to carry out the Program.
    (b) Research.--There is authorized to be appropriated $5,000,000 
for fiscal year 2010 to carry out section 5.