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106th Congress Report
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
1st Session 106-388
NORTH AMERICAN WETLANDS CONSERVATION COUNCIL EXPANSION ACT OF 1999
October 18, 1999.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the
State of the Union and ordered to be printed
Mr. Young of Alaska, from the Committee on Resources, submitted the
R E P O R T
[To accompany H.R. 2821]
[Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]
The Committee on Resources, to whom was referred the bill
(H.R. 2821) to amend the North American Wetlands Conservation
Act to provide for appointment of 2 additional members of the
North American Wetlands Conservation Council, having considered
the same, report favorably thereon without amendment and
recommend that the bill do pass.
Purpose of the Bill
The purpose of H.R. 2821 is to amend the North American
Wetlands Conservation Act to provide for the appointment of two
additional members of the North American Wetlands Conservation
Background and Need for Legislation
The North American Wetlands Conservation Council was
created under Section 4 of the North American Wetlands
Conservation Act of 1989 (Public Law 101-233). The purpose of
the Council is to review and recommend meritorious wetland
conservation projects to the Migratory Bird Conservation
Commission. Wetlands are among the most productive habitats on
Earth--serving as breeding, nursing, and wintering grounds for
an array of fish and wildlife.
Any federal, State, local, or private organization may
apply for a grant to conduct a wetlands conservation project in
North America. These projects usually consist of purchasing
wetlands outright or obtaining conservation easements, but also
can include wetlands restoration and, for projects in Mexico,
some educational or management activities. All grants must be
matched by non-federal funds. On average, every federal dollar
spent in this program is matched by $2.41 in other funds.
Projects funded by the Commission are normally required to
ensure the long-term (25 years or more) protection of wetlands
through fee title ownership or perpetual easements.
To date, the Commission has approved 684 projects designed
to protect, restore, and enhance critical wetlands habitat in
Canada, Mexico, and the United States. This represents a
financial contribution of $288 million, which has been matched
by more than 900 nongovernmental partners for a total
investment of $727 million. These funds have been used to
acquire, restore, and enhance about 7.5 million acres of
wetlands in the United States and Canada, and over 25.8 million
acres in Mexico are being conserved under various management
Section 4 of Public Law 101-233 stipulated that the Council
shall consist of nine members including: the Director of the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Secretary of the Board of
the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, four individuals
appointed by the Secretary of the Interior to represent the
different migratory bird flyways, and three individuals
appointed by the Secretary of the Interior to represent
charitable and nonprofit organizations who actively participate
in wetlands conservation projects.
While the appointments of the Director of the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service and the Secretary of the Board of the National
Fish and Wildlife Foundation are permanent, the other
appointees are selected to serve for a period of three years.
There is no statutory prohibition on the reappointment of these
individuals and no statutory language or legislative history
that requires a rotation system for those members representing
charitable and nonprofit groups.
However, in the spring of 1998, the Secretary of the
Interior instituted a term rotation policy of two consecutive
terms (six years total) for organizations occupying the three
nongovernmental organization Council seats. This policy further
stipulated that a term-limited organization would be eligible
for an additional appointment should a vacancy occur.
On November 18, 1998, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
printed in the Federal Register a request for public input on
the Secretary's new rotation policy. While the comment period
closed on January 19, 1999, there has been no further public
discussion of this issue by the agency.
H.R. 2821 would expand the number of nongovernmental
members of the Council by two in reaction to this new
H.R. 2821 was introduced on September 9, 1999, by
Congressmen John D. Dingell (D-MI) and Curt Weldon (R-PA). H.R.
2821 was referred to the Committee on Resources and within the
Committee to the Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation,
Wildlife and Oceans. On September 23, 1999, the Subcommittee
conducted a hearing on H.R. 2821 where Congressman Dingell and
Mr. Thomas O. Melius, Assistant Director for External Affairs,
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior,
testified on the bill. On October 6, 1999, the Full Committee
met to consider H.R. 2821. The Subcommittee on Fisheries
Conservation, Wildlife and Oceans was discharged from further
consideration of the bill by unanimous consent. No amendments
were offered and the bill was ordered favorably reported to the
House of Representatives by voice vote.
Committee Oversight Findings and Recommendations
Regarding clause 2(b)(1) of rule X and clause 3(c)(1) of
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the
Committee on Resources' oversight findings and recommendations
are reflected in the body of this report.
Federal Advisory Committee Statement
The advisory committee affected by this bill is already in
Constitutional Authority Statement
Article I, section 8 of the Constitution of the United
States grants Congress the authority to enact this bill.
Compliance With House Rule XIII
1. Cost of Legislation. Clause 3(d)(2) of rule XIII of the
Rules of the House of Representatives requires an estimate and
a comparison by the Committee of the costs which would be
incurred in carrying out this bill. However, clause 3(d)(3)(B)
of that rule provides that this requirement does not apply when
the Committee has included in its report a timely submitted
cost estimate of the bill prepared by the Director of the
Congressional Budget Office under section 402 of the
Congressional Budget Act of 1974.
2. Congressional Budget Act. As required by clause 3(c)(2)
of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and
section 308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, this
bill does not contain any new budget authority, spending
authority, credit authority, or an increase or decrease in
revenues or tax expenditures.
3. Government Reform Oversight Findings. Under clause
3(c)(4) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of
Representatives, the Committee has received no report of
oversight findings and recommendations from the Committee on
Government Reform on this bill.
4. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate. Under clause
3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of
Representatives and section 403 of the Congressional Budget Act
of 1974, the Committee has received the following cost estimate
for this bill from the Director of the Congressional Budget
Congressional Budget Office,
Washington, DC, October 14, 1999.
Hon. Don Young,
Chairman, Committee on Resources,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 2821, the North
American Wetlands Conservation Council Expansion Act of 1999.
If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Deborah Reis.
Barry B. Anderson
(For Dan L. Crippen, Director).
H.R. 2821--North American Wetlands Conservation Council Expansion Act
H.R. 2821 would direct that two more members be appointed
to the North American Wetlands Conservation Council. The
council, which currently has nine members, reviews and
recommends proposed wetlands conservation projects to the
Migratory Bird Conservation Commission. CBO estimates that
implementing this bill would have no significant impact on the
federal budget because council members do not receive any
compensation. The bill would not affect direct spending or
receipts; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures would not apply.
H.R. 2821 contains no private-sector or intergovernmental
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and
would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal
The CBO staff contact is Deborah Reis. This estimate was
approved by Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy Assistant Director for
Compliance With Public Law 104-4
This bill contains no unfunded mandates.
Preemption of State, Local or Tribal Law
This bill is not intended to preempt any State, local or
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported
In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new
matter is printed in italic, existing law in which no change is
proposed is shown in roman):
SECTION 4 OF THE NORTH AMERICAN WETLANDS CONSERVATION ACT
SEC. 4. ESTABLISHMENT OF NORTH AMERICAN WETLANDS CONSERVATION COUNCIL.
(a) Council Membership.--(1) There shall be established a
North American Wetlands Conservation Council (hereinafter in
this Act referred to as the ``Council'') which shall consist of
nine members who may not receive compensation as members of the
Council. Of the Council members--
(A) * * *
* * * * * * *
(D) [three] five shall be individuals who shall be
appointed by the Secretary and who shall each represent
a different charitable and nonprofit organization which
is actively participating in carrying out wetlands
conservation projects under this Act, the Plan, or the
* * * * * * *