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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 
                               following

                              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 
Council.

                  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 
plans.
    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 
Administration policy.

                            Committee Action

    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 
existence.

                   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 
Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               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.
            Sincerely,
                                          Barry B. Anderson
                                    (For Dan L. Crippen, Director).
    Enclosure.

H.R. 2821--North American Wetlands Conservation Council Expansion Act 
        of 1999

    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 
governments.
    The CBO staff contact is Deborah Reis. This estimate was 
approved by Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy Assistant Director for 
Budget Analysis.

                    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 
tribal law.

         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 
        Agreement.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *