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                                                       Calendar No. 322

106th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session                                                    106-188

======================================================================





 
                    ARCTIC TUNDRA HABITAT EMERGENCY 
                            CONSERVATION ACT

                                _______
                                

                October 14, 1999.--Ordered to be printed

_______________________________________________________________________


    Mr. Chafee, from the Committee on Environment and Public Works, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [to accompany H.R. 2454]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Environment and Public Works, to which was 
referred the bill (H.R. 2454) to assure the long-term 
conservation of mid-continent light geese and the biological 
diversity of the ecosystem upon which many North American 
migratory birds are dependent, by directing the Secretary of 
the Interior to implement rules to reduce the overabundant 
population of mid-continent light geese, having considered the 
same, reports favorably thereon with amendments, and an 
amendment to the title, and recommends that the bill, as 
amended, do pass.

                    General Statement and Background

    There are two species of white, or light, geese in North 
America: the Ross' goose (Anser rossii); and the snow goose, 
which is comprised of two subspecies: the greater snow goose 
(Anser caerulescens atlantica), and the lesser snow goose 
(Anser caerulescens caerulescens). The Ross' goose is the 
smallest of the three, weighing about 3.5 pounds. The greater 
snow goose, by comparison, weighs more than 6 pounds, with 
adult males slightly heavier. Both species are entirely white 
with the exception of black wing tips. The lesser snow goose is 
just under 6 pounds, but unlike the other two species, can 
experience plumage dimorphism, when the birds will maintain a 
dark plumage instead of an all-white plumage. This is the so-
called blue goose, for many years thought to be another 
species.
    The Ross' goose nests primarily in the central Canadian 
Arctic, while the greater snow goose nests in the eastern 
portion of the continent. The lesser snow goose has the widest 
geographic distribution, with breeding areas scattered from 
Baffin Island in the east to Wrangel Island off the northern 
coast of Siberia. Management agencies in Canada, Mexico and the 
United States have divided the lesser snow goose into four 
populations based on their geographic distribution throughout 
the year. The Wrangel Island population breeds on the island of 
the same name in western Canada; the Western Canada Arctic 
population breeds throughout that part of Canada and winters 
along the coast of the northwest United States; the Western 
Central Flyway population also breeds in western Canada but 
winters in Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and Mexico; the fourth 
population--the mid-continent population--breeds along the 
western and southern shores of the Hudson Bay and on Baffin and 
Southampton Islands, and winters along the Gulf of Mexico in 
Texas and Louisiana, as well as Mississippi, Tennessee, 
Arkansas and Mexico.
    Most populations of snow geese, as well as other species of 
Arctic geese, have significantly increased in numbers over the 
last 30 years. Growth of the mid-continent light goose 
population has been the most dramatic. Anecdotal evidence in 
the nineteenth century and early this century provide few clues 
of the actual population during that time. The first 
coordinated winter surveys in the mid-1950's estimated 440,000 
birds. Since 1969, the population has grown from 800,000 birds 
to 3 million birds in 1998, based on the winter survey. 
However, more accurate population estimates have been made 
recently by using aerial photography and surveys in the 
breeding grounds, and the population is estimated to be closer 
to 5.2 million. Even this figure is considered to be low 
because not all the breeding areas are surveyed. During the 
last 10 years, the population has experienced an average annual 
growth rate of 5 percent.
    There are several reasons for this increase. Most 
importantly, mid-continent light geese have expanded their 
wintering habitats along the Gulf of Mexico from traditional 
coastal and salt marshes to agricultural fields, where they 
forage on more readily available rice and other crops. For 
example, slightly more than 200,000 hectares of salt marshes 
and other wetlands comprised the traditional foraging habitat 
for the geese; as the geese expanded their habitat, they had 
available 400,000 hectares of land supporting rice crops in the 
1940's, and today, more than 900,000 hectares of rice fields 
exist in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas. The geese have also 
come to exploit agricultural fields further north along their 
migratory route. As natural grasslands and bottom land forest 
habitats have been converted to agricultural lands, the geese 
have found a steady food source from the corn, wheat, barley, 
oats and rye crops that are grown.
    The second reason for the growth of geese populations has 
been the establishment of numerous sanctuaries along the 
migratory routes of these populations. In particular, the 
creation of National Wildlife Refuges from the mid-1930's to 
the 1970's provided havens for migrating populations that led 
to a reduction in the traditional long distance flights between 
staging areas. The third reason for increased populations has 
been lower harvest rates of adult geese. The principal cause of 
mortality of adult geese in recent decades is hunting. Harvest 
rates, measured as a proportion of the winter indexed 
population, have declined from almost 40 percent in the early 
1970's to less than 8 percent annually in recent years.
    In addition to these causes, a general warming trend has 
been evident during the last 30 years in the central and 
western Canadian Arctic, major breeding areas for light geese. 
This climate amelioration has caused greater reproductive 
success and increased population growth rates. Last, a 
southward shift in the breeding ground of the light geese has 
also led to greater reproductive success. Studies indicate that 
before 1940, all known populations of lesser snow geese nested 
north of 600 north latitude, but by 1973, 40 percent 
of the population nested south of that latitude.
    The consequences of this population growth are profound, 
particularly in the breeding areas of the birds. Snow geese 
forage either by grubbing, which is the digging of roots of 
plants to reach the rich biomass just below the surface of the 
soil, by grazing, or by shoot pulling of sedges. These 
intensive foraging practices are done in densely populated 
colonies directly on the breeding grounds, severely damaging 
the vegetation upon which the geese depend. Specifically, loss 
of vegetation leads to greater erosion, increased salinity and 
formation of algal crust, all of which exacerbate the loss of 
biomass. In many areas, the vegetation has little opportunity 
to recover from year to year, which causes the damage to be 
cumulative. In some areas, damage is so severe that recovery 
may not be possible. Furthermore, as the core breeding habitat 
is being degraded, the goose population is moving to other, 
more pristine areas, which are suffering the same consequences. 
The prognosis for recovery of the habitat is mixed. Some 
researchers believe that as long as the population growth is 5 
percent, recovery is unlikely. Badly damaged sites, in the 
total absence of snow geese, have taken 15 years to show the 
first signs of revegetation. Without the absence of geese, 
recovery is likely to be transitory.
    The Hudson Bay lowlands, which constitutes one of the main 
breeding areas for the lesser snow geese, covers approximately 
1,200 miles of wetlands along the southern and western 
coastline of Hudson and James Bays. Within the lowlands, most 
research has been done at La Perouse Bay. It is estimated that 
30 percent of the area is already destroyed, another 35 percent 
is on the verge of destruction, and the remaining 35 percent is 
overgrazed. Observations elsewhere in the lowlands indicate 
that this ratio is applicable there as well.
    As many as 40 to 50 species of other migratory birds use 
the Hudson Bay lowlands as a staging area or breeding area. 
Approximately 30 species can be found at La Perouse Bay, of 
which eight have experienced declines in numbers as a result of 
the habitat degradation. However, few studies on other species 
have been conducted outside this area. La Perouse Bay is an 
example of extended habitat destruction, and it is hypothesized 
that, as other areas experience similar destruction, they will 
also experience similar declines in other species.
    The growing crisis has stimulated much discussion and study 
among the scientific community. Much of the research has been 
summarized by the Arctic Goose Habitat Working Group in its 
report, ``Arctic Ecosystems in Peril,'' published in 1997. The 
group is comprised of the Canadian Wildlife Service, the U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), numerous academic 
departments, Ducks Unlimited and the Audubon Society. Much of 
the information in this report has been gleaned from their 
study. The study recommended, overall, that the population of 
mid-continent light geese be reduced 50 percent by 2005. It 
recommended a number of actions that could be taken to achieve 
this goal, emphasizing the reduction of adult survival rates 
through increased harvest of adult geese. In addition, the 
National Wildlife Federation adopted a resolution in 1998 that 
advocates both the immediate development and implementation of 
sound, scientifically based strategies to reduce the mid-
continent population of lesser snow geese to sustainable 
levels, as well as the development and implementation of long-
term strategies relative to land-use practices, harvest methods 
and regulatory controls across its migratory route to maintain 
the population at a sustainable level. Other conservation 
groups have issued similar statements.
    The Service issued two regulations on February 16, 1999 (64 
Fed. Reg. 7507 and 64 Fed. Reg. 7517) to address this problem. 
The first allowed the use of electronic calling devices and 
unplugged shotguns to facilitate hunting of snow geese during 
the regular hunting season. The second was a conservation order 
that allowed hunting beyond the frameworks provided under the 
Convention for Migratory Birds (107 days and March 10 closing 
date). The two rules applied only when hunting seasons for 
other species were closed. The Service issued the regulations 
after preparing an Environmental Assessment (EA) under the 
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and after publication 
of a proposed rule on which public comment was received.
    The Service relied on the Convention for Migratory Birds, 
signed between Great Britain (for Canada) and the United States 
in 1916, and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (16 U.S.C. 701 et 
seq.), which was approved by Congress in 1918 to implement the 
Convention, for its authority in promulgating the rules. The 
Convention and the Act govern all takings, including hunting, 
of migratory birds. Article VII of the Convention specifically 
allows for killing of migratory birds, ``which, under 
extraordinary conditions, may become seriously injurious to the 
agricultural or other interests of any particular community. . 
. .''
    The Humane Society of the United States sought a 
preliminary injunction against the Service for implementing the 
regulations. Although the District Court of the District of 
Columbia denied the injunctive relief, it indicated that the 
Service would likely be required to prepare an Environmental 
Impact Statement (EIS) under NEPA when the court would consider 
the question on the merits. Consequently, the Service withdrew 
the rules on June 17, 1999 (64 Fed. Reg. 32778), pending 
completion of an EIS. The Service has since begun a scoping 
process and is holding several hearings in preparing its EIS, 
scheduled to be completed before 2001.
    The bill does not interfere with, or override, the NEPA 
process now underway. The court did not rule on the merits of 
the question more than to say that ``the duration and magnitude 
of the FWS program will likely require FWS to prepare an EIS.'' 
The court also noted that:

        [i]t is clear that the FWS acted in good faith. FWS's 
        EA represents a ``hard look'' at the proposed action 
        that comports with the spirit of NEPA though not its 
        letter. . . . Additionally, the scientific evidence 
        regarding the overpopulation of snow geese strongly 
        favors FWS. The administrative record substantiates 
        FWS' claim that the agency conducted a thorough and 
        wide-ranging examination of the snow goose 
        overpopulation problem and alternative plans for 
        amelioration.

The Humane Society of the United States v. Clark (D.D.C. filed 
March 18, 1998). Furthermore, nothing in this legislation 
waives the requirement of NEPA as it applies to actions by the 
Service regarding snow geese.
    The legislation accompanying this report reinstates the two 
rules published last year by the Service. It also directs the 
Secretary of the Interior to prepare and implement a 
comprehensive management plan to both manage mid-continent 
light goose populations and conserve their habitat. While the 
bill would reinstate regulations for which an EIS is currently 
being prepared, the bill reinstates the regulations only on a 
temporary basis pending completion of the EIS. In preparing the 
comprehensive management plan required by the bill, the 
Secretary should take into account the EIS.
    This legislation establishes two tracks to address the 
overabundance of mid-continent light geese: an immediate effort 
to reduce the population and mitigate further damage to the 
breeding grounds; and development of a long-term effort to 
address the more systemic reasons for the growth of the 
population in both the breeding and wintering grounds, as well 
as along the migratory route.
    The legislation, as amended by the committee, also includes 
the text of S. 148, the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation 
Act. S. 148 was introduced by Senator Abraham on January 19, 
1999. The bill was approved by the committee on March 17, 1999, 
placed on the Senate Calendar on March 26, and approved by the 
Senate on April 13. The bill was almost identical to a bill in 
the 105th Congress, S. 1970, also introduced by Senator 
Abraham. That bill was also approved by this committee and the 
Senate. Background on those bills can be found in Senate 
Reports 105-284 and 106-36.

                     Objectives of the Legislation

    The purpose of this legislation is promote the conservation 
of migratory birds and their habitat. Title I of the bill seeks 
to conserve the Arctic tundra by reinstating two regulations 
published last year by the Secretary of the Interior to reduce 
the population of mid-continent light geese, and by directing 
the Secretary of the Interior to prepare a comprehensive 
management plan to address the population of the mid-continent 
light geese and their habitat. Title II of the bill seeks to 
conserve neotropical migratory birds and their habitat by 
requiring the Secretary of the Interior to establish a program 
to provide financial assistance for voluntary partnerships in 
the conservation of neotropical migratory birds.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis

                                title i

Section 101. Short Title
    This section provides that Title I may be cited as the 
``Arctic Tundra Habitat Emergency Conservation Act.''
Section 102. Findings and Purposes
    Subsection (a) of this section contains the findings. The 
population of mid-continent light geese has grown from 800,000 
birds in 1969 to more than 5.2 million birds today, and is 
growing by more than 5 percent each year. The primary reasons 
for this growth are: (1) the expansion of agricultural areas 
and the resulting abundance of cereal grain crops in the United 
States; (2) the establishment of sanctuaries along the flyways 
of the birds; (3) a decline in light goose harvest rates. As a 
result of this growth, the Hudson Bay lowlands salt marsh 
ecosystem in Canada is being destroyed, which is having a 
severe negative impact on other species that breed or migrate 
through this area. It is essential that the current population 
of mid-continent light geese be reduced by 50 percent by the 
year 2005.
    Subsection (b) states that the purposes of this title are 
to: (1) reduce the population of mid-continent light geese; and 
(2) to assure the long-term conservation of mid-continent light 
geese and the biological diversity of the ecosystem upon which 
many other birds depend.
Section 103. Force and effect of rules to control overabundant mid-
        continent light geese populations
    Subsection (a) provides that the rules published by the 
Service on February 16, 1999, relating to use of additional 
hunting methods to increase the harvest of mid-continent light 
geese and the establishment of the conservation order for the 
reduction of mid-continent light geese, shall have the force 
and effect of law. The Secretary shall take such action as is 
necessary to appropriately notify the public of the force and 
effect of these rules.
    Subsection (b) provides that subsection (a) applies only 
during the period beginning on the date of the enactment of 
this Act, and ending on the latest of either: (1) the effective 
date of the rules issued by the Service; (2) the date of 
publication of the final environmental impact statement for 
such rules; or (3) May 15, 2001.
    Subsection (c) provides that this section shall not be 
construed to limit the authority of the Secretary to issue 
rules regulating the taking of mid-continent light geese.
Section 104. Comprehensive Management Plan
    Subsection (a) provides that not later than the end of the 
period described in section 103(b), the Secretary shall 
prepare, and as appropriate implement, a comprehensive long-
term plan for the management of mid-continent light geese and 
the conservation of their habitat.
    Subsection (b) states that the plan shall apply principles 
of adaptive resource management and shall include the 
following: (1) the description of methods for monitoring levels 
of populations and levels of harvest of mid-continent light 
geese, and recommendations concerning long-term harvest levels; 
(2) recommendations concerning other means for the management 
of the geese; (3) an assessment of, and recommendations 
relating to, conservation of the breeding habitat of the geese; 
(4) an assessment of, and recommendations relating to, 
conservation of native species of wildlife adversely affected 
by the overabundance of mid-continent light geese; and (5) an 
identification of methods for promoting collaboration with the 
government of Canada, States, and other interested persons.
    Subsection (c) authorizes $1 million to be appropriated for 
each of fiscal years 2000 through 2002.
Section 105. Definitions
    This section includes definitions of ``mid-continent light 
geese,'' ``Secretary,'' and ``Service.''

                                title ii

Section 201. Short Title
    This section provides that Title II of the bill may be 
cited as the ``Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act.''
Section 202. Findings
    This section contains the findings of Congress. Of the 
nearly 800 bird species known to occur in the United States, 
approximately 500 migrate among nations, and the large majority 
of those species, the neotropical migrants, winter in Latin 
America and the Caribbean. Neotropical birds provide invaluable 
environmental, economic, recreational, and aesthetic benefits 
to the United States, as well as to the Western Hemisphere. 
Many neotropcial birds are in decline, some to the point that 
their long-term survival is in jeopardy. The primary reason for 
the declines is habitat loss and degradation across the 
species' range. Because their range extends across numerous 
international borders, their conservation requires the 
commitment and effort of all countries along their migration 
routes. While numerous initiatives exist to conserve migratory 
birds and their habitat, those initiatives can be significantly 
strengthened and enhanced by increased coordination.
Section 203. Purposes
    This section identifies the three following purposes of the 
bill: (1) to perpetuate healthy populations of neotropical 
migratory birds; (2) to assist in the conservation of 
neotropical migratory birds by supporting conservation 
initiatives in the United States, Latin America, and the 
Caribbean; and (3) to provide financial resources and to foster 
international cooperation for those initiatives.
Section 204. Definitions
    This section contains definitions of terms used in the 
bill. ``Account'' is defined as the Neotropical Migratory Bird 
Conservation Account. ``Conservation'' is defined as the use of 
methods and procedures necessary to bring a species of 
neotropical migratory bird to the point at which there are 
sufficient populations in the wild to ensure the long-term 
viability of the species. In order to perpetuate healthy 
populations of birds, it is expected that upon bringing a 
species to the point at which there are sufficient populations 
in the wild to ensure the long-term viability of the species, 
conservation could include the use of methods and procedures 
necessary to maintain a species at that point. ``Secretary'' is 
defined as the Secretary of the Interior.
Section 205. Financial Assistance
    This section requires the Secretary of the Interior to 
establish a program to provide financial assistance for 
projects to promote the conservation of neotropical migratory 
birds. Project proposals may be submitted by: an individual, 
corporation, partnership, trust, association or other private 
entity; an officer, employee, agent, department, or 
instrumentality of the Federal Government, of any State, 
municipality, or political subdivision of a State, or any 
foreign government; a State, municipality, or political 
subdivision of a State; any other entity subject to the 
jurisdiction of the United States or of any foreign country; 
and an international organization.
    A project proposal must meet seven requirements to be 
considered for financial assistance. First, the proposal must 
include the name of the individual responsible for the project, 
a succinct statement of purposes, a description of the 
qualifications of the individuals conducting the project, and 
an estimate of the funds and time necessary to complete the 
project. Second, the proposal must demonstrate that the project 
will enhance the conservation of neotropical migratory birds in 
the United States, Latin America or the Caribbean. Third, a 
proposal must include mechanisms to ensure adequate local 
public participation in project development and implementation. 
Fourth, it must contain assurances that the project will be 
implemented in consultation with relevant wildlife management 
authorities and other appropriate government officials with 
jurisdiction over the resources addressed by the project. 
Fifth, a proposal must demonstrate sensitivity to local 
historic and cultural resources and comply with applicable 
laws. Sixth, it must describe how the project will promote 
sustainable, effective, long-term programs to conserve 
neotropical migratory birds. Finally, it must provide any other 
information that the Secretary considers to be necessary for 
evaluating the proposal. In addition, the recipient of 
assistance for a project may be required to submit periodic 
reports to the Secretary for evaluating the progress and 
outcome of the project.
    The Federal share of the cost of each project shall be not 
greater than 33 percent. The non-Federal share cannot be 
derived from any other Federal grant program. For projects in 
the United States, the non-Federal share must be paid in cash. 
For projects outside the United States, the non-Federal share 
may be paid in cash or in kind. Countries in the Caribbean and 
Latin America may not have sufficient cash on hand for 
conservation projects. Allowing projects in those countries to 
use in-kind services for their non-Federal share will provide 
more opportunity, greater incentive, and more flexibility for 
participation in those countries.
Section 206. Duties of Secretary
    This section provides that the Secretary shall: develop 
guidelines for the solicitation of proposals for projects 
eligible for financial assistance under section 5; encourage 
submission of proposals for projects eligible for financial 
assistance under section 5, particularly proposals from 
relevant wildlife management authorities; select proposals for 
financial assistance that satisfy the requirements of section 
5, giving preference to proposals that address conservation 
needs not adequately addressed by existing efforts and that are 
supported by relevant wildlife management authorities; and 
generally implement the Act in accordance with its purposes.
Section 207. Cooperation
    This section states that, in carrying out this Act, the 
Secretary shall support and coordinate existing efforts to 
conserve neotropical migratory bird species and shall 
coordinate activities and projects under this Act with those 
existing efforts in order to enhance neotropical migratory bird 
conservation. The Secretary may convene an advisory group 
consisting of individuals representing public and private 
organizations actively involved in the conservation of 
neotropical migratory birds. The advisory group shall not be 
subject to the Federal Advisory Committee Act, although must 
ensure that each meeting is open to the public, with an 
opportunity for public statements. The Secretary must provide 
timely notice of each meeting to the public, and keep minutes 
of each meeting. Use of an advisory group is encouraged, as it 
could play an integral role in ensuring that existing migratory 
bird conservation programs are well coordinated, thereby 
helping to maximize the effectiveness of this Act and other 
programs.
Section 208. Report to Congress
    This section requires the Secretary to submit to Congress a 
report, not later than October 1, 2002, on the results and 
effectiveness of the program, including recommendations 
concerning how the Act may be improved and whether the program 
should be continued.
Section 209. Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Account
    This section establishes in the Multinational Species 
Conservation Fund of the Treasury a separate account called the 
Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Account. The Secretary 
of the Treasury shall deposit into the Account appropriated 
amounts and donations. Donations may be given to the Secretary 
of the Interior, who will then transfer them to the Secretary 
of the Treasury for deposit into the account. The Secretary may 
use amounts in the Account to carry out the Act. Of the amounts 
in the Account available to carry out this legislation each 
fiscal year, the Secretary may use not more than 6 percent to 
pay administrative expenses.
Section 210. Authorization of Appropriations
    This section authorizes $8 million to be appropriated for 
each of the fiscal years from 2000 through 2003, to remain 
available until expended, of which not less than 50 percent of 
the amounts made available for each fiscal year shall be 
expended for projects carried out outside the United States.

                          Legislative History

    H.R. 2454 was introduced by Representative Saxton on July 
1, 1999. On August 2, 1999, H.R. 2454 was approved, under 
suspension of the rules, by the House of Representatives and on 
August 3, referred to the Senate Committee on Environment and 
Public Works. On September 29, 1999, the committee held a 
business meeting to consider this bill. Senator Chafee offered 
an amendment that was adopted by voice vote. The bill, as 
amended, was favorably reported by voice vote. Title II of the 
bill, as amended, is identical to S. 148, which was introduced 
by Senator Abraham on January 19, 1999, approved, by voice 
vote, by this committee on March 17, 1999, placed on the Senate 
Calendar on March 26, 1999, and approved by the Senate on April 
13, 1999.

                           Regulatory Impact

    In compliance with section 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the committee makes this 
evaluation of the regulatory impact of the reported bill. The 
reported bill will result in a relaxation of current 
regulations relating to hunting of mid-continent light geese, 
and will allow additional harvest of the species beyond current 
regulations. This bill will not have any adverse impact on the 
personal privacy of individuals.

                          Mandates Assessment

    In compliance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 
(Public Law 104-4), the committee finds that this bill would 
impose no Federal intergovernmental unfunded mandates on State, 
local, or tribal governments. The bill does not directly impose 
any private sector mandates.

                          Cost of Legislation

    Section 403 of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment 
Control Act requires that a statement of the cost of the 
reported bill, prepared by the Congressional Budget Office, be 
included in the report. That statement follows:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                  Washington, DC, October 12, 1999.

Hon. John H. Chafee, Chairman,
Committee on Environment and Public Works,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.

    Dear Mr. Chairman: 
    The Congressional Budget Office has prepared the enclosed 
cost estimate for H.R. 2454, an act to assure the long-term 
conservation of mid-continent light geese and the biological 
diversity of the ecosystem upon which many North American 
migratory birds depend, by directing the Secretary of the 
Interior to implement rules to reduce the overabundant 
population of mid-continent light geese, and to require the 
Secretary of the Interior to establish a program to provide 
assistance in the conservation of nontropical migratory birds.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contacts are Deborah 
Reis (for Federal costs), who can be reached at 226-2860, and 
Marjorie Miller (for the State and local impact), who can be 
reached at 225-3220.
            Sincerely,
                                            Dan L. Crippen.
                              ----------                              


               Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

H.R. 2454, An act to assure the long-term conservation of mid-continent 
        light geese and the biological diversity of the ecosystem upon 
        which many North American migratory birds depend, by directing 
        the Secretary of the Interior to implement rules to reduce the 
        overabundant population of mid-continent light geese, and to 
        require the Secretary of the Interior to establish a program to 
        provide assistance in the conservation of neotropical migratory 
        birds, as ordered reported by the Senate Committee on 
        Environment and Public Works on September 29, 1999
Summary
    Assuming appropriation of the authorized amounts, CBO 
estimates that implementing H.R. 2454 would cost the Federal 
Government $4 million in fiscal year 2000 and a total of $33 
million through 2004. Because the legislation would authorize 
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to accept and spend 
donations without further appropriation, pay as-you-go 
procedures would apply. CBO estimates, however, that any new 
revenues and resulting direct spending would be insignificant. 
The act contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) 
and would impose no costs on State, local, or tribal 
governments.
    Title I of H.R. 2454 would codify two regulations that were 
promulgated by the Service related to reducing the population 
of mid-continent light geese by hunting. Those regulations were 
withdrawn pending completion of an environmental impact 
statement. The provisions of title I would be effective until 
May 15,2001, or until the agency issues new regulations. This 
title also would direct the Service to prepare a comprehensive 
plan for managing mid- continent light geese and their habitat. 
For this purpose, the legislation would authorize the 
appropriation of $1 million for each of fiscal years 2000 
through 2002.
    Title II would direct the Service to create a new grant 
program for projects to conserve migratory birds in the United 
States, Caribbean, and Latin American countries. The program 
would provide financial assistance to eligible government 
agencies, international or foreign organizations, and private 
entities. To provide financing for the new program, the 
legislation would establish a neotropical migratory bird 
conservation account in the U.S. Treasury for the deposit of 
amounts donated to the government for this program, as well as 
any amounts appropriated by the Congress. To develop and 
administer this program and make grants, title II would 
authorize the appropriation of $8 million annually for fiscal 
years 2000 through 2003.
Estimated cost to the Federal Government
    For purposes of this estimate, CBO assumes that the amounts 
authorized will be appropriated for each year. Outlay estimates 
are based on spending patterns for similar programs. The costs 
of this legislation fall within budget function 300 (natural 
resources and environment). The estimated budgetary impact of 
H.R. 2454 is shown in the following table.


                 By Fiscal Year, in Millions of Dollars
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                   2000    2001    2002    2003    2004
------------------------------------------------------------------------
       SPENDING SUBJECT TO
          APPROPRIATION
Authorization Level.............       9       9       9       8       0
Estimated Outlays...............       4       7       9       8       5
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Pay-As-You-Go Considerations
    The Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act sets 
up pay-as-you-go procedures for legislation affecting direct 
spending or receipts. H.R. 2454 would affect both governmental 
receipts and direct spending. CBO estimates, however, that any 
such effects would be insignificant and offsetting over the 
next 5 years.
Estimated Impact on State, Local, and Tribal Governments
    H.R. 2454 contains no intergovernmental mandates as defined 
in UMRA and would impose no costs on State, local, or tribal 
governments. State and local governments would be among the 
entities eligible to receive the financial assistance 
authorized by title II of this act. To receive assistance for a 
project, these governments would be required to submit a 
proposal meeting certain criteria and to pay at least 67 
percent of the project costs. Any such costs incurred by State 
or local governments would be voluntary.
Estimated Impact on the Private Sector
    This bill would impose no new private-sector mandates as 
defined in UMRA.
Previous CBO Cost Estimates
    On July 28,1999, CBO transmitted a cost estimate for H.R. 
2454, the Arctic Tundra Habitat Emergency Conservation Act, as 
ordered reported by the House Committee on Resources on July 
21,1999. On March 19,1999, we transmitted an estimate for S. 
148, the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act, as 
ordered reported by the Senate Committee on Environment and 
Public Works on March 17, 1999. The CBO estimate for S. 148 end 
title II of the Senate version of H.R. 2454 are identical. Our 
estimate of the cost of title I of the legislation is $1 
million higher per year through 2002 than that for the House 
version of H.R. 2454, reflecting a new provision authorizing 
the appropriation of that amount for each of the years 2000 
through 2002.

Estimate prepared by: Federal Costs: Deborah Reis (226-2860) 
Impact on State, Local, and Tribal Governments: Marjorie Miller 
(225-3220).

Estimate approved by: Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                        Changes in Existing Law

    Section 12 of rule XXVI of the Standing Rules of the Senate 
requires publication of any changes in existing law made by the 
reported bill. This bill does not change existing law.