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                                                      Calendar No. 568
106th Congress 
 2d Session                      SENATE                          Report

                          OCEANS ACT OF 2000


                              R E P O R T

                                 of the



                                S. 2327

                  May 23, 2000.--Ordered to be printed


                         WASHINGTON : 2000

For Sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office
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                       one hundred sixth congress
                             second session

                     JOHN McCAIN, Arizona, Chairman
TED STEVENS, Alaska                  ERNEST F. HOLLINGS, South Carolina
CONRAD BURNS, Montana                DANIEL K. INOUYE, Hawaii
SLADE GORTON, Washington             JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER IV, West 
TRENT LOTT, Mississippi                  Virginia
KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON, Texas          JOHN F. KERRY, Massachusetts
OLYMPIA SNOWE, Maine                 JOHN B. BREAUX, Louisiana
JOHN ASHCROFT, Missouri              RICHARD H. BRYAN, Nevada
BILL FRIST, Tennessee                BYRON L. DORGAN, North Dakota
SPENCER ABRAHAM, Michigan            RON WYDEN, Oregon
SAM BROWNBACK, Kansas                MAX CLELAND, Georgia
                       Mark Buse, Staff Director
                  Martha P. Allbright, General Counsel
               Kevin D. Kayes, Democratic Staff Director
                  Moses Boyd, Democratic Chief Counsel
                Gregg Elias, Democratic General Counsel

                                                       Calendar No. 568
106th Congress                                                   Report
 2d Session                                                     106-301


                           OCEANS ACT OF 2000


                  May 23, 2000.--Ordered to be printed


       Mr. McCain, from the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
                Transportation, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 2327]

    The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, to 
which was referred the bill (S. 2327) ``A bill to establish a 
Commission on Ocean Policy, and for other purposes'', having 
considered the same, reports favorably thereon without 
amendment and recommends that the bill do pass.

                          Purpose of the Bill

  S. 2327, as reported, calls for the development and 
implementation of a coherent, comprehensive, and long-range 
national policy to explore, protect, and use ocean and coastal 
resources. The bill as reported would establish a 16-member 
Commission on Ocean Policy (Commission) to provide 
recommendations for such a policy. Through the establishment of 
a national ocean policy, the bill would contribute 
substantially to national goals and objectives in the areas of 
education and research, economic development, and public 

                          Background and Needs

  In 1966, Congress enacted the Marine Resources and 
Engineering Development Act (1966 Act) in order to define 
national objectives and programs with respect to the oceans. 
The 1966 Act was comprised of three primary elements: (1) a 
declaration of U.S. policy and objectives with respect to 
marine science activities; (2) establishment of a National 
Council on Marine Resources and Engineering Development; and 
(3) creation of a Presidential commission on marine science, 
engineering, and resources. Dr. Julius A. Stratton, a former 
president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and 
then-chairman of the Ford Foundation, led the commission 
created in the 1966 Act on an unprecedented, and since 
unrepeated, investigation of this nation's relationship with 
the oceans.
  The Stratton Commission and its congressional advisors, 
including Senators Warren G. Magnuson and Norris Cotton, worked 
together in a bipartisan fashion. In fact, The Stratton 
Commission was established and carried out its mandate in the 
Administration of Lyndon Johnson and saw significant findings 
implemented under President Richard Nixon. The commissioners 
heard and consulted over 1,000 people, visited every coastal 
area of the United States, and submitted 126 recommendations in 
a 1969 report to Congress entitled Our Nation and the Sea. 
Those recommendations led directly to the creation of the 
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in 1970, 
laid the groundwork for enactment of the Coastal Zone 
Management Act (CZMA) in 1972, as well as the Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act in 1976, and established 
priorities for federal ocean activities that have guided this 
nation for almost thirty years.
  The nation and its uses of the oceans have changed in 
numerous ways since 1966. These changes have highlighted the 
need for a second national review of our ocean policy. During 
the last decade, this concern has been articulated by panels 
assembled by the National Research Council, as well as expert 
groups brought together under other auspices, particularly in 
preparation for the 1998 International Year of the Ocean 
activities. In sum, a variety of pressures that have continued 
and grown since 1966 have made it clear that the nation needs a 
coherent national system of governance for marine resources and 
the use of ocean space.
  First, there has been a rapid migration of populations to the 
coast, and there are increasing pressures to develop ocean 
resources and space for economic benefit. Half of the U.S. 
population lives in coastal areas (less than 10 percent of our 
land area), and more than 30 percent of the Gross Domestic 
Product is generated in the coastal zone. Over 40 percent of 
new commercial and residential development is along the coast, 
and by the year 2025, about 75 percent of Americans will live 
in coastal areas. Marine-related industries play a significant 
role in our national economy. Ninety-five percent of our 
international trade is shipped on the ocean. By 2010, U.S. 
foreign trade in goods is projected to more than double today's 
value, reaching $5 trillion in constant dollars, with the 
volume of foreign trade cargo increasing by more than 30 
percent to 1.7 billion metric tons. Another industry, travel 
and tourism, is the nation's largest employer and generates 
$700 billion annually. Coastal tourism, with an ever-increasing 
180 million visitors annually, currently accounts for eighty-
five percent of tourism-related revenues. Significant oil and 
gas resources, found in the outer continental shelf, 
particularly natural gas, are vital to domestic energy supplies 
and national security needs, contributing 22 percent of 
domestic oil and 27 percent of natural gas production. In 
addition, a potential new long-term energy resource for nation, 
marine gas hydrates (methane and other gases existing in a 
frozen state below the ocean floor), has been identified for 
further evaluation. Finally, the fishing industry provides many 
economic benefits to the nation. In 1998, commercial fishermen 
in the United States landed roughly 9 billion pounds of fish 
with a value of $3.1 billion. Their fishing related activities 
contributed over $40 billion to the U.S. economy. During the 
same period, marine anglers contributed approximately $25 
  Second, with the growth of ocean-related activities in the 
past thirty years, the U.S. legal and bureaucratic framework 
related to the oceans has become increasingly complex. In 1966, 
neither NOAA nor the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had 
been created. A number of laws with major impacts on the 
conduct of ocean and coastal activities had yet to be enacted 
including the CZMA; the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation 
and Management Act; the Marine Mammal Protection Act; the 
National Marine Sanctuaries Act; the Oil Pollution Act; and the 
Endangered Species Act. In addition, since 1966 states have 
become more actively involved in ocean and coastal policy 
issues, in part because of the recommendations of the Stratton 
Commission. Today, people who work and live on the water, from 
fishermen to corporations, face a patchwork of confusing and 
sometimes contradictory Federal and State authorities and 
regulations. No mechanism exists for establishing a common 
vision or set of objectives. The national ocean commission 
established under S. 2327, as reported, would conduct a much 
needed review of the coordination and duplication of programs 
and policies developed under these laws. In addition, ocean use 
conflicts have increased and existing policies may not be able 
to adequately resolve such problems. The mandates of various 
agencies that implement and enforce existing systems often 
conflict with each other. This bill would help reduce these 
conflicts and achieve a reasonable balance among ocean 
  Third, it is clear that living ocean and coastal resources 
once considered boundless actually have limits, and many marine 
and coastal habitats are threatened by pollution and human 
activities. In recent years, New England has struggled with the 
collapse of its traditional cod, haddock, and flounder 
fisheries. In other regions, overfished stocks include sharks, 
swordfish, monkfish, rockfishes, and bluefin tuna. Finding 
effective solutions to these problems has been a subject of 
considerable public and congressional attention. In addition, 
the condition of many coastal habitats has also declined. 
Coastal areas are essential spawning, feeding, and nursery 
areas for over three-quarters of U.S. commercial fish catches. 
However, about 20,000 acres of coastal wetlands are 
disappearing each year. Louisiana alone has lost half a million 
acres of wetlands since the mid 1950s, and the Gulf of Mexico 
now suffers from a 7,700 square mile ``dead zone'', likely a 
result of pollution flowing from the Mississippi River which 
has led to significant impacts on important fisheries. NOAA 
estimates that $200 million is lost annually in reduced fish 
catches alone due to ongoing habitat loss. As the intensity of 
the use of the marine environment grows, the lack of effective 
governance is rapidly becoming a critical problem requiring a 
re-evaluation of national priorities and consideration of new 
and innovative approaches.
  Fourth, environmental threats to the oceans are growing 
increasingly complex. Unfortunately, problems that scientists 
know little about keep arising. In 1999, an unidentified 
pathogen killed tens of thousands of lobsters in Long Island 
Sound. The die-off, described as the worst to hit Long Island 
Sound in nearly a decade, has alarmed hundreds of lobstermen in 
New York, yet scientists do not know the source of the problem 
or the means to remedy it. In the past 30 years, occurrences of 
harmful algal blooms have increased in frequency and intensity 
across a wider geographic range. A recently released report of 
the National Research Council entitled From Monsoons to 
Microbes: Understanding the Ocean's Role in Human Health 
suggests that environmental threats such as these, as well as 
physical oceanographic processes that result in phenomena like 
El Nino and tsunamis, may have significant implications for the 
health of human populations.
  Finally, recent technological discoveries offer important new 
economic and scientific opportunities for the nation to 
evaluate. Although only a small percentage of the ocean has 
been explored, what has been discovered is remarkable. For 
example, hydrothermal vents--hot water geysers on the deep 
ocean floor--were discovered just 20 years ago by 
oceanographers trying to understand the formation of the 
earth's crust. This discovery has since led to the 
identification of nearly 300 new types of marine animals with 
unknown pharmaceutical and biomedical potential. In recent 
years, scientists from 19 nations have joined in an 
international partnership, the Ocean Drilling Program, to 
explore the history and structure of the Earth beneath the 
ocean basins. Over the past 13 years, their vessel, the JOIDES 
Resolution, has recovered more than 115 miles of core samples 
through the world's oceans. While these efforts have furthered 
ocean exploration significantly, many ocean ecosystems, 
particularly the ocean's deepest regions, remain undiscovered 
and unexplored. Only four manned submersibles in the world, 
none of which is operated by the United States, are capable of 
descending to half the ocean's maximum depth. The deepest-
diving U.S. manned submersible currently operating can reach 
only an estimated 63 percent of the ocean floor. Although no 
one can predict what exploration will yield, past exploration 
and research has led to discoveries that have changed our lives 
fundamentally and provided information critical to sustainable 
management of our living marine resources.
  In addition, investing in a greater understanding of the 
ocean environment could also reduce the costs of natural 
hazards. The incidence and intensity of severe weather systems 
are affected by recurring climatic patterns known as El Nino/
Southern Oscillation and the North Atlantic Oscillation. 
Advanced forecasts, for instance, could decrease the 
agricultural, economic, and social impacts resulting from such 
cyclical and extreme weather events. In 1997 and 1998, advanced 
warning derived from observing systems and climate predictions 
saved an estimated $1 billion in California alone from losses 
related to El Nino. The effects of hurricanes demonstrate the 
detrimental consequences of marine-related natural hazards on 
public safety. Throughout the 1920s, hurricanes killed 2,122 
Americans while causing about $1.8 billion in property damages. 
By contrast, in the first five years of the 1990s, hurricanes 
killed only 111 Americans and resulted in damages of about $35 
billion. While there have been notable advances in early 
warning and evacuation systems to protect human lives, the risk 
of property loss continues to escalate and coastal communities 
are more vulnerable to major storms than they ever have been.
  In light of these changes, increasing pressures, and 
opportunities, both the Senate and the House of Representatives 
passed legislation in the 105th Congress to establish an ocean 
commission (S. 1213 and H.R. 3445) patterned on the Stratton 
Commission, but action was not completed on a final bill prior 
to the close of the Congress. S. 2327, as reported, is intended 
to build upon the legislative efforts taken in the 105th 
Congress to create an independent national ocean commission to 
assist the nation in developing a comprehensive and coherent 
national ocean policy.

                          Legislative History

  Senator Hollings introduced S. 2327 on March 29, 2000, and 
the bill was referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, 
and Transportation. S. 2327 is cosponsored by Senators Stevens, 
Snowe, Kerry, Breaux, Inouye, Boxer, Biden, Lautenberg, Akaka, 
Murray, Wyden, Feinstein, Lieberman, Landrieu, Moynihan, 
Sarbanes, Schumer, and Reed.
  On April 13, 2000, S. 2327 was considered by the Committee in 
open executive session. No amendments were offered, and the 
Committee, without objection, ordered S. 2327 reported.

                            Estimated Costs

  In accordance with paragraph 11(a) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate and section 403 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee provides the 
following cost estimate, prepared by the Congressional Budget 

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                       Washington, DC, May 3, 2000.
Hon. John McCain,
    Chairman, Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation,
    U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 2327, the Oceans Act 
of 2000.
    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).

S. 2327--Oceans Act of 2000

    Assuming appropriation of the authorized amount, CBO 
estimates that implementing S. 2327 would cost the federal 
government about $6 million over fiscal years 2001 and 2002--of 
which $3.5 million has already been appropriated. The bill 
would not affect direct spending or receipts; therefore, pay-
as-you-go procedures would not apply. S. 2327 contains no 
intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the 
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and would impose no significant 
costs on state, local, or tribal governments.
    S. 2327 would establish a 16-member Commission on Ocean 
Policy. Within 18 months after being created, the commission 
would report to the Congress and the President on its findings 
and recommendations for a coordinated, comprehensive United 
States ocean policy. Within 120 days of receiving the report, 
the President would publish proposals to implement the 
commission's recommendations. For these purposes, the bill 
would authorize a total of $6 million over the 2001-2003 
period. In 1999, $3.5 million was appropriated for this effort 
but has not been spent. Therefore, CBO estimates that only an 
additional $2.5 million would be needed to fully fund the 
commission's activities. Because the reports required by this 
bill would have to be submitted within the next two years, we 
estimate that most of those funds would be spent during that 
    The staff contact is Deborah Reis. This estimate was 
approved by Robert A. Sunshine, Assistant Director for Budget 

                      Regulatory Impact Statement

  In accordance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides the 
following evaluation of the regulatory impact of the 
legislation, as reported:

                       NUMBER OF PERSONS COVERED

  This legislation is intended to aid in the development of an 
updated national ocean and coastal policy and improve 
coordination among Federal agencies. It does not require new 
regulations. However, among the Commission's responsibilities 
is to review the ocean and coastal activities of federal 
agencies and departments. Such a review could result in 
recommendations for changes in laws and regulations that may 
affect a number of individuals and businesses.

                            ECONOMIC IMPACT

  Section 3(i) of the reported bill authorizes appropriations 
of up to $6 million for the three year fiscal-year period 
beginning with FY 2001. This funding level is not expected to 
have an inflationary impact on the economy. By providing for 
better interagency coordination and cooperation, S. 2327 should 
improve the effectiveness of existing Federal programs and 
activities. The mandated budget coordination should prevent 
unnecessary duplication of effort and promote more cost-
effective use of Federal funds.


  The reported bill will not have any adverse impact on the 
personal privacy of individuals.


  The reported bill requires the preparation and submission of 
biennial reports to Congress on the implementation of the 

                      Section-by-Section Analysis

Section 1. Short title

  This section states the short title of the reported bill, the 
Oceans Act of 2000.

Section 2. Congressional findings; purpose and objectives

  Subsection (a) of this section of the reported bill provides 
Congressional findings with regard to the oceans and coasts. 
The findings recognize that: (1) the oceans and coasts are of 
considerable physical, ecological, and economic importance; (2) 
ocean and coastal resources and the benefits they provide are 
affected by human activities; (3) it has been thirty years 
since the last comprehensive evaluation of ocean and coastal 
activities, and changes over the past three decades make a 
review of those activities necessary; (4) as the 
``International Year of the Ocean'', 1998 brought significant 
attention to ocean policy issues; (5) an independent review 
building on work begun in 1998 is essential to the development 
of a sound and effective new policy; and (6) existing Federal 
programs would benefit from a coherent national ocean and 
coastal policy that reflects the need for cost-effective 
allocation of fiscal resources, improved interagency 
coordination, and strengthened partnerships with State, 
private, and international entities engaged in ocean and 
coastal activities.
  Subsection (b) of this section specifies that the purpose of 
the reported bill is to develop a national ocean and coastal 
policy which will provide for: protection against natural and 
manmade hazards; responsible stewardship, including use, of 
ocean and coastal resources; marine environmental protection 
and prevention of pollution; enhancement of marine-related 
commerce, transportation, and the engagement of the private 
sector in innovative approaches for sustainable use of living 
marine resources; resolution of marine user conflicts; improved 
understanding and education and training programs related to 
the oceans; investment in marine technologies; better Federal 
coordination; and the preservation of U.S. ocean and coastal 

Section 3. Commission on Ocean Policy

  This section of the reported bill establishes a 16-member 
Commission on Ocean Policy. Subsection (a) establishes the 
Commission and exempts it from the Federal Advisory Committee 
Act, except for the administrative and record keeping 
requirements of sections 3, 7, and 12. Subsection (b) provides 
for the appointment of members to the Commission. Members may 
be drawn from State and local governments, ocean-related 
industry, academic and technical institutions, and public 
interest organizations involved with ocean and coastal 
activities. The reported bill specifies that the membership of 
the Commission shall be balanced geographically to the extent 
consistent with maintaining the highest level of expertise on 
the Commission.
  The Commission members will be appointed by the President as 
follows: (1) four will be appointed directly by the President; 
(2) four will be selected from a list of eight proposed members 
submitted by the Majority Leader of the Senate in consultation 
with the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, 
and Transportation; (3) four will be selected from a list of 
eight proposed members submitted by the Speaker of the House of 
Representatives in consultation with the Chairmen of the House 
Committee on Resources and the House Committee on Science; (4) 
two will be selected from a list of four proposed members 
submitted by the Minority Leader of the Senate in consultation 
with the Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, 
Science, and Transportation; and (5) two will be selected from 
a list of four proposed members submitted by the Minority 
Leader of the House of Representatives in consultation with the 
Ranking Members of the House Committee on Resources and the 
House Committee on Science. The Commission will select a 
Chairman who will be responsible for assignment of duties of 
staff personnel and the use and expenditure of funds available 
to the Commission. Any vacancy on the Commission is to be 
filled in the same manner as the original incumbent was 
  Subsection (c) requires the Commission to give appropriate 
consideration to recent reports prepared for the 1998 
International Year of the Ocean and other reports on ocean 
policy, including Turning to the Sea: America's Ocean Future.
  Finally, subsection (c) authorizes the Commission to secure 
information from Federal agencies or departments as it deems 
necessary to carry out its functions under this Act. This 
subsection also provides for staffing of the Commission and 
allows the Chairman to appoint an Executive Director and other 
personnel as necessary.
  Subsection (d) provides the procedures for Commission 
meetings. All meetings shall be open to the public. Meetings 
will be preceded by timely notice, and minutes of all meetings 
will be recorded. The bill provides that the Commission shall 
hold its first meeting within 30 days after Commission members 
are appointed. Public meetings are required in Alaska and in 
the following regions: the Northeast, the Southeast, the 
Southwest, the Northwest, and the Gulf of Mexico.
  Subsection (e) requires the Commission to report within 18 
months to the Congress and the President on its findings and 
recommendations for a national ocean and coastal policy. This 
subsection outlines nine areas for Commission consideration: 
(1) existing and planned facilities and assets associated with 
ocean and coastal activities; (2) existing and planned 
activities of Federal entities and recommendations for changes 
to improve efficiency and reduce unnecessary duplication of 
Federal effort; (3) cumulative effect of Federal laws and 
regulations on U.S. ocean policy; (4) demand for ocean and 
coastal resources; (5) division of responsibility among the 
Federal, State, local, and private sectors for ocean and 
coastal activities; (6) marine-related technological or market 
opportunities; (7) previous and ongoing State and Federal 
efforts to enhance the effectiveness and integration of ocean 
and coastal activities; (8) recommendations for modification to 
U.S. laws, regulations, and the administrative structure of 
Executive agencies; and (9) effectiveness and adequacy of 
existing interagency ocean policy coordination methods, and 
recommendations for improving such methods. In making these 
assessments and recommendations, the Commission is directed to 
give equal consideration to environmental, technical, economic, 
and other relevant factors. Further, in keeping with the 
breadth of inquiry, the Commission will not make 
recommendations specific to the lands or waters of any single 
  Subsections (f) through (h) relate to various technical 
aspects of the Commission and the Commission's report. 
Subsection (f) requires the Commission to publish a notice in 
the Federal Register that a draft report is available for 
public review and provide a draft copy to state Governors and 
relevant Congressional committees before submitting the final 
report to Congress. Governors' comments about activities within 
their states are required to be included in the final report. 
Subsection (g) exempts the preparation, review, or submission 
of the report and review of that report from various provisions 
of the Administrative Procedure Act. Subsection (h) provides 
that the Commission shall cease to exist 30 days after it 
submits its final report.
  Subsection (i) authorizes $6 million dollars for the three 
fiscal-year period beginning in fiscal year 2001, to remain 
available without limitation (within the three years) until 
expended to support the activities of the Commission.

Section 4. National ocean and coastal policy

  This section of the reported bill requires the President, 
after considering the Commission's report, to submit to 
Congress proposals to implement or respond to its 
recommendations and findings concerning development and 
maintenance of a national ocean and coastal policy. This 
section is not intended to imply that the United States 
currently lacks national policies applicable in many specific 
areas related to the oceans and coasts such; nor should this 
section necessarily require proposals for substantial changes 
in such existing policies, but rather their integration into a 
single coordinated, comprehensive, and long-range national 
policy for responsible use and stewardship of ocean and coastal 
resources. However, the Commission's recommendations may 
indicate the need for substantive changes to existing policy, 
law, or administrative structure that the President should 
identify or otherwise address in his proposal to Congress. 
Finally, this section requires the President to work with State 
and local governments, individuals, and organizations outside 
the Federal government that are involved in ocean and coastal 

Section 5. Biennial report

  This section requires the President to transmit a biennial 
report to Congress (beginning in January of 2001) that includes 
a detailed listing of all existing Federal programs related to 
ocean and coastal activities, a description of each program, 
the current funding for the program, linkages to other Federal 
programs, and a projection of the funding level for the program 
for each of the next five fiscal years beginning after the 
report is submitted.

Section 6. Definitions

  This section of the reported bill defines the terms used 
throughout the bill. The term ``coastal state'' means states 
bordering on the Atlantic, Pacific, or Arctic Oceans, the Gulf 
of Mexico, or one or more Great Lakes. The term ``marine 
environment'' means the oceans, including coastal and offshore 
waters, the continental shelf, and the Great Lakes. The term 
``ocean and coastal resource'' means significant historical and 
cultural resources in addition to living and non-living natural 
resources found within the marine environment. Finally, the 
term ``Commission'' means the Commission on Ocean Policy 
established by this bill.

Section 7. Effective date

  This section of the reported bill delays the effective date 
of the Act until December 31, 2000. This provision is intended 
to enable the current Administration to complete its 
interagency ocean initiative under the Presidential Task Force 
established in August of 1999 before the end of the current 
term, and allow the incoming Administration time to evaluate 
the Commission nominees and make appointments.

                        Changes in Existing Law

  In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the Standing 
Rules of the Senate, the Committee states that the bill as 
reported would make no change to existing law.