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107th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session                                                     107-388

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



 
          UPPER MISSISSIPPI RIVER BASIN PROTECTION ACT OF 2001

                                _______
                                

 April 9, 2002.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

  Mr. Hansen, from the Committee on Resources, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                            ADDITIONAL VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 3480]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Resources, to whom was referred the bill 
(H.R. 3480) to promote Department of the Interior efforts to 
provide a scientific basis for the management of sediment and 
nutrient loss in the Upper Mississippi River Basin, 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. 3480 is to promote Department of the 
Interior efforts to provide a scientific basis for the 
management of sediment and nutrient loss in the Upper 
Mississippi River Basin.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    Nutrient runoff and soil erosion in the Upper Mississippi 
River Basin (UMRB) account for the loss of more than $300 
million annually in applied nitrogen and the degradation of 
valuable agricultural lands. Excess nutrients degrade water 
quality, increasing costs for treating drinking water and 
threatening fish and wildlife resources that support the 
Basin's economically significant recreation and tourism 
industries. The UMRB contributes 22 percent of the water 
flowing into the Lower Mississippi River, yet it contributes 31 
percent of the nitrogen. These excess nutrients have been 
linked to degraded water quality and oxygen depletion in the 
Gulf of Mexico. Sediment accumulates in the main shipping 
channel of the Mississippi River, resulting in over $100 
million each year of dredging costs. Sediment also fills 
wetlands and backwaters throughout the entire Mississippi River 
Basin, resulting in habitat loss.
    The need for enhanced sediment and nutrient monitoring in 
the UMRB is widely recognized. State and federal agencies 
participating in the Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Watershed 
Nutrient Task Force have called for increasing the scale and 
frequency of monitoring of the sources of nutrients and 
conditions of waters throughout the Basin. At present, there is 
inadequate scientific data on the amounts and sources of 
sediments and nutrients flowing into the UMRB. Local, state, 
and federal water quality monitoring and modeling efforts are 
not sufficiently coordinated or standardized.
    Relying on existing federal, state and local programs, the 
bill establishes a sediment and nutrient monitoring network and 
an integrated computer-modeling program. These monitoring and 
modeling efforts will provide the baseline data needed to make 
scientifically-sound and cost-effective decisions aimed at 
improving water quality, restoring habitat, and improving 
voluntary management practices by landowners. The bill also 
contains a provision requiring landowner permission prior to 
disseminating information from monitoring stations located on 
private lands to protect privacy of the individual landowners.
    The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) will be responsible for 
establishing the sediment and nutrient monitoring network, 
utilizing existing and newly established gages and monitoring 
stations. USGS will develop guidelines and an electronic system 
for data collection and storage. Using this data, USGS will 
also create computer models to assess sediment and nutrient 
sources, mobilization, and transport. Supplementary information 
on land use, soil use, elevation, and nutrient reduction 
efforts will also be collected in a GIS format to accompany the 
modeling work. The findings of the monitoring network and the 
modeling system will be used to assist with the implementation 
of public and private sediment and nutrient reduction efforts.
    This bill also provides for the National Research Council 
of the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a comprehensive 
water resources assessment of the Upper Mississippi River 
Basin.

                            COMMITTEE ACTION

    H.R. 3480 was introduced on December 13, 2001 by 
Congressman Ron Kind (D-WI), and was referred to the Committee 
on Resources. On December 19, 2001, it was referred within the 
Committee to the Subcommittee on Water and Power. A 
Subcommittee hearing was conducted on March 7, 2002. On March 
20, 2002, the Full Resources Committee met to consider the 
bill. By unanimous consent, the Subcommittee was discharged 
from further consideration of the measure. There were no 
amendments offered to the bill, and the bill was then ordered 
favorably reported to the House of Representatives by unanimous 
consent.

            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.

                   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 that 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. H.R. 3480 authorizes an 
appropriation of $6.25 million a year, and according to the 
Congressional Budget Office, if implemented, would cost $31 
million over the fiscal 2003-2007 period.
    3. General Performance Goals and Objectives. The general 
performance goals and objectives of this legislation, as 
ordered reported, is to promote Department of the Interior 
efforts to provide a scientific basis for the management of 
sediment and nutrient loss in the Upper Mississippi River 
Basin.
    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, April 4, 2002.
Hon. James V. Hansen,
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. 3480, the Upper 
Mississippi River Basin Protection Act of 2001.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Julie 
Middleton.
            Sincerely,
                                          Barry B. Anderson
                                    (For Dan L. Crippen, Director).
    Enclosure.

H.R. 3480--Upper Mississippi River Basin Protection Act of 2001

    H.R. 3480 would establish a sediment and nutrient 
monitoring network as part of the Upper Mississippi River 
Stewardship Initiative. This new monitoring network would 
identify and evaluate significant sources of sediment and 
nutrients in the Upper Mississippi River watershed. H.R. 3480 
would authorize the Secretary of the Interior, through the U.S. 
Geological Survey, to establish guidelines for data collection, 
storage, and analysis--as well as the integration of the new 
data into current monitoring programs and coordination with 
other public and private monitoring programs. In addition, the 
bill would authorize the National Research Council of the 
National Academy of Sciences to conduct a comprehensive water 
resources assessment of the Upper Mississippi River watershed.
    The bill would authorize the appropriation of $6.25 million 
a year to implement its provisions, plus additional amounts for 
the required report. CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 3480 
would cost $31 million over the 2003-2007 period, assuming 
appropriation of the authorized amounts. CBO assumes that most 
of these funds would be allocated for salaries and expenses 
related to developing, implementing, and maintaining the new 
monitoring network. H.R. 3480 would not affect direct spending 
or receipts; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures would not 
apply.
    H.R. 3480 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments. 
Any costs incurred by state or local governments to participate 
in the program authorized by this bill would be voluntary.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Julie Middleton. 
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

    If enacted, this bill would make no changes in existing 
law.

                            ADDITIONAL VIEWS

    I applaud the Committee for its diligent work in approving 
H.R. 3480. In particular, I would like to thank Chairman Hansen 
and Ranking Member Rahall, as well as Subcommittee on Water and 
Power Chairman Calvert and Subcommittee Ranking Member Smith, 
for their willingness to consider this legislation.
    The Upper Mississippi River system, whose tributaries and 
basin encompass much of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, 
and Missouri, is widely recognized as one of our nation's great 
multi-use natural resources. While the Mississippi River and 
its tributaries provide drinking water to approximately 22 
million Americans, the system's 1,300 navigable miles transport 
millions of tons of commercial cargo via barges. In addition, 
40% of North America's waterfowl use the wetlands and 
backwaters of the main stem as a migratory flyway, illustrating 
the environmental significance of the system as well as 
recreation capabilities. Overall, the Upper Mississippi River 
Basin provides $1.2 billion annually in recreation income and 
$6.6 billion to the area's tourism industries.
    Unfortunately, high sediment and nutrient levels threaten 
the health of the river system and the vast recreational, 
agricultural, and industrial activities it supports. Sediment 
fills the main shipping channel of the Upper Mississippi and 
Illinois Rivers, costing over $100 million each year to dredge. 
Nutrient inputs degrade water quality in the Upper Mississippi 
River system and impact far downstream to the Gulf of Mexico.
    As a basis for making effective decisions for improving 
water quality, accurate data must be available. Building the 
nutrient and sediment monitoring system that provides this data 
will require extensive communication and coordination between 
government agencies at the federal, state, and local levels, as 
well as other stakeholders. By utilizing existing monitoring 
programs to the maximum extent possible, H.R. 3480 builds upon 
existing efforts by authorizing the U.S. Geological Survey 
(USGS) to coordinate and integrate these efforts, expand where 
necessary, develop guidelines for data collection and storage, 
and establish an electronic database system to store and 
disseminate information. USGS would also establish a state-of-
the-art computer modeling program to identify significant 
nutrient and sediment sources, at the subwatershed level, to 
better target reduction efforts. In addition, H.R. 3480 
includes strong protections for the privacy of personal data 
collected and used in connection with monitoring and modeling 
activities.
    The need for accurate and comprehensive data collection is 
essential to addressing the problems of the Upper Mississippi 
River Basin. In crafting this strategy, I have worked with 
farmers, the navigation industry, sporting groups, 
environmental organizations, and government agencies throughout 
the region. In addition, this legislation has 16 original, 
bipartisan cosponsors.
    While focused in the Upper Mississippi River Basin, the 
benefits of the programs authorized in this bill would extend 
far beyond the five-state region, because nutrients and 
sediments from the upper Midwest have impacts all the way down 
the Mississippi and into the Gulf of Mexico. Moreover, this 
approach can be seen as a pilot for future watershed and basin 
initiatives in other parts of the nation.
    H.R. 34380 recognizes the need for scientific research on a 
sub-basin scale, enables sensible and effective strategies to 
be developed, and ensures that more local and regional support 
will be gained for those efforts. The sub-basin approach of 
H.R. 3480 also fits with the recommendations of the federal 
interagency Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient 
Task Force, released in a report to Congress on January 18, 
2001.
    In the ``Action Plan for Reducing, Mitigating, and 
Controlling Hypoxia in the Northern Gulf of Mexico,'' the Task 
Force notes that water quality throughout the Mississippi River 
Basin has been degraded by excess nutrients, and that most 
states in the basin have significant river miles impaired by 
high nutrient concentrations that can be a human health hazard. 
The Action Plan also outlines a series of short- and long-term 
goals, including sub-basin coordination and implementation of 
sediment and nutrient reduction efforts, and expanding existing 
monitoring and modeling efforts to identify additional 
management actions to help mitigate nitrogen losses to the 
Gulf.
    A number of states have also weighed in on the need to 
increase monitoring and modeling efforts throughout the Upper 
Mississippi River Basin. In an October 23, 2001, letter to Bush 
Administration officials, six Governors of states bordering the 
Mississippi River wrote that ``* * * a monitoring effort 
conducted jointly by the U.S. Geological Survey and the states 
is required within the basin to determine the water quality 
effects of the actions taken and to measure the success of 
efforts on a sub-basin and project level.''
    This letter illustrates the need for H.R. 3480 and the 
broad support it has received. Water quality problems in the 
Mississippi River Basin cross traditional state and 
administrative boundaries. Solving these problems requires a 
coordinated and cooperative approach between the federal, 
state, and local agencies and groups working throughout the 
region. H.R. 3480 represents a common-sense move toward 
building the scientific foundation necessary to remedy nutrient 
and sediment problems in the region, and I urge my colleagues 
to support this measure when it reaches the House floor.
                                                          Ron Kind.