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108th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session                                                     108-507

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



 
                 MARINE TURTLE CONSERVATION ACT OF 2003

                                _______
                                

  May 20, 2004.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

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

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 3378]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Resources, to whom was referred the bill 
(H.R. 3378) to assist in the conservation of marine turtles and 
the nesting habitats of marine turtles in foreign countries, 
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. 3378 is to assist in the conservation 
of marine turtles and the nesting habitats of marine turtles in 
foreign countries.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    Marine turtles have existed in the world's oceans for more 
than 100 million years. As recently as the 19th century, marine 
turtles were abundant and the population of several species 
exceeded more than a million animals. As a result of foreign 
fishing practices, the destruction of nesting habitat, poaching 
for their eggs, meat and shells, marine debris and ocean 
pollution, a number of marine turtle species have become 
extinct.
    It is generally recognized that there are seven distinct 
species of marine turtles in the world. Six of these species 
including green, hawksbill, Kemp's Ridley, leatherback, 
loggerhead and olive ridley are found in U.S. waters. In the 
United States, the National Marine Fisheries Service has 
jurisdiction over sea turtles in the water, while the Fish and 
Wildlife Service is responsible for them on land. Each of these 
species are listed under our Endangered Species Act and 
Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in 
Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora which prohibits all 
international trade. The seventh marine turtle species is the 
flatback which resides off the coast of Australia.
    Marine sea turtles are air-breathing reptiles that are 
found in tropical and subtropical seas throughout the world. 
They are long-lived species that mature late in life and travel 
great distances during their lifetime. Sea turtles come in 
different sizes, shapes and colors with excellent hearing at 
low frequencies. They spend their lives at sea and only females 
return to land to nest. In fact, in most cases, they migrate 
back to the same nesting areas where they hatched. After about 
60 days of incubation, the turtle hatchlings emerge and head 
for the ocean to begin their lives as pelagic drifters. Adult 
marine turtles have few natural predators.
    In June of 1994, the Marine Turtle Specialist Group of the 
Species Survival Commission of the World Conservation Union met 
in Mexico. They produced a document called Global Strategy for 
the Conservation of Marine Turtles which outlined strategies to 
save these species from extinction. One of their 
recommendations was to augment existing funding to promote the 
conservation of marine turtles and marine turtle nesting 
habitat. Additional resources would allow the funding of 
various projects including: mapping the distribution of nesting 
beaches, monitoring the trade in turtle products, greater use 
of satellite telemetry to track the movement of sea turtles, 
assisting law enforcement efforts to stop poaching and 
educational outreach for those communities providing nesting 
habitat.
    The Marine Turtle Conservation Act is modeled after the 
highly successful conservation funds established for African 
elephants, Asian elephants, rhinoceros, tigers, Great Apes and 
neotropical migratory birds. Under H.R. 3378, a Marine Turtle 
Conservation Fund would be established. The Secretary of the 
Interior would be authorized to receive up to $5 million each 
year in appropriated money to finance approved projects to 
assist in the conservation and recovery of marine turtles in 
foreign waters. The Committee hopes that the Secretary of the 
Interior will encourage grant applicants to include anti-
poaching components and education in their proposals so that 
wildlife authorities in range states can better address illegal 
taking of marine sea turtles. The $5 million dollar level is 
comparable to amounts authorized for other international 
conservation funds. The authorization would expire on September 
30, 2009. Under the terms of this legislation, all seven 
species of marine turtles would be eligible to receive grant 
money from the fund.

                            COMMITTEE ACTION

    H.R. 3378 was introduced on October 28, 2003, by 
Congressman Wayne T. Gilchrest (R-MD). The bill was referred to 
the Committee on Resources, and within the Committee to the 
Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife and Oceans. 
The Subcommittee held a hearing on the bill on March 25, 2004. 
On April 22, 2004, the Subcommittee met to mark up the bill. 
There were no amendments offered and the bill was then 
forwarded to the Full Committee. On May 5, 2004, the Full 
Resources Committee met to consider the bill. There were no 
amendments offered and the bill was 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.

                  FEDERAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE STATEMENT

    The functions of the proposed advisory committee authorized 
in the bill are not currently being performed by one or more 
agencies.

                   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, credit 
authority, or an increase or decrease in tax expenditures. 
According to the Congressional Budget Office, implementing H.R. 
3378 would cost $24 million over the next five years all 
subject to appropriation. The bill authorizes the Secretary to 
accept and use donations to provide financial assistance and 
therefore, the bill could increase revenues and direct 
spending, but any new revenues and subsequent direct spending 
would be insignificant.
    3. General Performance Goals and Objectives. As required by 
clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII, the general performance goal or 
objective of this bill is to assist in the conservation of 
marine turtles and the nesting habitats of marine turtles in 
foreign countries.
    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, May 19, 2004.
Hon. Richard W. Pombo,
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. 3378, the Marine 
Turtle Conservation Act of 2003.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Megan 
Carroll.
            Sincerely,
                                      Elizabeth M. Robinson
                               (For Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Director).
    Enclosure.

H.R. 3378--Marine Turtle Conservation Act of 2003

    Summary: H.R. 3378 would direct the Secretary of the 
Interior to establish a program to support activities to 
protect and conserve marine turtles. The bill would authorize 
the appropriation of $5 million a year over the 2005-2009 
period for the Secretary to convene an advisory panel and 
provide financial assistance to eligible government agencies, 
international or foreign organizations, or private entities 
engaged in such activities. CBO estimates that such assistance 
would cost $24 million over the 2005-2009 period, assuming 
appropriation of the authorized amounts. H.R. 3378 also would 
authorize the Secretary to accept and use donations to provide 
financial assistance; hence, the bill could increase revenues 
and direct spending. Based on information from the U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service, however, CBO estimates that any new 
revenues and subsequent direct spending would be insignificant.
    H.R. 3378 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) 
and would have no significant impact on the budgets of state, 
local, or tribal governments.
    Estimated cost to the Federal Government: CBO estimates 
that implementing H.R. 3378 would cost $24 million over the 
next five years. For this estimate, CBO assumes that H.R. 3378 
will be enacted near the start of fiscal year 2005 and that 
authorized amounts will be provided as specified in the bill. 
Estimates of outlays are based on historical spending patterns 
for similar programs. The estimated budgetary impact of H.R. 
3378 is shown in the following table. The costs of this 
legislation fall within budget function 300 (natural resources 
and environment).

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                       By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
                                                                    --------------------------------------------
                                                                       2005     2006     2007     2008     2009
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION

Authorization level................................................        5        5        5        5        5
Estimated outlays..................................................        1        4        8        6        5
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: H.R. 3378 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined UMRA and would have no significant impact on the 
budgets of state, local, or tribal governments
    Estimate prepared by: Federal Costs: Megan Carroll. Impact 
on State, Local, and Tribal Governments: Majorie Miller. Impact 
on the Private Sector: Jean Talarico.
    Estimate approved by: Robert A. Sunshine, 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.