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109th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session                                                     109-620




 September 6, 2006.--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

                             together with

                            ADDITIONAL VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 479]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Resources, to whom was referred the bill 
(H.R. 479) to replace a Coastal Barrier Resources System map 
relating to Coastal Barrier Resources System Grayton Beach Unit 
FL-95P in Walton County, Florida, having considered the same, 
report favorably thereon with an amendment and recommend that 
the bill as amended do pass.
    The amendment is as follows:
    Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 


  (a) In General.--The map described in subsection (b) relating to the 
Coastal Barrier Resources System unit Grayton Beach Unit FL-95P, 
located in Walton County, Florida, as included in the set of maps 
entitled ``Coastal Barrier Resources System'' referred to in section 
4(a) of the Coastal Barrier Resources Act (16 U.S.C. 3503(a)), is 
hereby replaced by another map relating to that unit entitled ``Grayton 
Beach Unit FL-95P and Draper Lake Unit FL-96'' and dated ``July 24, 
  (b) Replaced Map Described.--The map replaced under subsection (a) is 
DRAPER LAKE UNIT FL-96'' and dated October 24, 1990.
  (c) Availability.--The Secretary of the Interior shall keep the maps 
referred to in subsections (a) on file and available for inspection in 
accordance with the provisions of section 4(b) of the Coastal Barrier 
Resources Act (16 U.S.C. 3503(b)).

                          PURPOSE OF THE BILL

    The purpose of H.R. 479 is to replace a Coastal Barrier 
Resources System map relating to Coastal Barrier Resources 
System Grayton Beach Unit FL-95P in Walton County, Florida.


    The John H. Chafee Coastal Barrier Resources System is made 
up of coastal barrier units which are delineated on maps 
adopted by Congress. These units consist of undeveloped 
sections of coastal barrier islands and the associated aquatic 
habitat which lies behind these barriers. The System was 
created by the Coastal Barrier Resources Act of 1982 (CBRA) and 
was expanded in the Coastal Barrier Improvement Act of 1990. 
The System is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service of the Department of the Interior. Lands included 
within the System are not eligible for any federal development 
assistance, the most notable of which is federal flood 
    The Coastal Barrier Resources System was initially 
comprised of 186 units totaling 666 miles of shoreline and 
452,834 acres of undeveloped, unprotected coastal barriers on 
the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts. Except for very minor 
technical changes to account for natural accretion and erosion, 
boundaries cannot be adjusted and units cannot be added or 
deleted from the System unless Congress passes a law adopting 
revised maps. Today, the entire Coastal Barrier Resources 
System has 856 units and more than 3 million acres of fastland 
and associated aquatic habitat.
    The 1990 Coastal Barrier Improvement Act added an important 
new category of units to the System called ``Otherwise 
Protected Areas'' (OPAs). These include undeveloped 
conservation areas such as national wildlife refuges, national 
parks and seashores, State parks, military bases and 
conservation lands owned by private organizations. While OPAs 
remain eligible for a variety of federal financial assistance 
programs, they are ineligible for participation in the Federal 
Flood Insurance Program. The 1990 Act created 271 OPAs, 
comprised of approximately 1,786,000 acres, which more than 
doubled the amount of undeveloped coastal barrier lands covered 
under CBRA. When OPAs were included in the System, they were 
delineated with rudimentary mapping tools based upon pre-
existing boundary data. As a result of technological 
advancements in geographic information systems, databases and 
digital mapping techniques, OPA boundaries have been shown to 
have embedded flaws and inaccuracies.
    Specifically, the Grayton Beach Unit FL-95P would be 
modified to exclude four homes and six undeveloped lots from 
the prohibitions on federal flood insurance. When this unit was 
established as an ``otherwise protected area'' in 1990, each of 
the four homes were already fully constructed by 1983, there 
were hard packed roads within the community and all ten lots 
were plotted three years earlier. In fact, the Grayton Beach 
State Park was not created until 1985. While these four 
homeowners obtained federal flood insurance prior to 1990, they 
were advised that ``If your building is ever substantially 
damaged or substantially improved, the property will become 
ineligible for federal flood insurance, and your policy will 
have to be non-renewed''.
    These property owners believe they were mistakenly included 
within the Coastal Barrier Resources System because it was 
incorrectly assumed that their property was contained within 
the boundaries of the Grayton Beach State Park. H.R. 479 would 
allow them to retain federal flood insurance in the future by 
removing their ten lots, which comprise six acres of land from 
the system. In addition, the new map would remove forty 
additional private lots representing twenty acres in the Towns 
of Grayton Beach and Gulf Trace that should not have been 
included within the system. These are genuine mapping errors. 
These lands were not held for recreation or conservation 
purposes, they are not inholdings and their exclusion is 
supported by the Fish and Wildlife Service. At the same time, 
the bill would add some 1,582 acres of state park land that was 
inadvertently left out of the unit when it was created in 1990. 
The net effect of this ``technical change'' would be to expand 
the size of this CBRA unit by 1,562 acres of land.

                            COMMITTEE ACTION

    H.R. 479 was introduced on February 1, 2005 by Congressman 
Jeff Miller (R-FL). The bill was referred to the Committee on 
Resources, and within the Committee to the Subcommittee on 
Fisheries and Oceans. On April 6, 2006, the Subcommittee held a 
hearing on the bill. On July 19, 2006, the Full Resources 
Committee met to consider the bill. The Subcommittee on 
Fisheries and Oceans was discharged from further consideration 
of the bill by unanimous consent. Chairman Pombo offered an 
amendment in the nature of a substitute that identified that 
the proper map reference for these changes is entitled 
``Grayton Beach Unit FL-95P and Draper Lake Unit FL-96'' and 
dated July 24, 2006. The amendment was adopted by unanimous 
consent. The bill, as amended, was then ordered favorably 
reported to the House of Representatives by unanimous consent.


    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.


    Article I, section 8, clause 3 of the Constitution of the 
United States grants Congress the authority to enact this bill.


    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 revenues or tax 
expenditures. According to the Congressional Budget Office, 
enactment of H.R. 479 could affect direct spending, but any net 
change would be ``negligible.''
    3. General Performance Goals and Objectives. This bill does 
not authorize funding and therefore, clause 3(c)(4) of rule 
XIII of the rules of the House of Representatives does not 
    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 

H.R. 479--A bill to replace a Coastal Barrier Resources System map 
        relating to Coastal Barrier Resources System Grayton Beach Unit 
        FL-95P in Walton County, Florida

    H.R. 479 would update a map of the Coastal Barrier 
Resources System (CBRS) in Walton County, Florida. CBO 
estimates that enacting H.R. 479 would have no significant 
impact on the federal budget. The bill could affect direct 
spending, but we expect that any net change would be 
negligible. Enacting the bill would not affect revenues.
    The bill 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.
    H.R. 479 would revise the CBRS map for the Grayton Beach 
Unit to exclude 26 acres of private land and to include 1,562 
acres of state park land. Excluding the private acreage would 
enable owners of about 50 home lots to retain or purchase 
federal flood insurance. CBO estimates that, relative to 
current law, implementing H.R. 479 would increase premium 
collections of the national flood insurance fund by less than 
$500,000 annually. Such collections would be partially offset 
each year by new mandatory spending for underwriting and 
administrative expenses. In addition, premium collections might 
be offset in some years by new flood insurance claims.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Deborah Reis. 
This estimate was approved by Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

                    COMPLIANCE WITH PUBLIC LAW 104-4

    This bill contains no unfunded mandates.


    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 


    Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to comment on 
H.R. 479, amending the Coastal Barrier Resources Act (CBRA) 
system unit FL-95P. As you know, the Resources Subcommittee on 
Fisheries and Oceans held a hearing on April 6, 2006, in which 
this bill and others were reviewed. We received excellent 
testimony from the USFWS and all sides of this particular 
issue. We understand the matter is complex, and there is 
dispute over the circumstances involved in the original 
inclusion of this property within an Otherwise Protected Area 
(OPA) in the CBRA system. We strongly support increases to the 
system, and we understand that H.R. 479 brings 1,500 fast land 
acres into the Coastal Barrier Resources system. However, we 
must point out our long-standing support for maintaining the 
integrity of the CBRA system and must stress that this bill 
cannot set a precedent for removing an inholding from an OPA or 
full unit under the system.
    Coastal barriers are islands and similar natural landforms 
that buffer the U.S. coastline from storms and provide 
important habitat for fish and wildlife. The geological 
composition of coastal barriers makes them highly unstable 
areas on which to build, yet many of these areas have undergone 
increased development. Some of this development has been 
encouraged by the availability of national flood insurance and 
other types of federal financial assistance.
    As the New York Times reported on July 25, 2006, climate 
experts are unified over their concern about what they term is 
a ``lemming-like march to the sea.'' They are describing the 
intensifying pressure of development on our coasts, including 
the fragile geological features, like coastal barrier islands. 
They say, regardless of what we may believe about the 
relationship between climate change and the frequency or 
intensity of hurricanes, homes should not be built in the path 
of hurricanes. Specifically, 10 climate scientists, in a 
statement released during the week of the hearing, said that 
federal assistance programs encourage development in areas 
vulnerable to damage from strong storms. They stress that human 
lives and property are increasingly put at risk by these 
    In light of intense damage done to the Gulf Coast, 
communities, and human lives and the significantly protective 
role played by coast barriers in Hurricanes Rita and Katrina, 
Chairman Gilchrest has asked the Government Accountability 
Office to conduct an updated study on how well the CBRA system 
is protecting these areas from development. We plan to hold a 
hearing in the fall of 2006 to review preliminary results of 
the study, which will review the federal role in encouraging 
coastal development within the system. This study will help 
Congress strengthen, when necessary, the market-based approach 
of the CBRA system to minimize risks to human lives and 
property along our coasts.
    As a strong supporter of the Coastal Barrier Resources 
system, Mr. Gilchrest was pleased to introduce H.R. 3552, 
Coastal Barrier Resources Reauthorization Act of 2005, which 
will not only extend this valuable program but will require the 
completion of the digital mapping pilot project, authorize the 
digital mapping of all 856 CBRA units in the system and 
establish a grant program to identify, assess and recommend new 
coastal barriers for inclusion within the system. Digital 
mapping, when completed, will help all coastal areas respond 
effectively to disputes about the inclusion or exclusion of 
CBRA units, and will increase the effective USFWS's oversight 
of this program. We anticipate that the digital mapping product 
will help reduce the costs to the USFWS of reviewing 
constituent concerns about their inclusion in the system and 
that it will help inform more coastal property owners of their 
rights and responsibilities under the system.
    H.R. 479 removes approximately 20 acres from the CBRA 
system, including 6.4 acres of inholding, called ``The Old 
Miller Place.'' There are 10 lots on the site, and 6 are 
undeveloped. The USFWS opposes this bill because the inholding 
did not meet the criteria for exclusion from CBRA in 1990. To 
be part of an OPA under CBRA, the site cannot be developed and 
has to be held for conservation purposes. The issue over this 
area is whether or not it had paved roads--if the roads were 
paved, the area would have been excluded. The circumstances are 
sufficiently unclear to make a determination at this time.
    Thank you again, Mr. Chairman, for your leadership and 
continued support of the CBRA system. Our Committee has 
consistently supported the integrity of the Coastal Barrier 
Resources System, and we have established a high threshold that 
must be satisfied before we will advocate for corrections to 
the system. During the past six years, we supported several 
technical correction bills when it became clear that relief was 
warranted because of honest mistakes and mapping errors. 
Although the record is not entirely clear in this case, we must 
stress that, as a federal policy matter, removing inholdings 
from existing CBRA units threatens the integrity of the system.

                                                Wayne T. Gilchrest.
                                                 Frank Pallone, Jr.