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109th Congress 
 1st Session                     SENATE                          Report
                                                                109-202
_______________________________________________________________________
                                                      Calendar No. 319
 
WEATHER MODIFICATION RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER AUTHORIZATION ACT 
                                OF 2005

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 OF THE

           COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION

                                   on

                                 S. 517



                                     

       DATE deg.December 8, 2005.--Ordered to be printed

 Filed under authority of the order of the Senate of November 18, 2005
       SENATE COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION
                       one hundred ninth congress
                             second session

                     TED STEVENS, Alaska, Chairman
                 DANIEL K. INOUYE, Hawaii, Co-Chairman
JOHN McCAIN, Arizona                 JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER IV, West 
CONRAD BURNS, Montana                    Virginia
TRENT LOTT, Mississippi              JOHN F. KERRY, Massachusetts
KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON, Texas          BYRON L. DORGAN, North Dakota
OLYMPIA J. SNOWE, Maine              BARBARA BOXER, California
GORDON H. SMITH, Oregon              BILL NELSON, Florida
JOHN ENSIGN, Nevada                  MARIA CANTWELL, Washington
GEORGE ALLEN, Virginia               FRANK LAUTENBERG, New Jersey
JOHN E. SUNUNU, New Hampshire        E. BENJAMIN NELSON, Nebraska
JIM DeMINT, South Carolina           MARK PRYOR, Arkansas
DAVID VITTER, Louisiana
                    Lisa Sutherland, Staff Director
             Christine Drager Kurth, Deputy Staff Director
                      David Russell, Chief Counsel
     Margaret Cummisky, Democratic Staff Director and Chief Counsel
 Samuel Whitehorn, Democratic Deputy Staff Director and General Counsel
                                                       Calendar No. 319
109th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session                                                    109-202

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




WEATHER MODIFICATION RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER AUTHORIZATION ACT 
                                OF 2005

                                _______
                                

                December 8, 2005.--Ordered to be printed

 Filed under authority of the order of the Senate of November 18, 2005

                                _______
                                

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

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 517]

    The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, to 
which was referred the bill (S. 517) to establish the Weather 
Modification Operations and Research Board, and for other 
purposes, having considered the same, reports favorably thereon 
with an amendment (in the nature of a substitute) and 
recommends that the bill (as amended) do pass.

                          Purpose of the Bill

  The purpose of S. 517, as set forth in section 2 of the bill 
is, ``to develop and implement a comprehensive and coordinated 
national weather modification research policy and a national 
cooperative Federal and State program of weather modification 
research and development.''

                          Background and Needs

  Weather modification refers to the intentional modification 
of atmospheric processes by human activities. For a number of 
years the Federal government supported research for weather 
modification. Federal support for weather modification research 
and development peaked in the mid-1970s and has since declined 
due in part to both a lack of a statistical confirmation of 
hail suppression and rain enhancement seeding experiments and a 
shift from federally funded in-house weather modification 
research and development to cooperative Federal/State weather 
modification research. Currently, there is no Federal funding 
for weather modification activities.

                         Summary of Provisions

  The bill would create a subcommittee in the Office of Science 
and Technology Policy (OSTP) to coordinate a national weather 
modification research program. The subcommittee would be co-
chaired by representatives from the National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Science 
Foundation (NSF), and would have representation from the 
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and other 
appropriate Federal agencies.
  The subcommittee would be required to submit a plan for 
weather modification research that describes goals and 
activities, evaluates existing programs, makes suggestions on 
coordination with existing programs, and provides an estimation 
of Federal funding for weather modification research. The 
program would include activities to improve the understanding 
of processes related to weather modification and the potential 
negative impacts of weather modification.
  The bill also would establish an advisory board in OSTP to 
make recommendations to the subcommittee. This advisory board 
would be composed of outside experts including scientists, 
engineers and State officials involved in weather modification 
operations. The advisory board would examine potential uses for 
weather modification research and evaluate the efficacy of 
weather modification research.

                          Legislative History

  The Weather Modification Research and Technology Transfer 
Authorization Act of 2005 (S. 517) was introduced by Senator 
Hutchison on March 3, 2005 and referred to the Senate Committee 
on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. The Subcommittee on 
Disaster Prevention and Prediction and the Subcommittee on 
Science and Space held a joint hearing on S. 517 on November 
10, 2005. On November 17, 2005, the Committee considered the 
bill in an open Executive Session. Senator Hutchison offered an 
amendment in the nature of a substitute. The Committee, without 
objection, adopted the substitute and ordered S. 517 be 
reported with the amendment.

                            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 
Office:

                                                  December 1, 2005.
Hon. Ted Stevens,
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. 517, the Weather 
Modification Research and Development Policy Act of 2005.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Matthew 
Pickford.
            Sincerely,
                                               Douglas Holtz-Eakin.
    Enclosure.

S. 517--Weather Modification Research and Development Policy Act of 
        2005

    S. 517 would establish within the Office of Science and 
Technology Policy (OSTP) a new Weather Modification 
Subcommittee and a Weather Modification Research Advisory 
Board. Weather modification is the general term that refers to 
any human attempt to alter the weather. The subcommittee would 
consist of representatives from the National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration, the National Science Foundation, 
and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and would 
be responsible for coordinating a national research program on 
weather modification. The advisory board would consist of nine 
members with weather expertise from outside the federal 
government, appointed by the Director of OSTP to advise the 
work of the subcommittee.
    Within 180 days of enactment, the legislation would require 
the Weather Modification Subcommittee to report to the Congress 
goals and priorities for federal weather modification research 
over the next 10 years. In addition, the subcommittee would 
annually report on weather modification research achievements, 
progress, budgets, and recommendations. (This legislation would 
not specifically authorize any such research.) The advisory 
board would work with the subcommittee to make recommendations 
on weather modification issues.
    Based on information from OSTP, CBO expects that the new 
subcommittee and advisory board would require a small increase 
in staff and overall administrative expenses to coordinate a 
national research program on weather modification. We estimate 
that implementing S. 517 would cost about $1 million annually, 
assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts. Enacting the 
legislation would not affect direct spending or revenues.
    S. 517 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act;. any 
costs to state, local, or tribal governments would result from 
complying with conditions of federal assistance.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Matthew 
Pickford. This estimate was approved by Peter H. Fontaine, 
Deputy Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

                      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

  The bill would require OSTP to develop a national weather 
modification policy. The bill would not authorize any new 
regulations and, therefore, would not subject any individuals 
or businesses to new regulations.

                            ECONOMIC IMPACT

  S. 517 would not have an adverse economic impact on the 
nation's economy. The Act would not authorize any new spending.

                                PRIVACY

  The reported bill would have little, if any, impact on the 
personal privacy of U.S. citizens.

                               PAPERWORK

  The reported bill would not increase paperwork requirements 
significantly for individuals and businesses. Section 4 of the 
Act would require OSTP to submit a 10-year plan to Congress and 
an annual report to the President and Congress.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis


Section 1. Short title

  Section 1 would establish the short title of the bill as the 
``Weather Modification Research and Development Policy 
Authorization Act of 2005.''

Section 2. Purpose

  Section 2 would establish the purpose of the bill to develop 
a comprehensive national weather modification research policy.

Section 3. Definitions

  Section 3 would define various terms in the act, including 
``Board'', ``Research and Development'', and ``Weather 
Modification.''

Section 4. Weather Modification Subcommittee

  Section 4 would create a subcommittee in OSTP to coordinate a 
national weather modification research program. The 
subcommittee would be co-chaired by NOAA and NSF, and would 
have representation from NASA and other appropriate Federal 
agencies.
  The section would require the Subcommittee to submit a plan 
for weather modification research that would describe goals and 
activities, evaluate existing programs, make suggestions on 
coordination with existing programs, and provide an estimation 
of Federal funding for weather modification research.
  The section states that the program may include activities to 
improve the understanding of processes related to weather 
modification including cloud seeding, cloud modeling, improved 
forecast technologies, as well as the potential negative 
impacts of weather modification.
  Finally the section would require the Board to submit an 
annual report on the activities conducted pursuant to this 
section.

Section 5. Weather modification research advisory board established

  Section 5 would establish an advisory board in OSTP to make 
recommendations to the Weather Modification Subcommittee. The 
board would be composed of outside experts including 
scientists, engineers and State officials involved in weather 
modification operations. The board would examine potential uses 
for weather modification research and would evaluate the 
efficacy of weather modification research.

Section 6. Cooperation with Weather Modification Subcommittee

  Section 6 would instruct Federal agencies to cooperate with 
the Weather Modification Subcommittee.

                        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.