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109th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session                                                     109-224
_______________________________________________________________________

                                     

                                                       Calendar No. 378
 
               COASTAL AND ESTUARINE LAND PROTECTION ACT

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 of the

           COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION

                                   on

                                S. 1215



                                     

        DATE deg.March 27, 2006.--Ordered to be printed


       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
                    Kenneth Nahigian, Chief Counsel
     Margaret Cummisky, Democratic Staff Director and Chief Counsel
 Samuel Whitehorn, Democratic Deputy Staff Director and General Counsel

        Grant Bosse, Staff Director, National Ocean Policy Study
 Margaret Spring, Senior Democratic Counsel, Senate Commerce Committee


                                                       Calendar No. 378
109th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session                                                     109-224

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




               COASTAL AND ESTUARINE LAND PROTECTION ACT

                                _______
                                

                 March 27, 2006.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

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

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 1215]

    The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, to 
which was referred the bill (S. 1215) to authorize the 
acquisition of interests in undeveloped coastal areas in order 
better to ensure their protection from development, 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. 1215, the Coastal and Estuarine Land 
Protection Act, as amended, is to establish a Coastal and 
Estuarine Land Protection Program within the National Oceanic 
and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and to authorize 
appropriations for such a program for fiscal years 2007 through 
2010.

                          Background and Needs

  Estuaries, wetlands and the watersheds that flow into them 
support fisheries and wildlife, and substantially contribute to 
coastal economies. These areas are critical to many life cycles 
of organisms and help improve surface water quality by 
filtering out wastes. The pressures of urbanization and 
pollution in coastal areas threaten to impair watersheds, 
undermine natural protections from coastal storms, impact 
wildlife habitat, and cause irreparable damage to coastal 
ecology.
  Studies have shown that the abundance and diversity of 
aquatic species decline when the amount of impervious surface 
increases beyond about 10 percent. As our population grows, 
more and more people are moving to our coasts to enjoy their 
beauty and recreational opportunities. By 2010, an estimated 60 
percent of Americans will live along our coasts, which 
represent less than 17 percent of our land area. More than 
3,000 people move to coastal areas every day; fourteen of the 
nation's 20 largest cities are coastal; and coastal areas are 
five times more densely populated than the interior of the 
country. Coastal tourism and recreation account for 85 percent 
of all tourism in the United States.
  The Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 (CZMA) was enacted to 
provide clear policy objectives for States to establish 
coordinated coastal zone management programs and to help 
balance coastal development with preservation. This program has 
proven to be a successful partnership between the Federal 
government and the States, and 34 of the 35 coastal States have 
established approved programs to help preserve and utilize 
their coastal resources. However, CZMA does not provide 
authority for Federal assistance for land conservation 
projects. Rapid coastal development can reduce the habitat and 
ecological values of coastal areas and increase impermeable 
surfaces from which polluted runoff can enter coastal waters.
  Coastal land protection partnership programs increasingly 
have gained popularity throughout the nation as a means of 
meeting a number of diverse priorities: promoting recreation, 
increasing wildlife, improving or conserving ecological quality 
and diversity, and preserving historical or cultural resources. 
Partnership programs among the Federal government, State 
agencies, local governments, private landowners and non-profits 
can be effective management tools. These programs have been 
addressed anually through the Congressional appropriations 
process, but have not been authorized through enabling 
legislation. The Forest Legacy Program administered by the 
Secretary of Agriculture demonstrates the effectiveness of 
leveraging Federal assistance for State and local land 
acquisition projects, but this program rarely reaches coastal 
areas.

                         Summary of Provisions

  S. 1215 would direct the Secretary of Commerce, through NOAA, 
to create a Coastal and Estuarine Land Protection Program to 
protect important coastal and estuarine areas that have 
significant conservation, recreation, ecological, historical, 
or aesthetic values, and that are threatened by conversion to 
other uses.
  To carry out this program, the Secretary would be authorized 
to make competitive grants to coastal States with either 
approved coastal zone management programs or National Estuarine 
Research Reserves (NERRs) for the purpose of acquiring property 
or interests in property. At least 15 percent of the funds 
would be reserved for acquisitions that benefit NERRs. Awards 
would be based on the demonstrated need for protection, ability 
to effectively manage and protect land in perpetuity for 
conservation purposes, and ability to leverage the matching 
share of non-Federal funds among participating entities, 
including regional organizations, private landowners, 
corporations, or private organizations such as land trusts. 
Grants could be allocated by the State to local governments or 
agencies that are eligible for assistance under section 306A of 
the CZMA (16 U.S.C. 1455a, the Coastal Resource Improvement 
Program).
  The bill would provide for a Federal-State match requirement, 
setting the maximum Federal cost share at 75 percent. However, 
the minimum 25 percent non-Federal share could be waived for 
underserved communities, communities that have an inability to 
draw on other sources of funding due to small populations or 
low per capita income, or for other reasons the Secretary were 
to deem appropriate. The non-Federal cost share could include 
non-monetary or in-kind contributions, including land value, 
remediation, planning, restoration, and enhancement.
  S. 1215 would provide that the value of a conservation 
easement may be used as the non-Federal match, rather than 
requiring outright ownership of the land by State and local 
agencies. It also would allow non-government organizations to 
apply the value of a conservation easement to which such 
organizations hold title toward the non-Federal match.
  S. 1215 explicitly would limit property acquired through this 
program to that coming from willing sellers.
  The Secretary would be directed, as a model for future 
efforts, to conduct a Regional Watershed Demonstration Project 
that leverages an equal share of land acquisition funding from 
other Federal contributions, involves a broad spectrum of 
partners, creates conservation corridors and preserves unique 
habitat, protects areas under imminent threat, and helps 
protect water quality in areas designated as a NERR.
  S. 1215 would authorize $60 million for each of fiscal years 
2007 through 2010, and $5 million for the regional watershed 
demonstration project, to remain available until expended. Up 
to five percent of the funds made available to the Secretary or 
eligible coastal State could be used for the purposes of 
planning or administration.

                          Legislative History

  S. 1215 was introduced in the Senate on June 9, 2005, by 
Senator Gregg and referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, 
Science, and Transportation. On March 16, 2006, the Committee 
considered the bill in an open Executive Session. Senators 
Sununu and Boxer offered a substitute amendment making several 
changes to the bill such as: assuring that lands purchased with 
Federal grants under this Act would be from willing sellers, 
allowing non-government entities to apply the value of their 
land or conservation easements towards the non-Federal cost-
sharing of a project, and making several technical corrections. 
The Committee, without objection, ordered S. 1215 be reported 
as amended.

                            Estimated Costs

  In compliance with subsection (a)(3) of paragraph 11 
of rule XXVI of the Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee 
states that, in its opinion, it is necessary to dispense with 
the requirements of paragraphs (1) and (2) of that subsection 
in order to expedite the business of the Senate. deg.
  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:
                                                    March 20, 2006.
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. 1215, the Coastal 
and Estuarine Land Protection Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Deborah Reis.
            Sincerely,
                                          Donald B. Marron,
                                                   Acting Director.
    Enclosure.
S. 1215--Coastal and Estuarine Land Protection Act
    Summary: S. 1215 would direct the National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to establish a program to 
protect land near coastal areas and estuaries. Under the 
proposed new program, NOAA would make grants to coastal states 
that wish to purchase eligible lands or other property 
interests. For this purpose, the bill would authorize the 
appropriation of $60 million for each of fiscal years 2007 
through 2010. S. 1215 also would authorize the appropriation of 
an additional $5 million for 2007 for a demonstration project 
to address the protection of regional watersheds.
    Assuming appropriation of the authorized amounts, CBO 
estimates that implementing S. 1215 would cost the federal 
government $210 million over the 2007-2011 period. We estimate 
that the remaining $35 million authorized by the bill would be 
spent in 2012.
    S. 1215 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA). 
The bill would benefit states and local governments along the 
coasts; any costs they incur would result from complying with 
conditions for receiving federal assistance.
    Estimated cost to the Federal Government: The estimated 
budgetary impact of S. 1215 is shown in the following table. 
For this estimate, CBO assumes that the entire amounts 
authorized by the bill will be appropriated for each fiscal 
year. Estimated outlays are based on historical patterns for 
land acquisition grants made by other federal agencies. The 
costs of this legislation fall within budget function 300 
(natural resources and environment).

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                       By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
                                                                    --------------------------------------------
                                                                       2007     2008     2009     2010     2011
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION

Authorization Level................................................       65       60       60       60        0
Estimated Outlays..................................................       10       30       50       60       60
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: S. 1215 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in UMRA. Much of the money authorized by the bill would 
fund grant programs that require matching funds from 
participating governments. Coastal states would be able to 
allocate a portion of the grant funds received under the 
program to qualified local entities, including local 
governments, to further their coastal management programs. Any 
costs to those states, including matching funds, would result 
from complying with conditions for receiving federal 
assistance.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal Costs: Deborah Reis. Impact 
on State, Local, and Tribal Governments: Lisa Ramirez-Branum. 
Impact on the Private Sector: Craig Cammarata.
    Estimate 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

  S. 1215 as reported by the Committee would authorize 
appropriations to continue and expand existing NOAA programs 
and make a number of changes to current law. The bill would 
have little, if any, regulatory impact.

                            ECONOMIC IMPACT

  The bill, as reported, would provide authorization levels of 
$60 million each year for FY 2007 through FY 2010 for NOAA to 
carry out the purposes of the bill. The bill also would provide 
a one-time authorization of $5 million for the Regional 
Watershed Demonstration Project, to be available until 
expended. These funding levels would not be expected to have an 
inflationary impact on the nation's economy.

                                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 
for the private sector. Those State, local, and non-
governmental partners that apply for Federal grants under the 
Coastal and Estuarine Land Protection Program or Regional 
Watershed Demonstration Project likely would increase their 
written communications, data management, and technical 
expertise capacity related to coastal and estuarine land 
management.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis

Section 1. Short title
  This section specifies that the title of the bill is the 
``Coastal and Estuarine Land Protection Act''.
Section 2. Findings
  This section of the bill recognizes the national importance 
of coastal and estuarine areas and their functions, the need 
for permanent protection of these areas in light of intense 
development pressures, and the role of land acquisition from 
willing sellers as a cost-effective means to conserve these 
important areas.
Section 3. Establishment of program
  This section would direct the Secretary of Commerce to create 
a Coastal and Estuarine Land Protection program to protect 
important coastal and estuarine areas that have significant 
conservation, recreation, ecological, historical, or aesthetic 
values, and that are threatened by conversion to other uses.
  This section would also authorize the Secretary to make 
competitive grants to coastal States with either approved 
coastal zone management programs or NERRs for the purpose of 
acquiring property or interests in property. At least 15 
percent of the funds would be reserved for acquisitions that 
benefit NERRs. Awards would be based on the demonstrated need 
for protection, ability to effectively manage and protect land 
in perpetuity, and ability to leverage the matching share of 
non-Federal funds among participating entities, including 
regional organizations, private landowners, corporations, or 
private organizations such as land trusts. All lands purchased 
through grants awarded under this Act would be required to be 
from willing sellers. The bill would allow States to allocate 
grants to local governments or agencies that are eligible for 
assistance under section 306A of the CZMA (16 U.S.C. 1455a, the 
Coastal Resource Improvement Program).
  The bill would provide for a Federal-State match requirement, 
setting the maximum Federal cost share at 75 percent. However, 
the minimum 25 percent non-Federal share would be able to be 
waived for underserved communities, communities that have an 
inability to draw on other sources of funding due to small 
populations or low per capita income, or for other reasons the 
Secretary were to deem appropriate. The non-Federal cost share 
would be authorized to include non-monetary or in-kind 
contributions, including land value, remediation, planning, 
restoration, and enhancement. The value of land that is held by 
nongovernmental entities would be permitted to be used for this 
purpose if it is held in perpetuity by a qualified conservation 
organization.
  This section would authorize the Secretary to conduct as a 
model for future efforts, a Regional Watershed Demonstration 
Project that leverages an equal share of land acquisition 
funding from other Federal contributions, involves a broad 
spectrum of partners, creates conservation corridors and 
preserves unique habitat, protects areas under imminent threat, 
and helps protect water quality in areas designated as a NERR.
  This section would authorize funding for the Coastal and 
Estuarine Land Protection Program at a level of $60 million for 
fiscal year 2007-2010; and $5 million for the Regional 
Watershed Demonstration Project, to remain available until 
expended. Up to five percent of the funds made available to the 
Secretary or eligible coastal State could be used for planning 
or administration.

                        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.