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109th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session                                                     109-56
_______________________________________________________________________

                                     

                                                        Calendar No. 70

      MARINE DEBRIS RESEARCH PREVENTION AND REDUCTION PROGRAM ACT

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 OF THE

           COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION

                                   on

                                 S. 362




                                     
        DATE deg.April 13, 2005.--Ordered to be printed
       SENATE COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION
                       one hundred ninth congress
                             first session

                     TED STEVENS, Alaska, Chairman
                 DANIEL K. INOUYE, Hawaii, Co-Chairman
JOHN McCAIN, Arizona                 JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER IV, West 
CONRAD R. 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


109th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session                                                     109-56

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



 
      MARINE DEBRIS RESEARCH PREVENTION AND REDUCTION PROGRAM ACT

                                _______
                                

                 April 13, 2005.--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. 362]

    The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, to 
which was referred the bill joint resolution deg. (S. 
H.R. deg. 362) to establish a program within the 
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the United 
States Coast Guard to help identify, determine sources of, 
assess, reduce, and prevent marine debris and its adverse 
impacts on the marine environment and navigation safety, in 
coordination with non-Federal entities, and for other purposes, 
having considered the same, reports favorably thereon 
without amendment deg. with amendments deg. 
with an amendment (in the nature of a substitute) deg. 
and recommends that the bill joint resolution deg. (as 
amended) do pass.

                          Purpose of the Bill

  The purpose of S. 362, the Marine Debris Research Prevention 
and Reduction Act, is to establish programs within NOAA and the 
Coast Guard to ``identify, assess, reduce and prevent marine 
debris and its adverse impacts on the marine environment and 
navigation safety'' and establish an Interagency Committee on 
Marine Debris responsible for coordinating Federal efforts on 
this issue. The bill would authorize appropriations for each 
fiscal year 2006 through 2010 for NOAA ($10,000,000) and the 
Coast Guard ($5,000,000) to carry out this program.

                          Background and Needs

  Each year, millions of marine mammals, sea turtles, fish and 
seabirds become entangled in marine debris or ingest plastics 
which they have mistaken for food. It is estimated that 1,267 
different marine species have been reported to have been 
entangled in or to have ingested marine debris. The plastic in 
the debris constricts the animals' movements or kills them 
through starvation, exhaustion, or infection from deep wounds 
caused by the tightening of tangled material. The animals may 
starve to death, because the plastic clogs their intestines, 
preventing them from obtaining vital nutrients. Toxic 
substances present in plastics can also cause death or 
reproductive failure.
  Humans can also be affected directly by marine debris. 
Swimmers and divers can become entangled in abandoned netting 
and fishing lines. Beach users can be injured by stepping on 
broken glass, cans, needles or other litter. Floating debris is 
visually unappealing and can result in lost tourism revenues. 
Furthermore, marine debris acts as a navigational hazard by 
entangling propellers and clogging cooling water intake valves.
  Land-based sources cause 80 percent of the marine debris 
found on our beaches and waters. The second source of marine 
debris derives from ocean-based sources, including lost or 
abandoned fishing gear, galley waste, trash from ships, and 
offshore oil and gas exploration and production facilities. In 
Hawaii, the impacts of marine debris are particularly apparent 
because of the convergence caused by the North Pacific Tropical 
High. Atmospheric forces cause ocean surface currents to 
converge on Hawaii, bringing with them the vast amount of 
debris floating throughout the Pacific. Since 1996, a total of 
484 tons of debris have been removed from coral reefs in the 
Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. In 2003 alone, 122 tons were 
removed from this same area.
  The U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy (Commission) devoted an 
entire chapter to the problem of marine debris in its Final 
Report, released on September 20, 2004. The Commission 
advocated strengthening interagency efforts and public-private 
partnerships to promote monitoring, prevention, reduction, and 
public awareness of marine debris and its impacts. It also 
recommends development of an international plan of action to 
target derelict fishing gear, which is a serious and persistent 
source of marine debris.
  S. 362, the Marine Debris Research Prevention and Reduction 
Act, addresses many of the marine debris recommendations of the 
Ocean Commission. It would establish a Marine Debris Prevention 
and Removal Program within NOAA to reduce and prevent adverse 
impacts of marine debris on the marine environment and 
navigational safety. The NOAA program would undertake marine 
debris mapping, identification, prevention, and removal 
efforts; public education and outreach efforts; and research 
and development of gear alternatives to reduce threats to the 
marine environment and to enhance the tracking, recovery, and 
identification of lost gear.
  The bill would also establish a marine debris grants program 
to States or other eligible groups to encourage cooperative 
approaches to address marine debris problems. The bill would 
establish a 50 percent non-Federal match requirement, and allow 
for in-kind contributions, including environmental mitigation 
funds provided under a consent decree, but not an 
administrative order. NOAA is also authorized to maintain a 
Federal information clearinghouse on marine debris that will be 
available to researchers and other interested parties, which is 
intended to assist in identifying sources and devising 
prevention strategies.
  In addition, the bill would direct the United States Coast 
Guard to improve its enforcement of MARPOL Annex V and the Act 
to Prevent Pollution from Ships (33 U.S.C. 1901 et seq.), which 
are designed to prevent ship-based pollution from plastics and 
other garbage. Specific measures authorized to be considered by 
the Coast Guard include those outlined in the 1997 
International Maritime Organization's Guidelines for the 
Implementation of Annex V of MARPOL 73/78, such as regulations 
to ensure that ports and terminals have adequate waste 
receptacles and logging procedures for the proper disposal of 
plastics. These guidelines emphasize the importance of 
considering technological feasibility and cost in adapting 
these requirements to the variety of vessels and ports at 
issue.
  As recommended by the Ocean Commission, the bill re-
establishes and strengthens the Interagency Committee on Marine 
Debris (Committee), in order to re-invigorate marine debris 
research and activities among Federal agencies, in cooperation 
with non-governmental entities. The Committee would be required 
to prepare an Interagency Report on Marine Debris Impacts and 
Strategies within 12 months of enactment. The bill also directs 
the Committee to develop a strategy to pursue international 
action to reduce the incidence of marine debris through the 
International Maritime Organization and other appropriate 
international and regional fora.
  The bill provides authorization of appropriations for NOAA 
($10 million annually) and the Coast Guard ($5 million 
annually) for fiscal years 2006 through 2010 to carry out the 
programs authorized under the Act.

                          Legislative History

  S. 362 was introduced in the Senate on February 10, 2005, by 
Senator Inouye and referred to the Senate Committee on 
Commerce, Science, and Transportation. It is co-sponsored by 
Senators Stevens, Kerry, Snowe, Lautenberg, Sarbanes, and 
Cantwell.
  On March 10, 2005, the bill was considered by the Committee 
in an open Executive Session. Senator Lott offered an amendment 
to section 4(a)(3) to clarify that in developing regulations to 
close the waste disposal record keeping gaps for small vessels 
entering United States ports, the Coast Guard should consider 
economic impacts and technical feasability of such reporting 
requirements. The Committee, without objection, approved the 
Lott amendment and ordered S. 362 be reported as amended.

                            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:

S. 362--Marine Debris Research Prevention and Reduction Act

    Summary: S. 362 would establish a program to reduce the 
amount of marine debris (such as plastic and lost fishing gear) 
in oceans and coastal areas and to mitigate its effects on 
health and navigation safety. Under the bill, the National 
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) would conduct 
projects to identify and catalogue debris hazards and determine 
its sources, and to develop methods of removing existing debris 
and preventing further occurrences. The bill would authorize 
NOAA to provide grants to nonfederal entities such as state or 
local governments and universities involved with those 
activities. S. 362 also would direct the U.S. Coast Guard 
(USCG) to improve enforcement and reduce violations of existing 
laws and treaties that address ocean pollution waste disposal 
at sea and would require the USCG to develop new regulations on 
disposal of plastics and fishing gear. For those purposes, the 
bill would authorize the appropriation of $15 million ($10 
million to NOAA and $5 million to USCG) for each of fiscal 
years 2006 through 2010.
    Assuming appropriation of the authorized amounts, CBO 
estimates that implementing S. 362 would cost $3 million in 
fiscal year 2006 and $75 million over the 2006-2010 period. 
Enacting this bill would have no effect on revenues or direct 
spending.
    S. 362 contains both intergovernmental and private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA). 
It would require the Coast Guard to issue regulations that 
improve the disposal of plastics and other garbage by public 
and private ports. In addition, the bill would impose 
requirements on the owners and operators of small commercial 
vessels. Based on information from the Coast Guard, CBO expects 
that the aggregate costs of the mandates in the bill would fall 
well below the thresholds ($62 million for intergovernmental 
mandates and $123 million for private-sector mandates, in 2005, 
adjusted annually for inflation) established by the act.
    Estimated cost to the Federal Government: The estimated 
budgetary impact of S. 362 is shown in the following table. The 
costs of this legislation fall within budget functions 300 
(natural resources and environment) and 400 (transportation). 
For this estimate, CBO assumes that the authorized amounts will 
be appropriated for each year and that outlays will follow 
historical spending patterns for similar activities of the 
agencies involved.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                       By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
                                                                    --------------------------------------------
                                                                       2006     2007     2008     2009     2010
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION

Authorization Level................................................       15       15       15       15       15
Estimated Outlays..................................................        3       17       17       18       20
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: S. 362 
contains both intergovernmental and private-sector mandates as 
defined in UMRA. It would require the Coast Guard to issue 
regulations that improve the disposal of plastics and other 
garbage by public and private ports. In addition, the bill 
would impose requirements on the owners and operators of small 
commercial vessels. Based on information from the Coast Guard, 
CBO expects that the aggregate costs of the mandates in the 
bill would fall well below the thresholds ($62 million for 
intergovernmental mandates and $123 million for private-sector 
mandates, in 2005, adjusted annually for inflation) established 
by the act.

Mandates on port terminals

    By requiring the Coast Guard to issue new regulations 
addressing the processing of marine waste, S. 362 would likely 
lead to new requirements on port terminals for the handling of 
such materials. Current law requires ports to either provide 
disposal facilities on-site or provide vessels with a list of 
vendors to collect the waste. Owners and operators of the 
vessels that dock at ports generally pay vendors directly for 
the disposal of their solid wastes. In issuing the new 
regulations, the Coast Guard does not intend to reduce ports' 
flexibility. CBO assumes, therefore, that additional costs to 
port terminals would not be significant.

Mandates on vessels

    S. 362 also would impose additional requirements on smaller 
commercial vessels by requiring the Coast Guard to develop new 
regulations that improve recordkeeping and ship-board waste 
management by fishing vessels. Under current law, vessels 
weighing 400 tons or greater are required to keep waste 
disposal records, and vessels forty feet or longer are required 
to maintain a waste management plan. The bill suggests that the 
Coast Guard may make regulations expanding those requirements 
to smaller vessels. Because the Coast Guard does not intend to 
make regulations that would be costly for owners and operators 
of smaller vessels, CBO assumes that additional costs to those 
groups would not be significant.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal Costs: Deborah Reis; Impact 
on State, Local, and Tribal Governments: Gregory Waring; and 
Impact on the Private Sector: Selena Caldera.
    Estimate approved by: Peter 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 reported bill would establish programs within NOAA and 
the Coast Guard to identify, assess, reduce, and prevent marine 
debris and its adverse impacts on the marine environment and 
navigation safety. It would authorize the Coast Guard to 
develop regulations to reduce violations of the provisions of 
MARPOL Annex V and the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (33 
U.S.C. 1901 et seq.) requiring that United States ports and 
terminals maintain waste disposal receptacles, for plastics and 
other garbage. The Coast Guard would also be authorized to 
develop regulations to close record keeping gaps, which may 
include regulations regarding vessel waste disposal records and 
ship-board waste management, so individuals or businesses that 
generate waste on board ships could become subject to new 
regulations.

                            ECONOMIC IMPACT

  Section 9 authorizes $10,000,000 to the Administrator of NOAA 
and $5,000,000 to the Secretary of the Department in which the 
Coast Guard is operating for each fiscal year 2006 through 2010 
to implement provisions of this bill. Both of these amounts 
have 10 percent administrative caps. These funding levels are 
modest and are not expected to have an inflationary impact on 
the nation's economy.

                                PRIVACY

  The Coast Guard regulations authorized in section 4 of the 
reported bill may lead to changes in the way ship-board waste 
information is collected and reported, but it is not expected 
to have any adverse impact on the personal privacy of 
individuals.

                               PAPERWORK

  The Coast Guard regulations authorized in section 4 of the 
reported bill may lead to changes in the paperwork requirements 
for recording and reporting ship-board waste, including loss 
and recovery of fishing gear, in the private sector.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis


Section 1. Short title

  Section 1 states that this may be cited as ``Marine Debris 
Research, Prevention and Reduction Act''.

Section 2. Findings and purposes

  Subsection (a) conveys the importance of the ocean 
environment and the fragility of ocean ecosystems, and 
identifies marine debris, particularly plastics, as a 
significant long-term threat to these systems. Subsection (b) 
states that a purpose of this Act is to establish programs 
within NOAA and the Coast Guard to ``identify, assess, reduce, 
and prevent marine debris and its adverse impacts on the marine 
environment and navigation safety.'' Other purposes include 
increased Federal coordination, international cooperation, and 
better data management.

Section 3. NOAA marine debris prevention and removal program

  This section would establish a program within NOAA to reduce 
and prevent marine debris. Subsection (b)(1) would require the 
program to develop methods for identifying the source of marine 
debris in United States navigable waters and the United States 
Exclusive Economic Zone, tracking and predicting its movement, 
and preventing and removing it. Subsection (b)(2) would require 
NOAA to research fishing gear that will pose less of a threat 
to the marine environment, develop tracking devices for lost 
gear, and develop voluntary programs to reduce the loss or 
discarding of old gear. Under subsection (b)(3), NOAA would be 
responsible for educating stakeholders on marine debris.
  Subsection (c) would authorize grants to meet the purposes of 
the Act. The bill would require a 50 percent match from non-
Federal sources, with a waiver provision, establish a merit-
based peer review process for grant proposals, and require 
periodic reports from grantees. Formation of grant guidelines 
would require consultation with various groups, including 
regional fishery management councils established under the 
Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.

Section 4. Coast Guard program

  Section 4 directs the Coast Guard, in consultation with NOAA, 
to undertake measures to reduce violations of MARPOL Annex V 
and the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (33 U.S.C. 1901 et 
seq.), with respect to the discard of plastics and other 
garbage from vessels. The bill would require development of the 
following measures: (1) a strategy to improve monitoring and 
enforcement of current laws, as well as recommendations for 
statutory or regulatory changes to improve compliance, 
including amendments to MARPOL; (2) regulations to address any 
implementation gaps with respect to the requirement of MARPOL 
Annex V and the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships that United 
States ports and terminals maintain receptacles for disposing 
of plastics and other garbage; (3) regulations to close record 
keeping gaps for vessels entering United States ports regarding 
disposal of plastics and other garbage, considering economic 
impact and technical feasibility; (4) regulations to improve 
shipboard waste management; (5) outreach to commercial vessel 
operators and recreational boaters toward the development of a 
voluntary reporting program, along with a central reporting 
location, for incidents of vessel damage caused by marine 
debris and observed violations of marine debris laws and 
regulation; and (6) a voluntary program for United States flag 
vessels to inform the Coast Guard of any non-U.S. ports that 
lack the adequate port reception facilities for garbage.

Section 5. Interagency coordination

  This section would establish an Interagency Committee on 
Marine Debris to coordinate Federal activities and cooperate 
with non-Federal government entities in developing a 
comprehensive program of marine debris research and activities. 
Members would include NOAA, the United States Coast Guard, the 
Environmental Protection Agency, the United States Navy, the 
Maritime Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space 
Administration, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the 
Department of State, the Marine Mammal Commission, and other 
interested agencies. Section 5(c) would require Committee 
meetings twice annually, and section 5(d) would direct the 
Committee to develop and promulgate through regulation a 
definition of the term ``marine debris.'' Section 5(e) would 
require an interagency report examining the sources and impacts 
of marine debris, potential solutions for those impacts, and 
the costs-benefits of those solutions. Section 5(e) would also 
require annual reports on progress made by the programs 
established in this Act and international partnership efforts. 
Subsection (f) adopts language in existing law (33 U.S.C. 1914) 
regarding coordinated use of marine debris data. Subsection (g) 
makes a conforming change to repeal section 2203 of the Marine 
Plastic Pollution Research and Control Act of 1987 (33 U.S.C. 
1914), which authorized the establishment of an Interagency 
Marine Debris Committee, and which is now superceded by section 
5.

Section 6. International cooperation

  Section 6 would direct the Interagency Marine Debris 
Committee to develop a strategy to pursue international action 
to reduce the incidence of marine debris, through the 
International Maritime Organization and other appropriate 
international and regional fora. Such action would include 
effective and enforceable marine debris prevention and removal 
measures in international and regional agreements, measures to 
strengthen and improve compliance with MARPOL Annex V, and an 
international database, consistent with the clearinghouse 
established under section 7, that will provide current 
information on location, source, prevention, and removal of 
marine debris.

Section 7. Federal information clearinghouse

  This section would establish within NOAA a clearinghouse to 
store marine debris data and information, including information 
useful in identifying fishing gear fragments, to be shared with 
researchers and other interested parties. The clearinghouse 
will include (1) standardized protocols to map general 
locations of commercial fishing and aquaculture activities 
using Geographic Information System techniques; (2) a world-
wide database which describes fishing gear and equipment, and 
fishing practices; (3) guidance on the identification of gear 
fragments and their sources; and (4) data on mapping and 
identification of marine debris to be developed under this Act.

Section 8. Definitions

  Section 8 defines the following terms: (1) ``Administrator''; 
(2) ``Committee''; (3) ``United States Exclusive Economic 
Zone''; (4) and ``MARPOL''.

Section 9. Authorization of appropriations

  For each of fiscal years 2006 through 2010, the bill would 
authorize $10,000,000 to the Administrator and $5,000,000 to 
the Secretary of the Department in which the Coast Guard is 
operating (i.e., the Department of Homeland Security), with the 
stipulation that no more than 10 percent of either sum may be 
used for administrative costs.

                        Changes in Existing Law

  In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the Standing 
Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by the bill, 
as reported, are shown as follows (existing law proposed to be 
omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new material is printed 
in italic, existing law in which no change is proposed is shown 
in roman):

 MARINE PLASTIC POLLUTION RESEARCH AND CONTROL ACT OF 1987 (33 U.S.C. 
                                 1914)

               TITLE 33. NAVIGATION AND NAVIGABLE WATERS

             CHAPTER 33. PREVENTION OF POLLUTION FROM SHIPS

[SEC. 2003. COORDINATION.

                            [33 U.S.C. 1914]

  [(a) Establishment of Marine Debris Coordinating Committee.--
The Secretary of Commerce shall establish a Marine Debris 
Coordinating Committee.
  [(b) Membership.--The Committee shall include a senior 
official from--
          [(1) the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
        Administration, who shall serve as the Chairperson of 
        the Committee;
          [(2) the Environmental Protection Agency;
          [(3) the United States Coast Guard;
          [(4) the United States Navy; and
          [(5) such other Federal agencies that have an 
        interest in ocean issues or water pollution prevention 
        and control as the Secretary of Commerce determines 
        appropriate.
  [(c) Meetings.--The Committee shall meet at least twice a 
year to provide a forum to ensure the coordination of national 
and international research, monitoring, education, and 
regulatory actions addressing the persistent marine debris 
problem.
  [(d) Monitoring.--The Secretary of Commerce, acting through 
the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration, in cooperation with the Administrator of the 
Environmental Protection Agency, shall utilize the marine 
debris data derived under title V of the Marine Protection, 
Research, and Sanctuaries Act of 1972 (33 U.S.C. 2801 et seq.) 
to assist--
          [(1) the Committee in ensuring coordination of 
        research, monitoring, education and regulatory actions; 
        and
          [(2) the United States Coast Guard in assessing the 
        effectiveness of this Act and the Act to Prevent 
        Pollution from Ships in ensuring compliance under 
        section 2201.]