(PDF provides a complete and accurate display of this text.)
111th Congress Report
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
2d Session 111-392
OCEAN, COASTAL, AND WATERSHED EDUCATION ACT
January 12, 2010.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the
State of the Union and ordered to be printed
Mr. Rahall, from the Committee on Natural Resources, submitted the
R E P O R T
[To accompany H.R. 3644]
[Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]
The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred the
bill (H.R. 3644) to direct the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration to establish education and watershed programs
which advance environmental literacy, including preparedness
and adaptability for the likely impacts of climate change in
coastal watershed regions, 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
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ``Ocean, Coastal, and Watershed
SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE.
(a) Findings.--The Congress finds the following:
(1) The United States faces major challenges, such as
mitigating and adapting to the impacts of climate change,
stewarding critical coastal and marine resources including fish
and wildlife habitat while sustaining the commercial and
recreational activities that depend on these resources, and
improving resilience to natural disasters, that collectively
threaten human health, economic development, environmental
quality, and national security.
(2) Communities in coastal watersheds are particularly
vulnerable to these increasingly urgent, interconnected, and
complex challenges and need support for teacher professional
development and experiential learning among students of all
(3) These challenges can be met with the help of
comprehensive programs specifically targeted to engage coastal
watershed communities, schoolchildren, and the general public
to develop engaged and environmentally literate citizens who
are better able to understand complex environmental issues,
assess risk, evaluate proposed plans, and understand how
individual decisions affect the environment at local, regional,
national, and global scales.
(4) The intrinsic social and conservation values of wildlife-
dependent and other outdoor recreation can play an important
role in outdoor educational programs that address the myriad of
coastal and ocean concerns, as well as instill a sustainable
conservation ethic that will enable them to face those
challenges to the betterment of both the environment and
(b) Purpose.--The purpose of this Act is to advance environmental
literacy, develop public awareness and appreciation of the economic,
social, recreational, and environmental benefits of coastal watersheds,
and emphasize stewardship of critical coastal and marine resources,
including an understanding of how climate change is impacting those
resources, through the establishment of--
(1) an Environmental Literacy Grant Program; and
(2) regional programs under the B-WET Program.
SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.
In this Act:
(1) Administrator.--The term ``Administrator'' means the
Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
(2) Bay-watershed education.--The term ``bay-watershed
education'' means environmental education focused on
watersheds, with an emphasis on stewardship of critical coastal
and marine resources, including an understanding of how climate
change is impacting those resources.
(3) B-WET program.--The term ``B-WET Program'' means the Bay-
Watershed Education and Training Program of the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, as in effect
immediately before the enactment of this Act and modified under
this Act or any subsequently enacted Act.
(4) Eligible entity.--The term ``eligible entity'' means a
State agency, local agency, school district, institution of
higher education, or for-profit or non-profit nongovernmental
organization, consortium, or other entity that the
Administrator finds has demonstrated expertise and experience
in the development of the institutional, intellectual, or
policy resources to help environmental education become more
effective and widely practiced.
(5) Environmental education.--The term ``environmental
education'' means interdisciplinary formal and informal
learning about the relevant interrelationships between dynamic
environmental and human systems, and which results in
increasing the learner's capacity for decisionmaking and
stewardship regarding natural and community resources.
(6) Environmental literacy.--The term ``environmental
literacy'' means the capacity to perceive and interpret the
relative health of environmental systems and the
interrelationships between natural and social systems and
technology, and to assess options and take appropriate action
to maintain, restore, or improve the health of those systems.
(7) High-leverage projects.--The term ``high-leverage
projects'' means projects supported by grants authorized under
this Act that use Federal, State and nongovernmental financial,
technical, and other resources in such a manner that the
potential beneficial outcomes are highly magnified or enhanced.
(8) State.--The term ``State'' means each of the several
States of the United States, the District of Columbia, the
Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American
Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, any
other territory or possession of the United States, and any
SEC. 4. ENVIRONMENTAL LITERACY GRANT PROGRAM.
(a) In General.--The Administrator shall establish a national
competitive grant program, to be known as the ``Environmental Literacy
Grant Program'', under which the Administrator shall provide, subject
to the availability of appropriations, financial assistance to--
(1) expand the adoption of coastal, ocean, Great Lakes, and
climate on all time scales education;
(2) build administrative and technical capacity with coastal,
ocean, and watershed communities and stakeholder groups to
enhance their effectiveness;
(3) encourage water-dependent, wildlife-dependent, and other
outdoor recreation, experiential learning, and hands-on
involvement with coastal and watershed resources as a method of
promoting stewardship of those resources; and
(4) develop and implement new approaches to advance coastal,
ocean, Great Lakes, and climate on all time scales education
and environmental literacy at national, regional, and local
(b) Priorities.--In awarding grants under this section, the
Administrator shall give priority consideration to innovative,
strategic, high-leverage projects that demonstrate strong potential for
being sustained in the future by a grant recipient beyond the time
period in which activities are carried out with the grant.
(c) Guidelines.--No later than 180 days after the date of enactment
of this Act and after consultation with appropriate stakeholders, the
Administrator shall publish in the Federal Register guidelines
regarding the implementation of this grant program, including
publication of criteria for eligible entities, identification of
national priorities, establishment of performance measures to evaluate
program effectiveness, information regarding sources of non-Federal
matching funds or in-kind contributions, and reporting requirements for
grant award recipients.
(d) Limitation on Use of Funds by Administrator.--Of the amounts made
available to implement this section--
(1) no less than 80 percent shall be used for competitive
grants or cooperative agreements;
(2) no more than 10 percent may be used by the Administrator
to implement the grant program; and
(3) no less than 10 percent of the annual funds appropriated
for the program authorized under this section shall be used to
fund contracts or cooperative agreements to conduct strategic
planning, promote communications among grant recipients and
within communities, coordinate grant activities to foster an
integrated program, and oversee national evaluation efforts.
SEC. 5. B-WET PROGRAM.
(a) Existing Program.--The Administrator shall conduct the B-WET
Program, including each of the regional programs conducted or under
active consideration for creation under such program immediately before
the enactment of this Act.
(b) New Regional Programs.--
(1) In general.--The Administrator may create new regional
programs under the B-WET Program in accordance with a strategy
issued under this subsection.
(A) In general.--The Administrator shall issue a
strategy for establishing such new regional programs.
(B) Contents.--The strategy shall include the
(i) Evaluation of the need for new regional
program in areas that are not served under the
B-WET Program on the date of enactment of this
(ii) Identification of potential new regional
programs, including a listing of potential
principal non-Federal partners.
(iii) A comprehensive budget for future
expansion of the B-WET Program over the period
for which appropriations are authorized under
(iv) Such other information as the
Administrator considers necessary.
(C) Consultation and public comment.--The
Administrator shall consult with relevant stakeholders
and provide opportunity for public comment in the
development of the strategy.
(D) Submission to congress.--The Administrator shall
submit the strategy to the Committee on Natural
Resources of the House of Representatives and the
Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of
the Senate by not later than 270 days after the date of
enactment of this Act.
(3) Priority consideration.--In creating new regional
programs under this subsection, the Administrator shall give
priority consideration to the needs of--
(A) United States territories, including Guam, the
Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and
(B) the Great Lakes States;
(C) Alaska; and
(D) the mid-Atlantic region.
(c) Modification of B-WET Program.--
(1) In general.--The Administrator may modify or realign
regional programs under the B-WET Program, based on--
(A) changes in regional needs;
(B) mutual interest between the Administrator and
relevant stakeholders within a region or regions;
(C) changes in resources available to the
Administrator to implement the B-WET Program; and
(D) other circumstances as determined necessary by
(2) Consultation and public comment.--The Administrator
(A) consult with the persons conducting a regional
program and provide opportunity for public comment
prior to making a final decision to modify or realign
such regional program; and
(B) publish public notice of such a decision no less
than 30-days before the effective date of such a
modification or realignment.
(d) Regional Program Managers.--
(1) Appointment of regional program manager.--The
Administrator shall be responsible for the selection,
appointment, and when necessary replacement of a regional
program manager for each regional program under the B-WET
(2) Qualifications.--To qualify for appointment as a regional
program manager, an individual must--
(A) reside in the region for which appointed; and
(B) demonstrate competence and expertise in bay-
watershed education and training.
(3) Functions.--Each regional program manager shall--
(A) be responsible for managing and administering the
B-WET Program in the region for which appointed, in
accordance with this Act;
(B) determine the most appropriate communities within
the region to be served by the B-WET Program;
(C) encourage water-dependent, wildlife-dependent,
and other outdoor recreation, experiential learning
experiences for students, and hands-on involvement with
coastal and watershed resources as a method of
promoting stewardship of those resources and
complementing core classroom curriculum;
(D) support communication and collaboration among
educators, natural resource planners and managers, and
governmental and nongovernmental stakeholders;
(E) share and distribute information regarding
educational plans, strategies, learning activities, and
curricula to all stakeholders within its region;
(F) provide financial and technical assistance
pursuant to the guidelines developed by the
Administrator under this section; and
(G) perform any additional duties as necessary to
carry out the functions of the program.
(e) Program Guidelines.--No later than 180 days after the date of
enactment of this Act and after consultation with appropriate
stakeholders, the Administrator shall publish in the Federal Register
guidelines regarding the implementation of the B-WET Program, as
(1) Contracts.--The Administrator shall create guidelines
through which each regional program manager may enter into
contracts (subject to the availability of appropriations) to
support projects to design, demonstrate, evaluate, or
disseminate practices, methods, or techniques related to Bay-
watershed education and training.
(2) Grant making and cooperative agreements.--
(A) In general.--The Administrator shall create
guidelines through which each regional program manager
may provide financial assistance in the form of a grant
(subject to the availability of appropriations) or
cooperative agreement to support projects that advance
the purpose of this Act. The guidelines shall include
criteria for eligible entities, identification of
national priorities, establishment of performance
measures to evaluate program effectiveness, and
reporting requirements for grant award recipients.
(B) Priority.--In making grants under this paragraph,
each regional program manager shall give priority to
those projects that will--
(i) promote bay-watershed education
throughout the region concerned;
(ii) advance strategic initiatives to
incorporate bay-watershed education into formal
and informal education systems;
(iii) build capacity within bay-watershed
education communities and stakeholder groups
for expanding and strengthening their work;
(iv) build bay-watershed education into
professional development or training activities
for educators; and
(v) broadly replicate existing, proven bay-
watershed education programs.
(f) Non-Federal Share.--
(1) In general.--In awarding grants under this section, the
regional program managers shall give priority consideration to
a project for which the Federal share does not exceed 75
percent of the aggregate cost of such project.
(2) In-kind contribution.--The non-Federal share of the costs
of any project supported by an award of grant funding under
this section may be cash or the fair market value of services,
equipment, donations, or any other form of in-kind
(3) Other priority.--The regional program managers shall give
priority consideration to a project that will be conducted by
or benefit any under-served community, any community that has
an inability to draw on other sources of funding because of the
small population or low income of the community, or any other
person for any other reason the Administrator considers
appropriate and consistent with the purpose of this Act.
(g) Regional Program Coordination.--Within the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration, the Office of Education shall work with
regional program managers on the following regional B-WET Program
(1) Strategic planning efforts.
(2) Integration and coordination of programs.
(3) Coordination of national evaluation efforts.
(4) Promotion of network wide communications.
(5) Selection of new Regional Program Managers.
(6) Management, tracking, and oversight of the B-WET Program.
(h) Limitation on Use of Funds by Administrator.--Of the amounts made
available to implement this section--
(1) no less than 80 percent shall be used for implementation
of regional program activities, including the award of grants;
(2) no more than 20 percent may be used by the Administrator
to implement the regional programs and regional program
SEC. 6. BIENNIAL REPORT.
Not later than December 31, 2011, and biennially thereafter, the
Administrator shall submit to Congress a report on the grant programs
authorized under this Act. Each such report shall include a description
of the eligible activities carried out with grants awarded under the
Act during the previous two fiscal years, an assessment of the success
and impact of such activities, and a description of the type of
programs carried out with such grant, disaggregated by State.
SEC. 7. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.
There are authorized to be appropriated to the Administrator to carry
out this Act such sums as may be necessary for each of fiscal years
2011 through 2015.
PURPOSE OF THE BILL
The purpose of H.R. 3644 is to direct the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration to establish education and
watershed programs which advance environmental literacy,
including preparedness and adaptability for the likely impacts
of climate change in coastal watershed regions.
BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION
Since 2002 and 2005, respectively, the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Bay-Watershed Education and
Training (B-WET) and Environmental Literacy Grant (ELG)
Programs have made great strides in advancing ocean,
atmospheric, and environmental literacy in the United States.
With a focus on children in grades K-12, these programs have
promoted public awareness and appreciation of the economic,
social, and environmental benefits of coastal and watershed
areas, and the importance of responsible stewardship of these
NOAA's B-WET program provides regionally-focused funding
through competitive grants to projects which promote
``meaningful watershed educational experiences,'' in which
schoolchildren are involved in hands-on investigative or
project-oriented learning experiences. There are currently six
NOAA B-WET offices: Chesapeake Bay, California, Hawaii, Gulf
Coast, New England, and Northwest. Over the program's history,
more than $40 million has been used to fund more than 530 B-WET
projects across the country. In Fiscal Year 2008 alone, 130 B-
WET projects reached more than 125,000 students and 6,000
NOAA's ELG program focuses on creating an environmentally
literate public that uses a comprehensive understanding of the
role of the oceans, coasts and atmosphere to guide responsible
social, environmental, and economic decision-making. Since
2005, 59 competitive awards totaling $25.8 million have been
granted through the ELG program, enabling NOAA to partner with
a variety of educational and nonprofit organizations that reach
diverse audiences across the country.
Both the B-WET and ELG programs were established through
the congressional appropriations process. Neither program has
been formally codified in law, although language to formally
authorize the Chesapeake Bay B-WET Program as an activity of
NOAA's Chesapeake Bay Office exists in H.R. 1771, the
Chesapeake Bay Science, Education, and Ecosystem Enhancement
Act of 2009, which passed the House of Representatives on
September 30, 2009.
H.R. 3644 was introduced on September 24, 2009 by
Representative Lois Capps (D-CA). The bill was referred to the
Committee on Natural Resources, and within the Committee to the
Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife. On
October 15, 2009, the Subcommittee held a hearing where the
Administration and several other witnesses testified in support
of the legislation.
On November 18, 2009, the Subcommittee was discharged from
the further consideration of H.R. 3644 and the full Natural
Resources Committee met to consider the bill. Rep. Capps
offered an amendment in the nature of a substitute to limit the
authorization of B-WET regional programs to those in existence
or under active consideration for creation immediately before
enactment of the Act (such as the Great Lakes regional
program). Additionally, the amendment specified that the NOAA
Administrator may expand the B-WET program pursuant to the
development of a strategy for growth, which shall be reported
to Congress and which shall include a prioritization of areas
for expansion based on need, interest and available resources.
The amendment also changed the authorization level to such sums
as may be necessary for the next five fiscal years, and made
other technical and clarifying changes.
Representative Bill Cassidy (R-LA) offered an amendment to
the amendment in the nature of a substitute that would level
funding of the B-WET Program at $9,700,000 per year and reduce
the funding level of the Environmental Literacy Grant Program
to $8,500,000 per year through fiscal year 2015. It was not
adopted by a roll call vote of 11 yeas to 16 nays, as follows:
Rep. Cassidy offered a second amendment that would add
economic education and economic literacy as a co-equal purpose.
The amendment was withdrawn. The amendment in the nature of a
substitute was then adopted by voice vote. The bill, as
amended, was then ordered favorably reported to the House of
Representatives by a roll call vote of 22 yeas to 13 nays, as
Section 1--Short title
Section 1 provides that this Act may be cited as the
``Ocean, Coastal and Watershed Education Act.''
Section 2--Findings and purpose
Section 2 establishes the findings of this Act as follows:
(1) The United States faces major environmental challenges
(e.g., climate change, overfishing, habitat destruction,
natural disasters) that threaten human health, economic
development, environmental quality, and national security; (2)
Communities in coastal watersheds are increasingly vulnerable
to these environmental challenges; (3) These challenges can be
met by engaging all members of coastal watershed communities to
create more engaged and environmentally literate citizens; and
(4) Wildlife-dependent (as defined in the National Wildlife
Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 (16 U.S.C. 668dd-
668ee) to mean recreational uses involving ``hunting, fishing,
wildlife observation and photography, or environmental
education and interpretation'') and other outdoor recreation
has intrinsic social and conservation value and can play an
important role in instilling a sustainable conservation ethic
in America's youth.
Section 2 also establishes the purposes of the Act, which
include advancing environmental literacy, stewardship, and
public awareness and appreciation of the economic, social,
recreational, and environmental benefits of coastal watersheds.
To achieve these purposes, the Act establishes two programs:
(1) Environmental Literacy Grant Program, and (2) Bay Watershed
Education and Training (B-WET) regional programs.
Section 3 defines terms that appear in the Act.
Section 4--Environmental Literacy Grant Program
Section 4 provides that the Administrator of NOAA
(Administrator) shall establish the Environmental Literacy
Grant Program. It further establishes that this national
competitive grant program shall provide financial assistance
to: (1) Expand the adoption of coastal, ocean, Great Lakes, and
climate on all time scales education; (2) Build administrative
and technical capacity within coastal and watershed communities
to enhance their effectiveness; (3) Encourage water-dependent
and outdoor recreation and learning to promote environmental
stewardship; and (4) Develop and implement new approaches to
coastal, ocean, Great Lakes, and climate on all time scales
education and literacy. Priority consideration shall be given
to innovative, strategic, high-leverage projects that
demonstrate long-term potential.
This section further provides that after consultation with
appropriate stakeholders and within 180 days of enactment of
this Act, the Administrator must publish program guidelines,
including criteria for eligible entities, national priorities,
and performance measures. Of amounts made available to
implement the program, no less than 80% shall be used for
competitive grants, no more than 10% for the Administrator to
implement the program, and no less than 10% for strategic
planning and coordination to foster communication, integration,
and evaluation efforts.
Section 5--B-WET Program
Section 5 provides that the Administrator shall conduct B-
WET programs that already exist or are under active
consideration for creation. It also authorizes the
Administrator to create new regional programs, pursuant to a
strategy that identifies regional needs, potential
partnerships, a budget for expansion, and potential new
regional programs. The section further provides that priority
consideration for the establishment of new programs shall be
given to U.S. territories, the Great Lakes States, Alaska, and
the mid-Atlantic region. Public comment is required and the
strategy must be submitted to Congress. The Administrator,
following public comment and notice, may also modify or realign
regional programs based on regional need, mutual interest, and
This section further provides that each regional program is
appointed one regional manager who administers and supports the
program. The Administrator must publish program implementation
guidelines within 180 days of enactment of the Act, including
guidelines related to contracts, grant making, and cooperative
agreements. Priority consideration shall be given to those
programs that promote bay-watershed education throughout the
region, build capacity for expanding and strengthening current
work, promote professional development and training for
educators, and replicate existing proven programs. Priority
consideration shall also be given to those projects for which
the federal share does not exceed 75% and those which are
conducted by or benefit any under-served or low-income
Section 5 also requires NOAA's Office of Education to work
with regional B-WET programs on strategic planning, integration
and coordination, evaluation, network-wide communications,
selection of new regional program managers, and management,
tracking and oversight. Of amounts made available to implement
the program, no less than 80% of funds shall be used to
implement regional grant programs activities and no more than
20% shall be used by the Administrator to implement the
Section 6 requires the Administrator to submit a biennial
report to Congress on the grant programs authorized under this
Section 7--Authorization of appropriations
Section 7 authorizes to be appropriated such sums as may be
necessary for each of fiscal years 2011 through 2015.
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 Natural Resources' oversight findings and
recommendations are reflected in the body of this report.
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
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, spending authority, credit authority,
or an increase or decrease in revenues or tax expenditures.
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 direct the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to establish
education and watershed programs which advance environmental
literacy, including preparedness and adaptability for the
likely impacts of climate change in coastal watershed regions.
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
H.R. 3644--Ocean, Coastal, and Watershed Education Act
Summary: H.R. 3644 would reauthorize--through 2015--and
expand two National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
(NOAA) grant programs aimed at enhancing environmental
education related to water resources. Based on information from
NOAA and assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts, CBO
estimates that implementing the legislation would cost $139
million over the 2011-2014 period and $48 million after 2014.
Enacting the legislation would not affect direct spending or
H.R. 3644 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA)
and would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal
Estimated cost to the Federal Government: The estimated
budgetary impact of H.R. 3644 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--
2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2014
CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION
Environmental Literacy Grant Program:
Estimated Authorization Level................... 0 19 20 20 20 79
Estimated Outlays............................... 0 14 19 20 20 73
Bay-Watershed Education and Training Program:
Estimated Authorization Level................... 0 17 17 18 18 70
Estimated Outlays............................... 0 13 17 18 18 66
Estimated Authorization Level............... 0 36 37 38 38 149
Estimated Outlays........................... 0 27 36 38 38 139
Basis of estimate: For this estimate, CBO assumes that H.R.
3644 will be enacted early in calendar year 2010 and that the
necessary amounts will be appropriated for each fiscal year
from 2011 through 2015. (The two programs are already
authorized in 2010 under current law.) Estimated outlays are
based on historical spending patterns for similar NOAA
H.R. 3644 would reauthorize NOAA's Environmental Literacy
Grant Program, which funds projects to educate the public about
water resources. In 2009, NOAA received appropriations totaling
$9 million for environmental literacy grants. (The agency has
not yet received a full-year appropriation for 2010.) Based on
information from NOAA regarding funding levels for similar
grant programs, CBO estimates that the agency would require
funding equal to about twice that amount to implement the
program because the agency is currently able to fund less than
10 percent of the proposals it receives under the program. For
other similar grant programs the agency provides funding for 25
percent of the proposals it receives. Assuming appropriation of
the necessary amounts, CBO estimates that implementing the
program would cost $73 million over the 2011-2014 period and
$26 million after 2014.
H.R. 3644 also would reauthorize and expand NOAA's Bay-
Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) Program to promote
stewardship of coastal and marine resources in several regions
of the United States. In 2009, NOAA received appropriations
totaling $10 million to fund grants for six regional programs.
Under the bill, NOAA would maintain existing regional programs,
expand one of those programs to include U.S. territories in the
Pacific Ocean, and establish four additional regional programs.
Based on historical funding for the B-WET Program (about $1.6
million per region annually) and assuming appropriation of the
necessary amounts, CBO estimates that implementing the program
would cost $66 million over the 2011-2014 period and $23
million after 2014.
Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: H.R. 3644
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as
defined in UMRA and would impose no costs on state, local, or
Estimate prepared by: Federal costs: Jeff LaFave; Impact on
state, local, and tribal governments: Ryan Miller; Impact on
the private sector: Amy Petz.
Estimate approved by: Theresa Gullo, Deputy Assistant
Director for Budget Analysis.
COMPLIANCE WITH PUBLIC LAW 104-4
This bill contains no unfunded mandates.
H.R. 3644 does not contain any congressional earmarks,
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined in
clause 9 of rule XXI.
PREEMPTION OF STATE, LOCAL OR TRIBAL LAW
This bill is not intended to preempt any State, local or
CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW
If enacted, this bill would make no changes in existing
H.R. 3644, the Bay-Watershed Education and Training
Regional Program and National Environmental Literacy Grant
Program Act, authorizes two existing programs within the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA): the
Bay-Watershed Education and Training Regional Program and the
National Environmental Literacy Program. While both of these
programs have received some level of funding from Congress, no
authorization for either program has been enacted.
Authorization levels in the bill, as introduced, are far above
what the programs have historically received and are at a level
that are unsupportable. Rather than address the concerns raised
by Members of the Committee at both the Subcommittee hearing
and full Committee mark-up of the legislation, specific
authorization levels were replaced by ``such sums as may be
necessary'' in the Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute that
was considered at the mark-up.
At a time when the country faces record deficit levels, a
``blank check'' authorization for these two programs is
irresponsible. Not only does this ignore this authorizing
Committee's responsibility to set funding levels for the
Appropriators to follow, but it also ignores the realities of
this country's current economic problems.
As introduced, the legislation would have authorized the
two programs at a total of $235.0 million over a five year
period. Concern over the funding levels were raised by Members
of the Subcommittee during the Subcommittee on Insular Affairs,
Oceans and Wildlife hearing which was held on October 15, 2009.
In addition to concerns raised by Members, the NOAA testimony
included the statement ``NOAA supports education and outreach
programs in the Office of Education and throughout NOAA's line
offices--the authorization levels in H.R. 3644 could divert
funding from these other programs.''
Funding for the Bay-Watershed Education and Training
Program began in Fiscal Year 2002 with the Chesapeake Bay B-WET
program which received $1.2 million. While five new B-WET
programs have been added by Appropriators since Fiscal Year
2003, funding for the entire program has never exceeded $9.699
million. H.R. 3644, as introduced, would increase this level to
$20.0 million in the first year and increase to $25.0 million
in the third year for a total authorization of $117.5 million
over five years. This level of increase represents an increase
of more than 200 percent in the first year.
The President's Fiscal Year 2010 budget request did not
request any funding for either the B-WET California program (a
decrease of $2.5 million from the FY 2009 appropriated level)
or the B-WET Regional Programs (a decrease of $7.2 million from
the FY 2009 appropriated level). Congressional action on the
Department of Commerce's appropriation in both the House and
Senate bills included funding levels far below the
authorization levels in H.R. 3644 as introduced--$2.5 million
for the California B-WET program in the House-passed bill
report language and $7.2 million for the B-WET Regional
Programs in the Senate-passed bill report language. It is clear
that neither the President nor Congressional appropriators have
supported the authorization levels intended by this
In addition, the National Environmental Literacy Program
which has been funded under the line item in the NOAA budget
called Competitive Education Grants has only been requested in
the President's budget request since Fiscal Year 2008. In
Fiscal Year 2008, the program received $4.881 and in Fiscal
Year 2009, the program received $8.5 million. H.R. 3644 would
increase this level to $20.0 million in the first year and
increase to $25.0 million in the third year for a total
authorization of $117.5 million over five years. This level of
increase represents an increase of more than 200 percent in the
The President's Fiscal Year 2010 budget request included
$5.043 million for the Competitive Educational Grants--a
decrease of $4.0 million from the FY 2009 level. While both the
House and Senate bills to appropriate funds for NOAA for Fiscal
Year 2010 included increases to this program, neither bill
approaches the funding levels included in H.R. 3644 as
In authorizing these programs that have been in existence
for a number of years, reasonable authorization levels need to
be established with existing national deficit levels in mind.
Replacing unreasonable authorization levels with a blank
check--as was done at the full Committee consideration of this
legislation--ignores this Committee's responsibilities.