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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 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                            ADDITIONAL VIEWS

                        [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 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Ocean, Coastal, and Watershed 
Education Act''.

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 
        ages.
          (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 
        coastal communities.
  (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 
        Administration.
          (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 
        Indian tribe.

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 
        levels.
  (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.
          (2) Strategy.--
                  (A) In general.--The Administrator shall issue a 
                strategy for establishing such new regional programs.
                  (B) Contents.--The strategy shall include the 
                following:
                          (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 
                        Act.
                          (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 
                        this Act.
                          (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 
                American Samoa;
                  (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 
                the Administrator.
          (2) Consultation and public comment.--The Administrator 
        shall--
                  (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 
        Program.
          (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 
follows:
          (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 
        contribution.
          (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 
functions:
          (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; 
        and
          (2) no more than 20 percent may be used by the Administrator 
        to implement the regional programs and regional program 
        coordination.

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 
invaluable resources.
    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 
teachers.
    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.

                            COMMITTEE ACTION

    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 
follows:


                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

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--Definitions

    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 
resource availability.
    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 
communities.
    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 
program.

Section 6--Report

    Section 6 requires the Administrator to submit a biennial 
report to Congress on the grant programs authorized under this 
Act.

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 
1974.
    2. Congressional Budget Act.
    As required by clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives and section 308(a) of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, this bill does not contain 
any new budget authority, 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 
Budget Office:

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 
revenues.
    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 
governments.
    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-
                                                        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
    Total Changes:
        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 
programs.
    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 
tribal governments.
    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.

                           EARMARK STATEMENT

    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 
tribal law.

                        CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

    If enacted, this bill would make no changes in existing 
law.

                            ADDITIONAL VIEWS

    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 
legislation.
    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 
first year.
    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 
introduced.
    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.
                                                      Bill Cassidy.